Recently, a friend lightheartedly told me about me the funny T-shirts her husband and his brothers received at a family event. “They said Dads Against Daughters Dating,” she giggled. All the men who received the shirts, including her husband, were fathers of teenage girls.
I couldn’t even fake amusement at this. I cringed on behalf of daughters everywhere. What kind of antiquated message were they hoping to send here? You can’t be trusted, so I’m putting up a wall between you and boys? Maybe, Boys can’t be trusted, so I’m denying them access to you? Or: Some boys can’t be trusted, but my daughter lacks the judgment to figure that o on her own? Alas, my friend just thought the message was cute.
(Excerpt from Adrienne Wichard=Edds’ article in The Washington Post.- read more.)
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
Once again we are wracking our brains trying to find an effective way to combat violence in our country, most recently in our schools. Fighting anything suggests that we are approaching the issue with violent means. We seem to forget that such approaches only add fuel to the fire.
If fighting violence is not the answer, what is? We can approach the problem in a number of ways. Most obvious is gun control. Self protection and hunting are legitimate reasons to have and use guns. Yet we do not need assault weapons for either purpose any more than we need explosive devices, armored rockets or atomic bombs in our personal possession. It is time for us to be reasonable in the degree to which we allow the use of guns in the hands of individuals. Laws about who can own what weapons and under what circumstances need to be considered in sane discussion by all of us including voters and elected representatives.
Gun rights activists are quick to point out that guns do not kill people by themselves. They are right. We also need to look at the reasons for violence. The main reason is anger boiling over in individuals who feel marginalized, beaten down and frustrated to the point that they see revenge as their only option. Responding to violence is a challenge for the rest of us.
We develop our attitudes in our family. If you are raised by angry or violent parents, chances are that you will become an angry and violent teen and adult. If everyone was raised to respect others regardless of differences, we would have a good head start toward a nonviolent society.
Another influence on our values and priorities is the example set by those leading and governing our country. An executive branch in complete disarray undermines our ability to have faith that the principles on which our country was founded will remain important. A federal government with legislators in the grip of partisan gridlock also fails to lead us anywhere positive. Both branches show us a pattern of anger rather than any sense of cooperation in our best interest. We can’t easily get either branch to change because we want them to, but we do have the option of electing individuals more responsive to our needs.
Other factors leading to anger and violence include poverty as a result of racism and discrimination, prejudice against individuals and groups, limiting their ability to benefit from the opportunities theoretically available to all of us. Discriminatory pay, unequal legal and criminal procedures, and the ability of the wealthy to buy privileges for their sole advantage also make their contribution. Again we have the option to elect people more responsive to the needs of everyone. It often seems that we have little power as individuals to change our society. Our votes are perhaps our most powerful tool. Our challenge is to learn to appreciate each other and work together to find leadership which respects all of us.
A writer and skateboarder, Homer youth Justice Sky spends his school year studying creative writing and his summers running his skateboard shop.
Majoring in creative writing at Southern Oregon University, he likes to write fiction and poetry.
“For me, writing is about the human experience and is the best way I’ve found to try to figure out how our world works on a very human level,” he said.
(Excerpt for Christina Whiting’s article in the Homer Tribune- read more)
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
When babies are born, they have no understanding of their world. They don’t know how to communicate their needs. They sense discomfort which could be from being cold, hot, wet or hungry. They cry as an automatic way to communicate their distress. It is up to their parents to guess what troubles them.
As some adults progress into more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, they also have difficulty expressing their needs. It becomes difficult for them to clearly understand their needs although they can still sense discomfort and show it in ways which might not be easy for caretakers to appreciate. Being a good caretaker for someone with this disease takes considerable sensitivity. It also calls for the flexibility to handle the unexpected from day to day with no predictable pattern of good and bad days.
Recently Carol and I visited a couple whom we have known for many years but do not see often due to the many miles between our homes. Our woman friend was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease several years ago. Each time we saw them, we could see the advance in the hold her disease has over her. A once vibrant and alert woman has become wheel-chair bound and has extreme difficulty participating in or even following a conversation.
Her husband accepted the role of chief caretaker for her and has remained in that role for the past few years. It has become necessary to have aides in the house so that he can tend to his own needs as well as their needs as a couple involving contact with the outside world.
On the way to see them recently, we speculated on what we would find. We were prepared to face her deteriorating condition. While not a surprise, we were both struck by his love and devotion to his spouse in her extreme condition. He showed no indication of feeling sorry for himself. He adapted and responded to her needs with obvious love.
We usually think of love as something mutually shared and appreciated by two people. Love feels best when both people can make an equal contribution to the relationship. Yet there are times such as this one when one lover has very little to give but gives what she has. Her husband is left with the primary responsibility for maintaining their relationship and accepts the challenge lovingly.
While many people in relationships do not face the extremes confronting our friends, I would venture to say that most have faced times when the relationship is unbalanced for various reasons such as illness. One of you might require more effort on the part of your lover or you might be the one from whom more is required. Love means accepting what you lover can give you and providing what your lover needs. Make the best of every day you have together. Be prepared to do what you can when needed.