via Daily Prompt: Mentor
“Training- training is everything; training is all there is to a person. We speak of nature; it is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that misleading name is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts of our own, no opinions of our own; they are transmitted to us, trained into us.”
― Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
When I was 19 I lived in Madison Wisconsin USA on the isthmus between 2 lakes. There were bike trails, the university, outdoor festivals and farmers markets on the capital square. My neighborhood was a mix of students and hippies. My next-door neighbors were a young family and much to my surprise one day I found the 5 and 6-year-old had written in sidewalk chalk – Subvert the dominant paradigm. I wasn’t sure what it meant so I looked it up and I liked it immediately.
My parenting style may be different than others – or I should say it absolutely is different from others. I want my children to function successfully in the school system and to be respectful. I do not however want them to lack in critical thinking and to just accept everything they are told at face value. I also don’t want the personality conditioned out of them so that they can be docile and easy to control. As you may intuit this has led to some challenges for me and some calls from the school over the years.
It has also led to parent teacher conferences where a teacher tells me how much my kids contribute to the discussions and how my son saw something in a story that has been in the curriculum for the last 15 years that she had never noticed and how insightful it was.
Children need boundaries but they also need to have space to develop their natural gifts. A bright child with logical arguments should be directed to the debate society instead of the principals office. Aggressiveness can be honed on the athletic field or basketball court. Creativity can be explored in art club, band, chorus or drama. Trying to force kids into a box only stifles them.
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
If we want our kids to become leaders instead of followers, we need to encourage then to test their boundaries. Don’t be afraid to let your kids fight for what they believe in and see what they can accomplish.
via Daily Prompt: Coincidence
Autumn is here
The magic of autumn is the combination of cool air changing the landscape as robust trees lose their leaves and the empty spaces echo with mystery. There is a spooky energy in the short days and long nights.
Full moon, cold air on my neck and the rustling of dried out leaves in the breeze can have me looking around for someone to hop out of the shadows.
Who is sneaking up behind me? Probably no one right?
I totally understand why the northeastern portion of the US was home to some great stories like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. We still worry about the dead walking but now their not headless, just mindless.
Zombies are everywhere in popculture and though my kids like them, they don’t like it when I initiate a game of “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?”
This is a silly question when logic tells us it is unlikely that the dead will walk and try to eat us – but in the spirit of fun – what would you do?
Myself, I would try to survive for as long as possible, but if it became clear that there was no way that I was going to make it I have a contingency plan.
- Step 1 Glucosamine: mega doses of glucosamine. The reason that the zombies are always limping along is that their joints are deteriorating from lack of synovial fluid. While this is not a forever solution I think that flooding my system with some glucosamine might keep me spry for a while. And I think that the flexible zombie gets more brains. (It was a total coincidence that my old joints were achy and I bought some glucosamine – my 13 year old spotted it and assumed – well,.. probably that I am nuts.)
- Step 2 Wear athletic outfit and nice sneakers. Who wants to be some rag a ma tag zombie limping along barefoot in torn clothes? Spoiler Alert – I’m gonna be a zombie – #Track Suit Zombie
- Step 3 Get close enough to get a bite on the arm and have a weapon to keep the zombie from eating me. In order to pull off the track suit zombie ensemble I can’t be walking around all gored up.
- Step 4 Position myself where there will be some people to chase so that once I wake up all dead and ravenous there will be something to snack on.
Death is inevitable but being some smelly half eaten limping around bag of bones is optional – I prefer to go out in style.
“Come on baby, and she had no fear
And she ran to him, then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodby, she had become like they are
She had taken his hand, she had become like they are
Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper“- Blue Oyster Cult
Taking the drive from Binghamton, NY to Virginia Beach was not boring for a minute. We played “yellow car” think Punch bug but with yellow cars, trucks, buses, and excavators. Bluetooth songs streamed a wide variety of tunes from radio top 40 to Nirvana Unplugged, Dave Matthews, Depeche Mode, the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and on. Then at the beach there was a band playing 80’s hits and my daughter who is on the cusp of her teens grabbed me by the hand and pulled me onto the dance floor to Walk like an Egyptian and hit a lighted beach ball with the crowd. For the first time in a while I was able to truly relax and enjoy it all.
Being a parent is hard work and more often than not it can feel like a battle. Maybe I should introduce Love is a Battlefield next? I used to love music and now I listen to podcasts and NPR. I guess I forgot how the right music can set the tone for an experience and driving down the highway imitating Moon Unit saying “like Oh my God” literally opened up the playful silly part of me that loves to laugh and even better they got to have that experience with me. My 17 year old son who plays classic rock on a guitar with doves inlaid on the fret board, my 14 year old son who has an amazing sense of rhythm and can dance to anything and my 13 year old daughter who can sing along with any radio song plus rock out to the 80’s.
I am happy that I was able to take a moment to appreciate the simplest pleasures on our trip – music and laughs with the people that I love.