One of the most telling characteristics of our culture is how we collectively determine an individual’s standard of living. The concept of a “standard of living” is something like a high-jump bar by which we gauge the quality of our daily lives. Some people cannot clear the bar and we say they experience a “low standard of living.” Others clear the bar with considerable room to spare and we declare that they enjoy a comparatively “high standard of living.” Those who fall between these two sub-sets keep jumping, but never seem quite sure if they clear the bar or not.
Irrespective of how high we are able to jump, one thing is certain: our culture naturally defines standard of living in terms of economic prosperity. The bar by which we gauge standard of living is hoisted to its current height by prevailing economic conditions and expectations and then we orient ourselves toward attaining that height—and then some.
"In a piece in this month’s issue of The Cut, the author, Alex Morris, explores the idea of raising babies who are 'theybies': neither boy nor girl. As the "theybe" grows, the baby will determine his or her own gender, choose it when the baby wants, and then live that way — at which point, the parents will go along." W. Examiner
In spite of the fact that most of us enjoy a vast array of modern conveniences, it feels like we are busier than ever. Our lives are full or work and church and school and chores, all of which are important and necessary. Our kids are busy as well, attending school and Sunday School to receive academic and spiritual instruction, and most play sports or participate in other extra-curricular activities.
Over time, we may find ourselves delegating more and more parental responsibility to schools, churches, health care professionals, counselors, psychiatrists—and since we place quite a bit of faith in specialists and experts, we may forget just how much our children need us in their lives.
It’s tempting to imagine that if we just had more money, more convenience, more resources, and more time, we could do better as parents. To think we must meet our child’s physical need for food, clothing, and shelter, but to also meet their spiritual, emotional, mental, and intellectual needs—why not just admit we feel inadequate, and sometimes downright terrified!
Why is it that the most difficult thing to do at times is ask for help?
I think we know why. When we ask for help, it means we are vulnerable, admitting our weaknesses, and probably owning up to a mistake or two.
It doesn’t matter that we know everyone has weaknesses and makes mistakes. We don’t want to be the one in the passenger seat. Although pride is self-destructive, we want to maintain control and handle problems on our own. It’s OK if other people ask for help—as a matter of fact, we encourage people to reach out. But this is one area where we don’t practice what we preach.