Subduing the Hulk

I was a big fan of Mr. Rogers as I was growing up, so I was excited for my kids to watch the spin off called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, it is about the family of Daniel Tiger-the puppet from the the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to which Mr. Rogers always referred.  In each episode, Daniel Tiger learns a life lesson set to a catchy tune. Today’s was about empathy (you have to sing this)-“Think about how someone else is feeling.”  I thought to myself, “That’s good word Daniel Tiger’s mom.  Adults need reminded of that too from time to time.”  Put that together with another of my favorites (remember to sing it)-“When you feel so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath. . .and count to four,” it makes a powerful statement about handling conflicts.

It’s hard to keep our cool when we feel that we or another member of our family is having our character and integrity attacked; for instance if we feel that we are either directly or indirectly being called a liar.  Sometimes counting to four just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes we need to sleep on it before responding to a text or email that we find aggressive.  Sometimes it helps to tell someone who is wise and mature and has similar moral integrity what we are thinking of typing before we send it.  If we are talking face to face, we can talk slowly and pray between sentences; and of course, there is always walking away.

We can’t let pride get in the way. Our natural inclination can be to respond in kind, with what we think is a better insult.  After all, we don’t want to let someone walk all over us or treat us badly.  We want to win the battle. However, no one wins in a situation like that. We are called to “be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26) and to be “blameless” (Ephesians 1:4, Genesis 6:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, etc.).  That can be super hard.  Sometimes I feel like Bruce Banner trying to subdue the Hulk. I have to admit, there are times I start to turn green and growl and I have to turn to God for help before I turn into the monster.  Thankfully, God’s grace covers that too.

It is possible to defend ourselves and our integrity without stepping into sin. We can pray for God’s direction, pray for the other people involved, and even ask God to show us their point of view. Sometimes it is a misunderstanding and can be cleared up if we can just talk it out.  Other times, we need to acknowledge that we have done all we can, we need to let it go, and we need God to take care of the rest.  The important thing to remember is that we only “win” if we follow God’s direction and please Him above all else. We need to remember that no matter what others may say about us or our families, He knows our heart.  He truly knows us. Pleasing Him is what’s important.


I Don’t Want to Just Complain

I’m the type of person who has no trouble writing a complaint letter to a company if I feel I’ve been mistreated, jipped or duped, or if I think something should be brought to their attention. I once wrote a letter to the Detroit Tigers’ Organization because a security guard was standing by and doing nothing while a man near our section was using extremely foul and offensive language and threatening anyone who dared confront him about it.  I’ll say they were very apologetic and offered us free tickets.  I also wrote to the company we bought our trampoline from after it literally began falling apart after less than a year, and heard nothing back, (Pure Fun Trampolines, by the way) but I felt better.  I figure that if it’s a good company, they want to know about what can be improved upon, right?

I also have no problem telling other people about my experiences.  I don’t want them to waste their money too. I also feel that if a company has no interest in addressing problems their customers experience, they don’t deserve customers.

I’ll get to my point: An experience we had this weekend got me thinking- I don’t know how often I write letters of compliment.  I give recommendations to people based on places I like, but I cannot remember the last time I actually wrote a letter to tell a business what I really liked about a place.  I am going to attempt to remedy that.

My husband and I have talked many times about how hard it is for a big family on a budget to do anything.  All we want is a good value, friendly and helpful staff members, and a safe family atmosphere.  It is so hard to find all three. We have experienced only one of those at many places, are pleased when we experience two of those, but rarely find somewhere that fills all three.

I am not really a camper.  Growing up my dad took us camping. I mean real camping.  He thought campsites were for chumps.  He would find a secluded spot by a river and dig us a hole in the woods.  You know what for.  I prefer toilets that flush and electric and water on the campsite.  As an adult I have stayed at a few campgrounds and because of some of those experiences, I shied away from camping.  The biggest issue I had was the crazy inappropriate behavior and foul language of the campers who drank a little too much and forgot there were other people around.

Well, I had the idea of going camping this past weekend to bond as a family away from electronic devices and other distractions. Upon a recommendation from a family member, we chose Wesleyan Woods Campground.  The website looked fun enough and I was pleased to see that it was an alcohol free camp-so no chance of a repeat of previous experiences.

I am ecstatic to say that they fulfilled all three of the aforementioned wish list items: good value; friendly, helpful staff; and a family friendly atmosphere. We had such a great time that we are already planning our next visit. I welcome you to read my open compliment letter to them:

Dear Wesleyan Woods Board and Staff:

I am writing to tell you how pleased our family was with our recent stay at the campground.  Actually, pleased seems too ineffectual of a word.  We were blessed by our stay.

We were looking for a place to get away and bond as a family by removing ourselves from the distractions of daily life and interacting through fun activities. Wesleyan Woods far exceeded our expectations. Between the self-directed activities and staff-directed activities, there was more than enough to do for all ages.

Everyone we came in contact with-whether staff members, volunteers, or other campers-were friendly, kind and helpful.  While there this past weekend, someone anonymously blessed us with wood, and someone else offered the use of their heater when I mentioned we had been cold the night before.

Thank you so much for providing a safe, family friendly place at a great value.  We are already planning our next visit, and we will happily and enthusiastically recommend the campground to our friends and family.

Thank you,

The Jamie and Cyndy Payne Family