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    For the Woman at the Post Office Who is Reporting Me for Child Abuse

    I gave her my name, so I’m kind of hoping she googles me. Cuz that’s how cool I am – if you google my name, it brings ya here. As long as the cops never figure that out, I’m good. ;p

    Anyhow, the reason I hope she googles me and finds this is because like her, I care very much about the proper treatment of children. In fact, I care so much about it that I even care about the damage which is done by those who see something very good – caring about how kids are treated – as an opportunity to tear vulnerable people down, be self-righteous and judgmental. (Sound familiar? It’s ugly behavior outside of a Christian context as well!)

    So what happened was I was at the post office with my 3 year old daughter Olivia. The one who was walking at 8 1/2 months. The one who we couldn’t let Great Grandma hold when she met her at 5 months because she was too squirmy for an old woman to hang onto. The one who can scale our refrigerator by holding the handles. The one who can hoist herself up to your waist and onto your back and onto your shoulders all by herself as you struggle to peel her off before she’s sitting on your head like an ill behaved cat. She climbs on counters and tries to launch herself onto your back as you pass by. That one. Up there in the picture looking all abused. Because she got into my lipstick and gave herself a plum unibrow. Continue reading

  • faces-vase

    “What is truth?”

    So, are you sick of the arguments yet? You know the arguments – Romney vs Obama. “Job Creators” vs Inequality. Creationism vs Evolution. Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life. Old Fashioned vs New Fangled. Text Speak vs Grammar Nazi’s. Toilet Seat Up vs Toilet Seat Down. Whatever it is, if we can figure out two ways of looking at an issue to divide ourselves into, we do it. And then we argue and argue and argue. We refine our arguments and wonder what the hell is wrong with the people who don’t agree with us. But aren’t you sick of it?

    I remember years ago an older, wiser friend told me, “arguments don’t work. You never change someone’s mind through arguments.” At the time I was a bit flabbergasted. If we didn’t argue, how would the other person know they were wrong? And if we can’t get everyone pretty much on board, how do we keep the world from going to hell in a hand basket? I mean, what was the alternative?

    Of course, today we have reams of research and endless gigabytes of internet conversations to prove that what my friend told me was true: arguments don’t work. They rarely change anyone’s mind. And I think all but the most die-hard believers are starting to get sick of them.

    So what is the alternative to argument? Do we just agree to disagree – you have your opinions and I’ll have mine? And what about truth? Aren’t some things just true and shouldn’t we stand up for and advocate for them? If we can’t argue and persuade our way into some consensus about what’s true how can we function together to get anything done? The live and let live concept sounds fine until we need policies to get the economy going or fix serious social problems. Then what? Continue reading

  • mom and dad wedding

    Bloggy Linky Goodness – My 500th Post

    So, after my less that cheerful and uplifting post last night, tonight I’m all good news. First of all, it’s still Sunday somewhere in the US of A which means that this is the 3rd week in a row that I’ve gotten Bloggy Linky Goodness out on time. Which is like a record for me or something.

    Second, this is my 500th blog post. And I want you all to be properly impressed by this feat because it was done with children climbing all over me. I’m not even kidding – last fall, Olivia was channelling the spirit of a cat and kept sitting on my head and neck while I typed. Be impressed, damnit. According a guesstimation based on the usual length of my blog posts, this means I have written approximately as many words here at The Upside Down World as are in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Hobbit. And I’ve only occasionally repeated myself. So, yay me! Too bad I don’t have any rum to have a celebratory drink with. I guess you’ll have to have one for me. But only if you’re old enough and not a recovering alcoholic. In which case, just grab some water and say, “yay Rebecca!” with that instead. B-b-b-b-but, but wait – it gets better! In honor of my 500th blog post, I’m offering 5 days of free-ness on the Kindle version of The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress. From Wednesday through Sunday of this week, you will be able to download my book from Amazon free of charge. I’m giving you a few days advance notice so you have time to inform your family and friends and arrange your downloading parties to take advantage of this amazing offer.

    Third – and this is really the best news of all – I think I finally reached spiritual home today. The long journey I’ve been on is complete and I’m ready to start a whole new leg of the adventure. It’s good. I know some of you have been worried (hi, Mom!), but I’m finally OK. I can’t begin to guess when my non-spiritual life will pick up, but that’s just piddly stuff compared to where I’m at now. However, the details are all stuff I’ll have to be getting into over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

    Oh – and speaking of my mom, today is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary! Yep – that’s them on their wedding day up at the top there. They are traveling through the Canadian Rockies where they took their honeymoon right this moment. Only this time, I’m pretty sure they are using hotels and not a tent. So, if you still have that drink handy say, “congratulations, Rebecca Trotter’s mom and dad!” (I’m sure that’s how they want to be addressed these days – as “Rebecca Trotter’s mom and dad”! LOL) If your drink’s already gone, pour yourself another and maybe think about cutting back on the sauce, will ya? Continue reading

  • Christians as a “Creative Minority”

    I came across a great quote today from Pope Benedict which presents a way of thinking about living an authentic Christian life in our modern, western world:

    We do not know what the future of Europe will be. Here we must agree with Toynbee, that the fate of a society always depends on its creative minorities. Christian believers should look upon themselves as just such a creative minority, helping Europe to reclaim what is best in its heritage and thereby to place itself at the service of all humankind. (See the whole article by Benedict here.)

    Toynbee was a British historian who looked at history as a series of rising and falling cultures. In his understanding, cultures are shaped by the particular challenges their culture faced. The role of the “creative minority” was to offer solutions which addressed the challenges of the times. There’s a very interesting and long discussion to be had regarding how this works, however, I have kids to take care of so I’m going to cut it as short as I can. Continue reading

  • Correcting other people’s children

    Yesterday a friend and I were talking about the taboo many people seem to have about correcting other people’s children when they are misbehaving. Then this morning, I found this article from the Today Show about how to deal with other people’s misbehaving/annoying children. In it the parenting “expert” completely accepts the idea that one should never correct someone else’s child even in the face of bullying or extreme rudeness (she mentions a child burping in your face). Can someone please explain the thinking behind this taboo to me? Now, I wouldn’t yell at someone else’s child or interject myself into the life of some random obnoxious child I saw while walking down the street. However, I see nothing wrong with telling a child who is operating in your common space, “please stop doing that. You’re going to hurt yourself/it’s very rude/you make other people feel bad” or whatever is appropriate. Occasionally, my children are corrected by another adult and they know that they need to deal with that and not give people cause to correct them. Of course I would never be abusive towards a child and would not tolerate another person treating my child in an abusive manner, but simply correcting poor/dangerous behavior seems perfectly fine to me. Every time this topic comes up, I feel like I must be missing something as I just cannot understand why stepping in to speak to a child who is out of hand should be a problem.
    Many of us (or at least our parents) remember a time when if you misbehaved out in public, not only would any adult present reprimand you, but they would likely make sure your mother knew about it by the time you made it home so she could deal with you as well. I think that the difference between those times and today demonstrates a change which parents neglect to take seriously at their (and their children’s) own peril. Once upon a time, you could be a fairly negligent parent, not devoting much energy to supervising or disciplining your children and feel fairly comfortable that your kids would turn out basically OK. That was because while you might not be there with your kids, other adults were watching and correcting problem behaviors. Your children simply could not move through the world in most places without having societal norms enforced on them. Having other parents and the community re-enforcing proper behavior and norms assisted parents in raising good kids. I think too many parents fail to realize that since this mechanism is no longer in place, they are wholly responsible for their child’s development. Too many parents act as if they can still send their kids out into the world and have them be OK. It’s not just that we live in a more dangerous world – the reality is that crime has dropped very dramatically in the last 20-30 years. Statistically speaking, we’re much safer today. However, what’s missing is any re-enforcement from others our children will meet as they move through the world of the sorts of good behavior and proper character development we’re teaching our kids. Instead of living in a world which helps us as we raise our kids, we must equip our kids to defend themselves against the world. It seems to me that this cultural taboo we have about correcting other people’s children simply feeds into this problem and makes raising good kids that much harder.