Preaching Against Prejudice

What are we teaching our children? Stop and think about this right now. What kind of little jokes have been told in the presence of your littles in the past week that, at their core, are prejudice? How many political speeches (can you say Donald Trump?) have had an underlying prejudice theme? How many television shows, websites, or comics have made some throw-off racist remark just to make people laugh? In the last week. In The Last Day.

There is nothing more abhorrent than prejudice. I have called it the Worst Human Flaw Ever, and I always will. It is the opposite of love. When you laugh at, belittle, or hate someone because they are different from you, you are killing love. Dead. Why would anyone want to do that?

I thought I was tired yesterday. Then I finally gave in and went to the store to get dish soap. Turned on NPR in the car, because that is what I do. Heard the news about the church shooting in Charleston. Wept. And wept. And wept. Racially motivated mass murder… WTF? How is it possible that this is still happening in the world? People from 26 different countries read this blog. They are not all like me. They do not all have the same color skin, the same sexual orientation, the same beliefs.  They are not even the same size.  I welcome their differences. I want to learn all about the Whole World, not just my little corner. I am honestly flummoxed that this kind of thing still happens. When we have more opportunity today to learn about and understand each other than at any other time in history, we should be learning about and understanding each other. We may end up not liking each other, but at least it will be based on something real.

When we talk to our littles about the Charleston AME Church shooting, it should not be our first conversation about racism.   It should be one in a long line of sermons against prejudice that we have given our children since birth.  Teaching our children tolerance should be one of the first and most important lessons we teach.  Let’s not get bogged down in the gun debate, that is the government’s job.  Let’s remember and teach against the true crime: hate.

“I’m here to shoot black people.”

Think about that.  Think about how horrific that sentence is.  Insert any other ethnicity.  And ask yourself why.  This monster was younger than Big.  He didn’t learn to hate ‘black people’ all by himself.  He is still a child.  He hasn’t had enough grown-up experience yet to make informed decisions.  His information still comes from his background.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming his parents.  I don’t know them.  In fact, I have read nothing about them.  I am merely trying to make the point that if we are not teaching tolerance in our home, refusing to give in to the pressure to find prejudice remarks funny, introducing our children to other cultures, and making sure they judge people on an individual basis, we are perpetuating the crime.

My beautiful husband wrapped his arms around me last night as I cried and admired my big heart.  There is nothing here to admire.  I simply don’t mind letting my Littles see how the tragedy of prejudice impacts me.  It tears me to my core.  The people who died in that church were husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers.  According to their peers, they were all kind and giving.  They did nothing to deserve Dylan Roof’s hate.  From what I understand, he didn’t know a single one of them.  Each victim was a human being, just like me.  Just like you.  Just like your children.

Please.  Look at your children today and remind them that the world is very small now.  That they will meet white people, black people, Asian people, Latinos, Europeans, Russians, Australians, Africans.  Straight people, gay people, transgenders.  Thin people, fat people, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Taoists, atheists, agnostics.  Tell your children that it’s okay to love all those people until unless they prove, individually, that they are unworthy of love.  Remind them that hate takes a lot of energy and that they shouldn’t waste that energy on people they’ve never met.  That even in countries where our soldiers are fighting for their lives, each of the humans involved is an individual who just wants to live.  They have the same hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, that we have.  They have the same right to life.

I read a quote last night from pop singer Solange Knowles (whom I happen to adore): “Where can we be black?”  In my house, Solange.  In your house, dear reader, too, I hope.

It has to start with us.  We have to teach our children how wrong prejudice is.  If we do that, we have a chance in this world.  As people.  To stop hate crimes.  To stop all the anger.  To let everyone live.

Let’s not let this turn into a gun control debate.  Because that much hate could have come out in any way.  Knives. Bombs.  House fires.  Stay focused, and teach your littles about hate control.  Because that is the bottom line.  We are a family of hunters. I spend many, many hours every November and December hunting meat to put on my family’s table. I am a full-on believer in our Second Amendment rights. I think it’s one of the things that keep our country strong. But we are only as strong as our weakest link. And our weakest link is prejudice. Hating each other. For no reason. Killing each other over our differences.

Our differences are what this country was built on. Differences populated this country. Differences make this country great. But we have to embrace them. We have to teach our littles to embrace them.  I implore you to talk to your children about it.  Every day.  Because change has to come, and it has to start with us.

Despite it all, I still believe, with all my heart and soul,

Love wins,

KT

Exhausted Mama

Dear Beautiful Blog Readers,

Some days I get tired.  Some days the overwhelming overwhelming-ness of being a mother (to both an adult and littles), a wife, a homemaker, an entrepreneur, a chauffeur, a supportive friend, a farmer, a homeschooler–a Woman of Many Title–is downright exhausting.  Sometimes there are so many things to be done in a single 15-minute period that I am literally flitting from one place to the next, one thought to the next, one Me to the next.  When I really want to do is close my eyes, have complete quiet, shut off my brain, and Just Be.

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For half an hour.  Just be.  Just be KT.

Who has time for that?  I decided to write to you about it, because I have a feeling I am not alone in this.  I see posts that give suggestions such as Make Time For Yourself, Don’t Overschedule, Get Up Earlier To Have Quiet Time (or Go To Bed Later).

Um, I can’t make time.  It is humanly impossible.  Goes against the laws of physics.  I don’t really even get to make my schedule.   These things need done. They are not going to go away if I don’t schedule them into my day.  They will still need done tomorrow, and chances are I’ll only be piling on more for tomorrow if I skip something today.   Also, I already get up between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning and can barely keep my eyes open till 10.  So…

My blog is meant to encourage other moms and dads who are on this journey.  But sometimes I don’t feel encouraging.  Sometimes you don’t want to be encouraged.  Sometimes, we just need to commiserate.  So here’s the thing.

I am having an exhausted week.  That’s honest.  Here’s a pic of my kitchen counter Right Now.  IMG_20150618_145652239_HDRThat’s honest.  I should be doing those dishes, but the truth is I ran out of dish soap this morning and I don’t have the energy (or the hour it would take) to go get more.  I haven’t worked on next year’s curriculum this week.  At All.  I haven’t been able to find the time.  My Littles are having so much fun with their summer science class that we are doing extra work every day, and even though it’s easier than any class we’ve ever done (since I didn’t have to write the class first), it is cutting into my chore, blogging, and business time.  I’ve barely spoken to my best friend this week.  I want to.  I just don’t have time.  I’m too tired to sleep.  I’m too tired to stay awake. You know that feeling, don’t you?

I don’t have any words of encouragement.  Let’s just commiserate.  We are parents and it is exhausting, and that is okay.  Tomorrow will be better.  It always is, isn’t it?  But for today… Let’s just own the exhaustion.  Let ourselves be overwhelmed.  There comes a time when we have to stop the denial.  For an hour, maybe.  Because denial (haha) is often what keeps us living this crazy, wonderful, beautiful life.  I’ll put on my big-girl boots in the morning, I swear.  But today, my friends, I Am Owning It.

I’m tired.  Are you?

Love wins,

KT

Gardening (or School-That-Is-Not-School)

IMG_20150604_112153023Part of the Littles’ school-that-is-not-school around the farm is helping out with the gardens–both flower and vegetable.  It provides good opportunities for science lessons in botany and entomology as well as training them to be self-sufficient for the zombie apocalypse.  (Kidding.  They’re convinced it’s coming, though, and I want them to grow up with all the knowledge I can give them for taking care of themselves.  So if I have to use the zombie apocalypse to keep them interested, well…Let’s just say I’m not above it.)

IMG_20150604_112426400The cool thing about yesterday’s work was that we were placing rocks.  Two sections of my flower garden are rock gardens, so we have been placing creek rock in them all spring.  The Littles help me collect the rocks then help me place them.  It’s a IMG_20150604_113119688great spatial activity because you have to figure out what rock will go where without backing yourself into a place where you can’t fit any more rocks.  It. Is. Hard.  Or at least it’s harder than you’d think it’d be.  So it’s nice when Middle spots a rock that will fit perfectly into my puzzle or Littlest points out that I’ve made a space where no rock will fit.  It is also very cool when Littlest says, “Oh!  Sandstone!  This is sandstone, Mom!” and Middle says, “Hey, Mom, look!  This one has a fossil!”  Gotta love those openings to teach.IMG_20150604_113102876-1

Gardening is one of my true joys in life.  I hope that the Littles are learning a bit of that love through working with me.  As they learn about the different plants–what each needs to thrive, how to care for them so they continue to bloom, what insects they attract, and even which ones to plant where–that free lesson is going to stick with them any time we actually study botany in the classroom.  And there’s no pressure.

Plus, gardening provides us the opportunity to just hang out together, talk about nothing and everything, and remember IMG_20150604_113127757we’re just a family, not always a teacher and students.  It’s almost as good as fishing.  Not quite, but close.  It gives me a chance to notice how much they’ve grown, how strong they are getting, and just how smart and funny my boys really are.  They floor me.  They truly do.

Middle tried to hide behind my Winnie-the-Pooh tree here so I couldn’t take his picture.  But I’m fast. You can’t see it, but the whole in the bottom of the stump contains a hunny jar with a Pooh Bear in it.  It’s pretty cute.  I got the idea from Family Crafts.  They suggested it for party favors, but I had this perfect tree stump with a hollow in the bottom, so I found a small Pooh Bear to fit in the top of the jar and placed him there.  He seems happy.

I moved the fairy garden this year to incorporate it into my bigger garden.  Here are a few pics even though we haven’t added the mulch in yet:

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Finally, the Littles are learning that hard work and dedication pay off.  It’s an important lesson for littles to learn.  Especially in this era when they are provided so many opportunities to just sit on their butts and stare at a screen.  I never garden without my boys, even though weeding causes grumbles.  Because when we’re done, we all get to enjoy this….

IMG_20150604_114017222 IMG_20150604_114206260 IMG_20150604_114842979 IMG_20150604_114217687

Payoff.

Love wins,

KT

Encouraging Thunder Award

I’ve been a little neglectful this week, and for that I truly apologize.  Part of it is because my posts for Monday and Tuesday took a Long Time to write (lots of links and different places for the mind to go), and part of it is because Real Life has been a bit hectic.

Encouraging Thunder

Even so when fellow writer and blogger Erich Michaels nominated me for the Encouraging Thunder Award, I felt about as blessed as a blogger can get.  Because I so enjoy having my own followers and offering them advice in posts, but learning about this particular award and being nominated for it made me feel like a true member of the blogosphere family.  Happy, happy, happy. So Erich, thank you for nominating me, for appreciating me, and for reminding me of the worth of taking the time to comment on the blogs of others.  And thank all of you others for the excellent advice and peek into your lives.  I am blessed to be part of it.  I hope I always will be.  Because I hope I’m always here to encourage you the way you encourage me.

And because they do encourage me, I’d like to nominate a few bloggers myself.  Those who are regular visitors, commenters, like-rs, sharers, and re-bloggers.  Those who make me smile almost every day with their wit and their encouragement and their kindness.

  1. 1. April at Stories of Our Boys www.storiesofourboys.com
  2. 2. Sasha at MomLife Now www.momlifenow.com
  3. 3. Cristina at The Homeschool Mom www.ahomeschoolmom.wordpress.com
  4. Sarah at A Whole Life Hike www.wholelifehike.com
  5. Michael at Alive to Grace www.alivetograce.com
  6. Anna Marie at Capers and Adventures that Began with Homeschooling www.homeschoolingcapers.com
  7. Amie at Kind Cotton www.kindcotton.com
  8. Ashley at Knit Jubilant www.knitjubilant.wordpress.com
  9. Dave at Bloke School www.blokeschool.wordpress.com
  10. Alma at Writing Mama www.almacampos.com
  11. Gabrielle at Seedling www.aplaceforlittlethoughtstogrow.worpress.com
  12. Audria at At the Well www.storyland4.wordpress.com
  13. Tara at Thrive Life www.thrivelife.com

There.  Thirteen seems like a nice, lucky number.  😉  Each of these nominees has cheered me on even when I was feeling lowest about my ability to do this thing.  Each has contributed to my life with their own words on their respective blogs.  Each deserves to be acknowledged for their kind encouragement and commitment to community.  If I left you off the list, it was not intentional, and I really do apologize.  I appreciate you.  All of you.  So come back whenever you can, and let’s encourage each other.  Because we can do this.

Thanks again, Erich.

Love wins,

KT

More

The Joy of Boys

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My amazing, hilarious, talented best friend is not only a kick-butt sales director for 31 Gifts, but also a crafty little bugger who turns out awesome signs like the two above.  When she sent me this pic, I fell completely in love.  Having raised only boys, I know just how super-heroic they can be.  (Don’t get me wrong, there was a time when I desperately wanted a girl.  As time has passed I’ve realized I am blessed to have been surrounded by all these boys. Plus, said friend has a girl who is gorgeous in every way, so I get to live vicariously.  Without worrying about the teenage years.)

What’s so superhero-like about my boys?

I talked all about Big last week, so if you don’t already know his superhero qualities, you can read about him here.

Middle is a keenly intelligent kid with a strong sense of compassion.  Though only 12, he has a way of looking at the world that is kind and respectful while maintaining an innate curiosity.  He’s the guy who would figure out how to save Everyone on the collapsing bridge rather than focusing on the people who might be considered ‘important.’  Money wouldn’t sway his moral compass, power wouldn’t touch it, fame wouldn’t faze it.  He is a natural leader who likes to think things through but is capable of making quick decisions that seldom turn out to be wrong.

Littlest is a joyful, fun-loving guy who loves deeply and lives loudly.  He’s the flashier guy who is flying around the bridge saving all the pretty girls first but making sure to leave time for the babies and other folks.  And maybe relying a little on his older brother to bring the whole plan to fruition, but he’s a heck of a team player.  He has a lot of leadership qualities as well, but they stay mostly dormant while he’s still under his brother’s shadow.  He doesn’t mind.  He really is that guy who shrugs it off, goes with the flow, and just makes sure the endgame is accomplished.  With a lot of fanfare.  And fireworks.  And maybe an explosion or two.  And definitely an Eminem song playing in the background.  Full blast.

Here’s the thing.  Though my little superheroes may have a bit of trouble with the whole ‘cleans his room’ thing, they do keep it in a semblance of order.  They all share without even having to think about it.  They use kind words.  Most of the time.  Because they Are brothers, after all.  Smiling and giggling is their strong suit.  You can’t survive in this house without a rollicking sense of humor.  They run, jump, and climb more than I’d like.  They put family before all else because that is the way they’ve been shown.  They dream.  Great big, wonderful, fantastic dreams that I encourage with all my soul, even if, as a grown-up, I think they might be impossible.  I never tell them.  What kind of Nick Fury would I be if I squashed their dreams?

Now, if only I could do something about all the bodily function jokes, I would be a happy mama.

IMG_20150528_105742107What makes a boy a superhero?  Knowing who he is and where he comes from.  What he loves and what he shouldn’t tolerate.  How to treat others and how to be strong.  And laughter.  Definitely shining eyes and shaking bellies and great, rolling belts of laughter.

Image result for mr. fantastic movie

What about you?  What makes your boys superheroes?  Better yet, what kind of superhero is your girl?

.Love wins,

KT

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