Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Family. Isn't it about...circles?

As a married man, I’ve become an expert in all things relationship. I’ve always been quite expert in things of this nature, but the marriage certificate seems to have authenticated my previous claims. Fear and tremble at the presence of…
Dr. Logan Roberts, Family and Relationship Expert
The Doctor is in.
Today’s discussion is concerning family relationships. The recent hallmark event in my life has brought this to the forefront of my mind, the culmination of these thoughts occurring over Thanksgiving of 2005 upon a visit to my home in Frannie, Wyoming, in which I was able to see how time changes familial relationships.
Only after time passes it becomes painfully apparent families are an evolving, growing, and changing entity, morphing from what they used to be into what they are becoming. As a result of this, many people are living in a dimension not totally in sync with reality.
For the first 18 years or so of a person’s life, a family is one way and everyone has a role to fill and everyone fills their role. Terms like ‘the older kids’ and ‘the younger kids’ denote these roles and up until individuals start leaving the home, these roles are filled without question. It is just the way it is.
As family members start leaving home roles change. Different individuals are asked to fill vacated familial roles based on need; those that have left became part of additional, extra-familial relationship circles. In these new circles – either changed familial or the new extra-familial circle – individuals have different responsibilities, develop and display different characteristics then previous and as such evolve as people. This evolution can be positive or negative.
Fast forward 5-10 years since the initial breaking from caste roles, each person in the family has new characteristics, developed new strengths and styles totally their own based on these new and varied relationship circles. These new character traits have been born of experience, responsibility, mistakes and triumphs; many taking place while removed from the original family circle; those not present during these transformations cannot fully and do not really understand a change has transpired. It is hard to grasp why someone they ‘know’ based on past experiences with this person is ‘suddenly’ different than what they remember.
‘The older kids’ and ‘the younger kids’ are now all “the older kids’; they are attending college, graduating from college, married, marrying, working, etc… Any left at home are filling different roles in the household they previous weren’t required to fill.
Due to this transition, reunions can be bittersweet. It’s wonderful to be with and interact with everyone; however, during interactions in this original relationship circle, people might not see each other for whom and what they are. Rather, they try to view them in roles they ‘should’ fill based on a static perception of several years ago; this may cause conflict and hurt feelings. Perhaps an example:
In my family, I have always been the oldest and as such for the first 18 years of my life was the biggest, strongest, most experienced and smartest (not IQ wise per se, but due to my age and life experiences as compared to my younger, less experienced siblings). I was usually in charge simply because of my age.
Now, seven or so years later I am still the oldest and best looking (ha ha ha), but not the strongest (Nathan, Ben and Forrest), most experienced (I’m graduated and in the workforce; Nathan’s been married 1 ½ years; Ben is the most traveled, Forrest is in Brazil, Rachell’s a teenage girl – yikes; Russell simply becoming the man), and smartest (grades and ACT scores are sufficient in proving this point). All my brothers have served in leadership positions in works, organizations and church; all have dated and had relationships; all have experiences changing and molding them into their own person.
Act like all my siblings weren’t as tough, as smart, as experienced or as responsible as I am because growing up they weren’t, I’d be doing them a vast injustice and starting a serious conflict. Conversely, if a younger sibling tried to get out of responsibility because of their birth order, they would be doing themselves and the family an injustice by not contributing as they should/could.
In summations, people change and as such don’t fit the positions family members – who have been closest to them – think they should. This does one of two things, depending on our approach: 1) Create frustration, conflict and even anger if parties are not willing to adapt. 2) Create closer bonds by accepting growth and acknowledging shortcomings.
An interesting thing is one usually facilitates the other. The key is getting through Pt 1 to enjoy Pt 2
That’s the relationship thought with Dr. Logan, Family and Relationship Expert.
The Doctor is out.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New links

For those of you unaware, there are some links on the sidebar to various websites, previous posts and my profile. Until now, the links were rather mundane, allowing for only a few new experiences via Google News, Pandora and ESPN.
Good news friends! I've expanded the links! There are four new ones to explore! Fox News! My favorite's list from Pandora! Pic's of my nephew! The Colbert Report! Great speeches and movie quotes! Other stuff! In alphabetical order! Why am I using exclamation points after every sentence! I don't know!
Back to normalcy. Click away, explore new places and learn new things. Just another philanthropic endeavor from We look out for you, our readers.
Without you, who are we but a series of symbols thrown together to form words of the English language? Without you, what are we but another URL in a see of WWW? Without you, where are we but alone? Without you, why do we continually ponder and post and post and ponder? Without you, how do we live, without you; I want to know?
That's all of them I think...who what where why how...dang! I forgot where...
Stay classy, Planet Earth.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Recent Events

So, how’s it going?
What’ve you been up to lately?
Me? Not much.
A couple weekends ago was sort of busy. Had some people come in from out of town…20 of them; ate a ton of food; got married…you know, same old, same old.

Yeah, it’s been a wild ride. I’m married…no longer Logan Roberts of the Shane and Miriam Roberts family (though I still am; they were thrilled about it so there’s no disowning or anything); I am now Logan Roberts of the Logan and Paula Roberts family. This is just the tip of an iceberg of change, the likes of which could sink the Titanic quicker than Dave Cashman runs the 40 (9.8 seconds flat):
A woman is in my bed when I wake up in the morning
Food – real food – can be found in the fridge AND the kitchen cabinets
It is never messy at 1714
I've become an uncle
The bed is made daily as opposed to weekly
Actual towel SETS are in the linen closets
I'm doing what married people bills, engage in financial stress, go to bed at 9pm, gain weight, ETC ;-)
Linen closets are being used
My closet space has been reduced more dramatically than Star Jones’ waistline
Meals are made. Real ones…With vegetables…Eaten from a plate…Not the pan/can
A woman is in my bed when I go to bed at night
At this point being married is so much easier than being engaged. Being engaged was, how do I put this…hell. I didn’t like it. It was similar to a Steven Segal movie: the opening sequence is action packed and exciting, but by the end you’re just happy it’s over.
But I married an amazing woman and things have been just peachy (we are in the Peach State). The only thing that has irked me is one morning I’m getting ready for work and the only clean pair of pants I have are these dark blue-borderline-black ones. So I put them on with a black polo shirt; when Paula sees me I get the look.
“You’re not wearing that.” (note this was a statement, not a question)
“I’m not?” (imagine the incredulous tone in my voice)
“No. It doesn’t look good.”
“Fine. What should I wear.” (note this was not a question, rather it was a sarcastic comment)
So I’m given this long-sleeved grey polo-esque shirt. She says don’t be mad. I say it’s been about 20 years since anyone dressed me. At work I’m asked how being married is and I say great (cuz it is); then they ask what is different and I share the story from that morning. And you know what they tell me?
“She’s right. That’d looked bad. This is very nice.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A dangerous word

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, as to be hated needs but to be seen; yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, first we endure, then pity, then embrace.

I’m not great at memorizing quotes, lacking discipline more than ability. But Alexander Pope’s has stuck with me since I saw it in a Humanities 201 class taught by Vaughn Stephenson my Alma Mater as a freshman in 1998.
Q100 here in Atlanta has a witty and clever morning show and it kept me entertained on the drive to work. About two months ago, while driving to work, I listened and the host was gone. One of the other personalities on the show was hosting and the entire 30 minutes in my car I listen to how Melissa (the token homosexual) had a new love interest and her date the night before “that started a five o’clock last night ended at three this morning.”
Hooray! Kudos! We're so happy for you've found someone to share your life with!
Haven't touched my FM dial since. I'm an AM radio devotee. 680 The Fan and Talk Radio 750.
How dare you! Where do you get off?! Why don’t you accept this as a part of life? You’re way out of line. Homophobe! Purist! Hater! Bigot! I bet you hate rap, too! Racist!
This incident was the proverbial straw breaking some poor camel’s back. Upon the breakage I’ve reflected on Pope’s quote learned eight years ago, awed at the concise encapsulation of universal truth
Good, moral people don’t embrace vice. According to Webster, vice is “moral depravity or corruption.” People (speaking generally) who go to church, contribute time and/or money to charities, pray and make choices based on Judeo-Christian models don’t embrace vice. Not yet.
What is the most dangerous word in society today? What word waits to rip the moral fabric of society, threatens peace and an individuals rights? Tolerance.
Ah Hah! I knew it! Elitist! Extremist! You think people with different views are evil! I bet you think evolution shouldn’t be part of school curriculum! You’d destroy our first amendment! Ah Hah!
Pope could have substituted ‘tolerate’ in his syllabi on moral decline, but it would've disrupted the flow. To tolerate is to endure, accept or put up with. Every major vice in the world (using the principles of provident living found in the Christianity as the standard) stems from tolerance of actions or tendencies while ignoring absolutes of consequence. An explicit personification of ‘tolerant’ behavior is Europe in the 1930’s. Their misunderstanding of the word allowed for the largest genocide in 1000 years, ended largely by an 'intolerant' voice (Winston Churchill) called to save the continent once the crisis exploded. This similar attitude is preeminent today as we face a similar threat from a crazed man in Iran who has vowed to the rid the world of the same people from seventy years ago.
People, cultures, ideas and practices should be tolerated inasmuch as the behavior isn’t condoned or excused. Newton’s third law of motion reaches beyond matter to the philosophical. Christian assertion of the virtuous instruction to love the sinner and hate the sin carries a terrible cost if abused. Dilution of the maxim’s second clause ignites this rapid pattern degeneration: love the sinner, ignore the sin; love the sinner, tolerate the sin; love the sinner, accept the sin; love the sinner and the sin.
Zealot! You far-rightwing religious fool! Religious whacko! Koresh! Crusader! Jihad! Wait…we don’t mind them, we should tolerate them. Christian!
There are sins. There are wrongs. If nothing is wrong or bad, the inverse must be true: there is not right or good. If nothing is wrong or right, what is there? The whim of the day? The will of the socially in- and af- fluent of the day. Society is as a child: if not taught right and wrong, checked when it strays and compelled to suffer the consequence of its action, it will develop habits destructive to self and those entering its circle of influence.
Who wishes they were like the brats on MTV’s Super Sweet 16, whining when they don’t get what the want, showing no appreciation when they receive what they want, walking over everyone along the way to get what they want.
We are disgusted and frustrated by that behavior! It's not right! ! But it'll be okay. We should watch them. Put up with them. Feel bad for their future. Institute programs at schools to teach better behavior. Then we'll love it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ready to Launch

I don’t do countdowns. Never have. Not when I was getting close to graduating from high school; not when coming home from a two-year mission; not when graduating from college. Not even when getting married. In nine days.
Okay, evidently I’m aware of the date March 11th and doing the math I am aware it is nine days away; however, it doesn’t mean there’s a countdown.
Anyway, agree to disagree; the fact remains my life will be altered in a deep and profound way, a way I cannot fully comprehend. Bob Dylan – People magazine's only threepeating Most Beautiful Person – said ‘the times, they are a-changing’. Since I’m not from Great Britain, I don’t speak British and am not sure what that means; but using my profound understanding of early Latin and Romantic languages, I'll spitball it.
Mr. Dylan was trying to say things once standard and acceptable in my life (as a single man in my own apartment) are going to be altered, changed to accommodate a more manners-oriented female. Some illustrations for the simpler-minded who are having a hard time processing this:

Drinking glasses: I’ll have to use them. (Or be sneaky drinking straight from the jug)
Food: Cans of tuna, spaghetti noodles, milk, chips and salsa, bread and pb&j can’t be the default grocery list every two weeks
Toilet seat: Down after every use (women are allergic to toilet seats)
Clothes: Eliminate ‘pretty clean’, ‘doesn’t stink’ from wearability; spraying FeBreeze on isn’t the same as doing laundry
Closet space: 100% closet space reduced to.5% closet space. Hanging clothes on furniture won’t be acceptable
Cleaning: More than once a month

Hopefully these examples sufficently described my translation of Bo-Dyly’s phrase. Apparently things will be different, but like Sheryl Crow said, ‘a change will do you good.’ That's probably what she told Lance; it's what Lance probably told his wife. I digress...moving on. As an optimist, the proverbial glass is half full, with the changes enhancing life instead of detracting from it.
I’m still chuggin’ the jug, though.