Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Recycled Crap from Facebook that I'm Substituting for Original Material

So it appears that I can't produce a blog post to save my life, but I can rant on Facebook all the livelong day. Seriously, my statuses and comments verge on epic, not necessarily for content but for sheer length.  Anyone who thinks I talk at great lengths in person should know that I can go on for DAYS when I'm writing.  And if you're my Facebook friend--or possibly even a friend of a friend--you know this is da God-honest TROOF!  

Until I can produce a proper blog post, I've decided to just share some of my soap box moments from Facebook these past few years.  If I feel so inclined, I may even add a few more thoughts I've thunk.  These are in no particular order.  I have tried to include some sort of contest.  

(As you read these, keep in mind that 95% of them were shared from my phone.  I have mad texting skillz, y'all.  Also, I tend to Facebook late at night after taking my sleepy time meds, so I'm not always 100% coherent.)

From a Status on Depression:

"When u post stuff about depression don't u worry people think ur depressed?" [this was from a "concerned" friend]

I'll answer this for everyone: no, I don't. Isn't that kind of the point? That people shouldn't be ashamed? That talking about it will help people feel less alone?

Whether you are depressed or not, there are people around you who are hurting. It may be a family member or friend. A co-worker, a neighbor, a student. Posting information that encourages them, makes them feel less alone, or shines a light in the darkness is GOOD. 

We share jokes, pictures of kittens, and items we hope to win. Why not share something that could save a life?

Now let's talk about how your grammar and spelling is causing my depression...

Comment from "Two Mommies on Good Luck, Charlie" Discussion

How many kids who watch this show also have two mommies? I wonder how they felt to see a family like theirs on television? People don't have to agree or think that's it's right or moral, but the reality is that there are so many HAPPY families with gay parents. Why should any child grow up thinking their family isn't a "real" family? I can't imagine being excluded from playdates or birthday parties because people thought my mothers (or fathers) were sinners. I can't imagine going to school and listening to my friends parrot their parents and talk about how "bad" or "nasty" gay people are. 

To those who wouldn't let their child go to the home of a friend with gay parents, would you let you child visit with a friend whose mother never married? Who had children out of wedlock? If we're getting Biblical, isn't that just as much of a sin? 

If people don't like it, they don't have to watch. There are plenty of other children's shows that don't have gay people. And by plenty, I mean pretty much all of them.

Got a little off subject there. Oh well. It's Tuesday.  

From a Status about School Violence and Shootings

Newtown, CT had one homicide in the past ten years. People from other towns moved there BECAUSE they felt it was a safer place to raise their children. Despite their status as a safe town, though, local schools had emergency plans in place and had practiced lock down drills. This fall, Sandy Hook Elementary had also implemented additional security measures that visitors being required to ring a bell for entry once doors were locked in the morning and checking identification.

If someone is intent on destroying lives, he or she will find a way to do so. However, we have no way of knowing how many lives were saved yesterday by teachers who knew what to do, kept a calm head and DID IT.

Last February, after a young man opened fire in an Ohio high school, frequent shooting situation DRILLS and teachers ACTING QUICKLY were credited for more lives not being lost. That day, I posted the following cry to parents. I want to post it again. As a teacher who has worked in schools who NEVER had lock down drills (and where teachers were given no training) it scares me to think that there are children sitting in classrooms who are even more vulnerable.


Regardless of whether your child attends public or private school, make it YOUR business to know the following information:

1. Does the school have an emergency plan in place if there is violence?

2. Do the teachers and staff know the emergency plan? Are new teachers trained each year/ semester?

3. Are the students REGULARLY led in lock down and evacuation drills?

4. Does YOUR child personally know what to do in an emergency, even if an adult is not available to give instruction?

I urge you to talk to administrators, teachers, and YOUR CHILD. Never assume that steps are being taken to keep your child safe.

Please repost and share with other parents. We cannot control the evil and sickness in our world, but we can better prepare ourselves to protect our children from it.

Comment from Discussion on Plural Marriage (this came from a 131-comment fray after I posted a status about the show Sister Wives)

Let's talk about our society--where so many marriages end in divorce, you can get married as many times as you want, women have multiple children with multiple men that they never marry, men walk away from their children before they're even born, there are drive-thru wedding chapels, and Kim Kardashian can make MILLIONS of dollars on a sham of a wedding. This is what has become the sad normal. At least this guy has committed (yes, to four women but it is commitment) and stuck around to support these women and children. He's been with the first three wives for 20 years. In our sick sad world, I have to say I admire that. So many people can't hold a marriage together with TWO people involved and somehow they've kept this entire flock of people together. At one point, they all lived under the same roof! And at the same time, they are sharing a husband (and they admit there are jealousies). Why is it they can hold it together when so many marriages fail? You know their answer? They cite not only their commitment to their vows but their faith in God for getting them through.  

So when it comes down to it, YES, I support the family on Sister Wives over what this world so often sees as "normal."

Comment on Marijuana Legalization Discussion (there are a bunch of these but I picked one)

I'm all for legalizing it period. Heck, you'd think other states would follow suit after seeing how Colorado is taxing the sh** out of it. But it should DEFINITELY be legal for medicinal purposes. There are drugs for boners and longer eyelashes, but someone with a debilitating disease can't smoke a J? Ridiculous. Oh, but here you go. Here's some Oxy for the pain. 

Comment about Huge Families (prompted by a discussion about the Duggar family)

My grandmother had 13 kids, too, though one died young. But that was a different time. Those kids weren't expected to graduate from high school and while they were there take chemistry, geometry, Spanish, etc. They didn't have to be driven to ball games or Scouts or church choir or birthday parties on Saturday. Yes, the older kids helped with the little ones. The older kids also worked the farm and labored in the fields. If any of us us "subjected" our kids to this now--didn't make sure they were prepared for college, didn't allow them a "social life" or take them to birthday parties, didn't involve them in clubs or activities, made them do HARD labor as a young child--people would be ANGRY. We would be terrible parents who "deprived" our kids and "put too much on them." Life was VASTLY different back then. 

Now our kids are pampered. They don't wear clothes that were passed down through four or five other kids. They don't quit school to help support the family. They don't have to work for ANYTHING. How many people who came from those big families--especially the poorer ones--ever even GOT a birthday party? Why on EARTH are we preparing a 13 year old for motherhood? This isn't our grandparents' generation. My grandmother ran off at 16 and married. Yeah, she needed to know how to be a wife and mom. My grandmother's goals when she married my grandfather was to escape an alcoholic father and have food and a warm place to stay. My grandfather sent half of his paycheck home to support his younger siblings. I want my child to go to college and have a career and have kids when SHE is ready. It's not my place to make her be a "mini mommy" at 13 or 14. We are not living in the 1930s anymore. Our kids have to get an education, they have to have experiences that increase their chances at getting a good scholarship from a college, they need to be ready to face the world. The world is a hard place. I feel that it will take every ounce of me to prepare her for it, to make sure she is good and moral and strong. How on EARTH would I prepare NINETEEN kids for this world? I guess I could keep them in a bubble, but I want more than that for my Amelia. 

There is a difference between "helping" and having a younger child assigned to you and being a mini-parent. There is a difference between picking up toys or reading to a sibling and being partially responsible for their emotional well being. I guess since none of those kids go to school, they don't have the problems other problems face with kids coming home bullied or broken hearted or complaining about teachers. So I guess in that way, they CAN handle the emotional growth of their kids. When a sibling is the bully, you can punish them. When there are no little boys or girls to "have a crush" on, there are no hearts to be broken. When you are the teacher, you KNOW what happened in the classroom that day. ( I still question how you educate that many different aged kids but that's for another day's debate)

It's not that I question that they LOVE their kids. It's obvious they do. It's giving each kid the needed one on one time they deserve. Maybe their kids just don't have any big problems. I guess I'm jaded from teaching for so long (hell, or even my OWN problems as a teen!!), but I just don't see how you meet all of their emotional needs. Again, I'm not insinuating they are BAD parents. I agree there are A LOT of kids who would be better off in the Duggar family. But Christian or not, I refuse to believe that a person can be an equally EFFECTIVE parent to 19 (almost 20!) as they can to even 4 or 5. 

I have to ask this because I've wondered before but didn't have anywhere to ask: if the Duggars were just very MORAL people but not professing Christians, would the Christian community be so quick to embrace them? What if they were in the EXACT same circumstances and they were all happy and healthy and loved, but they weren't believers? What if they didn't say God had called them to this life? What if they just REALLY liked having kids?

And there was this comment later on in the discussion:

I too know a lot of kids who had to pretty much raise younger siblings. Some were because their parents were unfit or had addictions. Some had a good parent who had to work two jobs to make up for the crappy parent. Some had parents with debilitating diseases like cancer. Not all of those kids who had to step up and be parents to their younger siblings were screwed up. Some ended up being stronger because of it. But they all struggled with the loss of their childhood and innocence. 

As I said earlier, in the Duggar's case, taking care of a younger sibling isn't so traumatizing. There are parents present to help. They live in a safe neighborhood. The kids are at home all day. They are a "best case" scenario. My students often lived in bad parts of town. They were latchkey kids. They had to try and finish homework while helping their younger siblings with homework and fixing dinner. It's a totally different situation.

Comment Defending Phillip Seymour Hoffman Follwing His Death

In his defense, he sought treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at age 22 and had been clean for 23 years. In the world of drug addiction, he would have been considered a success story and an inspiration. But an addict is never cured, only in recovery. Last year, he had a relapse. He once again sought therapy, but it looks like he wasn't able to fight those demons this time. 

People like Hoffman are a testament to the struggle of drug addiction. He wasn't some party animal rock star or celebrity embracing the bad boy/girl image. He was a father who lived a private life when he wasn't creating near perfect performances on film. He was humble and by all accounts of those who knew him, very kind. He had access to the best treatment available and he seemingly had every reason to fight his addiction. But he died alone with a syringe in his arm. 

No, it isn't fair that non-famous people are labeled "junkie" and their deaths are only mourned by the few family and friends who loved them despite their struggles. But I also don't think it's fair that two decades of living clean and flourishing in his industry while raising three children should be discounted because he overdosed.

Everyone deserves compassion. Everyone should be remembered for the good in their lives. No one should be defined by his demons and shortcomings.

Each life is important.  Some are just lived in the public eye.  

On Calling School Off in the South Due to Extreme Cold

I've noticed that many who bitch about the schools letting out for extreme cold either don't have kids or are the "haves" who can't wrap their heads around living in poverty. When I taught high school in Memphis, I'd see kids walking in 20 degree weather in nothing but a sweatshirt. Buses didn't run to students who lived within a certain radius of school. By the time I'd pull into the parking lot, my car would be crammed full of shivering teenagers. 

I can't figure out if some people are just clueless about how the other half live or if they just don't give a damn. No child should have to ride a freezing bus for an hour or walk to school without heavy winter gear when it's in single digits. It's cruel.  If I see one more status about spoiled, sissified kids or one more post about "well when I was young," I am going to snaaaap.

I do get the parents who are frustrated because they have to find childcare, but that's just part of being a parent. How many teachers have to find last minute childcare or a last minute sub when their own kids are sick?

Comment on Discussion about Santa

I grew up believing in Santa. It was a neat part of Christmas. My parents didn't use him as a behavioral tool or threaten us with waking up to an empty tree. He was just a magical part of Christmas. We left him a snack and wrote him letters. In addition to our gifts, he would leave us a letter. And they were such precious letters because our parents got to speak through Santa. I always looked forward to that letter as much as I did the presents.   

We never officially stopped believing in Santa at our house. It was never a conversation or an issue. I didn't want to give up Santa. It was such a special tradition with my parents and brother. But I got old enough that I knew the truth and I appreciated that my parents went through the trouble to make it magical. 

Santa comes to our house. He leaves Amelia a couple of gifts and we provide the rest. Not because we want credit but because we know she's going to talk about what Santa brought and we don't want another kid wandering why Santa gave him so little. 

We don't do Elf on the Shelf but have a stuffed elf who is our helper elf. She gives Amelia special missions each day to help others and show true Christmas spirit. 

We aren't liars. We're just continuing traditions that were special to us.

Comment About a Mom Being Criticized for Her Child's Meltdown

I've seen my fair share of bratty, unruly, God awful kids, but I do know someone with a child about that age who is on the autism spectrum and who also has some other issues mentally. He's pretty bright but he's a mini time bomb. Screaming, hitting, total rage. She never knows what may set him off and how he may react to something. Sometimes it's because he didn't get his way but sometimes it's because he's over stimulated by something around him (crowd, noises, etc.) When he gets that worked up, she has to just walk away (which she can't do in a store). I'm not saying that is the situation here. This may have totally been a kid who needs a knot jerked in him. Just pointing out that sometimes the mom is doing the best she can, and there are situations where it's not a result of bad parenting. I try to give parents the benefit of the doubt. Even if the child is "okay," we never know what is going on at home or in the parent's life at that moment.

Comment about Churches and Depression

Sadly, the church is rarely a place where the mentally ill and those who are desperate and hopeless feel comfortable to lay their burdens. 

You know, when people have cancer or any other potentially fatal illness, how many people tell them, "It's Satan." How many people question their faith?

"Oh, you have a lump in your breast? How's your prayer life?"

Once the church and it's people are ready to treat depression and other mental illnesses like actual ILLNESSES, maybe they can make a difference.

On an Atheist Student's Editorial Being Pulled from a School Paper 

Before people start applauding the school, let's consider this hypothetical situation:

The student in question is not an atheist but a Christian. The area isn't Lenoir City, TN, but somewhere with a heavy Muslim population, say the Dearborn, Michigan area. 

What if that student felt pressured to pray to Allah? What if teachers were writing scripture from the Qur'an on the blackboard? What if that student wrote an article about feeling uncomfortable as a Christian in his own school and the administration stopped the school paper from printing it? 

I dare say that the Christian community would jump up and down, angry that this student's rights as a Christian are being trampled.

Look, I attend church. I beleive in God. I also spent ten years as a public high school teacher. I firmly believe public school is not the place for religion. Students go to school to be taught, to be prepared for college or the work force. They don't learn calculus or chemistry at church. If parents want religious doctrine to be included in their children's school curriculum, then they need to place them in private, Christian schools or homeschool them. 

It seems most Christians disagree with my views, so let me throw out another scenario to consider:

What if Christianity WERE part of a student's public education? Now, which denomination gets to create that curriculum? Who gets to teach Bible classes? A Baptist? Church of Christ? Pentecostal? Methodist? Catholic? Mormon? Who makes sure that someone of a different denomination isn't indoctrinating your child with his or her interpretation of scripture? What about morning prayer? Will students be required to "cross" themselves? Speak in tongues? 

If religion becomes a part of public school--even if that religion is Christianity--there is too much division between denominations and belief systems. It would just become one more war to detract from why the kids are there: TO LEARN. 

We are supposed to have freedom OF religion in this country, but doesn't that also include freedom FROM religion? Doesn't each person have the right to choose whether religion will be a part of his or her life?   

Students are allowed to pray in school--as they should be--but I don't agree with adults leading them IN prayer (unless it is in a club or group that the student has CHOSEN to join). If we lived in an area with more teachers who were Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist, parents might reconsider pushing for school-wide prayer because it might not be limited to Christians.

Before you push for relgion or prayer in schools, consider the fact that your religion isn't the only one and we don't all pray to the same God.  Let the teachers handle the math and reading and leave the theology for home and church.