Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Hats off to Ma and Pa West; family values winning out

June 4, 2015
So far, so good. The Wests seem to be winning. (Photo Credit: www.flickr.com)

So far, so good. The Wests seem to be winning. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

It seems that several sources, including the NY Daily News, are reporting that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting another baby. Unconfirmed rumor has it that the couple may even be expecting twins. And honestly, if it is true, most of us have to admit to a bit of surprise at this growing family.

 
They always seemed like an unlikely pair even when they were just dating. He just seemed so hyper and manic, given to outbursts at the most inappropriate times. And she appeared to be a groupie whose fame was predicated on homemade videos of the impolite kind. But lo and behold, they met and fell in love, and by all accounts seem to be loving and wonderful parents to their baby girl named after compass points. Well her daddy’s last name is West, so an argument could be made for giving her the first name North.

 
So though I may have been a little skeptical at the beginning, I must say I am really starting to enjoy watching this family expand. And I’ll tell you why, although I’m sure it won’t be popular in this age of everything goes. The fact is I love that Kim is having all these kids with her…wait for it…husband. What a novel concept right?

 
I actually stopped watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” because it seemed like almost every nine months we were force fed a pregnant Kourtney happily counting up reasons not to get married, but, instead, to keep procreating. Not the best message to be sending out to the impressionable young ladies watching the show. But now with the Wests doing their own thing, I think they might have a viable chance at a spinoff. I would definitely watch. Life is so funny, huh? What with the Daddy Jenner news, who would have thought Kanye and Kim would be some of the more traditional members of the family? You just never know.

Ice cold; social media and Bobbi Kristina’s daddy

April 24, 2015

By now many of us have heard the tragic story of how Bobbi Kristina Brown was found facedown in a tub of water and now, months later is still fighting for her life. Lately I’ve been reading some comments by what I call Cyber Hope Stealers that are very disturbing.

Bobbi Kristina and her parents   (Photo credit: globalgrind.com)

Bobbi Kristina and her parents (Photo credit: globalgrind.com)

Bobbi Kristina has always been in the spotlight. Her parents Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were so famous that it seemed the world, at least music lovers, waited with bated breath for the birth of their precious baby girl. Probably a major reason that the news of Bobbi Kristina’s tragedy hit the public so hard, is that we’d watched her parents grow up and become major successes in the entertainment field. We followed their whirlwind courtship and vicariously enjoyed their fairytale wedding in a New Jersey palace.

Family fun at that magical place.  ( photo credit: theurbandaily.com)

Family fun at that magical place. ( photo credit: theurbandaily.com)

Despite the maddening pace and pressures her parents faced in the music industry, there seemed to have been moments of pure family fun and laughter. After all, Micky and Minnie Mouse can make all of our troubles disappear, even if only for a day. To the very end of 15 years of marriage, Brown and Houston pledged their love to each other. But I’ll never forget asking a divorced friend years ago why she and her husband split when to onlookers they appeared so much in love. She said that it was sad to admit, but the truth is you can love someone with all of your heart, but just can’t live with them. And that appears to have been the case with the Browns. I believe they genuinely fell in love, but either outside forces, inner demons, or perhaps a combination of things, made them decide to end their marriage.

Joyful Father/Daughter reunion.  (photo credit:  celebrity.yahoo.com)

Joyful Father/Daughter reunion. (photo credit: celebrity.yahoo.com)

As is the unfortunate case with many divorces, young children, if parents are not careful, can suffer collateral damage. They are not quite mature enough to make sense of it all, and may feel torn between the two sides in a strange adult-like game of tug of war. In this case Bobbi Kristina and her father were estranged a number of years before the heartbreaking death of her beloved mother.

It was extremely encouraging when Bobbi Kristina posted the above pictures via Instagram on June 15, 2014. Last year on Father’s Day they rekindled their relationship and were determined to become close again. Bobbi Kristina, in addition to the pictures, posted the following words:

“I got a running start! 😋 love you daddy! #familyfirst! Xxo”

“(: my face says it all.. 🙂 love you daddy!” and “#HappyHappyFathersDay,”

I am just so thankful they reconciled when they did, because they had no way of knowing what would happen only seven months later. Unbelievably, just when things seemed to be looking up for this family that had suffered so much misfortune, things once again took a turn for the worst, and Bobbi Kristina is now in a rehabilitation facility.

Most people are posting words of encouragement to her family. But the disturbing comments I referenced earlier have been targeted at Brown for wanting to be at his daughter’s side now, when she is seemingly unconscious, when he missed a lot of her teen years. What an outrage. Many parents want to be in their children’s lives after the dissolution of a marriage, and try their best, but sometimes the situation is less than desirable depending upon schedules, bitterness between the parents, or other logistics. Let them that have executed perfect child visitation, absolutely 100% of the time, cast the first stone.

Even more outrageous are the comments dismissing Brown as an opportunist because he didn’t pull the plug on Bobby Kristina after the first few weeks of unresponsiveness. Are you kidding me?  This is his child. Less than a seven months ago they just got their relationship back on track. I think these cyber bullies should just leave Brown alone, concentrate on having the best relationship they can with their own children, and pray nobody ever compounds their grief with criticisms should they find themselves faced with a similar decision as a parent. I thank you.

As the old Gospel song says, “the only time you should look down on a man is when you’re picking him up.”  I join the many others who have posted lifting Bobbi Kristina, Bobby Brown, Cissy Houston (Bobbi’s Grandmother) and the rest of the family in prayer for strength during this trying time.

Three ways to beat the ding dong guilt.

January 6, 2015
Now you won't have to slink back to your car at the sound of these.  (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

Now you won’t have to slink back to your car at the sound of these. (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

Now that the holidays are over and we’ve enjoyed the warm fuzzy feelings, let’s explore another feeling that we often sweep under the rug. For want of a better term, I call it ding dong guilt. Why you ask?  Well because it refers to the feeling you sometimes get in the pit of your stomach when you’re all caught up in the merriment on the city sidewalks, and run smack dab into a cheery, or in some cases not so cheery, person ringing their chimes.  I won’t name any organizations, but suffice it to say that the representatives normally have on an apron and loudly clang clarions over a black kettle.  And they are usually blanketed over the entryways of EVERY store in town before and during the holiday season.

Don’t get me wrong. The first couple of days that we hear the winsome peals, our faces light up with joyous smiles because it’s like a symbol that Christmas is coming. It brings sentimental remembrances of earlier times when to grandmother’s house we went, as well as joyous anticipation of creating new memories as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is something a little embarrassing about rolling your buggy full of food out of the grocery store to feed your family, and having no change left to put in the pot to feed the hungry. And you can’t help but feel a tad remorseful when a clerk has to help you lug all of the toys you’ve brought for your little ones out to the car, and there’s nothing left to donate to kiddies who won’t wake up to any toys, save what is given through the kindness of others.

Well, that was 2014.  Starting this year and every year forward we can put those doldrums behind us. Here are the top three ways to beat ding dong guilt:

3.  Plan Ahead

It is the beginning of the year, so we have 10 full months before the November takeover.  So make it a family project and set aside a love jar. Whenever you come in from work, or the kids come in from school, put all of the change in this jar. By the end of the year, you should have multiple jars, or one huge jar.  Why not make it fun and instead of a piggy bank, buy or make a huge bell-shaped jar.  Some time in October you can have a fun night with some popcorn and hot chocolate, and spend a few hours as a family counting out and rolling the coins in wrappers. Then take the coins to your bank, exchange them for bills and happily be prepared to drop a gift at every store.

2.  Explore the Meaning

This is a great catalyst for family discussion and growth. You won’t be so tempted to grimace when you delve into the reasons behind these calls for aid. Honestly, in this day and age, when the majority of states still have their minimum wages at $7.25 per hour, a simple turn of misfortune could have any of us in dire straits indeed. So even though we may not be able to be our brother’s keeper 24 hours a day, we may learn to welcome the opportunity to do what we can when we can.

1.  Imagine

There’s a song by the late great John Lennon that expresses it beautifully.  The lyrics read:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

Even though you will not be at the home of each and every recipient of your contribution on Christmas morning, allow yourself to imagine.  Picture the astonished screams of the child who never ever really thought they’d get a bicycle. Feel the joy of the mom who envelops her child in a warm coat, and knows that now that child won’t have to stand shivering from the cold at the school bus stop every morning. See in your mind the awed face of a little girl sitting cross-legged on the floor cradling her very first new Barbie doll after a short lifetime of hand-me down toys. Silent tears of happiness stream down her face because she never knew that Barbies came with two arms and legs.  Imagine…

Girl to First Lady Obama: my dad’s been out of work three years

April 24, 2014
First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Charlotte Bell after the girl handed Obama her unemployed dad's resume.   (photo credit:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Charlotte Bell after the girl handed Obama her unemployed dad’s resume. (photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Usually it’s the parents who take care of the children, or provide for their needs.  But one spunky little girl may have just gotten her father’s foot in the door somewhere.  Forget LinkedIn, CareerBuilders and all the others.  Charlotte Bell, 10, went straight to one of the highest sources of influence in the land.  Today, a young girl put her out-of-work dad’s resume right smack into the hands of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The surprising, but loving gesture took place earlier this morning in the East Room of the White House.  As a part of Take Our Sons and Daughters To Work Day, executive staffers were allowed to bring their children along to get a glimpse into what their parents do in the normal course of a day’s work at the most well-known employer address on Pennsylvania Avenue.

As part of the program a question-and-answer session was scheduled with First Lady Obama.  It is highly likely that Bell’s mother or some extremely close relative is one of the White House staffers in order for her to have been among the group of children granted exclusive access to this event.

If it is true that opportunity only knocks once, Bell did not hesitate to open the door.  During the meet and greet session, she got up from her seat and handed First Lady Obama her dad’s resume.  She explained that her daddy had been out of work for three years.  According to ABC News, the “first lady seemed taken aback,” and it was a rather “somber” moment.  For her courage, Bell received a gentle embrace from the first lady.

The other kids noticed the quiet exchange and started asking questions about what was going on.  However First Lady Obama told them that it was a private matter and managed to steer the discussion back to less personal issues.  Witnesses reported that at the end of the session First Lady Obama turned back and quickly grabbed the resume off of the table and took it with her.  No promises he will get a job, but if she writes the dad a letter of reference, odds are he is almost guaranteed to get at least get one interview, maybe two or three.

4-time DUI repeat offender out on bail, drives again, kills 3-year-old child

March 18, 2014
3-year-old Josiah Jenkins was killed by a drunk driver last week.   (photo credit:  thestate.com)

3-year-old Josiah Jenkins was killed by a drunk driver last week. (photo credit: thestate.com)

Josiah Jenkins, was buried Sunday at Refuge Temple church in Columbia, SC.  The toddler was killed as a result of severe head trauma when a drunk driver plowed into the vehicle Jenkins was riding in as his mother Latoya Jenkins drove.  The inebriated driver, 44-year-old Lonnie Gross III is, of course, just fine.  The accident took place while Gross was out on bond awaiting trial for a previous DUI charge just this past November.

Horrific crash scene underscores need for stricter DUI laws.   (photo credit:  thestate.com)

Horrific crash scene underscores need for stricter DUI laws. (photo credit: thestate.com)

There were over 600 mourners at the service, many of whom did not even know young Jenkins.  But it is indicative of a community that is fed up with lenient DUI laws that have made the county jail essentially a revolving door storefront.

Repeat Drunk driver Lonnie Gross III    (photo credit:  thestate.com)

Repeat Drunk driver Lonnie Gross III
(photo credit: thestate.com)

According to The State newspaper, Gross is a four-time felon (whose crime of choice is DUI) who kept being released on bond and probation.  Not only was Gross driving under the influence when the accident occurred last week, but his license was suspended.  For the fifth time, the crime is DUI, and finally the judge has shown mercy to the innocent citizens of Columbia and denied Gross bail.

Last year there was a big push for stricter DUI penalties when yet another child, 6-year-old Emma Longstreet, was killed by a repeat drunk driver.  Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, introduced Emma’s law which would require first time DUI offenders to use an ignition locking device on their vehicles for a minimum of six months.  Read more about how this system would work here.

Shamefully, the bill stalled for almost a year due to partisan politics.  Now with the rash of more deaths by repeat DUI offenders in South Carolina, both sides of the house are agreeing to come together and will give the bill a hearing this Thursday.

Campfires, gays, and flint sticks: Boy Scouts fight Disney over moral values

March 5, 2014
A statue outside of the Boy Scouts of America building in Irving, Texas.    (Photo credit:  Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A statue outside of the Boy Scouts of America building in Irving, Texas. (Photo credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

As of 2015, The Walt Disney Company (Disney) has vowed that it will no longer help fund the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), a move that will potentially prevent many youngsters from taking part in this cherished organization, according to BSA spokesman Deron Smith in a statement Sunday.  The ban comes on the heels of an ongoing heated debate between Disney and BSA on the issue of gays being allowed to fully, openly and freely participate as members of the BSA.

Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls, knows firsthand some of the struggles gay scouts can face.  Wahls said although he doesn’t like to see BSA lose funding, he agrees in principle and applauds Disney’s decision to withdraw their monetary support until equality is embraced by the BSA.

The BSA celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2010, and prides itself on providing an outlet for boys to come together in a safe arena for education, fun, and learning lifelong values to be productive citizens.  Over the years the BSA has slowly made some concessions to the changing times and eased up on its stark refusal to have the BSA associated with anything gay-related.

In February 2013, George Kalogridis became the first gay president of Disney World.  Shortly thereafter, in May 2013, the BSA reversed its prior rule and started allowing openly gay youth into the scouts, although they must leave their respective scout troops after the age of 18.  However the BSA has stood firm in prohibiting gay scout leaders.  And that is where the two organizations stand with neither willing to budge.  For the sake of millions of young boys who thrive in and enjoy being a member of the scouts, BSA promised to continue working with Disney to find a solution that would allow them to keep the needed funding without violating their moral standards.

A Massacre at Midnight

July 21, 2012

By now almost everyone has heard about the horrible shooting massacre that occurred at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012.  This story is so horrible on so many levels.  I was surprised to learn that the theater where this tragedy took place was only about 15 miles away from where the Columbine shooting took place a number of years ago.  I can’t imagine the horror that replaced the excitement of being among the first to see the much anticipated installment of the Batman movie series.  However, one statement struck me in the head like a hammer. continue reading more

“Uglier” Politics…A Sadder Day…A Lower Low Has Been Reached!

January 29, 2012

This time it’s Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal.  Mere words cannot describe how disturbing this is!  If he was joking, it is not funny.  If he was serious….urghh.  This is the house speaker yall.  What kind of example is he setting for the people of his state?  I hope he has been put under 24-hour surveillance and is given a thorough pat down from now on when he comes anywhere near President Obama.  And to wish the innocent Obama children (who are NOT his political rivals) fatherless?  He sounds like a terribly loose cannon to be a political official.  In the words of one poster, this is frightening nuttery.

  In the words of another poster, he should be recalled immediately for

Conduct Unbecoming to a Human Being

 Read the full story here.   Photo credit:  reponeal.com

Weaving Through the GNAW Project

January 11, 2012
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard of the “The GNAW Project” and “The Weave”, but didn’t really know what it was all about.  Well today I am excited to welcome author Cynthia Meyers-Hanson as our guest blogger.  Grab a cup of coffee and come close as Cindy shares with us the motivation behind these inspiring projects and what we can all do to get involved and help.

What is The GNAW Project?
When free breakfast was canceled and ‘their reduced’ priced lunches went up in cost, some kids came running to my class complaining.  We brainstormed ideas to help the situation.  This book project- done by my students- becomes their vehicle to publicize the plight of some USA kids that need free or reduced breakfasts as well as lunches and dinners.

continue reading more

Banning Babies from First Class Flights…Going Too Far?

June 30, 2011

I read an interesting story online this morning on news.com.au .  Upon first beginning to read this article, I immediately felt a sense of unease at the firestorm of controversy that I was sure this would unleash. But according to the author of the article, Lee Taylor, babies will only be banned from first class.  They will still be allowed to travel with their parents in the business and first class sections.

Actually, I don’t think this is a bad idea, especially in this economy.  Not everyone traveling in first class is doing so at company expense.  Many people spend big, hard and long saved money to splurge on a first class flight, especially if it is a long flight.  These passengers have an understandable expectation of the “first” or best of everything for the money they are paying.  This includes looking forward to the best of comfort, leg room, food, peace and tranquility. 

One comment following the article expressed that most flights offer high quality ear plugs that can help block out most of the noise of crying babies.  If a passenger chooses to don ear plugs in order to listen to music, or watch a movie that’s one thing. Continue reading more