Category Archives: parenting

Miss Ogyni

She trusted at an early age

consensual surrender,

resulted in tears at a clinic

Three months later

She trusted another

Hoping he’d be more capable

She wasn’t empowered

She had no mentor

Her submissive mother was no lover

And had no experience in these things

Her second lover

Planted his seed

Knowingly and deliberately

Her consent would undo the previous

Mistake

Or so she thought

A doctors visit first

Cohabitation a week later

A proposal and a diamond ring

Before the first week of spring

Wedding bells rang

A mix tape for a DJ and

An alcohol-free reception

Because baby was on the way.

She has no intentions of entrapment

She hadn’t yet learned to manipulate

She was simply managing situations

From day to day.

But she wasn’t happy

Her diploma wouldn’t be enough

Expired, her father’s tuition offer

Because she had her husband’s stuff

For the same man who tried to restore

Her purity

Was now a witness to her insecurity

Another baby’s arrival

before their departure

from each other.

At any time should could have harmed him

But she listened to how she could own him

For the rest of his life

The lawyers would help her

swindle what was never there.

The fortune she thought they had was

No more than

the imaginary kingdom

that they’d begun to build.

The looks were deceiving to her

But to no one else

She had no idea that what she already had

Was more than many other women

Had ever hoped for.

Because love and trust are invisible

They can be felt

But not seen.

And she traded it in

For a life she thought she should have.

She acted on entitlements

That neither of them had earned

She planned to steal away

With something that was never there

And he began to see this

He began to hurt

He began to hate

He worked harder to hide

He began to create…

New relationships

That were better

Safer

Genuine

He had nothing more to give

Broken and paranoid

He sighed relief

When the marriage was dissolved

He would no longer

Watch the disaster unfold

From now on

All he knows is what he’s told

Online dating

Bouncing from home to home

Dragging the children behind her

His heart turned to stone

He became the philanderer

That she once accused him; a swine

With no ties to anyone

With children gone half the time

He watched from afar

His “once-love” shack

With swingers,

drug-users,

Momma’s boys,

And then back to her parents.

Despite minimal family court interference

Family interventions

Co-parenting interactions

Court order infractions

The power she gained was not

From what she took

Instead twenty years of blood

And tears

Resulted in a new job and a home of her own

Where she could raise her children

The way she wanted

Paint the rooms– the way she wanted

Pay someone to mow the lawn

And invite over whomever she wanted

Cook for him

And tend to him

Until he no longer wanted

to leave

And the power she now had

Was not from another man

But the power she now had

She used to rule over another man

But this man she could not tame

For this man would plant a seed of his own

And he would not leave

And he would not propose

And they would not suppose

How their life will be when their baby turns

Twenty

And now she hates him

And the him from before

She fights with the latter

But complains about the first even more

She models independence to her daughter

She warns of submission to the son

She lies about how she does it

She pretends that she the only one

That she’s a single parent…

That deadbeats owe her more…

That no one can tell her what to do!

That their dad is rotten to the core.

But she keeps her married name

For reasons all her own

Her kids look and behave like him

And now her ūüíú turns to stone.

Her hate ūĚźÖor him

Is incomprehensible

To him

But his forgiveness of her

Frustrates and angers her

Even more confusing

Is that he is not telling the story

She is

Miss Ogyny

One Thing For Certain (Two Things For Sure)

Wisdom comes in many forms. We recognize the irony when we learn something in a scenario we’d least expect wisdom.

A rich man whose money can not buy him what he needs most;

A blind man who can see things others can not.

The parents who warn of the foolishness that they once partook.

The cat that has only one life left.

The widow who has lost two husbands to cholesterol and one to the tramp in the next town.

The high school dropout who doesn’t believe in minimum wage or welfare.

The child who can reach the cookie jar, but can’t take out the trash.

The wisdom is not in the irony. The irony is in The wisdom…

That comes from surrender

That comes from recognition

That comes from humility

That comes from knowing that you can’t know everything.

Raising Queens and Kings

As a father of a nineteen year old daughter and a fourteen year old son, I often reflect on the direction on which I’ve sent each of them. The standards differ based on their ability and their expectations. Because I do not expect my son to behave like a woman, nor do expect my daughter to behave like a man, I must model for them what I’ve determined to be appropriate gender roles.

When my son is left to his own devices he exhibits childlike mannerisms: wanting without working, playing until exhaustion, but feigning any responsibility to his home or for his actions…

And so I address it. We discuss it. I model an alternative to what he does and emphasize positive outcomes. It’s not easy. But it’s not supposed to be.

My daughter has always been more mature, but not without childish mannerisms. The women in her life, of course, take every opportunity to bestow upon her how to be a successful woman.

As I watch, I cannot help but observe some of the practices they’ve taught her. I wish we could simply raise our children up to be ADULTS; model citizens, hard workers, self-sufficient. But it is not enough. My daughter must also be a strong woman (especially when her counterparts are weak). She must be caring even when no one else cares. She will undoubtedly become as much of her mother as she becomes a fruit of me.

I worry that I’ve not given her enough. I see around me women who struggle with the world around them. It is men who’ve stopped caring that force the women to compensate. But more often I notice the women in our lives, the matrons of our family, and our lady leaders who must compromise–women who are forced to make tough decisions because their men were unable or impotent.

I wish this world were kinder to our women. I wish my daughter were not being taught how to “handle” men to get what she wants. Although her “compromise game” is weak, her “compensate game” is strong. She needs no one. But she’s offered the support from women who had to resort to manipulation and trickery for their own survival.

She’s accompanied by a grandmother who chased her husbands away and a mother who couldn’t trick her husband into giving her what she wanted. They now press their prodigy to take their advice. She’s told to give to the young man who hasn’t found his way yet, but to spend no time with someone who challenges her ability. They’ve denied their own role in driving their lovers away. But they offer encouragement on how to find happiness without a “good man.”

The narrative changes depending on who tells the story. As a father who hoped he’s modeled what a strong man looks like, what a dedicated man does, and how a passionate man loves, no man can truly deserve my princess (in my opinion). I encourage her to hold on to what I’ve modeled.

But there’s another perspective–the female perspective. The mother perspective counters most of what this father models. This mother says, “forget him!” She says,”you don’t need him…”. She pronounces that, ” he’s nothing because he refused to GIVE me what I want…”

A mother’s distaste of the father equals poison in the development of a child. As a father I see it. And although I have no antidote, I can offer a vaccine.

“Daughters, we love you! Listen to what your mothers tell you, but recognize that there’s another side to that advice,” urges this father.

Don’t take the advice from a bitter person. Know that your father’s revenge is a successful life. We seek Queens to build our kingdom. This is why we’ve raised you to be princesses.

Words Hurt


Sticks and stones?  Nah!  Words hurt.  Do you remember the last time someone hit you with a stick?  Probably not. It’s barely a memory and the injury has long since healed itself.  But that’s just it. Our body heals. Our mind…not so much.  
There’s two kinds of doctors: medical doctors (M.D.) and doctors of philosophy (Ph.D). We tend not to think too much of the latter because we put a greater importance on our physical health than on our mental health.  

When we get sick, we make an appointment to see a physician.  It isn’t until we can not pinpoint the physical ailment that we consider  an alternative remedy.  Some of us will turn to holistic remedies before we decide to sit in a psychologist’s chair.  Others may seek counsel from clergy or the comfort of a prayer group.  

Personally, I believe a spiritual sense will bring about more healing than any of the above;  but that’s because when we pray, we release. The stress on our flesh and our souls is often too much to bare.  A simple but thorough release of all worries and stressors will be met with miraculous results.  

But what of the sticks and stones?  “He who is without sin, should cast the first stone…”  And yet we are encircled by stone throwers daily.  When we find ourselves in the center of that circle receiving all those blows, it’s hard to drop to our knees and await a hedge of protection.  Heck no!  We fire those stones right back; and with impeccable aim.  


Metaphors aside for a moment, real stones damage the flesh.  Healing is required.  That healing comes from physicians and the medical establishment.  Unlike with bullets or blunt objects, no tourniquet or bandages are required.  Sticks sometimes pierce, but they are not spears.  A wack with a stick bruises!  Again, no ambulance or emergency medical services will be called. 
“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but [words] will never hurt me!”  

Nonsense!

Why do we teach this to our children?  It’s an age-old tradition that we all recall from our childhood.  The bully teases.  The child responds.   Sometimes with this unwitty chant;  other times with a cry for help, we just want it to stop.  

In second grade, I grew tired of the teasing.  I can’t recall what caused the harassment.  It could have been because I looked different.  It may have been because of where I lived.  Either way, no one deserves that type of treatment.  My parents behaved like it was a part of growing up.  To this day, I can’t quite determine whether my folks were entertained by my growing pains or whether they wanted me to become stronger and wiser.  Instead, what I learned was far less pleasant.  

I came home from school whining that the kids at school were mean to me.  My mother offered a solution.  She didn’t ask what caused it, or what remedies I’d already attempted to stop the bullying.  To her, it was irrelevant.  She didn’t ask who or where.  It just needed to stop.  

Mom said, “I want you to get the biggest stick you can find and find the biggest kid you can spot on the playground.”

“Now you take that stick and beat his ass with it!  And you be sure to do it in front of ALL the other kids!”

“You beat his ASS!”

It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, especially since it wasn’t THAT kid who was bullying me.  But I would do what I was told.  After all, momma knows best, right?

Wrong!

I found that big stick. I found that big kid.  I made sure I had an audience, and I swung that stick at that kid!

I’d like to tell you that I became an instant hero amidst all my watching peers.  I’d like to  reveille in the 15 minutes of fame…that I liberated all the school-ground-kids from the throws of tyrany.  I’d like to, but I can’t.  Nope.

It didn’t happen that way at ALL!  When I spotted that kid, I walked right up to him. Swinging and muttering, I was just a sight. Whew!  I was going to do THIS!  He saw me coming.  He was surprised, but not worried.  When I got within three feet of him, I swung aiming for his shoulder. He stopped me mid swing.  He caught that big stick. He grasped it from my sweaty hands.  He took that stick and beat MY ASS with it!

I came home bruised. Both my body and my ego hurt.  No one got in trouble.  No ambulance was called and no physician was sought.  I was still stunned. I was almost afraid to approach my mother. But I needed comfort.  


Here’s what she said:

“What happened to you?!?”

“I did what you said.  I got the stick, and I found the biggest kid…”

“Hmmm…I should have taught you how to fight first, huh?”

Warm tears rolled down my face. My eyes burned, and I was no longer reviling in the pain from the blunt force trauma.  My trauma was internal.  I hurt. I was confused. I was angry.  

Those words hurt.  The smiling lips they leapt from exacerbated my torn ego.  Comfort in my mother’s arms I did not find.  Nor was there any respite on the playground the following day.  

My hurt was emotional.  My physical pain had already subsided. My pride was restored when I learned to coexist with my peers, but avoid my tormentors.  
Plenty of lessons are learned in our formative years. Each of us could tell a story.  The biggest hurt in our lives didn’t come from a bullies swing though.  The biggest hurt came from betrayal–the words spewed from someone we thought had honored us.  


Even the malicious acts that occur contrary to our personal and emotional safety hurt.  Why?  Because we thought we were safe.  We’d convinced ourselves that we would not be in harms way.  

It’s when our belief system is rocked–that’s when we hurt.  And that’s the kind of hurt for which a medical doctor can not prescribe a cure.  Even a physchiatrist can not truly heal that trauma.  Monsignor Vitty BoomBox  can’t pray me back to righteousness.  

Words hurt.  Even the good ones; like LOVE.  Words that represent the greatest joy can bring forth the biggest pain.  It’s these types of words that dwell so deep in our heart, not even our brain can make sense of it.  Words that connect the brain, heart, and soul–these are the most dangerous of all.  


Words can drop us to our knees.  Words evoke understanding (or misunderstanding). They cause pain.  Every now and then they heal.  But ignoring the words is no easier than avoiding the pain.  

Sadly, I can find enough words through writing or speaking, through joy or anger, to undo the pain or that will birth pleasure.  At some point those words,  stringed together in the right order will manifest a plan of action.  It is the actions that may create change.  

But regardless of how we act, it’s the words the cause fear or reduce anxiety.  A pill can ease the pain, but the pain is mental.  It’s emotional. It’s spiritual.  And it will return.  

Do you remember the pain?  Use your words, but choose them carefully. 

Words

Bartering Death for Life

Last will and testaments are designed to determine who will inherit a legacy (financial or otherwise) after death.  Often its contents are secret–revealed by an actuary.  Alas, the disappointment that follows the revelation that there is nothing to be had.  It’s fantastic though when someone is named in a will that might have otherwise been overlooked.

But what happens when the living use their will to manipulate a future that is uncertain?

When my father was alive, he made a statement to my mother. He was not at all worried about what would happen after death. He said, “if you die before me, I’ll have all your things thrown into a dumpster!”  He didn’t want to be bothered with the remnants of anyone else’s remains. It hurt my mom to hear this.  And when he pre-deceased her, it took years to sift through his personal belongings.  An eventual house fire finished off the job, and now we sift through the ashes (and the boxes of personal effects that survived the disaster).

The only will he left was one that was surely crafted with the help of a spouse, rather than legal counsel.  But it didn’t matter, because all he left us was a loan.  Not alone, but a LOAN.  Bills!

Fire insurance converted that debt into assets.  The last will and testament that once existed is irrelevant after years of recovery and acceptance of things we can not control.  His legacy lives on in spirit.  The circumstances that precipitated his death have been forgiven. We don’t stress over the recovery.  We miss him and reminisce about the the way he carried himself, his thoughts, and the impact he had on us.


He once told me, “death is a part of life, son…the end part.” He’d chuckle, but I would snare in the inappropriateness of it all.  He said if you ever want to know how much I love you, take a look at my will, and then he’d gesture to where in the house he kept all of his important documents.  I never had the desire to check.  It was irrelevant.  I didn’t realize then how much HE would be missed once he was gone.  No life insurance claim can compensate for that. There’s no grave to visit–no ashes to hold.  Only a memory and a whisper.  “If dad were still here…”

But his widow has survived.  All that was his was replaced with what is she has earned. Sweat and tears, a new legacy is born. Everything has changed but the address.  Photo reproductions line the coffee table as we look back, laugh, and cry.

Talks of a new last will and testament recur occasionally.  “How will we divide all of this?” Who will get the house?  Who will manage the affairs.  Who will liquidate the assets and pay off the debt.  Whoever volunteers is certainly entitled to a little something for their troubles.  I felt better about it when I was convinced that it was all trash.

But their are pictures…and memories.  Heirlooms and keepsakes aren’t replaceable, but the don’t have value to anyone but family.  I am reluctant engage in the plans because I don’t want any of it.  I resent that these talks elude to entitlements, requirements, obligations, and guilt.  I don’t want to behave differently because there is a reward on the other side of death.  I’d rather not.  I decline.

There is a guilt in not wanting be bothered.  And the grandchildren hear things that equate to spoils and unearned riches.  Is it fair to them to not consider their well being?  Are they not entitled to a hand-me-down or a piece of a legacy?

For some, a legacy is inherited.  It could be something as simple as a surname.  For others it’s a dynasty.  For us, it is neither.  It’s a burden…and an empty promise.  Good will and favor now will translate into an inheritance 10 years (or 30 years) from now. That’s a long time to pledge allegiance to an otherwise healthy matriarch.

If I had a choice, I’d give up any supposed riches for a nice cup of coffee and a non-judgmental conversation that is not disguised as a lecture. I long for genuine advice and fellowship. I choose life over death.

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As I evolve, death still seems so far off.  With no will of my own, I can only hope that my own children will not sacrifice their character for a few cold bank notes.  I procrastinate the inevitable.  I hope that I will not fall to manipulating their loyalty in exchange for insincere elder care and a power-of-attorney.

I choose the living.  I will not barter a lifetime of wealth (and eventual death) in exchange for appreciation while I am alive.  I can not take it with me, but only my namesake will be my legacy.  The rest can be thrown away.

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Gee, Daddy is Pissed!


There comes a time when being carefree and jovial is more of a liability than an asset. Parenthood is no exception.  I admit that I am much harder on my son than I am on my daughter.  I love them both but my tolerance levels are on par with their acceptance of me.  

It’s important to convey how important my children are to me. In a world that is full of disappointment, my children are a reflection of my best efforts to make the world a better place.  My love for them both cannot be quantified.  However our love for each other is evident.  

The circumstances by which each of my children were brought in to this world were distinctly different, and like most families may contribute to why my daughter is treated differently than my son.  Five years apart, the age different between them is the same as that of their parents.  I married their mom when I was 24.  She was 19.  Neither of us were mature enough to recognize the gravity of our decisions.  But with the birth of our daughter, we found a renewed hope and a desire to live right.  

We had a home with a lot of potential. I had a promising career and good credit.  We were rooted in the church and innocent enough to believe that as long as we did more good than harm by the end of each day, we were managing the world around us.  

My wife nurtured our daughter and most times      enjoyed watching me dote over her.  We shared our parenting responsibilities and I was so proud to be living “the dream”.  

Honeymoon periods end, marital bliss fades, and the typical family disputes arise.  Only true love prevails, so the first separation brought with it a reality check.  My son was conceived on the other’s side of a reconciliation.  But the damaged relationship hadn’t healed.  

Insecurity, disappointment, and mistrust welcomed my son into the world. Sadly, by the time he was three years old, his parents were divorced.  He can not remember a time when his mom and dad got along.  But his older sister had plenty of memories of family trips and dozens of holiday photos of mommy and daddy embracing her cuteness.  

This dynamic plays out as we endure the teen years.  Dylan doesn’t even flinch at the thought of an unpleasant interaction between his parents.  He’s never known a happier time.  Conversely, when his older sister Emily witnesses a civil conversation between “mommy and daddy” it comes with surprise.  It’s been so long.  It’s almost cause for alarm!

“They are smiling?  And they are talking about me and my plans to travel and work and camp and dRiVE?!?”  The thoughts that must go through her head.  

If there was ever something that my ex-wife and I are most passionate about, it’s our kids!  Sometimes support and custody, consent and childcare are ideals that are convoluted by control and resentment.  But we are not without our differences in opinions.  

Court involvement exacerbates problems but we are still learning to co-parent.  I figure by the time my son gets to high school, we will have a mastery of it (I hope).  

My daughter, however, has begun to test our limits and may infact hope to capitalize on our handicaps. I’m grateful that the preteen years were painless.  We even enjoyed three more uneventful teen years.  But it’s happening.  The anticipated freedom that comes with a driver’s license out weighs the worry of teen suitors. 

A few years ago, in leui of a well deserved consequence, I choose instead to lecture my son.  Emmy intervened.  She said, “don’t you think he’s had enough?”   Brakes!   Caught completely off guard, I warned that unless she was preparing to take one for the team…   The conversation ended abruptly. 


On a prememptive strike I pulled my son aside and recalled the incident. He remembered vividly.  He was wise enough to see the mounting tension. He’d watched as his mother and father conferred over parent stuff.   He even commented, “Dad, that’s the longest I’ve ever seen you and mom talk…”

But I wasn’t upset by mom.  I was upset at the general willingness to ignore Dad–that plans were made without my consultation.  And although I recognize that the path to adulthood is paved with independence and the neglectful willingness to rebel against parents, not here.  Not now!

As a father, I don’t apologize for speaking up.  I certainly don’t regret putting my foot down.  My demeanor is usually pleasant, but once I’ve become vocal, I cannot be stifled.  The thought of it inflames me.  

This time, my anger was heavy.  It was direct. It was poinyant. It was also misdirected.  I love my daughter, and would never deliberately hurt her.  But I will not allow poor decisions to manifest into a disregard for common sense.  

“What’s the big deal, Dad?”  Or I believe that the comment she made was that she’d much prefer to go to camp this summer than to go to work…and that earning money for a car wasn’t that important.  Yesterday’s discussion  turned into today’s request.  This evening, Mom suggested that Dad contribute to the driver’s ed “behind-the-wheel” course.  But now driving has suddenly become a desire?  Yet no effort went into earning her own money?!?  Because she’d prefer…?

Dad’s can I get a hand here?


Every father hopes to see his kid off in a safe reliable car (hopefully one that he’s fortunate enough to provide).  I was blessed with that great fortune.  My dad gave me his old truck when I was fifteen.  I had two years to prepare.  It was a hardship that I truly appreciated.  But he also made it possible for me to mow lawns for cash when I was fourteen.  My ability to get my license was contingent on my hard work.  It was more than understood.  I was reminded frequently!!


Because my dad was better off in his career when I came of age, he was able to do for me in ways he’d regretted not being able to do for my siblings.  I was the youngest.  

My daughter is my eldest.  I’ve convinced myself that with planning, devoted parenting, and a lot of help from the Lord, I’ll be able to do for my daughter (and son) what was offered to me.  

But I need a little help from the kids.  Not financial. Not physical.  But emotional.  Appreciation!  Enthusiasm.  Effort.  When Dad is taken for granted though, all bets are off. 


I model intelligent decision-making. I share. I work hard, and I rarely ask for help.  I’m not just a father.  I’m a man.  I have dignity.  I have pride.  I’m kind, but I’m stern.  And dammit I expect respect.  

Somewhere along the way, my kindness was mistaken for weakness.  When I’ve had enough, the beast is awakened.  I roar!  And my point becomes crystal clear.   My own upbringing may be to blame.  I’m ultra tolerant and watchful for results.  I learn from my mistakes, but I’d prefer to learn from someone else’s mistakes instead.  


I’m not a good dad.  I’m the best dad (that I can be)–but only because I do what I’m supposed to do.  The fact that not every dad is able or willing does not make me good.  They have to bare their own cross.  


Everyday brings with it a new opportunity.  I have high expectations of my kids.  They have no excuse for failure except for their own unwillingness to try.  Mediocrity seems to be  accepted collectively.  But individually, we must work hard to achieve.  I once argued with their mom that academic achievement is not a way (of life); it’s a standard.  


I mean what I say.  I’m not just picking fights. Every experience we’ve had brought us to this very moment. I won’t waste it!

Clich√©s anyone?  Every moment brings with it an opportunity…

I speak up.  I asked my son recently to come from his room and help out in the kitchen.  He mustered some attitude.  At eleven years old he is primed and ready for conflict. Every request triggers a response. 

My son kicked over the cat food which caused all the “fur babies” in the house to react. He then complained that there was a reaction to his action…   The dog growled, the cats ran, and the turtle withdrew in his tank.  

I had to seize the moment!

I’m certain the neighbors heard me stammer as I begin to bellow–loud enough for everyone in my home to hear.  

I proclaimed, “disappointed?  Good!  Mad? Fine!  But get used to it!  Because you’re only months away from manhood!  Biblically you should be preparing for the rights and responsibilities of a man!  And you know what?!?   No one is going to care that your feelings are hurt!  No one is going to ask if you are ok.  No one cares enough to help you out because you’d ‘prefer’ to play and not work!!!”

I saw this glisten in his eye, and I knew I’d gone too far.  My sheer volume rumbled the room.  My voice carried.  I knew my daughter could hear and she knew that this declaration was really for her ears.  I killed two birds with one stone…and I felt…awful. 

My son lipped, “I’m sorry,” while my daughter never peeked from behind her bedroom door.  

Gee, Daddy was pissed!   Now a tear runs down my face.  I’ve got nothing left (until tomorrow).  

Surreal?

After reading two different blogs about monogamy and online dating, I began to wonder. Like churning cream into butter, my mind began to churning concepts into ideas. How could I waste an opportunity to capitalize on my own opinion?  Two distinctly different concepts in the same day?  Stop the presses!

Now when I refer to two distinctly different concepts, I am not¬†referring to the monogamy and online dating. ¬†You see the past year and a half I’ve been blogging mostly as a way of creating an online journal. I decided to do this for two reasons: ¬†a journal will allow me to document the plethora of emotions I’ve been harboring as I ascend to a higher plateau; and also to share with my family and friends how passionate I’ve become about the events surrounding us.

I was once reminded that the difference between small minds and intellectuals is the content that we discuss. ¬†Small minds gossip. ¬†Intellectuals focus more on events rather than individuals. ¬†So my quest began. ¬†And through journaling, I’ve strengthened my mind (or so I’d like to think).

Earlier today I wrote a poem about love. I¬†was feeling nostalgic and sentimental. ¬†Enamored with my past experiences and excited about what is to come, I was inspired to write a little ditty. ¬† It will be years before it’s appreciated for its true worth, but¬†it did earn me a few new subscribers. ¬†Sometimes I just can’t predict my own success–and there’s a blessing hiding in that as well.

One of my subscribers herself wrote a blog today about monogamy.¬† I could relate. ¬†I enjoyed it–so much that I reblogged it, which is a gesture of appreciation and praise. ¬†But then I read on. ¬†Another piece referenced sexting. ¬†She had my attention! ¬†Not for the reason you might think though.

We are in an age that evolves so quickly that we don’t even have time to learn a lesson from technology. ¬†Too quickly the dilemma morphs into another life-lesson that needs as much attention as the last. ¬†I can only imagine the terror that other parents, educators, and youth advocates experience trying to develop a set of rules or internet policy that protects our children. ¬†Heck! We can’t turn the damned radio down quick enough to guard their ears against the violent/erotic nature of pop music. ¬†How can we effectively protect them from the internet? If you don’t believe me, Google whitehouse.com. ¬†Nothing is sacred!


So it only goes to suggest that children who can not make good decisions on their own are destined to make some interesting mistakes. ¬†And yet they won’t learn from our mistakes because we are too embarrassed to reveal them. ¬† How do you warn a kid about sexting without referring to a lapse in judgment that “someone close to us” has made? ¬†Not so easy.

How do you warn a teen of the dangers of promiscuousness without referring to the mistakes of our own formative years?  Let me know how THAT works for you.  Any better than when your parents tried to teach you the importance of abstinence??

Now take those same lessons and transfer them to how we need to behave as consenting adults. ¬†Ah, this is when the hypocrisy becomes bolder. ¬†We begin to lip, “Do as I say…”


We’ve seen our use of the internet evolve. ¬†The web connects us to share all kinds of information that has all kinds of intrinsic value. ¬†Intellectual content, entertainment, political, sexual and social. How we use this information is an indicator of how we’ve grown individually and collectively.


Some of this information exchange has enhanced us as a culture (WebMD), while other exchanges brought us social media (MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook). ¬†The latter we rely on more frequently to learn of world events as they occur. ¬†SnapChat was once a way to temporarily convey illicit content. ¬†Now it is embraced as an effective marketing and networking tool. ¬†Match.com and Chemistry have taken the mystery out of online dating; while normal texting on “old-fashioned flip phones” has devolved into sending “private” photos that never die.

Imagine, if you will, that this technology that has become a part of our everyday lives has, in fact,¬†enhanced our lives. What if the flow of information, despite its incredible speed and volume, forces us to read more?¬† What if it requires us to be more critical, less gullible, and better informed?¬† Think about it. ¬†There’s no question to which we can’t find multiple answers.


We know that we can use Wikipedia, but we also know how not to trust everything we read.  We experience video through YouTube and TEd at a rate so alarming that we rarely buy our entertainment or educational content anymore.  Playboy magazine no longer prints nudity because that type of content is readily available online for free, forcing the pornography industry to adjust.  The movie industry plans for bootlegging by prepping films for simultaneous release on Blueray while cross-marketing books, clothing, and apparel to recoup the production costs.  Professional development for educators, public officials, doctors, and lawyers no longer rely on academia.  Instead, a steady stream of content is uploaded from their handheld devices.


The list of evolutions is enumerable. One thing is certain:  we will personalize our use of data, online, and mobile content.  The same public figures that advocate for positive change (and plead for our votes) use their smartphones to send inappropriate content to undisclosed recipients.  Use your imagination here. 

We are more connected than we’ve ever been. Better informed, more mobile, and less restricted! ¬†And yet we are the most disconnected from traditional values (and each other) than we’ve ever been.

Perhaps this is the best way to offset the population explosion.   Imagine. How packed would the bars and nightclubs be if that was still our most reliable way to meet a partner?


So let the use (and misuse) of the internet continue. ¬†After all, the same conservative mindsets and religious zealots that warn against its dangers are using it to spread their message. ¬†We’ll have to develop our own levels of discernment and draw our own personal lines of decency–because the same mother who cautioned against polygamy, promiscuousness, and pedophiles just accepted a proposal from a guy she met on ChristianSingles.com (using the newest app on her iPhone).