What is normal anymore? I question this every day. I am not sure I know the answer to this pressing question. It seems like each time I roll out of bed that we are faced with new stressors and challenges.
I think that part of the problem started when we began to blur the lines of normal. By normal, I mean socially acceptable behaviors in our society. I remember thinking this quietly when I was raising my boys. I was one of the only people who chose to stay home in my neighborhood. We lived in Minneapolis, the area we grew up in, and I was one of a very few who was around during the day. Many of those around us chose or needed to work. We sacrificed a great deal by me staying home, but we cut corners and gained much more than we lost.
I remember that when I would encounter parents with small children, many of them would micromanage them even as small children. They would intervene instead of letting them socially maneuver. They would hover and participate in play. They would go to great lengths to entertain their children. It would baffle me. It went against all of my instincts in parenting. I was a minority for letting my children fall, bringing a book to the park while letting them play, and telling them it was not my job to be their entertainment committee. I had a very narrow group of parents that shared my instincts. It was where I first saw it happen.
When my kids became school aged, I saw a similar story. Parents interested in every detail. They hovered and over protected. They made sure to remove obstacles of discomfort and discipline. They made excuses and passed this on to their children. I found it difficult to find connections among these people. It was hard to remain on the outside of the circle. It was important to not compromise my values to do so. I chose to remain often on the outside. In the end I am settled with my decision. I am confident I made the right choice.
When my boys played sports, this is where I saw it really in action. Parents became agents for their children. They navigated all that their child was involved in. They took away real competition and winning. They micromanaged every little detail, and convinced their kids that anyone can be great at anything. I wholeheartedly disagree with this. It is our job to provide them opportunities and foster those where they succeed. If we tell them everyone is good at the same things, we are lying to them. We set them up for ultimate failure. It is our job to encourage their talents. The fact of the matter is that these are unique to each individual. Everyone is not good at everything.
We have allowed our children to be exposed to the evil in our society. I am guilty of this myself. I gave them phones at too young of an age. It opened a world for them it should not have. It robbed them of innocence. I regret this decision. I should have made a different choice.
We started to accept things as normal a long time back. We saw things on television that we questioned but allowed. We accepted rudeness and bad behavior. Once we saw something, it became less shocking in nature. This is indoctrination at the fundamental level. Now it is just blatant. It is pervasive in all that is presented to us. I will not accept this as our new normal. I will push back at what is happening around us even though it takes far more energy to do so.
We have taught our children to do this. This has proven to have mixed results over time. Now more than ever we have stressed its importance. We have told them that it is important to speak up for what is right. We have told them the reality that this is often lonely. We have assured them that God expects this of us and is always by our side.
In this strange new reality we are faced with we will continue to question what is being asked of us. We will make sure that our decisions are made with morality and our core values in mind.
We hope and pray that the “new normal” does not take hold with the masses. We see the damage and divide it is creating. We see the lack of God in our society and pray for His return to the hearts of those who have lost Him.
In this, our family will continue to strive to maintain our normal as much as we can. Normal is what we strive for in this chaos we have allowed to take over. Now is the time to take it back.