Dru’s first day of Kindergarten was today.  He’s been excited for a while, and woke up this morning bright and cheerful and excited about the day.  He was very helpful and ready to go 10 minutes early.  We were so excited for him, and (of course) a little sad, but mostly excited.  And very happy that he has an internal drive and love of learning which many people (young and old) have lost somewhere along the way.

Of course it was emotional…my little boy is hitting a big milestone, but I promised myself not to be the mom holding him back, passing on any anxiety or worry.  I wouldn’t cry and upset him.  And I didn’t.  He cried a bit, mostly nerves I think, since he couldn’t stop talking about his day once we picked him up.  Yet it made me think, as parents, what are we imparting to our children.  We want to hold on to them as long as possible, but those parents who hover and interfere constantly make me angry and sad all at once.  I’m angry that as a society we encourage a culture of fear that makes parents feel a visceral desire to constantly be alert for any and all dangers.  When Dru is at a playground, I’m the mom sitting on a bench, chatting or reading while he plays.  Other parents are walking their (same age) kids over bridges and encouraging them to come down slides, because they have no innate sense that they can do it themselves.  If Mom or Dad is always there ready to catch them, why should they learn to take the leap?  Now, that’s not to say that I think my 4.5 year old should be allowed to jump into the pool unattended (let’s be reasonable here folks), but we need to let our kids build their self-esteem.  And the only way to do that is themselves…we can’t do it for them by always making sure they succeed.  Kids are smart, they can feel the difference between when they accomplish something – opening the cereal box…even if it gets all over the kitchen – and when someone else does it for them, and then tells them they’ve done a good job.  Self-esteem is aptly labeled…it needs to come from inside yourself.  I’m sad for these kids (and parents) because where are they going to be in 5, 10, 20 years?  What happens when that child is an adult, and they go in for a job interview and don’t get the job?  Mom or Dad can’t come to the rescue then…and we’re seeing the effects of this already.

I saw it in the schools, and I see it in the kids that are around everywhere…”I’m awesome/smart/pretty/etc. so I DESERVE this.”  NO.

When I worked as a trainer in a restaurant in New Orleans, one of our managers always used to tell us to hold a 10 over every trainee’s head.  We used to laugh, and make fun of it (still sometimes it’ll come up as a joke), but thinking about it now, I see it.  We should hold that high standard over everyone…strive for excellence.  Instead, we’re saying, as a culture, that since not everyone can reach a 10 – let’s bring that standard down to a 7, or give people a boost to start from a 4.

We’re only hurting ourselves.  As a culture, and a nation, we used to be the leader in education and STEM industries.  We’re nowhere near that now.  Some people want to blame the teachers, some want to blame the politicians.  We need to hold ourselves responsible.  Teachers and politicians aren’t in our homes or raising our kids (though unfortunately, in some cases, teachers are given that task as well).  We blame them when something horrible happens, or we fail to meet a standard, but we never look at what we’re saying as a culture.  As a culture, we glorify and idolize celebrities who do nothing more than make fools of themselves.  We ridicule those who seek to improve themselves as “stuck-up” or elitist.  Yet we still want to claim that we’re the greatest in the world.

If we’re not striving for and pursuing excellence in everything we do, what right do we have to claim excellence?  NONE.  As a nation, as parents, as individuals, we need to be holding 10’s over everyone.  Yes, some people will fall short.  Not everyone is good at everything.  I SUCK at higher math and yard work.  I know this about myself.  Hold yourself and those around you to a higher standard.  Hold your elected officials to a higher standard.  If everyone does that, we’ll meet it – we’ll have no choice but to do that.


Shutting Down

Oh Minnesota…

Well, according to news reports, MN government has shut down for the second time in six years.  All because they failed to meet a budget agreement.

Seriously?  This is ridiculous.  We almost had the same issue with the federal government a while back.  Do the people making these laws have a fundamental mental deficiency?  These budget deadlines aren’t things that are surprises!  And they have some real widespread consequences.

Yet again, the Democrats and Republicans are pointing fingers at the other side, blaming them for giving up too easily.  But what about compromise?  According to what I read, the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party (the Governor included) want – in general – to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1.9% and cut spending.

The Republicans are stating that they met with and agreed to a some of the funding requests (couldn’t find out which ones) and are criticizing the Governor for wanting to stick to “his rigid, tax-and-spend ideology, rather than prioritize the best interests of Minnesotans as we move into the holiday weekend.”

In response, the Democrat group is blaming the Republicans for the shutdown saying that the Republicans are in favor of “devastating cuts to education, health care, public safety, and other vital services”

So instead of sucking it up, and coming to an agreement that will benefit the citizens, the politicians are AGAIN playing the blame game.  Guess what politicians – the people who are getting screwed over don’t care which party is to blame.  They know that ALL OF YOU are to blame, together.  So it’s time to come together and get that shit taken care of!

I’d like to see raw numbers of how many of the MN Republicans are included in the group that the Dems want to raise taxes on.  Because I have no doubt that this resistance is not for the benefit of the majority of constituents, but instead for the benefit of their own bottom lines.

Guess what, if you’re included in the top 1.9% of wealth in any state, you can afford to have a bit more in taxes come out.  It’s just math.

As for the Dems, I’m sure that the Republicans aren’t trying to basically cripple all public services in the state – that’s just stupid.

So, here’s what I have to say to both parties.  I think you should all not be paid, until the budget is approved and the other state employees are squared away.  If this happens, I can guarantee there will be a new budget ASAP.

Keeping Secrets

Okay, so this is going to be a rant…just a warning.

So Kris and I were talking about these “hactivists” (Anonymous and Lulz Security, etc) and I got really angry about the whole situation.

These groups sound like they’re whiny little kids who got left out of a secret by the other kids and started screaming “YOU CAN’T KEEP SECRETS!!!! TELL THE WHOLE CLASS!”.  That’s all I’m getting from everything I’ve seen of them.

Now, I’m all for government accountability, but this is ridiculous.  Anonymous is actually proud of the fact that they hacked MasterCard and crashed their servers just because MC didn’t want to process WikiLeaks payments!  REALLY?  They’re a corporation, they can choose to do business with whomever they choose (or not).  And now these groups are demanding complete transparency from every government and business entity?  Fine, let them start.

Here’s my demands of them:

  • Names, SSNs, Bank Account Numbers, etc for all of their employees.  These are all documents that companies keep on their employees.  So I demand that they start the transparency and release that information.
  • Addresses – because you know that these whiners aren’t going to stop at demanding this type of crap – they’re going to slippery-slope themselves into the argument that individuals shouldn’t have secrets either.  So they’re going to start hacking personal accounts and information.  So I’d like their addresses so that when my information is hacked, I can pay them a little visit and explain to them why that was a bad idea.

Some things are kept secret for a reason – trade secrets are a part of capitalism – it keeps companies competitive.  HR documents, medical records, personal information – all of that is information on individuals that companies keep.  And the argument they are making that having no government secrets would mean an end to war is bullsh*t.  All it does is create an upfront arms race – and the Cold War taught us that Arms Races are unproductive.

Another consequence I doubt these people have thought of is the consequences to criminal justice.  What now will happen to the personal safety of Mrs. Johnson down the street whose identity is now leaked to the public before the murder trial she’s set to testify in?  Hm?

In a perfect world, complete transparency would be great – but this is not a perfect world, and people are corrupt, cruel and unjust.  It’s the world we live in, and the rules we play by.  Just because they don’t like it, doesn’t mean they get to endanger others, either physically or financially.

These little punks are just looking for some excuse to justify their breaking of laws and invasion of people’s privacy.  Giving in to them will just make them want more.  You don’t give in to a toddler throwing a tantrum for the same reason – it teaches them they get what they want when they do it.