I was in Toys 'R Us with Bria and Jack after taking them to the dentist. They were both a little worse for the wear, but I needed to get some legos while they were on sale for my nephew for Christmas. I decided to check out some video games because I saw a 50% off sign. The sale was only good if you bought some pretty graphic games. As I waited to ask, I heard a lady ask for a particular game. This is the conversation that follows.
"Is this a gift?"
"Yes, for my son."
"How old is he?
"I have to tell you this is a very mature game, did you notice the rating."
"I saw." At this point she is laughing nervously. "Look, I don't care about the violence. He already has Grand Theft Auto and this is what he wants for Christmas."
"I understand that. But did you know there is also nudity in this game?"
She looked surprised and shook her head. "The characters can purchase Playboy and look at it. Do you still want it."
Thankfully, she didn't buy it. The guy next to me just stood there shaking his head. All I could think is, we live in Memphis, a town known for violence and an extremely high crime rate. I guess I no longer need to wonder why.
In the past year I have been constantly surprised at the lack of character in people's decisions. Over Thanksgiving, I got to spend some time with my brother. I've avoided talking about his situation here and on Facebook because heaven forbid it be used against me or him. Plus, I absolutely hate it when people post vague descriptions of their family drama in the status updates, things that I shouldn't know anyway but now you're being so vague you want me to ask.
Anyway, my brother is going through a divorce. It's not that ugly. It's the before the divorce that shocks me.
My sister-in-law insisted that he buy a new house for them to get married because she just couldn't live in our home town. She insisted on brand new appliances including a washer and dryer. I honestly think that when she married Tye, she thought he would move to IL. If he did that, he would have lost his retirement. In hindsight, I'm sure there are two sides to every story. I know that living with Tye is no picnic, but some of the things she did makes me scratch my head. Here are a few examples.
- She took a job in another state when her marriage was clearly in trouble.
- When Tye had surgery on the Friday of a long holiday weekend, no only did she not take off work to come on that Friday, she didn't come home on that long weekend at all. (This should have possibly clued Tye in a bit.)
- She called him on the phone when he was at a conference to let him know she wanted a divorce and finally came to town to get a few things while he was 800 miles away.
- She is living with her a mother, owns a home that Tye bought appliances for and is being rented out. Still, she took the new washer and dryer, almost all of the furniture, every last bit of silverware...you get the picture. He came home opened a can of chili and would have to eat it out of the can with his fingers.
Most all of this happened over the course of Ray and I being in China. Tye was recovering from his surgery so he showed up to help Mom with the girls for a little while. We went to China thinking Julie would be at the airport when we got home. We came home hoping that she wouldn't be or after that long flight I might have acted a little less than Christian.
Here's the thing. Julie is a sweet girl. Arleigh, Hanan and Bria love her and being around her. I can't fathom who would be encouraging her to make the decisions that she is making other than the fact that she wanted a wedding and never really wanted to be married. This is no junior high. You took a vow before God, do overs shouldn't come so easily.
While we were home, Ray and I took a very brief drive to look at some land. It's also a good time to talk. I am constantly shocked at home some children behave. Now that we have a boy who is around other boys, I'm a little concerned. When does rough housing go too far? Recently I was wondering if some parents were waiting for blood or broken ribs to call it off. How do I teach Jack to have a kind and gentle heart when his friends are pummeling him and I want to teach him to fight back?
Then there is the entitlement, greed and materialism factor that seems to be hovering over my head. If I struggle with it, how do I help the kids? How do I help them do anything good when moms are buying things like Grand Theft Auto for their kids and my kids have to socialize with them? I can't leave it to the church to teach them... so what do you do?
Sorry for the rant. Clearly it's been weighing on me for a while.