Sunday, March 13, 2016

"Potty Mouth" Politics

These are photos of my two sons and my grandchildren.  As a family, we have worked at providing these children with a sense of security, an empathy towards others, the knowledge that their opinions count, and the basic premise that kindness matters in this world.  We have talked to them about bullying -- both teaching them that it is wrong to bully others and also how to handle a situation where they see bullying in their daily experiences.

That said, I am absolutely appalled at the current atmosphere of hateful speech, childish name-calling, and crude remarks by the politicians seeking the nomination for President of our country.  The worst offender, obviously, is Donald Trump.  He has been a bully since he first announced his candidacy.  Others have followed suit, even though they don't seem as comfortable doing so.  I believe they may just be lowering themselves to his level in the hopes of competing with him for primary votes. 

Our children are watching!!  My grandchildren are actually vehemently speaking out against Trump.  How bad must the situation be, when 5, 7, and 8-year olds seem to have more maturity than these men up on the podium??

We are not having debates -- we are having name-calling sessions, dissing each others' personal appearances, rather than discussing the terribly critical issues that face our country. There are serious problems in our country and in our world, and we should all be able to listen to these men and women as they carry on an adult conversation about these issues and propose solutions which are serious possibilities -- not just five-second sound bites.

I will not get into the politics of the situation, because I try to avoid politics on my blog.  My concern in writing about this primary season is twofold.  Most importantly, I believe we as citizens deserve better.  Before I vote for someone I want to know where he or she really stands on issues.  Secondly, as a grandmother, I would like all of our children to be able to listen to real substance and learn good citizenship from men and women who deserve our respect.  

We cannot, on one hand, preach to our children about bullying and non-violent methods of handling situations, and on the other hand condone them hearing nothing but the "potty mouth" ramblings of these people who could possibly be running our government next year.  Lord help us!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Will the Dahlias Bloom?

On a nearby street, there is a little brick house with a red picket fence in the front yard which surrounds the most beautiful little garden patch.  This garden was the showpiece of the neighborhood, tended by a gardener who put hours of work each year into her little patch of heaven.  There are gardeners like myself, who are haphazard in their planning, planting, and tending, and then there are gardeners like Linda who dream and plan and work every day on their knees in their gardens, and these gardens are the ones that thrive and show that they are loved.

I drove past Linda's house countless times through the years, and enjoyed the sight of her tending her lovely flowers.  Each season there were new flowers to savor, but my personal favorites were the tall, colorful dahlias that bloomed in late summer and early autumn.  I didn't know Linda very well; we had casual contact through the years as we raised our children and lived our lives within the same village.  One summer, as I thrilled at the beauty of her dahlias, I sent her a note telling her how much pleasure her garden brought me each time I drove past, year in and year out.  Towards the end of that season, Linda rang my doorbell and handed me a huge bouquet of her dahlias; what a special gift that was.  I will never forget the joy of receiving that gorgeous bouquet. 

Not too long ago, I heard the sad news that Linda was suffering from a progressive lung disease; that summer she kneeled in her garden, working along, her breathing aided by oxygen.  The next year, I saw a group of people helping prepare the garden for the season. Often, Linda's husband was at her side as she worked.  Slowly, it seemed as if the garden was shrinking. Though still beautiful, there was less abundance.  This past summer, I noticed her husband out weeding and tending without Linda, and fewer flowers were blooming.

Both Linda and her husband died this winter, within weeks of each other.  Too soon and too young!!  As I drive past the pretty little brick house now, it looks so lonely and the winter garden so abandoned.  And I wonder who will move into the house, and will they love the little garden as Linda did?  Will they spend time tending it lovingly? Or will they plow it all under and plant grass seed.  Will the dahlias bloom again this summer?  

In memory of Linda and Peter, who brought beauty into our lives through their lovely garden and their kindness and generous giving of themselves to their church and their community.