Posts tagged ‘family’

September 7, 2012

What measures a man

ImageIt been a couple years that I told a 17 years old kid, “What measures man is his actions, not his thought, not  his beliefs. ”

I believe this to be a true statement for all humans. It is our actions that make us who we are. It is our beliefs, opinions, values, morals that help guide our actions.

My son is 11. He is not yet a man, but still not a child. Life here is that of a vast labyrith. There are many twists and turns that lead to great black holes and dead ends. These children’s minds wonder in all directions, but down no road is there a sign that points, “This is the right way my dear child. Please take my hand and I will guide you.” The voices scream from every direction calling to the innocence of youth, making demands, challenging the very virtue of the child.

If I let my son do as he please eventually these voices screaming become reason, justification.  I see this happen all the time. Kids 15 years old stealing cars, doing drugs, having sex. Even the 17 year old had a child at 18.

My expectations are high, not because I expect them to meet them, but rather reach for them.  Everywhere in society kids are getting participation awards, feel good moments. If that’s the case then why do we even bother to educate when, in fact, all we need is a babysitter. There cheaper. Kids need to be challenged, expected to seek accomplishment.

It dawned on me the other day that my son could not cook a simple egg, because I have always made breakfast; I like cooking. He can now. Now he can make his own breakfast everyday, and he will.

I dawned on me that my son just expects me to do his laundry. Not anymore.
I will not feed or walk the dog. I will not check his math homework. They have an app for that. I will not do his chores because he wants to go play. Today he will become the man I want him to be.

He will make decisions. He will provide intelligent anwsers based on his participation in education. He will use critical thinking, and form opinions. He will change his mind when appropriate and seek truths where falacies lie. he will stand up for what he believes in and fight for beliefs where warrented. He will be kind, and do the right thing. And most of all before he leaves this house he will be judged harshly, and critically by the actions he chooses to make.

I will always be there to watch him stumble, to make mistakes and learn lifes lessons. I will catch him when he falls, and place punishment when needed. I will be firm and leave no rock left unturned.

Every failure, every one will lead him to success in life. Each and every achievement much greater than any feel good moment can provide.

Men are great when life is earned. You don’t get an award because your breathing.

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September 2, 2012

Goggle It

There are 2.5 billion google searches a day. Well that’s what google said. I am sure a few of those are mine, your and theirs. That how we become a number.

For one minute let’s just pretend that there was no Internet. It wasn’t long ago that this was the case. You may not be old enough to remember that, but I grew up without Google, and I’m not that old. Google was invented in 1998. Wow, that wasn’t long ago. 1998 was one year before my oldest child was born. Which brings me to the point.

Google it.

Ask a question. Google has the response. Goggle in and of itself has become a household word. You can even ask if Google is god.

Often times my kids will ask some off the wall question I would only know if I was smarter than a fifth grader. I’m not. In fact I have come to the conclusion I don’t really need to be. What is the molecular structure of a plant cell? It depends on the plant, Goggle it. What is the difference between DNA and genetics? Hair color and disease, Goggle it. What would happen if a meteor crashed into my school? You would be dead, Goggle it. How far is it to Texas? Which part of Texas, Goggle it. You get the idea. It’s just random questions.

Today I got another question entirely. Mom if I Goggle everything I want to know then we would never have a conversation. What would life be like if we never spoke again? I instinctively said as I was paying attention to whatever meaningless thing I was doing, Goggle it. With that she walked out of the room.

What would happen? There is so much information on the Internet today I can homeschool my children without the help of educational books supplied to kids prior to 1998. Khan and other websites provide all the math skills anyone could hope for. Science, Social Studies, English, and all the electives you could ever desire are there. Even social media provides interaction on a certain level.

But what if we never spoke again. We could get around this by texting, and of course the social media I mentioned before. The world would be a uniquely quiet place. Click, click, buzz, buzz, ding, ding.

All I’m saying is think about it for a minute and then, Goggle it.

May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I never really think to much about this. As it turns out it’s just another day off, although today I chose to come into work. It’s the first time I have worked this particular holiday in eight years.

As always I sat on my front porch drinking coffee with my husband, reading emails, playing words with friends, checking groupon. The usual stuff. Not thinking anything about the day. It just a day. Then…….my iPad started beeping with all the site subscriptions I have. Everyone was writing about Memorial day in one way or another.

The lives that have been lost; the lives that have been forgotten. The injured. The found. Every life has a value to someone. Every person has been loved. Everyone gone remembered in some way by someone.

I work with Marines. I have lost friends, and acquaintances to war. I remember them often. The smile on their faces. The sound of their voice. The kindness in their hearts. The things they loved to do with their free time: skydiving, sailing, rock climbing, biking, etc. They are all amazing men.

At work guys don’t speak of the war much. I never really ask. Their home. There with family and the war is in the past, although I hear my share of stories.  Most are amazing and totally different than what you hear in mass media. It makes you wonder, so I no longer watch stories about the war.  The Marines are proud and I am proud of them.

I have meet boys who are now men that have lost their sight, their arms, their legs, the normal mental state. I used to feel sorry for them. I don’t anymore. They are proud of their misfortune. Proud of the job they have done. Willing to do it again without regret.

I don’t think about all I am grateful for everyday. I should. We have many freedoms that others don’t.  I should be more grateful. It’s a shame we need a day to celebrate the one who sacrificed. Those who have lost their lives for our benefit. Those who have sacrificed their lives for the ones they love. The country they love. It’s a shame that as a people we forget. We get so involved with the day to day we simply don’t have the time to remember. At the very least we have today.

In loving memory of my friend.

May 29, 2011

Chaney Ranch

This is an updated post. Jantz sent us a video he made of our son. And quit frankly I am super stoked about it.

May 29, 2011

Funny little things

Years ago long before kids. My husband and I were grocery shopping. As I walked down the isle I said, “I can’t remember that one thing. I know I’m forgetting something.” Just that split second as we came around the isle he says while passing another slightly older couple, ” If we’d had sex last night you could had made a grocery list.” more often than not I just ignore him, but I hear the older gentlemen laughing and whispering to his wife, so my husband gets the glare and the eye roll which makes him proud. That is one of my favorite memories without a doubt.

When my daughter was three we were at Sams club. I told my daughter to wait with nana while I put her brother in the car. She didn’t. She ran into the parking lot. I took here back to nana. She ran into the parking lot again. I was getting irritated at this point. Then she wouldn’t get in her car seat. She made her body stiff as a board. I was seriously irritated. This went on for a few more minutes. I took her out and we were standing at the back of my SUV discussing. Ok, I was talking and she was being a stubborn child. So, I picked up a gallon of water and proceeded to pour some of it over her head. I figured this ought to cool her off. Nope. She said, ” Now I have to change my jammmies!” I love that moment. The look in her eyes. The tone of her voice. Her stubborn attitude. I will never, no not ever forget that day. That is truly my awesome daughter.

My son is funny to. He is very observant. He can turn observation in to a comedy. Just the other day we were at Food for Less. I asked him to bag the groceries and mentioned that my bags were in the cart. I proceeded to finish paying and as I turned around I noticed he didn’t use my bags. “Didn’t you hear me say the bags were in the cart.” “Yep” he says. “Those bags are for Vons. You can’t use them here.” I did not know this. He was quit serious, so I took him for his word. I will know better next time to bring the appropriate store bags. My son is very mechanical and sees the world without shades of gray. Not a day goes by without observational comedy. What’s not to love about this.

May 23, 2011

Driving

Today as I am driving to the gas station after dropping off my kids I notice a man walking across the street before. He was of average height and build. Looked to be normal. Had everyday casual clothes on. Just walking across the street going from point a to b. I wonder where he is going. What he mint be thinking or whom he might be thinking about. Then like poof his whole life story pops in my head. I have made it all up.

He grew up here loving to surf and play guitar. He’s a musician by trade, but work is tough. The pay even tougher. So when he comes to run his errands he parks in a central location and walks. He figures it’s a good way to think and get exercise because he cancelled his gym membership. He needed to money to feed his two kids.

His wife is an RN at the local hospital. She is well educated and loves the sound his guitar makes when he plays. That’s how they fell in love. In a small jazz club. Recently she had to take a pay cut. He finds ways to save money by clipping coupons, walking, and car pooling with other parents.

You know his daughter is quite the budding ballerina. She dreams if being the princess in this falls play. His son is a star football player and practices hard to make it to the draft, although that is years away. Both kids play guitar to humor dad, but neither want to be a musician.

I have named him Joe because it’s an easy name. Joe is rather content walking. A happy man and I smile at the happy life I have given him.

After I get fuel its off to the dance studio to register my daughter for next season. I notice an older women sitting in her SUV just outside. Of course I have a story for her as well.

She’s a grandmother of two rather bouncy young girls. Who she takes care of while their mother is at work. No, she doesn’t live with them, but there’s are plans for that in the future when the housing market gets better and she can sell her house.

In the car she is discussing the dance schedule with her daughter. Who use to love to dance. She has fond memories of that. Now her granddaughters fill that void with twirling bodied, swinging arms, and dancing feet.

This is my usual day. Making up stories about people. Today they were happy. Sometimes they are tragic. But, there is always a story to be told.

May 21, 2011

Failing

I read a featured post yesterday on failing , so here are my thoughts.

My honest emotions are infuriating. Failing is a part of life. In fact it’s how we find what we are good at. Aristotle was probably not good at sports, but rather philosophy. What if we had told Aristotle he was a great soccer player, a winner. What if based on that he became a athlete only to find after years of playing he didn’t make the cut and was told he sucked. Finally, someone was honest, but he had wasted years because of perpetual lying. That’s how I look at it. Why lie. Yes the truth hurts. Why teach your children to lie. A white, small, little lie is still a lie.

My daughter likes to sing, she sucks at it. It doesn’t mean however that she can’t find personal joy in it. My son, terrible at drawing. It doesn’t mean he can’t make a beautiful picture or find joy in the arts. These shouldn’t be career choices.

I am blatantly truthful with my kids, for some that makes me a bad parent. This is a perfect example. When my son started riding motocross tracks (mx) he struggled but loved it. One day the track was dry not up to his liking. He complained incessantly. I got mad and this is what I said, ” You can be a whiney little cry baby girl and we can go home and have a tea party or you can man up and get the job done. I’m done with your whining. Either take off your gear or ride.” I was mean. I could have been nicer for sure, but that was the turning point. He chose to man up. He accepted the conditions of the track and rode. Now he’s a rockstar on 85’s. He’s a great rider that can conquer any condition set before him. This is his passion in life. He lives and breathes it. Mx was his choice. He made it and his is willing to face any necessary consequences. The only rule I have is simple. The day you want to give it up, walk away just say so, and we will be done. I don’t see that day ever coming. He has given up holidays, parties with friends, and all unnecessary luxuries for this. He will make a great man.

Im not a fan of team sports, because there are losers and winners although that’s not how it’s played. Telling a kid he is a winner all the time only leads to a false sense of security and self worth. Have you watched the auditions for American Idol. For some they were told how great they are all of their life. Their self esteem is huge. They have a false sense of awesomeness. Randy says the suck. They go home crying. They have been living under an umbrella of lies because nobody wanted to hurt their feelings. Now what. If someone had just been honest then another greater path could have been taken. Time, life was wasted on lies.

That’s just the way I see it. Lies waste life, talent, and ultimately builds a strong resentment rather than a bond of respect. Sure I hurt my child’s feelings when I tell them they suck at something, but my kids will do great things because I was honest. My daughter is eleven and taking college for kids courses all summer. She is an amazing learner. She wants to do this. My son is at Chaney Ranch riding with pros, because he has passion and commitment. Both of my kids are individuals who make choices, decisions, face consequences, just like I do. Just because they are young doesn’t make them incapable of handling life. They are. They want to.

May 20, 2011

Chaney Ranch

Tomorrow my boy is riding at Chaney ranch. Its invite only and many great riders will be there. I’m always nervous when he goes to a new track, of course, I’m mom. When he was eight or nine he said, “Mom, it’s ok if I die out there.” That’s what every mom wants to hear, but he’s focused and dedicated to his sport. I admire that he is willing to give it his all despite any negative consequences. This is my son.

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May 16, 2011

Perspective on raising girls

I often talk to parents about how they raise their children, daughters mostly. Mine has been a little more difficult than my son. In terms of raising her I tend to think psychologically as I wanted her to be balanced, and well adjusted.

When my daughter was two I was very new to the study of children. I should have known when she cried the first three months of her life she would be a challenge. I should have known when she skipped over the crawling and went straight to running I was in for it, but I didn’t.

When she was two and getting in trouble one day I sat her in a chair and told her to stay, like a dog I suppose. I told her if she got out of the chair I would spank her. I don’t know why. Spanking serves no other purpose than to hurt my hand, but that’s what I said. This played itself out several times and the only thing it got me was a sore hand. She never cried because her butt was covered with a diaper, but she did have fun tormenting me.

As the years passed the same situation presented itself over and over again in different scenarios mostly in the form of us screaming at each other. I never quite understood why until now that she would do anything her father said but fight me tooth and nail over the smallest thing.

Never does she have conflict with her father. If he asked her to do anything she does without complaint, because she knows this will pit him against her mother. If she severs their bond then she can becomes the leader. This can be her tribe. Dad always sides with mom but as a young child she never stops trying.

It’s just recently I hear people referring to their families as a tribes. It is the most accurate statement that can be made about the family unit. We are tribes. Preindustrialization, and modern man both men and women had roles to play. Although in the fifties era,  the Beaver Cleavers showed great signs of the separation of men and women in the home. Men went to work, they were hunters of food, protectors of the home. They were builders. The foundation of the very tribe in which they belonged. Women were the gatherers, the ones that nurtured the children into their appropriate place within the tribe. Women supplied the essence of tribes very life. Everybody has a job and they were clearly defined.

In the case of a mother and daughter. A daughter is meant for these things. I believe genetically. She is born to nurture, to supply the very essence of leadership that will one day support and guide her own tribe. Without her no tribe can exist. Now that’s not to say that boys and men do not serve the same functions in their roles but it’s clearly another essay. Females no matter the age are meant to do great things and conflict arises when there are two making the same soup.

My daughter from birth genetically, I believe, is a leader. All girls are. She wants to lead to take control of the tribe. She fights for this. She wants to make the decisions, and tells me no when she doesn’t like mine. It creates conflict, fights, a struggle between her very nature to be a leader and her age. This explains a lot about why little girls like dolls. They are playing the role of leader. Preparing for the day when she posses her own tribe.

When my daughter was three or four she wanted to pick her own clothes to wear. She wanted to make decisions, chose what she wore, what she ate, what cup she drank out of. These were all critical decisions that prepare her for life ahead. I let her do all these things. It actually makes my life easier. Now her choice is clothing hasn’t always been the best but it covered the parts of her body that needed to be covered so it was fine with me Because it is her peers that will judge her new look with blatant truth, I do not have to be the bad guy. It is her peers that become my greatest ally. They judge harshly and allow me to play the role of nurturer instead of dictator. They hurt her feelings when they say her outfit is ugly, or she’s fat, stupid, etc. To resolve this I get to tell her she is an individual, beautiful, brilliant. I get to educate her on proper nutrition, fashion, the three R’s of education. She turns to me and I become the hero, the caretaker, the wise one. It works in my favor every time.

As my daughter got older she found new ways to assert her leadership. She got bossy with everybody. The kids on the playground, our son, nana, papa, but never dad. She would tell her brother he was sick and he needed to stay in bed and home from school. She would command him to eat his veggies. Don’t throw sand at the playground someone could get hurt. Don’t go up the slide that way it’s not safe. She was being a mother and rightfully so. She is born to do this genetically, nurture, care for, emotionally tend to. We praise our daughters for these traits. We encourage these traits. This is her way of learning how to prepare for the future. How to be a mother. She immolates us because genetically that is what she is supposed to be learning in these early years.

As my daughter moves into the teen years she is afford more freedom to make tougher choices, more responsibility. She recently had to research a new school and find out if its a fit for her. She made the final decision and it coincided with mine. It worked naturally the way it’s supposed to. We have fewer fights because we work together for the greater good. I encourage her to make mistakes, take risks. She need only hear about my experiences but learn her own lessons.

I know a women that has three girls the oldest the same age as mine. She tells them how to dress everyday How to wear their hair. In fact she does it for them. They make no choices. None. They are told what sports they can play. The mother rules every aspect of their life. They have no freedoms. They are servants to their mothers will. Now this is extreme, but look forward ten years and picture what I see….rebellion and lots of it. Their mother has told me great, fantastical stories of her own rebellion but had not learned a single lesson from it.

There is not need to cuddle your child. The dress them, feed them, or rule with a heavy hand. Children by design know their path and are willing to tell us if we would only listen.

May 14, 2011

Schools

When we bought our house my kids were three and four, so my daughter would be stating school in the fall. I either didn’t think to at the time or didn’t care to check into the local schools. I wasn’t concerned about the districts grade point average, or the income level of families that attended. Those things are important to me now, although I’m not moving or selling my house.

Public education in California is a joke just like most state run agencies here. You can get free lunches, free bus passes, free everything if you just smear the truth a little bit. People do, and I don’t blame them because this is a tough economy to live in. California is expensive.

My daughter went to public school through fifth grade. I had complaints the whole way. The amount of teaching time that was taken away from the English speaking students to tutor and teach the none English speaking kids, even if they are illegal immigrants. The lack of homework, my daughter has been threatened, degraded, and insulted by a teacher.

The federal government says ever kid has the right to an education even if they are illegal. Ok, then teach my child Spanish in kindergarten. Instead my child has playtime while Spanish speaking get tutored in English. My daughters fifth grade teacher has tenure so he could threaten and insult the kids all he wanted to. The school board does nothing. I told her if his behavior was inappropriate to walk out and call me, she did. Still nothing was done. The school wouldn’t even put her in another class, because changing classes was against policy. My hands were tied. I took her out of the state funded public school system.

Charter schools.

I drive my kids fifteen miles one way to take them to a charter school. There first year there is almost over and it has been the best thing that ever happened to my daughter. My son could care less, school is school and he easy going so he makes friends everywhere. Now my daughter is the smart one. If her mind isn’t challenged she is a raging bitch. She fights, slams doors, is mean, won’t do anything you ask her. She’s out of control. She needs the challenge, and when she gets it she in perfect, amazing, incredible. My son on the other hand needs motocross. Without it he’s just sad. He withdrawals from the world.

It’s the end of the year and time for re-enrollment. Most of my daughters friends a going to a new charter school. She bummed. I told her I would consider it but she had to do the ground work which meant writing emails and calling the school for information. Now the charter school is sponsored by fender guitars for music and vans for the uniforms. Sounds good. The guitar lessons which are not part of the academics but rather an after school program are affordable but my daughter is not nor does she want to be a musician. I’m not sold. The tutoring programs are only available for a price, but there free at the school she attends now. Still not sold.

I don’t want to burst her bubble. I don’t want to let her down. She deserves a lot and works for it. What about science, math, English, history I asked her. You gather information on that and we will discuss it. She emailed the school a very professional letter questioning their academics. We haven’t gotten a reply and I don’t suspect we will. Her friend that is going there invited her to the orientation. She went and questionedthe teachers on the topics of academics. The blew her off. The only thing that the website talks about is farming. It’s an agricultural middle school. That’s all you get from the website besides the music after school program. My daughter came home disappointed and made the decision she didn’t want to go. She would rather make new friends than follow her current friends to a school that had no academic programs. Funny, she has the goal of taking trigonometry by the eighth grade. Im proud of her.

The lesson learned here is that not matter how beautiful the website. No matter how enticing the words like, academic, knowledge based, state certified, award winning programs are they are still words and prove nothing. I didn’t have to tell her no she came to that conclusion herself. Again I am proud of her for being the woman I know she is becoming.