Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Parenting Today versus Yesteryear...

I recently read this blog on Huffington Post about the quality of today's parenting versus the parenting of yesteryear.
It was an interesting opinion and since I'm a child of yesteryear parenting it caused me pause for thought.

There are some very valid arguments for the brand and style of nurturing done by previous generations.  We did learn independence, delayed gratification, problem solving skills and all the other attributes the author mentioned.

The problem was most of us had no choice in the matter.  It was a knee-jerk reaction to selfish, self-centered and negligent parents.  Yes, we did learn to stand up for ourselves, defend our younger siblings, work without supervision and get the job done right the first time or...

all hell broke loose!

We did learn to self-monitor, use common sense and be independent because we knew our parents didn't want to be bothered by our trivial problems like; being bullied, unjust treatment by a teacher or a difficult school project.  We learned fast that their response would go something like this...

-  You think you have problems; just wait until you're an adult.
-  Go away, I'm busy. (often having coffee and gossiping with friends)
-  I work 40 hours a week and you expect me to do your work for you?  You ungrateful little brat! Quit being so lazy!
-  It'll toughen you up.

That it did, too.  We are a generation of tough nuts who learned to hide our deepest fears, our biggest insecurities and constant anxieties though drugs, alcohol, gambling or promiscuity.

We knew we were to be "seen and not heard".  Our opinions were worthless and we were darned "lucky to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies".

Most of us felt unloved, unimportant and as worthless has we were treated but, eh...

we definitely did acquire those previously mentioned traits.

At a cost.

But what about today's parenting skills.  Well sadly, I've witnessed far too many of the molly-coddling techniques used on kids nowadays.  Not good.  Children do need to learn all those qualities prior generations exhibited but, not by default due to derelict parents.

Molly-coddling, helicopter parenting and the like are probably just as damaging has the lax and sloppy parenting of yesteryear.

How about a middle ground where thoughtful and insightful parents base their actions on lovingly saying no when it's necessary, teaching a work ethic and learning to wait and earn what you desire?

How about letting your child make mistakes and not always be rewarded just for showing up but, still be supportive and encouraging for next time?

How about thoughtfully teaching we can't always be good at everything we try or always win but, to still give it your best and most capable try?

How about explaining that the world can be tough and that they will encounter mean people but, yet demonstrate through example the emotional fortitude to withstand these traumas?

High quality, effective and loving parenting really is possible.  I've seen it. Parents can teach and illustrate all the positive qualities like self-reliance, independence, patience and strength of character to their children; while retaining their own identity and life.

It doesn't have to be either/or.

But excellence in parenting is like anything else; it takes effort, thoughtfulness, sacrifice.

Whether molly-coddling or neglecting our kids we really are truly opting for the easy way out.  Both require little thought or effort.  One simply ignores the child's needs and hopes for the best while the other caves at every opportunity just to keep the kid happy and the parent's guilt at bay.

Both ask little, give little, teach little...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

We all get there one day...

What is good about getting older?  It may be far easier to list what isn't good?  I'd say so...

You have saggy boobs, droopy butt, crows feet that have become more like craters and laugh lines that extend to your forehead.

You diligently seek that ONE coloured hair left on your head and are so delighted and smug you share on Facebook for all your friends to see!

You hurt in places that are illegal and if you sit in a chair that is too low, you need to turn fully around, coming out butt first. Or else need the help of four friends and possibly, a crane...

Your morning pills fill you up for breakfast and fibre has become your new BFF.

You hear perfectly if the person is speaking directly in front of you and no more than 3 feet away.  And preferably has a very deep voice and/or knows sign language.

You own at least three pairs of glasses.  One for reading, one for driving, one tinted for daylight.

Your shoes are on trend in a nursing home.  Likewise your outfit.

Your social life is catching up with your doctor and his receptionist.

You know the Lab Tech gal's first name, birthday, wedding date as well has the ages of her hubby and kiddies.

Your vacation plans must include baggage weight for medications, neck pillow, heating pad and a collapsible cane. Travel health insurance would've bought the car of your dreams when you were twenty.

The most excitement you get is watching true crime mysteries on cable.  You find yourself visualizing the dance show competitors having bad backs in 30 years and feel their pain. Speaking of pain...well...

everything hurts, even brushing your teeth.

You have light bladder leakage which you discreetly refer to has LBL while, your grandchildren tell everyone, "Grandma pees her pants"!  In Walmart, the mall and church!

But seriously, isn't there anything good about getting older?  You betcha!

First and foremost must be those darlin' aforementioned grandchildren.  They are the honey with the medicine, the kiss for the broken heart and the smile amidst tears.

Being older gives you license to reenact your childhood playing dolls, building Lego, dressing ridiculous or laughing until pee your pants...

Then there is the freedom to excuse yourself early or even forgo attending certain events without guilt.  Most everyone totally understands (because you're old afterall) and those who don't sympathize, well... you feel free to not care.

Not caring is a huge advantage when you're older.  Oh, you still care about what counts; family, friends and God but, acquiring the most and the best, impressing the elite or achieving greatness just doesn't hold the same allure.

It's enough to be a good person and help others where you're able.

You feel justified to dress absurd like mismatched socks (poor eyesight), wearing yesterday's jammie's all day (even if you do go to the corner store), going bra less (it hurts your shoulders), donning silly hats (the grandkids love it) or dressing in your fave 1980's outfit (assuming it still fits).

After all, you're old and completely out of touch anyway!  Which by the way, is a great excuse to get the younger generation to do things for you such as fix your computer, adjust Netflix...

You just don't get it!!

Then there's those times when you deliberately forget.  You're suppose to forget things with age, right?  It's expected...

Oh yes, it's a great hoot to screw up when you're texting except well..when it isn't (like to your banker, lawyer, pastor).

But all kidding aside, getting older helps you feel more at ease with yourself. You've become increasingly okay with your limitations and the truth that certain dreams are never going to happen and...

it's okay.

Never has the brevity of life and the passage of time ever been more vivid.  You feel things more deeply, take the time to slow down realizing life should to be savored and are in awe of the sacred. It's much easier to live moment by moment because you recognize the moments really are so few and tomorrow might not come.

You are more selective who you spend your time around because there's little time to waste it schmoozing.  You select your people more carefully looking for traits like positiveness, empathy, genuineness and loving kindness.

This is the true stuff of life.

There is a downside to our declining years.  It is not meant for the faint of heart but, it does nurture me about grace, forgiveness, authentic relationships and becoming more vulnerable.

It's so welcome to leave behind those frantic, rushing and stressful years and just don my jammies, put on a silly hat and play lego with my grandkids!

Toodle loo!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I can't...God can...

There is so much sadness, unrest and tragedy in the world today. I pray for it to stop, for peace and love to prevail. Honestly, I wonder what can I, one person do that could possibly make a difference.   The problems seem too big...too complicated. People can't even have peace and love prevail in their own individual lives, let alone on a global level.   Then I thought this is where I can make a difference.  This is how to be significant in a world wrought with misery.  Start with me in my own modest corner of this world.

This is not a new notion or a sudden brain wave.  I’ve often heard throughout my lifetime that change must begin with the individual but, as I’ve gotten older it all of a sudden hit home.  It wasn’t just an agreeable intellectual notion that I could discuss among my friends; feeling righteously sorrowful, then go on my way.  Not giving it another thought until the next time the conversation turns in that direction.  NO! 

I can talk about the sad state of the world, shaking my head and wringing my hands; having never done a thing to change anything but, that doesn’t alleviate any of the pain. Perhaps this is what is truly wrong with this world; too many head shaking, hand wringing folks who never, ever step out of our comfort zone and do something!  Including ME!

So, what can I do?  I find myself still reverting back to the can'ts;  I can't go on a mission trip halfway around the world, I can't bring world peace, I can't feed the millions starving.  I can't, I can't, I can't...  How pathetic!  

Maybe I can't go on a mission trip but, I could make it my mission to perhaps help a hurting person or family on my home turf.  I can't bring world peace but, I can resist gossip, be kind to others, smile.  I can't feed millions but, I can donate and volunteer at my local food bank.  Can't I??

What is your excuse?  If you're not contributing you are most likely making up reasons why you're can't do it.  I know.  Because I have done and do the same.  The world isn't narcissistic, selfish, entitled and full of weak excuses.  

I am.  

You are.  

If I'm too busy and have too many commitments to give back to a hurting world, then I'm too busy and need to cut back on time devoted to myself and my needs. I need to quit making excuses and step up!  

I can't keep excusing myself.

I'm NOT that important.

And neither are you...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Let me Entertain You...

I have some thoughts about some of the young entertainers today. I'm not a shrink nor any kind of professional but, I wonder how far off I would be to an enlightened opinion?  I'm also, going to play prophet and predict their longevity in the very difficult and fickle music industry.

There are many talented young performers but, for the sake of brevity ( and the sake of  my brain) I've only picked a few that stand out to me.

First, on deck is Taylor Swift.  She is a superstar and a very talented young lady.  She is also a drama queen and somewhat inauthentic.  Perhaps she is just caught between two worlds. Taylor often presents herself as the simple, down-home gal she was born to be and yet, she flawlessly walks red carpets, performs to millions with relentless ambition, always in the spotlight with little evidence of simplicity.  Makes me wonder how contrived her image truly is.

 She seems to thrive and flourish on all the media attention allowing the entire world in on her personal issues either through song or frequent interviews.  Hardly the behaviours of a simple, cookie baking, huggy, plain kinda gal from Philadelphia.  Call me a cynic but, the simplicity seems very, very artificial.  She is definitely a diva as are all her little girl posse friends.  Her overly dramatic lifestyle is enough testimony for me.

She is young (born 1989 - was I ever that age? Hummm...) and was even younger when she hit the worldwide stage.  So, I'm impressed with how smoothly she moves between persona.  Is she a regular, folksy young lady or Ms. glamour/drama queen?  I'd guess that the homey, girl-next-door has become more and more a stretch for Taylor to remember or emulate.  Perhaps she really wants to be that kind of girl but, the fame, adoration, money, exposure to the rich and famous plus, the influence of her "handlers" as made playing simple very complicated.

The cynic in me believes there is a certain "putting on" quality about her uncomplicated side but, I do think at her core she truly is the sincere, empathetic and caring young woman she appears.

 I hope with maturity she'll focus on being truly authentic instead of feeding the media's insatiable appetite for drama.

Assuming her overly emotional and dramatic side isn't her undoing; I give Taylor 3 stars for longevity.

Lady Gaga is a bit older than some but, she is fascinating and very talented and well...weird!  I'd guess when she was young she was a geek and misfit who was bullied and treated as an outcast. I might
be wrong and she may have reveled in her differences her entire life but, the intensely passionate and protective "little monster"
dialogues she has with her fans convinces me otherwise.

Much of her message verbally and creatively is about being authentic and true to oneself and not selling out just to be accepted. It's an awesome message and Lady Gaga definately has the cornerstone on it.  She may go too far at times but, at some point In her life, I believe she got the courage to be herself.  Perhaps it coincided with realizing her vast talent and uniqueness.

In the event I am right about her past I believe her incredible extremes in dress, red carpet and stage behaviors are not only brilliant marketing strategies; I think she may have found the ultimate revenge and snub to all who mistreated and bashed her.

I give Lady Gaga 4+ stars for longevity as in Madonna, Cher and their ilk.

What can I say about Justin Beiber?  He was a cute, genuinely talented kid.  Was...  He is still a talented young man and his pre-teen fans currently can't get enough of him but, honestly if he doesn't burn out and fade away in a few more years I'll be surprised.  Not because he doesn't have the potential to last but, his self-involved, spoiled and disingenuous behavior has got to catch up to him eventually.  His little fans will grow up (unlike Justin) and realize that his smooth-talking, entitled and disrespectful attitude isn't cool.

I don't know if fame at such a vulnerable age, improper handling,
indulgent parenting or all of the above created this punk but, I sincerely hope he gets over himself as he matures.

I give Justin a 2 stars longevity only because he may yet become an adult and behave with real authenticity (as I believe he was in the beginning of his career) instead of pretending to be a wannabe tough guy and rapper.

Now here is a young man who has tremendous talent and certainly seems to be the real deal.  Justin should pay attention!  Now Weeknd is four years older so, in fairness I'll give Justin props that a miracle could happen and by 26 he may become such a nice young man.

Since I can't know a person's heart or intent, I could be wrong but, Weeknd appears to be truly authentic, respectful and well...nice. He is also, talented and becoming a worldwide sensation.

Honestly, I don't know lots about him and he is still relatively new on the scene but, if it isn't all an act and fame doesn't ruin him I'd give him 3+ stars for longevity.

So, there you take on some of today's young performers.  I could be off base and you may disagree but, heh, I'm impressed that this Grandma even knows who they are!!

Until next time...Toodle loo!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Flush the Idea...

I realize this is a touchy subject and maybe some may consider me a prude or terribly out of date.  I hope I can do this without being accused of being homophobic, a gay rights hater or any such nonsense but, so be it if I am.  I do not like, approve or condone unisex or non-gender washrooms.  No siree!

The idea of getting rid of male and female washrooms in favour of unisex ones just well...creeps me out.  I do feel a sensitivity toward transgender people and I don't have many great ideas how to solve their lavatory issues.  It must be very difficult dealing with this dilemma and it's a sad state when a transgender child is bullied when they use their washroom of choice.  But honestly, do parents really think non-gender washrooms will stop the meanness? It's not like the other students don't know who is transgender and who isn't. Perhaps, a bully-free facility might be in order!

Regardless, I don't want to be forced to share a washroom with males nor do I want my young granddaughter to see teenage or grown men using what has traditionally been a private, female space in order to protect the few.  I have rights as well!

Personally, I have no issues if a young mom brings her little boy into the ladies restroom.  I'm not so prissy as to think badly of a 6 or 7 year old boy using my facility because his mom is anxious about sending him alone into a men's.  Nowadays, I understand being this cautious. A defenseless little boy would be easy prey for any pedophile. But there is a limit.

Having said that, I don't dislike the idea of unisex washrooms because I fear the deviant behavior of some pervert. I'm not worried about a transgender girl using the facility.  In fact, I highly doubt I recognize or realize the difference if a male had assumed the female gender.  These are not my reasons. I am just genuinely uncomfortable and inhibited by having a teenage boy or adult man using the same space.  I don't even care if they use an enclosed stall as I'd hope open urinals wouldn't be in evidence, although who knows??

Is it wrong for me to say there is a "yuck" factor in dropping my drawers, knowing there is a male just a few inches away?  Perhaps some folks may think I'm wrong but, I don't think I'm alone.  I don't want to be surrounded by males when I apply lipstick or fix my hair. Not because these are as personal and private has actually going pee but, I still don't want it and it would be very unsettling for me.

Right or wrong, I have rights, too.  Despite the fact I'm not a discriminated minority; I shouldn't be denied my basic rights to privacy and well-being. There has to be a more acceptable solution; perhaps separate facilities for the LGBT community?  Or is that just too prejudicial?

Quite frankly, I'm tired of being accused of narrow-mindedness because I fight for my beliefs and rights. I didn't choose to be a heterosexual female anymore than a gay person chose so, why should my rights be denied?  Why should I be the uncomfortable or embarrassed person?  Why is what I desire less valid or essential than others?  Why do I have to suffer verbal abuse because I don't want to give up my rights to cater to the few?

I'm sympathetic but, non-gender washrooms are a horrible idea and as far has I'm concerned I hope it never happens because if it does I'll have to break all the rules and simply use the family washrooms.

Or God forbid, start wearing a diaper!