People vs Guns? Which is a Bigger Problem?

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We put so much emphasis on words as if they make all the difference. You can listen to the same words, be on two different sides of an argument and twist them to support your cause. There is this meme going around on social media. It goes something like this… and clearly we know where people are being lead.

If your child hits another child with a stick do you:

A) Take away the stick

B) Give everybody sticks

C) Give certain kids sticks who are able to protect everyone else

If we were really being honest and applying this to real life, I do believe we would need to insert choice d.

D) Cut down all trees and remove sticks so no one has the opportunity to hit another child with one again or remove all sticks that are light enough for kids to pick up and hit with.

If I was really just answering this question innocently and we were really talking about the situation posed as a question, I would punish the child. The child would need to learn that hitting is unacceptable period. We can’t make the mistake of the child thinking hitting with sticks is bad when it is the action of hitting that is bad. My point here is this. I’ve had friends who have removed “bad toys” that do not share. That child never learned to share and every child was punished by having the bad toy taken away that wasn’t bad at all. The child who didn’t share was the problem and maybe shouldn’t have been allowed to play if he wasn’t going to share. We can’t talk in circles. We have to get honest and real and stop trying to win an argument that reoccurs every time a tragedy occurs. We blame this and that and promise change and what do we get? Fighting words and anger until we become absorbed in our own lives again and forget until it happens again. I don’t have any answers but I know this for sure. I am looking for real solutions that schools can put in place right now to keep our babies safe. I will not argue and fight over politics or stupid memes anymore to further divide my country and destroy relationships because I do not believe anyone in Washington is selfless enough to make any necessary changes we need. There are things we can do now without Washington while we pick out our gravestones waiting for them to pass a solution that’s never going to come in time and probably never going to come at all. Why can’t people stop the senseless fighting and come together to do what we can do ourselves along with our schools before one of us has to bury a child again? Rise up. Rise above and make a difference that will really matter. If this was really about protecting our kids, we would find a solution that works and stop driving down roads that are dead ends.

How Do You Make Sense of Something Senseless?

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I sat outside the school yesterday while I was waiting to pick up my son. My heart was so heavy, broken, as I thought of all those people affected by the Florida tragedy Sometimes I get on my son about missing work or a test grade that could’ve been better but today I am just eager to see his face as he walks out of the school door. Who could ever imagine when we send a child to school that he will never be coming home again?

I have said this before and it kills me to admit it even now. We are surrounded by hostility. We attack with our tongues, our tweets and our posts. Just turn on the news. We brutally attack one another over political differences, opinions, religion, you name it. We talk over one another because by golly it is our right to have a say but we can’t listen when we never run out of our own say. There’s not much we meet in the middle to agree on anymore. We have created an environment that we contaminated with our arrogance, disrespect, anger, hatred and desire to be right. We have created such discord. We have become it and then we act surprised when someone’s actions reflect the destruction we bring to the world on a daily basis. We have got to be more accountable for the energy we create. The problem is each one of us. We are out of control and proud of it. Who’s gonna stop? We resist. We persist. Fighting words. This is the world we have created. Own it. Don’t look away or point fingers where they don’t belong. We have started this war among ourselves and it will eventually kill us all. It’s killing our hope, our spirit, our relationships and sadly our people. Do your part to bring reconciliation, compassion, cooperation, peace. Anger breeds anger. Hostility breeds hostility. Disrespect breeds disrespect. Maybe our new motto should be DO NO HARM. Not in words with our tongues , not in our thoughts or certainly not in our actions. Imagine putting the well being of us as a whole above oneself. Will you do it? Something has to change and the only thing we are capable of changing is ourselves. In the end we die. I will never believe our purpose, our journey is to fight. I believe it is to get along, to love, respect and appreciate our own life and the lives of the people around us. What a gift to be given this trip around the sun. Bring light. Be love. Get along. Support. Practice respect and remember that tomorrow is never promised. If you knew this was your last day, how would you live it? Something to think about

Living With Fear

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How will we survive in a world we are growing to fear? There is so much more to worry about today than when I was a kid. The people have changed, the world has changed but I have not changed. I will never let what is happening on the outside seep in and poison what is on the inside. Everyday I will make a choice to choose love and hope and kindness and not be transformed by the hate and fear. I will live as if this day may be my last because in all reality, it just may be. Don’t let fear stop you from living your life. In fact, the best way to beat all the evil going on around you is to do just that, keep on living, keep on smiling and keep on loving.

Can You Handle The Truth? 

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I gave some more thought to all these latest episodes of senseless violence. I listen to debate over debate about whether stricter gun laws or taking guns away altogether is a logical answer. I think there are many factors coming into play that most people don’t even consider. Despite how people might respond, I feel the need to offer my two cents. By all means, my words are not right or wrong, they are only my personal opinion. Do I think guns are a problem? You bet I do but guns cannot kill without someone pulling the trigger. We cannot deny that people are the biggest problem. I believe you could take away every single gun but as long as there is still a lack of respect among people, this world will remain unchanged. It physically pains me that someone’s beliefs or opinions hold more value than another human life. How can people kill others just because they think a different way or live a different way? I will tell you how. People have become consumed with themselves. They are selfish and entitled to do whatever they want, even if that means taking another life. The worst part of all is there is no remorse. We have desensitized people to the value of life and the significance of how each and every person contributes in his or her way. We are made to be different and choose a lifestyle that comfortably fits. We all matter but we live in a world of contradictions. The line between black and white has faded away and we are lost in a sea of gray. I can’t ignore the All Lives Matter theme that has been so popular over the past year. What does that mean exactly? I’ve heard it altered many ways. Black lives matter, white lives matter, cops lives matter. As long as we feel the need to insert an adjective before lives, we are in serious trouble. We separate ourselves into groups and we exclude groups that make us uncomfortable or who don’t fit into our little niche. So what  do we mean when we say “All lives matter?”All lives who agree with our own way of living matter? Are there exceptions or is the meaning so precise that there is no room for misunderstanding? Why am I bringing this up? Do I think the two problems are connected. Yes, I really do. Our words imply one thing and our actions imply another. I believe there is an ongoing lack of respect among people and for human life itself. If all lives mattered, there would be no abortion but we think a woman has the right to decide which lives do. Look at the death penalty. When someone kills another human being, in some states the way we deal with that issue is by killing them. How in the hell does that even make sense? I am going to punish you for killing someone and how am I going to do that? By killing you. So killing is wrong when you do it but when I sentence you to death and you are killed, then it’s okay. So which lives matter? The lives of people who do not commit heinous crimes? The lives of the tiny babies who we decide we want to keep around? The truth is lives matter when we say they do. This disrespect, disregard and dismissal of the value for each and every life because of the way we define it makes every life seem a little less significant. This lack of appreciation for the significance of each and every life along with mean, violent, crazy people who lack moral value and self control with the addition of guns is slowly destroying humanity one day at a time. If we believe we can determine which lives matter then we can continue to pick and choose whether it’s by abortion, guns, the death penalty or any other way we see fit to take that life away. This is so much more than what we see superficially. Guns don’t make people crazy, but having no regard for another’s life gives us the idea that we can take it or save it whenever and however we see fit. Don’t agree that the majority do not respect people with different views? Watch our politicians, turn on tv, pull up Facebook and look through some of the comments. Is this what respect looks like these days? Someone flips you the bird because you piss them off for driving the speed limit. Is that respect? Go to any Starbucks counter and watch how people treat the workers. “I need a cup of coffee.” You NEED one? People feel better or inferior to others. The inferior ones get swallowed up and the better ones? They are nasty, pushy bullies. Not everyone will agree and that’s okay but it is something worth considering. Is one directly linked to the other? Who really knows but I believe everything is connected excluding the people. That is the part that is truly devastating. Feeling connected is determined by too many things, the wrong things. Feeling connected is conditional and some people will sell their souls. The color of skin, the same religion, the same economical or educational level. Is that what we’ve come? We are becoming more superficial and pompous every single day. It is a travesty and I do my best to add kindness and compassion and love to a world that desperately needs it. Will that be enough? Will taking away guns be enough? How about stopping abortion and outlawing the death penalty? What will it take? Better yet, what are you willing to do?

A Heavy Heart

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When there is a tragedy such as the one in Oregon, most of us feel a looming sense of sadness. It is a time the world needs to come together to mourn and heal. This one really hit home with me. Maybe it’s because I know my daughter will be in college after next year. Maybe it’s just because I am a mom and the mere thought of losing one of my babies to something so senseless and unnecessary brings me to my knees as my head tries to find an answer to the question, how could anyone do something like this? I have such a deep respect for all lives. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of personally making a choice to end someone else’s. My heart hurts tonight for the hate and the anger and the violence that are infecting the hearts and minds of so many. There is so much kindness in the world but there is also hatred and vengeance and a lack of self control that allows someone to shoot innocent people down without batting an eyelash. There are people who can saw the heads off of human beings because their religious beliefs are different from their own. It is hard for me to allow myself to go to this place and admit their are people who live without a heart. There are those who lack understanding and compassion and it’s like missing the last piece to a 2000 piece puzzle. No one knows where it went or why it isn’t there, it’s just gone and that’s the way it’s going to be. What is the answer then? To argue over gun rights and point fingers back and forth while people’s hearts are being torn out from the pain of learning one of those people shot today was their daughter, son, wife, mother, father? Can we overturn this darkness by loving the hate right out of people?  Is this a cry out to others because of a lack of love and attention they have in their own lives? Is this the only way they feel anyone will notice they even exist? Is it possible people are born with the incapacity to love, respect and sympathize with a fellow human being? What could happen that is so horrific that someone could mindlessly take the life of another innocent soul? My heart is so heavy tonight. It feels like it is ripping right out of my chest. Be better today than you were yesterday. Be kinder and gentler and send more love out into the world than ever before. Let go of anger. Take care of your own crap and don’t dump it onto other people. If you must be angry, keep it to yourself and don’t allow yourself to inflict your pain onto anyone else. Be accountable for who you are and what you contribute to the world. Every word, every action and every thought makes this world better or bitter. Choose wisely because your decision matters.

Legalize Pot and Ban the Pop Tarts!

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Want to hear a little joke? What did the brown sugar cinnamon pop tart gun say to the strawberry pop tart gun in English class? Nothing, because they were both suspended from school. Okay, maybe not the pop tarts themselves but the innocent poor child chewing them. What in Gods name is going on in this world? By now, most of you have heard about the new bill in Oklahoma that would protect children from inappropriate consequences by schools for example, suspension for chewing their pop tarts into the shape of a weapon or gun. It would also prevent suspension of a 5 year old from grasping their finger gun and playfully looking down the barrel with one eye open while saying bOOM! If I were a teacher, I would launch my m&m grenades right back at the student to teach him an imaginary little lesson. This bill is getting a lot of ridicule but the reason behind it is to protect the kids using common sense. Sounds like something we’ve been in need of for a while if you ask me. And, go ahead and ask, because I have stories that would leave you speechless!

Seriously, does it not bother anyone that we no longer let kids think for themselves? They have become like SpongeBob Squarepants unable to make even small decisions for themselves. Why do you think so many kids identify with such a clueless character? When did we start to punish kids for dreaming and using their imagination. Isn’t it from there that great ideas are born? Now, we will tell them what to think, how to play, what to eat, how to chew and it goes on and on. And, we are punishing kids for chewing their food into the shape of a gun while legalizing marijuana. I’m a bit confused here. Did I miss something in my class of common sense? Oh right, that class does not exist anymore.

My son was riding in the car with me yesterday while the local radio station was updating the latest news. I wasn’t even paying attention when he asked me why someone thought pot was not as bad as alcohol. Great, I was still trying to explain wHY it is unacceptable to play cowboys and Indians, why he had to carefully choose the way he shaped his food by the way he bit into it, and nOW I HAD tO EXPLAiN why the President of the United States thought pot wasn’t as bad as alcohol. If we believe in separation of church and state maybe we should support separation of politicians personal beliefs from beliefs in our home.

Quite honestly, I am sick and tired of how the information taught in schools and statements by our very own President undermine my parenting. How confusing it must be for a child to make sense out of the senseless. I am trying to teach them one thing, and the schools, society, role models like Miley and our President send them a completely opposite message. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle. That is why kids today have less respect for their parents and are referring to us as “old fashioned”. Hmmmm….who recoined that term recently.

I for one, will continue to be that uncool parent. I will disagree with policy’s and societal beliefs that I find demeaning and detrimental to my family’s moral character. Someday, when they are adults, they will have to decide for themselves what is right or wrong. But for now, I will make sure my voice is also heard as loud and clearly as the other disappointing influences and lack of common sense they are suddenly drowning in. My opinion as a parent is important too, and I can only hope that someday when they are older, my kids will see through the manipulation and deception all around them. Kids need to be exposed to certain situations and knowledge when they are ready. After someone who loves and protects them explains things in a gentle way. This new attitude of shove it down everyone’s throat and expose kids to things they may not understand because of maturity is disturbing and confusing to these poor young kids.

Now, back to the pop tarts! This is not at all about guns. You cannot possibly tell me that a small boy that chews his pop tart into the shape of a gun is a future terrorist. Recently I published a post titled “Don’t Comment on my Blog!”. Do you know what happened? Almost every person that read it left a comment. With all these well known psychologists out there, does not one recognize that making guns bad and punishable in school makes them that much cooler. Seriously, I tested the theory with adults and they all failed.

Kudos for some of our leaders that are putting out bills to protect our children from unexcusable, unnecessary , laughable suspensions. Thank god for our leaders that will stick their neck out and be scrutinized to protect the common sense that only few of us seem to have left. Imagine if the news came on 20 or even 10 years ago covering a story about a child who was suspended because he chewed his pop tart into the shape of a gun. It is a toy and it is a child. Seriously, we are legalizing marijuana and suspending 5 year olds for holding their hand in the shape of a gun. Oh, and Mr. President, I, as a parent, am less concerned whether the effects of pot are worse than the effects of alcohol long term. What I am concerned with are school drop out rates, the functioning or lack of functioning of our children under the up and coming acceptable influence of pot, when our teens are already walking around like depressed zombies cutting their own skin. We already have enough crazy going on without encouraging pot too. For those of you not convinced by my own personal opinion, here is an excerpt from Web MD:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the main effects of marijuana on mood vary and may include euphoria, calmness, anxiety, or paranoia. Getting high or “stoned” is the reason most pot smokers use marijuana.

Other short-term psychological effects of pot include:

Distorted sense of time
Paranoia
Magical or “random” thinking
Short-term memory loss
Anxiety

Signs of using marijuana include:

Rapid heart rate
Increased blood pressure
Increased rate of breathing
Red eyes
Dry mouth
Increased appetite, or “the munchies”
Slowed reaction time

These effects are reduced after three or four hours. However, marijuana hangs around in your system for as long as a month after smoking. The lingering effects mean you’re impaired for several days to weeks after the high wears off.

Does this really sound like something we want to push on kids who already can’t handle the stresses that society places on them. And, if you think kids and guns are dangerous, wait until you add the marijuana! Oh, and the slow reaction time that can last for weeks, certainly that won’t be a factor knowing my daughter will soon be driving. I personally don’t want to encourage my kids to smoke pot. How anyone could compare it to smoking cigarettes is beyond me but we are all entitled to our own opinion. I would like to be entitled to be the main contributor when it comes to the influence of my children as well. What do you think? Only you can decide.

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Lockdown

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So, I tossed and turned quite a bit last night. I put my son on the bus and went back to sleep. Around 10:40 I woke up to my answering machine going off, my cell phone buzzing, and I knew something was wrong. There was a message waiting for me regarding 2 inmates that had escaped a work detail and were possibly armed and on foot in our small town. The message was explaining that all of our schools were put in lockdown.

It was in that moment that I became that parent who loses all sense of logic and goes straight to panic. A year ago, if something like this happened I would have remained calm, but after all the school shootings and anger recently in our society, I couldn’t stop myself from shaking.

Were my kids okay? Did I give them enough attention this morning? Did they know I loved them, and were they scared? Recently I read posts of friends banning Walmart because it sells guns. People are so passionate when it comes to whether one should continue to have the right to own and carry a gun. I can tell you this. There are quite a few schools in our town. If there was one officer at each door while all the others were searching for the convicts, you can bet that I am not only grateful they are holding a gun but willing them an infinite, and not limited amount of bullets. You may believe you feel one way about a situation, but when people you love are in danger, you can only pray someone will be there to protect them from the craziness our society has become.

I can’t help thinking about the word lockdown. Isn’t that exactly the situation we are in today as a society. Things have gotten so out of control, from impulse control to heated arguments about the very issues that could change the world we live in today. How will people ever come together and agree what is best for our people and for our souls? Most people I know won’t even go beyond the superficial issues of their simple life. I don’t talk about politics, I don’t talk about religion. Doesn’t someone need too? Maybe that is how this moral decline we we spiraling down started in the first place. We talk about shopping, and gossip about people and Lord knows we sure talk plenty about sports. Don’t we need to talk about morals and values and try and make sense of what’s happened to our world as a whole and the people in it? I don’t know about you. But I don’t want to live in lockdown. It’s awful knowing you’re a prisoner to your own religious beliefs, or your own moral beliefs and that someone is always “shooting you down” or holding you prisoner just because your opinions differ from their own. We need to join together to save our world and spread as much kindness as we do judgement and scorn, but are we really capable of even doing that?

I will sit here and pray until I know my babies are safe. What else can I actively do? I can tell you one thing though, when they get home, I will give them a great big hug and let them know how much I love them. Until then, I will wait.

Is Gun Control the Answer?

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When I hear people debate gun control for hours on end, I cant help but wonder if there is anyone in the world that sees the problem is so much deeper than it appears. Do people actually believe that if we removed all the guns from this world it would be a better place? When I look around me, I see exchanges between people that are heated, argumentative, and often times condescending. People are like ferocious lions ready to pounce on anything you do or say that is not in line with their individual beliefs. Think back to your last conversation, or a response to a facebook post. What did you say? Did You say something to encourage and support someone or did you jump on the chance to cut them down to size? It’s okay to argue, or even debate topics that strike someone’s passion, but lately a difference in opinion leads to personal attacks. So, let me ask again? Are guns really the problem?

Poor impulse control is also a growing concern in today’s society. There used to be consequences for aggressive behavior, for kids and adults that couldn’t contain it. Now, we act like it didn’t happen and turn our head the other way. Imagine This scenario…a kid owns a gun, has been allowed to display poor impulse control with no repercussions,and has watched today’s adults bully their opinions on others in the most disrespecting, demeaning manner you can imagine. Then, watch people plastered in the media that get away with these very behaviors became world famous and please tell me you STILL think guns are the real problem!

Next time you have a conversation, or an exchange with someone remember this… Guns can take away a persons life, but your words can kill their spirit. Choose your words carefully. Count how few times you say ” you’re right!”, and how many times you shoot someone down by pointing out they’re wrong . This is my challenge for anyone who reads this. Maybe we should leave guns in the hands of mankind, and take away their voices. Just a suggestion.