Saturday, June 30, 2018

Over at the Register Today

with a piece I wish wasn't inspired by the news and real life.  It is a sin to be scandalized by sin. I'm not, but I'm still sad about it because the world needs more saints.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

At the Register Today

Writing about the Rosary, because every time I stop, I get reminded to start again. 

The Rosary is also, a Thank you note.

And if you need me, I just read my piece...going to go find my purse and get to work saying a thank you. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

T-O-W-A-R-D-S My Ted Talk

I've reached my sell by date. It doesn't mean I'm dead, but it does mean all comments I make, whether about the planned dinner or the state of education as I see it based on the past two years in the classroom, get dismissed because they weren't verified by a TED talk.  They're out of date.
As you may have guessed, I live with many teenagers and college students. There isn't a profession, degree or level of experience one can have endured over the course of a lifetime sufficient to counter the opinions of those ranging in age from 13 to adulthood.

As a parent, I've come to terms with this reality. It's not an easy term, but it's knowable. I know, no matter what I say, no matter how benign the comment, I'm wrong.
In an effort to stem my wrongness, I stay away from controversial subjects but being always wrong means, there aren't any.
Take the weather...
"It's cold today."
"No it's not."
"It was colder yesterday."
"I checked the website. It's statistically three degrees warmer than it was 100 years ago."
"You just think it is."
Or matters of personal preference...
"Thank goodness for diet coke and chocolate."
"You should be drinking water."
"Those chemicals will destroy your body."
"Studies say, drinking that will also make you fat."
"Is it fair trade chocolate?
"Goodness had nothing to do with it."
Or statements of actual fact born of answering a question:
"How do you spell "Towards?"
"T-O-W-A-R-D-S."
"I don't think that's correct."
"I know how to spell it. You asked me."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes."
"I'm gonna google it."
Or when you figure out the answer before they do...they don't quite believe it.
"I can't figure out this math."
"Let me see...Okay hon, you just write it out and multiply each term to each term. (X-4)squared equals Xto the second power, minus 8 X plus sixteen."
"No. You don't understand."
"But I do understand. I just did it."
"No. You have a third term."
"I know, because..."
"No. It's been a long time since you did math. I think we do it differently."
"The rules haven't changed."
"I'm going to call a friend."
Fifteen minutes later. "Did you get the answer?"
"Yes."
"And..."
"I still don't think we need the -8X."
I know, saying "I was right!" would be in bad form but I can't say I'm not tempted. 
The problem is, our children no longer consider us reliable sources of information. We don't even get the benefit of "Trust but verify." We get...your parents told you? Fake news. Wikipedia is considered more reliable than me. Possibly Fox news as well.
All this stemmed from my informing my daughter that the dryer wasn't drying clothing. I'd taken everything out, wiped out the inner drum and placed a limited size load in the machine. Five minutes later, it said it was done. I tried again. In three minutes, it stopped. Having tested every setting and pushed every button I informed everyone, the dryer isn't working.
Three teenagers since then have done their own field testing of the dryer only to inform me what I already knew. I told them, "There are moments when a statement doesn't need a peer review. The dryer not working is one of them." They looked doubtful.
I'd love them to know most of my opinions and thoughts on things do not require independent verification or crowd sourcing. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit it would be nice to have approval, or even a "like." It would be nice to have someone other than the GPS let me know, I've come to the correct conclusion of something but the only validation I'm getting these days is in the parking garage.
They didn't think that joke was funny. They said there were much funnier ones in Ted talks. They told me my humor is stale.
What do they expect? I'm expired.

Link up to Small Success Thursday

You'd think with summer, I'd be more timely in my linking to posts but no. You would be wrong.  Today's link up to Small Success Thursday is being posted on Saturday because well, somehow, summer is more busy than the rest of the school year, or this summer any way.  

I will tell you, I've been writing Small Success Thursday for years, and every once in a while, I consider retiring it.  It's then that someone reads the column and gives me a little wave, and that's all it needs for me to continue.  So I'm grateful to the woman who read my piece and took the time to tell me, it helped her.  It helped me start again for the next week. 

Here's this week's Small Success Thursday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

At the Register today!

I know, it's been a while.  Honestly, since the kids got out from school, I thought I'd have more writing time.  Somehow, I have less. 

Examining the virtue of Forbearance, something the world doesn't quite understand...because it is a manifestation of charity and grace, even when afflicted.   I know I'm not very good at it.   

We Should Be More, Starting Today

There isn't an easy way to walk back from mistakes in this day and age, and in this day and age, we have plenty of things to walk back, plenty of mistakes to examine and address.   

I always loved the phrase attributed to Saint Teresa of Avila, placing her hands on the shoulders of each sister after they'd leave the confessional, and saying, "Begin again."  It's a promise of hope, of change, and of better days to come. 

It's risky to trust, to forgive. It's much easier to nurse wounds, to point out the injuries again and again and again and again and to proclaim to the world how much we hurt and how unjust someone is or how wrong they've been.   However, I love a dear friend's statement which amounts to, "We will never regret being kind even if the other person deserves none of it."   Her philosophy is not an easy one, but I've seen her live it, and it's beautiful, luminous even.  "Begin again."  It takes humility and courage. 

"Begin again." doesn't mean be a sucker, or be a sap. It doesn't mean one glosses over old injuries or pretends they didn't happen, but one no longer is a slave to the injuries, or to the wounds.  It means one goes forward.  One tries and tries and tries again, to build up the Body of Christ, where there's been injury, even if that injury was done unto one's self.  "Begin again." 

I think as a nation, we need to "Begin again."  I used strong words yesterday, because I believe, we as a nation can do better and must if we're going to be a City on a Hill, a nation of both laws and charity, of freedom and generousity. I do not think these things are antithetical. The solution thus far implimented by this administration, does not illustrate the best thinking or doing, kindness or generosity, charity or spirit of our nation and I want better for all those affected, both by the policy, and by the implimentation.   

I want it for the same reason I don't want the University of Notre Dame to ever do stupid things.  I love the place, for all her faults, so I'd rather she didn't have faults.  I want her to be beautiful in all things, even winning at Football.   The same sort of desire for a nation that is beautiful in all things, spurs my zeal at not merely the optics, but the fundamental ethics and morals that underpin the current means of enforcing policy.  I want our nation to be something better, and I don't think this is the means by which we get there, so I want the leaders and legislators, the powerful and the influencers to get to work, and to come up with something which respects Both the rule of law AND the dignity of each person encountered.    I want our nation to be a good nation, a noble one, I want us to be and continue always to become a kinder people.

My sister shared this excellent piece The Catholic Vision of Just Immigration Reform.
and in reading it, I also found What are the new border policies? which examines the existing law and how we got here.  The nation will not get better by the mere stroke of a pen or the winning/losing of an election, or a singular law.  The nation will only get better by each of us practicing both forebearance and forgiveness.  If we are to be something other than the lesser angels of our nature in all actions, policies and procedures, we must look at what we're doing, what we're not doing, and ask each day how this day, we can "begin again," and get to work.   

Friday, June 15, 2018

When We Go Wrong

It always seems like it's easier to just keep going, to say to whoever, "I'm too small." "It's too big a problem." "It's not my problem." and "What can you do?"  It always seems like it's easier to shrug the shoulders and say, "It is what it is."

However, the world will only grow crueler, less just, less warm, less beautiful, less like the very good place it's always been intended to be, if we become either permanently enraged, or put on the robes of apathy.   "What can we do?"

It is not a moral act to follow an evil law.  There is no law that requires children to be separated. It's a criminal and immoral response to a problem. 

First, we must name evil as evil.   Taking children from their parents, putting them in cages.  It's simple. It's evil.  I don't care who did it.  I care it's being done at all.  It needs to stop yesterday.  Somewhere, there's a charity or a firm that needs to go and decide to represent however many children are in cages and they need to fight.   We need to fight with them.  We need to sign petitions, call our representatives and tell them to pass bill after bill after bill after bill demanding the reuniting of these families.  We need to call our journalists, on every network, everwhere and have them run story after story after story after story, so we see the faces of these families, so we must stop pretending this story is merely an embarrassment, and recognize it for the cruelty, the absolute wrong that it is.   We need to call the White House and demand that they reverse policy.  The phones should not rest. The emails should not cease.  The coverage should not stop until this policy stops, and every child is reunited. 

This issue should transcend party, it should blanket the nation.  Every mother and father should ache for those mothers and fathers who don't know where their children are.  Every child should weep for the separation deliberately caused by a government unwilling to even admit, it's going on and too cowardly to acknowledge, it must stop. It's beyond wrong.

Most of us grew up knowing the phrase, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" by Edmund Burk.  We know from history, silence because the law allows for something, permits the veneer of law and order to gloss over attrocities on a micro and macro scale; be it slavery, segregation, discrimination, abortion or any other injustice perpetuated with the reassurance, it's the law. 

We go wrong when we forget the purpose of the law.  We go wrong when we allow the law to be a tyrant.  We go wrong when law supercedes mercy, forgiveness, kindness, charity, and freedom.   We go wrong when we allow ourselves to stay comfortable and think, someone else should do something.  We go wrong when we justify not doing something because we don't think it will make a difference.  Every act makes a difference, even if we don't make the news, because every act which is humane, is a rebellion against the tyranny of the wrongness of the world. 

The government is without checks or ballances or a moral compass right now, so it needs people of good will, ordinary, everyday people, to be the moral compass, and to become those who stand against what is being done in our name.   We must learn the first rule of spiritual physics.  We cannot bring about a good by doing evil.  The problem of immigration, and of needing a means of bringing people in, and legally processing them, requires a better response than treating those who come as subhuman.  Anyone who refuses to recognize the evil of taking a toddler from her mother, is wilfully blind. Wifully ignorant.  Wilfully pretending what is cruel, is not cruel.  It is no different than  wilfully ignoring the trains going by, wilfully pretending the child in the womb isn't a child, wilfully declaring someone not to have rights because of whatever one opts to decide is the reason, they shouldn't have human rights.

It's time to fight this constant parade of cruelties with deliberate action, rather than gnashing of teeth.  When the law allows people to be cruel, the laws must be changed.  I don't care if it's been 200 years, or 2000 years.   The length of a law on the books does not prove it's validity or it's merit, only the willingness of people to not get engaged, not be involved.

Here's an article on what's being done: Complaint targets separation of immigrant families at the border.
Here's what we know: CNN article on zero-tolerance involving the separation of mother from her infant.  It's a worthy video to watch.
And the New York Times did a great piece which also includes phone numbers and actions to take: Seizing Children from Parents at the Border is Immoral.  and my online friend, Rebeca Bratten Weiss wrote Legality is not Morality,     
Here's who to call:
Call your representative.
If you need me, I'll be making some phone calls and writing some emails. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Over at the Register Today

This has been graduation week, with my second son's ceremony on Monday, my third son's on Thursday, and the high school where I work held their graduation today.   Writing this week has been sparse, but I have a piece over at the National Catholic Register concerning what we should make time for, every day; namely, Christ.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A New Piece at the Register

Hello, I know I've been a bit awol in the writing/publishing department. I've written lots of drafts that are sitting in the...I can't quite bring myself to destroy you darlings, but no one else should read this pile.   Here's today's piece over at the National Catholic Register, it's appropriate to have this one, inspired by witnessing my son's race at State. 

You Win the Race When You're In It to the End.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!