Saturday, May 14, 2011

Playing with Fire

You can’t touch fire.  In fact, fire has the nasty habit of destroying anything too close to it.  The heroine of The Hunger Games series is Katniss, “The Girl On Fire”.  One comment I have frequently heard when comparing this series with the Twilight books is the strength of the lead character Katniss compared to the clingy, boy-focused Bella.  Katniss isn’t just stronger physically; her greatest asset seems to be her tough emotional shell.  Just like every other fictional heroine, Katniss’s life prepared her to face the challenges in this story.  So what is it about her life that has isolated Katniss into a young girl with commitment issues?

In the world of this story life is hard.  You have to scrounge for food to keep from starving.  Katniss’s father (who died in a mining accident before the story even begins) was a great hunter and he apparently lived long enough to pass a great deal of this on to Katniss.  Katniss loved her father.  They understood each other and were quite close.  Katniss is not particularly close to her mother (who is never named), and when her father dies the nameless mother slips into a depression so deep that Katniss must become her father and provide for the family.  The only emotional connections left to young Katniss are those between her and her sister, Prim, and to her hunting partner, the handsome Gale.  Katniss must be strong, not only because she has no one looking out for her, but because she is responsible for the lives of her mother and little sister. 

Katniss has a difficult time understanding why the adults in her world silence her complaints and observations about life under the rule of the Capital.  She appears to mistake the adult’s lack of hope (their silence) as blindness.  Her character is presented as being lonely in her discernment of the Capital and its oppression.  She can relax and speak her mind with her friend Gale, but she is also becoming aware of his attraction to her, a thing she is not exactly happy about.  Katniss does not express this sentiment until later in the story, but she seems to not want to fall in love because love leads to marriage…and children.  Katniss does not want to watch her own children go through the reaping or the Hunger Games.  Again, this isn’t explained until much later in the books; however, in the beginning Katniss is clear that she does not want or need a romantic relationship. 

Katniss does have an emotional weak spot; she is a sucker for someone who needs her protection.  The only characters Katniss forms any attachments to are all ones that rely on her to protect them like Prim and Rue.  It isn’t until Peeta actually needs Katniss’s help in the Games (up until then he had been protecting her) that Katniss’s character shows some stirrings of feelings for him.  She fights these feelings and is, of course, clueless as to what they mean to her.  In the last book Katniss overhears Gale’s brilliant observation to Peeta that Katniss will ultimately choose whichever of them needs her protection most.  She might be a hunter and ultimately capable of cold-blooded murder, but she loves to rescue the strays and runts of humanity. 

Katniss is untouchable.  She thinks she doesn’t need help from others so it takes her a while to notice when someone is helping her.  She is also bitter and broken by the end of the books.  She has won a battle she never wanted to fight for people she didn’t know or care about.  Everyone she did care for is either dead, far away, or as broken as her.  The author ends the books with the idea that the world will be better for Katniss’s unwilling sacrifices.

Next Friday: Why is being untouchable so attractive to our daughters?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hope this posts...

Blogger is (was?) having some issues today.  I'll get my post up soon.  Sorry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get A Date

As Christian moms we tend to reject the “me time” culture we see around us.  We are constantly on for our children, in fact, our world revolves around them.  You can be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, either way you can get caught up in the myth that our children come first.  We put our faith next, hubby third, and ourselves last.
Let us examine what this teaches our children. 
  • Children are a blessing or a burden (which one will depend on how your child perceives your attitude towards them).
  • Raising children is incredibly time consuming.
  • Your children are more important to you than your husband, their dad.
  • You are not a separate individual from your children.

The ultimate lesson that your children can walk away with is that intimate relationships like that of a husband and wife are not worth working on, or that they don’t require time and effort to maintain.  Your children might see intimate relationships as equal with more common, or if you will, shallower relationships like those between co-workers.

But there is another lesson your child might learn that probably hasn’t occurred to you yet.  It comes once they observe what happens to your marriage when all your children are grown and moved out.  Without the common bond of raising children, do you and your husband have anything left to talk about?  Do you know each other anymore?  Have you moved into separate worlds?  Has a marriage turned into roommate status, or worse, even fallen apart?

What if you make the commitment to put your marriage first, what lessons does that teach your children?  You make the effort to find a reliable and safe babysitter once a month while you go out on a date with your husband.  You teach your children to wait a moment until your husband finishes his story he was telling you even though it is so much easier to ask your husband to wait (he does have more patience).  If your children were to sneak out of bed (because that never happens) what would they learn if they saw you enjoying a glass of iced-tea on the front porch swing with your husband?

My hope is that in observing my husband and my efforts to strengthen our marriage that my children learn:
·         Intimate relationships take time and effort to maintain.  My children won’t be so quick to buy into the Hollywood myth of emotional love as true love.
·         While my children will know they are the apple of our eye, they won’t think the earth revolves around them and their immediate needs.
·         Raising children takes a lot of time, love, and laughter.
·         They can one day raise children and still be their own person.

Something else amazing…the Bible backs this up. 

“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children…” Titus 2:4 (husbands come first in this list)

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24  (The man and woman become one, there needs to be a connection and strong bond there)

“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.”  1 Corinthians 7:39a

“For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through is wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.  Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” 1 Corinthians 7:14 (the children are directly effected by the parents’ relationship)

Not to mention all the scripture that cites the husband as the head of the house, or scripture states that a husband’s body or a wife’s body is not their own but belongs to their spouse (not their children).
If you have experienced this topic in your own parenting/marriage, would you please leave a comment to share?  I think this is an important topic for moms to know.  Back me up, ladies!