Sunday, November 24, 2013

Who Will Tell Their Stories?

One of my father's childhood friends stopped by his house recently while I was visiting. Listening to them talk about growing up together was so entertaining! I sat back and listened to each story that they told.  Knowing what life was like for my father as a child is fascinating to me.  He's told me so many stories of how he and his brothers grew up in 40's and 50's in Mississippi.  I value each and every story I get from family as a timeless treasure.

The photo attached is one of my mom and her siblings.  I know a story about every person in it.  My uncle in the black shirt once told me a funny story about jumping off a moving truck in an attempt to impress girls as a youth.  My aunt next to him told me a story of how her husband forgot to play her usual numbers for the Minnesota lottery the one day her numbers were actually selected.  The lady in the middle is my mom, so of course I know everything about her.  My uncle in the suspenders shared with me how his dad (my granddad) broke him from smoking cigarettes.  My aunt in the red shirt shared about how she once had to discipline my mom for being bad.

So many entertaining stories that takes you back in time as you listen to them.  However, it sometimes makes me feel pretty bad about not having a son or daughter to share these stories with about my family. My cousins have kids, so they may attempt to share some things.  Although I have god kids and my lady has kids, they probably wouldn't understand the dynamic of my family. Especially on my father's side.  If you didn't grow up around my family like my cousins and I did, then it would be hard to understand some of the inside jokes that come from the stories that they tell.  It's almost like walking in on the middle of a movie.  You may figure some things out, but you'll never have foundation that all good stories must have.

But, me not being able to pass things down is not the real tragedy.  The real tragedy is that I don't think kids have an interest in hearing those type of stories. If it's not about "Twilight," a reality show, an Xbox game or something like that, then kids tend to tune grown people out after three minutes or so.

So, where will these stories go? Will they die with me?  

Unfortunately, I think that they will.  Talking to elders is a thing of the past.  Previous generations and how they live aren't important in our society now.  They probably haven't been in more than a decade.  At least not any more.  I'm not the only one who recognizes that fact either.

The cable network called AMC (once called American Movie Classics) changed their name because they wanted to get away from the classic and appeal to younger generations.  It's why they now have programming like "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad."  They know that very few want to watch old black and white movies today.  Do you know anyone under 40 years of age who can watch a black and white TV show/movie?

The United States is probably one of the only countries that doesn't hold its elders in high regard.  In Asian countries, older people are revered for their experience and wisdom.  To sit with someone who has truly experienced life is an honor to most of them and other countries.  Here in the States, it's considered a waste of time for some.  Kids don't want to hear how things used to be.  They don't care what life was like before cell phones and remote controls.  It doesn't affect their lives so it has no place.

That's so sad to me.  Storytelling is a lost art.  I used to enjoy sitting on the porch and talking to my grandmother about her days as a little girl.  I heard about how she had to work from the crack of dawn to sundown as a pre-teen.  I remember hearing that she didn't have her first TV until she was in her 30's.  She's told me about how racism was rampant in Mississippi.  In fact, she just recently told me about how she cooked breakfast at her sister's house for two of the three civil rights workers not too long before they were later murdered in Philadephia, MS.

Hearing how she lived gives me perspective on how I live.  Perspective is something we severely lack in society.  We can't put ourselves in someone else's shoes because we don't have to do so.  My generation doesn't appear interested in sharing things with its kids.  In fact, my generation invented things to keep kids occupied so that we wouldn't have to talk to them.  Why else would someone think of putting a DVD player in a vehicle?

How can a kid understand the privilege of having a car when he/she doesn't even know that his/her grandma had to walk to school?

How can a kid appreciate having over 200 television stations when he/she doesn't know that granddad only had four while growing up?

How can a kid value the time family spends together when everything promotes individualism (iPod/earbuds, cell phone, tablets).

As much as it pains me to say it, "cherishing our elders are a thing of the past."  I honestly think that my generation (70's babies) is the last one where a majority of us truly appreciate the stories we were told by those a generation above us.

It's a shame, too.  Now that I'm 42 years old, I have lived life long enough to have stories to tell.  Some funny and some serious.  But, "who wants to hear them" is what I ponder.  The only people who will probably know about my stories are the ones who follow my blog.  The rest just don't seem to care.

Am I wrong when I say that our elders are no longer relevant to a majority of young people?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

(VIDEO) #Knockout Game Will Get Some Kid Hurt (or Worse)

First, I want you to watch the video...

Is this not one of the most ridiculous things ever? I don't get it. What in the world has happened to kids parents? How can you have a child capable of something like this unless you're not doing your job? I know all parents aren't slackers, but let's be honest: most of the kids in this video probably do not have proper parenting structure at home.

I love boxing and cage fighting, so I understand the fascination of seeing someone knocked out.  However, at least those people know that they're in a fight.  These people on the street do not.  The fact that these teens target women and children as well makes it even more disturbing to most people.

For those of you who jog or walk with earbuds in your ears, then I would advise you to make sure one of your ears is free to hear around you.  Society gets crazier and crazier each day and a walk to work or a jog in the neighborhood can lead to a concussion or worse.

As for the people perpetrating this act, don't think you're not putting yourself in harm's way as well.  There are more open-carry gun laws being passed and licenses to carry permits being issued.  One mistimed swing can result in you being shot.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Facebook and Your Kids

Facebook used to be about friends and relatives, but now it's not. People add others that they barely know or maybe not even know at all to their Friends list. They don't know if the person is a stalker, rapist, or worse, a pedophile.

Surveys say that almost 9 out of 10 parents post their child’s full name, and exact date and time of birth before even coming home from the hospital. As the child grows, they post pictures of their kids and tag their friends, siblings, and other relatives.

This kind of information could be used by predators to befriend your kid. They could use your kid's name and the names of their relatives and friends to build trust and convince them that they are not really a stranger.  A stranger that knows detailed information that allows them to have a rapport with your child.

Identity thieves can also use this information to answer security questions to access your accounts.  If you must post pictures of your children then you should at least remove personally identifying information such as their full names and birth dates. Your real friends know their names anyway.

If you're going to put your family on display then at least give them a fighting chance. Make sure that your friends are really your friends and make sure you don't put too much information out there.

Do you think posting your kid's photo on FB can be harmful?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ladies, Your Bodies Are Perfect!

Too often ladies in relationships have complained about their looks.  I get that.  We men are visual creatures, so we appreciate good-looking women.  But, some women take things too far.  You buy into what they're selling on TV and in the magazines and you short-change yourself.

Don't do it.

First of all, I'm not saying don't exercise or anything like that.  Exercise has benefits for what's inside your body as much as it does your outside.  It is very important, but don't think it should be a full-time job and lose hair over it.  Besides, if you're in a relationship, then the only person you should focus on pleasing (besides yourself) is your mate.

If your significant other is happy, then why get depressed over how your body looks?  Sure, it helps to be happy with yourself, but your significant other is supposed to make you feel sexy.  If they're doing their job, then there's no need to stress about losing a few pounds or having a rounder butt or whatever it is that you think you need.  Besides, many women only need "enhancements."

  • Maybe your makeup doesn't compliment you.  You don't want to look like Ronald McDonald.
  • It could be that you don't wear clothes that truly fit your body type.  Can't shop at Wet Seal with a Lane Bryant body.  
  • It's possible that you need to step your shoe game up.  Sneakers probably shouldn't be an everyday option for women over 21.

There are plenty of "tweaks" that most women can make that can significantly enhance their look.  I've seen too many examples of "the girl next door" turning into a Hollywood starlet almost over night.  That could be you if you simply take time to honestly evaluate yourself to determine what would accent your look.

Don't stress.  Don't spend money on unnecessary surgeries.  Don't kill yourself in the gym.

A lot of you may not think that you have the perfect body, but you're perfect for someone and that is what's important!  Embrace what you have and if you need to "fine tune" yourself, then do so.  But, be happy with who you are and stop letting society dictate what is beautiful.

A good man wants a good woman.  If she looks like a model, then great, but the main thing is that she's good for him.  We do want you to look good, but we only care about our standards.  My lady doesn't have to be a perfect 10.  She just has to be perfect for me.

Do we put way too much focus on trying to look like what we see on TV and magazine covers?

Don't believe the hype.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Your Child Stops Trying

Where are the fans?
Do you see that field?  This was taken during a high school football game between the Lanier Bulldogs (Jackson, MS) and the Germantown Mavericks (Gluckstadt, MS).

The schools are only separated by 21 miles yet the photo reveals the handful of fans who came out to support Lanier.  A 20-30 minute drive yielded just a few supporters.

I attended the Lanier / Callaway game a couple of weeks ago.  The game took place just minutes from Lanier High School yet there were barely any fans there.

Before that game started, I watched both teams warm up.  I mentioned to a peer of mine how bad Lanier's body language was.  Players were barely jogging instead of sprinting.  There was no enthusiasm whatsoever during pregame warm ups and it translated to their game performance.  Callaway slaughtered Lanier 59-0 and the players didn't seem too concerned about it.  The Lanier coaches didn't either.

Here are some of the other losses Lanier has received this season: 42-8, 67-0, 35-6, 68-16, 62-22, 50-0, and 56-20 to Germantown.  The only close game they've had this season is an 8-0 loss to a not so good Wingfield team.

I personally think that these kids have mentally checked out and I blame the parents.  The parents should be ashamed of themselves to not travel 21 miles to see their children play.  Also, the school should be ashamed for not having a pep squad and band attend as well.  Don't they have a responsibility to provide support as well?  After all, interscholastic competition is a promotion of brands (schools).

This is a school with almost 1,000 students and more championship basketball banners than probably any school in the state.  On game day during basketball season, you can't even squeeze into the gym.  But, if a child participates in anything other than basketball, then I guess it's not important enough for a parent to bother.

The result of this behavior is that the kids lose the desire to try since it appears that no one takes them seriously.  That's a problem.  There are way too many children looking in the audience for their family members only to not see them.  It can be a sporting event, music/dance recital, theatrical presentation, or whatever.  The day a child stops looking for their parents is a sad day!  And Talk 2 Q Show Legend, M&M, once said, "an unloved child is a dangerous adult."

Now, I know in 2013, people have to work.  There are some parents who just can't attend each and every game.  But, something has to be done to provide representatives to support these kids.  I have no allegiance to them at all and I couldn't help but feel sorry for them during the game.  It was pathetic.

Can someone explain to me what makes a parent not care?

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