Well, another 4th of July has come and gone, my desire to celebrate as dismal as the local fireworks display. You see, I keep growing into this thing called "conscious awareness" and as such, I question everything. Is it really ok to light these fireworks? Each year, I hear dogs howling in distress upon having to be exposed to the noise. Last year, I recall seeing this poor traumatized dog running up and down the street frantically. I wasn't able to catch it. Last night, I couldn't even walk outside and breathe without being exposed to the smell of sulfur. And then there's the whole "freedom" mantra. We aren't free. Well ok, unless you believe in the idea of "freedom is a state of mind", but that simply glosses over the darker side of life. While we always have a choice, sometimes that choice can lead to those who disagree with our choice to interfere with our free will and impose something upon us. And then there's the whole americana bravado that goes along with such a celebration.
Look, I could get into the whole celebration of America had a history of honoring and practicing such things as freedom, truth and justice. But we haven't. So instead of pretending, let's use the 4th of July to truly celebrate the birth of America by looking with an honest eye at where freedom, truth and justice are missing in our culture and creating something new whereby such values are not just words but rather, played out through action. And perhaps, we could find some new practices that don't include getting shit-faced (especially on crappy beer) and watching things blow up while hootin' and hollerin' at the top of our lungs late into the evening hours.
I read up more on the upcoming flu swine vaccine, which is set to be released by Baxter this month. Ridiculous, all of the hype and fear, especially since the regular flu killed thousands more than the swine flu did this year. Of course no clinical trials were done, so we're playing russian roulette with another vaccine. The immune system is quite resilient and, for most people, is a much better protector of disease than any vaccine will ever be. I guess vaccines could have their place - if they were to be preserved with natural, safe and organically-based properties. But that isn't the case. And it likely won't be in any foreseeable future.
Ok, where in the hell is the consideration with today's youth? I'm not talking about the behavior we all engaged in during our young years. The partying. The loud music. The rebellion. I'm talking about taking ownership of ones behavior. I'm talking about consideration for others. I remember when I would hang out with friends and party. We would hang out in some abandoned field where no one was around or we would hang out at a friend's house and make sure we turned down the noise after a certain hour. Why? So as not to disturb the neighbors. The idea of consideration for others was drilled into my head, as it was for my friends as well. Don't just think of yourself. Think of others as well.
Many of these young people I am speaking of are the same generation of kids I used to care for 15-20 years ago during my stint in daycare. At the time, I saw a trend appearing that I knew was going to result in a generation of kids not having authentic consideration for anyone except for yours truly. These children had both parents working full-time and as such, were in the care of other adults 8-12 hours a day, 5 days a week. I remember thinking "who in the world do these parents think is really parenting and raising their children?" It isn't just quality of time. Quantity is equally as important.
What I saw were tired parents picking up their children, their children begging mommy and/or daddy for x y or z, mommy and/or daddy too tired to argue, too worn out to even deal with, feeling guilty for believing they couldn't spend more time with their children (with many of these families under the illusion they could have it all NOW) and more times than not, child got his/her desire. I could tell which children had learned how to use this to their advantage and as such, were turning in to demanding little tyrants, totally self-absorbed.
I'm not saying it isn't possible not to raise considerate children when both parents are working full-time, but it does take a fairly unique adult with an extra amount of energy to spare and a willingness to do what it takes to make sure such behavior is not allowed to continue. And just as important is a childcare system where the student to teach ratio gap is a small one. The place I first worked had a 17 to 1 student/teacher radio for the preschool room, which I felt was ridiculous. Also equally important are teachers who are willing to step outside of the politically correct box now and then and stop such demanding behavior at the onset, even if it means employing their own instinctive measures that may be contrary to policy. I recall one episode where the Assistant Director was helping me out in the preschool room. One of the moms arrived to pick up her son, a sweet little boy but certainly a demanding little tyrant when he wanted to be. Well, little boy wasn't ready to leave and told mommy "no", to which mommy sighed and again, repeated her request that he get his jacket. Little boy again said "no", only this time with more anger in his voice. Mommy sighs. If looks could speak, she would have said "I don't have the energy to deal with this!"
What proceeded was a round of mommy quietly repeating her request, her voice sounding more weary with each attempt, which only served to add fuel to little boy's repeated refusal to comply. Well finally, the Assistant Director had had quite enough, so she walked over to little boy, picked him up, and, despite his screaming and kicking, took him out to mommy's car, placed him inside and shut the door. All without saying a word. Mommy looked at me as though she were about ready to cry, and, with her head down, walked over to get little boy's belongings and left.
Assistant Director had returned. "Well done," I said, knowing full well as she did that if the Director had caught her doing such a thing, she would have faced possible termination due to the long list of policies, many of which are unnecessary, of the daycare establishment.
"I couldn't take that scene anymore," she said. "Someone had to do something."
It's been very hot and dry here, temperatures in the mid 90's. Today though we are having the start of a much desired cooling trend. Our natural a/c, the Pacific, has pushed in some clouds. Temperatures are expected to hover around 70 degrees for much of next week, which after 90 plug degree heat, is going to feel refreshingly cool. Oh how I long to live someplace where the temps don't get out of the 70's. Such heat didn't seem to stop people from enjoying outdoor activities, such as the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, where I watched people on television listen to spectacular music (the best blues band I have heard to date, the name having since slipped my mind, perhaps even better than Stevie Ray Vaughan himself, was heard 1998 Blues Fest on July 4th)...all the while sitting in lawn chairs in the 90 plus degree heat, surrounded by like-behaved folks, bodies glistening with sweat.
Ugh. Not my idea of fun. When I attended, temps were around 70.
I thought of something today. My desire for and on-going pursual of self-employment. Whilst this is getting a foot out of the system, my other foot is still in it, helping support the very element that needs to be removed: the banking system. Like the ocean, where everything we throw into the street and waterways ends up there, with every dollar we create or spend (or save for that matter), it all ends up at some bank. Self-employment is very much a positive trend. However, how positive is it really when the very system that is causing so much unnecessary struggle and suffering is allowed to continue on its merry way?