Giving Up PotentialĀ 

Hello readers! I have been blogging slump this summer. I have learned that going to class fuels my creativity and blogging concepts. Today, I have an idea to write about and I’m excited to write something with ‘meat’ (well, not meat of course, I’m a vegetarian.)

I spend many hours with children whether I am babysitting, teaching, or simply being a friend. A few short days ago I was volunteering in my synagogues nursery with a friend. As we were watching the children my fellow worker started a depressing conversation about college, ACT scores, school options, and career choices. Out of curiosity, I asked the kids what they are going to be when they grow up.

“I’m going to be a vet!” said one child. Keeping the conversation going I asked if they had ever visited the vet when their parents took their pets to receive their shots. “We don’t have any pets; I’ve never been to the vet.”

I asked another child what their plans are when they grow up. 

“I’m going to be a teacher.” I wasn’t sure how old this child was and I asked if they have gone to school yet. “No, I haven’t gone to school yet.”

Next I told the group of kids the classic line, “You can be anything that you want to be.” The children were playing and I’m not sure if they even listened to me. 

When I am with children I want to be encouraging. I want them to believe that they can accomplish whatever they want in life. I want them to know that they have the power to make an impact in the world. In fact, I want everyone to believe that – at any age.

It was just probably the community that I grew up in, but my parents never told me that I couldn’t choose a certain career field. I believed that I could make a change in the world. As a child I would answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” by saying. “I’m going to go to Wichita State University and become an engineer and make airplanes.” Or, “I’m going to be — in the entertainment industry.” Those are two opposite career fields, but my parents encouraged me in both desires. My summers would include going to science and theater camp. I was only slightly  talented on the performing side of things, but I also loved science. Once I asked my parents if I could take apart the television set just to see what’s inside, then try to put it back together. 

When I was homeschooled, I was constantly around youth who had the desire and capabilities to make a mark on the world. I was around 4-H kids and we did service projects together, and they would talk about how they are taking their projects to serve their community. Most of my homeschool friends had parents who made sure that their children used their academic abilities to better the world and have a nice list of accomplishments for college applications. This was normal. My peers were impacting the world in a positive way, there wasn’t a reason that I couldn’t. 

When I went to school the year before high school I had many culture shocks. I think the biggest one was that Kansas actually has countryside. The second one was that I was around students with the capability of more academic success, and parents with more financial resources than I will ever have, but my peers didn’t have the desire to change the world or the confidence to try. I never figured it out. Granted, there were a few who worked to their potential in and outside of the classroom, who pushed themselves to the limits and had success, maybe not worldly success in the way one is when they are involved in their comunity. That was not the, “norm” however. 

To this day, I don’t understand it. Earlier this week I embarrassingly found myself in a cyber argument in a private facebook message group. We were talking about politics and these beautiful and greatly talented girls wished that the government was in a different state. I suggested that we take a road trip to Topeka and talk to those who are representing us on government issues. Long story short, these girls were not up for a road trip; they comunicated that they didn’t feel that they could make actual change in the government now. 

I am seeing that this type of thinking is entirely too common. Not just from youth but all ages. I especially think that in the Christian community we, in a way, tend to hide from the worlds problems. We say, “The world just needs Jesus! I can’t change anything.” But my question is, “Who’s going to show them Jesus?” We can pray for the world. It needs prayer, but it also needs action from Christians. We take Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed by the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and use it as a way to avoid what’s going on in the world. I mean, if we just stay in our perfect Christian circles that sets us apart right? My Jesus was set apart from the world, but my Jesus hung out with outcasts, helped others, and made sacrifices – even the ultimate one. He didn’t just sit around waiting for his Father to change the world, He went out and did it. 

Don’t misunderstand me. The world needs prayer, but it also needs action. But the thing is, I probably know more non-religious individuals who are willing to and physically go and serve those in need than Christians. We pray for the world to drastically change, to know You, but if we just sit back and physically don’t go out and at least try to make a difference in the world…what will happen?

I think that the first part of making a change in the world is first believing that you can do so.

I’ve probably sat through too many keynote speakers at 4-H camp and conferences, but I won’t let someone else determine if I can change something or not. I won’t let doubts or insecurities about my age or circumstances play a role in it. I think the reason most of my peers at school didn’t seem to want to make the effort to change the world was because they never were told that they could at a young age or have been around those who tried. 

A couple of weeks ago I witnessed something special at synagogue. My congregation is growing and it’s a blessing. The hoopah that was almost empty at one time is full – filled with children and several expecting mothers. We are running out of room in the building that we are meeting in. One evening after service several children were busybees. They had paper and crayons and that’s all they needed because they were making notes that said, “You are so loved.” They delivered  these notes away in a way that was as special as they are. They wrote the notes and but them on people’s seats, on top of Bibles and tenachs. These kids didn’t know who they were blessing, and I don’t know if they knew that. These children were not of a bar/bat mitvah age, not even close, but even in their young age they have started to change the world. 

“The most common way people give up their power is thinking that they don’t have any.” ~ Alice Walker 

How To Talk About Difficult ThingsĀ 

Shabbat Shalom! I have not kept up with this blog as I should be! To be completely honest over the year that I have been writing I have recieved feedback thats not always so nice and I’m the kind of person that the when I read these messages it tears me down for awhile. 

I have spent the past couple of days writing a post about abortion but have decided not to post because I know for a fact that would have made some readers angry. So tonight I’m going to keep things short and sweet. 

At synagogue tonight I had to deal with an uncomfortable situation. I’m not going to go into detail but I sought out advice from a  few trusted friends. One of my friends had much advice for me — my Puerto Rican friend to be more specific. He is loud and fun. My advice from Mr. Guio about how to conquer my specific situation (and this may work for any hard situation): when you have to talk to someone about something that has the potential to be akward, keep the conversation light-hearted, and start doing the robot dance if you didn’t communicate properly – they will think you are weird and probably go away. 

So readers, here’s my Lama-Leah wisdom for you today. Love you all!

Rep-YOU-Tation

One word controls many of us. It is socially powerful. It drives us to do acts that we either want to do or do not want to do. It is in our deepest thoughts. What could this word possibly be? Reputation 

Going through a private Christian high school students are told from the first day from the superintendent, “Remember who you represent. You represent this school, you represent your family, you represent yourself, and most importantly you represent G-d.” Anyone who has gone to this school could probably quote this to you. Before going to any big school sporting event we were reminded of this. I know that private schools are not the only ones who do this. I would guess that from one time or another all parents remind their children of this. 

Our deepest desire is to be accepted by others. We do crazy things to at least feel accepted, loved by at least something, and be a part of some kind of community. In my own journey of trying to find myself, I have tried to change who I am in hopes of fitting in in social situations (being a dyslexic, vegetarian with blonde hair and blue eyes but goes to a Messianic Jewish synagogue leaves a lot of time room to question where I really belong in this world).I have struggled and will continue to struggle. 

Well, the truth about humanity is that everyone of us desire the same fundamental things, and even though the majority of us act tough we are ultimately insecure. 

You see in a perfect world we would use these insecurities, doubts, worries, etc. to empower us, but too often that doesn’t happen. These concerns can turn us instead to be harsh, hurtful, and hateful. I personally believe if we were all just brutally honest about our fears, we may be more kind to each other and more forgiving and understanding towards each other. Really, how often are we actually honest about our struggles? 

Out of curiosity I searched on the internet “Christians are” and waited to see  what the computer thought I was going to type after this. What came up after was sad but not surprising:

“Christians are mean.

“Christians are annoying.

“Christians are wrong.

“Christians are delusional.

What kind of reputation are Christians setting for themselves? It seems to be that we constantly trying to cover up the fact that we are letting  our insecurities and baggage turn us into being anything but Christ-like. 

If Christians are willing to  go through sometimes extreme lengths to have a perfect reputation then why are we so unpleasant? Unfortunately, Christians are more often remembered by our negative actions than our postive ones. I don’t think that this happens for just Christianity, but every religion, well, in fact, mankind in general. 

In conclusion, once a reputation is made it’s difficult to change it. What would happen if we embrace our insecurities and let them empower us instead of tearing us and others down. Let’s start acting real and be accepting of ourselves and others.

Just few thoughts for you. Be blessed!