The Facebook Talk – SOL Day 18

This is a difficult topic to broach — because there are no rules, I haven’t read about it anywhere (haven’t looked, but I’m not one to look for Facebook advice online), I haven’t talked about this with friends, and — maybe it’s the writer- and reader-teacher in me who likes a particular angle to connect to young people — I like to use my own experiences.

Eldest daughter cried about stuff yesterday — it may have been PMS — but friends and lack of friends and ability to make dear friends got brought up, as did the amount of time being spent on Facebook.  So we had the talk.  Talk #1.

I’m sensitive to the possibility to being overbearing.. but at what other time would I be able to talk to my young person about the alleged misery Facebook can potentially cause?

I think we all know what Facebook’s about, so my aim was to end up with a real, honest and authentic discussion about what Facebook actually is at this point in her young life.  Any study I’ve heard about social media didn’t come up.. and I tried to approach this the way I would with my students.  What am I really concerned about?

Concern #1:  is she using it in a healthy way as she grows into adulthood or is her experience with her casting her into the doldrums?

 

We waited for a thread to emerge that we could hold on to.  We found it when we sensed part of our moral code emerging as we talked:  we need to talk to people in real life.  It’s not enough to think about people, talk about people behind closed doors or in our minds, we need to reach out, converse, be kind, make the world a better place, make friends.  So much more better could happen in the world if we only talked.

Which translates to — if you saw any of these friends at the market or at the library, would you entertain having a catch-up conversation with them?

If not, why do you allow yourself to peer into their lives?

The way we approached this was through her friends:

Are these people she would actually come and have a conversation with on a normal day?

When was the last time she spoke to some of these friends?

Who did you know?  Who don’t you know?  Who do you want to know more? How can you achieve this in reality to cultivate a meaningful and richer life?

We had a brief discussion about our views, but left her with the bulk of those questions to figure out on her own. I told her, “this isn’t about our negotiating your choices… it’s about helping you see a viewpoint so you can make the best choices for yourself.”

Because I’d been in the vacuum of cyberspace.  It can get pretty lonely, no matter how much information or how many words from someone are running through your mind.

Nothing beats human companionship, IMHO.

 

 

Writerly Advice to My Daughter- SOL Day 15

Tackled 3 bookstores today.  A total of 8 hours — while we waited for brother to be done with his shift work.

Found a notebook for middle child, who hasn’t written at home .. for months and months.  She used to walk around with her nose buried in a notebook, scribbling about her daily life.

When she finally sat down to write, she said she didn’t know what to do, how to start.  Gave her a quick launching lesson, then summed up a why it’s so important for her..

My talk, as  captured from my own Notebook:

“You should always be capable of writing for yourself — not for someone else, not for grades, not for scores, but entirely and wholly for yourself — to please yourself.

Your language, your thoughts, they belong to you.  And if you have trouble composing them for yourself, then you need to pause and figure this out. Figure out how to talk to yourself, how to think for yourself, how to write for yourself, with you as your audience.  No one else.

Society, school, parents, friends, ourselves — we’ve all done enough damage and discourage. Don’t let it be a complete and thorough annihilation of you, your voice.  Because who when would you ever get it back?

Do you really want to wander through this world without a voice? For even yourself to hear?”

 

Patriot’s Day – SOL Day 14

Watched Patriot’s Day with Mark Walhberg about the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

It’s always difficult watching one of these mass-casualty films from a horrific event in our nation. When I hear of another event occurring, I wonder when they’ll be marketing it for a movie…

I think this will be the last one I watch, though. I was moved.. angry.. hurt.. upset. Character development was excellent.. events seemed to be portrayed accurately. But I know it’s fiction. The day these events happened, I knew where to go for my information, how to glean and parse and figure out what was going on, who did what, how it was being revealed to the public, what I needed to know as a citizen from this.  It’s different when it comes to you as a movie.

For instance.. I knew there was a woman who died from her injuries on the sidewalk.  I wasn’t waiting to see her on the screen, but when I did see her, I knew it was her, because I remember the impact I felt when I found out about her death 4 years ago. Why will I put myself through knowing about this again?  I don’t want to live through this tragedy twice.

When it happened, it molded my opinions.. some have softened, some have hardened with age.  But dragging this out into the open again.. reminds me of what a family must feel when they experience a tragedy and their not wanting to go through trial to avoid living through the trauma all over again.

I wasn’t expecting to say these things when I decided to blog about Patriot’s Day.  It was a great movie.  It seemed respectful of all involved with the tragedy.

But when this happened, I was an involved member of the family of citizens of these United States. I cried the day it happened. And when I saw this movie, I didn’t realize that I was going to be put through this experience again.

Now, I’ve decided I’m not going to watch any more movies like this.

I’ll continue to be an informed citizen.  This is just another thoughtful decision I guess I have to make.  In a lot of ways, I wish it wasn’t there for me to have to make it.

God bless America.

Early Spring Tchotchke – SOL Day 13


Camping.

Temperatures dropped unexpectedly this week in Texas.  Unexpectedly because I don’t live by the newscasts or weather forecast.. just don’t.  But we had enough forewarning (2 days of drizzling rain) to know to wear layered clothing, wool tights under my jeans. This is Texas.  We don’t invest in long johns.. not until we make it a habit of camping year-round.

We we wander brush along the lake, picking up and rooting through boulders and football-sized stones for palm-sized rocks to take back to our campsite and examine.  Cedar, cactus.. I wish I were surrounded by mesquite from back home … but the slow movements of pausing, bending over, stepping and sorting along the wooded ground takes me to the Gulf Coast instead, another childhood haunt. I’m looking for the perfect seashell, the perfect stone.

Found one.

 

 

Tree Rings – SOL

My youngest daughter completes her 8th year this December.  To me, she’s already 9, which is mysterious to me because just 6 months ago, she was only 5 years old.

This particular phenomenon is all my doing.  The children don’t see this in themselves, they don’t intend to demonstrate these ages at all, but as the wistful parent who’s watching the last of her children’s childhoods .. it’s all I can do to see them 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 all at once.  Or 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, and 14.  Or 21, 20, 19 and 18.  Or 10, 9, 8, and 7. Or 13, 12 and 11.  That would be my second daughter.  She has always been 11 since she was 2, graceful and mature and independent since she knew she could run.

Beatrice, my youngest, aged quickly from 5 to 9 because 9 has always been my favorite year for the children, because 9 was my own favorite year.  I have very few memories.  What memories I do have depend on photographs of 1.) me nestling next to my mother when she was about 47 (… I’ve silenced myself for a second there.. Just this moment I realized this.  Mom was just a few years older than I am now..) and of 2.)  me before I go on my first trip, by myself to a big city.

Me, standing with medium-length hair parted on the right with a bow.  Me, semi-toothless and joyful.  Me, still clueless in childish wonder.  This was the year before I woke up.  Before I knew.  Before I saw.  Before I felt.  Before I understood.  Before I knelt.  Before I cried.

Sometime several weeks ago, the age kicked in for my youngest.  Which is unusual for my thinking.  Usually, their little years will extend into their older years, and not the other way around.  My soul must sense this last year, wanting to relish this last year early.

With every 9 that my children celebrate, I find myself cherishing the last of their childhood, but contemplating the strength of my will to sustain the joy,  peace and innocence of their lives.  Just by loving well, I think.

That’ll do it.

 

 

 

[still drafting]

 

Whiteout

Mom’s prognosis is

from now

to 5 months

to ?

I’ve never traversed

the valley of death

Do you know

what it’s like

to know

your mother will die?

Shortly?

I feel shame.

I never asked you,

hid

when pain

visited your heart.

In the  valley,

I walk blind.

A whiteout

that should be

high

on the mountaintop.

Why

is it visiting me

down below?