Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What are we remembering?

I haven't really completely understood why many people make great effort to be proud Americans only a couple of days a year.
Memorial Day. This date was created to honor our fallen heroes that defended our country. I have toured a national cemetery and a couple of local ones around this date. The rows of white head stones just make my heart stop. Many people have given their lives so that I may even have the right to post this blog. It's more than that but that is just a small (very minute) right.
July 4 - Independence Day. There are parades and community activities. It usually ends with fireworks. Great family time but many are only concerned about cookouts and evening activities. A great way to celebrate the birth of our country.
September 11 - That day the Twin Towers were attacked. There are some memorial services and lots of postings on the internet. These people gave their lives and didn't even know that they were asked. Civilians were on the planes and in the buildings that were attacked. Firefighters and policemen ran in to save who they could. Yes, they are truly unsung heroes - all of them.
Veterans Day - Originally was the day that WWI ended and was eventually recognized at Armistice Day to signify that. Eventually Congress recognized it to that all Veterans could be recognized.
We have all of these days set aside to remember who gave their lives to protect our county. Actually, Veterans Day celebrates the living too.
I was raised by parents that were involved during WWII. They grew up during the Great Depression. My father fought during WWII in the Navy. He was in the Pacific theater. Together, my parents raised five kids on the basic American principles. Do your best and give what you can.
Too many times we lose sight of what we need to do. We get involved with work and the daily hassle. We become obsessed with what everyone else has and what we don't. We forgot that the best things in life are earned - not given.
We are looking at a Presidential election that will be monumental. Both sides think they are right. That's an American right. We vote for who we think is the best person for that job - that is an American privilege. We demand that the country owes us what we didn't earn - that is an American entitlement.
I challenge everyone to look into their hearts and think of something that President Kennedy asked of us "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." This is one of the few bipartisan statements that still rings true today. Let's quit remembering and start doing what was started doing back in 1776. Let's make this country strong by being strong. Put your hand that is stuck asking for "entitlements" back in your pocket and let's get to work. And for crying out loud, shut up and be respectful when the Flag of your Country is being presented - anywhere.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Real Reason for Scouting

Recently, the Indianapolis Star published an editorial about Boy Scouts losing membership. The author did their best to present the positives of Boy Scouting and why every young man needed to take the trail to Eagle. Many points were made but I am not sure that valid points have been made to convince today's society of the need for Scouting.
When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2002, I needed to find a way to keep my life normal. My world was completely rocked and I had 3 small children at home. A friend suggested that I walk away from my Cadette troop that I was leading at the time so I could rest. I quickly realized that those girls gave me the strength and the courage to continue my fight. I still dearly love those girls.
Later life handed me a diagnosis of CML - Chronic Myloid Leukemia. Again, my daughters' troops filled that need to continue. Their constant hugs and encouragement was all that I needed to again get my life back to normal.
This past year, my family moved from Indiana to Alabama. My kids and I moved with some uneasiness on what to expect. I started another troop and yet again, those girls pulled me along with them and made my transition a positive. My girls flourished with their new friendships.
Three times in my life, my Girl Scout troop gave me the support when I needed it. I also need to include my Boy Scout troop. Many times I have received texts from my friends in the troop that gave me that little kick that I needed.
I have met several military families here in Alabama. They taught me something very interesting. Many of them are involved in Scouting because it is a constant that they can provide for their kids. Where ever they go in the world, Scouting is always there for their kids. Military families are also very involved as a family with most of their activities - including Scouting. Perhaps that may be the secret that Scouting needs to sell to our population - the family nucleus
The family nucleus as a whole has been damaged over the years. We work later at our jobs and make up for the lack of being their for our kids by putting them in all the activities we can stand. We work hard to pay for the stuff that we buy to make up for not being there. Doesn't make much sense to me.
I often find myself watching old family programs when I want to veg for a while in front of the television. I think I long for the more simple times of days gone by. No cell phones, tablets, IPods, various lessons and business trips. Mom and Dad work and then spend time with the family. Again, there is that concept.
Scouting is family time. Ask any kid that is involved in Scouting if they would like to share their experiences with their parents - they would answer yes. Cub Scouts uses this concept to the fullest. Tiger Cubs must have a parent partner for their meetings. Basically they are there to referee but they are there.
When ever I speak with parents about Scouting, I always reinforce the idea that they are missing something fantastic when they drop and run. Scouting is an avenue that allows kids to explore new things and do that with friends and possibly a parent.
I think we need to stop and take back our families. I think we need to encourage our kids to continue to grow as they become young adults. BSA and GSUSA are two organizations that provide that. I wouldn't be who I am if it weren't for Scouting then and now. By the way, my Mom is still very involved too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Hair Critters

I have often been asked to share some how-to posts in my blog. I haven't had really anything worthy to share until now. I am battling lice on my 2 daughters and me.
While combing out my hair after my shower, I found the one thing no mother wants to see - a louse. Panic consumed me for 30 seconds then I got ticked off. I was not letting something so small to rule my household. Low and behold my youngest was crawling with them too. Apparently, she was the hostess with the mostest with lice - brought to us by her school. She announced that she had shared her hairbrush with her sister - so guess who else was infested. I quickly called my dear husband and announced that we uninvited guests and his presence was requested to help evict. Oh by the way, bring me some RID shampoo.
The school nurse checked my other daughter and found nits but no bugs. Therefore, she was allowed to stay at school. Yeah - I think. However, we just produce a receipt showing we bought an over the counter product and have her hair checked before she could return tomorrow. Got it!
I jumped online and found many methods of removing and killing lice. Tried many of them and found some that actually worked - RID was not really one of them. But I had to have a receipt.
All three of us used the RID product just to get the party started. I think it removed pretty good but then I followed up with a kit that friend of mine brought over. She found it online and it was all natural. Got my attention but not the price. It was way over the top. I guess companies think we will pay anything when we are desperate enough. They apparently never met me.
My girls used lice unglue lotion then some sort of oil with peppermint. Seemed to work. They crashed in our spare bedroom since their bedding was still in line for the washer. Besides, one less bed to wash if we still have a battle going on. I tried to vinegar treatment. Soak my hair then wear a shower cap for 2 hours. I felt like a pickle. Then I followed with Palmolive dish soap. Seemed to work.
I checked the girls and took them to school. The older one passed and went on to class. The younger one still had a critter running wild. Home we go. This time we stop at CVS and pick up tea-tree oil and coconut shampoo and conditioner. The younger tries the expensive method again and I use the new stuff. It's all the same but my bottle was $3 - not $200 for the kit. We both sit with oil in our hair and shampoo with coconut shampoo - with 10 drops of tea-tree oil in it. Finally we comb out with coconut conditioner. Still trying to figure if it worked.
My beds have never been so cleaned. My washer and dryer both use steam and apparently they are easy to use. I will keep everyone up to date about our battle of the bugs. I hope this ends quickly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Impact of Scouting

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to help the Boy Scouts celebrate their 100 year anniversary. I often reflected on the positive impact that they served for boys around our country. Integrity is the word that comes to mind when I think about BSA. These young men are being shaped into great future leaders and fathers. I am a mother to an Eagle Scout and I am very proud of his accomplishments. I believe that Boy Scouts has given him tools to take on the world with vigor. This is a lot to be said since he has autism. He feels included and supported in the Scouting organization. That's not a common thread with all of the boys in our country that may not be served by BSA.
Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year. In fact, today is the 100 year birthday of starting of the first troop by Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts. This organization has been able to provide young girls with courage, character and confidence. Traits of a great leader. I am a Gold Award Scout - equal to the Eagle Scout. I know that some hard core Boy Scouts scoff at that - but I have been involved with both sides therefore, I know of what I speak.
Girl Scouts has a large variety of girls that it must serve. When the nay sayers step up and speak their rhetoric, it almost points out this very large group. Some girls are frilly, don't camp, don't like to be rugged but are very good leaders and active in their community. Some are rough and tough and can't wait to dig into the out of doors to celebrate their ruggedness. Some are quiet, some are outgoing. This includes the leaders that lead the troops. It is a fact that Girl Scouts probably don't camp as much as boys. However, I believe that is is easier for a dad to step away from the household for the weekend than is it for mom. Moms usually have to still manage the other kids in the house. Quite frankly, some dads wouldn't even dream of helping with the "women's work". Some of my leader friends cling to the thought of a hotel room while I can't wait to rough it a bit. The hard edges and the soft edges of girls all must be represented in one organization. As a troop leader, I must encourage all of these categories of girls. It's not easy.
When all is boiled down, the one big thing remains. Scouting is here to serve our young people and our adults in our country. Sometimes, these two organizations are the only way a kid feels included or someone even cares. The hugs I receive from kids are priceless. They really make me feel good when they are so excited to be around me. It works both ways.
Instead of tearing down either organization, BSA or GSUSA, let's support two groups that have stood the test of time. Many marriages don't last to 50 years and many organizations don't last to 100 years. Both groups are ever evolving, along with the youth of their groups. Leadership and confidence are what we need for our future. I tip my hat to two of these organizations that do that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We need to serve all kids

Not sure why the politicians and the media find it necessary to go after organizations like they do. It seems when positive things are happening, mud is slung on that group. Keep it in the political race - our kids don't deserve it.
Recently, 2 organizations that I support have been attacked. I don't care to talk about the specifics because they have been accused and talked to death. However, both organizations are there to help young people grow into great leaders. I know that there are other great groups out there that provide that same avenue - great. We need them ALL to help our kids.
Has anyone ever observed a group of kids - especially girls. They are all different and therefore, have different needs. The great thing about this country is that all of these kids can find someone to support them and help them develop into great leaders of tomorrow. These kids need to find their niche and settle in with the group that they support. Adults don't need to tear the other down.
Accusations have been thrown that says some groups are too liberal while others are too conservative. If anyone does their research, our Founding Fathers built this into our society to make the country a balanced place. They keep each in check. It's a civil right. That's is why we have elections and why people gain or lose their seat in politics. The Check and Balance system has a farther reach than just making laws. We are all represented.
This mud slinging and accusations are what keeps  the world going. It is not always pleasant but it does make us all do a gut check. However, let's use truth and understanding to make our decisions. That is what we want our kids to do so let's show it ourselves.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thanks CBS

The CBS network has finally done for Autism what the parents of children with Autism have been trying to do. They have finally put a face on Autism and shown it's not a freak thing. It's not a disability. It is how a person is wired. Sheldon Cooper is my hero and the actor, Jim Parsons, deserves all awards for his portrayal of this character. The creators of this show emphatically deny any similarities of this character but many of us believe  - he has Autism. Lack of social skills, rule maker but not breaker, highly intelligent. The list goes on. He doesn't get sarcasm, focuses on himself, not sure how to show emotion. Many of those traits are common in our loved ones with Autism. That show reinforces my belief that my battle is true.
The past week's battle with my local school system proven to me yet again that I am needed to stand up for people. Lack up understanding and real education seem to be the problem. I have met so many educators that spout to me their credentials with Autism. Living with it 24/7 and learning everyday to help your child is the real education. What a professor tells me and what reality is are far apart in thought process. Each and every child with Special Needs is different. Their personality is what makes them tick and their "disability" is part of the steering mechanism. I don't even like the word "disability". If you are not under the name "normal" then you have a disability. Being different, wired different, looking at the world different means that you are just that - different.
However, after praising CBS for their great demonstration of Autism, I must also thank them for the rest of the guys. The other three guys are prime examples of what society refers to as geeks or nerds. These guys are a great example of another group of people who are misunderstood. These are the kids made fun of at school until they are needed to fix computers or come up with the answers for the class. They are not the athletes, the prom queens or anything else that kids put in the popular category. I am not showing any disrespect for these kids. Those are some of the basic titles used by our kids.
Hopefully with this program and possibly other programs like it, we can teach our kids and ourselves that the world is full of different people. It takes all of them to make the world work. In my household, geek and nerd are a compliment right along with beautiful and athletic. We need to teach our kids to be proud of who they are and not tear down those that are different. It takes a village to be a village.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Mess with Momma

My son was physically attacked at school the other day. Some girl, that he doesn't know, started flapping her mouth at him then they ended up in an "altercation". Basically, she came at him and he swatted her hands back. Therefore, it was a fight. The interesting thing is  - he was sitting in class minding his own business doing his Bell work for math. She didn't even belong in the classroom.
Now he sits in Alternative School which can only be described as Juvenile Detention run by the school system. Needless to say, with his autism, he is very frightened and really doesn't know why he is there. I can't even explain it to him. I don't know why.
I am argued with the vice principal, counselor and a few other administration members. Hopefully, I will be able to talk with the superintendent to get to the bottom of this. The girl made up a story about my son attacking her. I am not allowed to find our her version due to privacy laws. That is the goofiest thing I ever heard. My son got the story today at his new temporary school while the students all explained why they were there.
I firmly believe my son's story and I negate the girl's story. I am not normally a bleeding heart when it comes to my kids. If you do the crime, you do the time. However, one thing that moms of kids of autism know, they don't lie.
I have physically worn myself out trying to fight this problem. Our school has a no tolerance policy when it comes to fights. I cannot say that I agree with it once you look at the pitfalls. According to what I have been told by staff, if you are on the receiving end of a punch, you are in a fight. Therefore, you are going to Alternative School. They had a boy in this school that stood and let a girl beat him up. He ended up at this school because he was in a fight. I don't get it.
The fallout from all of this has yet to completely happen. My son's anxiety level is through the roof. He spent the first half of the day frightened of breaking a rule. Your break a rule, you get another day. He only had half a day because school was canceled early due to impending storms.
He doesn't understand and neither do I. I firmly believe that kids with Special Needs have no rights in my school system. You are guilty without any recourse. I am wondering who will be paying for the therapist that we will probably have to hire to fix the fallout. I will continue my arguments with the school. I will be at least heard if not understood. We have decided to find a private school for my son to receive better training. When does this end?