Friday, March 30, 2012

far too little love

Tonight we went to a drum line competition. If you've never been to one, you should go. It's sort of like watching interpretive dance, except the dancers are lugging around drums. And it's pretty cool that even the kids who don't look exactly right, or dress exactly right, or don't (in some cases) shower regularly can be included. Or so I thought.

After watching five or six other drum lines, some acting like marionettes, others wearing capes, a tiny little drum line took it's place for the final act. There were five of them, including at least one adult and one small child, each dressed as a character from the Wizard of Oz. The two teenagers were siblings, and judging from their similar bear-like body type, I'm pretty sure one of the adults was their mom.

As I watched them set up, my heart broke a little; they looked so small and forlorn. After looking up their tiny little town, and realizing they came from a reservation five hours away, my heart broke a little more.

And then they played. Quietly. Carefully. Stiffly. The arrangement wasn't hard. But it was obvious they had worked on this show. Probably just as hard as the rest of the bands, possibly even more.

But no one seemed to care.

I don't think more than a couple people cheered them on during the show, not even when the bear-like girl, in ruby-red slippers and a Dorothy dress, did a two measure solo on the snares. They had cheered for everyone else who soloed, but not for her. A few people laughed while they put on their show. Most people talked - really loud. So loud, you could hardly hear them play.

And that's when I wanted to cry.

What would it cost us to cheer that band on? To stand up and really cheer them on. What would it give them to hear a crowd roar, in response to their own great efforts? What could we give them to take back to their town, to encourage them all to carry on?

Unfortunately, we gave them nothing. They won no award. Their names were not called. No paper, or plaque went home with that band. Whatever they got, they got from themselves, and I am ashamed. Those kids didn't choose to be born where they are. They didn't choose to be awkwardly large. They have spirits and hearts and hopes just like ours, but so many more limitations.

By the time I got home, I was actually in tears. I'm in tears as I write this now. There is too much selfishness and greed in our hearts, and far too little love. I point my finger at no one alone, except for maybe myself. Because I know how often I put myself first; I know I could give so much more. I could. I can. I must. I must give more.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

winnie the pooh energies

The other day I noticed a link on facebook for a free "beauty profiling" course. Since I always need to be a little more beautiful, I decided to check it out. True to it's word, it is free, and it's fairly interesting. The lady teaching the course is an MRET, which, according to my Google search, either means she is some kind of molecular water activator, a "mandatory renewable energy target," or she is a Master Energy Therapist, with an additional special, but unspecified, skill beginning with an "R."

Whatever she is, her beauty profiling system is based on the concept of four energies: air, water, earth and fire. Her theory is that everyone has each of these elements inherent in them, but we all lead with one dominant energy. This energy expresses itself in our body language, facial features, speech patterns, personality and behavior. It affects our likes and dislikes and determines how we approach the world, as well as our relationships with others.

Her course really is interesting and I do hope it will make me more beautiful! But as I have soaked in everything she has to say, I think her energy profiling system is simpatico with the one Dave and I have been using for years, based on Winnie the Pooh. You can see here how well they mesh:

Air = Tigger: bubbly, light, full of life, likes to have loads of fun. (Abby, Dave)
Water = Pooh: relaxed, smooth, steady, flowing, wants everything and everyone at peace. (Dave, Max)
Earth = Kanga: solid, calm, wise, independently knows what to do and how to do it best. (Me)
Fire = Rabbit: pushy, bossy, gets in and gets things done, always working on something. (Abby, Max, Me)

Maybe our system isn't quite as advanced, and I can't say it will improve your beauty in any way, but try it; it's fun and doesn't involve any lengthy videos...unless you've never seen Winnie the Pooh.

Monday, March 5, 2012

a recess lady

I have a great job. I work with kids who need a little extra help reading, at a fantastic school, just a couple miles from my home. I work three hours a day, from nine to noon, which is a perfect shift for my current life.

Most days I have no complaints, except for a few about recess duty. It gets especially bad in the winter...

Last week we got hit with a big snow storm, leaving at least four inches of snow on the ground, which translates to snowbanks about 4 feet high on the playground.  I hate these snow banks.  They take forever to melt, and cause a myriad of problems: cold hands, wet pants, bloody noses, missing teeth, fights, and long recesses spent reminding the kids to "be careful" (yeah, right).   

I could elaborate here on how annoying it is that the snow removal people pile the snow up into these banks right on the edge of the blacktop so as to create a hard, gravelly landing pad at the end of a solid mound of ice, but they have obviously never had to spend an entire recess trying to keep hundreds of kids between the ages 6 and 12 "safe" while sliding down an ice-mound before, so it's probably a moot point. 

So I will skip ahead to how bothersome it is to watch kids wearing shorts and t-shirts sliding on the ice. I know sometimes it isn't worth a fight, but honestly, when the weather app says "27, feels like 12" it might be a good day for a coat, or at least pants.

Throwing snow is strictly prohibited on the playground, but the prohibition of snowballs reminds me a lot of The Prohibition of alcohol; it's only really off-limits when someone is watching. Also like alcohol, irresponsible use of snow tends to lead to a lot of problems. Several weeks ago, someone came and told me another kid had thrown snow at him. In an attempt to talk to the guilty party and remind him of the rule, he started screaming at me that he hates school and smacked me upside the head. Of course I felt this was somehow all my fault. 

My final woe is this: although it is super amazing and fun to build a giant snowball, or -man, or -fort, not all the recess ladies in the world can keep other kids from tearing it apart.  Even if I am asked by a hundred different kids who I really, really like, I cannot guarantee it will be there when you come back out. It's a sad truth in life: "If you build it, [they] will come [to knock that sucker down]."

So chin up, and carry on. Your life could always be worse. You could be a recess lady. ;)