Yeah, but…

When I was in high school, my parents used to refer to me as “the yeah buts girl.”  My husband will tell you that if you that I am a master of excuses (I prefer to call them “reasons”) and always seem to manage to get out of doing things I don’t want to do.  My friends will tell you that I my favorite word is “actually” as in:

No matter how you pronounce it - it's sweet creamy chocolatey heaven in a jar!

Friend:  Have you ever experienced the hazelnut and chocolate deliciousness that is Nutella?

Me:  Actually, it’s pronounced New-tella.

I like to argue and debate.  I enjoy the challenge of using reason and logic to manipulate my way out of tasks I don’t enjoy or into projects that pique my interest.

I haven’t decided yet if it is fortunate or unfortunate that my son has inherited my affinity for debate.  He’s only 7, but is quickly honing is manipulation skills. Here’s a taste of a typical scenario:

Vinny, I need you to go clean up the toy room.

Awww…Mom, do I have to clean it up all by myself?  I wasn’t the only one to make the mess.  It would be fairer if you had Elizabeth come help me since most of it is her mess.

No, Elizabeth is doing something else for me right now, I want you to go clean up the toy room.

How about if I just clean up half of the mess and then when she’s done she can clean up the other half?

Vinny, I just want you to go down and start cleaning.  Don’t worry about what your sister is doing, just get it done.

Can I clean for just 15 minutes?

No, you’ll clean until it’s done.

But what about Elizabeth?  What about her toys?

Vinny (said in the “mom tone” that warns, “I’m starting to lose my patience”).  Go. Down. And. Clean. Up. The. Toy. Room.

Can I get a drink first?

(By this point, I’m almost ready to yell.) No. Now!

When he first started working in his debate skills, I’d let it slide.  After all, given my track record I thought it would only be fair to give him his chance to try to change my mind.  It quickly got to the point, though, that I would dread hearing the phrase “how about…” come out of his mouth every time I asked him to do something.  My husband and I agreed to change tactics and now, whenever we hear him gearing up for an argument we gently remind him that he needs to be obedient. Now the scenario sounds more like this: Read More

Tough Questions

“Were Adam and Eve on Earth with the dinosaurs?”

“How could that be if God created the earth in 7 days and dinosaurs were around a long, long time ago, before people?”

“So, the bones archeologists found of the ‘first human’ were the bones of Adam or Eve?”

“Are we all on the same family tree?”

“Where, exactly, IS Eden?”

“When we die, will we even want to ask God these questions?  Will we know everything?  Will we even care since we’ll be in God’s presence?”

What really happened to the dinosaurs.

These are real questions that came up with my teens this past Wednesday night in our 11th and 12th grade PSR class.  The class is not, actually, a bible study this semester.  We are supposed to be studying Theology of the Body for Teens; and, tonight’s chapter was entitled “Naked Without Shame.”  And, that’s how we started with Adam and Eve, talking about original justice and original nakedness.

Needless to say, we didn’t exactly cover the chapter of TOB that I had intended.  But, we DID discuss a lot of different topics including Church and science, heaven, final judgement, and, somehow, the Shroud of Turin.

As the topics and questions swirled around with sincere curiosity on the faces of the teens, I came to realize, again, what an incredible responsibility I have as a youth minister and teacher of the faith.  The teens have found a place where they know it’s okay to ask the tough questions.  They know they won’t be laughed at or ridiculed for wondering.  And, that means I have to be prepared.  I have to stay one step ahead of the teens, anticipating what they might ask on a given night and praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give them correct and complete answers.  And, I have to pray for the ability to listen with love, so that they will continue to ask these questions and thousands more.

      This is pretty much how I explain Eden…

In all honesty, there’s no way I could’ve anticipated the conversation of this night.  Dinosaurs, creationism, evolution, and science aren’t exactly my forte, but I did my best to give the Church’s teachings on these topics. These teens, they’re keeping me on my toes and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Without them, I might not be growing in MY faith in quite the same way.