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The Dalai Lama in Manchester

He said vision, warm-heartedness and determination were necessary to attain those goals and that young people were more open-minded.

Dialogue was the key to avoid violent conflicts, he said.

He continued: “At the age of 16 I lost my freedom. At the age of 24 I lost my own country. During these 50 or 60 years I have faced a lot of problems but I never give up hope. Hope based on truth, hope based on reason.”

oh MAN… (pun intended)

… so we are now punishing women for saying the word “vagina” in politics.  In an effort to be balanced I offer the following thoughts:

  • It is definitely not okay that the majority party has silenced a member of the minority because she expressed her views. Just because you don’t like what someone has to say in politics does not give you the right to silence them.  Especially if they are in the minority.
  • Why did she say it?  She is frustrated… feeling like the majority has decided to legislate their morals onto her body.  But, most importantly,  she has said this in such a volatile way because she feels that the majority isn’t listening to her concerns.  She wants to get their attention to what she is saying.  Does that make it right to say something to incite the other side?  Is the method counterproductive to the means?  I don’t know…

So what gives?  The Republican party is upset at her for saying what she did.  She said it because the Republican party is not willing to listen to her, understand, and work with her.  But, in all actuality, the Republican party isn’t interested in working together anyway because they have a very narrow ideological goal that they view as something that cannot be compromised.

I am not saying who I believe is at fault… but I do believe this:  that we must get past a point of seeing ourselves as unwilling to compromise so that we can make ourselves open to the views of others.  The more we shut ourselves off the more we are willing to demonize the other side.  And once we are willing to do that we are willing to do uncivil (unmoral?) things.

Neither side works for the devil… they just view things differently.  While black and white is much easier to subscribe to, the better future for our nation will always be somewhere in the middle.

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A Father, a Son and a Fighting Chance

“As this Father’s Day approached, all I could think about was how much I want my son to experience the joys of being a father, how much I want him to marry the person he loves and to raise a family.”

Such an amazing article written by a father for his son on Father’s Day.  Beautiful.

The Outlier or The Rule?

Something you must know about me:  I have spent the last two years teaching in an inner-city school.  Middle school math.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and as a result understand both the severity of the problem and also how terribly complex it is.

My biggest takeaway from this experience:  our school systems, politics, and communities love to blame the teachers.  But I’m sorry… if a child isn’t taught respect and discipline at home, in their community, and through the media and I have to do it in my 45 minute class, you just can’t expect me to also have them master mathematics.  We put way too much on teachers.  And restrict them SO much.  I can’t do it anymore because the profession just makes me unhappy.  100% unhappy.  Love the kids but HATE the job.

So I feel like I have some sort of sympathy for this teacher who feels it is her responsibility to teach her students not to bully.  Right or wrong, I also understand the pressure she feels in that now the state of Texas is holding teachers legally responsible for inaction in response to bullying.  I want to make it clear that I totally do not agree with her means.

But I’m worried… I’m worried that we portray these classrooms in the media more than we portray the function, wonderful ones.  This in turns create a societal perspective that teachers can’t be trusted and that we get scared and then tie teachers’ hands even more.  What we don’t see is that this makes it even more disheartening and harder for teachers to do what they want to do, which is to simply teach.

I question you this:  Aren’t there in every job people who once in awhile fuck up hardcore?  But does that mean we then punish everyone else?  No… I don’t think we do… so we shouldn’t do it to teachers.

Could it be love…?

Recently I have spent many of my days babysitting my friends’ 11-mo old son, Michael. I know that it is against everyone’s stereotypes of boys babysitting.  Don’t be a hater because I think I am actually pretty fantastic at it.  And what’s more is that with this little boy I have discovered a new type of love that I haven’t felt this passionately before.  Of course, I’m talking about the love of a child.  Strangely, I was holding him by the window and began to cry at the thought that after this year I probably wouldn’t know him this deeply again and that made me sad, but made me even more convinced that I must have kids of my own.  I love him so much.

Another person I must mention in this post by the same name.  I am a person who has never “fallen in love” and wonder if I ever will have that.  I think I’m nearly too practical, rational, and realistic about things so even when things are good on a date, the emotional “fall” never takes hold of me.  But I think I’ve found someone who “feels right”.  I won’t go into the details, other than to say I feel we just “fall” into synch immediately.  Quite a new experience for me.

I usually know immediately off my gut instinct if something isn’t working.  But with these two gents I am constantly surrounded by their gentle genuineness, incredible intelligence, and caring compassion.  Who knows where either will lead, but right now I’m in “lovin’ it”.  Or at least my own version.