Category Archives: Stuff

Are We Being Good Parents or Merely Enablers?


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Liane Metzler

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Liane Metzler

Recently, I’ve seen a few articles related to parenting – mature decisions that some parents have allowed their immature children (for purposes of this post, “child/ren” refers to those humans who are under the age of 15 – I chose 15, because that’s my son’s age) to make – that disturb me as a parent. So I decided to write a post about it, and I have a feeling this is going to be controversial, but SOMEONE has to ask the hard questions and point out the obvious: Are we doing our jobs as parents or are we being enablers? Read on to see what I mean.

  • If your 6-year-old son or daughter wanted to jump off of a bridge into swiftly rushing rapids, would you let them?
  • If your 13-year-old angel baby girl wanted to get pregnant and have a baby of her own, would you let her?
  • If your 9-year-old son who loves sharks wanted to swim within them in the ocean – without a protective cage – would you let him?
  • If you child decided to eat and drink out of the cat’s bowls, pee and defecate in the cat’s bin, sleep on the cat’s bed and walk around on four limbs without any clothes on, meow and hiss instead of using her words – because she believes herself to be a cat – would you allow her to do this?

If you answered no to any of these questions (and I hope you did), then what would be your answer if I asked you this question:

If your 7-year-old daughter decides that she’s a boy, wants all things boy and nothing to do with girl stuff, or if your 9-year-old son decides he’s a girl and wants nothing to do with boy stuff – up to and including an eventual sex change – would you allow them to make those choices?

These are a few of the articles in question: HERE and HERE.

MaturityIf your answer is yes, then I ask you, why? (Let me add a disclaimer right here: I’m not into hate-mongering – neither the parent(s) nor the child. That’s not what this is about. This is about being a parent and deciding when your child is mature enough to make life-altering decisions.) Why would you allow him or her to make such a life-changing, psyche-altering decision if you wouldn’t allow them to do any of the other life-changing, psyche-altering choices I listed above? What child is mature enough, knowledgeable enough, developed enough to understand the consequences for these actions? If they are mature enough to make these decisions – and live with the resulting consequences (because, make no mistake, there WILL be consequences) – then WHY do they need parents at all?

My son would like to skip school and do nothing but play video games or Minecraft on a daily. But because I value education (and because the law requires it) I make him go to school. Yes, I allow him to game some part of most days (after school & homework & any chores I choose to make him do that day), because I believe it’s beneficial for him to learn technology and strategy and have fun. But I don’t allow him to make this decision on his own. He’s not mature enough to make the right decision. How do I know what’s the RIGHT vs the WRONG decision? I don’t. Not for sure. I have to fall back on my own maturity and knowledge – and prayer…lots and lots of prayer – and experience and insight into the world around us to make the decisions that will help my son become a well-rounded, successful, mature man. And that’s often a daunting task.

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Sarah Graybeal

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Sarah Graybeal

I understand that parenting isn’t an exact science. My son is 15, and I’m STILL learning what decisions to allow him to make on his own and which decisions he needs made for him…for his own good. Yes, children are people, they are individuals, they are born with free will just like the rest of us. But human children ARE NOT born with the species memory and imprint with which animal young are born.

I think this comes down to ethics and morals. One ethics and moralities question posed to a class I attended years ago was this: There’s a hungry rat and a newborn human baby in an

alley. Which – if either – would you choose to defend? That this is an ethics and moralities question says a lot about our society. And it doesn’t say anything good. There should be no question, no hesitation. My answer will ALWAYS be, the baby. Rats can defend and fend for themselves from an early age. Human children on the other hand, are not born with the knowledge and skills needed to defend or fend for themselves. That’s why they’re given parents. We are their primary teachers. We teach them manners, social interactions, ethics, morals, how to set goals and achieve them, how to shower and dress, how to be kind, but wary of strangers….we are the guardians of their innocence, the protectors of their joy and the comfort for their sorrows. Ours is such a large and daunting privilege and responsibility.

There is so much in the world that is harmful for our children. So many people who want to hurt them and lie to them. Please, let’s protect their innocence, their purity, for as long as we possibly can. They’ll lose it soon enough.

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Filed under Family, Life, Musings, Stuff, Writing

My Love Affair with Books: Friends that Never Fail


I’m feeling a bit nostalgic this week, so I thought I would share with you a post I wrote (but never posted) for my old blog back in May 2008. It’s a piece that’s helped to label me “introverted.” I’ve winced quite a bit while rereading this post; it’s clear to me how far I’ve come both in my writing and in my social interactions…and apparently some of my writing has been quite…pompous (a defense mechanism, perhaps), in the past… But I think it’s good to remember from whence we came. So, without any further adieu, and with nothing but minor edits for clarity and grammar made to the original post, here is the almost-8-years-younger Wendy.

* * * * * * * * * *

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Ermin Celikovic

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Ermin Celikovic

 

Once again I am reminded that books are the best friends one can have and perhaps the only tangible thing in which to place one’s trust.

If a book disappoints you, you can throw it away, give it away or sell it, and never have to think about it again, except for the odd moment when you see another book by the same author and wonder if this one will be as disappointing as that other one you had the misfortune to read.

Books can take you places you’ve never been before. They can introduce you to new and exciting people. They can increase your knowledge. They can entertain you for hours or days. If you happen to find several authors whose books form part of a series that you enjoy, then you are indeed most fortunate. You can look forward to the next book in the series, and every once in a while you can re-read the entire series and engage in mindless, effortless entertainment yet again.

Books are my escape, my outlet, my sanity. One of these days I may even write one myself. God knows I have several worlds cluttering up my imagination. A few of them have even started to take shape on paper. They haven’t yet started clamoring for attention, but when they do, I will be ready to tell their tales.

HEMINGWAY-Quotefancy-4056-3840x2160Yes, books are more dependable than people. Books will not scar your soul. They will not betray you to the point that you become more and more cynical with each book. They may move you to tears, but do not usually leave you searching at vulnerable moments for the odd darkly private corner to shed tears of anguish, betrayal and pain.

Books do not tell you, “I don’t want to lose you.” And the silent follow-up, “But neither do I want to talk to you more than once a month, or when I feel the need to let you know that I am still alive and kicking.”

Books do not tell you, “I’m feeling pressured,” and “I’m not saying never, but not right now.” Books do not tell you, “I can’t handle a long-distance relationship.” Books do not hand you the world one day and 3 weeks later, without warning, pull the foundation out from under your feet.

ode to booksBooks offer an unconditional relationship. They do not care if they must come to you. They do not care if you must communicate through Cyberspace. Books do not cringe, think you are needy, desperate or putting undue pressure on them if you need to spend a little more time with them today than you did yesterday.

Books do not tell you that they want a relationship on their terms, but not yours; that they get to set the rules and you get to accept them or risk loss of the relationship. Books will accept you on your terms. Yes, they might “talk back” every once in a while (i.e., do not live up to your expectations or cost more than you are willing to pay – high maintenance), but eventually, they will come around. They are willing to compromise, and won’t make promises they don’t keep.

No one ever says, “Books!” with the same exasperation reserved for a woman who is particularly difficult – i.e. who wants exclusivity in her relationship, who wants a guy to realize that yes, it’s long-distance right now, but it won’t last forever, who wants her guy to tell her that SHE’S WORTH WAITING FOR!!

Yes, books are my best friends. They may not speak to me in the conventional sense, but when my world is falling apart, they help me shore up the walls I allowed to be breached and they, slowly, help restore some semblance of sanity…

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Filed under books, Depression, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Reading, Stuff, Thankful, Writing

New Year Challenges (Goals for an Improved, Better Me)


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Carli Jean

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Carli Jean

New Year’s Resolutions are a tradition I usually avoid. I’ve tried making them before, but often lose the willpower about mid-February (my birthday month…I wonder if there’s a correlation…) to keep up momentum. However, THIS New Year, I’m determined to continue some of the successes I experienced last year and improve upon my willpower in 2016. After all, the biggest hindrance (and sometimes the ONLY hindrance) to reaching my goals, is ME.

Someone I greatly admire and trust (my pastor) recently said it this way, “One day at a time. We don’t need a successful life, we need a successful DAY. We don’t live year by year, or month by month, or even week by week. We live day by day.”

Mind. BLOWN.

For all of my smarts, I never thought of it quite like that before. It’s rather refreshing and stress-relieving to think of my life – another year in the life of – in 1-day chunks, in which everything is new all over again, instead of as a 365-bunch and we’re cycling downhill from day one.

So, here is my list of “resolutions” for 2016, to be worked on one day at a time:

  1. Be a more consistent parent. People are always telling me I’m a good mother. Sometimes I believe them. But I know that I’ve been lacking in true consistency with my son – a regular, fun, “mother & son” day/time; consequences for negative behavior; teaching him how to be responsible; how to be kind and thoughtful; how to clean (but that’s not really a mystery – I HATE cleaning. Except for laundry. I don’t mind doing the laundry); how to be a man…I may not REALLY know how to be a man, but I DO know what a WOMAN looks for in a friend, husband and father. That’s my gift to all the other women currently in his life and those in his future. You’re welcome.
  2. Become a better writer. I’m not sure if it’s ironic, but the more I edit other authors’ works, the more conscientious I become of my own writing, and I think it’s making me a better writer. My editor should be able to tell me for sure when I finally send him my second novel. 😉One day at a time2
  3. Be more empathetic. I see myself as a pretty tolerant person, but not as compassionate as I could be. There’s a difference, I think, because while I’m TOLERANT of cultures, ideas, lifestyles and beliefs different from mine, I don’t always have EMPATHY for them. Immigrants, for example, who aren’t native English speakers. I’m fine with them keeping their own languages and cultures, but PLEASE, PEOPLE, learn ENGLISH. The USA is an ENGLISH-speaking country. Try to assimilate. If I move to YOUR non-English-speaking native country, I’m going to work to learn YOUR language, not expect you to adapt to mine. See what I mean? Not very empathetic…
  4. Replace my vehicle. I’m tired of having things go wrong with my vehicle. Every time I have a slight financial cushion, something ELSE needs to be fixed or replaced. 😦 Now I just have to do more research whether it’ll be more cost-effective to lease or purchase and how much of a monthly payment my budget can handle. *gulp*
  5. Save more of my income. I like having a cushion of cash in the bank. But I’m a free-spirit when it comes to money. Somehow, I need to bridge the gap between my – as my mother calls it – “champagne taste on a beer budget.” (Vehicle repairs notwithstanding.)
  6. Nurture my Faith. As much as I need my medication and my therapist, I need my Faith more. The three together (with my Faith taking the biggest chunk of the pie) help balance the days of depression and anxiety with sanity. I think I’ve found a balance I can live with, and need to maintain and strengthen it.

    Texas, May 2000 (age 26). Right about the time I got pregnant. I was about a size 14 and soooo slender.

    Texas, May 2000 (age 26). Right about the time I got pregnant. I was a size 14 and sooo slender.

  7. Lose 20 pounds. That’s about 1-2 pounds a month, give or take. I’ve done it before & feel better physically, mentally, emotionally when I’m a bit…less…of me than there is currently. I’m overweight. I know I don’t look it ’cause I’m almost 6ft tall, but trust me, I am. I never had much weight angst in my teens and 20s. Not until I became preggers and my doctor told me to PUT ON weight, did I begin the Dance with the Scale. I put on 60+ pounds. And then more poundage AFTER I had my son. I’m curvy and big-boned (go ahead and laugh, but it’s true), so I’ll never be smaller than say, a size 12. A size 10 would be pushing the anorexia look. I love food too much to be anorexic, and hate puking too much to be bulimic (I know neither of those illnesses are that simple, but those are the side effects/symptoms that make the greatest impression on me). This year, instead of stressing myself out with a drastic goal (such as losing 60 lbs), I’ve decided to start off with something I can handle – 20 lbs. For the whole year. This I can do, because I’ve done it before. I just have to have the willpower to do it and maintain it. I’d love to magically wake tomorrow looking like and weighing what I did in 2000 before my pregnancy, but I’ll settle for dropping 20 lbs. 🙂

    Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2014 (age 40). Not so slender anymore.

    Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2014 (age 40). Not so slender anymore. 😦

  8. Be a better friend. I think I’m a pretty decent friend, but COULD take more time to spend and talk with friends who are on the fringes and outside of my inner circle, which, admittedly, is quite small. Quality is most important, but you can never have too many friends. At least, I don’t THINK you can…I’ll let you know…
  9. Travel to Europe. Again. I inherited the nomadic spirit of my Jewish ancestors (I realize this was thrust upon them in many cases, but still…), which was fostered by my father when I was a kid. We – my parents, younger brother and I (before the “accident” joined our family in 1985 😉 ) – spent several summers crisscrossing the US in my dad’s little Datsun. Visiting family, historical sites and antique shops. Good times. 🙂 I love to travel, seek out adventures in new and interesting places, soak up the cultures and languages of lands other than my own. And Europe – all of it – is my favorite. Even the places I’ve not yet visited. I need to work for National Geographic as a photojournalist. Or just become independently wealthy and visit book fairs worldwide, all year long.
  10. Attend at least 3 Author Events. I’ve registered to attend 2 this year as an Author, and a 3rd as Assistant to another author. Looking forward to the networking, rubbing shoulders with other readers, making contacts. Selling copies of my book(s) would be a bonus. 🙂
  11. Increase my author/writer/person brand. Write more blog posts for my own site and as a guest on other sites, virtually host more book tours, submit my writing to various publications and contests. This is on-going. I’ve gained momentum this past year, working with my awesome Gravity peeps, and Rachel Thompson, our director and social media queen. Now if I can just find a way to keep up. 😉
  12. Buy more books. Support my author friends. I’ve been doing this a bit over the past year. Hope to increase my collection this year. My bookcases groan in pleasure under the weight of these written treasures. 🙂 Hopefully my budget won’t groan in pain with the strain. *pours over the bank account*

So these are the things at the top of my “resolutions” list for 2016. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Bucketlist, Depression, Family, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Random, Stuff, Writing