Springing to Life

640px-father_with_tow_babyAs my son gets older, I miss the little things. I miss him crawling into my lap to watch cartoons. I miss his little hand reaching up to hold mine when we were walking somewhere. I miss hearing him giggle when we would tickle him. But it doesn’t have to be the truly beautiful things in life that you miss. I miss quickening in the middle of the night. You know, that springing into action. The sprinting down the hall to his bedroom to see why he was yelling out ‘Dad!’ I think that that’s because you know that at that moment, that he knows that he is safe because you are there to protect him. Whether it was an upset stomach or a bad dream, it was important for him to know that you were there for him. You can’t always be there with them though. Even though the controlling part of you as a parent wants to be. They have to grow up. They have to develop and most of all, they will know pain. Their first love will break up with them. Someone will call them a name. We can’t protect them from the ever changing world.

The one thing that I have always wanted to ensure in Daniel was the knowledge that he was loved. True parental love is a multifaceted tool at which some parents, regretfully fail. Parental love consists of a warm smile or friendly look at which the child can feel empathy 640px-Happy_child_finds_joy.jpgand good nature. The physical affection felt through a hug or kiss. A parent must be attuned and responsiveness to the child’s needs. Now I know that not all parents are huggers or show their emotions in that way; just ensure that your kid knows that you love them. Now you condescending parents who are scoffing at those parents who don’t show love like ‘we’ do, I’m sure that every one of ‘us’ did things perfectly. Right? Wrong! I have witnessed well-meaning parents insensitively scolding their child for missing a ball during a game or ignoring a playful moment that left the child scarred and hurt. Now before you get on the defense, I’ll tell you that most of us, as parents, are telling the truth when we say that we’re doing the best we can. Sometimes that dad at the ball field has the best intentions when he yells at his son for not swinging the right way or the mother who scolds her daughter for not pivoting her foot right during a pirouette.

159px-happy_childWe will make mistakes as parents, just like our parents made mistakes with us. But it is important for our children’s future to not view our children as our replicas; and we must properly externalize the components that will positively affect our children. Remember that your good intentions are not a substitute for love. Being able to throw a football is not more important than the love that you see in your child’s eyes. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Because when you truly love your child…everything else will fall into place.

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Featured Image: H. Ambrose Kiehl and his daughter, Laura Kiehl, on a bicycle photo by and accredited to UW Digital Collections – https://www.flickr.com/photos/uw_digital_images/4951162891/, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53410386
Father with son and Daughter by and accredited to Niriho khoka – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49572330
Happy Child Finds Joy image by and accredited to Hillebrand, Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/people-public-domain-images-pictures/children-kids-public-domain-images-pictures/happy-child-finds-joy.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24874186
Happy Child image by and accredited to امید رستمی نیا – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3623295
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Manic Monday and Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Top 10 Most Common Annoyances/Pet Peeves

So the other day I was reading the incredibly popular and inspiring information website Huffington Post and found an article that they had published on a topic that hits close to home for me: Pet Peeves. We all know that I have an affinity for writing about them: Here, here, and here are some examples. The article from Huffington Post showcases a chosen 76 Incredibly Accurate Pet Peeves That Will Drive. You. Nuts. After reading this article, I realized that not only do I feel good about the particular Pet Peeves that I have; but I’m pretty sure that 75% of the population is walking around with a vein popping out of their forehead due to the stress that is being inflicted by our pet peeves. So to make the people afflicted by these pet peeves feel less alone (and the fact that I guess I’m addicted to making Top Ten lists), I’m reviewing this article and integrating two of my blog types. So here are my Top Ten Pet Peeves that are Guaranteed to Drive You Nuts! 

10. When you let a car cut in front of you and they DON’T WAVE TO THANK YOU!!!! Same goes to you ‘Ms. I stopped at the cross walk even though I didn’t have to so you could walk across the road at the mall/Walmart’.

9. People who talk over you when you’re clearly still in the middle of a sentence.

8. Slow drivers who stay in the ‘fast lane’ and don’t allow you to go past them. This also goes for groups of people or people in general who walk slowly or stop suddenly in the middle of a sidewalk or aisle. MOVE!

7. People who constantly say ‘no offense’ as if it takes away from the extremely mean thing that you just said!

6. Strangers who listen to their music through the phone’s speaker, instead of headphones.

5. People who purposely use bad grammar and do not correct their spelling.

4. People who don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.

3. People who smoke cigarettes or use electronic cigarettes around non-smoking. And your e-cigarette or ‘vape’ is still smoking. Smoking is smoking.

2. People who scuff their feet as they walk down the street, especially if they’re wearing flip flops, boots or UGGs. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

  1. Loud chewing, or people chewing with their mouths open. This also covers people who chew gum loudly and attempt to blow bubbles in confined quarters.

*Maybe this list will make you and your quirks feel a little bit ‘less weird’. Don’t feel ostracized by your pet peeves. You can’t help that you want to smack your friend in the face when she’s chewing her gum with her mouth open. 😉

Daily Prompt: Copycat

via Daily Prompt: Copycat

The followers laugh as the leader of their chosen crew. Among the wood topped desks the followers laugh when their chosen chief laughs. Their eyes bounce judgingly off of the little boys shrunken frame. His pale skin is highlighted by the dark circles around his sad eyes. He sinks farther in under his desk; pleading with his chair to allow him to sink further and further down. His pleads fall on def ears and the eyes of his peers provoke their perched lips to provide punishing blows to his already battle torn ego.

I do my best to shield him. I do my best to make him smile by being his friend. I do my best to help him come out of his shell but I am just a teacher. I’m just a teacher watching a student that I only can interact with in passing. His sad reality is not different from many students that I interact with. Tough home lives, leading to a tough time in school which leads to a tough time in life. I can only pray. I can only hope. I can only try to help.

Bullying must stop. Bullying in all forms. Whether the bullying comes in the form of a copycat following a ‘cooler’ student or it might be a parent who takes out his frustrations of the day on his innocent daughter. The pain that is felt by someone being bullied ripples throughout their entire life.

Think….before you speak.

Manic Monday: Smart Phone Speaker as a mini Boombox

​Personal listening of music has pervaded our sound waves since the advent of the radio; which led to car radios, the 1980’sinfamous boombox, the Walkman, then to the mp3/iPod craze and now the Smart Phone. Though it would seem that boomboxes are making a comeback in the form of a gym goer’s cardinal sin: using their phone’s speaker as a way to listen to their music. If you’ve ever tried to work out and someone beside you insists on walking around with their music annoyingly blasting through their phone’s speaker it is quite distracting. In fact, doing this is annoying EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE! If you’re walking around Walmart and you are listening to your music through your phone’s speaker…turn it off because that is rude. This has nothing to do with what you are listening to. You could be listening to my favorite song; and I would still not want to hear YOUR music. 

Thanks to the Walkman and then the mp3 player/iPod, listening to your choice of music delivered via headphones became the norm as of late; but it would seem that some people have bypassed the use of headphones to let their music pervade the public air space. This isn’t just a pet peeve of mine,  is just plain rude. I also say that if you have your phone on ‘Speaker’ while you at talking to someone (and you just happen to be walking around Food Lion), this act is JUST AS RUDE. 

Manic Monday: Yo’ Bad Kids

“Mind your manners,” was my mother’s favorite saying when I was dropped off at any of my friends houses growing up. I was always taught to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I was always taught to ask for things and be genuinely respectful to my elders; but it would seem that much like my 3rd grade mullet, manners aren’t as popular as they used to be.

To not make the parents out there feel too bad, I must admit that there have always been bad devil kidskids. I remember there being disrespectful kids in my classes in Elementary school but it wasn’t as frequent of a thing as it is now. It is my belief that a lot of the problem is that kids are modeling the behavior that they see around them. Or could it be that good manners just aren’t enforced anymore? Good manners must be taught, discussed, and practiced. Dr. Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., wrote a book entitled How Rude! The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out. In a survey that she took for her book; out of the 70 parents that responded to her survey, three-quarters answered that today’s children and adults are less polite than when ‘they’, were growing up.

oblivious parentsIs it technology’s fault? Is our lives that thrive on instant this and fast that? Or is a lack of communication or interaction to blame? Is the fact that our children grow up texting and emailing more than they actually communicate face-to-face with other human beings?

The answer is difficult to give an unequivocal ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. There is kid on cell phoneno denying that texting and tweeting has encouraged brief communications, which has led to a complete lack of knowledge of the nuances of communication. There is no clarity or respect in the language of a text message. There is no sensitivity and care in a tweet. In other words….it produces bad manners. In a 2014 study by the Boston Medical Center, they found that 75% of families observed at fast food restaurants looked at their smart phones during the meal and of that 75%, one-third of the parents were on their smart phones during the entire meal.

So does that mean that parents are to blame completely? Absolutely. While it is easy to just be oblivious to our child glued to their iPod, we are missing the opportunity to help our child become a better person. While our child is oblivious to the world around them, let’s try practicing what we would like to or should see. If we lead by example, then our children will follow suit. Here are some ideas for us to do when it comes to helping raise better children:

  • Say “Please,” “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,”and “Excuse me.”
  • Look people in the eye while we converse with them.
  • Be respectful to the elderly.
  • Don’t use foul language.
  • Use GOOD table manners.
  • (Especially for boys) Have a good firm handshake.
  • Speak when spoken to.
  • Don’t say hurtful things to ANYONE.
  • Don’t do things that are inappropriate at specific times (talking in movie theaters, disrespectfully talking while adults (or anyone) is trying to talk.
  • Have family meals. I know that we’re all in a hurry but find time to eat with your kids.
  • STAY OFF YOUR PHONE WHILE YOU’RE WITH YOUR KIDS! Especially while you are at the dinner table.

 

 

Manic Monday: Bad Drivers

In the continuing struggle to talk about the things that drive us (mainly me) insane, Manic Monday again brings you something to make you say, “dang that gets on my nerves also!” If you are over the age of 16 and have a driver’s license then you have experienced the phenomena of this latest pet peeve: bad drivers.

People with ‘bad driving etiquette’ is one of societies biggest pet peeves (especially mine).bad driver sign Growing up in a small town in the South and then moving to the ‘big city’ for college, I had already had my fill of getting in traffic jams behind tractors and slow moving farm vehicles. As I grew up and traveled throughout the US, I have experienced even more frustration and found that some people lose their minds when they get behind the wheel. So I thought that on this edition of Manic Monday, I would give you a list of THE MOST ANNOYING THINGS THAT BAD DRIVERS DO!!!!

  1. People who pull out in front of you when there are no cars behind you. Most of them make a right turn as soon as they pull out, causing you to come to an all but complete stop.
  2. Oh speaking of pulling out in front of you. Imagine this: you’re driving down an interstate and you see a sign that says, “Lane closed ahead, merge.” What do you do?angry driver You go ahead and merge. Well you merge if you’re not a BUTTHOLE! Sorry. I’m trying to remain a Christian. Well this idiotic butthole speeds up past a couple of cars, to ‘sneak in’ ahead of everyone. If you do this….STOP!
  3. Oh. More about bad drivers on busy roads/interstates/highways. Hey you! Yeah you, constant lane changer in heavy traffic guy. He (or she) is constantly moving from lane to lane only to see it go nowhere or to only be 3 car lengths ahead. This usually happens during very congested roads or traffic jams. You are a dangerous nuisance behind the wheel and I dislike you immensely when you drive.
  4. Oh I have another one for busy highway/interstate driving. The ‘speed-up/slow-down’ driver. He’s the one who blasts past you while you’re cruising in the right hand lane (like you should when you’re driving the speed limit) and then gets in front of the car in front of you. Then….he slows down. He slows down slower than what you were traveling when he flew past you. Then you are forced to try to pass him but get passed by 200 cars in the right hand lane. When you get past him, about two minutes go by and he flies by you again, only the repeat the cycle over and over again.
  5. There is this lever behind your steering wheel which helps you indicate to the drivers tailgater.pngaround you the direction in which you are turning. WELL I really wish that people would remember to use them. They are very useful.
  6. Tailgaters. GRRRRRR. You know the one that rides your bumper for so long, that you finally decide to pull over to the side of the road just so you won’t get rear ended in case you have to make a sudden stop.
  7. The grandma. I hold no ill will towards grandmothers but there comes a time (even if you’re 24) that you need to relinquish your driver’s license and get a bus pass….or call a taxi….or walk…..or move far far far away from me. The grandma doesn’t have to be a grandmother. The grandma can be a 42 year old man who drives his pickup truck at 35 mph down a rural speed limitroad. A grandma can also be the old couple that just left church and they decide to ‘go to town’ and get an ice cream….they start reminiscing and start turkey necking as they look around at their surroundings going 25 mph in town. A grandma could also be my dad, who drives 45 mph EVERYWHERE because he says ‘what do I have to be in a hurry for…if I gotta be somewhere far away, I just leave earlier’. And that is why I don’t ride with my dad anymore.
  8. The missed highway exit guy because his wife was fussing at him about not knowing where to go. Okay. So…I have to admit that I’m bad about heading merging into the appropriate lane 2 minutes before I’m supposed to turn (my wife hates that I do this) but I’m referring to the guy that is almost missing his off ramp, so he cuts sharply across two lanes of busy highway traffic to get onto the 15 mph curved offramp almost flipping his Toyota Sequoia full size SUV.
  9. Oh….speaking of black Toyota Sequoia full size SUVs. Here’s to you middle aged male driver of the black Toyota Sequoia who not only backed out of his parking place at the local BBQ joint without looking but upon almost running into me continued backing up as if it was my fault that I was breathing his air.
  10. Parking place thieves are the worst.These are the people whom steal the little old ladies spot at JC Penny’s. The ones that wheel their tiny Prius into the parking space crooked parked car.jpegbefore you can even turn your wheel.
  11. OH GOD. The Crooked parker. I’m not referring to the crook that lives in your town named Mr. Parker. I’m referring to the woman driving the 1998 Plymouth Voyager van that is parked in a 25 degree angle in a 90 degree parking space. Her crooked parking causes the rest of the parking lot to be thrown off and most of the time makes the person parking closest to me pull in so close that I can’t even get into my car.

Okay….I’m going to go ahead and finish this blog because I’m beginning to feel my anxiety level rising and might need a refill on my Xanax. (Just kidding about that by the way.)

If you of any that I missed, let me know. What driving pet peeves annoy you?

Let me know!

Love, peace, and chicken grease;

-Chris

 

*If any of you guys have a suggestion for a future Manic Monday, let me know. If I use your idea, I’ll give you a shout out.

 

Manic Monday: Close Talkers

It’s just another Manic Monday!

As a child growing up in the 90s, the TV show Seinfeld was a huge part of my youth. Even though a lot of the jokes went over my head due to the sometimes overly adult topics, I still soaked up a lot of life lessons from Jerry and his comedic crew. Like George’s suggestion as to how to keep yourself looking like you’re busy at work even when you’re doing absolutely nothing. {Not that I would ever do that. ;)} I learned things to avoid, like bath houses and payayayour friends mom who prepares too much payaya. The most important lesson that I learned from Seinfeld was to stay away from and to not be a close talker. We all have that one friend. The one who you can feel his breath when he talks to you face-to-face. The old lady at church who has to be touching your arm and talking into your ear just to tell you something that isn’t that important.

close talkerOn the episode of Seinfeld, Elaine’s boyfriend (played by Judge Reinhold) invades the space of everyone around him. “He’s a real close talker!”   I remember watching this guy and thinking that he must have been something off in his brain. Well a recent study from The California Institute of Technology (aka Caltech) has revealed that I was probably right. Caltech have pinpointed the part of the brain that is responsible for our personal sense of space. This discovery has offered a lot of insight into the world of autism and other disorders where ‘personal space’ could be an issue. The research centered around a womanamygdala who had a lesion on her amygdala (no Waterboy we’re not talking about the medulla oblongata, Caligula, or Abdullah the Butcher). The amygdala are two almond-shaped nuclei located deep in the temporal lobes of your brain. In humans and other mammals, the amygdala is said to control our fear and pleasure responses.

The researchers believe that distancing ourself during a one-on-one conversation isn’t something that we consciously think about but rather we know the situational norms that need to be followed at that time. If you are talking to your lover, you’re going to lean in closer in an intimate manner. If you’re talking to a fellow co-worker, you will stand at an appropriate distance. So autism, being a neuro-developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to properly interact and communicate with others, research is jumping leaps and bounds due to close talkers.

close talker 2I by no means am saying that the sweet old lady at church has autism…maybe she just really loves you and feels comfortable enough to be near you. I am not saying that Judge Reinholds character from Seinfeld was portraying an autistic man because of his close talking…but by this I am saying that sometimes close talkers just can’t help it. Maybe they’re just a little too loving. Maybe that’s the problem, they just love too much. Don’t hate me because I’m a little more lenient on a close talker than I am someone who chews with their mouth open.