Are we confusing association with participation?

This summer has been a pretty great one for our little band of Battys here in Hyde Park. While Ann and I have held down the fort, Alex and Nick have continued to learn, experience, and grow.

Just as it should be.

Both of them have taken the time and the care to share some of their insights with us, helping us all to progress together.

I think one of Alex’s experiences is worth talking about today.

bird leaving nextWhen Ann and I stood back and watched her fly from the nest a year ago, we had concerns about what this new chapter of her life would bring.

But we never had concerns about what she would bring to it. She’s simply pretty AWESOME.

As she has ventured out from the relatively homogenous demographics of Cache Valley, she has discovered a whole new world of people and beliefs and thoughts and value systems.

Continue reading Are we confusing association with participation?

Are you a patriot?

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Each day in grade school we started with our hands over our hearts, bodies and faces toward the door where the flag was prominently displayed, and together recited the words we knew by heart.

Sure, when we were that young, we often fidgeted and stood on one foot and then another, and couldn’t wait to be done to tell our desk mates our plans for recess. We were all so different from each other.

And yet the same.

But each day we had the clear reminder of just what a privilege it is for each of us as unique individuals to live in this country, the land of the free, and in fact a Promised Land. As children we were clearly familiar with what it was to stand together and face the same direction as unified compatriots.

flag2I remember that the big thing to look forward to was when we were in sixth grade when, two by two, we had the responsibility of taking the large American flag out to the pole in the courtyard and in the morning raising it up, and at the end of the lowering it down. Mr. Wiser was our coach and trainer to make sure it was folded correctly and it never touched the ground. We never let our flag be out in rainy or snowy weather.

Again, through sheer repetition and prominent placement in our daily schedule we had no doubt of the importance of our county.

That’s just it, isn’t it? OUR country.

Not just yours, not just mine.


Continue reading Are you a patriot?

Are the Insane taking advantage of the Mentally Ill?

It’s certainly not an original story that hits the news cycle all too often: someone has shot a number of people, for no understandable reason.

terroristThe gunmen may posit an ideology of racial superiority.

Or, as the war rages in the Middle East many are claiming a God-given mandate to cleanse and purify those who are inferior.

Or, we’ve even seen the violence blamed on the financial crisis because those who have are not sharing enough with those who have not.

Perhaps most tragically we have witnessed deeply lost and hurting individuals who somehow seek inexplicable relief through taking a gun into a school.

I’ve noticed how quickly we question the extent to which mental illness may have played in each of these incomprehensible situations.

medication2Those who do not struggle with mental illness may feel a greater need to distance themselves from those who do.

And, of course, keep them under tighter control.

If I were looking at it from the outside as they do, I probably would share their views.

But I’m not.

I’m on the inside looking out through my own oddly-colored bipolar window.

Continue reading Are the Insane taking advantage of the Mentally Ill?

Is playing offense the best way to not be offensive?

A good friend posed the question, after reading our post on neither condoning nor condemning, how we do so without being offensive.

I admit, it’s a really great question.

How many times have we left words unspoken in our mouths because we don’t know how our message will be received? Especially when it comes to our beliefs and values?

The fallback rationalization is usually “I just didn’t want to offend them.”

gossipKind of funny that we don’t stop and think the same thought when a juicy piece of gossip comes our way. You’ve heard the joke: If you don’t have anything nice to say about anyone, then come sit by me.

But I digress.

I’ve thought about what it is that makes a comment or statement offensive.

We would think it would be the words spoken, right? But I think that is actually a small part of it.

I think it matters most how it is delivered.

Continue reading Is playing offense the best way to not be offensive?

Understanding that we can never really go back home

For the past few months or so Ann and I figured that our little family foursome has been just about as spread out across the globe as is physically possible.

Alex is in London for the summer and last weekend went to Paris for a quick visit, staring up at the Eifel tower and taking pictures of the Louvre. Nick was in Lima, Peru fighting his way through the thick air and loving everyone along the way.


And of course Ann and I are here in warm and cozy Hyde Park, holding down the fort at home.


It’s an unimaginable reality for this family that spent every evening together and lived for our weekend fun for what was, in fact, a lifetime.

Continue reading Understanding that we can never really go back home