The Great Debate


Today’s prompt: Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides.   

Both of me have already been struggling with the OU scandal that has been monopolizing the news the past few days. I live in Oklahoma, in the very town this happened in so this story for me is more than a fleeting headline.  

The compassionate, empathetic, forgiving side of me would like to debate first. I realize these frat boys did something very, very wrong. There is nothing anyone could say or do to ever explain such a disgraceful chant. Do I believe racism is alive and well? You bet I do and it goes many, many different ways. Do I believe African Americans are the only victim? No, I do not. I remember when my son was in kindergarten. He pulled a handicap accessible fire alarm and was suspended from school for three days. Even at such a young age, the embarrassment and humiliation he had to face was excruciating for me to watch as a mom. He was so distraught and just driving on school property to drop my daughter off sent him into an emotional meltdown. It took all I could muster to give him the courage to walk back into that school. How does this apply to the boys at OU? If you watched those news reports you could see the hurt and shame on their faces as they packed their things and moved out of the house. Do I think they needed to be kicked out of school? No, sorry I don’t. Like it or not, we do not put together robots to attend schools who identify with every great thing the university identifies with. People have a right to say what they want, sing what they want and they have the right to have individual beliefs. What I do believe is that these boys were caught on video doing something that will disgrace them for the rest of their lives. They have to live with that guilt and humiliation that will far outlast an expulsion from a school. And let’s be honest, the world is not a big enough place to allow the punishment to end there. We love to throw stones and for some, this will become a long time commitment and fascination. I can’t help but wonder how I would feel if the dumbest thing I have ever done was aired on tv for the world to see. And do I have the right to finger point and demean when I am not free of sin in my own life? Show me one person who has not done or said something that should bring him shame and then maybe I will have a different perspective. Perhaps another consequence would have brought people together instead of divide them more. The double standard, the teaching and forgiving approach the university took with the athlete that physically assaulted a girl breaking her bones was much different than the zero policy the school took with these boys who assaulted with words. That is the problem with parenting and schools when it comes to discipline. It needs to be specific and it needs to be consistent. Imagine if we sat these boys in front of African American students who were devastated by the words and lack of consideration of these boys. Imagine if they could have had a real heart to heart conversation about how much this hurts the people it was directed at. Imagine if in the midst of their own humiliation and accountability, a handful of these boys experienced compassion and empathy for the first time for the people they hurt. Perhaps that punishment, understanding and healing would bring about real change and meaningful consequences. So tell me, this expulsion…was it to punish the boys or make the school look good? Did the University succeed in really teaching these boys and using their own power to turn these foolish, reckless boys into young, responsible men?

The spiteful, revengeful me believes those boys should pay. One affects the whole and if this is the attitude of a few frat boys on a bus than we should shut it down, we should shut them down and use this situation to send a very loud and clear message that this kind of behavior will not and should not be tolerated. These boys are an embarrassment to our town and cast shame on the university with all this negative attention the world is watching thanks to the diligent reporting of these worthy news stations. This information has to get out. People need to know that 2015 is not far enough away from the past to eliminate the terrible injustice that has gone on for far too long. We need to stop it in its tracks and send a clear message that these kinds of songs, these kinds of behaviors and these kinds of words are no longer acceptable and will come with severe consequences. We should start reading Facebook and private messages and listen to private phone conversations for even the slightest connotation of a racial slur of a racial tone. We should have a prison in the center of every town where we can publicly demean and shame these people until they lose their will to live altogether. That is the answer. Mistreat those who mistreat others. That will save the world, and isn’t that the common goal we all share? Don’t we want to forgive and move on and start over where people really are equal as human beings both in our eyes and in our hearts. Isn’t the goal to love everyone and be equal on every level despite the color of our skin with equality in opportunity, respect and dignity for every living person and a world free of hate, blame, vengeance, retribution, and superiority.

The common sense side of me has only one question. What exactly is our goal? When will the people, all the people be truly satisfied? When will our leaders stop dividing and start bringing us together as one nation under God. Can I even use that word anymore? When will the news media be an outlet to grow our hearts instead of growing our anger and hatred? When will everyone be accountable to do their part to end this hate once and for all? Let’s be honest, do we know? Is that really what we ALL want? Is that what our behavior is showing others?

Set It Right


Daily Post prompt: Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you would fix it today.

So many thoughts ran through my head when I read this prompt. I could write about so many examples but many I am still not ready to address. They continue to slide and slide and one day I know I will have to take them on. Today, I will write about school. To make this post as short and simple as possible, I have allowed my sons teachers for the last two years to completely ignore the conditions of his 504. If I had the courage and the energy I would do two things differently. I would report them and follow through so that the school district would feel the repucussions of not holding their teachers accountable. I would also go to the news media and make a big stink out of the fact that teachers, who are supposed to teach kids to be accountable, follow rules and laws are the biggest hypocrites of all. Let me get one thing straight. I do not disrespect or dislike all teachers, what I do dislike is the double standard and the fact they do not hold themselves to the same standard they hold their students to. 

I am ashamed that apathy on my part will lead to more kids not getting what they need in the classroom, things they lawfully deserve. There are some battles that take too much out of me and I gave this fight all I had with no noticeable positive outcome. The bottom line is this, when people are not held accountable, they continue to get away with escaping what is expected of them. What a lose-lose result if you ask me. Anyway, I m ashamed I let this slide and I am sorry to admit I don’t have any fight left in me to continue on.

Everyone Can Learn But…

Today’s prompt: what makes for a great teacher 

 I have watched for years as my kids have struggled or been successful in classrooms. I have thought about this long and hard. What is the difference in a good teacher and one that is less effective? It’s really a tough question and even harder to generalize. The best teachers know a few simple facts. The first is that people learn different ways. I believe the teachers who limit themselves to one teaching method lose not only the interest of some of the people in their class but also fail at reaching each and every student.

I was driving through Sonic yesterday and my son was excited to tell me what he learned in religious education class. The teacher had three cups. One with vinegar(the people), one with soy sauce(sin) and one with bleach(god). When the sin was added to the people, the color got darker. But when God was added to the sin or the people, the color turned clear. Why am I telling you this? If this teacher decided to lecture that day about the concept of sin, I can guarantee my son would have been staring off into space fantasizing about building a new building in his latest Minecraft game. But, because he was taught in an experimental kind of way, he was totally intrigued.

The second method is this. I get that teachers are not there to entertain us but let’s face it, a boring teacher is a boring teacher period. I believe teachers have to be spontaneous a little creative to find ways to keep her audience listening. Sometimes, it’s the little things. I know my daughters favorite teacher back in middle school gave an assignment she was absolutely excited about. They were each assigned a president and they had to teach the class about it by coming up with a song. It was several years ago and she still knows the words today. She will never forget the facts about Abe Lincoln that she crafted into the catchiest little tune.

That is my answer then, creativity and several teaching methods make for the best teachers. Anyone can learn but not everyone can teach well. What do you think?

Time CapsuleĀ 


Today’s prompt: What would you put in this year’s time capsule to channel the essence of our current moment for future generations?

How could I possibly capture the essence of the current moment? These are some crazy times, no doubt. The world, the way we live has changed drastically in the 43 years I have been alive. I have watched quietly as the rug has been pulled out from under my feet and I have layed here on the ground trying to recover from this everlasting sting grasping for the slightest glimmer of something meaningful, something familiar. I grew up in a different time and place. A time when people sat together in the same room and had conversations. They stared at one another and not down into their hand at a glowing thing. Yes, that’s right, things have replaced people and we are now having very serious relationships with silly cell phones. Families would hang out and visit, play games together and eat dinner together without the constant buzzing and beeping sound coming from the pockets of every person sitting around the table. I grew up laughing with the person next to me, not over the latest funny thing someone had just texted but over the jokes and conversation we were having while giving one another undivided attention. Now we are a nation divided, at least when it comes to our time and attention. We are scattered and focused for a fleeting moment on the constant bombardment of distraction continually being thrown our way. It’s like a walking community filled with Attention Deficit Disorder, except this time, this kind we actually bring on ourselves. Studies show we are spending 162 minutes a day on our phone and 23 days out of year. Can you imagine spending 23 days at the beach? That sounds like a better plan.

Back to the capsule, what else could I put in to capture the essence of the world as we know it today more than a selfie. I would bet we spend more time taking pictures of ourselves than we do having a conversation today. According to USA Today, people are taking over one million selfies a day. What’s more, “selfie” became the Oxford English Dictionary’s “word of the year” in 2013. I would also put a cell phone because that seems to be our lifeline lately. It used to be church and faith and now, it’s a phone. People used to use the phrase “phone a friend”, now the phone is our friend. It talks to us, sings songs, gives directions, keeps track of our daily schedule, heck it can even tell us a story if that is what we wish. So, that’s it for me. A cell phone and a selfie. What do you think? Did I hit the nail on the head?

Don’t Be An….


Today’s challenge a post about anything you’d like — in the style of your favorite blogger. My favorite blogger/yoga superhero is Jennifer Pastiloff. She uses the “Don’t be an asshole” video series to use herself as an example of why you shouldn’t say and do certain things. Her lessons are light hearted while still being serious and the message is always an important one.

Don’t be an asshole and assume your way is the only way. I was having a really bad day yesterday. I was feeling used, tired, worthless, unappreciated. The house was a complete disaster and the past week I had been much too sick to clean it up. The kids rooms needed to be done. I was disgusted by the dirty fingerprints and their grungy toilets. How could anyone be in this filth and couldn’t they help out knowing I had been so sick? I could feel the rage building inside of me. I was angry and it was about to attack somebody. My daughter bailed but my son really tried to help. He quietly carried the vacuum cleaner upstairs and vacuumed his room. He even took the swifter up and washed his bathroom floor. I was so grateful. I felt ridiculous for blowing up and acting like such a spoiled child. The world does not revolve around me. My time is not the only time. I went upstairs to thank him and discovered something horrible. He cleaned his bathroom floor before sweeping it so there were all kinds of junk stuck to it now. And the vacuum was turned to suction for the extension so he pushed the vacuum over his carpet but it didn’t pick up a thing. All over again, I lost it. The look on his face was excruciating. I could see how pained he felt. All he wanted to do was be helpful and look at the result? 

Don’t be an asshole and treat someone poorly who doesn’t deserve it. Don’t be an asshole and make it so no one ever wants to do anything for you because it is never good enough. Nobody likes an asshole so stop being one.