574: Those Who Are Important

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There are those people who are important

to me, and those who are important to you.

I trust your judgment even when

I do not trust those who are important to you.

In this, this important life that lives between us, I am not central and

you are not central. The life that lives between us, and binds us heart-to-heart,

is central.

Because of you, I choose to respect those who are important to you,

to honor the life between us.

To honor you.

573: Unacceptable Risk

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In America these days, there is no acceptable risk for something someone does not find useful to themselves.

We all get in our modes of transportation on a nearly daily basis, and willingly take the (rather significant) risk that our routine daily trip will not, this time, come to a horrible, bloody end. It does happen that way for many people the world over. We take that risk with nary a qualm.

We take other risks with insouciance, too.

Have you actually read the warning labels that come attached to most small appliances these days? Seriously? I think we should just improve the gene pool and leave these labels off, thanks very much. WHO showers while using their toaster? Or tries to dry their hair while still in the shower? The awful part is that SOME one obviously did it, or there would not be a warning label for the rest of us…who don’t actually need one, thanks.

I remember the prenatal class I took during my first pregnancy. They were very careful to warn us moms-to-be not to have sex (immediately after delivery) while we were still in the hospital.  I’m not too sure about the other moms, but that was a totally unnecessary warning for me – any man who got anywhere near me immediately after delivery had better have had a shot of morphine, not sperm. It wasn’t actually an experience I was looking forward to beginning all over again at that point, believe me. It took me nearly three YEARS to forget about how much better it felt going in than coming out. Once again, this warning prompts the question: WHO did such a thing, and was she conscious at the time? And as for risk, pregnancy and childbirth are still (even in this modern age) statistically pretty high risk endeavors, and still women do it all the time.

Risk. Actually, I take lots of risks when I get out of bed in the morning. Your home is full of mortal dangers: the electrical circuits, the bathtub, ceiling fans, the stuff crammed on the top shelf of the closet, the pets that weave in and out between your feet, assorted cleaning chemicals which can’t be combined (that bleach  and ammonia thing gets a few people every  year), food left on the counter, or saved a few days too long in the fridge….you  just don’t know all the stuff that can kill you once you take the risk and get out of bed.

Let’s just understand that risk is part of living. The only way to eliminate risk is to die – and then you have to hope that the funeral home dude isn’t a necrophiliac. You just don’t know – and at least, at that point, you just would not know (or care much, either).

Let’s get on with the business of living – and be mostly careful, without being nuts about it.

572: Family

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Family can be your greatest treasure and resource, the source of unending strength and encouragement.

Family can be your greatest disappointment, the source of incredible angst and unmitigated pain.

Some family members are the most stalwart, loyal, got-your-back, genuine humans on Earth

and some can’t be trusted as far as you could throw Mount Everest on a clear day.

Some show you a genuine and honest face of acceptance and unending love

others show a mask of genuineness and honesty that is as pretty and as false as a cubic zirconia – and is worth even less.

As you grow older and wiser, you learn to appreciate and honor those who return your love, and to avoid those who don’t.

Even if you gave birth to them.

571: Maybe it IS you…

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There is a huge culture now of “accept me as I am.” It is the “be yourself, and don’t change who you are for anyone or anything.” Yeah, well….I get that idea, but I see the problems this healthy self-acceptance beginning eventually leads to – and it isn’t pretty.

See, in the old days, people celebrated bettering themselves, and overcoming character flaws, not congratulating themselves on refusing to change for any reason whatsoever (deserving or not). Literature abounds with heros who have to overcome their flaws to be successful. Those are character flaws. People have them. These character flaws need, and deserve to be, overcome, conquered, mastered, vanquished. For the good of the individual, and for the good of us all.

Sometimes, the problem really, truthfully IS YOU. And it may be genuinely you, but it is a part of you that genuinely needs to be changed, repaired, fixed. And, sometimes, it’s me. I’ve been working on me for several decades now, and there are still some things I have not yet mastered that need to be fixed.

If I can recognize that I can be a better human, so can everyone else, because I assure you, there isn’t anyone breathing who could not use a little self-improvement.

570: My bad

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In this culture of victimhood that current society is wallowing in (pig in mud inference deliberate, here), where everyone and everything ELSE is to blame for everything I do and everything that happens to me – even at this seemingly simple task, I FAIL.

I am totally to blame for all of it. I have been unable to weasel out of anything….EVER. I try, believe me. I try. I figure if everybody else can slime their way out of any and all responsibility, I should be able to do the same: after all, I am female, have two adult (mostly) children, am regrettably white, old, fat, college educated, and employed full-time – a reasonable victim by anyone’s standards.

The problem is that pesky conscience, which I am assured that most modern people do not possess, as evidenced by their behavior laid out for all the world to see. I have not found the switch to turn that sucker off. And I am unsure which government form to fill out to evict the troublesome conscience as a result of its no longer being required or desired.

It can’t be as difficult as I am making it, this conscience-shredding process, or most of the world’s people would not have managed it so effortlessly.

*sigh* I’m a failure at being a failure.

569: Bygones

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Used to be friends,

much beloved kitties,

men I thought were mates – who weren’t,

belongings I lost along the way (that I still randomly include in my dreams)

plans I had for my life,

hope for the future.

That smoking hot body I remember,

the fruit trees I planted everywhere I used to live (that someone else is harvesting now),

the books I read and passed on to other readers.

The children I raised, and set free.

The person I was.

Life.

568: Effort

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As another school year winds to a close, I am forcibly reminded that many, many, many people have a ridiculous sense of entitlement. I posted in my classroom a few weeks ago (for exactly this time) the statement “Don’t be upset over the RESULTS you did not get from the EFFORT you did not invest.”

As a teacher, I provide students with multiple learning opportunities: assignments. I count (grade) most of them. Our school uses a continuous average grading system, which means we do not set in stone your grade as a student each reporting term. So, your final grade is not determined by the averages of your first, second, third, and fourth grading term results, but instead, the overall average at the end of the year.  This allows students who do poorly to bring up their averages and earn credit for the year.

It also means students who have done moderately to marginally well all year can fail the entire year (even posting a passing average for the first three quarters) by slacking off at the end – which is RICHLY coming to pass. It is amazing how seven or eight zeros at the tail end can drop a close to failing year-long average right over the cliff.

I have warned students in every class that if their averages are in the low 70’s, that they are in danger of failing the course for the entire year, and they are, as usual, ignoring me. Problem is, time is short for completing work, and I am not grading anything turned in late now at full credit, PLUS, I am not accepting work from FIRST,  SECOND, and THIRD TERMS at this late date. Seriously?? You even bothered to ask?

I watched you sit and do nothing for days and weeks, while I chivvied you and reminded you and redirected you countless times, and NOW you get concerned about course credit and passing averages? NOW you want me to provide you with “extra credit” work? Nope.

In twenty-six years of teaching, I have NEVER, EVER, not even ONCE, had a child fail a class I taught with low grades on work they submitted. Not once. Every single child (and I work mostly with high schoolers) who fails has done so on ZEROS: work they just chose not to complete and submit for scoring.

I can work with a student who shows me some effort, even if it is not up to standard. As an employer, I want someone to work every day at the tasks I have set for them to do. As a teacher, I want exactly the same thing. I can help you if you are working. You can ask questions, and we can fix your work on the spot to provide you with better scores. You can get feedback on where this work could be improved.

I do not “give” grades: you earn them and I post them. I can credit someone who is working, even when they do not possess the native ability to do it at A or B quality work. THAT is not required. It is wonderful and appreciated and celebrated, but so is the determined effort to get the work done and submitted on time when assigned. I cannot post credit for something that is not submitted.

And the time of reckoning is at hand.