Gratitude Sunday: Teach Your Children Well

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Gray, lacy edges,
golden sun light behind casts
out silver rayed cloud.

Sunday Musings
March is around the corner and nationally designated as Women’s History Month. It’s pathetic, really, to have to set a month to celebrate the contributions of women to this world, considering we constitute fully half the population. Not one of us exists in this world if it weren’t for a woman. But without men the miracle of conception would never occur either in this fancy dance of life. Don’t give me the in-vitro argument. Cold clinical baby-making? Eww.

I’ve been thinking about men this month. I love men. I don’t always trust them any more than I trust women, but that’s me. Of course men are different from women. It wouldn’t be any fun if we were all the same. But it seems to me we’ve gone off the rails somewhere along the way.

I’ve been a feminist since I was a teenager, when I realized how unfair it is for a woman to depend on a man for protection and income if we consider ourselves to be equal and as capable as men. When I was raised in the 1950s and 1960s the standard male model of the century was in the process of being broken. The “strict father” style of family and parenting was being questioned by youth and dismantled with progressive technology. I was lucky to have a gay uncle, and learned early on people could be different. My mother made sure none of my other uncles behaved in an untoward manner to my sister and me. Generally we were not left alone together. I am so grateful; because the men in my family did not physically harass or molest me, I have always loved them.

Verbally, and emotionally it’s another whole battle. To be disapproved of because you are fat or not as pretty or as smart, or whatever, is internalized and carried with you all your life. Women grow up with emotional walls we build inside ourselves to keep some private space no person can violate.

Not all men are violators; some are victims as much as some women are. As feminists we need to help men learn how to be honorable, respectful, and non-violators. We have dismally failed the young men in our generations. Failed to teach them honor, failed to teach them respect, failed to teach them love, failed to teach them how valuable they are. I’m not saying men don’t love others, or value themselves, but what I see seems skewed. I can point all kinds of fingers of blame, only one of which would be the 50s and 60s media that glamorized the lecherous playboy lifestyle taking the focus away from families. Blame doesn’t offer solutions and only gives partial understanding of the de-railing.

I see men who don’t provide for their families or acknowledge their offspring. I see men who despite the need cannot find employment or a good fit with employment. I see men giving up and letting the wife work for minimum wage and then complain about why it isn’t enough to make ends meet. I see men disabled from years of hard physical labor without a social safety net to create a life with dignity when they can no longer work. I see young men who don’t want to invest in a college education because they fear the spirit killing weight of debt before employment. I see young men unable to start families because they’ve spent years living in their parent’s basement, never progressing beyond a minimum wage job. I see boys who will never succeed in academia with few pathways to vocational resources at the teen level. I see boys neglected in our public school warehouse system, because they are active hands-on creatures and often slower to take to academics.

This is not all men; obviously many men have been able to figure out how to succeed. But when I read that 16 percent of our young men aged 18-30 are unemployed, I see a statistic to support my concerns for men. It starts at a young age, which I saw for myself when I volunteered in the son’s classrooms and saw boys being ignored because teachers don’t know how to teach children with reading differences like dyslexia, and the consistent drugging of boys because they wiggled in class, boys who 30 years ago would have been sent outside to play are now over-diagnosed as ADD or ADHD. There are no tests to “prove” these “diseases” and if these children’s brains are truly different we need to develop teaching methods for them, not drug regimes. We may never know the fall-out of drugging our boys so they can sit in a classroom, instead of designing education to fit more than one style of learning, except maybe some of the results are now many of the basement dwellers, their brains compromised by years of chemistry altering drugs.

We have worked so hard to get equalization for girls and young women in our schools I’m afraid we have tipped the scale askew. Unfortunately, if either gender fails, we all do. All people have merit, but boys and girls are not alike. Similar, not the same. But it’s going to take all of us in this world to keep civilization going and maybe even make it better.

**Disclaimer: Please do not take me to task because this appears to be a binary discussion, as I chose this format for simplification of noun and pronoun use. We know it’s never that easy. For me, inclusion is primary, thus “all people have merit”.**

As you know I don’t express concern without having a few ideas for improving the situation. Keeping in mind, of course, change may be constant but it doesn’t happen overnight.

I’m not blaming teachers. Our teachers do the best they can with what they have. I’m not sure we even give teachers all the tools they need to accommodate all learning types, which makes the case for innovative thinking that much stronger.

We start at the basic levels, providing professional day care for our littles so their parents can work without worry for the safety of their children.

We think out of the box or beside the box for education. Separate part of the educational day into “gendered” portions, not dependent on genitalia or sexual designation on a birth certificate. Children would have a greater opportunity to participate in hands-on or active kinetic style learning, and also have a portion of the day for academics. Part of the day would also be spent interacting between the two (or more) learning styles to prevent isolation.

We absolutely need to re-invest in vocational schools at the high school level, especially agriculture, and infrastructure skills, in addition to current technological skills and advances. Imagine a school for teens innovative enough to produce and install solar panels and fund the school’s additional activities with the proceeds. Or a school who produced a series of tiny homes to help alleviate the homeless situation in their community. Or a school that converted the unused lawn areas into vegetable gardens complete with goats and chickens (for a complete eco-circle) with culinary classes to feed the student body and faculty with fresh local organic foods that traveled no more than a few feet from garden to table. We’re always going to need to eat and the more local we eat the greater the affect we have on our carbon footprint. We need to teach our young people how to farm and produce food and how to enjoy the fruits of the bounty, to have the knowledge they can depend on themselves and not commercial food producers. I’d rather students learned how to produce food than how to mow lawns.

We need to have better pathways to vocational work. We are likely to always need electricians, and plumbers, maintenance and construction workers. Since this type of work is hard on the body, men need to have the option of retraining at midlife or after injury moving to an academic or teaching position. They will certainly have enough experience to teach the next generation.

At the same time we need to provide experiences in home care. Everybody needs a roof over their heads. Knowing how to repair an appliance, how to hang a picture or a curtain rod, how to glaze a window, or clean a gutter are important bits of day-to-day knowledge. Likewise how to put a meal on the table after working an eight hour day and having no idea what’s in the fridge. And how to do their own laundry and clean the bathroom and wash dishes. And how often to wash the sheets.

So here’s the thing. If we don’t teach our men how to do some of these basic things in life we end up with a generation or more living like mycelium in their parents’ basement never able to fruit into the true mushroom as productive citizens with careers and families.

I would guess if we nurtured boys in a similar way we do girls, by making education fit them rather than making them fit the current education, we would find we are able to create a more stable work force, more satisfied citizens, and more secure family situations. The fear of insecurity is part of what is wrong in America. These suggestions are not welfare or assistance programs but a re-thinking of whom we fail and what we can do to try to improve education and employment for all who need it.

We can’t buy the myth that men are tougher. Men are sensitive critters, and they should be. They are human beings. And they need nurturing every bit as much as girls so. We don’t have to feed the power myth, or the capitalism myth, or the patriarchy myth to improve the lives of men and women as well. We need to teach our children, all of them, well.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Another damp week here but my favorite brown and gray mud puddle is full. dscn29011 Pink edged grape leaf buds call out to me for pruning. archey-budding-vine1 White leaf shadows imprinted on gray concrete sidewalks. dscn9993 One bright white late winter crocus. dscn9826

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Needed to move into a lighter head space, and tired of trying new things and being disappointed, I am re-watching Grace and Frankie (2015, rated TV-MA) with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Two women friends in their 70s go through a huge upheaval in their well established, privileged lives. Some nostalgia, and some comedy moments, I found it fun the first time, and equally relaxing this second time. * Atlantic Records: The House Ahmet Built (2007, not rated), part of the PBS American Masters series partly funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, this is a biographical documentary about a music business centered on Black American music, built by Ahmet Ertegun, whose father was a Turkish diplomat. Interesting how many of my old records were artists on this record label.

di45nee4t1

Currently ReadingThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007, fiction) by Junot Díaz about a young man of Dominican Republic heritage, his isolation and his writing aspirations, the story is interjected with Spanish and slang Spanish my translator won’t translate so I have to make up a definition from context. My basic Spanish 102 only goes so far and I’m too shy to ask a Spanish speaker to explain as I’m sure many are expletives or slurs. I know the cultural myth says that within any one heritage it’s OK to diss each other, but outsiders can’t. I still think any diss is hurtful no matter where it comes from. Still, I can’t put the story down. Since it is still late winter I might consider this to be my Winter Classic read as it fulfills the criteria, i.e., I haven’t read the author before, it’s taking me to a different time and place, and the novel is a Pulitzer Prize winner. * But What if We’re Wrong: Thinking About the Present as if it were the Past (2016, contemporary culture) by Chuck Klosterman, a series of essays posing questions about how the past informs the present and how that may affect or reflect the possible future. I’m not sure I always follow his logic, but his thoughts are interesting and we’ve progressed to conspiracy theory, and the meaning of dreams. This is turning into one of those I consider a little above my current level, so I continue reading, confident my neural net is taking it all in and one day the pertinence and application will dawn on me. Still enriching.

Spring Easter borders

This week I have been grateful for:

    • Living in a “small town” environment.
    • The first crocuses and color of the late winter season to brighten the day.
    • Technology.
    • Shutting off technology.
    • Waking up every day in my own bed in my own home.
    • My chive plant, all that’s left of a graduation gift of a wooden box full of growing herbs to season my commencement from 20 years ago. With the fresh chives each spring I still commence. And remember the friend who gave it to me every time I look at the pot of chives.
    • Getting a couple surfaces clean. And all the kitsch on top as well.
    • How good it feels to stretch muscles and not feel pain.
    • Accepting pain as part of life.
    • Talking with men to understand their perspectives. We hardly ever agree, but I like learning what they think.
    • Hearing some positive financial news.
    • Knowing how to fold a fitted sheet into a tidy square.
    • A sweet ripe kiwi.
    • Relishing the craving I get this time of year waiting for the first fresh asparagus.
    • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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One Response to Gratitude Sunday: Teach Your Children Well

  1. piratesorka says:

    My beautiful potted chive plant died…as in dried up and died. I don’t think it was meant to be in a LARGE pot. Very sad. The pot is too large and much to heavy for me to lift or else I would put it in my car and take it over to YOUR house. I know you could do some magic with it.
    I have to tell you I just love leaf shadows, I’ve been seeing brown and reddish ones lately but so far no white one. You must be special! Well, of course you are! I declare it so! Queen Kate of the West!
    Love,
    Queen Connie the Chiveless

    Like

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