Tuesday, April 24, 2007

School Daze

I picked up Jack (my friend Tiffany's first grader) from school today. He talks pretty much nonstop on the way home, probably a release after having to be quiet in class all day. Most statements end with "And guess what?" or "I need to tell you something." or "Guess why I'm so excited?"

I asked him what he learned in school today, and he said, "Oh nothing. We didn't learn anything today. We were too busy, so we didn't learn anything."

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

More thoughts on Virginia Tech . . .

I wonder if anyone has done studies about why it seems that boys who grow into mass or serial killers are often found to have a history of being bullied, and yet girls get bullied just as much in their own way, and they don't seem to end up as mass or serial killers. I don't know the statistics but I know that only a very small percentage of these kinds of killers are female.

What's the difference? Is in how our brains are wired, because we know from observation and science has demonstrated through research that we ARE in fact wired VERY differently. Or is it our environment, our nurturing or lack thereof? Why do girls respond so differently to the same kind of emotional abuse?

Just pondering . . . feel free to post your theories.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Art as Worship

This is the coolest thing I've ever seen. Nuff said.

MILF Redux

I posted a blog entry a while back about the whole subject of MILFs, so you all know how I feel about the subject of "Hot Moms."

This morning, I saw a commercial for a weight loss product, and THIS is their sales pitch. The woman in the commercial had lost a lot of weight (over 50 pounds), and was exclaiming, ever so proudly, that she is 45 . . . but she doesn't FEEL 45! Sooooo, this 45 year old woman was proudly proclaiming that, thanks to this MAGICAL weight loss wonder product . . . NOW, as a mom of a 17 YEAR OLD GIRL, I can wear short skirts, tiny tank tops, PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING A 17 YEAR OLD CAN WEAR!!!!!

Oh.my.Lord. Lady, if you are over 30, YOU DON'T NEED TO BE SHOPPING at FOREVER freakin' 21! A 45 year old woman, I don't care how slim she is (and this woman had a nice figure, but again, she's 45 and she LOOKS it), CANNOT wear short skirts and dress like a teenager. It just comes off looking pathetic, or trashy, or both. And what 17 year old girl actually WANTS her mom to borrow her clothes and dress like her? Not to mention how a teenage BOY would feel about his mom dressing like his girlfriend. EWWWWWWWW. Kids want a MOM, not a best friend (the best friend part comes when they are grown and married). A COOL mom, for sure, a HIP mom, sometimes, but NOT a HOT MOM.

You know,I don't feel 53 either, but I KNOW that I am, and the MIRROR DON'T LIE. I try really hard to find the balance between dressing modern and dressing inappropriate for my age. I have always told my daughter to just put me away if I start dressing frumpy, but there are certain places you just don't go, fashion-wise, if you are of a CERTAIN AGE. And 45 is definitely in the CERTAIN AGE bracket.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sticks and Stones - Mullings on Virginia Tech

I have read a number of blog posts and comments about the Virginia Tech tragedy of last week. I want to throw in my two cents, but my thoughts are from a different perspective.

I have read and watched a number of news stories about the gunman (though I, like many others, have tried to avoid the photos and videos - do we really need to see that?), and it seems that he was a target of teasing by other young people in high school and even at Virginia Tech. Granted, he seems to have been quite odd and from what I have read, pretty unwilling to form relationships with his peers. And at least some of his fellow college students had tried to reach out to him and had been rebuffed. And who knows what demons tormented this young man that would make him so filled with hatred and rage. Even his family is baffled and confused by his actions.

The thing I want to remark on here is that a common thread in so many of these sorts of tragedies, of serial killers, mass killers, hostage situations, etc., is that the perpetrator, almost always a male, has a history of being taunted, teased, mocked, and being made to feel somehow inferior during his school days. I am certainly not saying that this treatment was the only reason for a person going over the edge and committing murder, but I have to stop and wonder if we really underestimate the effect of emotional cruelty by peers can have on a young person's psyche.

What is it that makes our children feel the need to hurt others so with their words and behavior? I know it's not a new problem, but it seems to me that it the level and the means of inflicting hurt and pain on other kids has really burgeoned in the last 5 or 6 years. MySpace and other similar "personal diary" tools give opportunity for kids to say things to one another that they might never say in person (though many of them do). There seems to be a mentality that in order to feel good about yourself, you have to find someone that you can humiliate so that they seem dumber, uglier, nerdier, sluttier, poorer, and so on.

The "mean girls" culture, which doesn't just extend to girls by the way, is frightening to me, and it is beginning earlier and earlier - as early as preschool in some instances. I have a number of friends with preschool age children, and I see a lot of young kids interacting at my church, and I can see inklings of that sort of thinking even in kids as young as 4 and 5 years old. I don't think at that age they even understand the effects of the things they say and do, but it's there. Are we teaching it to our kids without realizing it? Are they learning it from their peers or from TV? Or is it a hardwired part of who we are as humans - of our instinct to preserve ourselves at any cost?

I look at my own children, two grown and one a teen, and I see very little of this sort of behavior and thinking, and I wonder, what did I do right? With my teen, who is a boy, we have a lot of dialogue about this very issue, when we see something happen among his friends, or watch something on TV. We talk about why it is wrong and how hard it is to understand why others want to hurt each other. He has a very compassionate heart and I sincerely believe that he tries to be kind to everyone, no matter who they are. He's not perfect, but I believe that's his heart. My middle child, a girl, was the brunt of much teasing and cruelty in adolescence because she was "chubby," and so she has a particularly sensitive heart about unkindness to others. Not to say she never has her moments, but generally speaking, she tries to think the best of others and always have something nice to say, because she learned the hard way how hurtful words can be. She tends to want to champion the underdog and speak up for anyone whom others speak ill about, sometimes with a righteous spirit that can be a little off-putting. But her heart is in the right place. My oldest, a boy (well a man now), is quiet, and truthfully I don't know his mindset as much now as he lives away and I don't see him as often. But as a teen, he had only a few friends but seemed to be nice to most everyone. He never had conflicts with school friends, and I never heard him make rude comments about others. What is the difference in their attitudes and what I observe in kids on TV, at my son's school, and even sometimes at my church? I know it sounds like I'm bragging that my kids are great and never do anything wrong, and that's certainly NOT the case. But I think anyone who knows them well would agree with me about their character.

I wish I could say that I am as kindhearted as my children, but the truth is I am not. I try not to be unkind about others, but I judge and criticize and I know that I categorize people in my heart, if not out loud. It's hard to confess that, but it's the truth. But I like to think that I would never deliberately try to make someone look bad to make me feel better about myself.

I think we must take a hard look at the culture our young people are living in, a culture where it is acceptable to completely tear apart a person, to humiliate and destroy who they are, simply based on the fact that they are different from themselves. The fact that it is such a common thread in people who end up on the news for completely snapping and committing such horrific acts should be enough to give us pause to think. Sticks and stones indeed.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So much to say, so little time. . .

Okay, so I haven't posted in a while. Not that anyone reads this anyway, but . . . I am making a resolution to post at least once a week. I have to just post something, not necessarily a long, IMPORTANT essay or a brilliantly HILARIOUS and witty story. Though those can be fun. EDIT: Just noticed that I had 46 posts in 2005 (my first year), a pathetic 12 in 2006 (what the heck was I DOING?) and I already have 14 this year, so I'm on an uphill swing . . .)

So, today. . . well, what the heck is it with this weather? Every freaking Friday and Saturday! WHY, OH WHY can't it rain on Tuesday, or Wednesday? We have only one day each week that we can seriously work in our yard, and that would be . . . SATURDAY. So when it rains, or for that matter SNOWS, or is in the winter coat temps, it is not very conducive to an attractive yard. Our yard is FAR from attractive, we just have aspirations to make it presentable enough that our neighbors don't start a petition to have us forcibly removed from the area. So today, we are going to venture out to see if it's even tolerable. If not, we will stay indoors and work on organizing and cleaning up our office so I can go back to working in there instead of on the couch in the living room. Last Saturday during the Big Blizzard of Ought Seven, we stayed on our butts and watched three movies. A delightful afternoon, to be sure, but not particularly productive. I guess we all need those kind of days though, and if a snowstorm on the the day before Easter isn't an occasion, well I don't know what is.

But today . . . well, it would just be lazy, wouldn't it . . .