How My Kids Drive Me Crazy While Keeping Me Sane and a Rare Political Rant

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“Wow!” exclaimed my teenage son, “I’m surprised to hear you speak intelligently about politics.”

I finished pouring my morning coffee, trying to determine if that was a compliment.

I knew what he meant, but I couldn’t help but give him a hard time about his particular choice of words. It was surprising to him to hear me speak about politics at all–particularly when I brought up some specific points that were on my mind.

I usually avoid talking about politics because I hate the way it brings out the claws, fangs and venom that people normally keep to themselves. Personally, I think it’s a waste of energy to get worried or upset about things over which you have no control. Do your duty, vote, but don’t waste a good emotion like hatred on other people’s opinions. I mean, if you used that same energy to do good works, the world would be a better place.

Which brings me to the really important issue–our house. Yes, politics affects us all, and we need to be responsible, but I’m not going to spend time tweeting on election night when the kitchen smells like birthday cake and I have presents to wrap.

My darling Libby turned 9, and there’s not a politician on earth who can steal her thunder on this day. Her voice quavered this morning, as she said ‘thank you,’ merely upon the sight of her few presents and cake.

We are downsizing here, and so I was concerned that what she did receive wouldn’t be ‘enough;’ basically that it wouldn’t be up to the standards of birthdays past. But I should’ve known better. A birthday is special because of the love that goes into it, not because of the gifts.

Libby proved this today.

Libby is the self-proclaimed “Mama-whisperer,” because she has a knack for making me feel better when I’m out of whack. The kids send her in, like a diplomat or a bomb expert, when they sense (usually from the pitch in my voice) that I’m getting ready to explode.

No kid is perfect, but my kids are each pretty great in their own unique ways. They drive me crazy at times (like William challenging me to write a novel this month, which I naturally accepted), but I can’t imagine my world without them. They keep me motivated, keep me grounded, and keep me focused on the things that are really important in life, which, and I’m sorry if this offends you, does not include politics.

I am all about helping the poor, and I feel strongly that everyone should have easy access to affordable and competent medical care. I also feel that our political system in America is off. Why are there only two parties when in other countries there are many? I mean, this election yesterday was a race between two Harvard Law School grads–since when does the general public trust lawyers?

I have a lot of friends, and many of them would be on opposite sides of any given rally.

And here is what I, standing somewhere in the middle, would say to you: use your energy, your emotion, your resources to cultivate love and compassion in your own homes first, and then use it to reach out to those less fortunate.

Don’t worry about what the government does or does not do, but start with peace in your own home.

Pray for our leaders that they will make wise choices, and don’t speculate about what “might happen,” because you soon find yourself wasting the precious here and now worrying about the future.

And with all sincerity, define in your own mind what you think is “best” for America. If your definition of “best” includes a yacht while the widow next door can’t afford medical insurance, something is wrong. If your definition of “best” means you can buy more gadgets than your neighbors, then please, rethink your life. There are greater rewards than posting shallow phrases, which do not often represent your real life, via iThingies.

‘Friend’ real people, if possible, and if you live thousands of miles away (like some of us) use technology to bring you closer to people, not to alienate them.

We sponsor four children in Kenya, and their letters sometimes break my heart because of their love and sincerity. There is a teacher strike, currently, in Kenya, so these kids, whose prospects are already limited, are outright handicapped by this strike. How can I worry about what this or that candidate might do when Magdalene, who worked so hard to move from 26th to first in her class, no longer has a teacher? 

My hope was never, and I pray WILL never be in a politician.

God appoints the rulers of this world, and there is good reason for it. Trust in that.

Because if your trust is in any single person, you will be disappointed.

That is my rant–and that is as political as I get.

For now, I have a pink, sparkly cake to nibble and a birthday girl to hug. 

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