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Last night I posted a photo of a sweatshirt with a message I found to be quite thought provoking for my self. In no way was it intended to be a shield or banner proclaiming my views.

However, the post on Facebook has received a number of interesting thoughts, all valid, too.

I like those “shoe on the other foot” items that truly open my awareness. I use to buy into the “WWJD? – What Would Jesus Do?” but I find I cannot even suggest that any more because the various Christian departments all have their individual design on what Jesus would have, or would not have done. And, does anyone truly know?

I do not subscribe to the origins of the sweat shirt’s design by the group that posted it (hell, I couldn’t even recall the name of the group without scrolling up). I tend to care little about organizations, and what they truly stand for. Sometimes, there are quotes I select because of how they speak to me. And that is all they are for on my Facebook page. If they speak to others, great.

Once I posted a quote attributed to Adolph Hitler. It was thought-provoking for me, personally. So many were outraged that I preferred a quote by one of the most defiled men in human history. “You are taking it out of context.” Well, aren’t so many quotes taken out of context from another intent? Look at The Bible. Folks are always taking certain pages out of context to use for their own agenda, and I have heard identical passages used by a variety of ministers with numerous meanings.

I’ve written on other occasions, and on other posts that I, personally, am not a big supporter of Civil Rights, Equal Rights, Gay Rights, etc.. I am, simply put, for Human Rights.

Ironically, it is our fellow man who determines who should be considered human to deserve particular rights.

A woman’s right to vote was one that always seemed absurd.

Why?

Ironically, this put women beneath the Black man “in the day” when former Slaves were granted rights to vote.

But a woman could not?

I always figured this was merely a power control issue for men…

Last weekend, I was quite moved by a production of the musical, 1776. Toward the end, the vote for independence, which was to be a unanimous vote in Congress, was held up by one statement in Mr. Jefferson’s draft. Slavery. If the institution of holding Black people as slaves was to end upon the signing of the declaration, then the two Carolinas and Georgia would not sign the Declaration of Independence. However, if slavery was to remain in the soon-to-be united colonies, then the three Southern states would vote “yea,” thus announcing our nation’s independence to the world.

Amazing!

A human’s right to live freely was to be determined by the forming of a new nation.

Now, to me, that is incredible! We sacrificed one population’s freedom in order to form this country so that another popular could be free of tyranny. A tyranny that this free population would impose on the population that would not see freedom for quite some time.

Here in this country, one must subscribe to certain conditions before basic rights are granted. Our government can pick and choose which portions of the population are considered “human” in order to receive certain rights.

For me, personally, I have never been placed in a situation where I feel my basic human rights are challenged, and I pray I may never see that day.

In the musical, Rodney Caesar said, as the members of the Congress turned on one another, “The enemy is out there.” (referring to The British)

But is it?

As I delve further into this question of human rights, I am also finding a parallel with the teachings of The Church as we know it. If one does not subscribe fully to certain beliefs, one is denied “something” – depending on the denomination – but generally, and foremost, a golden ticket to heaven.

In politics, and religion, if one tends to disagree, they are too often considered, “disgruntled.” I have seen this, numerous times, on various posts.

Why should a differing opinion be considered ‘disgruntled’?

I think it may all return to “power.” So often, when others feel their power, or control, is questioned, they react with strict criticism, and balloon themselves up to comical proportions to display their authority. One post I read this morning received an incredible back-lash from an individual who happened to be a professional in the one post of concern, and the rebuttal literally had me laughing (yes, out loud). There was so much anger, and authority in the gentleman’s words which basically implied, “You are an unfit human being, and I despise you for disagreeing with my beliefs.”

Interesting… and sad…

Is there ever a possibility, in our generation’s life-time, where one’s thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and life will ever be truly valued even when they differ from our own?

A Jewish prayer:

“Oseh Shalom” – “He who makes/offers peace.”

A Muslim Prayer for Peace:

“Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations, That we may know each other, not that we may despise each other.”

A Baha’i Prayer for Peace: “Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be fair in they judgement, and guarded in they speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.”

Native American Ten Commandments:

Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
Remain close to the Great Spirit.
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
Do what you know to be right.
Look after the well being of mind and body.
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
Be truthful and honest at all times.
Take full responsibility for your actions.

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This morning I attached my self to a post that described how our children are different than they were in past years. One mother compared a moment of John Boy Walton to her own son. I was so glad she posted what she did because it sprang my brain into thinking of my own home.

The one thing I hear too often is “things use to be so different.”

I always believe if things have changed, we, ourselves, have allowed them to change. Yes, things were different back during The Depression, or even back when I was a child in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

What is different?

Technology.

Economy.

Clothing styles.

Hair styles.

Toys.

Communication.

Etc.

Most of the big changes are things that have shaped our world, and how we communicate. Sadly, it has shaped our communication skills to be non-present communicators.

Automatic tellers.

U-Scan at the grocery store.

Voice mail.

Email.

Cell phones.

Texting.

We do not communicate face-to-face, or even in hand writing. And trust me, I am just as guilty of these technological pleasures. For me, though, I use Sprint and can rarely call or text (or receive) from my own home. Standing in my backyard in last week’s heat was not an option!

One thing I constantly hear is, “Kids are so different today.”

What is different about our kids, today?

Has anything REALLY changed?

If children have changed, then we, ourselves, especially as parents, have allowed it.

If children refuse to do assigned chores, and we do not follow up, or address the unfinished chore, and do it ourselves, then the child is doing the parenting.

Why?

Why do we allow our children to set the course for our lives as adults when it is our duty, our responsibility to teach them?

Are we afraid to say, “No” to our children?

Do we wish to not upset them for fear we will not be liked by our own children?

If our values, or belief system has changed, then it rests squarely on our shoulders.

I had one parent say to me last week, “my child talks back to me and I would never have done that to my parents.”

Well, my response was, “Because your parents would not tolerate it. So, why do you?”

Sometimes, I think we use “times are different” or “things were different back then” as an excuse so we do not have to take responsibility in being parents, or even good citizens.

I remember when cable television and HBO came to our community in 1980. There were citizens who were out-raged because it could be available in their homes and they did not want HBO in their homes for their children to watch. Well, they missed the point: don’t order cable, or, if you do, set down the ground rules.

I remember my mother saying, “If you don’t want your children to watch HBO, be the parent and tell them, ‘No.”

Ahhh… the one lesson in parenting I have always remembered from my mother – and God bless her for demonstrating it.

That evil word that so few parents like to use: “No.”

Why is it we cannot use “No” with our children?

Don’t want to deal with the results?

I have heard, “I work all day, run errands, come home, drive kids to various practices, lessons, games, dance, etc., and the last thing I want is an argument.”

I understand this. Generally, the ones from whom I hear the above statement, or something of a similar complaint, have a spouse who assists in raising the children. Seldom do I hear these complaints, or whines, from single parents.

Interesting…

The only thing that works for me is: I’m the parent in my home. I call the shots. It is not a democracy. It is not a group-led home.

“Oh, but that’s being a control freak.”

Ok. Call it what you wish, but the buck stops here. I am the responsible for my home, and my children. It is my duty, my responsibility to raise my sons on the path to become fully-functioning adults, providing them the valued, well-experienced tools that were handed down to me by my mother (who, during most of my childhood was single, and had no problem saying, “No” or setting down rules which were to be obeyed… I am not promoting single-parenthood – merely stating personal facts).

Yes, things were different back then. I grew up without air conditioning. This past week I feel I survived simply because I had air conditioning. However, I survived hot summers as a child – and I do not believe summers were less hot back then.

What has changed in this scenario?

Me.

I have air conditioning, and on hot days I use it. It’s a choice.

We, as parents, have a choice in determining whether or not our children will participate in life, or whether we will allow them to fall victim to our excuses. I raise sons whose earlier lives were prescribed by their birth parents, or foster parents. Some days I know it would simply be easier to allow myself to feel victim to my child’s past.

All I can say, is: LOL.

Not on my watch!

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