Wednesday, October 28, 2009

things you have to teach your sons

Today's news carried the story of a fifteen year old girl. She was raped by multiple teenagers outside a school dance. Multiple others stood by and did nothing while she was raped.

As the mother of a teen-aged boy, I know I have certain lessons to impart. I have had the "don't smoke" discussion. I have had the "don't drink if your under-aged, don't drink and drive, drinking impairs your judgment" talk. I have even had the "if you are going to have sex, wear a condom" discussion, even though he isn't even dating anyone right now. I'm saving the "don't sleep with someone you don't want to wake up with" for a later discussion. We have discussed the whole breaking the law thing as well -- you can choose to break the law, but if you do, you have also chosen to take the consequences.

Now I have to add a whole new subject for discussion. Don't participate in gang rape, and don't stand by while others do. Really. Get out, call the police. I never thought that would be something I would need to discuss, but I guess I do.

Because I am guessing that there are some surprised parents out in California today, ones who thought their boys would never be involved in something like that, and never thought their child would stand on the sidelines and cheer while others raped a girl outside a school dance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pennies on the Dollar

Today was our annual United Way Campaign kickoff breakfast. As always, it had me thinking about people who need help.

Almost all of us would jump at a deal that lets us pay pennies on the dollar to buy something. If it cost a dollar, and I could buy it for a penny, I would. So would you. Now turn it around -- would you give a penny on a dollar? If you had a dollar, and someone really really needed it, would you give them a penny? How about if you had ten dollars, would you help someone out with a buck? I think most people would say "Yes" to that.

So this is my challenge to all of you. 1%. Pennies on a dollar. If everyone would dig deep, and give a whopping 1% of what they earn, we could make a huge collective impact on hunger, on homelessness, on poverty. That's a fabulous return, for pennies on a dollar.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

blog action day -- climate change

Today is Blog Action Day, which means a topical post on climate change. Except I really have not that much to say.

Climate change is real. It is not a political invention of the left. It is not caused primarily by cows. It is not a natural phenomenon. It is a problem that man has created, with our great big brains, and our thirst for more of everything, and easier everything. And so we have cars, even for an errand around the block. And we have air conditioning, even when it's 70 degrees. We have microwaves because 10 minutes is too long to wait for food. We have huge houses to accomodate all our stuff. We crave fruit that doesn't grow in this hemisphere, so we ship it halfway around the world. We have short attention spans, so we have TVs, and stereos and computers and ipods and xboxes and a whole host of things to distract us.

If we each made a small change or two, if each and every single person, did one or two small things to reduce what we use, what we buy, how we get to places, we can make a dent in the problem. It's important. And it's urgent. So do something today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

seeing each other as cut-outs

When did we stop seeing other people as "people"? three teens in florida lit another teen on fire, as retaliation for preventing them from stealing a bicycle. repeat, a bicycle. A six year old is about to get sent to reform school, for bringing a camping fork/spoon/knife combination to school to eat his lunch. A six year old! Certain pundits cheered when the city of chicago lost its bid for the Olympics, because Obama lobbied for chicago to win. An American city lost out on an opportunity, and people cheered the loss. WTF???

We apparently see each other as cardboard cut-outs. It's the only explanation that I can see. Maybe there are too many of us. Beyond a certain number in a given space, we just can't see anymore. I don't know.

It scares me. How do we get back to seeing each other, really seeing each other, as people? With hopes, dreams, feelings, real people. It's important.