Because she stifled me, I didn’t come back

  
Ten years ago I found a substitute method of coping with my problems.  Husbands and fathers before me went to the garage, the bar, or some other wayward venue to escape household conflict.  Unlike them, I went to work.  

My wife used to irritate me about domestic issues like unfinished projects, household chores, and other stuff that was important.  I would defend that my desire to wind down was important too. After a long day of work at my full time job, I resented opening the bank statements that reflected more bounced checks.  We were spending more than we earned!

Our relationship was founded on two basic concepts.  We wouldn’t fight about money and we never discussed the dreaded “d” word (divorce).  Before we took our vows, we were warned that fifty percent of all marriages ended over financial disputes, and almost all marriages ended in divorce (the others end in death). 

So knowing that there would be an impending fight over the bills, I had to make a decision.

“How will I fix this problem?”  Fight about it or get another job?  Earning additional income would theoretically resolve the problem.  No need to fight!  But solving the problem merely enabled my beloved instigator.  Every time I deposited enough money in the account to cover a check that wifey wrote, she initiated another check writing spree.  

  
I didn’t want to fight with her. But we had a problem. Every time an unpleasant conversation began, the need for accountability repelled us from one another.  The first few times, she’d put the baby in the car and race down the driveway to avoid responsibility. It would terrify me.  I wouldn’t give chase. Instead I retracted. “Yes, dear…” became my credo. 

I thought that being a responsible husband and father relied on identifying problems and taking steps to resolve them.  My father-in-law took me aside and whispered, “you’ve got to stop saying ‘yes, dear’…”   I offered my loving explanation.  I wanted it to work.  I needed it to be right.  I loved my family and would do anything for them…I thought.  

I got the second job…and then a third.  Though the more money I made, the more we spent.  The only true result was that our time apart became more comfortable.  We didn’t fight because our time together had diminished.  

My hard work payed off. Through promotions and experience, I had the tools I needed to be a business owner an entrepreneur. We had an awesome management team, and we were churning out concepts that revolutionized the field. But my wife’s biggest contribution was to not interfere.  She was the silent partner. And we appreciated it. 

My management style was hands off. Our team was competent and didn’t require me to micromanage.  I could be home on Sunday nights…with my wife.  A new experience!

But we had nothing to talk about.  Whatever we had in common had dimished over those first few years of our marriage.  I had a lot to say.  There was so much to do together.  But there was no more motivation.  I had too much energy and passion bottled up. 

My wife was not interested in what I had to say.  We couldn’t talk about current events or religion or politics.  Our core values had changed. No one could tell because we didn’t speak of it. 

So I turned to blogging.  My career had shifted and the job demands required me to have a laptop and wifi.  The need for technology was an invitation to use those tools.  MySpace and Black Planet offered an opportunity to network.  But blogging through the local news outlet’s website was exciting.  Immediate gratification and feedback satisfied my needs.  

I didn’t need to go to a bar.  I didn’t need to build a man-cave or get a girlfriend on the side.    I simply needed an audience.  There was a world out there that had similar problems and concerns.  I avoided chat rooms and instant messaging.  There was no inappropriateness, but it didn’t matter.  My wife resented the distraction.  I could easily walk away from an argument because I could get support for my point of view by merely opening the laptop.  

My marriage could have never survived smart phones, text messaging, or Facebook. Even when she created her own accounts to share my interest, her online behavior undermined my cyber-presence.  Instead of positive support, she’d counter my blogs with negative comments and harassing behavior toward my subscribers.  I asked her to stop.  She didn’t.  Boy, I could tell you some stories…

I never took my laptop to Starbucks to escape her.  I’d sit right there on the couch in my living room with her while she watched Lifetime Television or Season One of American Idol. 

She asked me to stop.  I didn’t. I asked her to talk to me.  She asked me to shut up.  After some deliberation, I suggested that we discuss the option of divorce.  The next day, she served me with papers.   

  
We don’t speak anymore.  She ignores me. I blog. 

Real control verses virtual control

acheryImagine for a moment that you’ve exerted all of your effort protecting what you thought were inalienable rights.  Then you realize that those rights could be taken without your consent, without warning, and without a debate.

We are so caught up in the arguments over rights, liberties, and fundamentals that we overlook the fact that what is “real” can be easily circumvented.  It’s all for naught when the system is hacked.

Gun control and the war against terrorist (both domestic and foreign) have become hot topics.  We approach terrorist with a two dimensional lense however.  We argue around the facts. Hate is hate, no matter how we disguise it. Death is irrevocable.  And the methods that presume death are equally unpredictable.  Death comes!

Medical doctors try to prevent it (death). Doctors of psychology try to explain it.  But lawyers, law makers, and judges all have a role in attempting to promote safety.  The laws only give us the illusion of safety.  Real safety is incomparable to virtual safety. And virtual safety is beyond legislation.

Our culture is reactive in nature. We can’t effectively predict cyber terror.  We certainly can’t legislate meaningful safeties.  Realistically, laws keep honest people honest. The criminals operate under a much different code.  And yet we ignore that fact!  We debate–hoping that our passion will somehow awaken the intellectual fortitude to resolve the world’s crimes.

Pessimistic prognosis!

For years we’ve watched snipers, lone gunmen, and supposed terror cells infiltrate our educational, industrial, and governmental infrastructures.  We react to the terror in the North America, but completely ignore the crimes against humanity in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.  Gunshots in Paris evoke empathy, which turns quickly into a need to go to war.  Meanwhile continuous acts of gun violence trigger a wave of increased gun sales in Southern California.  When it’s local, gun owners take matters into their own hands.  Scratch your head on that one.

It would appear that traditional terrorists merely need to evoke some fear by spending a few rounds into crowds of “innocents.”

Americans instinctively embrace their Constitutional rights.  Suddenly the 2nd amendment trumpets over the 5th Amendment.  The right to kill (err bare arms) is more important than the right to due process.

And then there are riots

Gun ownership doesn’t stop riots however.  The misuse of guns sets the stage for the exploitation of the judicial process highlighted in the 5th Amendment. In other words, when that gun is fired by the wrong person AT the wrong person (regardless of the provocation), we react. And then we have riots!

Are Constituional rights more important than human rights?  Are they mutual exclusive?

nerf guns

But this is not about gun rights!  This is about control, and the absence of control as a result of terrorist acts.  There’s many kinds of terror.  The fear caused by “traditional terror” is virtually immeasurable.  The actual damage caused by virtual terror (or cyber terror) is real, and very measurable.

Ironic…

The World Wide Web is under attack as leaders contemplate how to regulate access to information.  As we know, however, (1) terrorists are inspired by the governmental insistence that there will be sanctions for non-compliance.  Even rioters rebel against sanctioned law enforcement–and rioters are considered domestic terrorist by some; (2) terrorists do not comply with the law; and (3) acts of terror are an implicit resistance to social norms. So the leaders are going to regulate this?   Good luck!

Cyber terrorists are not going to wait for world leaders to develop a counter-plan.  Hackers are but a keystroke or “viral code”away from forcing the virtual world to its knees.  Sadly our culture is so heavily reliant on the virtual, that any threat is REAL.

jigsaw

As we worry about the terror threat level while traveling this holiday season, recognize that the anonymous hackers of the world await the command to flip the switch.  There will be no regulation.  There’s no tracking the hacking.  When the lights are turned off, only the flashlights will work.  And if your only flashlight is on your mobile device, you’ll be left in the dark.

Caught up in the YoDa…

  
I was perusing my email this Saturday before Christmas.  I’d already noted that my (education advocate) role models and gurus were already announcing the beginning of their winter breaks.  I, on the other hand, am balancing my tutoring assignments with my classroom responsibilities that will officially end the day BEFORE Christmas Eve.   Ah, that’s when I start MY Christmas shopping.  
Shall I take joy in knowing that I won’t be purchasing as many gifts this year?  Will my heart be eased knowing that I’ve waited too long to send Christmas cards (again)? Truth be told, the only time I have to do these holiday “requirements” is when I’m not working.  And I’m working far more than I should be…
And so I’m taking a few minutes for me this morning to…catch up on email.  Smh.  Not the most effective way to “relax” but I’ll certainly feel better know that I accomplished SOMEthing.  

Who am I kidding???   I’ve got 678 unopened email in that one account alone. All the junk mail gets sorted to another email account entirely).  I never got this much correspondence before the Internet was invented.

Perhaps I should email all my holiday greetings in a show of complete disregard for social norms and traditions.  Don’t worry, I’ll keep Christ in Christmas!

At best, I sort my email into dozens of folders, hoping that I’ll one day find the time to read similarly subjected emails (that will no longer be relevant).  I come across a newsletter from Medium, a blog site to which I’ve recently started submitting. Submitting is my therapy. Reading the blogs of others is less of a priority.    I’ll repriorize in the new year.  

I figure that if I just look at it before I delete it, at least that positive energy from my fellow bloggers won’t go to waste.  I was certain that one title read White Woman Writes Yoda Essay but I was weary-eyed. Yoda is my favorite character!   There’s so much marketing going on. Who could focus on just one character? I’m caught up in the Star Wars Saga!  What can I say?!?

So I click the link. I had figured that the blogger was going to jot some Yoda-like prose.  It would but amusing.  I was intrigued, so I clicked on the link.  Skimming through, I found no simblance of the wise one. 

I read on expecting disappointment.  I was almost disappointed that there was no disappointment.  There was a message that I needed to see.  Not Yoda wisdom, but Yoga wisdom!!

I am not a particularly a fan of any type of physical activity.  However, I embraced the authors position.  The activity is not as important as the thought process (at least that’s what I took from it).  

I’m changing my thought process to be more accepting.  Recognizing that my impact on the world will never be as important as our collective impact.  But I should force it.  I should breathe.  Breathe. 

Breathe, you must!
And got the record, as much as I enjoy being still while in the comfort of my own home, out in the world I am busy.  Too busy.  This business neither strengthens muscles nor burns calories.  I’m changing the world in an attempt to keep the world from changing me.  I need to reciprocate–flip it.  

I’m not waiting for New Year’s!   I’m starting now (a week early).  Smh.  Today, I’m not the change I want to see in the world.  I release.  I breathe. I am. You are.  We are…   

Flipped Politics

edreform

If STEM curriculum is replacing social studies–the way that writing and reading have taken priority over music, art, and library studies–which direction are we heading?  We do still want our children to be literate, don’t we?

But if we thirst for technology and yearn to have our students embrace it, why are elementary school technology classes fizzling out.  Why are school districts outsourcing their IT departments and requiring the general education teachers to substitute the basics with software?  This replaces the human element of teaching?  The teachers who still have contact with their students can’t help but convey their value for traditional instruction.  Students are staging sit-ins to save the library.  That doesn’t happen at online schools.

The focus is on math and science so that we can compete with China. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are the priority in education, while risking other fundamental studies.  Pulling resources and emphasis from one subject area to allow time and mastery of another area has it’s consequences. We’ve omitted a student’s interest in lieu of what is needed to make this nation “great again.”

politics progress

Meanwhile, China has dumped their way of life by embracing capitalism. The communist demand for churning out students who could excel has evolved into embracing a capitalist culture (akin to classic-American culture) that can adapt, produce, and outsell any other nation in the world. The population explosion that resulted in stringent reproductive regulation, stripping families of their professional choices, squashing comfortable accommodations ended with communism.  Freedom has conquered fascism in Asian lands (for the most part) while other regions of the world continue to fight over property rights and religious dogma.

And our nation waves its flag of democracy!  Freedom has always reigned here–well as long as you don’t spend too much time reading pre-1865 history OR post-WWI jargon…OR scoot quickly through the other controversial wars of the twentieth century…OR that dreaded Civil Rights movement… Don’t worry excessively about the impending presidential race that will certainly cast our nation back into a moral war of freedom, religion, and eventual dispute over eastern European/pseudo-Asian territories.  Heck, it’s nearly 2016!  We are right on track to mimic the past 150 years.

And the rest of the world is taking notes, sculpting their socio-economic manifestos, and capitalizing on Americas downfall.

When that happens, what will our position be?  When we have become the least producing, most dependent, and less viable nation, will our lust for wealth diminish?  Will our greed subside?  Or will we steal another nation’s riches?  Will we (again) bomb another country and defend it as righteousness??

education future

EDUCATION PLAYS A ROLE

So as the education system evolves (or devolves) based on the foreseeable socio-economic needs. We need high school and college graduates to be able to gain sustainable jobs, earn a livable wage, and contribute to a increased gross national product.  If we can’t effectively do that, we need to start training them to be soldiers right?  After all, it’s not so bad nowadays with drones doing most of our grunt work.  We can maximize civilian casualties while minimizing our soldiers of fortune.

If education were truly our goal as a democratic nation, we’d be focusing on raising more critical thinkers.  We’d generate thinkers who would certainly challenge the merits of our Constitution, legal and justice systems, and policies forthwith.  We’d rewrite the history books to reflect a true account of what brought out nation to it’s height and conversely dropped it to it’s knees.  Instead we are cultivating a nation of fear, albeit though righteousness and entitlement.  It’s that division that will destroy us though.

We are gambling!

And if it’s not fear of losing our rights that propels us, it’s fear of poverty that motivates us.  Becoming akin to a third world nation is simply unacceptable.

We’re using investment portfolios and profit futures! But the economists that give us financial advice have already moved their own money to undisclosed locations.

The politicians who promise education reform have already enrolled their kids into private institutions.

The private industry (that wants to display its altruism) invests its profits into high-stakes testing and charter schools with inconclusive results. Meanwhile, they write off their losses and get a tax break when it doesn’t work out.

What we AREN’T doing is looking at where we’ve been successful.  The wars we’ve won…

How do we replicate success?  Looking to other nations and distant cultures is helpful too, but our young nation has evolved in ways that couldn’t be mirrored by other dynasties.  Our nation is rich with analysts, researchers, and academics.  Our production value is on par with our customer service ethics though.

However, we do have a lust for entertainment, information, and luxury. Can’t our want for the finer things motivate us in ways to learn more than battle?  Well if we were educated (properly) we’d have an answer.  But are we looking for an answer or are we seeking a solution?

There’s a distinct difference.

Week’s Reflection On Tolerance

flag

I’ve watched from a distance as the world around us begins to implode.  I have to wonder if the days that we are living in now are worse than the days when we were children.  Is it because the exchange of information is more rapid than it was 25 years ago?  Are we no longer in an age of innocence?  Or have we just matured? Is this what a nation looks like after nearly 250 of democracy and freedom?

I ponder these questions (and others) as I steal away from family, friends, and media.  I wonder about tolerance.  I think about what freedom really means.  Democracy is starting to look more like hypocrisy as we defend our varying degrees of freedom.

We have freedoms of speech as long as you watch what YOU say.  YOU being the key term here.  Those making the rules and those forced to follow the rules tend to be very different. “Do as I say, not as I do” mentalities are becoming the catalyst for frustration.  “Just do it!” is not just the mantra for prominent athletes; but the cry from the authorities. Like the frustrated parent or the burnt-out school teacher, the need to gain a result (just for the sake of getting it done) has society unraveling.  Why?  Because after years of doing things a certain way with sub-par results, we’ve become intolerant of complacency.

The conservatives cry “us back to a time when things were better.” Meanwhile those who’ve struggled long enough scream for justice (and not JUST US).  The neo-rebellion is upon us.  These are not fighting words though. Hold on to hope.  Be certain that there are powers at play here that far outreach our own ability.  Be inspired that change is coming.

We have become intolerant.  We see changes in the way we…learn and the way we…teach; the ways we gather information and the means we use to disseminate the selective bits of bias and propaganda.

What raced to find efficient and effective means to accomplish goals has resulted in a plethora of liabilities.  As a nation, we wanted it quick!  Fast! Now!  “Your way, right away”is now “This way…cause that’s the way it is!”

Options?   As long as those options don’t slow the machine. Now we have default settings on everything.  From our cheeseburger fixings to the electronic seat positions on our $70K Cadillac.  Problem is that we are so used to having options, we’ve become entitled.

 

Twenty-five years ago, the average family had at least one car.  Now the average family has at least one parent.  My colleague shared his theory that many of our students have a “no-parent home.”  He explained that the single-parent families rely on other members of the village (i.e. grandma, auntie, or neighbor) to raise the children while the parent struggles to hold down a day-job AND the part-time night job.  The adults “watching” the children are setting the kids off in a corner in front of a television or with a handheld device to entertain them until mom/dad gets home.  Homework doesn’t get checked.  The PG-13 ratings on unlimited programs the kids are absorbing gets absolutely no “Parental Guidance” and the kids are raising themselves.  They are not favoring inspirational videos on YouTube nor Modern Marvels on the History Channel.  A steady diet of Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network holds nothing to the unlimited info-tainment guzzled by our youth.  The degree of care for your kid is diminished by the amount that she cares for her own kid.  The point?  What are we doing to teach tolerance?

Those children between the Generation X’s and the Millennials have endured a immeasurable disregard for what is important.  Those children, OUR CHILDREN, have invented a new set of priorities.  Our own lust for immediate gratification only models how “dead-set” we are.  We’re intolerant of waiting on change.   We will not save.  We will not plan.  We want it now.  “Mine is more important than yours!”  And for those who’ve continued to wait through this era, the time for change was YESTERDAY! So there will be no more waiting.

Some have had it already.  They were born with it or they earned a great deal in a short amount of time.  The worth has diminished.  And we still want it.

Yesterday’s greed mongers have either squandered the stolen wealth, retired, or died.  The descendants of that wealth are scrambling to protect it; as they realize that the 99% that DON’T HAVE will certain develop a means to take it.  And it’s happening.  By riots destroy everything.  There will be no resources left to rebuild.

Corporations

As more and more injustices are revealed through news media, social media, and recovered evidence in police brutality and political corruption, It has become clear.  Society has run out of time.

I hope that when all is destroyed and it’s time to rebuild, we will be more tolerant of each other.  I hope that we will pay closer attention to what we’ve done.  I hope new history books will be written and that the story will be accurate this time.  I hope we will have learned enough to model better for our children.

I pray we will rebuild together.

 

Age of Indifference

I’ve paid closer attention in the past 36 months to current events, religious prophets, and government conspiracy.  Certainly not in that order though…

In my personal relationships, I’ve tried even harder to develop trust.  In my professional relationships, I’ve garnered a mutual desire to reach a common objective.  It’s my religious growth that has me wondering if we have entered into an age of indifference.

Collectively we’ve witnessed empathy dissolve into apathy.  Yesterday’s mass shootings have become today’s headlines repeatedly.  And yet change can not come swift enough.  Have we arrived at the end of days?

I sampled a few of my friends to see if we were observing the same worldwide discontent (because this is more global than national).  We are seeing the same things.  How could we not?  We are plugged into the same social media.  We are watching the same nightly news.  We don’t read print periodicals any more.  Instead we get together weekly for our cups of coffee with eggs and steak to contemplate how the world is reacting to events that are unavoidable, un-ignorable, and have for too long been under reported.

indifference 4

My question is, “do you think these are the signs of the end?” The answer is frequently, “yes!” But I can’t just leave it at THAT.

“Are you ready?” I ask this question with caution.  I don’t want a canned response.  Nor do I expect a candid answer.  What I get far too frequently is a resounding “No!”

And to this, there is never a retort.  I offer, “Well…I am ready.” No response. No worries.  No argument.

In a world like this, there are only a few ways to be ready.  Each religion has a different (yet similar) interpretation as to why these things are happening and how this will all end.  Religious zealots will assure us that this is all apart of the big plan.  But try explaining that to the political leaders, the soldiers they employ, or the corporate entities that they empower.

The leaders, the soldiers, and the corporations have one very important thing in common.  They take no responsibility for their their actions.  The leaders blame the electorate.  The soldiers blame their commanders.  The corporations blame the all-mighty dollar!

Well, we spent the money.  We misuse and abuse our purchasing power. And then we destroy what we’ve spent millions to build.  Am I being too vague?  Google American Riot.  Then google Black Friday.  The images alone tell the story.

We enlist (and take the wars to the streets…i.e. Ferguson, Chicago, New York, and now San Bernardino?).  We either become the soldiers or we fight them.  Tell me this is not a revolutionary war and a civil war all mixed together!  Where is our era’s Thomas Paine?  Common Sense?  Samuel Adams!  Where will we read the next great manifesto?   We wont!

And the leaders…

We elected the leaders by default.  By failing to participate in the process, we condoned the fleecing of our nation.  But let’s keep it real–even for those of us who were passionate about our political advocacy, we long for more change.  We will not be satisfied until we are full.  Full of ourselves. Until our cup runs over–until we are stuffed!

indifference 3

We no longer take the time to read–or at least reading more than one source.  We only discuss what we ourselves believe to be true.  We refute the claims of others.  We shun the nay-sayers just as we ignore the dreamers.  But we want change?  But we cry for freedom?  But we long for innovation?!?

We want it all.  We’ve stopped working for it.  We want it all, and we want someone else to give it to us.  That’s not liberal, and that’s not conservative.  That’s just wrong!

We’ve entered an age of apathy…an age of indifference.  The cry of our people is “It is what it is!” Our motivation is personal, only when the attacks are personal.  And we are offended far too easily.  This world war is eminent. It’s been brewing in our hearts for years.  “Are you ready?”

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