Tag Archives: suffering

It’s that time of year again!

I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach.

School is starting and I had a dream that I couldn’t find all the forms I needed to turn in for registration.

It’s the grown up take on a childhood nightmare.  You are late. You missed the test. You failed.

Oh how we run from failure our whole lives…don’t we?

It starts early.  It begins in school when we start getting report cards…when we start getting graded on our performance.

Some of this is good, I liked to get good grades and I’ve always been a rule follower.  I’m not in school anymore but for now, this sense of responsibility keeps me doing the things that need to get done like laundry and paying bills and feeding my family.  Honestly, there are days I’d rather watch TV and eat chocolate.  So learning how to get going and do stuff is very important.  We need rules and structure and expectations.

But some of it, this grading, shaming, pressuring, fear based nonsense that goes on in our schools…some of it is just crap.

Here are some things I want to tell my kids but I’m afraid to say them because then the jig might be up on the “grades determine your future” threats that I will be using to get them to do their homework.

But here are some truths:

The world is run by C students.  At a certain point, grades don’t matter.  People want to hire people and hang around with people who are fun and interesting and kind and creative and intelligent.  Some of the kindest, most intelligent, creative, fun, interesting people I know struggled to get good grades in school.  This did not mean squat when it came to accomplishing their dreams.

Confidence is very important.  Hold your head high even when you don’t have a clue what you are doing.  Assume everyone else is doing the same.

If you get into Harvard, good luck paying for it.

You may spend years getting an advanced degree from a fancy school and still end up jobless and living at home.  This will infuriate your father and me.  Consider this not okay.

The sooner you get a job doing something the better off you will be in life.  Empty trashcans, clean houses, babysit, mow lawns, wash dishes…do something.  Actually, try everything and see how hard it is to really work.

The world doesn’t owe you anything.  Humble yourself now so it will be easier later.

A cell phone isn’t free.

All that stuff you are doing for fun now on the Internet?  Try to parlay it into a career.  Or better yet, invent something new and buy your parents a vacation home.

Spending time in nature is not a waste of time.  Feed your soul.  Talk to God.  Spend time alone.

Stop watching reality TV.  It is a waste of time and it’s not real.  Except Real Housewives of New Jersey…that is truth.

No matter how desperate you are, don’t ever go on The Bachelor.  It would embarrass me much more than it would if you brought home a C on your report card.

They are going to ask you what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are 18 and entering college.  Heck, nowadays they may make you decide in junior high! This is total BS.  No one knows!  I STILL don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  Smile, pick something, hold your head up and try it.  When you change your mind and your major the next year, don’t worry about it.  Dad and I understand.  Have fun figuring it out.  There are so many exciting things to try!

On that note, try new activities at all ages.  Just because you didn’t belong to the Country Club and practice golf with a pro from the age of 3 doesn’t mean you can’t learn to golf as an adult.  No door is shut. Same thing goes for tennis and sailing and yoga and hiking and running and biking and soccer.  Okay…maybe not soccer.  You should have started that earlier.

If you are in a situation that calls for you to be either “right” or “kind”…choose kind.  It’s always more important.

Money has nothing to do with happiness.  Be authentic and love with your whole heart.  You can be broke and blissfully happy when you do this.

Having said all of this, good luck this year in school.  If you don’t get straight A’s, we will be taking away your cell phone.

Sweet dreams!

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

A lot of this post was obviously written tongue in cheek.  However, I am gravely concerned about our kids and the pressure they are under to perform and meet unrealistic expectations in school and in sports and extracurricular activities.  If you have not had a chance to watch “A Race to Nowhere” please look at the trailer here and then find the movie in your area so you can watch it. www.racetonowhere.com Our kids are suffering.  We know better.  Let’s do better.  

Shaking My Can on the Corner

I know, it doesn’t sound pretty.

What I mean is that I was “shaking a can” for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) on the corner this morning.  It was amazing.

I saw a lot of volunteers standing in the rain to help!

I witnessed generosity in spades.

There were lots of people saying, “God Bless!” which of course, I loved and immediately responded with “GOD BLESS YOU TOO”.  I think that’s one of the nicest things you can say to someone.  We all need to be blessed.

I saw kids reaching out their hands from the back seat with coins to share.

I met people who shared their stories of loved ones lost to this terrible disease.

There was a woman who came back around in her car after she went home to get more money.

I saw a priest who stopped to contribute and told me a story about a fellow priest who suffered from ALS.

There were Mercedes and beat up cars and Cadillacs and delivery trucks and motorcycles and teenagers learning to drive.  There were people with dogs and families together and babies in back.  There were older couples.  There were people dressed up and people who were sweaty coming straight from a work out.  There were women who just finished running a race for breast cancer.

A hospice nurse stopped to tell me to check out her bumper sticker which said “Stamp out  ALS”.  Her eyes were so kind and I got the feeling she knew this disease intimately.  I thanked her for what she does every day…hospice nurses are angels.

It choked me up.

I got a glimpse today.  I got a glimpse of goodness.  Actually, I feel like I got a gallon of goodness.  What a blessing.

This disease is bad.  Do what you can to help. Give. Pray. Smile at people who are on the corner shaking their can.  Even if you don’t give money, look  up and make eye contact, wave and acknowledge.  There are people in pain.  There is suffering.

But in the midst of suffering, there is grace.

We are in this together.  Thank God.

To all the moms out there – HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.  Thank you for your love and your healing and your smiles and your warm cozy hugs.  Thank you for dancing in the kitchen and picking us up at 3 am.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for believing in us.  Thank you for advocating for us.  Thank you for running out to Walgreen’s late at night because we forgot we needed posterboard.  Thank you for your wisdom.  Thank you for your understanding.  Thank you for holding our hair back when we puke and for wiping our tears.  Thank you for changing our diapers and feeding us and feeding us and feeding us.  Thank you for listening. Thank you for sweeping and cleaning and shoveling and planting and decorating.  Thank you for sharing your faith and your knowledge and your hope and your dreams.  Thank you for your courage.

This is big.  Because when you got into this thing called motherhood, maybe you didn’t know what it was.  Nobody told you because nobody could.  It’s different for all of us.  It’s joy and it’s laughter and it’s pain and it’s worry and it’s fear.  Deep down fear.  Fear of failure and fear of our babies not being safe.  But it’s faith too.  It’s faith in something bigger and something better and something really real.  It’s faith in LOVE.  It’s faith that when we share our love, we create something beautiful.  We share, then our kids share and then the world shares and we are all so much brighter.

Thank you to all the moms.  Mine, yours, you, me, everyone.  Here’s a poem I received when I was awaiting the arrival of my first baby.  Oh man…it kills me.

BABY ASKS GOD, “THEY TELL ME YOU ARE SENDING ME TO EARTH TOMMORROW,  BUT HOW AM I GOING TO LIVE THERE BEING SO SMALL AND HELPLESS?”
GOD SAID, “YOUR ANGEL WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU AND WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.”
THE CHILD FURTHER INQUIRED, “BUT TELL ME, HERE IN HEAVEN I DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING BUT SING AND SMILE TO BE HAPPY.”
GOD SAID, “YOUR ANGEL WILL SING FOR YOU AND WILL ALSO SMILE FOR YOU.” AND YOU WILL FEEL YOUR ANGEL’S LOVE AND BE VERY HAPPY.”
AGAIN THE CHILD ASKED, “AND HOW AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHEN PEOPLE TALK TO ME IF I DON’T KNOW THE LANGUAGE?”
GOD SAID, “YOUR ANGEL WILL TELL YOU THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND SWEET WORDS YOU WILL EVER HEAR, AND WITH MUCH PATIENCE AND CARE, YOUR ANGEL WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO SPEAK.”
“AND WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WHEN I WANT TO TALK TO YOU?”
GOD SAID, “YOUR ANGEL WILL PLACE YOUR HANDS TOGETHER AND TEACH YOU HOW TO PRAY.”
“WHO WILL PROTECT ME?”
GOD SAID, “YOUR ANGEL WILL PROTECT YOU EVEN IF IT MEANS RISKING HER LIFE.”
“BUT I WILL ALWAYS BE SAD BECAUSE I WILL NOT SEE YOU ANYMORE.”
GOD SAID, “YOUR ANGEL WILL ALWAYS TALK TO YOU ABOUT ME AND WILL TEACH YOU THE WAY TO COME BACK TO ME, EVEN THOUGH I WILL ALWAYS BE NEXT TO YOU.”
 AT THAT MOMENT THERE WAS MUCH PEACE IN HEAVEN, BUT VOICES FROM EARTH COULD BE HEARD AND THE CHILD HURRIEDLY ASKED, “GOD, IF I AM TO LEAVE NOW, PLEASE TELL ME MY ANGELS NAME.”
 GOD SAID, YOU WILL SIMPLY CALL HER, “MOM.”

Angels indeed.   Enjoy your day Moms!

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved