Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fighting to Win ... a Lenten Pledge


Tonight on "Celebrity Apprentice," Donald Trump didn't get to utter his signature "You're fired!" Instead, Vincent Pastore (pictured, of "Sopranos" fame ... a show I never did see) stunned everyone by resigning.

Long story short, Piers Morgan (what a twit) was such a toxic individual that Mr. Pastore decided he would rather go home than continue to deal with the man's nonsense. So first Pastore tried a double-agent maneuver with the girls' team, which ended badly, then he simply resigned. (Trump seemed disappointed; I think he was itching to ditch the snarky Brit, as was everyone else on his team except the boxer, who must have taken one too many shots to the head.)

The one thing I took away from this show was a comment Pastore made shortly before he tendered his resignation. "I'm sixty years old. I want to see my kids grow up, and I don't want to risk getting a heart attack over this. This atmosphere isn't good for me, and I want to go home."

Everyone jumped on the guy as though being a "quitter" was the worst thing possible. But I kind of had to admire the guy. He knew when to say, "Enough." He knew who he was, knew he didn't have to prove anything to anyone ... and knew that he was caught in a no-win situation.

I kind of relate to that at times, don't you? Every day, we are given choices about how to spend our time and energy. Tonight, for example, I had a choice between finishing an article that was sent to me at the last minute ... or going through my son's flashcards with him, and read my daughter a story.

And this time, instead of sighing and putting up my computer and going through the motions (as I've done in the past when a deadline looms), I decided to take a moment and actually enjoy my children. I forget to do that sometimes, what with the carpooling and laundry and magazine and ... and ... and...

Instead, I noticed that when I applaud Christopher for getting his bed made perfectly, the kid lights up like Christmas. When I feel a headache coming on, and make an effort not to withdraw from the situation and continue to engage the kids ... they empathize. Sarah went and got an ice chip from the freezer and held it, dripping, against my forehead, and said, "Does this make it better, Mommy?" (How could I say no?)

Sure, I could have kept fighting to beat that deadline, but what would be the point?

There's a fight brewing on the schoolfront, too. Parent/Teacher conferences were this week, and we got the clear message that we need to do more on our end if our children are going to keep up with their classmates. This is a fight I'm not going to quit. If I don't step up, my kids are going to suffer.

And so ... tonight I told them (gulp) that we are giving up television for Lent. Yes, all forty days. With one caveat/incentive: They can earn points for each half-hour they spend reading books toward a weekly family "pizza party" -- including one video. Amazingly, Chris and Sarah thought this was a great idea! So after dinner we went through stacks of National Geographic magazines, to decide what subjects will be included in the six books they are going to get from the library this week. I tell them they can pick...

  • One to learn something about Our World (American history, culture, or people)

  • One to learn something about Another World (a foreign culture or place)

  • One to learn something about Science (biology, medicine, energy, etc.)

  • One to learn something about the faith (in addition to our nightly saint story)

  • One "free choice" (Yes, Christopher, even Pokemon, *sigh*, as long as it's a chapter book)

  • One "Mom's choice" (which means you still have to read good children's lit, too!)

And best of all ... I get to do the assignment, too!

At our last parent's conference, we found out that Christopher's reading scores have flatlined, and so we're hoping that this will be the incentive he needs to get back on track. At the very least, turning off the one-eyed monster will be a good discipline for me. My parents would probably be chagrined about this, but having grown up without television, I get kind of mezmerized at times. And so ... I'm telling you about our intention, not to brag about what a great parent I am (let's be serious). Rather, I figure I'm less likely to mess up if I have to tell the whole world what a wimp I am if I blow it.

So ... I'm counting on y'all to keep me honest. NO television for forty days!

Can she do it, folks? It's going to be hard, but I'm going to try ... just as soon as my Monday night lineup is over.

St. Jude, please pray for us!

3 comments:

Angie said...

I'm really impressed, and sending out prayers to you that you and your family will be strong and stay committed to the sacrifice you are making. Good for you!

THE MERRILL FAMILY said...

Heidi,

That is a wonderful idea! I have long struggled with the amount of TV that I watch, and tivo hasn't made it any easier. Now I'm noticing the same habits starting in my children. I think that I am going to take up your idea for our house too, but with a little more lenciency. Thanks for the idea! May it spark some true lifestyle changes!

Beckie M.

Sarah said...

You can do it, Heidi! (Now that I'm reading this on the THIRD SUNDAY and all...nothing like being a little behind...ah, well, I am trying to be more focused with my time too, and that means I'm going to be perpetually behind with blogging, and that's OK!)

I have thought about this too. For me, it's not ME watching that's the "problem." Bob maintains that it's not a problem with any of us. I don't know. I have noticed, though, that I can turn it off and Babs will just play and play and play...oh, if I'm there playing with her. So, many times, that boob tube is a way for ME to escape from HER. Well, golly, THAT'S not good! And it makes me think about JUST WHO has a problem...

In any event, GOOD FOR YOU! Lent is all about God's grace to accomplish great (read as: not easy) things.

Hugs to you, and many blessings,
Sarah