Anger, Bullying, Change, Compassion, Crying, Egos, Fake Christians, Fear, Gun Control, Homegrown Terrorism, School Shootings, Uncategorized

Another Senseless Mass Shooting….

And it has happened yet AGAIN……another mass shooting….another SCHOOL shooting!  I remember how shocked we used to be by all of this.  Now it’s almost a daily occurrence.  We have become numb and desensitized to the trauma.  I’m going to talk about some things in this post that may upset a few people, but I’m very upset right now, as are a lot of others, about this nonsense, and how NOTHING is being done about it.  I thought about apologizing ahead of time if I offend anyone, but I really don’t care if I do. There are an awful lot of innocent dead people, and someone needs to speak up.  Each side accuses the other of making it political.  Well, it IS political! Unfriend me or stop following me if you must.  I will not point fingers at any political party, but I will be political.  You all know who you vote for, and where you stand.  And I will address what role Christianity (or those claiming Christians) plays in this.  So…..read at your own risk.

First of all, never in my life, or my training to become a teacher, did I ever think that I could possibly be putting my life on the line in the classroom, and defending the little people I teach every day.  If I wanted to work in a combat zone, I would have enlisted in the military or law enforcement.  My calling was to teach.  I don’t want to carry a gun.  If schools start requiring teachers to be armed, I will be leaving the profession for good.  If others choose to carry a weapon that’s their right.  I will exercise mine not to carry a gun.  But my daughter and my grandson (the only two offspring who are still in school) have the right to go to school feeling safe, and so do their teachers.

I’m not anti-gun at all.  My father grew up with guns on a farm.  He had guns in the house when I was growing up (put away).  After all, we do have that 2nd amendment. But that amendment was written before we had semi-automatic weapons, and guns such as the now infamous AR-15. Yes, we do and should, have the right to defend ourselves.  If someone is coming into our homes to hurt us or our families, we should have the right to keep ourselves safe.  However, the AR-15 is meant for one thing…..killing a lot of living things in a very short amount of time.  And no civilian should have access to it, whether they are mentally sane or not.  It is, in itself, a weapon of mass destruction, and we’ve seen it over and over again.  Yet, the politicians with the NRA in their pockets keep turning a blind eye to it. And yes, the NRA and their political buddies have blood on their hands over this.  Oh, you’re an NRA member?  Okay.  I don’t care.  I’m not criticizing you as an individual.  I am condemning the organization as a whole, and how they have bought off the politicians who are supposed to be representing the people, in order to wield their power.  We are talking millions and millions of dollars.  They are profiting from the murder of innocent lives…..innocent children and public servants!

Mental health…..oh, here’s a good one.  I’ve noticed that any time the shooter is white, there is a discussion about mental health.  Well, that’s good, because there does need to be more access to mental health services in the United States.  Mental health is slowly losing the negative stigma and shame, and it does seem that people are more open to getting help for mental illness, depending on the severity.  Yet, so many of our mental hospitals were closed in the 1980’s, leaving these people with nowhere to go, and no options for help.  Sometimes, it’s more than one person can take care of alone.  Then they need help from society.  It should be easier for these people to obtain mental health services!  So, if the problem with mass shooters is mental health, then why is funding cut for mental health services?  Why are facilities closed?  They’re ill.  They need help! If you vote for politicians who cut spending on mental health services, then you can’t also use the mental health argument.  You can’t.  It makes you a hypocrite.  So if you voted for the ones who cut the funding for mental health services, then knock it off!  You can’t have it both ways.  I am tired of hearing it.  There was a law in place, which was recently repealed, making it more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain weapons.  Why was it repealed?  What idiot asshole thought that was a good idea (I’ll let you do your homework on that one)?  What purpose did it serve to repeal that law?  Oh, and if the shooter were black, Hispanic, Muslim, etc…..oh, that’s right….terrorist, and they should be deported.  The majority of these mass shootings are carried out by white, home grown, American terrorists.  Period.

Another argument I heard was that this gun should not have been in the hands of a 19 year old.  Really!?!?! So….a 19 year old with a history of mental illness was able to legally obtain an AR-15.  Please!  I have a more difficult time buying cold medicine! The argument I heard was that he shouldn’t have been able to get it until he was 21.  Because when he turns 21 he will be less mentally unstable?  He’ll magically become mentally stable at 21? Sorry.  That “logic” doesn’t work on me.  Neither does the bullying issue.  Bullying isn’t the problem either.  Bullying is a horrible thing that has been around from the beginning of time, and most educators do all we can to minimize it.  There have always been bullies.  There hasn’t always been access to weapons of mass destruction for the average person.

Another thing that was really disturbing to me with this most recent act of terrorism on American soil was the way the media described the suspect as being “adopted.”  AND?????  I happen to have 3 cousins, 2 nieces and several friends who were adopted, and none of them are violent or terrorists!  They are my family and people I happen to love.  By repeating this over and over on the news, I’m sure it was upsetting to anyone who was adopted, or loves someone who is.  This infuriated me, and put an unfair label on every adopted person! Totally unfair reporting!  Just what we need….more stereotypes and biases, as if we don’t have enough dividing us.

Christianity…..here we go!  Yes, I do call myself a Christian.  I do believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ.  His main lessons were to help the poor, sick, and the children.  Yet, so many people who are constantly saying they’re praying, asking for prayers, saying, “praise Jesus!” attending the “right” churches, or voting the “right” way seem to forget those simple things!  Oh, they’ll pray for you!  But what good is prayer if they don’t put forth some effort too?  Why are they putting all of the burden on God?  They’re lazy, that’s why!  Why are they boasting about all of the prayer they’re sending up, but then voting for people who do the exact opposite of what Jesus said to do….take care of the poor, sick, and the children????? Oh yes, I know about the lesson of God helping those who help themselves.  But sometimes people CAN’T help themselves!  Oh, they’re poor? They’re sick?  Do we know why?  Does it really matter?  No!  They need help! These are also the same people who claim that God/Jesus/religion is not allowed in our schools anymore.  Are you kidding me????  If you are true Christians, how can you remove that part of your personality when you are at work?  True Christianity should reflect in your actions.  Doesn’t God work through us?  Then if we are Christians, doing God’s work, then how is He “removed” from our schools?  Sorry, but yet another argument that doesn’t add up, and I’m tired of it.  I use compassion and love and understanding each day with my students.  They aren’t numbers. They are little lives, and they are our future.  We say the Pledge of Allegiance EVERY DAY (I’ve been told many times that we don’t….maybe before posting that nonsense on social media, you should check with someone who actually works in the public schools)…..and yes, we DO say, “One nation, under God” EVERY DAY!  I’ve been in schools where there were prayers around the flag pole, Bible study groups for teachers, my children were involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, etc. etc. etc.  No one is telling us we can’t pray. We just can’t force anyone else to pray! And quite frankly, I wouldn’t want someone forcing their religion on me either.  We are free to pray, and think however we want!  So all of these stupid posts about how we need to put God back in our schools to avoid more school shootings only anger me more.  Instead of putting it all on God, why don’t some of you step up and help out?  Stop using that as a cop out! Why don’t you go volunteer in the schools?  Why don’t you start serving the homeless, the poor, the hungry?  How about helping the mentally ill?  Volunteering in the Big Brother/Big Sister program? How about putting the prayer to work through your own actions?  How about praying for God to instill in you the desire to serve others, and understand others, and have compassion for those who struggle or need help?  Or, if you don’t have the desire or time to volunteer, maybe you have money, and you can help fund programs that have been cut? Time, energy, money, patience, understanding, compassion…….  Oh yeah…..now I remember……the answer is more guns, and protecting the 2nd amendment, right?

The 2nd amendment has become Biblical to some Americans, and it’s sickening!  They tout the Bible and say they’re Christians, but they are more willing to protect an amendment ratified in 1791 (that needs to be updated for today’s weapons) than to protect our children! That’s not a Christian. Why doesn’t our right to LIVE, and our children’s right to feel safe at school hold more weight than the right to carry a weapon?

So now we come to the right to bear arms…..concealed carry…..whatever you’re wanting to call it…..you’re carrying a gun.  Let’s look at the Las Vegas shooting.  That happened at a country music concert.  Now, I would guess that there were probably a few people in that crowd carrying weapons.  I don’t have a problem with that.  It’s their right.  Yet…..what good did it do them?  Were any of them able to stop the maniac in the hotel with his high powered weapons and mechanisms making his weapons more powerful?  More guns are not the answer!  The whole load of bullshit saying, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is ridiculous!  I’m sure there were plenty of good guys with guns in that crowd!  So where were they?  Why didn’t they stop him?  Wasn’t anyone praying?  If so, why did 58 people die, and nearly 500 people were wounded?  What happened?  Weren’t people praying hard enough? Weren’t those injured or killed deserving of God’s grace?  Of course they were! But who was there doing God’s work?  Prayer and guns alone are not the answer! Maybe that guy shouldn’t have been able to get his hands on those weapons in the first place!

Yes, prayer helps.  Saying, “All we can do is pray” is nonsense!  You can do so much more!  You can stand up and speak out against the senseless crimes being committed by having access to these types of weapons.  God gave us a voice!  God gave us brains!  Use them! If you are true Christians, then where is your compassion?  Why is the 2nd amendment more important than the teachings of Jesus?  I’m not trying to be preachy, but I’ve heard these arguments from “Christians,” and I’m not buying it.  I’m tired of lazy people hiding behind the label of Christianity.  The constitution is not the Bible.  “In God We Trust” did not appear on our coins until 1864, and not on our currency until 1957.  The Founding Fathers did NOT put it there (contrary to what gets repeatedly posted on social media).  Saying, “Let’s pray, ” and “Let’s put God back in our schools,” and continuing to vote for more guns is  NOT the answer!  Putting armed guards in our schools, arming our teachers, and making it easy to buy guns (but not cold medicine), but doing nothing to fix the root of the problem is not the answer.

Other countries don’t have this problem.  There are other countries who have the right to defend themselves, and they don’t have mass shootings.  The United States…..the country I love with my whole heart, the country my grandfathers, father, uncles, cousins, and son have all risked their lives to defend….needs to get it figured out when it comes to the most horrifying and disgusting issue facing us today. The answer to most of us is very clear. For the rest of you….well, my husband and I will continue to speak up, while we go into our classrooms each day…..always ready for a lock down (with little to no appreciation from anyone unless we’re gunned down…..then we become unwilling heroes…..an entire blog post in itself).  Oh yeah, and we will educate ourselves on political issues and candidates, taking into consideration what is best for us as a whole, and who is interested in fixing this problem,…..after all, the 2nd amendment is NOT in the Bible.

So even though this blog post is long, I hope you can see my frustration, and how saying and doing nothing about the core of the problem is as good as guaranteeing that this will continue to happen.  I’m angry!  I’m pissed off!  No amendment is worth the loss of countless innocent lives, especially school children and their teachers.

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Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Coping, Crying, Emotions, Family, Kindness, Laughter, Love, Mother, Passion for Living, Thankfulness, Uncategorized

My Mama

Eighty-six years ago, my grandmother was escorted to a hospital in Peiping, China (now Beijing) in an ambulance, by a military escort because the city was under martial law. No one was allowed to be on the streets because of fighting with the Japanese. She gave birth to my mother, Mary Joan Slater (Mary Jo) shortly after.  Yes, my mother was born in China.  My grandparents were medical missionaries in China in the 1930’s.  My mother’s first language was Chinese.  Her first “family” were the other missionaries and the Chinese people they knew.  Her first school was in Nantung.  Her first HOME was China.

On December 26, 1940, the family was evacuated on the last ship out of China, after the Japanese warned that if they did not leave, they would become prisoners of war.  It was hard to leave everything they knew and loved there, but the Slaters (now with my Uncle Bill and Aunt Joy added to the family) left for the United States.  My mother was painfully shy, and was so afraid to move not only to a new school, but to a new country.  My grandpa enlisted in the Army, and was gone for a few years, which was very hard on them, but so typical of a lot of families during WWII.

Meeting and marrying my father in college was the best decision she ever made.  She was barely 19, and they eloped because her parents wanted her to finish college first.  Fortunately, it all worked out, and my parents were married for 52 years before her death in 2002. I’m pretty sure both sides of the family were in a state of shock, but they soon realized the union was a perfect match.  Both sets of grandparents were very good to each of my parents.

Mama was the perfect minister’s wife.  She was so kind, sweet, smart, honest, and compassionate.  She truly was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known….even through my horrible teenage years, where we didn’t see eye to eye!  She was silly, a little spacey….I know where I get it…….and so much fun to be around.  She was always willing to let down her guard to have a good time, especially as she got older.  Tea parties and pretending with the grandchildren, “antiquing” and going out for tea with her five daughters, and playing with her dolls and her beautiful dollhouse (built by my Grandpa Penry and my father).  I’ve never known anyone who could claim “cleaning” as a hobby, but she could! Her younger brothers, Butch and Chuck, could talk her into anything, even though it was rarely in her best interest!  Rides on the back of motorcycles, and going down my grandparents’ driveway on a homemade go-cart (made from an old ironing board) were just two of the things they talked her into, and she regretted later.  On a few other occasions, she made crazy decisions all on her own……swinging on a vine or a tire swing, and jumping on a trampoline when she was well into her 60’s……..as embarrassed as she was later about these things, she always had the childlike innocence to look for fun.  As mature and composed as she usually was, she still had the ability and desire to look for fun.

My mother was also very strong.  She had to go to work after being a stay at home mom for years.  My father had been sick, and my sisters needed glasses and braces.  Bills were accumulating.  She learned to drive at the same time as my 16 year old sister.  Right after getting her drivers’ license (at the age of 38), she went to work as a social worker, where she had to commute (not easy for someone who had just learned to drive!).  Social work is a tough job, but she did it for a lot of years! She lost both of her parents and a younger brother, and even though she couldn’t talk about them without crying, she kept going, showing her love for them through her memories of them…..and her tears.

Being a minister’s wife was not always easy either, but she loved and supported Daddy through every difficult situation (including the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas in the 1960’s). She always taught Sunday School, and I know she impacted hundreds of young lives through her own ministry.  She and Daddy were definitely each other’s biggest supporter and the best of friends.  They made a great team!

So Mama has been gone for nearly 15 years now, and today would have been her 86th birthday.  It’s not easy for me, but I always celebrate her birthday by eating Chinese food, and usually go to an antique store and drink a cup of tea.  Tonight, Al came home with roses for me, in Mama’s honor……..

I know I will never be as good as she was, but I can always strive to be better than I am.  She had a way of saying my name, or giving me a look, or poking her finger in my side to get me to behave! Sometimes I swear I can feel that same poke, or hear her say my name…….you know, when your middle name gets tacked on the end when you’re in trouble…..”Lauri Ann!”  I know I inherited her sense of fun, and I am grateful to her for that, along with so many other things.  I know when I do something that seems a bit….airheaded……it’s her way of getting back at me for laughing at her for doing similar things!  My sisters and I refer to these times as “Mary Jo moments.”

My mama was a pretty special lady.  She led a fascinating life from her beginnings in China to her years as a minister’s wife, a mother, and a grandmother.  I miss her every day.  But today, I celebrate her, and the time I had with her.  I’m very lucky.  I love you, Mama.

 

Acceptance, Anger, Anxiety, Be Happy, Being Strong, Crying, Emotions, Happiness, Laughter, Uncategorized

Healthy Crying

I’m a crier.  I cry when I’m happy.  I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m tired.  I cry when I’m in pain. I cry when I worry.  I cry when I’m angry.  I cry when I miss someone.  I cry when I feel sentimental.  I can’t help it.  Sometimes it makes me mad!  I wish I could control it better, especially when I’m angry.  It can get embarrassing at times, but when I’m mad, it really just makes it even worse!  My mother was a crier, and my sisters and I used to tease her about it, or get embarrassed.  I’m convinced I jinxed myself because I’m 1000 times worse than she was (I think).

When I’m mad and crying, the person I’m angry with either thinks it’s funny, or feels superior, as if they’ve conquered me, and that I’m weak.  Of course, those types of people are really just bullies, and their motives are to make people feel weak and helpless.  I am not weak and helpless.  In fact, I”m a pretty strong woman, as was my mother.  I have learned that tears are not a sign of weakness.  Tears are merely a sign of being able to feel completely.  To be able to shut that off would have helped me in a lot of situations, but it also would be the end of me being able to feel every emotion as intensely as I do.  I’m not sure I want that.  If I stopped crying when I’m angry, I may not laugh as heartily, with my silly snorts and not being able to catch my breath.  If I didn’t cry when I’m angry, I may not feel the same compassion I feel now for others.  Or, I may have a cold personality, and not be able to express myself with any warmth at all.

People who antagonize someone, or try to push someone to the point of being angry are nothing but bullies…..or assholes……take your pick!  They find it fun to upset someone, and make them feel embarrassed when they start to cry, or attempt to fight back tears.  Yes, they are bullies, and have no feelings or compassion for anyone else.  I’ve been in that situation a few times.  It’s hard, and my voice shakes, and I cry. I’m not afraid…..I’m just feeling that emotion with great intensity! It isn’t easy at all to deal with, but I feel sorry for them in that they don’t really feel anything at all.  How can they enjoy or appreciate life?

Tears and emotions are okay.  It is sometimes embarrassing, and we end up spending a lot of money on tissues!  When I laugh so hard I cry (and snort), it’s a wonderful feeling!  My kids will make me laugh at something, and I laugh harder and harder…..becoming  silent, to where I can’t catch my breath.  Then they say, “Oh no!  She’s going to snort!” And sure enough, I always do!  Through my tears, I snort like a pig, which makes everyone laugh harder!  That’s embarrassing too, but at least I get a good belly laugh!

I have decided that I will not feel ashamed of this trait I inherited.  It’s me.  It’s real.  It’s sincere.  It’s who I am.  I feel with great intensity, and I’m thankful for that.  Life is too short to have to try to hide who we really are.  I should feel thankful that my mother and father taught me how to express emotions, and communicate my feelings in a healthy way.

Tears are okay.  Tears are not a sign of weakness.  Tears are a sign of a healthy spirit.  Criers unite!  Stand up to jerks who see you as weak, with your healthy tears.  Have a good healthy cry today!  And those of you who may look at us as though we are too emotional or weak……I’m sorry you see us that way, and if it makes you feel superior to us, you are wrong.  I’m sorry you are not able to feel as deeply as some of the rest of us.