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What Were They Thinking?

21 Jun

“You’re so ugly, your kid should kill themselves.” Klein said her son committed suicide 10 years ago. 

I sat down to eat my lunch today and thought I’d catch up on the news. I really hate reading the news because it gets my blood boiling. Especially today. I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the 68-year-old school bus monitor who was bullied by a bunch of middle-school kids on their bus ride home. If you haven’t, her name is Karen Huff Klein, and you can read all about it here. I was beyond disgusted and beyond angry when I saw this and heard the horrible things they were saying to this woman. I felt ashamed of kids I didn’t know and embarrassed for how she must have felt. The suicide comment above must have hit so close to home for her that it made me cry.

It is incidents like these that make me so worried my own daughter and school. Because this is happening. This bullying is real. The sheer fact that there are so many avenues to bully people now just overwhelms me. Four different kids took videos of what they did to this woman and then decided to share it with the world. As if being bullied wasn’t humiliating enough, now the whole world knows. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it will open the door for us, as parents, to talk to our children and reiterate what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

How this woman handled it with such dignity is beyond me. I felt rage and wanted to scream at them for her. I wanted to yank those kids off the bus and march them up to their homes and have a talk with their parents. This is a 68-year-old woman and I’m sure their words hurt very much. At 68 I think she possesses the maturity and understanding to know her life is worth living. That she shouldn’t kill herself. But what about a 10-year-old? This is what scares me.

I don’t know what I would do if Ava were on the receiving end of treatment like this. Lord knows I’ve bought a few books to try and learn how to raise a happy, confident girl. I hope that if that day ever comes where she’s bullied or sees someone being bullied, she stands up and stops it. I hope that she is always 100% certain that her life is worth living. I do know this, if she EVER treated an elderly person (or peer) the way the children in this video treated Ms. Klein, she better be prepared for eight hours a day, five days a week volunteering at the local nursing home over summer break. She better be prepared to change bedpans and get to know the people who have come before her; people who have shaped this world she lives in.

I don’t know the types of homes these children came from. For all I know, they have great parents who are really, really angry at them right now. I can only hope that’s the case. I hope that the parents make these children right what they’ve done wrong. I hope that these children are taught a lesson they will never forget. I hope we are all taught a lesson we will never forget. Treat people with respect.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie

I Would Never Forget My Child in the Car…Or Would I?

10 Jun

A blogger I read alot, Heir to Blair, recently posted up an article from The article is usually the type I avoid because it’s just too heartbreaking to read. To sum it up in the most unemotional way possible, a mother forgets her child is in the car, temperature rises and the child dies. Horribly, horribly heartbreaking and tragic. Almost everyone who reads it would probably feel remorse. But I would also bet there’s alot of, “I would never do that! How do you forget your child?”

Or the other blogger I came across who’s wife lost her child in the womb. The woman had to go to an abortion clinic to have the procedure done to remove the child. How heartbrearking. I couldn’t imagine. But the truly horrifying part was the video he posted of protesters screaming at his wife. Telling her she was murdering her child. Can you imagine? Can you even imagine…dealing with losing your child and then to be screamed at on your way in to an appointment like that? I often wonder if those protesters had known…if they had known that her child was already gone, would they have treated her with compassion or even a little respect? Because THAT is a very different situation. But we assume that everyone who walks into a clinic is making a choice to abort their child. What if that choice was already made for them?

And how easy it is, right? To be so quick to judge based on what we think we know. Based on making a situation black and white without shades of gray. Based on ignorance. I thought alot about this last night as I was trying to sleep. Not so much about the young boy who died (because my heart can only handle thinking about it for about 10 seconds), but his mother and the guilt she must live with. To fully appreciate the other side of the story I recommend reading the article. But it got me thinking about snap judgments and superiority and what in the world makes most of us think, “Not me…” Because really, we say we would never make a mistake like that. More importantly we jump up on our soapbox and proclaim to everyone how WE would handle it so much differently. From an angle that isn’t tainted by emotion.

And while the stories above evoke a very strong emotional response, I’ve seen things I’ve done in my life. Judgements I was quick to make. I wrote about it once here. I try so hard now to approach with compassion instead of judgement. I try to start with, “What if it were me?” instead of “I would never…”

“I will never let my children sleep in my bed. Just sets a precedent that is so hard to break.”
This was long before I had a child. This was me being superior. I was going to be a strong parent. I wouldn’t give in. This was before I realized that when Ava is sick, sometimes she needs to be with me. And sometimes I need her to be with me. There is a part of me that is certain I will wake if her fever starts getting too high. There’s also the nights when she has bad dreams and  I remember being that young and being scared. So while I rarely let her fall asleep in my bed, she does end up in my bed more often than I said I would allow, which was NEVER if you knew me 5 years ago.

“I will never become the wife who goes out in sweats! Never, ever, ever!”
Here is my reality. My Saturday mornings begin at 6am. I have a 3 hour window to make the grocery list, start laundry, get Ava up, feed her breakfast, get to the grocery store with her before I’m pulling my hair out because it’s too crowded, get home and put everything away and then turn around to get Ava to ballet by 10am. So yes. I grocery shop in sweatpants. Most Saturdays mornings I attempt mascara and lipgloss. That should count for something.

“I will never give into whining. Hell, I will never give in. I will win every battle. I am the parent.”
Ahem…I am the parent…also a smart one. Three words: Pick. Your. Battles.

“My child will be made to sit still in the restaurant. She will do so without throwing a tantrum and I will never bribe her with dessert.”
She’s great at restuarants and she sits still MOST of the time. That has gotten better with age. But I’ve come to realize that while I will never let her run wild in a restaurant, I also can’t glue her behind to the seat. She’s still more fidgety than I’d like at times but that’s nothing a little ice cream can’t fix. 🙂

My “I Never’s” seem really trivial… and they are in comparison. I guess my point is that it is so easy to detach yourself from a situation when there’s no emotion involved. But if you stop and really try on another person’s shoes, you just might find that they don’t fit so differently. We really aren’t that different. We are humans who are extremely capable of mistakes. So the next time you are quick to rip someone apart for what they have done, challenge yourself to see beyond what you think you know.

How Could You?

13 Oct

This homicide investigation of Zahra Baker has gotten me wound up tight. If you haven’t read the story it’s disturbing and sad. She was a 10-year-old little girl who had already been through so much. Bone cancer took her leg and her hearing. And now, it’s believed her stepmother took her life. Sick, crazy people are nothing new. I don’t understand them as I’m not mentally at their level. I can’t comprehend hurting a child but I also am of sound mind and healthy.

I’ve pulled a piece of an interview with a relative of Zahra…

Brittany Bentley, a relative of Zahra’s, said Tuesday the girl “was beat almost every time I was over there for just the smallest things” by her stepmother.

“Elisa would get mad, she would take it out on Zahra, things the kid didn’t deserve,” Bentley said on CBS’ “Early Show.” “She just had a horrible home life.”

Bentley, who is married to Elisa Baker’s nephew, said Zahra was locked in her room most of the day and only allowed out for five minutes to eat.

“I just think this was something for a long time that we knew was going to happen, everybody that was close to the family,” Bentley said, apparently referring to Zahra’s disappearance.

Now…here is where I have a huge problem. Her relative, Brittany, said the little girl was beat almost “every time I was there” and the stepmom would do “things the kid didn’t deserve.” And goes on to say, “I just think this was something for a long time that we knew was going to happen.” What is wrong with this girl? How could you let this happen? How could any of you, who have stepped up for your 5 minutes of fame, let this happen to this child? Shame on all of you. You could have prevented her death by speaking up for her, by calling the right people and fighting for her to have a better life. Not only did this little girl not deserve what her stepmom did, she didn’t deserve to not have anyone give enough of a shit about her to stop it. Brittany publicly admits to knowing this little girl’s life would probably end but yet didn’t stop it.

My point is this…if any of you feel that a child might be being abused sexually, physically or emotionally, help them. Please. These children have no idea how to stop it or help themselves. Reporting child abuse is completely anonymous if you want it to be. Nobody will ever know you did it and you just might save a life. Speak up and stop the cycle of abuse.

Hating Hate

8 Sep

Why do I do this to myself? I need to have CNN and all other news sources blocked. But this time it’s kind of my mom’s fault. I didn’t find this story on my own. She asked me if I had heard the news about about this pastor, Terry Jones, and him hosting a “Burn a Quran Day.” I am speechless and at the same time so angry that I can’t even collect my thoughts to form correct sentences. I read this great article today that kind of nails it on the head for me.

I am a Christian…a very proud one. I believe in Jesus Christ. And for the life of me I couldn’t imagine sitting down and having a talk with God or Jesus and either one of them saying, “Now what I want you to do is, go out there, collect their holy word, burn it and perpetuate the hate.” Just doesn’t seem very Christian-like to me. Maybe I’m wrong?

It is sad and pathetic that this man, Terry Jones, claims to be a man of God. It upsets me that this man is using my faith as a catalyst to carry out these acts and claiming to do the work of God. How is that much different that the terrorists using their faith to carry out their acts of violence and hate? Using the cover of faith for personal agendas is just wrong.

About the only thing in this world that I hate is hate itself. Nothing good has ever come from it and nothing ever will.

No. You. Didn’t.

25 Jun

I think I’ve mentioned how much I hate watching the news. I may have also mentioned I can’t read any sad stories about kids without it eating away at me. I know I’ve mentioned how much I can’t stand racism. It really gets my blood boiling. Crimes against children are the number one stories that just send me over the edge. Racism is a close second.

Oh dear God…how do I even explain what has gotten me all riled up without calling attention to the person who did it. Because truly, I don’t want to attack her. I don’t know this woman, but she commented on another friend’s post on Facebook. The comment was a racial slur against the president, but more importantly against Muslims as a whole. Her profile picture shows her with a boy, I’m assuming to be her son. And I couldn’t help but be sad. As parents we push our beliefs onto our children…that’s the way it works. Just like I will push my belief on Ava to love a person for their soul. It makes me sad because this little boy will grow up with her beliefs and I know that’s HER right as a parent. But nonetheless, it makes shake my head that humanity is inhumane to fellow humans.

Racism is pure ignorance and arrogance. This is my belief. To judge a group of people based on one person is just plain ignorant. To believe your “group” is better is just plain arrogant. I have and always will associate with people from all walks of life. People of color, people of different religious beliefs, people with no religous beliefs, people who swear, people who don’t, people who spank their children, people who believe in time-outs…you see, they bring diversity and perspective to my world. They bring culture and honestly, damn good food. And we all know, I’m in it for the food. But really, even if they didn’t bring all of these things, I’d still enjoy their company because I’m not ignorant enough to believe that what makes up a person is what “group” they fit into. What makes up a person is their soul. And quite frankly, when you put up a racist comment you give me a glimpse of your soul and it’s not a soul I’d ever want to know.

I’m going to end with this quote:

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie


17 Jun

Every single time I glance at the headlines of CNN, I can find at least one article that irritates me. I don’t know why I do this to myself…why I even look. But here’s the headline that got me going this morning:

Latest airline fee? Early boarding

I thought, “OMG…they CAN’T be serious!!” So I had to read the article to find out how they packaged this concept up nicely so that somehow it’s a lovely gesture on part of the airlines…you know…a nice “service” they are offering. Because surely it’s thoughtful on their part, right? And sure enough, three sentences into the article:

American Airlines has introduced the “Boarding and Flexibility Package,” which allows passengers who buy tickets on the carrier’s website also to purchase perks that include being among the first to board a flight.

The word “perk” is mentioned twice in the article and it’s not so much that American Airlines is introducing the service, it’s the insulting way in which they deliver it. As if customers (you and me) aren’t smart enough to figure out that it’s a ploy for them to increase revenue. Right? I’m certainly not the only one who sees it this way, right???? They deliver it like they are “offering” you a perk. I think there was also the phrase “introductory price” in the article too! I get that businesses need to make money…hell, I like money too. But here’s my biggest piece of marketing advice, “DON’T THINK YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE IDIOTS!!!”

Is there anything airlines don’t charge for nowadays? I mean what’s next…are we going to have to pay to use the restroom in flight? Pay for our seatbelts? Here’s an idea, since I have to pay for my food now, you should remove the fold-down food trays and make me purchase one if I’d like to be comfortable while I eat.

I’m really not as angry as I sound…I just don’t get who’s in charge over at American but I’m guessing it’s the guy yelling, “Hey Stupid” at the press conference.

Why Do We Keep Drawing Lines?

4 May

I try not to read the news or watch the news because I take it all really personal. For example, someone posted a news video on Facebook the other day about a six month old child who had been beaten to death by her parents. I don’t know what it is but I literally become enraged and emotional about it. I don’t mean like “Oh that’s so sad.” It affects me to the point where I watched 4 seconds…4 SECONDS of this video before I had to turn it off. I just can’t watch it because those things are just unimaginable to me. Acts of violence on a child is a topic that I would go to battle for in a heartbeat. It just makes me so angry. That night I went to bed and cried and prayed for a child whose life I glimpsed for 4 seconds.

Anyway…on my google homepage, there’s a CNN box and it shows the latest headlines, etc. Today a headline caught my eye and I knew I shouldn’t have read it because here I am, all pissed off. What the hell is wrong with people???? Here’s the headline:

“Bullock’s adoption of black baby stirs debate”

Why? I had to know why. Because honestly, when I saw that picture on the cover of People magazine, I was just touched. It never occured to me to wonder why the hell she adopted a black baby. Do I notice skin color? Of course I do, I’m not blind. But do I think that skin color has ANYTHING to do a person. No…I don’t. I have no idea who that child will grow up to be. And you can talk about demographics and statistics all you want but people are individuals, despite the race they are, they are individuals who make choices, good or bad. There was a part in the article that really got my blood boiling and I’m just going to past the part here:

In a piece appearing on the site Black Voices, writer Lola Adesioye notes that Bullock joins other stars, including Madonna and Angelina Jolie, who have adopted black children. Madonna and Jolie’s children are African and Bullock’s new son, Louis, is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

“As Bullock’s case shows, a white celebrity adopting a black child raises questions as well as suspicions,” Adesioye writes. “Why do they want a black baby as opposed to a white one, when there are also white kids who are up for adoption?”

I feel the need to state the obvious here. Adopting a child, correction, adopting a baby in the United States is an extremely difficult process. I watched, firsthand, a woman try to adopt a child in the United States for 5 years…5 YEARS!!! And her criteria was relatively easy-going. She wanted a girl, younger than the age of 5. If the girl had a sibling, she was willing to take both so long as the sibling was also under the age of 5. Her reasoning for them being younger than 5 was that she had done much research that said children who are in “the system” past the age of 5 tend to have more behavioral and learning problems. She didn’t care about ethnicity. She just wanted a child and couldn’t have any of her own. The last I heard she was still waiting.

Now because this little child that Sandra Bullock adopted is a different skin color, we’ve completely moved past the very obvious. She is a woman, who adopted a child that nobody else wanted. I say hell yeah to that. And anyone who will go through 4 years of the adoption process clearly WANTS a child. Can she have her own? I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care. She took a baby nobody else wanted and the fact that race is being called into play is just bullshit.

I understand that each race has it’s own culture. I have friends of many races, many different religions, different political beliefs, different parenting beliefs, different cultures and yet I love those friends as if they are my blood relatives. I would move heaven and earth to protect them, defend them and be there for them in all the ups and downs of life. So yeah…I’m sure there was a white baby out there she could of adopted, but she picked that little boy. She wanted him. She signed up to move heaven and earth to protect him, defend him and be there for him in all the ups and downs of life and she did it intentionally. I’m sorry but that to me makes a better mother than one who has the same skin color.

Thoughts on Animal Rights

25 Feb

I don’t think of myself as an animal right’s activist…never have. I’m not on the PETA bandwagon, although I agree whole-heartedly that we shouldn’t be wearing animals as fashion. I read an article yesterday about a Seaworld trainer who tragically was killed by a Killer Whale. And while I’m a compassionate enough person to feel sad over it and say that my heart goes out to the family, I’m always a little angered over the fact that people ask, “How could this happen?” Well, people…we took a wild animal and stripped away every part of it’s natural habitat. I’m sure you’ve noticed that once an orca is taken into captivity, it’s dorsal fin curls over. And in all the years we’ve held them captive, and “studied” them we’ve never been able to scientifically prove why. It’s just so sad.

I read another woman’s blog and she mentioned how orcas communicate through sonar. Did you know that their calls are as loud as a jet plane’s engines and echo over many miles in the ocean? Now imagine you put that same animal in a confined tank…it’s like putting a person in a padded room and then telling them they’ll get treats for performing tricks. That is inhumanity at it’s finest. We can NOT recreate their habitat and to remove them from it and fault them for being “wild” is baffling to me. It’s sick that the very people who do it claim to be animal lovers. I can’t help but shake my head.