I hate having smirky kids.
Oh, it’s not that they have bad attitudes (most of the time), they’re just smirky and confident. They got it from me but it doesn’t help when they’re using my tricks against me.
Obviously something happened that made me think this and here’s the story:
We started up our small groups for Venue across the City this week and have an assortment of topics and people, backgrounds and families that come and do life together. There’s something beautiful that happens when worlds collide.
I had a rare brilliant idea that had more to do with a desire to develop leadership in my older daughters who are fourteen and sixteen and suggested they start a Venue Kids Group on Wednesdays at the same time as our group meets upstairs at our home.
Was it a huge success? Yes. Was this a problem? Yes, because my girls let me know it was a huge success.
Arwen walked upstairs after everything was cleaned up and said “Hey Dad! So… how many people were in YOUR small group? We had twenty five:)”
See what I mean about smug?
I mumbled around a little about how having a dozen people upstairs is a decent sized group while she looked on and nodded in feigned sympathy until I finally said “Fine! Your group was bigger than ours! Happy?”
(“Yeah well, twenty five isn’t technically a small group anymore Arwen! And maybe you have a basement of your own that you paid for with your own money to have them in?? Oh, and this was all my idea in the first place!!”)
… is what I should have said.
Our worlds collided and I lost a competition because I taught them how to beat me, and how to do it with a smile.
I know it’s not super spiritual to compete over who has more people in their small group but I legitimize it by saying things like “People matter” and “Every number is a person”, which is totally true!
But it got me thinking of how other worlds collide.
When Erin and I met each other we had no idea what a rollercoaster ride we were in for. I came from a sarcastic, hard working family that was high “boy” factor, where emotions were something you felt when you had time and wanted to be sad (which I didn’t), and Erin came from a family consisting of her mother and sister that was waaaay different even down to how they made decisions.
Erin used to ask for my advice about things and then argue against it. I remember wondering “Why did she ask me what to do if she already wanted to do the other thing?”
Decisions in our home were never made emotionally, and an emotional conflict was rare, where everyone had to apologize for whatever they messed up and walking around feeling sad or hurt wasn’t really allowed.
I still remember my dad saying “Be happy!”, which to a person who is more emotional sounds like “Don’t be honest about how you’re feeling right now”. In my very logical (I think) brain it always made a sort of sense. Being miserable wasn’t super fun so … I guess I’ll “Be happy!”
Now that I have four daughters I realized that the world is a complicated place and most of us have no idea what we’re actually feeling or doing and lack the necessary input or desire to even change it.
That’s just one area of my relationships. Then there’s work, then there’s church, then there’s soccer, then there’s….
So many worlds colliding. So many masks to wear. This person wants me to be this, and that person wants me to be that. It’s easier to try to live in a bunch of worlds because to combine them means conflict with people.
But luckily I never grew up thinking conflict was a bad thing. It was just a thing that happened when travelling the same roads with people you loved because they were different than you. When it was over everybody learned from it and got better at loving each other, of course there was the oil in the machine called admitting wrong and asking for forgiveness and help, but it sure kept pride on the down low.
In every family there are different types of people that still travel the same direction together and make it work. In the Kope home it worked because whatever mask you had to wear to survive out there was simply not allowed at home. In fact, wearing masks to survive at all was considered dishonest.
I’m not sure what you think about church, but I think the churches in our City are a great place to come together and be who we really are when we’re not all glammed up. It takes so much energy to figure out what mask to wear around who, that I decided when I was young that I’d rather spend my time making my real face attractive than making a good looking mask.
It just hurts a little more.
And then I have to grudgingly admit defeat when my own girls are smirky. Whatever. They earned it:)