Mum, I don’t know what to do…..

I got a text message today from my daughter who was at school with just the word, “Mum“, the first thoughts and emotions that ran through my mind and body were chilling as my mind thought the thoughts I don’t want to think about. 

Is everything okay, is something wrong, these thoughts are the thoughts that every mum has gone through.  I asked her without panicking, “Are you okay”,  and to my relief her answer, was “yes mum but I just don’t know what to do……”

The don’t know what to do, could have been a hundreds of I don’t knows.  I don’t know what to do about this boy that is just relentless, and won’t leave me alone, I don’t know what to do about this girl that acts like my friend but isn’t, I don’t know what to do with this teacher who treats me unfairly and unjust.  It could have been a number of I don’t know what to do’s….

To my surprise the I don’t know what to do was, “Mum what should I study after Grade 12, should I be doing my original choice or should I take the other option just incase my marks are not what it needs to be, Mum I am stressed.”,  I am a mum who constantly encourages her to do what she desires to do, but knowing my daughter she has had a plan from a little girl of what she wanted to do, and I could see her in that field … it has come to “I don’t know, Mum”

I write this blog with the message that the last year of school in our country is one of the most stressful and pressurizing years of a child’s life.  I know my child so I know what she can handle and what she can’t, but I also know the in and outs of society and the education system and what they seem to portray.  Many institutions portray a freedom of choice, a freedom of speech and thought, but many aspire to a standard that sometimes can not be kept, and this is with majority of students.  I am not saying that keeping a higher standard is wrong as it can have some benefits, especially for those that can reach it but are just not; but how high is the standard and at what cost does it come with?  Is it at the cost of the sanity of young teenagers that are about to explore, this big new world on their own and that only if you aspire to be at a certain standard or get a certain grade then you have arrived.  

What happens to the majority that cannot (not will not) cannot keep to your pressurized system that robs them of been who they are and who they can become, maybe it may never be someome with a white cloak or a black one, maybe it is a colorful one.  What then!

Many will say we do not do what you are saying, but I have heard, seen, witnessed and experienced, where even parents think their child has only made it, if you are studying in a certain field or have achieved some kind of status.  This is something that almost every Indian family will experience, but also many teenagers face this each day.  Who knows, I could have been such a parent.  

I remember going to Australia and Europe and saw a young Indian girl and many old white women cleaning the toilets and it was normal, but not where I come from. I didn’t sense any humiliation coming from them, it seemed that they had a job to do and did it and did it well, nor did I see any dehumanizing coming from any of the locals towards them, they were treated with respect.

We are all born into different circumstances and privilege (yes which has played a big part in our education system and country, as only the elite could enter or pay to go to a certain school, which offers far more then a government school). It disadvantages those that could have done more, but are in poorer areas, buts that’s a whole other topic.  However it doesn’t mean that if I have a higher IQ than you it makes me better then you, or if I go to this school than I am better then you. Where did we pick up this notion that people should be only deemed worthy if they have studied, sometimes even in a certain institute or if they have a higher IQ, or if they are in a certain profession? I am not saying people should not be recognized for their achievements, but what makes you think your achievements is better than someone else’s.  

What if that person born with a different brain, as we all are, had achieved their ultimate level, their best, will we be saying oh they could have done better, if only they had done xyz. Many will be comparing and say look at my child they have achieved so many A’s or look at our school it is at the top.  Good to note someone’s achievements, not that it should not be noted but in all the noting we overlook those that did their best that they could have done but was not noticed.  When does the comparison stop?!

When we teach a child are we teaching them to realize their strengths and tap into that or are we trying to also force tap into areas that are clearly not their strengths all because society says they have too? What happens to the child who is flowing in the field of art or maybe some skill like woodwork but because it is not in a field of medicine or accounting etc; they have not achieved.  That is one of the reasons our country is lacking in skilled people because it has been humiliating to do anything else but certain professions or earn a certain living. Yes we all want to have a better life and make things easier for our families but I hope it is not at the cost of losing them or them losing themselves in the process.  

The pressure that a Grade 12 feels is already there, but there is so much added pressure from so many added sources that many can’t cope, it is blinding  but also deafening.  What should I do, which way do I go?  So firstly they can’t see because everyone else is seeing for them, parents, teachers, society, which some may mean well but are we leading them on a road they were called too or is it our road? Deafening, because all the voices are silencing the one they need to hear – voices, telling them you should do this, because if you do this you are set for life, you should do that because if you do that you will be with the “creme de la creme – so which voice do they need to hear? The voices have already brought confusion in their minds because they can’t even hear themselves anymore. 

I met a few young girls recently that are on anxiety medication because of the pressure they feel at home and at school to be something they are not, so that they would achieve those A’s, is it for their own wellbeing or is it for for the pride of a parent or school.

I asked the question again, but at what cost, at the cost of withdrawal symptoms from anxiety drugs, at the cost of your child’s future and happiness, at the cost of humiliation if they cannot achieve what you want them to achieve, at the cost of their own dreams and hopes.

Parent, educators we can only advise which way they should go, may it be the right advice not for our own status and name.  May it be for their future, may we see what lies within each one of these beautiful children, their strengths and and then may we tap into a wealth of diversity, color, uniqueness and differences, as they have the potential to change, shape and color their and our worlds has they should be doing.

Time in time!!!

I remember sharing a message not so long ago were one of the lines that was said was how “comparison leads to discontentment”. I said it that time because I saw it happening so often in the lives of people and sometimes maybe ourselves. Hearing a message recently brought so much more into perspective, I shared previously on time and in the Greek language there are different meanings for time, Chronos(chronological) time and Kairos, we all live in Chronos it natural but not all live in Kairos (opportune time). We have so limited time in this world and all many do is live their time where there is so much discontentment and comparison. There is no time for anything else. Life is measured by what car you drive or the house you live in or the shoes you wear, that time goes by and all you have done is tried to keep to the Jones that we miss the most important aspect of time.

Kairos is the opportune time or moment and making the most of it, recognizing Kairos in your life, happens when you step out of Chronos because God does not live in time. It is we who live in time, He wants us in Chronos to recognize Kairos and take the moment. We can only do that if we are listening to Him. 

Many are so discontent with what they have or don’t have that time slips away with many trying to bring contentment by doing everything else, yet never seeking God to bring contentment and to ask Him to help us hear His voice in Chronos that we know what to do in the Kairos moments.  

There have been so many opportune time that has gone by and we have miss it. The kairos might not be what you expect or expected, it might be stopping in Chronos and seeing the opportunity brought to me or I just so happened to have come across a moment through divine purpose. Kairos could be stopping and speaking to that person at that time because Jesus asked you to because we may not know what they were going through. Kairos could be hearing His voice saying no, not this but something else. Kairos could be a divine meeting with someone that will later become partners in His work. Imagine we may have missed so many Kairos moments in our lives because have been so busy building our own empires in Chronos that we failed to see Kairos. Yet it is only what we have built in Him or done for Him that will last. All else will fade.

I have realized the world is so discontent with their whole lives and all they do is live in Chronos trying to build and build, compare and compare until they have what others have, and in all that time having only done that they have missed their Kairos moments. There is nothing wrong in having good things or working for a better life but I pray we do not do it because we are forever discontent or because we think only those things will bring contentment.

I pray we will recognize Kairos these opportune moment’s God gives us to minister or help or love or to meet someone especially one He has asked us to stop for. I believe when we do that we will be satisfied and never live in discontentment because when we listen to His voice and do what He is asking us to do in that opportune moment then He will give us the desires of our heart and we will never live in discontentment. He will bless much more than we could have even hoped or dream’t off.  

He asked us in Ephesians to make the most of every opportunity, or redeeming the time (buying back what you have lost) because we are living in evil days. It is never to late to Redeem the time, to make the most of every opportunity and I believe many can still do that, buy back was was lost. What could have taken 10 years in your life to do God can do it in a year, however we need to live in His timetable not ours and for His glory and not ours.

We all Have a Winter to tell

I guess during winter we all go through some hibernation process whether animals or humans, there are so many different experiences we feel during this time, layering until you you can’t move, change of wardrobe, it is even been researched that people who live in cold places become more depressed, sad and grumpy.  Sometimes this process takes time to adjust into a new season but also this process also takes time to come out of the past season when entering a new season.  

We become so used to that jacket we have  continuously used in winter that entering into spring we feel like something is missing or we would mistakenly grab it not realizing the sun is out and because it has become our daily routines over months they have become habits and to get out of it, takes work or adjusting.

An example recently was that I left winter and just came back from a trip from overseas with 38 to 40 degrees Celsius and I loved the heat but also I loved the fact it only got dark around 10 pm the light seemed to have livened my spirit.  When I came back my body took over a week to adjust all I just wanted was the sun on my skin and I just wanted to see the light outside till late.

So seasons affects our body, but it also affects our mind.  Some go into hibernation or a cycle of winter that will sometimes not stop.  Winter also can be experienced in the mind and soul,  sometimes not just for months but years.  And at times the cycle does not end, even though you want it too.  How to feel the warmth of the sun again, and how to feel and experience the newness happening around,  birds chirping, flowers budding, leaves shooting,  you see it but it is still not felt because you are in winter.  This can be so painful for someone, while everyone around you seems to be moving on to a new season that is full of vibrancy, colour, and light, yet you are stuck in a dry, lifeless dark season.  Ever felt like that?

Well I have and many have and still do, sometimes we can’t just snap out of it.   Sometimes we have not created the winter in our lives, yet it could be a number of contributing factors or even natural events that we had no control over, like leaves turning brown, trees dying and darkness in winter are natural events, also in our lives winter could be an illness, a divorce, financial issues, loss of a loved one.  We had no control of those events, but that too will pass.  It could be a number of factors that we have contributed to, like never watering a certain tree or plant that needed to be nourished in winter to survive in spring because we thought it’s just a season it will work it self out. 

Many things in life especially in your driest, darkest hour don’t just work out without us having some input in it.  Just imagine a part of you is that tree or the garden, even though our surrounding is the bleakest because it is winter, it still needs it’s water, it still needs to be fed.  Sometimes we think and believe that things will grow again in spring, yes some things do naturally but some don’t, when I look around my garden as everyone has their own garden physically or mentally.  Some roots are completely dead because we did not water or feed that tree in winter. It will never grow again, it will never flourish again, and that part becomes dry and barren again until we pull out the dead roots and replant again.  And maybe that part needed to be watered so it could have offered us so much in spring. Newness, life and hope.

Let me use my own life as an example, when I am going through winter recently all I want to do is curl up and stay in bed, apparently when you have a deficiency of a certain vitamin, I won’t mention which, you feel cold, I don’t want to experience the harshness of winter but irrespective of what I do winter it is still there. 

The part of feeling the pain of winter(fig), that part that is struggling to get out of bed, that part of me that is finding it hard to pray because the cold and darkness is so bad, what do you do?   So let me say this again not everyone will experience their winter emotionally or spiritually at the same time.  I have learn’t when my winter is so harsh and bleak and I can not sometimes fuel or feed that part of me, say my example is prayer,  I find someone else who is not in winter that can help me water and feed the part I am finding hard to do because of the season I am in.  

In your life it could be something completely different and your winter could be so painful right now and dark, find someone who overcame winter, what you are finding difficult at this moment, they will help bring nourishment to your need.  If we don’t learn to overcome even in the midst of utter darkness and dryness, we can get stripped in the winter season of it’s purpose of what could be needed for the next.  You may be saying easier said than done, I know, I have been there but you need to know there is a season for everything and this too will pass.

However not all things are bad in winter, it is a season we will all experience in life,  some more than others, it is the cycle of life and naturally winter has to come, yet many farmers and experts say that winter is beneficial because many bad bacteria, pathogens, virus are killed in cold, so the land can be cultivated again for the new season.  So even in our own lives there are certain things that need to die figuratively so it can produce good fruit.  If we had not gone through times were certain aspects or situations in your life has to die, even though going through winter is bitterly cold, painful, lonely whether it is the dying of oneself (figuratively) or the dying of a once beautiful tree, that we might have not know was carrying this bad bacteria, that had to die can be are painful, dark and miserable especially when we are surrounded by a winter’s night.  The new garden has to be cultivated and ready for the new season, naturally but even in our lives.

Have you notice that winter brings a deep reflection in someone’s life,  I am not sure exactly why, but I think because we are less occupied and busy with things on the outside as we would on good sunny day, we are able to ponder and reflect more.  Our real testing comes in winter, can we endure, the coldness, the dryness, the barrenness, the darkness and the dying, yes we can endure.  We should be assured that seasons change and there is a reason for every season and so too this will pass and Spring is about to make it’s entrance in our lives soon.

My Colourful gift.

My son has been one of the greatest and most unusual gift I have ever received, as would any mum think.  He was not wrapped in your normal typical gift wrapping with a traditional bow or your neatly wrapped conventional box.  He was wrapped differently to the rest and given to us without a manual or instruction book.  I guess a manual would not have worked on a gift that works differently each day.  Well we had to figure it out and to tell you the truth we still haven’t come close.

What do you do when your child doesn’t come with an instruction manual that you so desperately need or a universal remote that can work on any device?   Been a mum that thought she had parenting all figured out for the past nine years, boy was I in for a surprise.

My amazing yet difficult journey with my son started about 3 years ago, when this amazing gift started to take on a different form, shape and colour everyday.  I no longer could conform him to a fixed place, room or shape.  I knew that we needed divine intervention and intervention did come from an unexpected source who lived on the other side of the globe from us, she recognised something in him that was similar to a child she knew in Australia.

And for the first time we had a light bulb moment.  Yes it was so blinding at first but also illuminating.   It was the first time we heard the word “Aspergers” mentioned to us.  What was that?  We did not even know how to pronounce it, yet alone know the meaning of the word that has now become so familiar to us.

I felt like a huge wave of water rushing over me and I was been pulled in by a tsunami and I needed to be in control. I am always in control, yet life teaches you, you can not always control everything, it was like I was drowning in a million thoughts.
The current of my thoughts that flooded my mind at that particular moment, were too strong that I was pulled in all different directions, not knowing what to hold onto, what to do.   I knew I needed answers.

The who, what, why, when and how questions started to fill me that I could not breathe.  I needed to come up for some air and exhale.   The best thing I could do was to grab onto something that was real and that was right in front of me, within arms reach, even though my world was shaking at that particular moment.  And there stood in front of me was my uniquely, brightly colourful wrapped gift that was squishy on the sides and prickly at times, waiting for me to open.  And there my journey began, “A life in the day of Noah…..”