Night-light

What is a “monster”, really? A figment of an overactive imagination, to be held at bay with a talisman of any faith/opinion/supposed sanctity, at our fingertips, or, a real and intruding danger to all that we hold dear?

THINK about it…

From birth, we are susceptible to every brand of fear our media can cook up for us, to imagine. To death, we are vulnerable to the pre-existing conditions that set up the human psyche for failure, in general. It’s a somewhat broad statement, but true, for most of us. Are you, for example, what you wanted to be, when you were grown up? Are you; dare I ask; even close?

I do, indeed, rest my case.

You see, in the innocence of childhood, a warm glow is all it takes, to soothe every fear and lingering doubt. Sometimes, this glow is accompanied by a magical blanket from a faraway land, or a soothing (pick a finger, any finger) thumb-sucking, eyelash rub, back-scratch, thumb-and-forefinger hair-twirling bit, or a Disney-type daydream, where all the animals talk to you and you understand them. Pick your poison. Regardless of your particular source, the comfort is all the same; and complete.

Whole.

Pure.

We’ve forgotten, or, left behind that perfect and simple sure foe every malady in our “Ascension” to adulthood. We forget that each day is its own, with all of the bad sucked out of it by some benevolent force of chance (in that, looking back, all we remember are the high points of our awful days). We live to dwell on the past, just as we die stuck on what we might have done, in the future. To enjoy ourselves, ever,we must heed the past, bear in mind, occasionally, the future, and stop to love the little intricacies and tiny intimate joys of a life we can’t fathom. Each day is a gift; a lesson; a tool, by which we measure the beauty of a life. Any, and usually not our own. We are, all of us, a part of the life/quilt/path who lead each other. When we walk by and discount the existence of strangers, the intimacies of the “extras”, we have also discounted ourselves.

We are, all of us, players. By this, I don’t mean to say that we are shitty actors in the movies we pump out today, but that we are the last and lonely players a Writer greater than Shakespeare, or Chaucer, or Dante (anyone, really) might ever have dreamed up. When we acknowledge and serve in the lives of others, we become the proverbial night-light, helping them through darkness to the breaking dawn, to safety and hope.

-J-

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Okay; Let’s Talk Childhood Obesity.

Loathsome. First of all, we are only addressing the less important half of the problem. Our terrible American diets. We are leaving out the fact that we and our children NEVER exercise. We park as close as we possibly can to any doorway we may enter, throughout the course of our day, often circling the parking lot in our cars like vultures of concrete and painted lines. We’ll take ten minutes of aimless driving to find a space a couple of slots closer to the door, rather than park at the end of the lot and walk for a whole forty-five seconds (oh, my!). There are never kids playing hockey in the street, or football at the park, these days. They’re all inside, shooting computer-generated images of kids they’re shit-talking in China, or Europe, and watching endless hours of mindless cartoons, like Spongebob and Johnny whatever-his-name-is.

If we made the time to institute real changes, like a little olive oil, in lieu of butter (and margarine is the WORST, by the way… it’s full of free radicals, people!), or a game of Wiffle ball, in place of Call of Duty, we might be able to beat this thing. Here’s the problem; US. We parents, are where this stuff begins. I ate awful school lunches, too, but my dad didn’t cook me lard for supper, or throw frozen nuggets in the oven every single night, or go to McDonald’s as a way of life, rather than as an occasional convenience. Kyra has had, maybe, three Happy Meals, in her whole life. We’re big on pastas, spinach (even as a nice spinach pie, with all those carbs; it’s better than over-processed frozen cancer machine meals), and lean meats. We don’t go overboard with the healthy foods and ground chuck is fine, in moderation. I like salmon and chicken, but I’m not about to go to veggie burgers and tofu. We have the occasional hot dogs and macaroni, but the thing is, we eat a balanced diet. Some fats are okay, but candy bars as a rule, are not. Self-control consists of MORE than not eating that crap, yourself, it includes saying “no”, when your kids want it, all the time.

I find that the parents who are afraid to discipline their children end up having all kinds of problems, throughout childhood and adolescence, from their offspring. If Kyra wants to throw a fit and scream and make a fool of herself because she can’t stay in the bouncy-house as long as she wants to (which, believe me, is forever; she’d move in, if she could), that’s fine. We’re still leaving, and now, she’s not getting any reward for being a “big girl”, and coming nicely, when it was time to go home. I’m not about to give in and let her stay on it longer, to avoid being embarrassed, and this is a huge issue, in parenting.

Then, you have the part-time parent problem. You guys know what I mean. This is where the parent who only gets the kid on weekends, wants to give in and break up the schedule, because s/he is afraid of being a “jerk”, for the limited time they have, together. This is a hard one to tackle. Children need limits, and the problem they have with punishments and consequences for their infractions, are very short-lived, whereas the lesson learned, by the enforcement of these limits (most notably, that you LOVE them enough to do so) are long-term and essential to their development as people.

We parents must start to step up and take responsibility for the proper care of our children, because all of their experience starts at home. We must be a good example, not just set one. We may not have the time to play, or we may be exhausted after work ( I know; I play all day at work, with kids about Kyra’s age, and then come home and play, too), but that doesn’t matter. If we flop around on the couch in front of the TV; that’s all our kids will do. If we want to feed them crap from the freezer section because it’s just too hard to boil a pot of water and saute some veggies in olive oil and garlic, what can we expect, but, childhood obesity and heart problems? If they know we love them enough to be truly selfless with our time and attention, we can’t go wrong in being exactly what our children need, to grow up well and strong and bright.