I’ve read the book by Dr. Dobson. I’ve studied parenting in college due to my B.S. in Family Ministries. I even served as a full-time youth and children’s minister for 7+ years at small churches. But I can assure you that nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for my new toddler, Jonathan.
Now, before you accuse me of being a naive first-time parent, I’ll point out that Jonathan has an older brother, Thomas who’s recently turned 8 years old. Yet as you can expect, Thomas didn’t have a “terrible twos” phase while Jonathan is full-blown into just such a stage. There are all the hallmarks of the “terrible twos”: temper tantrums, throwing things, masterful use of the word “no” and screaming.
So I’ve got two children. One is mild-mannered and calm. I’ve seen him throw one tantrum, and I’ve never seen him throw a glass of milk across the table. The other child is going through an amazing period of self growth and discovery. Unfortunately this is accompanied by pushing the boundaries beyond the four walls of this home.
I believe there’s a lot to be said about a strong-willed child. I agree with Dobson that if their energy and self-sufficiency can be directed, reigned in, the child can grow into quite an individual. However, that doesn’t make it any easier when it’s 2am and your “individual” isn’t wanting to go back to bed. But I digress.
I’m here to tell you two things: 1) I would do anything for both my boys and love them equally. They both have qualities that I’ve fallen completely in love with. 2) Children are definitely “hard-wired” from birth to have a certain disposition. No one can convince me otherwise.
My son, the unintentional comedian, is learning new words at a feverish pace. Unfortunately he’s not always able to remember which definitions go with which words. For some time now he’s been aware of his and everyone else’s burps. So when he burps or is within earshot of a burp his eyes widen and he exclaims, “BURP!” with such exuberance that you’d think he’d discovered a method of cold fusion. More recently he’s discovered his own flatulence. But instead of calling it a toot, a flutter or even a fart, after he “breaks wind” he widens his eyes, points to his posterior and belts out, “BURP!” to anyone willing to listen. If no one is listening he’ll repeat it louder and louder until someone does listen. He then proceeds to giggle at his funny body. He’s a boy through and through. Why do we men find our bodily functions so amusing? I certainly don’t know the reason, but evidently it’s genetic.
Part of me wants to correct him, “no son that was a toot.” But the other part of me finds this mistake too darn adorable to educate into oblivion. Besides, he essentially correct. Isn’t a fart very similar to a burp from your butt? Well, doctors may disagree, but to a 2 year-old it makes perfect sense to use the same word to refer to these two bodily functions. I never thought farting and burping could be cute until I heard those otherwise gross sounds come out of my son. And I NEVER thought I would be able to tolerate somone farting on my lap!
I’ve been saying this for months now, ever since I found out about MySpace.com. Finally MSNBC has put out a piece that deals with the inherent dangers teens face when they share personal information on their MySpace pages. This article was posted by MSNBC on Jan. 27th, 2006 and as of that date they report that,
In the last month, authorities have charged at least three men with sexually assaulting teenagers they found through MySpace.com and just this week police found a missing 15-year-old girl who investigators say was sexually assaulted by a 26-year-old man she met through the site.
The problem is that the vast majority of parents are basically worthless when it comes to keeping up on their children’s internet activities. I’m the minister to a youth group comprised primarily of girls so information like the above quote scares me to death. I don’t know what we as responsible adults can do about this danger besides educate the kids and their parents. Personally, I feel like my hands are tied. Realistically all I can do is spread the word to use extreme caution when sharing info online.