A Fan in Barn Boots

I recently bought The book Montaigne in Barn Boots By Michael Perry.  I buy every book Mr. Perry puts out as well as his musical CDs.  Here is my review:

In Montaigne in Barn Boots, Mike Perry reflects on the writings of Montaigne as he compares it to his own personal philosophy. For me, I dipped my toes in Montaigne’s essays and they quickly went numb. However, Mr. Perry made those essays with his down-home folksy similes and metaphors easy to understand . I fear that comes off less than a compliment, but it is a compliment. Those comparisons were dead-on and unique.

Even Mr. Perry questions presenting another memoir from him. Do we want to hear more of Mike’s life and his beliefs? Do we want him to get more personal? This books gives a resounding yes. He writes about his own life to investigate what being human means. He is so effective that he can write a whole book discussing himself without over-indulging and getting over personal.

Yes, Mr. Perry, we want more.  We want to know about the man off-stage and those subjects you have not broached. And Mr, Perry we want you to get very personal without going to far and being respectful of our tender sensibilities.

That was his undertaking and he was successful. He does both. For example, he lets us know that his marriage is more than just love poems to her. He reveals that he does have a marriage like ours with its ups and downs while still being as reverential to his wife as our wives wish we would be.

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I Get To

Somewhere in my online travels I read about the power of I get to.  It is something you should say to reframe your mind when you are dreading something or are simply not happy to do it.

The example I thought of to drive this home is this:

As a teenager, I was busy (for the purposes of this story)  Going and seeing my grandparents was a drag and be boring. Now that they are both gone, I would do anything to spend time with them again.  If only I had thought I get to. I would realize that many people don’t get to spend time with the grandparents. But I get to. I am lucky,

I get to.

If you say it, your mind opens up and it gives you reasons why you should feel lucky.  Being volunteered to  facilitate a group on self-esteem, I had to use this phrase. I dreaded facillitating because, well, I didn’t think it would go well and I was nervous.  Then I remembered, I get to. With that phrase I began to think about how I have researched self esteem. I think it is important. I thought about how I want to help young people and that I think I can do a good job with it.  Then I could think how the young people I would be working with a pretty great and I would enjoy it.

So I thought about this and then I did go and enjoy it.

 

Not a Thinker

There are several signs that someone is not a thinker but just a follower of the line the Koch brothers and the tea party feed you.  One is to exaggerate by saying we will be owned by China.  A second is saying that Obama tried to make us a Socialist country. A third is saying that you want to make America great again.

You can disagree with Obama’s view point.  But you are not thinking when you think conspiracy.  We are not owned by China, we are not a socialist state, we are not a Muslim country. We are a great country.  We were great under Obama. We were also great under Bush. I can say that though I disagreed with how he did things. Because I just don’t listen to Fox news and what some fallible human says at the pulpit.

Perhaps, we should make a list.  Was Obama selling us out to China?  In so as far as all politicians do because that is was corporations want.  Who was navigating a difficult foreign policy (Obama) and who has consumer goods after consumer goods made in China instead of hiring Americans (Trump).  Who was screwing American workers by simply refusing to pay them (Trump again).

Did people respect us under Obama?  For the most part yes. And he did it while keeping us safe.  Do foreign countries respect Trump?  Nope.

People that spew out words like socialism and the like are not thinking.  They are mimicking. Perhaps we need less government control.  Perhaps say that and why.  People on the other side thinking differently. We think a rising tide raises all boats.

Obama took us out of a huge recession cause by Bush and corporate greed and Trump is the poster boy.  He was not  the opposite of a socialist.  He was not a capitalist pig.  Wrong on stuff in my opinion, I have to admit he was trying to do right.

To not be able to admit that Obama treated his wife well, was good to people and was gentle to children is a sign of two things:  you don’t critically think, or you are a racist (unless you are both).

 

http://billmoyers.com/story/chinese-debt-explained/

 

 

SnowFlake

You there. You seem angry. Not you snowflake liberal. You, that angry christian conservative. Everything is so dire and everyone is out to get you. You are mad at everyone.  Why?

I suspect it may come from religion. That belief that we are sinners. Okay. That’s true, why is that the baseline for how God and ourselves look at human. It is simple so pessimistic.

It does not have to be that way.  Many churches and religious leaders and community members have a powerful, positive message. One that I beleive in.  Each day is a gift so make the most of it and enjoy it. These churches focus on God’s love and people leave them feeling good.

The text is the same, but they get a different message than you.  Not God, but you focuses on how much evil is in everyone and how human’s default mode is bad. It is not necessary. It does not pay to measure how much we sin. Why not just focus on being better?

I suspect that it that you are invested in your anger and your righteousness.

That’s a good angry ending. I was going to stop. But then it occurred to me that is not the whole answer for everyone. You are also worried that bad things happen and more and more worse things happen and you want it to stop. You are afraid that we as a people will start allowing anything to happen.

Valid fear.We should have standards and encourage people to do better.  But as jesus taught us. First love.

 

Hugs Not Hugs

I’m excited about my first grandson and all that.  So proud of my daughter. However, I spent an absurd amount of time thinking about something else. I was planning on hugging my son-in-law.

To date, I have not done so. However, his family and he too hug each other when they see each other.  He hugs Linda and other people. So it gets a little awkward in that I think I should hug him.

It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s that I don’t think there is anything wrong with a handshake. My wife’s family shakes hands. The guys do it a lot. Its an affectionate show, but my father-in-law shakes hands like it a sign of peace at a very progressive Catholic church.  Greet each other good morning. Give each other a sign of peace. Go in peace!

As we have all gotten older in my family, we hug more.  The parents get an embrace when we arrive and a longer one when we leave. The rest get one dispensed (lovingly) at the end where we go off on our separate ways before we are tempted to hug again.

So In a way, I want to finally hug my son-in-law.  Sort of you’ve done enough to earn it. But not really.  I already love that guy. But the first hug, after its gone so long has to be impromptu.  For me, that means well planned out. Tell him, I’m more comfortable with a half a wave and a see you round, but I am fully onboard with a hug.

So I thought about it.  Sort of planned how it would go down.  I imagined the scenario and thought out the repercussions of it.

Then the baby arrived.  We came into the room and he was holding the baby.  So I went in to the bathroom and washed my hands.

Engagement averted.

Then it was time to leave.  He was holding the baby again.  Damn it. I want to get it over with. I hug my daughter as she laid in bed and gave her a big hug.  May have told her that I love her face to face for the first time.

As for the son in law, I clamped him on the shoulder.  He had his hand out to shake. I awkwardly moved in to shake it as well.

The planning starts over.  At the baptism?

Set Point-

Studies have shown that  people quickly (within six months) to their normal state of happiness after a significant event.  That thing that happened to you that made you depressed, there are lifelong consequences with some things, you will return to how you felt before.  The same goes for that wonderful event that was going to make you happy for the rest of your life. You fall in love or win the lottery, those are great and may change your life, but you go back to the same level of satisfaction.

That does not mean, however, that you are doomed to be unhappy.  The way you look at life is the way I looked at Algebra. When I was young, I did not like Algebra.  I thought it was confusing. It sucked. Now perhaps, you feel that way about life. That’s because young people do not have the knowledge base to handle life (like I did not with Algebra).

Algebra may not get better for some of us.  But it does get easier once you learn some ideas. I had a better outlook on Algebra once I mastered some of the concepts. The same with life.

Young people, life does get better.  You learn (from your mistakes). Once you learn things- life goes on, you will fall in love again, you must focus on appreciating what you have- you will get better at living and your attitude toward it will improve.

Each day, try to master the things that make people happy.  You will increase your level of happiness. Bouts of depression will hit you.  You will get sad, but with time (and maybe medication) you will eventually return to a level of happiness that people with money, fame or whatever don’t have

The Abstract Gifts of God

My wife and I had settled into a grove. That was when we decided to have our third child.  We ended contraception and we quickly had a bun in the oven. Thinking about that the other day made me think. We chose to create a baby. God didn’t answer our prayers or gave us that gift.

Well, He did in the sense that it is a the process of having a baby and children in general is a beautiful process. Perhaps God brings us that beauty. He did not, however, care if we had a child. He did not decide when. We did.

I know because our other children were not planned. We decided to create a baby by the act. Now you could think that was God’s decision to give us a baby for having premarital sex. To make our lives more difficult. Well, it may have been difficult, but our children have brought us so much happiness.

So the process of procreation is a beautiful miracle. A baby though is no more a gift than a warm sunny day. Does God give a baby as a reward?  Does He sometimes give a baby as a punishment? Does God play games with life?

Does God give us sunny days when we ask.  If I pray for a sunny day, does the bad person next door not get the same sunny day?

Can people be a fundamentalist Christian and not believe that God chooses to give or take a baby away? I think so.  You could believe in instances in the Bible where human life was given to some people from God. A true miracle.

Otherwise, other than giving humanity itself, God is not involved in procreation. I doubt that he judges and condemns by giving someone a baby.

What about the soul. God puts a soul in each of us? I ask another question. When does he do it for a baby that was made from a frozen embryo and a sperm sample?

I have many questions. But for me the answer of the soul is that we have a collective soul. That soul in each of us and connects us. A baby absorbs it as it grows.  A miscarriage or an abortion, the energy is reabsorbed and waits for another baby.

 

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Self-Esteem

For my non writing career, I will be facilitating a self-esteem group.  The problem irking me is the whole concept of identifying yourself as a person with low self-esteem.  It may in fact be a problem with you. But it seems to be piling on.  You have low self esteem.

Which it is not people’s faulty. I just think that people suffering from low self-esteem will feel like it is.

So I am not going to label people as having low self esteem.  I don’t think it matters.  We are all trying to improve ourselves and be happier. So I will focus on that.  I will discuss the barriers to happiness such as negative thoughts and critical inner thoughts. I will teach things to do to be happier and content.  Correct me if I am wrong, but those should make one’s self-esteem better.

Who will Pay Special Education

Private schools are not required to provide services for special education students. The public school district is still required to find these students and offer them the services.

I wonder how that will mix once Devos tries to get all students into special education.

My inclination is that an influx of students will make private school more selective.  They will have greater resources, but that will still have limits.  They will take the high achieving students and ignore the low achieving students.  Those students that require smaller class sizes for example.

This will make a hardship on public schools as they have less students that are cheaper to teach.

I think it will make it more difficult on special education students.  I think there might be court cases saying that a student was turned away due to their disability.  I think that there will be more lawsuits against private schools in regards to special education students.

There will be more lawsuits against school districts.  Which overall is a good thing.  The law keeps people in check.

Public schools have the responsibility to provide a free and appropriate education for students.  In other words, the education must be equal to a nondisabled student. That means accommodations and special education teachers.  However, that education will probably be at the public school.  It is up to the parent to decide to put them in that class or keep them at the private school.

 

It’s like medical care.  Hospitals are required to give you medical care.  But you must go to their hospital.  The law does not make them go to your home.

 

Now a special education student may thrive at a private school. But what is going to happen when the private schools do not meet their needs?

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