in vogue again…

So…if children see Trump bullying his way into the presidency, then why bother listening to adults moralize against bullying? Bullying gets the job done. Trump is proof-positive, and thousands of voters are rooting the bully on to a knock-out victory over any and all contenders.

So…if we see an uptick in bullying…on the playground…and on the internet…adults who voted Trump president have only themselves to thank. They have upended recent efforts to halt suicides by victims who were no match for the bullies.

So…if the would-be president is a bully, why shouldn’t children aspire to be like Trump…a bully? There’s no arguing the point, unless voters want to argue that the end justifies the means.

So…if the end justifies the means…what’s wrong with bullying…if it gets a kid what he wants in the end? It’s getting Trump what he wants. Remember, he swears he could shoot someone and his voters would still support him.

So…if mentally ill kids feel victimized by bullies and decide to retaliate by taking their  frustrations out in mass shootings, then we’ll be right where we are today. No better, but headed for a lot worse, that’s for sure.

So…for adults supporting Trump for president, it would follow that they approve of his bullying tactics. And because they do, it stands to reason that these same adults could not hold it against children who bully. Unless, of course, these Trump supporters are proposing that children “do as they say and not as they do.” That old double standard…that’s as old as bullying.

Sadly…

…some things never change.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

nurturing thursdays: bullying

We’re all very familiar with the bullying that takes place among youngsters. These days it’s even taken to cyberspace…big time! Short of throwing the computer out the window, I’ve little advice to offer parents who are dealing with this recent phenomenon.

English: A graph showing where electronic aggr...

English: A graph showing where electronic aggression occurs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps if we backtracked a little however, we might do a little preventative work towards laying a better foundation to help alleviate bullying.

It amazes me when adults work themselves into a dither over children being bullied by other children. I often think…well, how about the bullying that goes on day in and day out among adults? Did we pass some kind of hazing threshold which now permits us to have at it? Or have the years worn us down so that we could care less if we overflow onto one another? Good manners be damned?

My own experiences with bullying have left me with an assortment of thoughts on the subject.

As the youngest I was an easy target for bullying by my older siblings. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hide behind the Catholic church’s teachings commanding us to love one another. 

For some reason, society doesn’t point its collective finger at the family when it comes to bullying. We’ve come to accept that the older children are just naturally given to mistreating their younger brothers and sisters, if they’re so inclined. Perhaps it’s deemed a lesson in survival. Or it might be that parents are either too overwhelmed or too clueless to manage the ongoing spats of their offspring. Easier to let them settle things themselves.

Yes, lessons are good. However the downside of bullying within a family is that it often creates enmity. Loving one another is a given, especially when tragedy strikes. Liking one another is a whole other thing. And it’s the liking that allows us to coexist in harmony for more than a holiday dinner or a wedding celebration or attendance at a funeral.

Where do children learn the art of bullying? I would suggest that the primary source is the example their parents set. If a father bullies a mother or vice versa, such behavior goes a long way in convincing youngsters that bullying is okay. If parents didn’t engage in bullying and condemned such behavior in others, it would follow that children wouldn’t succumb to something of which their parents disapproved.

I understand that raising children not to bully is complicated by outside forces over which we have little or no control. Nevertheless, wouldn’t it be a good beginning to lay down some ground rules within the family so that bullying might not find fertile ground upon which to take hold, grow, thrive, and spread?

Paralleling the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God, family members might be commanded to…

  1. Love one another as you love your own self.
  2. Treat one another as you would want to be treated.
  3. Before lashing out with unkind words or gestures, have a discussion with yourself to weigh the pros and cons. Seek guidance from someone whose counsel you respect.
  4. If #3 doesn’t work for you…count to 100…or 1,000…or 5,000…whatever it takes to calm yourself down.
  5. If neither #3 or #4 work, go for a walk in the great outdoors where the sights, sounds, and smells might have a calming effect upon you.
  6. Get to know one another…your likes…your dislikes…your vulnerabilities…your passions. You do this with friends. Why not with siblings? Are they that alien to you?
  7. Put yourself in one another’s shoes, figuratively-speaking. What’s it like to be dad with his financial worries? Or mom who’s always stressed with so much to do? What’s it like to be the eldest missing the attention once reserved only for him or her? Or the youngest who feels left out, left behind? Is it true that middle children feel as though they’re invisible?
  8. Compliment one another. If doing so makes a complete stranger’s day, like the waiter or the barista, think what it can do for your own family member? Tell mom she’s a great cook…often! Congratulate your sister on her excellent grades. 
  9. Tell one another “I love you” every day. You never know if it’ll be the last time you get to say it.
  10. Respect one another…and yourself. If you have a legitimate gripe, speak up. And be sure you allow others to have their say as well. 

I would offer one more suggestion. 

Families should refrain from gossiping about one another…to one another. Doing so only breeds ill-will. I know. It happened in my own family, creating untold and unresolved disruptions to relationships that will probably never be rectified. Better to vent to good friends who have no personal stake in the matter, and who are committed to supporting you regardless.

Bullying can take on a life of its own, having far-reaching effects which often span a person’s entire lifetime.English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

The one given to bullying can wind up behind bars because he injured another driver in a road rage incident. Someone who’s often the focus of bullying can finally snap, shooting and killing innocent victims in an attempt to assuage his torment.

Short of such drastic true-to-life scenarios, however, are the day-to-day consequences many of us face as a result of bullying. 

I hate confrontations because I don’t like hurting people’s feelings, even when a wrong has been done to me.  When I have had to say something hurtful to put someone in his or her place, I feel guilty forever after. Thankfully, I’ve learned to forgive myself and move on.

Low self-esteem can be a side product of being bullied. Recovering one’s confidence can be a lifetime job. 

Loss of trust is another factor when bullied. The victim forever doubts what’s said going forward. Only after what seems a lifetime of reassurances can trust be reinvested, if it’s even possible.

Bullies probably never think of themselves as such. Perhaps we should all ask ourselves…

…am i a bully?…

………hugmamma.

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...

 

nurturing thursdays…push back!

A visit to The Lady in the House at http://ladyinthehouse.net had me thinking about…nurturing thursdays.

English: Pumpkin spider, Araneus trifolium and...

In a piece entitled The Brilliance Behind Passive Agression, the writer expounds at length on the relationship between….in her imagery…the spider and the fly. The fly who is unwittingly caught in the web spun by the insidious spider.

Have you ever suffered the fate of the fly? Or have you been the one who masterfully lured it into your spidery world?

Neither image solicits a willingness to admit to being one or the other, or worse…both. Who wants to be seen as a dolt unable of detecting a death trap? And what woman would be the first to admit that she is a conniving arachnid?

It may be that The Lady in the House finds herself in just such a predicament. Having been an unsuspecting fly myself…more than once,…I can detect another victim in the offing.

Webster’s Dictionary defines passive as…2. submitting without resistance, and aggressive as…1. tending toward aggression. The latter being defined as…1. an unprovoked attack.

In other words, a passive-aggressive person cleverly adopts a laid-back stance so as to draw the unsuspecting object of her attention ever closer.

It may be that the spider, or the passive-aggressor, would defend her actions as a natural instinct to take a lesser creature…the fly…into her lair…for safekeeping. You know, sort of as a protector. There’s an assumption here that the fly needs protecting. Perhaps from herself.

I’ve fallen prey to folks who have seemingly had my best interests at heart…or so it seemed at first. I did notice the eye-rolling and the exasperated sighs and the words tinged with sarcasm, but I chalked them up to my imagination. After all, I was trying not to “take it personally.” 

Fully invested, like the fly glued to the web, I became aware of more “red flags.” Until finally a zinger let loose, like “I care about you…BUT…” 

When a so-called loved one tells you on one hand that they approve of you, BUT on the other hand you could use some improvement…RUN FOR THE HILLS…spider web or not. You’ll never, ever measure up. There’ll always be a teensy-weensy something that needs adjusting to bring you up to their standards.

And before you realize it, there goes your self-esteem…out the window!

Whether you learn to stand your ground or take your leave when it comes to folks who are passive agressive, just break the ties that bind…

…and push back!…push back hard!!!…

………hugmamma.

Passive-Aggressive

the last word…diana

President and Mrs Bush greet TRH The Prince of...

Image via Wikipedia

Am almost done reading Sarah Bradford’s Diana – Finally, The Complete Story. It really does seem to be the definitive last word, with contributions from previously unheard sources. Now that Diana, the Princess of Wales, is no longer at the center of the maelstrom that had become her life, and Prince Charles and Camilla have moved on together into older age, and Prince William has married his Kate, those “in the know” are inclined to come forward with the truth, as they witnessed it.

“The definitive biography of the Princess of Wales. In this authoritative account, Bradford paints a revealing, accurate portrait of a complex woman flawed and adored in equal measure.” —Daily Telegraph

“A very sad story. Bradford tells it eloquently, but it’s her admirable detachment that leaves one pitying all, not one, of the characters involved.” —Antonia Fraser, The Guardian Review

“Forget about tawdry revelations–Bradford takes us to the heart of the People’s Princess, examining her relationships with her staff, friends and family as well as her children, husband, lovers and the royal family. Authoritative and admirably balanced, it draws on new sources and firsthand accounts.” –Tatler

Minefield warning on the Golan Heights, still ...

Image via Wikipedia

I won’t rehash the past, I’ll leave that to your potential to purchase the book, but I did want to call attention to the last charitable cause Diana undertook, which no individual seems desirous of undertaking in the wake of her untimely death years ago. And that is the detonation or better, extinction, of land mines. While those who sought to undermine the Princess of Wales would’ve labeled her a “basket case” or a “nut job” for walking through fields which had been cleared of landmines, there are those who would beg to differ.

According to William Deedes, a traveling companion on Diana’s landmine research trips to Angola and Bosnia

she sought to address herself to various issues in the world which were being neglected. There were millions of them (landmines) scattered round the world. They lurked wherever there had been conflict. A few charitable organisations were engaged in locating and lifting them, but it was discouraging as well as dangerous work because more mines were being constantly laid in the wars bedevilling Africa. The manufacturers of these mines represented a huge vested interest, which reduced the chances…of an international ban…defence forces in Britain, America and much of Europe saw the mines, properly laid and charted, as legitimate means of defence…

…’Nobody took a blind bit of interest in landmines until she (Diana) came along,’…

Deedes went on to say that the journalists who accompanied Diana on these trips were accustomed to “royal visits in daintier surroundings than Angola” and were, therefore, ” ‘dismayed’ by the state of the capital, Luanda, with stinking rubbish piled high in the hot streets.

 Sunday Times reporter Christina Lamb, a young, veteran war reporter cynical of Diana’s efforts there, had a change of heart after witnessing her work firsthand. “She was impressed: despite the heat and the smells Diana had come to work and work she did. Angola, said Lamb, was one of the few remaining places in the world where most people had no idea who she was, and therefore it was all the more remarkable to see the effect she had on the amputees she went among. ‘The Red Cross whisked us from one hospital to the next,’ Lamb wrote,…”

Nelson Mandela.

Image via Wikipedia

each with ever more horrific scenes of skeletal figures with missing arms, missing legs, and blown off heads–victims of some of the 16m landmines scattered round the country. Many of the injuries were so gruesome I could not bear to look, despite years of Third World reporting. But Diana never turned her head away. Instead, she had something I’d only ever seen before in Nelson Mandela–a kind of aura that made people want to be with her, and a completely natural, straight-from-the-heart sense of how to bring hope to those who seemed to us to have little to live for.

Her cynicism ” ‘wiped out’,” Lamb went on to say ” ‘That Lady-with-the-Lamp performance wasn’t just for the cameras,’ “

Once, at a hospital in Huambo when the photographers had all flown back to their air-conditioned hotels to wire their pictures, I watched Diana, unaware that any journalists were still present, sit and hold the hand of Helena Ussova, a seven-year-old who’d had her intestines blown to pieces by a mine. For what seemed an age the pair just sat, no words needed. When Diana finally left, the young girl struggled through her pain to ask me if the beautiful lady was an angel…At the end of the Angola trip Diana said that the lasting image she’d take away was of that terribly ill young girl.

Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute

Image via Wikipedia

…one for the ages…diana…the people’s princess…hugmamma.

 

 

breast cancer, “reaching out”

A disease that has touched so many people, both victims and loved ones alike, breast cancer is like a magnet for human kindness. Family, friends, colleagues, women from all walks of life, have come face to face with an “enemy” that alters the world they knew, both those who survive and those who eventually succumb. And all who share their world are debilitated as well. So it is no wonder that these loved ones should lend their support in whatever way possible.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is possibly the largest, most visible vehicle  affording everyone an opportunity to donate to the fight against breast cancer. On our Mediterranean cruise this summer, I had occasion to witness Holland America Line’s efforts on behalf of the Foundation. Begun in 2007, every one of the Line’s cruises, 500 in all, conducts a 5K deck walk for all interested passengers. The entrance fee of $15 includes a t-shirt and a wrist band, both sporting the Susan G. Komen logo,  as well as an invitation to a Pink Lemonade Party after the event. The proceeds are donated to the cause. Although recurring tendonitis in my ankle kept me from the walk, I made the donation and along with other bystanders, cheered on the walkers. It was a festive, and worthwhile, occasion. Congrats to Holland America Lines, a corporation that cares. Many others have also joined the fight. Kudos to all of them!

My English friend recently learned that a beloved friend of hers since their younger years in the UK, discovered she had breast cancer. In her late 60’s or early 70’s, it was a shock. Three weeks after learning of it, surgery was done, and she is now preparing for chemotherapy. My friend, an avid knitter, quickly made a “prayer shawl,” and mailed it to Catherine, who is now never without it.

Not as large as an afghan, the shawl falls below the waist, wrapping about the shoulders. I can imagine the comfort it’s giving both friends, who feel connected by a tangible form of their mutual love for one another. I’ve asked my friend to teach my daughter and I how to replicate the shawl so that we might donate them to women in need of our comfort, and prayers. I was unable to pick up the intricacies of the craft when I attempted to learn before, but maybe this time my daughter will “get it” and help me. If all else fails, I might have to purchase the yarn and have my friend’s nimble fingers work their magic. Wish me luck!

A Wall Street Journal article, “How Hope Travels With a Wig,” mentions the saga of a “traveling” wig. Its most recent trip was to the home of 40-year-old Alicia Gaudio. A couple of weeks ago, the Mt. Kisco, N.Y attorney learned she had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy this past week, and will soon be undergoing chemotherapy. Considered a talisman for cancer survivors who have worn the wig over the course of the last 4 years, Ms. Gaudio, her husband and 2 young children, are hoping she will be returned to good health, like the women who have worn it before her.

“The gift–a stylish brown wig…will be delivered by Nicole Rowe, who wore it after she lost her own hair during breast-cancer treatment last year. ‘We call this the healing wig,’ Ms. Rowe, an optician, plans to tell Ms. Gaudio.” The owner of the wig, Vanessa Pacella, a psychotherapist in Wellington, Florida, paid $5,000 for it after she was diagnosed with the disease.  ” ‘When you wear this wig and look in the mirror, you see yourself as a healthy person…There’s a lot to be said for positive energy.’ ” Others who have worn the wig were all friends of Ms. Pacella’s, themselves cancer survivors.

Researchers have found that human beings through thousands of years of civilization, have assigned “mystical possibilities in amulets and talismans,” especially in times of crises.  ” ‘It’s not voodoo,’ says Barbara Stoberock, a researcher at the University of Cologne in Germany. ‘It can be explained. If you have a lucky charm, and believe it helps you, there’s a psychological mechanism. It lifts your beliefs in your own capabilities, and gives you a boost.'”

Jeffrey Zaslow, who wrote the article, explains that the wig can serve as a compass for the women who wear it, giving them a sense of direction when they feel lost. Knowing that others who have worn it and survived, can give those still in the trenches, their bearings once again. For those who have gone before, the wig has offered “a shared strength, and a path back to health.”

Before the wig is delivered to Ms. Gaudio by Ms. Rowe, she will have it washed and blow-dried at a local salon. She will also relay the message that the 3 previous wearers are well. Ms. Rowe will also share the following anecdote.

Last winter, after Ms. Rowe went through chemotherapy, she promised her 3-year-old son, Alex, that her hair would return when the leaves were back on the trees. The first time Alex saw her in the wig, he got excited. He ran to the window, and even though it was still winter, he shouted, ‘Mommy, I can see the leaves coming back on the trees!’

Ms. Rowe explains that the “wig’s magic reaches beyond those who’ve worn it…It helped her little boy imagine the possibilities of spring.” Through the magic of “reaching out,” Holland America Lines through its 5K deck walks, my girlfriend through her “prayer shawl,” and wearers of the “healing wig” through their shared strength, and so many others like them, continue to ensure that, “hope springs eternal.” 

for my sister, as she recovers, huge hugs…hugmamma.

putting a “face” on the “unknown”

Glad I stepped away from the keyboard to visit with dear friends last night. Because of them I overcame my reluctance to get gussied up for a fundraising event in the city. My husband knew nothing about the organization sponsoring the dinner; he didn’t know what the letters “HRC” represented. The hours slipped by quickly, as we listened and learned about the “Human Rights Campaign.” 

We’ve attended other fundraisers over the years, ballet balls, zoo events, symphony dinners, among others. At the ballet ball, I remember ending the night rocking to the deejay’s music on the dance floor. At zoo events, I thought it was cool to visit the butterfly house, and witness the jaguar feeding, afterhours. And at a symphony fundraising dinner, my husband bought me my favorite watch, which I wear every day. Unlike these, last night’s event had no gimmicks, unless one considers the guest speakers as the “drawing card.” If so then, in my estimation, they were the most relevant “gimmicks” I’ve ever entailed.

Washington’s U.S. Senator Patty Murray spoke of her genuine efforts on behalf of her constituents. She focused on 2 in particular, who wrote letters asking for  her help. One was sent by a young girl whose dream it is to proudly serve her country in the military, but isn’t allowed to do so while proudly “owning” who she is, because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The other letter was written by a dedicated teacher of 30 years, who tried to help a young student suffering the harassment of peers after she “came out.” Failing to garner official support for the youngster’s plight, the teacher informed the girl. Three days later, she committed suicide.

In his turn at the podium Joe Solmonese, HRC President for 5 years, brought me “up to speed” on the organization’s efforts to achieve total equality for a segment of the population that has been disenfranchised for too long. I was especially impressed when he emphasized that they are NOT victims, that they will not be deterred in their efforts, no matter what obstacles they encounter as they campaign for their freedom and rights. In the evening’s program, Mr. Solmonese wrote, in part, “Our community’s voice has never been more influential and never have we had a more friendly audience in our lawmakers. With your support, HRC can make our community’s voice heard loud and clear.”

A Child Protection Social Worker, Janice Langbehn, related a moving story of “man’s inhumanity to man,” to coin a phrase from a long ago episode of “All in the Family,” where Gloria attempted to explain a simple truth to her family. While she elicited chuckles from the viewing audience, including me, Ms. Langbehn’s words resonated with both my husband and I. With her legal partner, Lisa, and 3 of their 4 adopted children, they celebrated their 15th anniversary in February 2007, by boarding a ship in Miami to cruise to the Bahamas. While waiting to sail, Lisa oversaw a basketball game the kids were playing. Within 20 minutes they ran to their stateroom to get Janice, telling her that Lisa was sick. Janice and the children made their way to “Jackson Memorial Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa had been taken. When her family, Janice and the youngsters, arrived they were told by a trauma social worker that Miami and Florida were “an anti-gay city and state” and were not allowed to visit Lisa or receive any news of her condition. Despite securing the couples Medical POA required by the Center, Lisa’s family continued to meet with resistance, until Janice accompanied a priest who gave her partner the Last Rites. The children were also finally allowed a few minutes with their mom. But in the end, Lisa died alone on February 19, 2007. Since then Janice has publicly spoken on behalf of change to homophobic policies like those of Jackson Memorial. In April of this year, President Obama phoned Janice apologizing for “the treatment her family received and described the Presidential Memorandum he sent to HHS to direct Federal Regulations to allow same-sex couples the same hospital visitation rights as other families.”

What makes Langbehn’s story even more compelling is the dedication with which she and her partner committed their lives to helping children. “Their love and life together was defined by their care and passion for aiding special needs children. In 1992 they were the first openly gay foster parents in their county, fostering 25 children, 4 of which they adopted, and all with special needs due to drug and HIV exposure. Janice’s long history of social work and care for children began while employed with DSHS and the State of Washington as a Sex Offender treatment provider in a juvenile prison. She saw a need to intervene earlier in a child’s life and so became a Child Protection Social Worker. Janice completed her first Master’s in Public Administration in 1995 and in 1997 was accepted to the University of Washington Master in Social Work Program. In April of 1999, Janice was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. From 1996 until Lisa’s untimely death in 2007, the two were intimately involved in their children’s lives. They managed HIV appointments, taught first communion classes, volunteered in the children’s school and began a successful Girl Scout troop.” Janice continues to speak out as part of “the educational process that comes with the fight for equality.” To a standing ovation and thunderous applause, she was honored with the HRC Equality Award.

Introducing the final speaker of the evening, was a dentist who shared a childhood secret with us. He had always dreamed of becoming a figure skater. But he put aside his dreams, and fulfilled his mother’s dream instead. Forty years later, thanks to Johnny Weir, the dentist is taking ice skating lessons. Bravo!

The name meant nothing to me, until a video clip showed Johnny Weir in the spotlight, representing the U.S. at the last winter Olympics. He is a flamboyant figure skater, in his style, dress and makeup. He was not my favorite, so I wasn’t as impressed with his performance as I was with some of his competitors. But after hearing his story, I have more admiration for him, as a person. Starting late, he taught himself to ice skate at age 12 on the frozen ponds in back of the cornfields at his home in Amish country, Pennsylvania. With the love and support of amazing parents and younger brother, Weir “hopped, skipped, and jumped” his way into figure skating history, capturing the hearts of millions around the world (he is knowns as the “people’s skater”), and U.S. Figure Skating’s 2010 Reader’s Choice Award for Skater of the Year (Michelle Kwan Trophy). 

Weir makes no excuses for being gay, embracing his “fabulosity.” Having concluded that he wasn’t representative of the image of the U.S. Olympic figure skater, and would therefore not medal, he decided to do his best, for himself. So he brought to his dynamic performance 13 years of hard work, sacrifice and passion for his craft. When he finished skating, and stood up from a back bend, his eyes were met with an arena of waving flags from around the world. I understood his joy, for as a ballerina, my daughter strives to connect with an audience appreciative of her talent, sacrifice, hard work, and passion for her art.

I think in our own personal struggles to come to terms with life, we don’t see that others are also struggling. I’m guilty of such tunnel vision. It’s human nature to think there’s not enough time or energy to be stretched so thin. Some of us are more capable than others, depending upon our own circumstances of health, finances, and commitments. We needn’t all react exactly alike; we can’t, by virtue of our individual DNA. Perhaps what we all CAN and SHOULD DO, is “put a face on the unknown.”    

Senator Patty Murray, HRC President Joe Solmonese, Johnny Weir, the dentist, and most prominently, Janice Langbehn and her children, are the “faces” of the Human Rights Campaign. America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are no longer the “unknown.” I now know who they are. Each is someone’s child living on the periphery of society, “assigned” rights which are already theirs by virtue of their citizenship in the human race, and their birthright as U.S. citizens. I don’t feel their rights are mine to give or withhold. I believe they’re inalienable, as written in our Constitution. I am a spiritual person, a member of the Catholic church. I think religion offers us sound principles with which to live our lives, but I think we’ve succumbed to using religion as a weapon to pass judgment upon, and excommunicate, those who are non-compliant. I’m not God, and I don’t want to be God. As with Oprah, the job has serious responsibilities which I’m not equipped to handle. Better I leave it to the experts, God in his domain, and Oprah in hers.

I’ve been fortunate to know the men behind the “faces,” good friends we’ve known since moving to the Pacific Northwest. Leon and Ken made me feel comfortable and welcome, when I met them at the first gathering my husband and I attended at his boss’s home, 13 years ago. Before their arrival, I felt self-conscious and awkward, being a stay-at-home mom trying to mingle with career people. The 2 men were interested in knowing more about me, and soon we were joking and laughing like old friends. Through the years, our friendship has remained steadfast, and I’m able to relax in their company as soon as I see them. They’ve never had an “agenda,” other than to know that I’m fine. I always welcome that concern in friends, straight, or gay.

My friendship with Brent and Rick is more recent, although my husband’s known them for several years, because he and Rick are employed by the same company. Although I was acquainted with both men, I got to know Brent better when we accompanied our significant others on a business trip to Victoria, BC. As with Leon and Ken, I felt comfortable in Brent’s company because he made me feel my contribution to the conversation was valuable. Although he’s taking college courses toward becoming a social worker, I never felt like my 60’s college experience was arcane. In fact, Brent complimented my common sense approach to life. That’s music to the ears of a senior citizen! A smart man 20 years my junior is inspired by what I might have to say. Kind of novel in this day and age. Needless to say, I’m very happy to be in the company of Brent and Rick, 2 men with discerning tastes for quality of life for all, including the elderly.

Personally I know that I’m unlikely to be swayed in my opinions unless I can put a “face” on the “unknown,” whatever that might be. Rather than having someone force me to think differently, I’m inclined to change because of personal motivation. I don’t think any of us like being browbeaten into a decision. My husband and I made a contribution to the HRC, because last night we were educated about their worthwhile efforts, and because Leon, Ken, Brent and Rick are real “faces” for the cause of human rights.

Another real “face” is a nephew of mine who “came out” to his parents decades ago. He was a wonderful, young man when I knew him. He played the piano beautifully; he seemed a sensitive soul. Having lost touch, I learned years later that he’d contracted a near fatal disease. His partner at the time helped nurse my nephew back to complete health. He has shared his life with another partner for many years, adopting 2 girls who had been students in my nephew’s middle school class, several years ago. Before they became a family, the youngsters were in and out of foster homes.

Children are my concern, because of my childhood experiences, and because I wish all children would know the unconditional love and support to be who they are, and not what others want them to be. Our gay peers are intelligent, resourceful and hard-working. They will evince long-term change through their commitment not to return to the “dark ages” of society’s earlier days. We can either embrace the inevitable and co-exist, all striving to live our best lives, or we can maintain our isolation from certain segments of society, holding onto historical prejudices. It’s our choice; it’s our freedom. I choose, that others might enjoy the same freedom. I may have an island mentality about driving on freeways, and fear of black bears, but not in matters that are substantive. In these cases, I prefer to draw from the “aloha spirit” inherent in my native fibre, and welcome all as “ohana” (family).

hugs for conquering our fear of the “unknown”, by putting a “face” to it…hugmamma.

good samaritan #3

No story is too small for me to share about someone doing good.

On the local news, there was a report that flames from a wildfire demolished an apartment complex. No deaths were reported, fortunately, but the tenants’ belongings were all lost in the fire.

Hearing of the devastation, Chloe, a young girl of 9 or 10, took it upon herself to gather necessities for the victims. Tomorrow she will be accepting donations for “Fire Victim Relief,”  in her front yard.

another upstanding citizen in the making…hugmamma.