I have to start by saying I love the film “Into the Woods”.. yes I know that it is also a play, but I haven’t see that.. and it’s pretty much the same thing. (spoiler) Anyway, it’s one of those fairytale stories with the morals all mixed in. There’s the one about honesty and the one for being true to yourself and going after your dreams but not forsaking others… and on and on.
The finale of the movie is my favorite, though. It’s a song about being careful what you put out into the world. There is a new baby and a scared father and the words are to be careful the things that you say, as children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will learn. It explains how children are constantly picking up on everything that we do and say. If we say that they’re lazy, they will believe it. If we say that they’re bad… they will believe it. If we say that we are bad or not worthy.. they will believe it.. and will learn the same of themselves. Our words and actions will become their words and actions.
Now if that isn’t impressive enough, then it gets into a refrain and it changes..
Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes a spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
It starts to talk about the words that we say to ourselves and how we create our own stories based on these words. We create our own reality as we begin to hear and say these words over and over.
It’s very common for someone to put all of their faith into an outside event and believe that their life cannot be complete until we get that love interest.. or the job, or the education, or the right body/looks.. and so forth. We tell ourselves this “story” so often that we can’t see past it. We can’t move forward in anyway until we reach that goal. Now sometimes this is a good thing, and it motivates us to strive for our best… but sometimes it holds us back from creating the life we truly want.
The other story that we like to tell ourselves is all of the reasons that our past is our problem. We have never succeeded in life because.. our parents were jerks, our exes left us, we didn’t finish school.. we’ve always been….. and that’s our story. That’s who we have become> we no longer have hopes and dreams and motivations.. we simply have our fallback “reasons” for our problems.
All of these are nothing but words.. nothing but stories, and fairytales. Our lives are not our past or our future, our lives are the choices that we make everyday. So be careful the things you say.. and do.. they are you.
It amazes me the lengths people will go just to be right. A “friend” on Facebook just published a video about how the Left is so hypocritical that they are up in arms about illegal children but don’t try to do anything to stop children being killed here by guns and drugs… when I pointed out that the left has tried to put through policies for gun control and mental health he stated that no one was upset when Obama took the kids from their illegal parents.. when I cited articles that stated that Obama, though he held families and unaccompanied minors in detention centers, he didn’t actually separate babies from their moms. He then spent the next hour defending the policy to anyone willing to comment.
He said that the illegals shouldn’t be breaking the law, that, “How bad can their countries really be that they’d have to risk getting their kids taken away?”. When it was pointed out that some of the countries they are fleeing are violent, and that little girls are being raped and boys are being forced to join armies or drug cartels.. he said that we, as Americans, should just invade their “shithole” countries and take them over.
When it was pointed out that we could easily save the money that would be spent on wars and just aid those who wanted to leave he argued back that it’s not our job to save other people and that they just needed to stop breaking the law.. that just because he wants a new Escalade doesn’t mean he can just take one. He apparently didn’t understand the difference between protecting the lives of their children from rape and murder and getting a new expensive toy.
He went on and on about how if he breaks the law that he would have his children taken away.. even though it was explained that this is just a misdemeanor and no one would have their kids taken away for that.. and even if the kids were taken away in the case of a felony.. they wouldn’t be placed in a detention center. He argued in favor of this policy over and over and spoke of it’s praises and why it should be supported and how it’s all the illegals’ faults for being criminals… then he threw a curve ball and said that Trump had tried to change the policy but that Congress wouldn’t let him.
Obviously this confused me, so is the policy fabulous and right and deserves to be in place.. or is it horrible and bad and Trump is trying to change it? He told me that I was just trying to start an argument. I explained that while I enjoy a fact filled discussion this “argument” just took a turn.. he was no longer supporting his point. He was just going against “the Left” for the sake of it.
The original post was about the Left didn’t care about American children.. when it was pointed out that they did and were blocked in making changes.. he spent his time trying to prove why the Left was wrong for being disgusted by this policy.. then, in a sudden switch, said that this BAD policy wasn’t even Trump’s fault…. uuummm what?
I have noticed this is a growing trend. People don’t want to talk about facts or come up with a resolution.. they just want to be right. They will flop subjects or sides mid conversation just to save face. They make the most inflammatory comments just to confuse and befuddle their “opponent”. No one wants to help, no one wants to resolve.. people only want to win… even if by winning everyone loses.
How often do we find ourselves holding on to some past slight with both hands as if letting go would prove to be a sign of weakness? How often do we feel as though we need to validate every action that we take as proof that we are better than some bugger from our past treated us?
I look around at this world, at social media, at the news and I find it very difficult to see the good that I know is out there. It seems that everyone has their chip on their shoulder or their person or group or reason to blame for something not going right in their life, or their happiness not being met.
I started following a single parent group on social media and every post that they put up was some sort of male bashing, I am woman hear me roar, cliche… Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for girl power, but not at the sake of half the population, and not all single parents are women. I, personally, was raised by a single dad who belonged to that same organization.
When I commented as such and that we shouldn’t be placing blame on any specific side, the moderator responded, “well, it can be used for men too”. That wasn’t the point. Firstly, none of the posts were about men, and secondly, most of the time when a marriage falls apart there is not one side to blame. Most of the time there is plenty of blame to go around so to have a support group who posts things that fan the flames of anger seems the opposite of support.
Part of growing is understanding what we have done wrong in our past. It’s understanding our faults and our mistakes and missteps so we can learn to avoid them in the future. If we spend all of our time ranting in our “support” groups about how we were wronged, or how every bad thing that happened fell upon the shoulders of another, then we are no more prepared for our next journey than we were for our last.
When I think of empowerment I do not think of all the ways that we are better than someone else. I do not think of all the things that we can and should be doing to bring down another person or group. I think of ways that we should raise ourselves and each other up. We do not need to steps on the heads of our perceived enemies in order to rise, we just need to give each other a hand or a leg up.
There is plenty of anger and resentment in this world, and it doesn’t actually help anyone. This isn’t just a male/female issue either, it’s time we let go of all of it. That bully from 3rd grade probably either doesn’t remember you so it’s not worth letting them have power over you now, or had more issues in his life than you could have in a lifetime and didn’t know how to express is. That teacher that made learning impossible was one year… how many years ago? Your parents… oh God.. your parents were a mess.. yup.. they were human. They made mistakes. They made poor choices… maybe they were straight up a**holes, but who cares? I mean really… they messed up enough of your years as a child, now you are the adult and you have the ability to make your own choices. Are you going to be one of those adults, like your parents, who constantly makes the wrong ones, or are you going to step up and learn from those mistakes.
I see so many people who make excuses about why they can’t hold jobs, or have good relationships, or be good parents, and usually it’s because of how someone treated them in the past. How does that make any sense? You are telling me that you have the right to be a loser.. because your parents were losers and you hated them for it? Umm… not to sound to harsh, but grow up.. live YOUR life. Tomorrow your parents will be gone, that bully will be a memory, and those feelings… they can either percolate and control your future, or they can be released.. and you can understand that no one, not even parents or teachers, are perfect. That we all have our demons. We all make our own choices based on our own limited experiences… which experiences do you want to shape your life? Which life do you want to grow?
There is nothing more important in this world than the well being of our kids. So, as an empowering woman I took it upon myself to search the internet for the most common ways to screw up our kids in an effort to help us all avoid them. My research was very fruitful.
- Helicopter Parenting: This is a very common parenting style in which parents do everything for their child in an effort to make sure that their child never feels even the slightest bit uncomfortable. They cut and peel grapes for the high school aged, home schooled children who are still being read children’s books in an effort to keep them from learning anything that my be disturbing. Apparently “experts” have found that sheltering your child to the point of stunting mental and emotional development leaves children unable to make decisions and fend for themselves.
- Free-range parenting: This is another common approach to parenting in which the parents choose to do the exact opposite and let their children run free and happy and completely in charge of their own lives. They let their children go to the park on their own, make friends on their own, handle their own disputes… heck.. half the time they don’t even know where their own children are. They feel this is a great way to teach their children independence… but apparently “experts” have found that free range children are kidnapped 100% of the time.. or they run with scissors and stab themselves and their friends until there’s nothing left but a pin cushion… or something like that.
- Breast is Best: Breastfeeding has been in the news a lot lately. After much research and development scientists have found that the way mother’s fed their babies for millions of years actually may in fact be the best way to feed a baby. They have said that it not only gives them all the nutrients that their little bodies need but also helps in creating a bond between mother and child. In fact there is a chemical secreted during feeding (oxytocin) that gives both mothers and babies a feeling of well-being and love. But apparently “experts” have found that mothers who breastfeed are just attention seeking “drug addicts” using their infants to get that “oxy-high”…. and they’re gross because they want babies to be sucking on their boobies… even in PUBLIC! perverts
- Bottle feeding: Bottle feeding is the best way to feed your baby. You can gauge how much they’re eating. The formulas now a days come with many different ingredients so you can not only make sure that your child gets all the nutrition needed but also can pick one that won’t have any allergens.. like.. milk.. or soy.. or some other food that used to not have anyone allergic to it. But the “experts” say that feeding a baby from a bottle is akin to child abuse because the baby could never feel loved without the bonding that occurs during breastfeeding.
- Co-sleeping: Now I did not know this, but I guess co-sleeping has been around for millions of years. In fact at one point babies didn’t even have their own cribs at all.. actually, no one really had beds.. but the point is, I always thought co-sleeping was just some hippy thing people made up. Co-sleeping is the act of sleeping with your baby. That’s pretty much it. The “experts” however, have declared that this is the fastest way to kill your child and cause SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and while there is still no cause for SIDS the “experts” still say it’s sleeping next to your baby.
- Sleep training: This is the action of teaching your child that it’s time for bed. The point of this is to make sure that your child sleeps at a good time so that the child is able to let it’s brain develop properly. It is usually used by people who do not co-sleep, as they teach their baby to sleep by themselves, and to sooth themselves. It is designed also to teach independence. However, “experts” say that letting your child cry at all in any way is cruel and unusual punishment and that anyone who sleep trains should be waterboarded and have bamboo stuck under their fingernails to see how they like being tortured.
- Spankings: Spanking is the act of slapping a child with appropriate force on the bum in order to curb behavior. “Everyone” was spanked in every other generation ever and that is the only way children could ever learn how to behave. The reason why kids today are such ruddy little prats is because no one spanks anymore.. except all the people who still believe spanking is the only way. The “experts” believe that any small amount of pain to one’s backside, even in an effort to save the child’s life (ie the child keeps unbuckling his car seat and thinks it a game to have mama freak out and stop the car to buckle him back up) is detrimental to the child’s state of mind and can only create serial killers in the future.
- Timeouts: Timeouts is the practice of removing a child from a situation after the child has acted out and putting them in a chair or safe space for the appropriate amount of time (1 min per year of age) in an effort for the child to “think about their behavior”. Back in the old days this was called being sent to the corner.. not sure how it changed. The “experts” feel that this is akin to putting an inmate in solitary confinement and that anyone who thinks that punishment of any kind is appropriate for a child just shouldn’t have kids.. in fact they should be sterilized immediately!
So.. I hope this helps clear up any confusion that you may have as a parent. I know I love all the “expert” opinions that I have received over the years. If you can think of anything that I haven’t put on the list, by all means be sure to share in the comments.
To quote the late great Whitney Houston, I believe the children are our future. Now obviously we all know at this point that Ms Houston was flawed, but that doesn’t negate the message that she sang so remarkably. The children literally are our future. They are the future presidents, future business people, future doctors, and teachers, and parents of the next generation… most importantly right now.. they are the next voters.
Children have forever been overlooked. They should be seen and not heard. Well, today children are being heard. They have a platform never imagined by previous generations.. they have social media… and I don’t just mean facebook, which apparently is for old people now, who knew? They have platforms that most of us have never even heard of. Instasnaptube… or what ever they are called can connect young people from around the globe without even knowing how to pay the phone bill, and here’s the thing, these kids are smart, and way more competent than we adults give them credit for.
Today in Somerville Massachusetts kids walked out of their school. Now, for those that don’t know Somerville this is not an area normally thought of as involved.. or political.. or really full of any kind of clout. These kids are not the connected kids who are used to having power. These kids are taking their own power back, and they are not alone.
Adults spend a lot of time arguing about their rights. The right to have giant killing machines, the right to be able to say what they feel, the right to own or have or do… these kids don’t care about your rights to things.. these kids care about their right to live. These kids are literally saying enough is enough. It has been almost 20 years since Columbine and nothing of real consequence has been done. There has been no laws passed to keep children safe. It has been over 5 years since Sandy Hook… a mass attack that killed dozens of babies and nothing was done. NOTHING!. How is that possible?
Now, I understand that people feel very strongly about their rights. I know people that own guns and that’s fine… but why do people argue with things like background checks? Why do people feel that mentally unstable people have the right to kill others? Why are people opposed to registering these instruments designed for no other purpose than to kill? It makes absolutely no sense. A lot of the pro-gun argument is that if they give a little they will lose everything, but in fact their insistence to not understand and agree with common sense gun laws is going to lead to the next generation.. the generation of gun violence victims to actually ban all guns. That’s how it works.
These “kids” who “don’t know what they’re talking about” are going to be voting in the next few years. These “kids” are going to be running for office.. and if you think Obama was good at the grassroots effort you’ve seen nothing like a kid with am instagram account collect followers.
Millennials are thought of as lazy and entitled, and maybe part of that is true, and I’m not sure what the kids of today are called.. because technically they aren’t even millennials, but these “kids” will find the fastest, easiest way to spread their message, and they feel entitled to their feelings, their message, and their lives. I’m sure at one point the “adults” thought those kids fighting for slaves rights, or women’s rights, or gay rights were just “stupid kids” who won’t accomplish anything… but I believe the children are our future, and if you don’t watch out they’ll leave you in the dust.. and they’ll feel entitled to your jobs.. and vote themselves in.
The other day was my son’s birthday, and I was watching him run around with his friends. He was doing this silly dance that he thinks is so cool, and I was just in awe of his wonderfulness. I couldn’t believe how great of a son that I have. For those of you who have children you know this feeling. You know how it feels to love someone so uncontrollably and completely. You know how it feels to love unconditionally.
I’ve given a lot of thought to unconditional love. The love between a parent and a child is the most obvious kind. I knew no matter what I did as a child that my father would never stop loving me. I knew that no matter how many times he grounded me for “nothing”, in my teenage brain, that I would never stop loving him. It is true. My father died 3 years ago… and I still have never stopped loving him.
Unconditional love is spoken about a lot.. almost as a fairy tale. As if it were an ideal that people could never actually live up to. Relationships fall apart just as fast as they come together. Divorce rates are growing while marriage rates are dropping. No one can say forever anymore, and because of that unconditional love seems like the unicorn of feelings… but here’s the thing. Love isn’t about staying together. Love isn’t about rings. Love doesn’t even have to be romantic.
When I think of unconditional love I think of those who are in my family. My father, my brother, my son… and those we choose to consider family, my God daughters. Those are the people that we love “more than ourselves”, and that I feel is where the biggest problem lies. It’s not that we can’t feel unconditional love for another person. It’s that we’ve lost the ability to feel unconditional love for ourselves. We are our harshest critics. We undermine ourselves all the time. We second guess. We insult. We ridicule. We don’t even have the ability to take a compliment from someone else anymore.
We see it all the time. Someone says, “you look good today” or “you did a really good job at..” and suddenly we have to come up with all of these reasons why it wasn’t actually our doing. We have to try to sound modest. But it’s not modesty. It’s the uncomfortable feeling of being praised. We’re not used to it. In our heads all day we hear, “oh you look fat”, “you totally messed up that spelling bee in 3rd grade what makes you think you can land this big contract”, “look at him and his nice suit he’ll get this job over you.. who are you?”, “why would anyone love you when there’s someone like her out there?”. These are the words we tell ourselves and then we wonder how we could possibly have trouble loving other people.
We never think about the damage that self deprecation actually causes. We think that we’re helping. Next time you find yourself hearing these words in your head think about how you would feel if someone ever said them to your kids or your parents. Think about whether or not you would ever say those words to someone you love… and… don’t you deserve the same love?