Growing Familiar

Life calms down when your children are grown, right?  WRONG!

You simply change gears.  Instead of worrying about school bus schedules, it is who needs to borrow a car or due to unforeseen disaster, needs money.  These newly grown adults travel everywhere at the drop of a hat and arrive home in a whirlwind. No one comes home alone.  There is a friend or wife or pal that always arrives in time for dinner and stays to watch movies or engage in target practice in the yard. They still play games and shop together.  They argue loudly and defend one another.

These children all have professions now.  Conversation is lively.  They tease each other and laugh.  They turn vegan or date vegetarians, surprise you with theater tickets and cry on your shoulder. They make and break their own appointments and keep track of their own bills.  They call at odd hours or worry you by forgetting to call.  They bring new puppies to visit and lose important things at your house.  They toast to each others success and share their disappointments. They still give us kisses and hugs.

They remain bonded.  They are brothers. Though they no longer share the same space they are home to one another.  Home changes as the family circle grows. My son’s new puppy is frolicking around the living room chomping on shoes. I wonder what the new grandchild will think of all this when it arrives in December.

According to the kids our family is unusual.  If so it is in the very best way. We are close knit and enjoy being that way. Is it chaotic and unpredictable? Absolutely. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

I was depressed at the thought of an empty nest.  I remember my own mom saying “Don’t worry.  They need to go, but it won’t be for long and they won’t go too far.  They will return.”  They did.  They do. My mom also predicted: “They will each give you grey hair. They will choose different times and different ways but they will each share equal responsibility for your silver.” She was right again. I now sport grey and every one of my offspring made a contribution.  Color in my hair and color to my life.

As I age I am ever more appreciative of sharing  in my children’s lives.  I am so proud of them as individual adults and am deeply grateful that they keep room for their parents in their hearts.  My family is my soul, my reason for being.  It did not cease to exist when the kids grew up.  It stretched, changed shape and gained design.  It is still evolving.  I am excited to see what adventures yet lie in store.  I welcome the chaos with open arms.


Dying Young

Today we put my cousin Todd to rest.  He died at age 26, riding an ATV through the woods that he loved.  A truly tragic end, leaving not only his family but scores of friends shocked and heartbroken.

Time ran out. As sad as we are, I celebrate knowing Todd. He was a uniquely beautiful soul who inspired many.  He packed such vivid adventure, such loving relationships into each moment that was his.

Todd was the definition of free spirit.  He was incredibly bright but not a traditional student.  He preferred to learn subjects that interested him most and spent his time pursuing his passions. He hiked, snowmobiled and boated among his many outdoor activities. He took time. He appreciated animals, sunrises and greenery.  He was openhearted, welcoming new friends, cheering successes and comforting loss.  Every spare moment was spent inviting people into his circle, sharing the freedom of the river and the beauty of the woods. He instinctively knew the importance of celebrating life.

Todd’s grin was infectious, the twinkle in his very blue eyes irresistible.  He worked and played hard devoting one hundred percent of his energy and self to myriad undertakings.  He was not ordinary. He was unconventional, adding color, warmth and laughter to every conversation, pushing the boundaries and creating new spaces.  Todd embraced nature, planetary and human. He loved and was deeply loved.   His generous spirit and humor were a gift.

And that is the measure of a life- not the number of years we have but the impact our being makes upon the world.  Todd packed more living into 26 years than many do in a lifetime.  He was a brightly burning candle, illuminating love, adventure and gratitude. He was family and friend who touched and inspired many. His life was short but his spirit boundless. May the angels welcome him home.


Rolling Eyeballs

There is a sign in my kitchen that I particularly love:  Raising a teenager is like trying to nail jello to a tree.  Teenagers certainly have their moments.  Sassy, endearing, hurtful and loving….moods, moods, moods.  They know everything or at least think they do.  You try to offer words of wisdom and the eyeballs roll.  I am surprised that parents can hold themselves back.  You would think more heads would be rolling.

Working in a middle school and a high school, it is always fascinating to see children growing into their adulthood.  Rebel? Hell, yeah! These kids affect as many adult mannerisms as they can manage, always questing for the pinnacle of cool. To me they might clearly be children but in their own eyes they are miniature adults.

This is a necessary stage of development.  Kids need to argue and think and push back to assert their individuality.  We know it and do our best to accommodate which can be a difficult task. I do not mean tolerate poor behavior. Rather we work to keep things in perspective. Setting limits and standing by your word is essential, but so are an infinite well of patience and serious dose of understanding. Humor comes in handy. Listening and being there when you can is important. So is learning to gradually let go and trust your teen to make decisions.  Mistakes are part of the package. So are ever present attitudes.

I found it helpful in my boys teenage years to remember two essential things: First, you were a teenager once.  Take a moment.  Breathe.  Remember your own rebellions, the inner fire that colored your thinking, the fresh romance in your soul.  There is such beauty in discovery.  Your teen is trying to figure out identity and purpose, learning how to negotiate the social stratosphere.  It is an exciting and terrifying time.

Honesty here is helpful.  I know a parent or two who behave as if they never had a single doubt or transgression along the way. “I never behaved that way.” Really? Of course you did. Who are you fooling?  We are all fallible. We have all made errors in judgement or been sucked into high school drama. Then there is the other extreme, to remember your own teen years and in direct response, tighten the rules to resemble an army barracks.  You may be  well-intentioned but this plan may prove a spectacular misfire as it forces your child to push back against those boundaries harder than ever, driven to outrageous lengths to assert himself.  Do not expect your child to be perfect.  You weren’t. Be honest and realistic. You must find livable middle ground, rife with expectation but also allowing freedom.  You must provide limits, reassurance and unconditional love. No one promised it would be easy.  Just worth it.

The second hint comes from a memory of my own mom saying to me “Someday you will understand.”  Of course I rolled my eyeballs!  It pains me to admit it but she was right. It is true.  I now have the perspective to understand so many more of her positions.  With age wisdom does develop and evolve.

My sons are well on their way to being strong men.  I have survived the teen years.  The boys, firmly in their twenties, are coming around.  Before long they will be parents and will finally understand how tough that position can be, especially when you are trying to nail jello to a tree.

I hope I am here to see their children’s teen years.  I hope to add humor, some truth and a dose of patience. That is what grandmothers are for. Let the teens keep their heads. The adults who emerge on the other side of the Rolling Eyeball Rebellion are truly spectacular people, well worth the wait.

teen window

Talk Dirty to Me

Dishes piled high and towels on the floor…a puppy frolicking in bits of paper that she just spewed all over the carpet…a vacuum standing like a lonely sentinel in the corner. Housework is boring.  It is aggravating and repetitive. I hate it.  Like death and taxes it is unavoidable.

Hire a maid you say?  No way!  Not only do I not have the money, but my dirt is personal.  I don’t want some stranger sifting through my family’s carnage.  I will take care of it in my own way and in my own time.

I try to put a positive spin on it…after all I have read the memes.  Be thankful for your sink of dishes for it means you have a family to feed.  Be thankful for the mud decorating the rugs for all pets and kids are welcome in your home.  There is truth to this and I am grateful.  I am also really sick of cleaning up. So I get neglectful sometimes.  I rebel.

I have consulted other homemakers and heard their helpful advice.  Make each member of your family responsible for anything they have moved out of place.  Only keep the bare minimum of what you need in your home so there is less to maintain.  Dedicate certain hours of the day to meet your cleaning responsibilities. Rubbish!

I have a life and so does my family. We work and we play. I treasure the times we share, laughing over movies and partaking in deep or silly discussions.  I happily indulge all appetites, cooking meals and sharing coffee.  I like to see the sun sometimes and not be a dusting mole, burrowing and straightening out my digs.  Please do not misunderstand. I am willing to clean when the mood takes me. I never let the house get past an acceptable cleanliness threshold.  I am not an advocate for filth.

I am a believer in happy living and moderation in all things.  If I want to ignore washing my floor in favor of stomping through mud puddles with my kids then that is time well spent.  No regrets.  I have witnessed immaculate houses.  They look beautiful but I often find them sterile and cold.  All that polish and shine- for what?  So guests must remove their shoes and children must sit politely and admire furnishings from afar?

Your choice.  My kids bounced on the couch and still sprawl across the living room with bowls of Doritos. I have puppies and dogs and card games and dust. I used to worry when people showed up at the door and still feel sheepish on occasion.  My house is not a showplace by any stretch of the imagination.  But it is a home, and a gathering place for friends. Our door is always open.  That has to count for something.

I will never win the title of Ms. Immaculate.  If you are coming to see me or one of my family, you are always welcome.  If you are coming to evaluate the state of my house, save yourself some time.  And (insert big sigh here) now that I have finished my rant, I suppose I should go clean the kitchen.



When you marry people often say it is a fifty/fifty proposition, with each partner contributing an equal share to the union. On a daily basis this statement rings false. One partner always seems to bear the brunt of the load. Divorces have been filed on the basis of uneven partnership.  Yet over time, at least in my marriage, sacrifice and contribution level out. It is the quantity of commitment that is indisputable. That is not fifty percent. That number needs to be set at one hundred.

Snoring, spending habits, flirting…there is a virtual minefield of awkward situations and circumstances that must be negotiated within every marriage. Some issues are small and petty while others loom large and threaten sanity. There are myriad complications, including work and childrearing.  How can any two individuals create a satisfying shared life?

It can be done. I am happily married.  In fact I count marrying my husband as the best thing I ever did for myself. That does not mean I am free of the desire to strangle him on occasion. As I am sure he would choke me every so often if he could. We are not the same person.  In fact we are very different. But we maintain an unfailing respect for one another.  Together we bring unique personal faults and advantages to every situation.

Through celebrations and loss, hardships and joy we support each other. By agreement ours is a pretty traditional arrangement. I am responsible for most of the domestic scene and he takes care of outdoor maintenance, mechanical and technical issues. We both work although I stayed at home to raise our children and he has always been the primary breadwinner.  We are dedicated parents. Family is our heart.

Funny enough at the time of our marriage I was much more outgoing.  He was calmer and more relaxed, a little quieter in social environments.  The years have wrought change.  He is now the social butterfly while I prefer quiet and home. Pound for pound we have gained the same amount of weight although it looks better on him. We still find time to celebrate our romance. We remain grateful to have one another.

It is not always easy. I remember grocery shopping with my four sons, all under age six. One was holding onto each side of the carriage, one sitting in front and one in back.  My husband was away, not for a day but weeks at a time, in order to provide for us. This was not unusual but necessary. A few years later, following my two back surgeries my husband stepped up to handle all childcare responsibilities. These situations required more than fifty percent.  You give as much as you can to help your family thrive.

We have lost family members.  We have faced depression.  We have financially struggled. We have triumphed over doubts and fears. We have made a life together. It is a work in progress.  Some days my husband contributes more than I do and sometimes I am the one who holds it together.  There is no scale measuring our input of time and energies to evaluate whose contribution is the greater.

It is all the same.  It is two people willing to sacrifice and share, to give one hundred percent whenever possible.  We exist as a balance to one another.  There are times when fifty/fifty is impossible.  Times when ninety/ten is required. No matter. If your dedication level is at a hundred, then keeping track is superfluous.  I always hated math.  Why add percentages or quibble over numbers? We both do our best.  We give all we can. The results are more than satisfying.


Just married couple, holding hands and walking in nature


You Fool

Have you ever walked two blocks on a crowded city street with your skirt up in the back? Ever tripped onto a stage while making a theatrical entrance?  Wet your pants at an inconvenient moment?  Dropped a tray of drinks and heard the bar cheer?  I have.

Embarrassment stories are fun to share.  I am sure you have a few of your own.  Have you ever given someone else a laugh by admitting your unsavory moments?

We all fear public ridicule.  Yes, we can get embarrassed when we are alone but the true indignity always comes when someone else witnesses our foolishness.  We are taught from a young age that there are certain behaviors expected of us.  Stepping outside of accepted boundaries is frowned upon. Yet circumstances conspire so that we don’t always live up to expectation.  No one is immune from embarrassment.

That is why it is important to laugh, especially at ourselves.  Laughter keeps perspective. The truth is that embarrassment is usually a short-lived experience.  It proves that you are human and make mistakes.  It also proves that the moment passes. Survival is possible. Yes, the unthinkable happened but now it is a memory, one that might considered from a certain perspective even be funny.  Why weigh yourself down with angst and negativity? So you colored outside the lines, had a momentary lapse of judgement, embarrassed yourself.  Don’t we all?

How boring life would be if every moment were ordinary.  Embarrassing moments are like the fluorescent threads in the tapestry of our lives.  I like being extraordinary.  I am frequently serious and sober minded. Yet sometimes I am utterly silly and suffer profound lapses in momentary judgement. Admitting such brings freedom.  I am not ashamed.  I revel in the heights and depths of my existence, marveling that I am often successful. I can also fail, and that is perfectly okay.

We are frequently our own worst critics.  Moments of embarrassment looming large in our memories are forgettable to others- well, most of the time.  So you lost your bikini top in the pool.  At least it is a memory that brings smiles for others if not yourself.  Life as you know it did not end.  The sun will rise tomorrow.  Could have been worse. At least you were wearing bottoms. Now you have a story a share. You are gloriously human.  Enjoy the experience.



Ginger Ale and Pepperidge Farm

I remember her white hair and smiling blue eyes, the light on her face.  She was goodness. Her laugh was musical, light and free. Eighty years of life and she would blush for the funniest of reasons.  Innocent, yet wise.  Most of all she was open, her heart a generous space where all who knew her were welcome. Even her name was old-fashioned: Clementine, and she was indeed a darling.

Life was no better or worse for Clem than for anyone else.  She was a hard working secretary  in an ordinary office.  She had a happy marriage with her beloved Tom who was a department head at General Electric.  Together they served the Salvation Army and aided their community in any way they could.  Above all they wished for children of their own, fruitlessly trying to conceive.

Instead they were beloved by nieces and nephews.  Clem’s sister Bea had an alcoholic abusive spouse with four children.  Economic times were lean. When money supports an addiction, families struggle even harder.  Yet bags of groceries would appear as if by magic when they were needed most.  Clem would quietly supplement whatever she could. She listened, shared and loved. My father was an anxious teen, scarred by the turmoil at home.  A week with Clem and Tom was an escape from chaos, a gift of time in which to process and recover, gain understanding and receive comfort. He treasured their home as an oasis of peace.

I remember Uncle Tom, a quiet man who loved carpentry.  He built me a bookcase for my room.  As a very young child I remember sitting patiently outside, my toes scrabbling in the grass, looking for four leaved clovers as I waited for Clem and Tom’s car to pull into the driveway.  They would arrive with warm hugs and special treats, joyful at sharing our company. The happiness was tangible.  I could literally feel their love.

Tom died when I was five, and my grandfather when I was seven.  Clem lived alone on the top floor of her home and her sister sold her house and moved in on the bottom floor.  Growing up I would spend weeks in the summers with the ladies as well as Thanksgiving and other random visits. Nana’s house was busy, but Clem’s space maintained an aura of sunshiny peace.  I would skip on up the stairs and Clem would fold me into a warm hug and shower me with compliments.  I babbled on a mile a minute but she was ever patient.

She would go to her pantry and take a small green glass and fill it with sparkling ginger ale.  Next to it she would arrange Pepperidge Farm cookies on a green glass plate.  We would take a tray onto her porch and sit in the shade. We would talk about my school friends and every other topic a growing child considers important.  Clem listened.  I mean, really listened and she cared.  By virtue of her undivided attention you knew that you were important, that you truly mattered.  It was quiet time away from my parents and brother and sister, moments shared that just belonged to the two of us.  It was restful, connected and somehow magic.

Clem spoiled me in the best way possible.  Though she was generous with whatever she had this was not an outpouring of toys or things.  She shared time. She gave me respect. She gave me love. She gave herself.  She opened her heart completely, holding nothing in reserve.

She was mildly horrified and secretly pleased when I chose the name Clementine on my confirmation day.  It was an obvious choice for me, as in my life she most truly represented the Christian ideal.  To date Clem is still the holiest person I have ever known, someone who always put others before herself.  She would be embarrassed by thanks and praise.  She was goodness without expectation.

A police officer arrived one Thanksgiving after someone had reported my grandmothers license plate as belonging to a vehicle that had bumped a car in the grocery parking lot.  As always Clem endeavored to be helpful and supportive.  “Officer,” she protested, “I am sure there was no damage done. Bea has hit cars much harder than that before.”  Of course we all laughed.  In fact the officer was so amused by her honesty that he himself laughed, shook his head and in the spirit of Thanksgiving let the incident go. Clem turned scarlet when she understood the implications of her statement and we gently ribbed her about the incident for years to come.

In the twenty-nine years I was lucky enough to know her, I never heard Clem utter an unkind word.  She was fierce when it came to squishing spiders but that was the only violence I ever witnessed within her.  Her innate sweetness made her lingering slow death that much harder to bear.  I like to think that her last months earned her a higher classification of angel, as I am sure that was her destiny.

Technically Clem had no children and yet she had many.  We all loved her and miss her. She taught through example, lessons quiet and consistent.  She was not a brazen personality but soft and pure.  I thank God for the gift of her in my life.  Generosity, attentiveness, warmth and peace.  Green glass plates and breezy afternoons. A little bit of heaven with an angel on earth.



Case of the Sillies

Lofty thoughts are great to share.  Politics are intriguing.  Seriousness has its place. But we need to remember the truly important value of being silly.

Yes, downright silly.  A good belly laugh lightens the soul and makes you remember why you should treasure every moment.  Kids are great at this.  They know how to let their cares drift and enjoy the absurdity of the moment.  Bathroom humor? Hilarious!  Tickle fights? The best!  The worse the joke, the better!  Kids will let their hair down, get dirty and just enjoy being alive.  We lose this ability sometimes as we age, giving worry too much power over our day to day life.  Spend time with a child, and it will all come back to you.

We need to stop being offended and learn to laugh at ourselves.  Why obey social rules 24/7?  Go splash in a mud puddle. Wear something funny.  Scream for the joy of it. Climb a tree. Why?  Because you can.  Because you want to.  And because there doesn’t always need to be a why.

I love my community theater group because I get to play pretend.  I can do outrageous things and have a good laugh. The stranger the character the better the experience. I have been people nothing like myself doing things I would never dare.  It is freeing. I tackle comedic feats with panache in front of full houses, not caring if I embarrass myself .  I count on being silly and love every moment of it. Theater may not be for you.  So go build a crazy fort or have a snowball fight.

Fun is underrated.  Offset your woes with a good time and balance comes back to your life. Of course it doesn’t make problems go away.   Yet you will feel so much better for giving yourself room to breathe that problems seem less soul-sucking and more manageable.

Stop worrying all the time. Why care what other people think? Take a moment that is fun for you. Being an adult has  its perks, but acting like a child brings a special joy.  Don’t be an old stick in the mud.  Get out there and laugh!

laugh baby

Just the Facts, Ma’am

I watch the news. Doesn’t everyone?   We had an incident of bullying in my town that garnered national media coverage.  That experience really brought these ideas home: What you see on television is rarely the entire story. Much of what we take as unbiased reporting of fact is not that. We need to take the profit out of media.

News is necessary.  An informed public is vital.  Unfortunately, most of what we encounter is sensationalized. Why? Dramatic headlines sell news stories.  Startling coverage lures us in and excites our consciousness, so more people tune in to the most exciting broadcast.   Advertisers flock to the most watched programs so that profit margins grow. Stations as well as printed press are in direct economic competition with one another. “Tune in here,” the channel promises, “We will bring you the inside story that you won’t hear anywhere else”. Wink, Wink. This is a vicious cycle that encourages flamboyant, emotionally charged coverage.  We don’t need more drama.  What we need is fact.

Every report on the bullying incident, from our local television to the cover story on People magazine contained some fact.  Because of privacy issues however and legal constraints that prohibited all sides from open disclosure, much went unreported , and the facts that the public reiterated over and over did not comprise the whole story.  Of course, everyone in the country believed they had a thorough understanding.  They did not. The entire reality will forever remain unknown, except for those directly involved.

It didn’t matter. Our town was condemned in the court of public opinion and has yet to completely recover.  Hyperawareness and social consciousness abound.  Ironically, bullying has again started but in the opposite direction.  The message in our schools and on our streets is clear: you will align with the most liberal agenda possible. If you express dissenting opinion you will be shunned.  Ostracizing and finger pointing are way more prevalent now, in what is supposed to be our new, improved all-accepting environment.

When I tune in to the news I want the facts and fact only.  I want to form my own opinion and not have it thrust upon me by an omniscient media source.  The job of the news reporter is fact coverage, not interpretation.  In our pursuit of public approval and funding we have clearly lost sight of this fact.

I was very proud of my son, who wanted to discuss a recent rape case.  Internet gossip, and that is what it is, has ensured that the guilty party will be labeled and shunned for the rest of his life.  The internet gods, after bringing race and privilege into a rape argument, deemed his punishment insufficient and promised public retribution. After taking the time to actually read through court documents and all testimonies of the case, my son’s reaction was “This was a difficult situation.  There really wasn’t enough solid evidence to justify a tougher sentence.”

He gave the legal process the benefit of the doubt.  He stepped outside of press coverage and public gossip to seek logical perspective.  He abandoned drama to formulate his own opinion from fact on record. He knows he is not a lawyer. He does not know the parties involved.  Because of these things he opted to withhold outrage in favor of reason.  The man was found guilty. The court did its job to the best of its ability.

Is it our public responsibility to second guess those directly involved, those in possession of all the facts?  Who is that really helping?  The answer is not the victim, because she has remained anonymous.  Rape is a heinous crime.  Yes, we all should be outraged that rape exists.  Yet to give ourselves the pleasure of taking the moral high ground, must we add to the furor?  Must we hastily jump on the public bandwagon, brandishing our pitchforks at people we have never met, secure in our superior knowledge that has been hand fed to us from the media?

Displaying our moral superiority is fast becoming a national sport.  Basing these displays on commercial media driven frenzies is irresponsible.  Before you condemn someone, remember the adage about glass houses.  Listen to the news, but actively search for unbiased fact before accepting conclusions.  Use the internet wisely. Work to support sources that actually do their job: telling you the unvarnished truth and nothing but the truth.

news desk

The Age of Unknowing

Everyone in America has an opinion. Current fashionable imperative dictates you must express yourself as loudly as you can. The internet is screaming.  Awareness is at an all-time high and minority issues are of majority concern.  What is the problem?

The loudest opinions are often the least informed.  They are reactionary, chains of linked thought designed to be inflammatory rather than logical. We spend our outrage recklessly, commenting on other peoples experiences and treating them as our own.  We consider ourselves informed based on hearsay, hastening to praise or condemn without solid information.

Take the latest news.  A child falls into a gorilla’s enclosure and as a result, the zoo kills the gorilla.  Instant outrage.  Horror expressed, shouting on all sides.  It was the parents fault.  The zoo should never have slaughtered a harmless animal.  Who is legally responsible and who will pay for this tragic turn of events?  Animal activists, children and parent right groups, zookeepers associations…each asserting their own perspective as the only acceptable view.

My personal favorite?  Posts that claimed everything would have been handled differently if the child was of color.  What?  What does race have to do with anything?  Furthermore, the child involved was indeed of color so those posts of outrage were especially foolish.

The old adage “Be careful what you read” is more true than ever before.  Sally posts a meme, expressing a defined opinion.  Peter reads it and hurries to top it, adding his own spin of moral outrage.  Connie reads both, takes them as fact and shares with all her friends.  This leads to a partially informed and wholly opinionated information system. Reactions spread like wildfire, colorfully embellished with mocking cartoons and inflammatory language.

On the positive side, awareness of issues does increase. Transgendered individuals, who are a small minority of the population have burst into everyone’s consciousness.  That is not a bad thing. Change resulting from this kind of awareness is a topic for another day. Feminism, racism and a host of other isms color our news feeds.  It is the proportion of time and awareness, the proportion of difficulties and consideration that I question.  Are some of these topics being over published and under examined? Are we making issues bigger than they need to be, beating a dead horse by repeatedly visiting old grievances rather than seeking new solutions? Are we busy dividing ourselves instead of working together?

We are wasting valuable time. There are true horrors every day on this planet, horrors that need to be legitimately addressed.  While we are busy asserting ourselves on day to day topics we are distracted, busy being important, taking our stance. Meanwhile we are losing global perspective on events shaping the future of humanity. Thousands are suffering. Is it necessary that I take a stance on one woman’s college experience?  And if I do involve myself in that debate, is it my social responsibility to address every individual instance of perceived injustice?

We do love to live vicariously, to feed off other peoples drama. We enjoy the power, the casting of blame.  Soap operas and reality TV are guilty pleasures. We point fingers and pretend to know what is best for everyone.  Shame on us all. Any mother will tell you that children do unexpected things, and it only takes a moment for circumstances to change. Gorilla experts can prove that possessing the strength of ten humans is problematic, even when gorillas have the best of intentions.  Those are facts. Some things happen and there is no blame. Life can be hard.

There are real and important issues worthy of consideration.  They deserve time and research. Like the funny meme if you wish.  Before jumping into a debate, however, look at all sides of a question. Dig for fact. Examine with patience and logic as well as heat and heart. Think for yourself.  Draw your own conclusion. Don’t express the popular view. Explain your own conclusions. Are you supporting or denying a political candidate based off provable fact or has the internet conveniently thrown you all the “proof” you need?

We have more access to information than any generation before us and we squander the opportunity, instead relying on cheap thrills and quick answers. A little knowledge remains a dangerous thing.  Be truly informed. Become not a parrot, but a thinking individual. We don’t have to have opinions on everything.  Know what you don’t know.  No one person can have factual knowledge of the world’s problems. We can sure do better, however, than the majority already expressing their opinions.