Showing posts from October, 2010

Ten years and 14 thousand students later

It’s official. I have “retired” from visiting school classrooms and youth groups. I’ve talked to a lot of students. But if I consider 14 thousand a large number, I need to ask myself, “How many actually listened?” Humbling thought.
Each classroom visit was my opportunity to convey some realities about things teens face and the importance of making healthy choices. Without going into the stark details, I was given the chance to step inside the Millennial’s world and nothing could have prepared me for what I learned.
Believe me when I say that a few participate in sexual activities you don’t want to know about. While some have the idea that monogamy is having lots of relationships, just one at a time. Some dabble with risky choices, while others choose not to dabble at all. But most students are fully aware of what is happening. Innocence has been lost, often before middle school. It has been an enlightening journey. Besides being technologically superior to me, most teens are also quite …

Giving up the fight

Not many people enjoy arguments. For me, avoiding conflict feels better. Yet, when dealing with issues, those closest to me become an easy target. Growing up in the 60’s gave me an opportunity to be sufficiently warped by TV shows like Ozzie & Harriet and Leave it to Beaver. Back then television families just got along, and we were supposed to as well.
As a youngster, I admired how my dad seemingly could alter the course of an emotional river, becoming softer, not louder. But the 60’s also ignited women’s liberation and my mom got a new role model: Gloria Steinem. I Am Woman Hear Me Roar. This wasn’t an invitation for peace in our home. I compared the tactics of my dad to my more vocal mom. Like children everywhere, I watched and learned. I wanted to be a peacemaker like Dad.
Fast-forward to my getting married, raising kids, dealing with monthly bills & the typical job issues. Conflicts were inevitable, but I still could choose how to respond. Did the whole peacemaker lifestyle …

Find the humor…it’s somewhere

Notice how some people are naturally funny? To be around them is a joy. Laughter is continual, nearly infectious and it would seem they just say the most outrageously comical things. These folks are sprinkled throughout the population, probably to keep people like me from becoming hardened like cement.
Their humor comes in different flavors too. I like the dry variety—leaning a little close to cynicism. My mom was the family cynic. She could lambast politicians with a razor sharp tongue, and deliver outrageous one-liners. I recall the laughter her words elicited. I kind of admired that power.
Some people revel in practical jokes... like my dad who considered a good joke an event worth methodically planning (he, with the help of three dorm mates, carried a dilapidated outhouse onto the Husky football team's sideline during the 1954 Apple Cup---I was told it made a powerful statement. Cougars won that game, btw).
So I have humorous roots. Then why can’t I find my own humor? It must …

Moving past my past

They say letting go of your child is hard...especially the last one.
A glimpse out my driver’s side window brought old memories right back to me. A group of five & six year olds were playing soccer. Some kids raced after the ball, while others watched, unsure whether to chase after them or wait for the action to come back their way.
Suddenly, I traveled years into my past. Even though these players were different, it was the same field with the same slant of the sun. I smiled. It didn’t seem that long ago that I watched from those same sidelines.
I felt melancholy, a sinking feeling that I no longer could have my past back. Did I want to re-live having a six year old? Not really. But 14 years ago there was still so much left to do. A boy to raise. Games to be played. Lessons to be learned. I drove on past the field and let my mind have its way.
Soon I was re-living school days and birthdays, holidays and every-days. Age seven, ten, twelve, fifteen, each milestone moving us forward…