Friday, July 15, 2011
I visited a friend who had just given birth to her second child and with only one week under her belt, she's already feeling like a cow and can't seem to see through the smog that is made up of cries of her baby number one, baby number two, cooking, cleaning and juggling to keep her own personal hygiene the best she can. After visiting this poor girl dizzied by her own hormones and tantrums, she texted me a message saying how happy she was I came to visit her and that she feels more herself after people visit her. This made me think that like for most moms, the day is made up of all that appeases and pacifies their children. Not because moms wake up and think to themselves "how can I make every whim and dream come true for my children today?" but because children are selfish and have primal needs that causes a stirring in the house that makes moms a bit nutty and in turn moms lose themselves to keep those primal needs met and the subdue the whines.
I would be proud if I became a mom just like my mom. In pictures, we were happy, she looked calm and she says that we never threw tantrums or whined for no reason. Rather than ascribing good parenting skills to my mom, maybe we were good kids? Whatever the case, my mom has been giving me passing tips about parenting and not letting your baby go into a panic stricken frenzy when they cry. She says, "babies cry, that's what they do." She also tells me various other things "in passing" I want to remember in moments of desperation so I don't pack a bag and leave those damn kids one day.
Things to remember:
1. Babies cry, that's what they do.
2. Babies cry when they're hungry, put them down and calmly fix their food. It helps them to learn how to wait.
3. Babies cry when they're sleepy, but them down and walk away...they'll give up soon or later.
4. Have a hobby.
5. Leave kids to their own devices to play, you don't have to entertain them all day long.
6. It's okay for them to be bored.
7. Have them run around in a field. All they need is some exercise.
Any other advice is welcomed...
Posted by Me. at 12:31 PM
Friday, July 8, 2011
While chatting with a pretty Navajo girl named Grace during dinner one night, we asked, "do you go to the Skate park often?" She tell us while picking at her food with her fork, "Sometimes....it's nice when you guys are all here and people just are there to have fun, but when you're not there, there are gangs that hang out there." It made me see that just our presence alone made a difference in the community. We've become a vigil of sort, looking after the well being of the community and bringing hope in the form of Jesus. When the team of 115 leave, it leaves a vacuum in the city and parents beg us not to go and the kids ask us when we'll be back. I have new eyes for Tuba City and the relationship formed between our two communities is a special one, a deep one. Although many have found deep connections and their hearts are desperate for the kids there, I felt a little bit disconnected and made me miss my KCC family.
Watching the others receive a flood of text messages from the kids even as we were just landing in Chicago from the flight home and facebook exploding with messages of "I miss you already," I don't necessarily feel left out, but only reminded of how it is when KCC is over with for the summer. It's funny the people that God puts on the hearts of certain people and not others, to love them for some odd reason or no reason at all. It's an unexplainable love that's not so unique to KCC, but everyone has a passion for a group of people and I don't feel we choose them for ourselves, but we are chosen for them. The way the Tuba City teachers relate to the Navajo/Hopi kids is eerily similar to the way the KCC family relate to one another. Sure there are differences, but the desperation for one another, the love, the care, the "I would do anything for them" passion is the same. Can't wait .... KCC 2011 is in 9 days...
(art work by Amanda Cass)
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Driving from Phoenix to Tuba City, we marveled at its great canyons, majestic mountains layered like Neapolitan ice cream with earthy colors, brown, white, red. Cactus, their desert flower, abundantly lines the high ways with their prickly arms waving hello to visitors and passer-byers. By the time Tuba city was at the horizon of our eyes, where there was a line drawn between Flagstaff (the bordering town) and the reservation, all living things stepped over the line favoring Flagstaff over Tuba City. The scenery seemed to change as quickly as a flip book, deteriorating before our eyes. Dry desert, deserted with homes with only panels leaned up against one another like a house of cards and looked as though they would fold with a blow of the wind.
Their struggles are eerily similar to the problems in the inner city ghettos, fatherless-ness, abuse, alcohol and drug abuse and a school system that fails them year after year. A blanket of depression swaddles the people and its not uncommon for the mental illness to drive them down the road of any vice that would release them from the darkness. It's hard to get out of the ghettos although everyone promises to or wants to, but they never do, they never can. Many young men and women dream of cities outside of their reservation, but too uneducated and scared to leave the comfort of their country to the foreign lands of the Anglos. When a young man or woman finally leave the reservation for college, they never return, causing a "Brain Drain" where the brightest and the most talented are skimmed off the top and only the hopeless remain.
Finding ourselves closer still, the people of the reservation are of Navajo and Hopi decent. The Navajo nation is largely made up of Navajo American Indians and there are three small sub nations within the Navajo Nation that is Hopi American Indians. The Hopi Nation is also self governing and independent from the United States and also the Navajo Nation. The two tribes are relatively peaceful and does not have any ancestral war waged against one another, although many of the tribes do have animosity against other tribes over generational conflict.
The people are beautiful, and by the looks of the one's I've encountered, some of them have found forgiveness toward the "Anglos," and have left the past to their fore fathers before them. Some do harbor bitterness and prejudice that's been left to them as legacy to carry on until they are willing and spread the hatred as far as it goes. The people are peaceful still, they talk with a steady quietness that is audible and rock steady, but there's a pool of grey water settled in their eyes and their souls relaxed and unhurried. It seems they don't plan anything, but goes with the whisper of the wind and speak out as their hearts have a thought, no secrets or hiding, who they are is who they are. It's the kind of confidence they have as a people given to them as entitlement for being Navajo, Hopi.
Those who have found Jesus are bright with hope, fearlessly visiting the prisons and homes to sing and proclaim the Truth to the caged and the down trodden. "I love the Lord" they say and it's the most honest thing I've ever heard anyone say in a long time.