Appreciating What You Have

When you are young and you leave a good friend, things or places that you love, I believe that you leave with the anticipation or feeling that you will experience that feeling, people or place again. When you are older and more experienced in the reality of life you may begin to understand that when you leave a place, friend, or walk away from something you love, you have to savor it, because like it or not the reality is that it could be the last time you have the chance. This thought came to me when I shook the hand of a good friend that was returning to Arizona for the winter earlier this year and the handshake just seemed to have a different feel to it, not a complimentary social grace but a heartfelt understanding on his part that it could be the last time we shook hands. That idea was refreshed in my mind when I watched the last sunset over the lake for the year at our Mn. cabin. I think I finally realized why my father-in-law, later in life, used to sit in the chair by the front windows at the cabin every evening and raptly watch the sunset. He knew that you should truly appreciate every moment of what you have and I find that I am still learning that virtue

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It’s The School’s fault that My Child Is Tired

I find it interesting that the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that school start times ( have we heard this, it’s the schools fault theme before) are unhealthy without noting that parents used to nag their children to go to bed and strangely when they stopped enforcing a reasonable bedtime found that they had to start nagging them to get out of bed. The schools did not reset the circadian rhythms of these chlldren, the home did! These are the same parents who swig 5 shot espressos themselves on the way to work or down two Monster energy drinks at lunch because they themselves stayed up too late the previous night doing such important things as Facebook, Clash of Clans, late night TV, or socializing in a bar thus providing an important visible role modeling for many students who the next morning walk into, in some cases elementary schools, with a Venti Starbucks or a can of Jolt in their hand complaining about how unfair it is for them to have to be awake. Both the AMAP and the Students themselves failing to note that eventually they will have a job and they will be required to sleep on their own time. It should also be noted that a sleep period has both a beginning and ending time and although you may not be able to control the ending you most certainly can control the beginning to guarantee adequate sleep. Besides I have since childhood regularly awakened between 4 and 5 AM every morning no matter when I go to bed and I find no one suggesting that has harmed my health or that school’s alter their schedule to allow me to take advantage of my peculiar situation.

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How Do You Define Beauty?

It is said that beauty is only skin deep with that I disagree as the skin is but the surface of the true beauty that lies within,be it math, man or a ripe melon.

There is a beauty in math, where creative minds daily find new pathways to unique and elegant solutions that are truly beautiful but are never seen on you tube.

There is a beauty in the right combination of words in the right place and at the right time that capture the imagination, motivate and soothe the soul, such words are rarely found in a world of 20 second sound bites.

There is beauty in hearing the truth but even more beauty in telling the truth when it hurts.

There is genuine beauty in the smile of a child who succeeds after being allowed to fail, a smile that is rarely present in a world where no child ever fails.

There is beauty to be found in disappointment following effort, disappointment after effort will eventually turn to comfort, while unearned disappointment will only lead to disaffection.

There is a beauty in old age that our society seems to have forgotten, those who accept their age and move on will always be happier in the long run than those who fight their age and will most certainly lose.

There is a beauty in animals who live their life minute to minute, day to day, without undue worry about tomorrow, their legacy and when their life will end.

There is a beauty in the knowledge that sacrifices for our children will be repaid by the sacrifices they themselves will make.

There is a beauty in an old printed picture that you can hold in your hand and next to your heart that the denizens of the digital age may never understand.

There is beauty in nature’s power and terrible quixotic nature that a TV weatherman will never capture with super Doppler radar.

There is beauty in a dog sitting on the side of a hill letting the breezes bring the world to them just as there is beauty in a cat sprawled in the sun on a window sill who could care less about the world.

There is a beauty in history that is only felt by those who walk appreciatively, carefully and thoughtfully on the same boards trod by those who came before them.

There is beauty in most people but most often that beauty does not ever appear on the pages of a slick magazine or TV show.

The Final Beauty
There is true beauty in reason and a reasonable understanding that “reason” will never answer every question.

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Like A Girl

There is a lot of stuff out there demeaning the use of the  phrase, ” Like a Girl.” and I understand the pejorative uses of the phrase but isn’t it possible that perhaps our world might just be a better place if more of us  including governments did some things, ” Like a Girl.”  I have always been either blessed or at times cursed depending on the situation by being surrounded by strong girls (particularly on creative problem solving teams in school) and strong women at home and at work.  As a school teacher for many years I  discovered that there is nothing tougher and yet more compassionate than a good female school teacher at any level of education and nothing more focused than a girl or woman who decides what she wants and goes after it. So although I won’t often use the phrase ” like a girl,” I sincerely hope that our society does not evolve into one that does all things, “Like a Man.” 

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Just Reading the Manual Is Not Enough

These things cannot be taught by in  manual or text book: Nor can they be regulated by law or rules. They must be learned first hand… second hand just won’t do!

If children never fall, how will they ever learn how to get back up?
If children are not exposed to good character how will they develop  good character?
If children are totally surrounded by materialism and sexual images what will their normal be?
If children are never given reasonable and significant consequences for misbehavior then what will be the difference between behavior and mis-behavior?
If the only muscle children  ever use is their thumb. How will they learn to use their other muscles?
If children learn there is always an app for that what will happen when there isn’t?
If children are never allowed to be children how will they raise their own?
If children don’t know history are they doomed to repeat it?
If children grow used to lies from our leaders what will happen when they are leaders or more importantly when a leader actually tells them the truth.
If everthing is stated in black and white, right or wrong, this or that, tolerance or zero tolerance  when will our children learn that there is value in the middle of every situation.

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Masochists Come In Many Flavors

As I was walking the dogs this A.M. I noticed that several irrigation systems  were running after we had an inch or so of torrential rain yesterday afternoon. Now I know that most of you have heard of S and M (Sado-Masochistic). You know S&M, enjoying, giving and receiving pain. Well  after this mornings walk I believe I have identified  a sub-class of S and M called M and M. (not made by the Mars candy company) This subclass tends to have very dark green, dense lawns and water them even after a heavy rain. M and M is short  for Mower-Masochistic. Look for individuals trapped in the evil web of M&Mthey’re  all around us often totally camouflaged by the work environment. Most can be identified by a faint greenish tint to the soles of their shoes or the aroma of  eau de fertile cologne.

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River Dwellers the New Homeless?

The Headline in the Des Moines Register is “River Dwellers Face Eviction.” In what is now an annual or semi-annual affair the City of Des Moines is removing housing and trash placed on public and private land near Downtown Des Moines by a group that used to be called the “homeless” In reporting on the story the Register has created a new less pejorative term for the homeless. That term is “River Dwellers”(One can only wonder if this is going to be like the undocumented immigrant./illegal alien transformation). The register notes that the River Dwellers are going to be evicted from the land and their possessions removed if they are not removed by the River Dwellers themselves. The use of the term eviction is somewhat strange as eviction usually entails a payment for services, space or an attempted purchase which is clearly not the issue here. I can only wonder In a world where we build ice rinks, skateboard venues, bike trails and dog parks all over the place that serve a noticeably limited sector of the public perhaps we. might want to consider creation of a ” Homeless(strike that), sorry Register, “River Dweller Park”! Each River Dweller could pay rent of 30 recyclable cans and bottles a day.    The City could even allow fishing at the New River Dwellers Park to remove that undesirable fishing element that is creating a problem on the Principal River Walk downtown . Imagine the pride Des Moines could take in the fact that they created a home for the homeless, cleaned up the river walk and increased recycling all with one action. This would allow the Chamber of Commerce and the City to advertise that Des Moines no longer has any Homeless only River Dwellers who work in the recycling , beautification and fishing industry. Surely somewhere in the redevelopment plans for Waterworks Park they could squeeze out 30 acres in the flood plain for the benefit of  that obviously underserved segment of our population, the “River Dwellers.”

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