Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Post-election choices November 13, 2016

heart-carved-into-wood

 

IN A WEEK THAT’S BEEN particularly difficult for our country, let’s pause and reflect on the goodness we can each do. Individually.

We can choose to be kind. We can choose to listen. We can choose to be respectful. We can choose to act like adults and not like bullies on the playground.

We can smooth the rough surfaces we’ve etched with our words.

We can empathize and offer compassion and be gentle with one another.

We can choose love over hatred.

We have the choice. Which will you choose?

I direct you to Minnesota Public Radio’s story, “Na-na-na-na No-no: A guide to post-election etiquette,” and to Twin Cities Christian radio station KTIS and Jason Gray’s song, “With Every Act of Love.”

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Time choices October 11, 2015

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My WalMart watch photographs just like a Rolex, doesn't it? I did not edit this image, just in case you're wondering.

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON and a time to every purpose under heaven…

Ever since the pastor read Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 13 as a scripture reading last week at my church, I’ve pondered the words in verse 7: …a time to be silent and a time to speak.

How do you know? How do you know when to remain silent or when to speak?

I understand a time to weep and a time to laugh and a time to mourn and a time to dance. Those are easy. But how do you decide whether to open your mouth or zip your lips?

Taking that a bit further, how do you decide when to act or when to allow things to unfold as they may?

I believe that we are sometimes called to act and/or to speak. But how do we determine when we should talk or take action? President Obama, for example, recently stated in the aftermath of the deadly shootings in Oregon that “our thoughts and prayers are not enough.” I believe firmly in the power of prayer and I pray daily. Yet, I agree with the President. (I’m not taking a stand on gun control here, just the need to “do something.”)

As parents, especially, we struggle with how much we should say, if anything. It is easy when the kids are little. We are, mostly, able to curb negative behavior, keep our children from danger, and guide them by our examples, discipline, love and care.

Then our children grow into adulthood and they are in charge of their lives. We have given them, as my friend Kathleen says, “roots and wings, roots and wings.” How, then, do you determine when to speak or to remain silent? If your adult son or daughter was trapped inside a burning building, you wouldn’t just stand there and do nothing simply because they are adults, would you? I’m oversimplifying. But you get my point.

Have you witnessed a situation involving strangers that requires an instant decision? Speak up or remain a silent bystander. Recently, while attending a community event, I watched an angry young mother rage at her daughter. Yanking and yelling. I felt my blood pressure rise as the preschooler cowered in her mother’s presence and slunk into a corner behind a door. If the mother would have pushed an inch further, I would have intervened. I decided not to inflame the situation and was eventually able to comfort the young girl with soft words of kindness. Later I witnessed the mom once again yelling at her passel of children. And I wondered if she treats her children like this in public, how does she treat them at home? And why was she seemingly so overwhelmed? What was she dealing with in her life?

I don’t mean to judge. But you see the dilemma. Determining whether to speak or to remain silent is not always black-and-white clear.

Thoughts?

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Oh, the irony August 30, 2013

Fitness and smoking

ON A RECENT STOP for a treat at the Dairy Queen in downtown Hutchinson, I noticed this impressive new Cornerstone Commons retail and professional office center. Beautiful building.

But I was struck by the irony of two businesses located here, SMOKES4LESS and Snap Fitness. Say again. Yes, polar opposites housed in the same complex at 114 Main Street North.

Then there’s that Dairy Queen directly across the street. I suppose if you work out first, you needn’t feel all that guilty about indulging in a Blizzard afterward. Or if you indulge in a Blizzard before working out at Snap Fitness, you needn’t feel guilty either.

But if you’re like me and you’re passing through town and you get out of your vehicle, consume a Blizzard and then hop back in your vehicle, then the guilt factor may kick in.

Hey, but at least I don’t smoke or chew.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling