Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An incomplete list of why kids today worry me.


So today I was walking behind some moms and their kids, though I have no idea how old these kids were. Let’s just say that they were old enough to walk on their own and young enough that they’re still being supervised by parents. As we’ve firmly established, I struggle knowing how old kids are until they’re about 25.  Anyway, as I was de-tangling my headphones, I started listening to the conversation between the mothers about all things parenting. Usually this is just like white noise to me because, well, I don’t have kids and so it’s pretty boring to listen to unless you do. And maybe even then? Not sure, just guessing.   

Anyway, one of the moms was talking about the organic milk she just found at some store in the city. The other mom then talked about some article she read about the various types of organic food you should be feeding your children and how she won’t shop at the grocery store anymore because she can’t imagine putting that stuff into her kids.

Question: if you don’t go to the grocery store, where do you get your food? The organic farm on your fire escape? I was intrigued. Also, if by “that stuff” she means Oreos, then I consider that child abuse and those kids should immediately be removed from her house and sent to mine until they start to crash from the sugar I give them, at which time I will then promptly send them back.

Meanwhile, their kids may as well have been wrapped in bubble wrap. (sidebar: if/when I have kids, they for SURE will be wrapped in bubble wrap, but that’s merely because they will be the spawn of me and, to be fair, I really should have bubble wrap on at all times to protect myself and others. ) Anyway, the one boy who looked between the ages of 5-15 was wearing a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and a vest. The vest had some sort of reflector on it. It was daytime.

The other kid, roughly the same age-range, was wearing all the same stuff except the reflector vest, but wasn’t riding a bike. Or walking along side one. I’m guessing they were sharing? No idea. But boy was he prepared for any kind of trip or fall!

And that got me to thinking: kids today, fresh with the challenges of youth and all things digital, are maybe missing out. Why? Because they totally don’t know what’s coming to ‘em. And what better way to parent than to completely terrify your kids about the realities of the cold, cruel world and let them fall off their bikes and scrape their elbows once in a while?

I should totally write a parenting blog.

So, since I have a really exciting commute, I compiled a list of a few things from my childhood that my niece and all future Becky Kids won’t have the pleasure of experiencing.

Let’s proceed:

Not winning all the time.

When I was a kid, I lost at a lot of things, especially anything math related. And it was all good. Know why? Because when I actually won something or excelled at something, it felt great. But nowadays it seems that everyone wins a trophy! Uh, not to brag or anything, but I totally won a trophy in the form of a piano glass when I was in elementary school because I had the best costume during our piano recital. I was Holly Hobby - obviously -  and that glass is still somewhere at my parent’s house and I still remember how awesome that felt because that outfit was killer.

Be jealous. 
But I digress. The problem, in my opinion, with everyone winning a trophy is that, while I think healthy self-esteem and encouraging kids to find their true selves or whatever is really important, I think it’s also really important to know that when you walk into work on your first day, fresh out of college, you don’t get a raise for knowing how to turn on your computer. Unless my job would like to start rewarding me for doing such a thing, in which case I take back #1 and parents today are totally doing it right.

Falling down and feeling it.

Maybe this is mean and perhaps the reason why the universe has kept kids away from me up until this point, but I think maybe it’s ok sometimes to fall off your bike. Ok, I’ll give you the helmet thing; closed head injuries are bad all around, and boy should I know. But c’mon, it’s called a calculated risk, people! It’s a bike, it’s not motorized, your kid needs to learn some balance already and nothing teaches a kid balance like a few scrapes and bruises.

Future Mother of the Year? Obviously.

And if you’re really intent on getting some sort of lesson out of bike riding that they can take with them that they won’t use against you when they’re in therapy later in life, you can make up some Oprah-esque thing about how riding a bike is like a metaphor for life, and throw in something about balance and learning how to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. OR you could just tell them that sometimes you fall off bikes and sometimes it hurts and that’s what Band-aids are for. Whichever approach works best for you. 

The art of the written word.

Alright, so I’m about to blow some minds up in here, but do you know that kids today (yep, that just came out of my mouth) don’t learn how to write in cursive!!!?? What?? How is that possible???? It boggles the mind. But I think what might be even more disturbing is that they aren’t learning how to communicate like human adults. Or really humans, period. And I’m worried for their future! Because if they don’t know how to even send a proper email, complete with proper punctuation and words spelled out in their entirety, I shudder to think about future work transactions and our ability to survive as a nation.

Also, I realize that I am officially a 344 years old AND an alarmist. But I own those titles proudly, so let’s move on. 

Patience.

I will admit that I struggle with this and I grew up in the 80s, long before bike helmets and organic Oreos, so perhaps we could all learn from this one. But remember the days when you had to wait for a show to be on at, like, the time it just came on the tv? No Tivo, no On Demand. If you missed the Cosby Show you had to put up with everyone else talking about it the next day who didn’t forget that yesterday was Thursday.

If you wanted to listen to music and remembered that one of your favorite songs was track 5, you had to fast forward, rewind, or flip over the tape to do so. And you listened to entire albums, usually out of sheer laziness, but hey, it worked for us. Also, it’s the reason I can still recite every single lyric to every single song from the “Merry Merry Christmas” album by the New Kids on the Block. But whatever.

“We owe you one, tape players!” 

Oh! And you had to look stuff up in a book! I know, right? Again, I struggle with this one, too, since we all know my love for all things Google. But kids today (there it is again!) don’t even know what the Dewey Decimal System is! For shame. And I won’t even get into the days when we all had to wait a week for our film to get developed and ended up with 22 doubles of my mom’s left index finger and a picture of our family cat running in front of the one shot that came out not blurry.

And there you have it. An incomplete list of things that worry me about “kids today,” complete with non-anachronistic examples! Win/win. Also, highly important to all parents, I’m sure, and something that will likely turn the tables of parenting as we know it. Obviously. So if you have anything to add to the list, let me know!

Happy Hump Day! 

82 comments:

  1. RE:
    Falling down and feeling it.


    I'm a parent. I feel much the same way. I think falling off my bike taught me two VERY important things:

    1. Pain is an excellent motivator. I had the whole "balancing without training wheels" down in less than an hour - after only 2 falls!

    2. A thick, lush lawn that slopes down toward the sidewalk is the best place to fall if you must. The grass cushions and the slope makes the fall shorter.

    There are other reasons - knowing that a fall will be painful makes you pay more attention to what you are doing and may encourage you to engage in less risky behavior. We knew falling down hurt, so when we built a ramp, we actually 'built' it - we didn't just lean a board against something else. You also pay attention to what's around you - cars in the road, where the neighbors parked, the hole in the second square of sidewalk from the corner.

    I'm not a "let it all hang out" type of person, but I do see the wisdom in the Free Range Kids lifestyle. Children need risks to make the rewards worth it. They need competition to make victory sweet. They don't need us to smother them 24/7/365.

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    1. Yes!! Thank you for getting it! And I have a lot of friends who have kids and totally aren't crazy helicopter parents, so between you and them, it gives me hope for the future. :-) Thanks for reading!

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  2. Can I just tell you that I am a new blogstalker (to you) and that I (of course) think that you are HIL-ARE-EE-OUS?
    I am a parent & I started almost immediately nodding my head in agreement while reading this post.
    Thanks for the new source of giggles!

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  3. Welcome!!!! And thank you! I'm going out on a limb that you, like I, am a "blogstalker" of Lauren's, which just makes me like you even more!
    Thanks for reading and I'm glad others can relate - good to know that I'm not the only one!

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    1. Yes ma'm, I am! I found you through Lauren, after finding her through The Bloggess. Love it, love, LOVE IT!

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  4. This is the one that drives me crazy (and I have two kids who are now 15 and 12 but this was a few years ago) but all of the parents sitting around our local park (that is in our neighborhood, you could barely call it public) and complaining that kids don't just go out and play with each other all day anymore (like when we were kids). I then asked them if they would let their child meet my child at the park and they say "no, he can't do that without supervision". sooooo, you complain they don't do it, but you are the one stopping him from doing it? Makes total sense. Not.

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    1. Haha that's a good one! Not having kids myself I can't even imagine some of the conversations between moms that must drive some moms crazy! Like I said above, I'm lucky enough to have lots of friends with kids who are totally normal - but boy, this city is also filled with a bunch who aren't!
      Thanks for reading!

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  5. Becky, you can guest on my mom blog ANY TIME! I wish you were closer, because you could "research" with Simon...I think you'd like him. You two seem to share a similar world view. :)

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    1. Haha deal!! I often get compared to a child so it only makes sense! I'd love to meet him AND see you guys next time I'm in town!! Thanks for reading! (love your blog too!)

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  6. Even as a not-a-parent you sure are spot on! I have a child and I lament for the kids of today, but I also have to admit that sometimes it's a struggle to fight the new way of parenting because I'm surrounded by "those" parents who don't let their kids out of their sight, so then I get nervous about letting my kid do something because she'd be alone, and we all know there's strength in numbers! Ugh, it's a frustrating vicious cycle. But great post! I wish more parents thought the way you do!

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  7. Sounds like I parent the way you would. Good thing? I don't know, but she's going to be fully aware of the reality that is the fact that the world doesn't care about us, but mom does! And the reality of awesome Band Aids.

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    1. I love it!! You must be the perfect mom! ;-)

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  8. Ok, late to the conversations, but I've been SUPER busy at work so I'm just catching up. Seriously here is another one: Graduations
    Who decided it was a great idea to graduate from Pre-School, Elementary, Middle and High School. Ummm I'm thinking No. If/When I have kids they will be experiencing all the things on your list here and will only be graduating from High School and College. Just saying.

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    1. Yes!!! I totally missed that but you're absolutely right. Graduating from EVERYTHING! Haha and I'm glad to hear that your kids will only be graduating from high school and college. That's refreshing! :-)

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    2. That whole graduating at almost every grade idea is ridiculous. You graduate High School and College. That's all.

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  9. I just discovered your blog today from a link on Lauren's Filing-jointly blog. After seeing the picture you posted of the NKOTB Christmas album (which I still own) you are my new favorite person and will be added to my daily "must read" list :)

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  10. Oh I'm flattered!! So glad you liked it and I'll try to keep you entertained and on the "favorites" list!

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  11. On a serious note, your concern about books is actually related to a ~real~ concern in education. It's not that they don't know how to look up the captial of Asyria or the average air speed velocity of an unladen swallow. It's that they don't have any tools to evaluate the sources they DO find when they hit up Google for a quick answer.

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  12. I just found your blog the other day and have been enjoying reading through it and I, like Lydia, was quite impressed with the NKOTB Christmas album reference. I found it last year at Christmastime and still knew every. single. word.
    Your whole list was hilarious!

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    1. Oh thanks!! I know, right? Every. Single. WORD! I can't remember my keys in the morning, but I can remember the lyrics to "Funky Funky Christmas." Normal.
      Thanks for reading, so glad you found me!

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  13. Hi there-

    I recently (within the last week) discovered your blog and am so happy to have found you! You are extremely funny and, as a fellow Michigander (and Spartan), I feel like we are meant to be friends (in a totally non-stalker, blog reading way, of course)! Thanks.

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    1. Oh thank you!!! I'm so glad you discovered the blog, too! And that's really nice of you, I'm glad it's entertaining. WOO HOO!! A fellow Michigander AND Spartan?? Definitely a blogging friendship made in heaven!!! That game last week was a tough one. :-( But...go Tigers!

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  14. There are many of us who still parent the "old-fashioned" way, letting the kids run a little wild outside (go feral), pet strange dogs, and when they fall down we judge the course of action by how much blood we see - mostly it's a "go wash it and slap a band-aid on it, you're not dead". Unfortunately those aren't the parents anyone wants to hear from nowadays. :)

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    1. I want to hear from you!! And I'm glad that I did. :-)

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  15. I totally agree on the writing!! I see so many kids these days that don't know how to puncuate, or use grammar! They think that LOL is an actual word and *u* is an acceptable form of *you* in almost EVERY situation.

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    1. Hahaha it's so true! As you notice, I still use the antiquated "hahaha" and REFUSE to say lol. I'm just not that hip.

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  16. As a mom and a teacher and an adult human, I'm both super concerned and laughing out loud... enter indecision paralysis now...

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    1. I think my favorite part of your sentence was "and an adult human". :-) Well, I'm glad I could at least make you laugh! And don't worry, that feeling of indecision paralysis is something you get used to when you're around me long enough.....you're welcome. :-)

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  17. I'm a parent and I mostly just stare at my toddler all confused and "WTF?" like :) Happy SITS Day!

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    1. Whew! That makes me feel better, thanks! :-) And thanks for stopping by!

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  18. You are so hilarious!!! You're also correct about many of the points you've made her. I am a mom and can tell you that children, maybe even including my own, are overindulged. That alone is a reason to be very afraid. I love this blog - from the content to the layout. You may have a new subbie on your hands. Happy SITS Day and keep you undie's ABOVE your thighs...lol. Andrea @ be-quoted.com

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    1. Thank you!!! I'm so glad that you're liking the blog, and thanks for stopping by from SITS! I'm going to check yours out, too, and am so glad that you might come on by here again! :-)

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  19. Thanks for the younger generation perspective that things aren't quite the way they could be. Bubble wrap is a great thing to use. It better be recyclable and made from organic corn that isn't high fructose. Enjoy your SITS Day. You obviously enjoy writing and it is fun to read, too.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I do enjoy writing and I enjoy it even more when people have fun reading it - thank you!

      Hahahaha recyclable, organic bubble wrap. Best.

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  20. I completely agree with you! My kids are definitely not bubble wrapped! And the "everyone is a winner" is not teaching them the life lessons that they need for later in life. The reality is life is not always fair and they need to know how to deal with disappointments as well as successes!

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    1. Right?? I couldn't agree with you more!

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  21. I'm glad to hear your underpants are too large! Mine are too and I like it that way....I like the way you think!

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    1. Haha right? Such a good problem to have. :-)

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  22. They have organic Oreos!?! What's the point of that? Anyway, my son likes to run around on the seats of the pews at church after Mass on Sundays. I once had someone tell me he should stop "because he might fall." I said, "Good. Then maybe he'll stop doing it." They gave me a really dirty look. A few weeks later he fell, got hurt, (survived to tell the tale!) and has since stopped running on the pews at church. I win!

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    1. Yes!! That's exactly what I would've done (you know, with my imaginary kids). And see? He survived AND he stopped! Win/win.

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  23. I'm a mom blogger, and I love this post!! I remember not getting trophies, and I am still alive to talk about it. Cool blog!

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    1. Thank you!!! I'm so glad that I have some support from the mom community!
      And thanks for visiting! Hope to see you again! :-)

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  24. My children do not remember their last falls, they just keep doing the same things that made them fall the last time.
    Great list, congratulations on your feature at SITS!
    Enjoy!

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    1. Haha that sounds about right. :-)

      Thanks for visiting!

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  25. Ha ha! The whole organic thing just kills me. It's such a money market. And have you noticed how these "guidelines" change on an almost daily basis? Just feed your kids a good amount of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and grains. And for God's sake give the kid an oreo!
    That said, my kids will probably be wearing hockey equipment when they learn to ride a bike. My son broke his arm at 8months old and it totally freaked me out. Not to mention, I don't handle blood very well.
    Great Post. Happy SITS!

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    1. Right? Total money market. And amen! Give the kid an Oreo (after he eats all of his fruits, veggies, and protein!)

      Oh, I'm sure my perspective will change at least a little once I'm actually a mom!

      Thanks so much for visiting! Hope to see you again!

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  26. Preach it sister!

    {{ stopping by from SITS }}

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  27. I am a mother of two, and I agree with everything you said! I think you are going to be a great Mother :) I would also like to add to your "not winning all the time" statement: "not being able to pass a grade level unless you can actually pass the grade!". Why are we allowing kids to get through a certain grade if they are not meeting the expectations of that grade, and keeping up with their peers!?!? Drives me bonkers!

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    1. Oh I'm so glad! I love hearing from actual moms who are backing me up. Thank you!!
      right?? Um, you need to be able to pass your grade level. That just makes common sense.

      Thanks so much!

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  28. {Melinda} You should totally become a parent. The world needs more future parents like you. Couldn't agree more with your assessments!

    Happy SITS Day!

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    1. Thanks, Melinda, that's so nice of you to say!

      Thanks for visiting! Hope you come again!

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  29. If they don't shop at the grocery store, where do they shop. LOL. There are legitimate concerns about the massive amount of processed food we ingest in this country but I still agree with all things in moderation. Yesterday, I let my daughter buy two boxes of totally processed sugar type cookies that she loves to take to a school thing next week. They make her happy once in a while so who cares. We both laughed when I said - shouldn't we wait so they are fresher? She said: Mom- there's so much preservatives in them, it doesn't matter. The fact that she knows that and can make a conscious decision, is all I can hope for.

    Hope you are having a great SITS day!

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    1. See, I'm TOTALLY on board with you there! I definitely agree with things in moderation. Sugary snacks once in while? No problem. If you're healthy overall and eating right 98% of the time, "cheating" or letting your kids enjoy something here and there is the way things should be! Plus, educating your kids on healthy choices is essential! I'm impressed!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  30. I have 5 kids and I agree with you completely!!! I only let them play video games occasionally, force them to go outside (without padding) and they have 'granny' cell phones not smart phones.

    Happy SITS day! I'm following you :)

    The 5th Level of Motherhood

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping! And, obviously, for agreeing with me. :-)

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  31. I love your page...It is hilarious!
    I have a toddler that sometimes I don't know what I'm doing or what he's doing...I had to subscribe to you.

    Happy SITS day!

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    1. Oh thank you so much!! Thanks for being a follower (and reader, of course).

      Happy weekend!

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  32. I have mom friends who are horrified that I allow my kids to play outside alone (gasp in the fenced in backyard!) and get dirty. This confuses me since I think it's a kid's job to be dirty 24/7 and if they are clean then I assume that they spend too much time in front of a tv.

    I worry that kids are super sheltered today and are missing out on so many of the experience we had as kids. Over from SITS!

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    1. I agree! And thanks for stopping by!

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  33. Okay...ANOTHER reason to love you! I have two kids...and I always say that anyone who doesn't have kids, doesn't and will NEVER UNDERSTAND. You defy my great and honorable wisdom!!! SO true everything you said. SO funny too!!! Kids these days are ridiculously damaged by the crazy parenting going on... Oh wait, did I just say "Kids these days" like you? Two peas I tell ya! (minus the two kids)

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    1. Haha I'm so glad you're a new reader!!

      And you totally just said "kids these days." :-)

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  34. You have a very engaging style with writing and of course it was fun to read even though, it was true :)
    Hopping by from SITS :)

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  35. I have 4 kids, and I'm laughing at this! My kids seem to always learn the hard way. They're all hard-headed. They get it from someone else besides me, I think (or will pretend, anyways). Happy SITS day, late!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!!! Haha I was one of the "learn the hard way" kids, too. :-)

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  36. My husband and I watch TV like once a week. I hope we'll influence our future kiddos! TV is poison! Every kid should have a pet cat but no TV! :)

    Happy SITS Day! :)

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  37. I can totally see how kids these days are going to only be able to talk in text talk before long

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  38. Oh my gosh. You are my white twin. I already have a real twin, who is black like me, but now I have found the white twin I was unaware that I was missing. And we should have a Funky Funky Christmas singalong. Sigh. Really good stuff. You are very funny.

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    1. YES! I've always wanted a twin!!

      Um, totally going to listen to Funky Funky Christmas now. Love it.

      thanks for reading!

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  39. All I can say is "yep". We have a 3 year old and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to raise him (in the environment we're in now of "on demand", "everybody is a winner", etc) so he isn't a self entitled, impatient lunatic. So far, so good lol... But those are always a parent's famous last words. I love this entry! =)

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    1. Haha, good luck with that! Somehow I think you'll succeed. :-)

      Thanks for reading!

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  40. I think today's parents, myself included, are bombarded by so much negativity (by choice) via social media we live in a paranoid state and drag out children along with us. I want my children to go out of the house and then I worry about where they are going. I convinced one of our daughters to download a tracking device to her phone when she left for college so I would know if she was safe over 400 miles away. Like I could actually get there before anything could happen to her. Our 20 year old who's also away at college, looked at me and laughed. She downloaded the app but she never turned on the tracker. She only responds to the text.

    I need help. Thanks for getting me to laugh at myself and lighten up.

    Blessings~
    Alethea

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  41. I am SO with you on this one that it's not even funny. I just wish like hell that kids today had more of what we had, but not so. Because like you said, everyone wins a trophy these days (and that within itself I think is "poor sportsmanship" and a lot of what's wrong these days). I must admit, I'm not a mom - well, except to my Chihuahua-due, Pete - but I see what you see, the way that you see it. And that being said... I feel sorry for kids today. They're eating GMO food, thinking everyone wins SOMETHING, and screwed for days on end because those who should be paying attention, to help them get things right, are like sheep following on another into the slaughter house.

    All I know to do is pray... and co-sign your post. I love your blog to pieces! Your insight is profoundly amazing. Keep on keeping on!

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    1. Oh thank you so much, I'm really glad you enjoy the blog!! :-)

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