Ubiquitous

Ubiquitous.  Pulled out the dictionary to make certain I had this one, that I wasn’t off somewhere I should not have been, that my focus stayed channeled and not too widespread.

What do you know?  Another bullseye for Two-Names.  And, in truth, I have always put a handful of irons in the current fire,  have been a mix-mistress for too many years.

Give me a cause to trust, to engage the brain and I am off.   Could be that if I stayed with one or two passions, I would find resolution.  Maybe.

One of the amazing lesson taught at Ward High School and Donnelly College was the universal responsibility, not only for self but for what needed the involvement of self.  Actually, we have a degree of responsibility to  our known world.

Edward P. Jones wrote The Known World and the concept fits my need.  Mr. Jones remarkable book is heartbreaking in describing the known world of men, women and children slaves working for Master.  Each character in his novel lived and worked within that knowing.  Edward P. Jones’ passion was to share this plantation life of slavery–the buying, selling and owning of humans.  He touched this lesson of universal responsibility.

So…once again, I thank Two-Names for defining my rambling in a new way, sort of covering my bases.  I like that.  I appreciate having such a nice word handling all my rants and raves.

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Wii Wondering

A mother of a five-year old boy believes in trikes and Big Wheels and I shout ‘Bravo’. She follows that with the belief that Wii promotes exercise and I revisit my memory of two young nephews playing with a gift, the  Wii. Following that experience, I saw two older relatives using the same activities. Both experiences took me right to that place where I store all my rationalizations from my children’s growing years.

My relatives used the game for baseball, tennis, bowling and more play after I left the room. Their arms got a nice waving workout and they moved a bit from the waist. The activities lacked the impact of muscle with racket, bat, whatever.

Contrast Wii activities with the fresh air, sunshine and actual running on a tennis court. Consider hitting a baseball and all-out focus on rounding the bases, being part of a team. Feel the power of pounding a serve across the volleyball net. The bend and stretch of bowling coupled with handling the weight of the ball just does not balance with holding the Wii control and watching a TV screen.

Granted, it was fun to watch the kids enjoy yet another electronic toy. And each of these relatives is very active in age appropriate sports plus enjoying the trikes and bikes for the sheer exhilaration of challenging their own abilities. The sport exercise came long before the electronic board game called Wii.

My doubts extend to the belief that playing a game on Wii will carry a child into the actual sport by creating interest through the TV game. Wii is couch potato compared to smacking a ball across the net or racing to make that third out catch.

There is a place for Wii and the laughter and fun associated with it is good for family and friends. But the benefits of real exercises are so much more than laughter and fun. Perhaps every hour spent on Wii should be matched with an hour of true physical exercise and at least one hour a day with a book. That would approach balance.

Lost Horizons Meets The Bird Woman

History has never been my forte, though some of my children and grandchildren have an amazing sense of the importance of historical perspective and events. At times, it seems as if Bob has memorized parts of the journals of Lewis and Clark.

A documentary  focused on Lewis and Clark as they followed Thomas Jefferson’s commands to open and chart new territories. Napoleon’s willingness to sell the French holdings greatly increased the unmapped area.

Undaunted Courage is the title of Stephen Ambrose’s book on the journey. Perfect title.

Charbonneau, a French trader, was hired because his young wife, Sacajawea had knowledge, talents and courage to aid and inspire. The documentary is very clear, detailing the importance of Sacajawea’s contributions to the success of the mission.

Earlier in the week, we found an old tape called Lost Horizons. The  1937 movie was remarkable for scope, scenery, quality and budget. A plane crashed and a group of English people found themselves in a Himalayan village where ego and greed had given way to a gentle life free from want of any kind. Generosity and kindness were the order of every day.

Incredulous, ‘George’ was questioning the village leader. George asked, “And what about women?” The leader is stunned that the question would come up. “If a man sees a women he wants, she is his.”
George follows with, “But what if she belongs to another man?”
“It would be impolite of the other man to refuse.”
The woman would be given.

Now, I will grant that my mind does take leaps that raise eyebrows and can earn dismissive head shakes. I will grant that I don’t always follow the logical and reasonable when I sort my thoughts.

However, in the early 1800’s, a 16-year-old pregnant Shoshone woman travels with the frontiersmen of Lewis and Clark. She shares the hardships in every detail, matching step for step along the journey. At one point, Sacajawea saves precious cargo as Charbonneau panics and flounders his boat. Lewis and Clark write that she has the courage of any man among them.

A 1937 movie continues the societal belief that women are possessions, to be handed off if a man likes what he sees.

How very slowly we have moved along the journey of equality.

Quiet

Morning stillness can be perfect. Alone, not awaiting, not anticipating…just alone in the quiet–a beginning.

Insomnia driven stillness rasps and grates, begging for snatches of sleep.

Quiet is a measure of distance when it separates a quarrel, anger and pain imprisoned in the stillness of refusal.

We learn from both loneliness and being alone. Quiet moments, tipped and balanced, serve us well.

More Beliefs

I believe that friendship is one of  the most delicate of connections. It is a bond strong enough to handle the weathering of the most difficult days, but can wither with the ordinary.

I believe that we parent until we die, though we need to parent very quietly once the child reaches puberty. After the child becomes an adult, totally silent parenting is our best option.

I believe that having fun is vastly over-rated for the young and under-rated for the elderly.

I believe that we have encased self-esteem in fake cotton candy.

I believe that ‘universal truth’ is extremely elusive.

I believe that civil discourse withers as underrated in our age of rage and vitriol.

I believe that those who oppose abortion must, in justice, provide for those unwanted children born because abortion was not an option.

I believe that every child is precious and deserves a run at ‘equal’.

I believe that the values taught in my childhood church grease the wheels of civilization.

I believe that the nuns, the Sisters, have given heart and soul to serve  many of those values.

I believe that social justice is our greatest hope of healing.

I believe that gratitude is under appreciated.

I believe that appreciation is the soul of gratitude.

Education

Each time I read about failing schools, drop-out rates and dumbed-down curricula I am usually reading a lament about the quality of teaching. No Child Left Behind was worthy in concept attempting to address many problems including functionally illiterate high school graduates.  NCLB addresses the problem at second-stage rather than source.

A recent email circulated a circa 1930 eighth grade graduation test. The email talked about the amazing depth of the testing and the fact that “only an eighth grade education” was not synonymous with under-educated. In fact, the email challenged college graduates to take and pass the test.

Elementary teachers interact with students approximately six hours a day for 185 days each year. Middle and high school teachers have far less one-to-one contact with individual students. Principals and counselors are expected to be behavior specialists fighting the daily disruptions that are crushing the educational process. In-School-Suspension is just one of the strange concepts developed to remove kids from the classroom while accepting that parents don’t have time to step-up to the problem.

Of course, there are problems in our schools. My return to college when my children were in elementary school happened because I witnessed the problems.  My determination was to be part of the solution.

Teachers do not need a defense from me. Day after day, teachers return to the classroom, determined to make a difference, to address the problems and educate our children. And the rewards certainly don’t come in the form of high salaries. The rewards come because students are important and teaching is a way to be part of the solution.

Teachers cannot monitor nutrition, hours of sleep, quality of friendships, choice of heroes, time spent on video games, texting with friends, homework completion, hanging out at malls, forms of discipline, behavior expectations and television, music and movie choices.

Teacher definitely do not need a defense from me. What they do need is a new paradigm in which education is higher up the scale of cultural values.

In The City, Vatican City That Is! (ccr)

This is a struggle, Gentle Reader.  I have loved my church for a very long time.  Sadly, some of that love and obedience  formed in my innocence and ignorance.  Searching and sorting isn’t an easy process, but at age 71 I need to intensify the quest.

Before I write about Sex In The City, I want to share  something so poignant that it is painful.  My friend, Martha, recently listened to the teachings of Fr. Dan at the Benedictine Convent in Atchison.  Fr. Dan remarked that we worship Jesus, but we do not follow Him.  The remark has led to so many disturbing mind pictures.

Imagine the gentle man, Jesus journeying  toward the place where He will speak of the Eight Beatitudes.  He travels in rough clothing with rope sandals on his feet, a living study of poverty.  Imagine that along the way, men and woman who disagreed with His teachings suffer torments to force the heretical thinking from them.  Maybe He passed the stake where a burning filled the air with rancid smoke.  Imagine the reaction of the gentle man named Jesus.  “Blessed are the peacemakers…”

And so to the Second Albatross:  Sex

To Review the Sins (Probably Mortal)  Connected with Sex

1.  Any premarital consensual sexual activity.

2  Any consensual premarital intercourse.

3.  Any marital intercourse that does not have procreation as the main objective.

4.  Any consensual sex between adults not married to one another.

5.  Any consensual sex that has an expression of love as the main goal.

6.  Any consensual sex that has pleasure as the main objective.

7.  Any sex that uses artificial birth control to avoid conception.

8.  Any sex involving women/men who have taken the vow of celibacy.

9.  Any consensual sex between two men.

10.  Any consensual sex between two women.

To be clear:  Any sex between an adult and a child  IS the sin, the transgression inexcusable, the abuse and degradation of children through power and authority.

The ten top reasons for labeling sex as sin, one of the strongest and most basic human needs.  Not to be flippant, but Dave Letterman never had such an unbelievable  Top Ten!

Celibacy is the subject of controversy in the Catholic Church.  Some have blamed the sexual abuse of children on the vow of celibacy.  That is too simplistic even though celibacy is a method of control over the clergy by controlling one of the strongest and most basic needs of humans–a subjugation.  Obviously the required vow has not produced a celibate clergy.

I will acknowledge that controlling a basic need or urge is often a good thing.  As simple example is self controlling our gluttonous urges in order to maintain a healthy weight, to stop harmful  overconsumption of  alcohol.  Without any doubt, anger, lust, laziness require moderation and control in a workable society, but not by the clergy and not under threat of sin.

Sex between consenting adults does not need church control.   Jesus did not enter the bedchambers in order to preach over-population or abstinence.  It is not the jurisdiction of a clergy, celibate or otherwise, to inhibit a couple’s sex life.  An unmarried priest can never know the intricacies of marriage, sexual and otherwise.

Maintaining the current teaching on sex is most definitely a decaying albatross putrid with the scandals of abuse.