“As I saw more beauty in others’ uniqueness, I began to appreciate my own.”
~Sarah Winifred Searle
Ever been whacked upside your head with a metal lunchbox? Are you old enough to remember when things used to be made out of metal? Well, back in my day, manufacturers really enjoyed making everything for kidlens outta metal. We started out with metal highchairs and metal toys, eventually graduating to metal playground equipment and, the best of all, metal lunch boxes. If you’ve never slid down a metal slide in the height of summer heat in Texas, you don’t know what you’re missing. Actually, if you did have the opportunity to, you were missing about three layers of skin. Good times! But, back to the boxes…
Metal lunchboxes came in a wonderful variety of differing themes, which also served as handy indicators of their owner’s ranking in the general student population. The fashionable kids had boxes adorned with Star Wars, Evel Knievel, Charlie’s Angels, or “The Fonz.” You could also be cool with one of the bionic boxes, like Steve Austin’s Six Million Dollar Man or Jaimie Sommer’s Bionic Woman. You may not be ostracized with an Adam-12 box, but you were definitely in the lower echelon of influence. But Heaven help you if you were seen with a Curious George or Holly Hobby box. That was just social suicide.
What’s better than gettin’ a few hundred kids together, all hyped up on sugar with a ratio of about 30 rambunctious kids to 1 beleaguered teacher, and sticking ’em all in a hot, sticky, stinky lunchroom? Then arming them with awesome metal lunch boxes. Oh, and metal utensils and sometimes even metal lunch trays, too.
At one of the elementary schools I attended, “Box Bashing” was a regular sport. Usually the boys started the game, but right around the time the Equal Rights Amendment was gaining traction, girls decided it would be a good idea to get in on the action, too. The only problem with the game was that you never knew you were a participant until you were slammed by someone’s decorated hardware. Of course, if you had a whelp with the outline of one of Charlie’s Angels on the side of your face, it meant you’d at least garnered the attention of one of the popular kids. So, there was that consolation.
Let the games begin!
What’s your immediate response when someone tells you that you’re beautiful? Do you scoff and shake your head? Do you assume that they’re just paying lip service or trying to butter you up?
Are they stupid or simply mistaken? Are they a liar?
We are compelled to love our neighbors. Encouraged to see the beauty in all things. You are a unique, living creation. So, when I tell you that you are beautiful…
I swan, nothing sets my teeth on edge like the disappearance of titles and honorifics in our current society. [I offer a hearty “thank you” to Mr. Dad over’ta thedaddyblitz for reminding me of this particular peeve in a recent blog entry.] Lordy, I know that I sound old writin’ this, but, back in my day we used them or were seen as disrespectful lil’ upstarts.
Using good manners isn’t just a sign of good breeding or a reflection of your family, it confirms respect — for yourself as well as the person you’re addressing. An important ingredient of good manners is showing special respect for your elders and persons of authority. I see “grown-ups” constantly shaking their heads and bewailing the state of our youth culture and their utter lack of respect for others, especially for authority.
Titles such as “Doctor” or “Professor” or “Officer” signified that the person was an authority, or at least adept, in their field. They had training and were therefore authorized in their function. They held a position of consequence. Their words and actions deserved consideration. Even elders without professional titles were called “Mr” or “Ms.”, “Aunt” or “Uncle” — their title implying a significant status.
Being “on a first name basis” actually used to have heft and meaning. It used to be that first names were used solely among immediate family and friends. It signified a level of intimacy between peers. It relaxed the rules and placed you on a level playing field with one another.
Nowadays, practically everyone insists on being called by their first name. Not only our friends and relatives, but also our doctors, teachers, and even pastors insist we call them by their first name. Intentionally or not, this removes them from their place of special status — and ultimately places them in the common place of “just one of the guys.” There is no clear significance to their vocation or their chosen career. Their authority then becomes negligible, even inconsequential. So who cares what they have to say? It begs the question, Why should I even listen to you?
It’s as if no one deserves
authority or respect anymore. Like school children yelling, You’re not the boss of me!, our society insists that everyone is exactly the same. Is it any wonder then that good manners, on the whole, are quickly disappearing?
I’ll tell you what. Some days just aren’t worth getting outta bed for, ya’ know? As positive and optimistic as this peppy chick strives to be, some days just do their d*mndest to prove my Silver Lining theory W-R-O-N-G.
These are the days when I hafta put on my Scarlet O’Hara bonnet and remind myself that the Yankees’ll eventually get the hell outta Dixie. The storms won’t last forever. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t really another train. And that, whatever SNAFU I’m currently facing, this too shall pass. Because, as God is my witness…
I once read somewhere that “you have survived 100% of your very worst days.” Well, hello! I sure have. And, guess what. So have you. So, let’s let that tasty lil’ morsel simmer for awhile before we decide to throw in the towel.
Ever have one of those days? If you’re breathin’, I know you have. Please feel free to share how you manage to put one foot in front of the other and carry on.
One of the ugliest phrases in the English language is “Rumor has it…” Rumors can kill friendships, careers, and reputations. In fact, rumors can kill the human spirit; unfortunately, we females usually tend to be on the fuzzy end of this particular lollipop. If ever you have the opportunity to be the person who stops a rumor in its tracks, just turn it off and shut it down. We gals have to stick together.
I don’t know why; maybe it’s because I’m from the South where dur’near everybody calls each other Darlin‘, Honey, Buddy or some other such term of endearment, but I’m constantly taken aback by people* who get their knickers in a twist when I call them Sweetpea or Punkinshell or what-have-you. What’s wrong with showin’ a lil’ love?
I’ve noticed that these are usually the same people* who get all rankled when I use the term “ma’am.”
Me: “Yes, ma’am.”
Random Woman: “Did you just call me ‘ma’am’???”
“Don’t call me ‘ma’am.’ My gawd, I’m not that old. How old do you think I am? Really!”
“It’s just a sign of respect.”
“So, where are you from?”
I really don’t understand the problem with using terms of endearment. I don’t even think I do it on purpose. I just can’t help it. Offense is certainly never my initial intention. I think I’m just being Southern. And, polite. I write the way I talk, so I’ll even do it when I’m writing to people. It just feels wrong, otherwise. In fact, it seems almost mean to me to just abruptly end a sentence. Is this a Southern thing? A Texan thing? A Mom thing? ‘Cause I’m all three, and it’s really hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
Where do you stand on the use of these terms? I’m eager to know … Puddin’cup.
*By people I mean women cuz the guys don’t seem to give a hoot what you call ’em as long as you don’t call ’em late for supper.
Well, here’s a happy thought worth sharing from Todd Lohenry at Bright, shiny objects.
Source: Holding on
When I was a little girl, my family and I were caught in the midst of Hurricane Alicia which killed 21 people and caused over 2 billion dollars in damage. It was terrifying to be sure; but I was a naive kid, so it was also very exciting. The grownups were absolutely horrified, but my cousins and I were thrilled. The electricity went out, so we ate by candlelight. Cool. And, the house was flooding, so we got to walk on the furniture and watch cars float by our front windows. Awesome! When all was said and done, my uncle even bought my cousins and me our very own “I Survived Hurricane Alicia!” tee shirts. I suppose it all came down to perspective. Even the adults, once they felt the relief of actually surviving the deadly storm, could look back on it with a sense of consolation and some sense of gratitude. Parenthood is a lot like an endless string of storms. How you react to them depends a lot on your perspective.
Early one morning when my twins, who’ve blessedly survived lo’ these ten years, were still little, they decided to let Mommy and Daddy sleep late and make their very own bowl of cereal all by themselves. They got the biggest bowl they could find, which happened to be one of Mommy’s mixing bowls, along with the biggest spoons they could find, poured in an entire box of Fruit Loops, doused it with an entire carton of milk (most of it made it into the bowl, yay!), and voila! Believe it or not, these lil’ helpers were actually surprised to find out that Mommy and Daddy weren’t nearly as thrilled by what they had accomplished as they were.
And this, my friends, is what parenthood is. A vast series of shitstorms, both small and large, to be battled and, if not necessarily won, at least survived. These days, most of my storms take place around the company of teenagers. Of which, as of last count, I have four. Parents, be warned: the anxiety and angst that you most currently felt over and about your child isn’t going to end. So, brace yourself, Baby. If it’s not the seemingly endless Gordian knot of potty-training or the endless Battle of Bedtime, it will be a boundless barrage of parent-teacher conferences, coaches who are honest-to-gawd assballs, raging hormones, broken hearts, and bullies.
The good news is that the storms change and you can, Lord willin’, adapt and overcome. Being in the unique position of having bookends that are both pre-school and young adult, I am thankfully able to remember the relative ease of pre-school anxiety at the same time I am able to remind myself that the misery of adolescence is survivable. Unpleasant perhaps, but survivable. If we’re lucky, one day we’ll be able to look back on all that we’ve survived and smile with the satisfaction of knowing we earned our “I survived Parenthood” tee-shirts. Best of luck to you and yours! In fact, God help us all.