Wednesday, April 22, 2009

California Dreaming

Watching the Miss USA pageant would have been torture for me, but I have read and viewed several clips about this weekend's show.

Apparently Miss California was in the running to secure the crown until she opened her mouth during the question segment. Perez Hilton asked her if she thought gay marriage should be legalized throughout the U.S. She balked, and then stated that in her country, er family, marriage was between a man and a woman.

Perez cut her with his eyes, some audience members booed and others cheered. And she lost.

Now my problem with this answer is her lack thereof. I don't really care how Miss CA was raised, even though I was raised the same way. As, I have recently learned in my Critical Thinking class, when giving an argument you should lay out why you believe the way you do, and how it is right. Miss CA neglected to do that.

In all probability Perez would have tanked her even if she gave him a thoughtful answer. But the fact that she did not rankles me. Why should your worldview be the law by which everyone else should abide. Don't we have laws that protect justice and equality.

Miss California not only simplified an issue that deserves open and honest debate, but she smiled while doing it. All things being equal, I think I would have booed her too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why it's a really "Good Friday"

We are entering a weekend where Christians all over the world remember and celebrate the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And don't I plenty to be excited about? It is finally Spring. Barack Obama is President. And my husband is gainfully employed. All for which I am extremely thankful.

But I have another idea as to why this is a good Friday.

It's good because I will be returning home soon. Back to "NoGo". The place I so desperately wanted to leave almost ten years ago.

But this time I am returning with a heart of service. Arriving with the realization, that maybe, in a small way I can help someone out. Whether it be through tutoring or mentor-ship, I want to stop pointing a finger, and instead lend a hand.

There is so much that must be done if we are to revitalize our communities, let alone the country! And I am resolved to be part of the solution. All over the nation people are putting their hands to the plow. I join that effort. And I encourage others to do the same.

Whether its taking an elder in. Or driving a youth to practice. Tutoring, or even donating food to local charities. We can make a difference. There's nothing sappy about it. We have seen what happens when Americans fight one another and act suspicious of people who are different. This, our present circumstances, is what happens.

Divided we fail. And we all know just how badly we need to succeed.

If you plan to help out others, please comment and let me know. We can exchange thoughts.

America becoming a community of givers again, that gives me hope that today is truly a Good Friday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So this is what life is like....

My toddlers were arguing today. Yes, a two y/o and three y/o can actually argue.

As my head was volleying back and forth to understand their conflict, it dawned on me that they were really REAL.

I mean of course I've known they aren't dolls. I knew that when I had to wake up every two to three hours to nurse them as babies. But man, the realization that two of my Chocolattes' have independent thoughts and feelings, and positions for goodness sakes; already, was quite startling.

I feel as though its quite possible that when #2 is staring off into space he is really pondering something. It's kinda awe-inspiring. And frightening....

So I said this prayer:

Lord, help me to raise my boys to be thinking, thoughtful, and strong men.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How much do we really care about our childrens' education?

I had a Conference with my first grader's teacher last Thursday. We are moving soon, and I wanted to have a final check in with her about his progress, and what I might possibly need to watch for.

The meeting went well and she was very enthusiastic about the progress he made throughout the year.

After yakking it up for a while, I voiced my concerns to her that the school he would be attending next would not rate as high as Treetops. You see, in choosing a school for him I consulted GreatSchools for ratings, test scores, and parent reviews.

Treetops, a Charter school, ranked above average; and African Americans tested better than students at the school close to my apartment. FYI: I loooove charter schools! In IL, however, charter schools are rare. Not to mention, they are far from home, and local school districts don't accept outsiders, not even military service member's children.

Well, Ms. Sara looked me in the eyes and said, "An involved parent beats a top ranked school any day." And I thought wow. Really? They, I mean, We, do?

She went on to advise me to stay active in his education, and develop a relationship with his new teacher. And my son would continue to do well.

This was all well and good, and relieved a lot of stress I was feeling concerning the move, but was shocking as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Are Army Brats Getting Short-Changed?

Is it fair for children of our Armed Forces to be moved so often? Does the relative lack of stability pose a risk to their mental health?

These are the questions I find myself asking lately. When my boys were younger they didn't know Kansas from Albuquerque. Or Tombstone from Tanzania. But now they do. Now all but one of them understand what it means when I them the movers are coming.

Don't get me wrong, we signed up for this way of life whole-heartily. My husband and I both had scholarships and had been accepted into two great schools in MO. I admittedly wanted to go to a traditional school more than he did, but we both had the option and changed our plans.

He signed up, I married him, and off we went....

It's been great too; from Kansas I learned all about family values and lots of religion (but that's another story). From Arizona I discovered the South West, open-mindedness, and met a few great friends that I still talk with. In Okinawa, oh my goodness, what can I say about Oki.

We. Loved. It.

Period, hands down, we loved it. I saw a beautiful culture, made Japanese and Korean friends, tutored children, helped with the FRG (army term for Wives Club). It was great. And the best part was that my boys loved and understood it's beauty, too.

So now is the hard part, saying good bye to friends once again. Getting new schools. And starting over. The older two are quite excited to be returning to their Grandparents, but in the back of my mind, I wonder. Is this too much for them. Do they need one community to call home?

That is what my husband and I had.

I know my children feel safe and loved, but this is a question I will pondered until we've seen our last Duty Station, PCSed for the last time, and waved good bye to that final base.

Any Army/Navy/Marine/Air Force Brats out there? Give me your two cents. I would love to hear it.

What's your Iced Tea?