Kindergartners would save the world, if we let them.

English: Beef

English: Beef (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are thousands of books on parenting and discipline, with techniques and tricks that range from time-outs to logical conversation. The ultimate goal remains the same. To teach our toddling dictators that the world is not theirs to plummet, toys are not rights but privileges, and we don’t bite our friends.  We spend a lot of time training toddlers that by the time they reach kindergarten they have the social and emotional skills required to function in school society.

I’m not sure what happens in the next 18 or so years, but apparently it isn’t good.

I listened to a report on NPR today that reported the solution to global warming is as simple as eating less meat. Apparently Americans consume an average of 200lbs of meat every year and that every aspect of meat production is an environmental disaster.  It made me wonder what it would take to get people to eat less meat. I quickly came to realization that there is not much we can do.  I picture a big man at a grill decrying the plea to eat less meat because, well, he likes it and he’s going to eat it. A lot of it.

If I tell a kindergartner that the meat in his lunch box is hurting the plants and the trees, he’ll most likely put it down.  If I tell him that meat is killing our world, he will probably cry and never eat meat again. He has been taught not to hurt his friends and, in his beautiful mind, the plants and trees are friends.  He has learned his lessons well and most assuredly ready to graduate to first grade.  Sadly, this young boy will probably grow up to be a grilling man, just like his dad. And eat meat. Lots of it.

What will it take to get people to eat less meat? A government nanny?

Maybe just a kindergartner in office.

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Because we are all just children.

via German Federal Archive

In grade school, I had a teacher that would start to whisper if the class got too loud. A simple, yet effective tactic, since we all quieted down to figure out what the crazy lady was saying. And she was a little crazy, she was a nun.

I was reminded of this experience while checking Facebook and saw another impassioned, yet reckless, post about a polarizing political issue, demanding allegiance or face a de-friending.  Whether or not I agreed is beside the point, it hit me like a battle cry. Take up arms with me, or be my enemy!

When did we all get so worked up about everything, particularly political agendas? We have become a world of squeaky wheels, to the point that all we can hear is the roar of opinion. This land needs some oil – STAT.

I’m fine if you have an opinion that differs from mine. I will feel superior to you, but you feel the same about me, so it’s a wash. But what I am not going to do is run around screaming at the top of my lungs, “You are either WITH me or AGAINST me! Your choice!” Really, is that a choice? I DISAGREE with you, but I am not going to shoot you.

Stop taking aim people, it’s counterproductive. Quiet down for a minute, use your inside voice, and just tell me what you want and why. If you whine and scream at me, I’m just going to put you in time-out until you can calm yourself. Or hide you on my news stream on Facebook. If you want to talk about it, I will listen, but I will make up my own mind at the end of the day.

I’m switching to my whisper voice now.

Please stop acting like little children, and let’s have an adult conversation.

Thanks.

 

Time to burn the house down

I spent the morning watching my new little buddy wander aimlessly across my ceiling, circling and stopping at what I can only assume is a spidey stop sign.  Apparently he had a busy Monday morning, lots to get done.

He wasn’t my last visitor today, because when I stumbled groggily into my kitchen to open the blind, alas, another one of the eight-legged brotherhood had set up camp in the folds.  The window is going to stay closed for a bit.

You see, I don’t kill spiders, and apparently the word is out.  They are everywhere, my constant companions.  I leave them be, and in return they avoid me.  The only exception to this policy was the black widow that dropped off the ceiling directly into my wash machine full of clothes.  I considered that an act of war, so she was immediately heavy washed in hot water with an extra rinse cycle.  She forgot rule #1: Leave me alone.  She paid the ultimate price.

I don’t spare spiders out of any karmic duty or Buddhist belief.  Actually, the Buddhist belief that all life is sacred is pretty appealing to me, except for one small exception.  I get a twisted satisfaction watching ants feast on Terro, like a little flock of Kool-Aid drinkers and I am Jim Jones reincarnate. Creeps me out how much I hate the little guys, but again, they declared war first. At this point you may feel compelled to remind me that we encroach on animals natural habitats, then blame them for trouble. Don’t. Save that argument for more worthy animals, like ANY other animal besides ants.

I read somewhere once, that spiders were good for the environment, and that has stuck with me.  I think they eat other pest insects, which I find  appealing since I grew up where mosquitoes are the size of condors.  I also like spiders because no one else does. I am a sucker for the underdog, the down-and-out, the lepers of the world.

Until today, I have been OK with my decision to not kill spiders, but things are starting to get a little out of control at my house. It’s like projectX was posted on BugBook and my life is never going to be the same.  Spiders, ants, mice, you name it, they got the event invitation. You can read about my mouse party here

I think it’s time to burn the house down.

The universe is at it again.

Photo: Bresson Thomas

After getting Slapped by the Universe recently, I thought she was done with me.  But here she is again.

Like many people, I have friends on Facebook that I haven’t spoken to since high school. I am naturally curious, and pretty open, so if I get a friend request and I remember you,  I will accept. I don’t mind that we may not have been close back in the day, or may never see each other again, I genuinely like most people I have met in my life and happy to see them again if only in photos.  In most cases, I know them better now than I ever did.  In some cases, I am drawn to their updates and stories and find them fascinating individuals.

A year ago, a series of posts caught my attention and it has been captured ever since.  The poster, someone I went to high school with and haven’t seen or talked to since, has been telling the story of his 6-month-old daughter’s diagnosis and battle with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).  Typically babies with SMA Type I will not live past the age of two.  It’s a beautiful story of love, advocacy, and struggle, told bravely. It’s not the first time I have born witness to a person’s open struggles through social media, but there is something about this little girl, Braylin.  I feel compelled to help in any way I can to further SMA awareness, and help her family with the financial strain.

Like most people in this Great Recession, we have limited funds and a strict budget.  I wish I could support every cause, every walk, and every girl scout cookie seller I come across, but it’s just not possible.  Instead, I have selected a small number of causes that are close to my heart to support, giving what I can.  One organization I support is the Alzheimer’s Association, since the disease took my father just 2.5 years ago.  Sadly, SMA is not on my list.  And strangely, it has really been bothering me.

It’s as if the universe felt my struggle.

“SMA research offers a ‘collateral benefit’, meaning that scientific discoveries in the field of SMA will be strongly translational towards a host of other serious conditions; this also means that progress towards treating and curing spinal muscular atrophy will directly strengthen that same progress within numerous other medical categories. Advancements in the field of SMA research might therefore offer hope to not only members of the the SMA community, but also to the wide range of patients, families, and friends who have been affected by many other serious illnesses. Among the diseases and disorders that benefit from SMA research: Alzheimer’s…”

via An Important and Beneficial Aspect of SMA Research | Spinal Muscular Atrophy Blog.

The NIH has determined that SMA is closest to a cure out of 600 other disorders, and well known researchers have determined that a viable treatment for SMA is possible IF the research is funded. There is a lot of hope among the SMA community, and all the communities collaterally benefiting from their success, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s  and ALS/Lou Gherig’s Disease.

Once again, universe, well played. And thank you for not slapping me this time.

I’m not sure how this message from the universe will manifest yet, but I have added SMA to my list of causes as a subset of Alzheimer’s. Consider this your introduction.  You may not have any knowledge or been directly affected by this disease, but clearly the research is important to many of us.

Beyond the diseases, this experience has reminded me that we can find inspiration from anyone at any time.  It’s important to stay open the amazing stories happening around us and continue learning from the people that inhabit our world.  What began as a story that tugged at my mother’s heart, is ending as a larger message about listening to the universe and what she is telling us.  My gut was telling me that Braylin’s story was important to me, I just had no idea how our stories would intertwine into a shared goal of a cure for neurological diseases.

To meet the little girl that inspired this post, you can find her at StrongHeartWeakMuscles.com. Braylin’s parents are fighters, and they do everything they can to give her what she needs. Please consider contributing to their fund to help offset the astronomical cost of care. Just the initial set up for in-home equipment is over $20,000 with future costs over $100,000.

You can learn more about SMA at Families of SMA.

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