December 25, 2009
Planting the SeedsBy Lauri B. Regan
The holidays are likely the busiest time of the year for many people -- and the most stressful. With work deadlines that must be completed by year's end, shopping for our loved ones, remembering the important people who regularly touch our lives, helping our kids study for midterms, and entertaining family and friends, it is no wonder that so many people turn into Ebenezer Scrooge by mid-December.
While I become one of those mothers who verges on the edge of a nervous breakdown as I frantically contend with balancing my work and familial obligations, I force myself to take a step back every holiday season and thank God for the blessings bestowed upon me.
This year is no different. However, this year -- this awful year in which we have watched the country decline in stature -- I continue to thank God for the blessings of my healthy family, my and my husband's continued employment, the soldiers on the front lines risking their lives in the war on terror, and the goodness of Americans who I know will help bring us out of this morose state and into a new era of prosperity.
This past year in our country's history will no doubt go down as one of historical proportions. It was the year in which guilt and power overcame common sense and decency, idealism defeated realism, and martyrdom conquered heroism. It was the year of Barack Obama and liberal elitism, the year of Americans coming to terms with their past and recognizing the fragility of their future, and the year of awakening for those who had grown complacent and content.
Democrats preach from the pulpit, producing nothing but hot air (did we really need the EPA to tell us that their garbage was a dangerous pollutant?) -- lecturing on charity, God's will, and our responsibilities as Americans. Republicans, on the other hand, take action based on their religious values, moral responsibilities, and common sense. The year 2009 boasted a lot of empty rhetoric promising hope and change. 2010 will be the year of acting rationally, taking back America, and relying on family values to triumph over liberal nonsense.
My husband and I have always operated on the premise that actions speak louder than words. Every Christmas season, we dedicate a portion of our time to making the season a memorable one for those less fortunate. When my children were young, we bought presents and took them to sick children in local hospitals and foster and orphaned children in local homes.
Several years ago, we began to travel to third-world countries for the holidays, and on each Christmas Day that we have spent abroad, we have ensured that those who would not otherwise be able to enjoy Christmas experience a memorable holiday.
Christmas Days for my children involve traveling in long car rides across desolate dirt roads, moving from village to village and handing out dolls, toy trucks, soccer balls, and t-shirts. They help old ladies with no teeth cook chicken and village men barbecue sausage, and they serve Christmas cakes, soda, and hot chocolate to people with whom they are unable to verbally communicate. But words are not necessary as the strangers hug them with tears in their eyes, saying "Dios los bendiga" -- God bless you.
And while my children inevitably wind up enjoying kicking a soccer ball with a shoeless boy or taking a walk with a strange girl to see the roofless shack that she shares with guinea pigs running around (and that will serve as her dinner in the coming days), the trip always begins with:
"We do this every year. Why do we have to do it again?"
"It's not fair that we have to spend our vacation doing this."
But this year is different...because my husband and I planted the seeds. This year is different because the movie The Blind Side provides a real-life example of the values that we have worked hard to instill in our kids.
When my fourteen-year-old son arrived home from the movie, we went to the computer to read about Michael Oher and the Tuohy family. One of the YouTube clips we watched was an interview with Quinton Aaron, the actor who played Michael Oher in the movie. The interviewer told Aaron that she heard that Oher asked his mother, "This is going to change people, isn't it?"
Aaron responded that he hoped the movie would change people for the better and that the movie would "inspire a lot of our youth today ... That you don't have to walk around like 'woe is me.'"
At that point, I turned to my son and asked him, "Do you understand why we do what we do now?" And with that, my difficult, antagonistic teenage son looked at me, smiled, and said, "Yes." With tears in my eyes, I hugged him, and we went on watching video clips of Oher being drafted for the Ravens and being interviewed about the wonderful family that adopted him.
Larrey Anderson wrote an article last year in response to Eric Holder's racism comments. Larrey described the beautiful life that he shared with his adopted son -- a special little black boy who, like Michael Oher, grew up to play college football. How many Americans have risen above issues of skin color and political correctness to follow the goodness in their hearts without being told to do so by their government?
When I listen to the rabbi at my former synagogue lecture from the pulpit that universal health care is God's commandment, when I watch Barack Obama read from his teleprompter that we have a moral duty to share the wealth, and when I watch the hypocritical Democrats travel on private jets, funnel taxpayer money into pet projects, and entertain with lavish parties as they ignore the wishes of hardworking Americans, I have to wonder what it is that they all are doing this holiday season.
While Michelle Obama loves to brag about her organic vegetable garden, what seeds is she planting in her children? Is it the "woe is me" referred to by Quinton Aaron that we continually hear her espouse, notwithstanding her Parisian shopping trips and Kobe beef dinners? Or is she planting the seeds that will result in her children choosing to perform charitable deeds because it makes them feel good inside? All I have heard this year emanating from this White House is "Bah, humbug," so I sadly am not expecting much in the way of growth from its residents. But I am glad to know that there are people like Larrey Anderson, the Tuohys, and countless others who have sown the seeds in their own homes.