This young woman made some interesting points in her blog post. Entitled “Who Are We Hiding From?”, she raises a question that I for one never thought about. So many in suburbia have privacy fences, but it wasn’t always that way. Please read. The link is below.
One of my followers sent me this. What a touching story.
Every child needs a role model, and so do parents. Harry Connick, Jr. the former judge on “American Idol” is in my opinion a good parent’s role model.
My Chuck better watch out, because he’s got some competition. I used to watch American Idol, and I fell in love with Harry! Harry Connick, Jr., that is.
He’s certainly easy on the eyes; but I really noticd him when he began to be honest, forthright and constructive with the young contestants. He wasn’t brutal like Simon; nor did he sugar coat it like Randy. He seemed to have just the right touch. When they added him to sweet J. Lo and wonderfully authentic Keith, the mix between that year’s judges seemed just right.
Later I noticed that Harry was a family man. Or at least that is how he appeared. But he really won me over when someone said that the judges needed to resist being cruel. I guess Harry thought they aimed the comment at him, because he said that he wasn’t being cruel, just honest.
Hooray for Harry! Finally, someone who speaks honestly. With all this PC talk, it seems as if no one speaks honestly anymore.
When Parents Don’t Deal Honestly
We all just shake our heads, when these clueless, tone-deaf young people come to “Idol” to auditioon. Surely someone in their family noticed that John or Mary cannot sing, and yet there stand the parents to comfort him or her when the frustrated kid walks out crying.
Some really act up, as if they were still toddlers. This type of “stand by your child no matter what” type of parenting doesn’t really help these kids.
I also wondered who paid to get them to the audition in the first place. What happened to talking honestly with your kids, even about their shortcomings? What happened tomrefusing to fund a shortcoming? And come to think of it—what happened to honest parenting?
We are doing our kids a disservice when we encourage them to win for the sake of winning, when we give them trophies just for trying, or when we look the other way when their behavior is inappropriate. Many of these kids never quite understand why they don’t fit into social circles. And to make matters worse, some are taught to have an attitude when they don’t as if that makes it all ok in the end.
Be a Parent First and Foremost
It might be considered cool to parent like this in some circles; but from where I hail, it is simply considered lazy parenting. It is so much easier to be your kid’s friend, than to be your kid’s parent.
There are no perfect parents, but there are those who really try–who consistently try. They know that parenting is hard, around-the-clock work. One of our kids was more difficult to raise, and there were many times that we wanted to give up and say “what’s the use.” We kept trying though until she finally left home for college, and even then it wasn’t quite over.
Strive to be a Good Role Model
Please America, wake up and teach your children well. How many young adults do you know who have messed up their lives, due to poor judgment. How many chances have they missed?
How many are still living with their parents, instead of gaining independence and reaching for their own ambitions? How many are floundering in a sea of debt from college loans–another example of poor judgment passed on fromall of us parents?
My mother once said that as a parent my number one job was to raise my children to be independent adults. She didn’t have to tell me to love them. She knew I would fall hopelessly in love with every one of them. No, she reminded me that it was my job to make sure they survived; and she wasn’t just talking about food, clothing and shelter.
If we really want our kids to succeed, then we have to be their role models. We have to remember that we are not only teaching them to mature and become functioning adults, we are also teaching them how to teach the next generation. It is an awesome responsibility.
A Role Model in the Entertainment Industry
Thank you, Harry, for saying what everyone else in the entertainment industry isn’t saying. The entertainment community is littered with young people who feel hopeless and out of place in life. What a breathe of fresh air to have one of their own who publicly exercises good judgment and talks about it honestly.
Thank you for being a role model–maybe even a good role model for parents.
So I was already in love with Harry, and then he performed last night! I loved it! What an entertainer. Good looks! A good character! A Role Model! This renaissance man is hot!
I learned the meaning of a new acronym SAHWM. A blogger named Anna at In Honor Of Design used it in one of her posts.
SAHWM means “stay at home working mother.” I have three in my family–two daughters and a daughter-in-law; and they don’t have it any easier than I did, though I was a mostly an AFHWM “away from home working mother”. All three of my daughters either have businesses that they operate out of their homes, or they are bloggers. One does both. All three struggle to balance their child-rearing, work, and housekeeping.
I Was a AFHWM
By the way, I was not a SAHWM most of my child-rearing days; though, I did it for three years with my first child Jamie, who is in the top photo. I owned a florist, and she was there day in and day out as a toddler. During the first years, the florist was downtown; but I finally moved it into my home for the last year and a half.
My days were at least ten hour days, as florist work is long and demanding. I finally sold the florist and took a full-time job just to get back to regular hours and to make more money. We wanted to go on vacations and belong to the country club and play golf and tennis, so I felt I had to go to work.
At my new job I worked at the end of a 30-minute commute each way. The hours were 7.5 a day, but I made a good salary. I had sick leave and vacation leave and other good benefits. I kept the kids in daycare and enjoyed those precious kid-free hours away from arguing, crying, and general house wrecking.
Dinner was cooked as soon as I walked in the door. I house cleaned at night after the kids went to bed and got up an hour before anyone else to exercise and have a few minutes of peace and quiet while I enjoyed my breakfast. I lived on about six to seven hours of sleep a night for many years.
Me and my girls, Tracy & Jamie
My commute was almost a meditation. I remember the solitude of my car. There was a point in the road halfway between Monticello and Tallahassee that held significance. On my way from work to home, I realized that I left the hassles of work behind by the time I reached that point. The opposite was the same. The pressures of home seemed to melt away going the opposite direction.
Finally, my kids entered those special years of teenage puberty; and I needed to be home more, so I worked jobs that allowed me to work from home. I was then a SAHWM. As they got older and began driving I went back to college, eventually getting my Ph.D.
So as you can see, I was the flip side of the SAHWM for most of my kids’ years at home. I was a AFHWM, an “away from home working mother.”
We Are All WMs
Our commonality is that all of us are still WMs. We are all working mothers.
I believe, though, that my mother had it the best. I grew up next to my grandmother, a wonderful role model and provider. My mom went to work full-time when I was about 3-4 years old, but I never went to daycare. My grandmother watched after me.
Me and my Grandmother Roe
She home preschooled me. I can still remember the blackboard on her sleeping porch. She taught me my numbers, my abc’s, and how to tie my shoes before I ever got to kindergarten. I wish she had lived long enough to see me get my Ph.D.
She was super old fashioned having been born in the 1890s. She taught me etiquette and how to play in a dress without ever showing my panties. I’m sure I slipped up, but not without embarrassment if I knew it.
Yes, she even taught me guilt, something that I resented when I was younger because I thought it held me back. Now, though, I welcome it as a comfortable barometer–a good part of growing older I guess.
I never resented Mom’s work. We grew up knowing that her salary paid for vacations, dancing and piano lessons, cheerleading uniforms, 4-H camp, and much more.
Pam, Mom & Me
So you see, I had the best of both worlds–two moms. Grandmother was my SAHWM, and mom was my AFHWM. Still, both of them were simply working mothers.
What kind of mother did you have, a SAHWM or an AFHWM? What role if any did your grandmother(s) play in your raising? What kind of mother are you today?
Sometimes life deals us a solid blow, but woman’s best cosmetic is remembering the joy and letting go of the sadness. It is important to always count your blessings.
I’m sad today, because I lost another friend. I say another because I lost a life-long, childhood girlfriend almost a decade ago; but that is another blog. Today, this is about Lisa.
Lisa and I met through work back in the 1980s. We were kindred spirits. We both were small town girls living in a big city. We came from such small towns that we both thought Tallahassee was big.
She was a single woman, after a divorce; and I was a married woman, on my way to a divorce. I remember when I asked her to dinner at my home one evening. My soon to be ex-husband complained about the food right in front of her. He didn’t want spaghetti that night. She didn’t bad mouth him then, but about eighteen months later after he moved out, I found out that she wanted to punch him in the face.
Because of our work, we traveled together. Traveling with her was such an adventure. The piles of luggage alone were comical. She always wore way too much makeup, but I never said anything. I didn’t need to, because her mother did that enough.
Lisa traveled with a plastic fishing tackle box full of face creams, eye shadows, lipsticks, and anything else she thought she might need. She traveled like someone out of “Downton Abbey”, but without a porter. One good steamer trunk might have sufficed, but I’m not sure.
We partied hard, talked about everything, shared clothes, and dreamed dreams. One time we were at dinner in a very nice restaurant. I had trouble cutting my prawn, when my hand slipped and my surf flew out of my plate. She casually leaned down and retrieved my shrimp out of her shoe.
The girl had taken off her shoes in this very nice eating establishment; but she never missed a beat when she said with a wink, “I guess you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Of course, she meant both of us. There were some puzzled looks around the table, but she kept my secret. We laughed and laughed over that one.
Finally, we moved on with our lives. She left and moved back to her hometown. We both remarried. For the next twenty years, we kept up with each other over the phone. Every once in a while, we got together again; and it was like we never parted.
One morning I got a phone call from her oldest daughter. Lisa passed away three days before. Her daughter was so apologetic. They already held her service; and in the calm of the aftermath, someone finally remembered to give me a call.
I cannot blame them for forgetting. They’re all young girls in the prime of their lives with young children of their own. It was truly a shock. Lisa had a massive heart attack.
It is so sad to lose an old friend. I’m sitting here, remembering all the good times we had together. She was the epitome of something Rosalind Russell said, “Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic.” Lisa was once the joy in my life.
Thank goodness for wonderful memories that sustain us for when life moves on.
This morning I made a statement. I said, “The whole damn country has lost its mind.” Chuck in reply said, “No, it’s more like it has lost its soul.” Here’s what caused us to feel this way, and how I know that I’m a capitalist.
It all began when I told him about some research I was doing and about a project that was done during the Great Depression in a South Florida city. It was a FERA project, where they hired people to interview the elderly in that community. They were asked if they remembered anything their parents told them about their family moving to the area. They picked their brains for any information they could glean. What I found were extremely good stories about how people migrated to south Florida during the mid to late 1800s.
Chuck said, “What is FERA”. I said, “You know, one of those projects where people are given jobs to put more money into the economy. Only back then they used their money to put people to work, while we just passed a stimulus bill and gave most of it away.” Then I added, “The whole damn country…” Well, you get the picture.
FERA was the Federal Emergency Relief Administration which President Herbert Hoover created in 1932. They gave loans to states to operate relief programs. Along with the Civilian Conservation Corps, it was the first relief operation under the New Deal. Florida is full of FERA projects, like the community center in Davenport, the seawall around Spring Bayou in Tarpon Springs, and one of the Education buildings still standing at Florida State University in Tallahassee. These were considered socialist handout programs back then even though people still had to work for the money. The people of the 1930s didn’t think these were capitalist programs.
FERA’s main goal was to alleviate household unemployment by creating new unskilled jobs in local and state governments. This was more expensive than direct cash payments (called “the dole”), but it was psychologically beneficial to the unemployed at that time. The unemployed wanted and needed any sort of job for self-esteem issues. Men especially wanted to maintain the role as their families’ breadwinners, but women took jobs too.
By the time FERA closed in 1935, it provided work for over 20 million people and developed facilities on public lands all across the country. Over $3.1 B was given to states and local governments to run the program. In 1935 it was replaced with the WPA, the Works Progress Administration.
I’ve always felt that working was a good thing. It makes me feel good to be productive. I get satisfaction in what I do. I’ve been this way since my first job sweeping hair in a beauty salon at the age of 14. I made fifty cents an hour. Back then minimum wage wasn’t required for teenagers.
I wanted a beautiful red and black plaid wool skirt with matching vest made by Bobby Brooks. The skirt was a tad short, but with the vest one could wear it on the hips and pass the dress code. It was tough being a teenager in those days.
I asked my parents, and they told me that the outfit cost too much. I told them I wanted a job, and Mama got me one working at the place where she got her hair done. That was 1968. I worked three afternoons a week and a half day on Saturday.
By the end of my first week, I made enough to go have the skirt placed on lay-away. The outfit was sold in separates. I was just hoping no one came in and bought the vest before I could get it, too.
Feeling lucky and smart, almost two months later I paid for and took home the entire outfit. What a wonderful feeling! I had been bitten by the capitalist bug. Years later, while attending college, I worked in a dress shop and spent everything I made in that one store. Can you tell I love clothes?
Eventually, I learned to live within my means and spread around the good cheer. Thankfully, I also learned how to save.
It is too bad that people who love to work and who save for the future seem to be fewer in number today. It has been a good work life for my husband and me, and we’re retired now.
I wrote this almost five years ago, and I’m happy that our country seems to be turning this around. Under the new presidential administration, it seems that more people than ever are back at work. It seems that fewer people are waiting for a handout. This is indeed good news for America.
What was your first job and what was your first big buy? How do you feel about our current welfare system? Do you believe we are getting closer or farther away from our capitalist roots?
I remember a New Year’s Eve almost fifty years ago. My girlfriend Brenda and I were spending the night at my grandparent’s home across town. My Grandma and Granddaddy let us stay up and watch the ball drop on TV. They had long gone to bed.
Of course, midnight took its time coming; and we started playing with the phone calling other girls. All of us were in the same situation. Stuck at home with parents who would let us stay up because it was a special night. Finally, we ran out of people to call; but Brenda and I got to talking about Becky’s cousin Dina who lived in Madison, just 30 miles down the road. We wondered if that was a long-distance call from my grandmother’s house.
Remember when long-distance was a big, big deal. No one I knew called long-distance unless it was a serious emergency. Long-distance calls were expensive. Most people were lucky if their salary was over $10,000 a year, so a few dollars for a long-distance call was serious money.
Everyone’s mothers didn’t work, so families had to make do on $10,000 or less a year. There were no second homes (unless a whole extended family owned it, like a beach house). There were no cell phones or cable tv. We got one channel, a CBS Station. Hardly anyone ate out, except for a very, very special occasion. Those were tight times.
This was also during a time when we only had to dial the last four digits of the telephone number. We decided to dial just those digits of Dina’s number. We got someone else–a wrong number.
So Brenda and I decided that if we could dial the seven-digit number without a “1” or “0” in front, then surely it wasn’t a long-distance call. We picked up the phone and using the rotary dial, we dialed all seven digits. We didn’t even think about the area code, because it was the same all over this part of the state, and to call someone within the area code all you dialed was the seven digits with a “1” or “0” in front.
The phone rang on the other end, and then someone picked up the phone. It was Brenda’s aunt. I got scared and whispered “hang up the phone, hang up the phone”. Brenda hadn’t said anything yet, so she quickly hung. I said, “what if it is still a long-distance call?” “What if my grandparents see it on their next bill?”
And then we both sort of freaked out. “What if there was a dollar amount, just for any call that covered so many minutes, whether you use them or not, like what we would see in the movies when someone was trying to use a pay phone.” We panicked. We were seriously worried, and the New Year’s ball drop later was a little anti-climatic.
Brenda and I worried for over a month, waiting for my parents to begin the inquisition about the long-distance phone call that mysteriously showed up on my grandparent’s telephone bill.
But nothing was ever said, and we worried for nothing.
So here I am almost fifty years later. My friend Brenda runs a day care in a city about a hundred miles away. She married and had three kids. I married and had two. And so she and I talk occasionally about grandchildren, facial creams and procedures, parents long passed and pending retirements. Of course, Grandma and Granddaddy have long since passed.
We talk on cell phones and pay monthly cell phone bills that equal what it used to cost for a mortgage; but there is no worry about how long we talk long-distance because we both have the unlimited calling plans.
And here I sit tonight on New Year’s Eve watching the ball drop on TV. Chuck and I went to dinner, then a movie so we wouldn’t fall asleep too soon. It gets harder and harder to stay awake, especially for Chuck; but it is a tradition that neither of us want to break.
We sit watching New Year’s Eve entertainers who we no longer recognize, and it isn’t just the kids like that sad Miley Cyrus, who unfortunately we actually do recognize. But it is Billy Joel who was entertaining for several minutes before we recognized him. Oh dear! Time does fly!
Happy New Year!
Sometimes we remember members of our family saying things that do not sound right. My grandmother was one such person in my life.
When I was a little girl, I remember my Grandmother, who lived next door, waving goodbye to my uncle, aunt, and cousins as they left to go home after Christmas. It had been a wild and crazy four days of five adults and four kids.
My boy cousins were six and eight, and my little sister and I were five and three. Christmas Eve dinner was cooked and eaten, Santa came, we visited all Christmas Day, and it was the day after. As their wood-paneled 1956 Ford station wagon pulled out of the driveway, my grandmother waved goodbye and said, “Glad to see them come and glad to see them go.”
I remember being so confused. All weekend, she laughed, cooked, cleaned, ran around after us, and seemed to enjoy herself. This was also the sweetest person in my life. I remember mulling over what she said. It seemed so mean.
Now it is over 50 years later, and I’m in front of our home waving goodbye to my kids and their families. The grandchildren, most of whom are rug rats, are mostly toddlers. And that memory crept back from long ago when I was standing in my grandmother’s driveway.
“Glad to see them come and glad to see them go.”
I understand her perfectly now. 🙂
My two grandmothers were such a lesson in life. Both lived close by. In addition, my friend’s father also added lessons to my life…lessons about dying.
My younger grandmother was very good about visiting the elderly. I used to go along with her. She was old, herself; or at least I thought so at the time. But there were friends of hers who were older and were shut-ins. Those were the elderly that we visited. She could still drive, and she was a great cook. She would make them a covered dish and deliver it. I really did like to go along. Her friends had such great stories of times long past. Dying was not a subject I heard, though, unless it was a funeral.
My other grandmother was almost fifteen years older, but she herself was a shut-in. She was active in her garden, and she liked to take long walks. However, she no longer drove, so she depended on all of us for her needs and groceries.
Several of her lady friends came to visit from time to time. I loved to lay on the cool wood floor in her hall, where I was out of sight. They had no idea I was anywhere around. I loved to listen to them talk. Those ladies loved to gossip, and it was better than a soap opera.
One time I fell asleep, but thankfully woke up in time to slither back out the side door. If she had caught me, it would have been hell to pay. She could snap off and strip a switch faster than you could bat an eye.
I think she really liked being at home, though; and she never seemed bored. I can’t remember her complaining. The only cross word I ever heard from her was when one of us kids got out of line.
Passing Relatives and New Friends
So where am I going with this? Well, my grandmothers have long since passed, but I still like to visit the elderly. One gentleman, the father of a high school friend, lives alone now and is 86. I try to stop in about once every two months. He is losing his sight. I always take him something to eat, because he is alone now. His kids live out of town.
We always have something to talk about. Today, we talked about where he used to work. He worked on one of the large hunting plantations that we are famous for in this region.
He always begins talking at some point, though, about his ailments; but we usually move on to other subjects. Today, however, he returned again to his infirmities. He even talked about God’s plans for him. He said that he cannot fathom why God wants to keep him here.
My friend is almost blind and growing feeble. He is worried about having to move out of his home.
My Friend’s Old Dog
Then he told me a story about an old dog that he and his late wife owned. He said the dog was really his wife’s. It developed problems with its hips and was in terrible pain.
The vet in our community lived just down the road from them, and from time to time as needed the vet stopped by their home to give the dog a shot for his pain. My friend said that the dog would be fine for a little while, but the pain came back sooner after each shot.
Finally, he said, one day the vet came down to their house; and he asked my friend’s wife if she would please go and help his (the vet’s) wife down at their house. When she left, the vet told this elderly friend of mine that it was time to put the dog down.
My friend was telling me this story, while we were sitting in the long dogtrot-like central hallway that travels from the front to the back of his old farmhouse. He said that it was here that he held the old dog, while the vet gave the shot that put him to sleep.
My elderly friend wondered aloud as to why we can put dogs out of their misery but not ourselves. It was a sobering thought, but I didn’t try to add any thoughts of my own. I think he just wanted me to listen.
The conversation, though, reminded me of my grandmother, the one who was a shut-in. She lived well into her 90s, and I became her caregiver in her final years. She told me on numerous occasions that she didn’t understand why she was living so long. She said that she was tired and ready to go. I was young and immortal. I argued with her and tried to convince her that she was important to all of us. I wasn’t ready to let her go.
I heard it again when I visited my 96-year-old uncle. He too questioned why he was still around.
Now I’ve finally reached the age where I, too, ponder death. I’m lucky to have had family members who bravely accepted this next chapter in their lives. I’ve lost all my grandparents and parents. None of them ever seemed to have any fear of dying, but it is still a little frightening to go where you have never been before. My elderly friend, my uncle, and my grandmother were ready, but I guess I’m not…yet.
Who in your family taught you about dying with grace? Do you fear dying? Do you think it comes easier with age?