Monthly Archives: January 2014

Who Inspires Our Children?

 

Almost every day I see quotes from Marilyn Monroe plastered all over social media.  Quotes from other “stars” who were gone before their time also litter the walls of teens and adults alike, but this time I want to simply focus on the ones from  Ms. Monroe. The girl the world grew to  admire because she came from nothing and ended up a star.

Beautiful, yes.

Famous, of course.

Iconic, as a starlet, more so than almost any other I can name off the top of my head, yup.

A woman whose cute little quips we should live by? No Way, people.

Let’s just start by looking at some of the things for which she became infamous. Sure she came from not the best of circumstances and “made her way” up in the ranks of stardom, but at what cost? Really where did she end up? Did she have a life you would actually want to live?

Her life was littered with illness, personal problems, and a reputation for being completely unreliable, not to mention she was said to be an extremely difficult person with whom to work let alone just be around. Her affairs with the very rich and famous may or may not have contributed to her untimely death and the abrupt end of what she might have eventually been. Conspiracy theories abound on her death but the overdose of barbiturates that killed her was officially classified as a “probable suicide.” I don’t think that is the life any of us would aspire to live.

So is she someone you really, truly want to emulate? I’m thinking not. She makes a great Costume for a party (I speak from experience) but not so much a great model for living your life.

Here are a few of the more famous frequently posted quotes that we attribute to Ms. Monroe.  Quotes girls post with musings of how they want to  live freely like they imagine she did.   These are some, just  some of the ones that in that context  bother me-

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

Now, is that really who you want to be? Is that the girl you want your son to marry? YOU don’t deserve me, yet I can act like a spoiled brat and WILL expect for you to still put up with me, and take care of me and spoil me some more. Yeah, I’m just that awesome! That’s ridiculous!

”We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”

Sometimes if you think about any possible regrets an action might cause, you can have the opportunity to grow old. She never got that chance. The chance to see what growing old could be was missed, because she was afraid if she didn’t do something, even if she thought she shouldn’t she might regret it. Ironic? MMMMMHMMMM.

“If I’d observed all the rules I’d never have got anywhere.”

If she had observed a few more of the rules, perhaps she would have gotten a chance to go everywhere before she went to an early grave.

Now, I am not saying that she could have been perfect. Y’all know I am not and never was, but I am saying, these particular quotes are the ones that float about with a legendary purpose for “empowering” women. How empowered does living in turmoil and addiction and relationships that don’t even belong to you make one feel? That , my friends doesn’t look like freedom to me.

Was it her fanciful ideas that gave her a life so beautiful that she was  ”empowered” enough to have lived so well that she thought her life was worth nothing? So much so that she ended it herself?  Maybe.

WE have to be extremely careful about following the example of the famous, simply because they are famous.  Turning imperfect humans into our idols is nothing but dangerous.

I was laughed at for not letting my daughter watch Hannah Montanna, or pour Lindsay Lohan movies into her head. Snickered at too, for not letting her listen to “regular radio,” where Katy Perry began her Secular career.  I have been ridiculed for not allowing “regular TV” in my home anymore either. I actually did think about what would happen if they idolized these girls who grew into young women we now pity  and decided not to  let them hang their poster on their bedroom walls or follow them.

Should I now ask  all those who thought I was a loon if,  in retrospect,  Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan and Katy Perry are people we  would have wanted our little kids to have idolized then,  knowing the example that they set now?

Maybe if these stars had read these quotes from Marilyn Monroe they would have taken a different turn-

“ Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.”

“A sex symbol becomes a thing. I hate being a thing.”

“I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t.”

Now, the young stars I mention are still growing, and we all make mistakes, and my point is not to tear anyone in those tragic shoes apart, or belittle those who take a quote at face value while trying  to make it a part of who they are. As I have said before, I am so glad that all of my youthful ignorance was before social media took hold of our lives and there were no cameras following me around, it is just too bad our kids, these kids,  are not so lucky. My point is we have to teach them. We have to point out the real life behind the fairy tale. It is just one of our jobs, as parents,  to point out that when you idolize a person, or even just what they said, that the ideas don’t always  work out as romantically as our kids might have imagined in their dreams.

Sad, but true.

Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe

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I Am Not Laura Ingalls

I don’t think there is a day that goes by in the life of a homeschooling mom when she does notthomasdyl 231 feel like she failed.  I can say this in all confidence because not only do I live it but I get messages from other moms in the same position and hear it in person on lots of occasions when we happen to leave the house ;)

We may start out feeling like we are ready to conquer the world and end up feeling like we can’t conquer the next two minutes without crying our eyes out and ending the day in a puddle filled with every single dream of all of our children that we have drowned with our utter impatience and selfishness. Or maybe that’s just me, but either way, it is a totally true story.

When a kid fails I feel like I have failed them, myself, my husband, the dog, and maybe even their future spouse, children and grandchildren. Oh yeah and of course  their pets will someday suffer from my failures as well. Yeah, it’s a lot on my head.

See, I have all these different little kids that are in different grades with different needs and abilities and learning patterns and they have hearts and feelings and little baby brothers and sisters that need to be fed, and all these things in the house that are daunting me and then there is package that is coming, and the class we have tonight and stuff to take to church and more laundry but first we have to get through this last page of Dick and Jane and we have to do it now…. Now….. NOW ….. Because we have to hurry and I AM NOT LAURA INGALLS!!!! Then…. Yeah, I failed. I failed in teaching them well, I failed in self-control and I failed to get the socks matched and I failed to be a good example and I failed in making it what I knew it would be when I first roused them from their beds not so many hours ago.

I failed.

When the kids fail I tell them it is so that they can better learn to do things a different way. When they fall short I tell them that they get to start over again tomorrow. When they beat themselves up and don’t want to try again I reassure them that they are loved and that in no way does one small defeat define anything they are, will be or can become. I do all of this, in the moments when I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I feel like I have indeed failed!

If I could only extend that to myself.  If only I could look at the dusty mantle and the laundry on the floor and see a way that it can help me to learn to do better tomorrow.

I think maybe it feels so much like the end of the world when you think you fail your kids because the only reason you or I or anyone would do this is because we never want them to feel like we (or maybe I am projecting and it is just me) feel when we are in the dream drowning puddle- miserable. We know what and how we want them to learn, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

I would like to be able to as easily point to all of my successes during any given day as I do toward my failures. I am working on that. I know what I am doing is for reasons I some days lose in the forest of my imperfections, but I pray that in the end the kids have the joy of having been loved wrapped up in their thoughts of ABC’s and 123’s.

On bad days, though, I still only see them remembering my every cross word or scowl or outward frustration. I see them not learning enough or thinking I tried to cram too much in one day, one week, one hour. I see all the things that could be viewed as failure in small glimpses everyday. I think I magnify the bad in my little head. I think If I have less of those days they will have less of them to remember.

Until I miraculously become perfect, I will try and remember that a failure today makes room for improvement tomorrow. I will try to remember that, like I tell them, a piece of art can never be a loss; you just keep working until you once again see beauty in it. I will try and remember that grace is also mine and that, indeed I am NOT Laura Ingalls.

I need more coffee.

 

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Really, I Don’t Know Any Better

Often, I see people disgusted with the horrid behavior of little kids. Let’s face it, kids are going to misbehave and make mistakes. That is after all how they learn. 

I  find myself more often disgusted with the behavior of parents, myself included. I can’t bring myself to get over the bad behavior of Parents and move away.                                      I have picked up a kid right out  

DSC_0362 of the cart of  a parent  who was taking swings  and throwing F-bombs more than once, more than twice.. Ok, enough to know that one day I will probably be shot by one of these “parents.” But seriously,  If I child learns a behavior or a misbehavior it is really our fault as parents is it not?  It isn’t the fault of a 5 year old that no one ever taught them how to behave.

Now there are stubborn kids, yes I have a few, but there are also kids who are not being checked at all . Kids who walk all over their parents and siblings alike and you see it. Out in public, running around like little natives in a totally politically incorrect 1960′s movie they are screaming,  dancing,  throwing and practicing almost perfect defiance.  This is how they learn to cope, to get through and get their way. Because when you are born, all you know is you are hungry and need to get your way. When you are one all you know is you have wet pants and need to get your way. You learn to survive by “getting your way.” Then you see the parent who has no idea how to relate to their own child or what they need or how to cope trying an obviously never tested tactic to curb  said behavior. It is a circus.

Now, I include myself in this because I too have been a victim of some new over the top behavior and haven’t known what to do therefore making a mean face and throwing an idol threat or two only to give a minute of peace to  reestablish in my own brain that Mom needs a time out to assess how I have been paying attention to the needs of these kids and why they got one over on me…again. If I have to ask myself, “who is this child,” I have simply not been paying enough attention. I do, however get that  swings and F-bombs don’t help so If you ever see me at the store crashing carts and screaming,  know I welcome your help.

For me the head to head with a kid usually happens in public  because a kid knows that if they don’t want to be there the best way to leave is to make Mom take a leap off into crazy-ville. Trust me people it is a short leap.   

What I am saying is that kids get a bad rep. Don’t glare a at misguided kid. You are welcome to shoot eye daggers at a terrible parent. Oh, I need to take that back… Let’s say it this way,  though you may want to shoot eye daggers at a parent and give the don’t-you-dare-stare to a kid remember that it is very likely neither of them has been taught any better, yes even in adult hood. If this is how they grew up and this is what still surrounds them, they can’t see that it is toxic.  And if our example to them is just to be mean and display anger at the sight of them in our store or restaurant or our space in anyway shape or form, we are not helping. 

Along with picking up a few kids, I have befriended some arm-yankers-of – the -world , exchanged phone numbers and have even become  facebook friends with a screaming mom or two right in the middle of the store. Sometimes someone gets more out of you asking if they need help than they could ever gain by you yelling at and behaving toward them the same way you would shame them for behaving toward their child. There are moments when  you just have to look at the sweet little  dirty face of the screaming kid and imagine them saying, “really, I don’t know any better.” Give them grace and give them a hand.

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