Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis once said “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”
I can’t seem to get this quote out of my head. I started writing this post three days ago and every time I begin to write I come to a place of what some call writer’s block, or maybe it is because I am forced to accept the above quote as truth in regards to parenting my son Aaron. Maybe the above quote resonates in my mind so strong and I ask myself does anything really matter anymore since losing Aaron? As a mom did I bungle parenting up? Over the last few days I have attempted to revamp my website here and throughout my social media sites, and when asked to do a summary about myself or add an accomplishment or an award; again the above quote comes to the forefront of my mind and pierces my heart. I really want to copy and paste this quote everywhere in my profiles, along with the words “none worth mentioning.” I didn’t of course, because that would be unprofessional right? For me the awards do not matter, my professional accomplishments and education do not matter, all the professional and spiritual training I have received over the years cannot bring my son back, it could not save him from experimenting and liking the influence that drugs allowed him to feel. I could not influence Aaron to turn away from those things, thoughts, or individuals who suffered him harm. Today from my perspective after losing one of the most important accomplishments I ever earned and privilege to be a part of, birthing Aaron Matthew, I can say the professional accomplishments & materialistic awards, well they don’t matter much.
Recently I was asked and given the privilege to speak to a room full of teenagers who had gathered for a youth group bible study and my initial thought was no, I am not ready, making excuses. But then I realized if I don’t talk with them who will? It was my first public speaking since Aaron’s death. I began to think about how I would talk to these kids, how can I use my loss for their gain? Some of the kids I knew and many I didn’t, but what I did know is they were someone’s kid, they were America’s future leaders and that alone made them my responsibility to share in a short time about the importance of making good wholesome life choices. As I was introduced and made my way to the front of the room to stand before our future leaders, I looked around and recognized their potential, the influence each one of them had to offer out in the world. The question remains what type of influence will one choose to become to others and how hard will one work to reveal the potential hidden within? I began by thanking them for coming this night, of course they didn’t know I would be speaking. I explained to them without them even realizing they already had made a good choice and had unknowingly began strengthening their own faith walk by showing up instead of choosing to drive around town like many do and like we adults use to do looking for other alternatives. I briefed them lightly on my choice at age seventeen of believing in FAITH, and how after 27 plus years of choosing to believe in my faith through past experiences as a teen and young adult, it was my faith that had not been altered by the death of my son. My life has, but not my faith, my faith I never questioned. I shared with this young group of future leaders after learning that Aaron was dead while riding in the car to get to him, ( I couldn’t drive, I was to broken, and in shock.) I told GOD on the way there through my tears, “I am not going to ask why, but I will tell you, you must give the strength to get me through this.” I explained to them that yes I do talk to my heavenly father and that in the twenty seven plus years in this relationship I chose to forge with him, (the longest, successful relationship I have ever had) I have only heard his voice twice in my lifetime. That my friends, is living by faith since we have become a “need it now” society. I explained that with the death of Aaron, my faith has been tested. I explained contrary to what others may believe or think, bad things do happen to good people and because one chooses to live by faith it does not give you an exemption from being tested and tried and privy from loss. I explained there are two myths about choosing to live by faith. The first myth is many believe choosing to live by faith is impossible because you can never be perfect, and in order to live by faith it means you’re perfect. Many Christians and leaders are called hypocrites because society believes a Christian’s faith is to be flawless. (Our kids today are under so much stress and turmoil of believing they must be perfect in every aspect of their life. It is true in the homes, we parents want them to be the best, dress the best, perform the best, act the best, in society and in school.) Our kids believe they have to be the best in order to be successful and when they mess up it is proving to have a detrimental effect on them and society. I explained to the group of teenagers that the word perfect in the bible only one time means exactly what the dictionary definition reads… flawless, without blemish, perfection, and this is where in the bible it describes Jesus. Everywhere else throughout the bible when it talks about being perfect, when researched in Hebrew and Greek Dictionary, the word perfect simply means: to mature. Every human being comes to place of maturity… and our youth must be told and come to have an understanding that responsibility comes with each level of maturity. When our kids understand they don’t have to perform perfect as the Webster’s Dictionary defines, you will find our kids may begin to perform better and come into their full potential and become a positive influence on another as to feeling helpless and being a negative influence. The second myth is, many say and believe it is humanly impossible to live by the ten commandments. ( I can’t be sure if some of the kids even knew what I was talking about when I mentioned the ten commandments) but I went on to explain that if one can learn and live by the first two… the other eight are not so difficult to implement in their life. The first one is To Love The Lord Thy God with all your heart, mind and soul and the second one is To Love your neighbor as yourself. In simple terms… it is about learning to love without placing expectations upon love then choosing to limit it, acting as if we have a patent right on love when one doesn’t meet those expectations we placed upon them, and last respecting others.
I hear so many kids and young adults say they are lonely, lost, bored, frustrated and they feel they can do nothing right. I can see why. We have become a nation of complacency and turmoil. We are becoming a society with no sense of accountability, no work ethic, even within our highest ranking official leadership in both parties. What once use to be considered right is now the wrong and what once was wrong is now the right or is being considered the norm. I am of the opinion this is why we have the mess in Washington and every Constitutional Right is being attacked and rewritten because wrong is now the right. I am not here today to place blame, but state the obvious, and share from my own heart and experiences. I consider myself a leader and so I accept full responsibility for how I chose to parent and looking back I see many things I could have done differently, approached situations differently. I find I am here writing from the part of me struggling at times to keep it all together from the memories when the boys would snuggle on the sofa with me in their toddler years to watch Steve Irwin as the Crocodile Hunter to traveling to the soccer tournaments in their elementary and Jr. High years to the many challenges of them growing into adulthood. I write here today from sadness that Aaron is no longer physically with us, and from a perseverance as I continue to see Adam mature into the responsible man and leader that he is for us. As I am convinced any future accomplishments I may succeed with in my personal life will not matter much, I am just as convinced our children of all ages from all walks of life and our young adults, it is their lives, their accomplishments, success and future that truly matters. In order for them to become successful our kids deserve to have the original constitutional principles and foundational tools offered to them and taught to them by parents and leaders alike, just like I and my generation growing up was given. We had the opportunity and choice to build from these essential tools taught to us in school and home. It is time for the Ten Commandments to be returned to our schools and offered for display in and around our national and public facilities. From experience, I know I am not perfect, and I thank GOD daily I don’t have to be for him to continue to love me for who I am, for whatever mood he finds me in, or if I have been up all night because I am restless and troubled. Whether in my good days, in my bad days, my faith has been the one thing to sustain me. I made a choice long ago to trust in my FAITH (Hebrews 11 KJV) and I am certain it is the only accomplishment that ultimately will matter for me when I to shall leave this earth and stand before the Author of Life. Our kids deserve the same opportunity to learn, and to know and to have the right to make a choice to build their future on. I can still remember the era when the Ten Commandments were removed from the schools and public facilities and here we are thirty plus years later we argue and wonder why are kids have no sense of direction, why are cities and towns are full of drugs and corruption. Our kids are longing, desiring and looking for faith, hope and trust. If we cannot give it to them the enemy will lead them into his lair with something false that resembles faith, hope trust and unconditional love and once he has them, we are entering into a spiritual era of a battle where it is near impossible to retrieve them back without loss of physical life at a very young age.
“Without faith, hope and trust, there is no promise for the future, and without a promising future, life has no direction, no meaning and no justification.”
I have written about it before. When we take away our kids right to a healthy fear and respect for authority that the Ten Commandments offer, we have taken away their ability to fully thrive into full potential of their being. We rob them of learning to trust and use their own intuition and instincts to warn them of dangerous influences that are becoming more alarming with each day we choose to do nothing. I don’t claim to have all the answers, I just know there is only one answer that keeps me standing even when I have days I physically do not want to and that is the faith, hope and trust I have chosen to place in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I learned about him unknowingly as a kid due to the Ten Commandments that were instilled within me from public school teachers, leaders, family and when I matured into a young adult, all the learning and cultivating and seeds planted that had been done throughout my younger years from others, GOD one night watered and called me by name bringing me to this one defining moment and question in life. Will I trust him even after losing my son?
Tested, tried, pruned and broken… I still write, I will still stand and declare Jesus is the Lion Of Judah and yes, I do trust him.
2013 Data Detailing Drug-Induced Deaths, Breaking Out Specific Data for Prescription Analgesics and Heroin, as Reported by the CDC4 -Drug overdose total- 43,982, prescription analgesics overdoses- 16,235, Heroin overdoses- 6,235
Thanks for reading.
Matthew 22:14 ~ Many are called, but few are chosen.