One of the most common tactics non-profits have to draw attention to their cause is to declare a day, a week, a month. For example, October is well known to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You may even know that it’s also Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. According to this governmental website, the month represents 11 different causes including SIDS, Eye Injury Prevention, Down’s Syndrome, Physical Therapy, Medical Librarians, and more. And that doesn’t even count the more than a dozen other special weeks and days, such as Drive Safely Work Week, Walk to School Day, Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Food Day, Psoriasis Day and International Stuttering Awareness Day.
And let’s face it, (almost) all of these causes are important. There are any number of reasons why they should be recognized. But at some point, we may have to consider that we’re asking an awful lot of of October, especially considering we haven’t even gotten to Halloween yet.
And October has it easy compared to May, which has no fewer than 17 month descriptions (including National Mediterranean Diet Month, Ultraviolet Awareness Month and my personal favorite, National Toxic Encephalopathy and Chemical Injury Awareness Month), 10 weeks and 10 days devoted to a wide swath of other worthy causes.
But when I learned that this week is “Banned books week,” well, I could hardly wait to sound the bugles. As an avid reader, the prospect of books being actually banned breaks my heart, no matter how inappropriate the subject.
Some things get clearer the older you get. Some people discover (at 30-something) what they want to be when they grow up or that they don’t really want to have children or that a midlife crisis may not come in the form of a car. Some journeys of self-discovery can take decades, some take years, months or just days.
With the passings of Ray Bradbury and Sally Ride, and the successful launch of Curiosity, I’ve been thinking a lot about space exploration and the importance of science and the drive to learn more, to ask why, to discover. As the mother of a three-year-old, I want desperately to bottle her sense of wonder and to do everything I can to prevent it from disappearing.
On Facebook today, I was pointed to a great article in a local blog about a high school commencement speech from Friday, which was, in a word, fantastic. But before I get into why, let’s take a step back.
I frequently have conversations with friends where we lament the inability of “the younger generation” (shudder. I can’t believe I just said that.) to fend for themselves. The sense of entitlement seems currently to be out of all proportion with reality. Virtually an entire generation has been raised to be praised, petted and catered upon. We give awards for showing up, and tell our children that they are smart, when they’re merely being average; that all that matters is that you tried your best even though we know that the wider world cares about results than it does about effort.
Even with my own generation, I’ve often commented (before the recession) that my generation seems to think that we’re entitled to be fulfilled by our job. That we deserve to find a job that not only pays us well, but that fulfills us as people and our desire to do good in the world (two things, sadly, that are usually mutually exclusive).
There are some moments where you can see a flash of the person you hope your child is becoming. It’s hard to know during those moments how much of it is brainwashing (admittedly by me), desire to please you, their own personality or good upbringing (:-)). But they sure do make you feel good inside.
K’s teachers are constantly telling me that she speaks her mind (loudly). One of her teachers calls her “fresh.” Which is probably more accurate than my preferred word of “sassy” since it communicates her tendency to defy authority from time to time.
At any rate – judge for yourself yesterday’s scenario:
Seriously. My father used to tell me that the true test of someone’s ability to use chopsticks was being able to pick up peanuts with them. I wonder what he would think of my not quite three year old picking up Goldfish? See below for pictures. Continue reading
I’ll come right out and admit it. I’m not a big fan of change. I like what I like. I get comfortable. Maybe complacent. I’d like to call it “committed.” I’ll let you decide which definition of that term that you feel best suits me. Continue reading