‘Tis The Season For Unfriending

It’s that time again where we see the true colors of our friends and family on social media—political season. I’m not talking about those who disagree with your points of view, I’m talking about those who can’t utilize social graces and respect for yours. I do love a debate—an intelligent, mature one.  When someone choses to resort to name calling and disparaging remarks, it’s a clear sign of their inability to cleverly discuss what they believe in. I don’t debate with these people as they are clearly not open-minded or reasonable.

Generally, I choose to not post anything that will draw too much attention, especially negative. What makes this wrong is that I’m not utilizing my feed as I want, therefore giving away my agency to others. It’s not because I don’t want to have a discussion, it’s more because I don’t want to end up “unfriending” should things turn as ugly as they sometimes do. As far as someone else’s feed that becomes increasingly offensive to me, there’s an excellent feature on Facebook where I can still be friends and unfollow them—or “snooze” their feed for 30-days. This, however, doesn’t stop them from seeing or commenting on my posts. Therein lies my dilemma. 

I guess what I’m wanting is the respect I give to other’s opinions and posts to be reciprocated. I scroll on by if I don’t like what you’ve posted and should I make a comment, it isn’t about the person, but about the post. If what they posted isn’t true, then I may say so and why—if I choose to bother. My feed is one of light-heartedness, family, and the occasional disenchantment. I can’t post everything that disappointments me as I would become too grizzled. But, you can be sure that I have researched thoroughly anything I choose to post. We’ll call that responsible sharing.

The reality is I will probably be discouraged at some point by what I see and will do what I must—if unfollowing doesn’t do the trick. This isn’t about being too sensitive, it’s about making my feed into what I want. We don’t have to like the same things to be friends and I’m always up for an affable debate. In the end, I will continue to show respect, support, and friendship to those who choose to share their social media with me. And, I will demand the same from those I choose to share mine.

“We should behave to our friends as we would wish our friends behave to us” 

Aristotle

We’re Teaching How to Think, Not What to Think

The school year has started and like many kids in our COVID-times, our daughter is enrolled in virtual school here at home. What she hadn’t anticipated was that we were going to take an active role in teaching her about things outside of her daily school curriculum. Some of these things include learning about history—with a focus currently on Florida’s history. We plan to read about and visit many landmarks and historical sites within a day’s drive. She has participated in a webinar on finances now that she has her own bank account. She will learn how to budget her money and keep track of her spending and saving. We have also added the Woman’s Movement given it’s the 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment. It’s important that she understand how far her gender has come. I want her to have an appreciation for the women who came before her and how they laid the foundation for future generations. They did this by pursuing not only what they wanted from life, but battled against those who saw to oppress them. 

We are currently reading And Yet They Persisted: How American Women Won The Right To Vote by Johanna Neuman.  We take about an hour of time together each night, taking turns reading and discussing things along the way. The writing is a bit advanced for a sixteen-year-old, so we utilize the dictionary frequently to ensure a clear definition of terms. I’ve come to realize that although I know the meaning of these words, sometimes I’m unable to clearly define them for her in a way she will understand. This is also where Michael comes in as he easily provides concise definitions and examples—he’s usually sitting off to the side listening as we read. Another thing we do is frequently pause to ensure our daughter understands the material. This takes up a lot of time, but it’s important for her to comprehend what she’s reading. Needless to say, we are all learning. 

Part of our learning experience is watching lectures—which we did today. The speaker was Johanna Neuman, who authored the book we’re reading. This creates an opportunity for discussion and better understanding of the points the writer is trying to make. Our daughter does seem to have an appreciation of the privileges and rights she enjoys because of the woman who came before her—more so now. Unlike her great-great-grandmother, she gets to have an education that includes more than learning to sew. She can be a pilot, a scientist, or even a president—of our country or of her own company.  One thing my daughter said today was her inability to comprehend how anyone can be sexist in this day and age—a frame of mind that would consider excluding women from what they want to do. I feel exactly the same and delighted she doesn’t feel like her possibilities are remotely limited.

She recognizes women are still working today toward total equality. She does, however, need to take a moment to process that when I started working in the business world back in the early 90s, I couldn’t wear pants to work. Women were only allowed to wear dresses or skirts—and required to wear pantyhose. My legs itch just thinking about it now. What’s also a challenge for her to understand—from both our reading and what she witnesses—is that there are some women who are good with the limitations a patriarchal society. They accept those rules and willingly play by them. The key point is for our daughter to appreciate that everyone should be free to live how they choose—even if she doesn’t agree.

In a world as diverse as ours, she has to accept that everyone will have a different perception of how life should be lived. Even those who grow up with the same parents have children with opposing views, so how can one expect the various cultures of our society to conform to one viewpoint? What we offer in our home is the right to discuss absolutely anything and learn from both sides of an argument. We want her to understand that ignorance of an opposing view is a sure way to lose a debate. The advantage to any discussion is knowing about all sides, not just what you believe. One must appreciate the complexities that create an individual’s point of view—whether that be upbringing, education, or experience. She must also be receptive to learning from others and find value in a difference of opinion.

In the end, she will have to decide for herself how she wants to live her life. She will discover on her own what causes she wants to fight for. Our job as parents is to ensure she is armed with a diverse education that will enable her with intelligent thought. This education includes the reality of the world she lives in and its history. 

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” 

― Margaret Mead

Misstaeks Happuhn

We live in a world of take-out meals right now and we are no exception in our house.  I do cook about 90% of our meals, which is no problem for me since I love to cook. However, there are times when only a restaurant-made meal will satisfy. 

In the past when we did venture out to grab a bite, we rarely (if ever) utilized the drive-thru. It doesn’t matter if we are getting a hamburger or a cup of coffee. We get out of the car and go inside—if we are getting food, we’ll usually eat there.  Besides, there’s always a possibility that something will be wrong with your order and you’ll have to get out of your car anyway. It doesn’t happen ALL the time, but it happens.

On Sunday, we decided to pick up some barbecue to take home and ordered a family feast online—pulled pork, a whole chicken, garlic bread, and two sides—French fries and baked beans. Once our order was brought out to our car, I decided to place it in the back, which would also allow me to check that everything was in order. I opened the containers, with the exception of a round, taped container and one styrofoam box at the bottom. The smell of the fresh, hot fries in the top box overwhelmed me and I got distracted. 

Once we arrived home, twenty-minutes later, we discovered the one box I didn’t check had a bag of donuts. There was no chicken, no pulled pork, and the taped container I thought was baked beans was barbecue sauce. I knew the restaurant had been very busy with Easter Sunday because the employee mentioned it. I was actually blaming myself for not checking the last container, but the reality is it wasn’t my fault—or was it? 

We drove back up there after I called and the rest of my order was waiting for me. They were apologetic and thanked me for my understanding. I smiled graciously and thanked them as, oddly enough, I was more angry with myself; however, I did check everything this time before walking out the door. On the drive home my disappointment was appropriately placed with them for not recognizing that the one bag they handed me originally could have in no way held my entire order—it was easily a two-bag situation. Additionally, someone else was missing their donuts. That’s borderline criminal, if you ask me. The good thing is that I let it go and enjoyed my meal.

We all have to remember, people are not infallible and we shouldn’t be upset when mistakes are made. We are all trying to work together with this situation our society is facing. The one thing I didn’t do, nor have I ever, was yell at or berate a person for getting my order wrong. What purpose does that serve aside from confirming you’re a jerk? Everything can be handled with a smile and letting the person know a mistake was made. More often than not, compensation is given when this happens anyway. And, I got free Hot Bag O’Donuts with dipping sauce! Well, they didn’t mean to give it to me, but whose complaining? Certainly not my daughter who likened the donuts to yummy churros. 

In the end, I felt full and satisfied with my meal. I WILL go to the restaurant again. I will check ALL of the containers before driving off. And, I will continue to treat people how I want to be treated should I make a mistake.