Monthly Archives: July 2012

Child support

Sometimes I think that us parents (I know I am guilty at times too) try to control too much. When someone else delivers a positive message to our kids that is received, perhaps more so than if we had delivered it, it is good. Some parents don’t deal well with this scenario, or at least a hint, or maybe more, of jealousy or even failure creeps into our minds when something good comes from a source other than us as parents. It’s almost inevitable that the day will come when our child would rather hear the same words, the same sentiment, the same lessons, even the same tones, from anyone other than their own parent. It happens. If it hasn’t, it will. So don’t feel victimized. Don’t feel like any type of failure. Don’t be jealous or feel in any way undermined. Especially if these things are a positive tone, lesson, or direction. Get out of the way and support a good thing.

Parenting is many things and one of those things is supporting. Like the corporate leaders who succeed more so than their competitors as a result of being able to duplicate their determination and vision by surrounding themselves with like minded, driven, good people; We too, as parents, can spread ourselves across more areas effectively, without being spread too thin, or losing the quality of example.

We tell our children to surround themselves with good people. We even have quite a bit of say in who those people are in many instances. So when we have surrounded ourselves with good people, who in a moment here and there can be an extension of ourselves in life’s teaching moments for our children, why should we get in the way? I realize there are extremes to every normalcy. I’m talking about the good people, saying the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons, as if we were there making the statements ourselves. This should not include any, “Woe is me” thinking. This is a good thing. So either get out of the way, or learn to be supportive immediately.

Cutting some slack and allowing some freedom doesn’t alway mean one will run only to places they shouldn’t be. In some cases one may run to a place of good influence. In which case we can reward the good decision with support in lieu of our own misplaced feelings or emotions. This doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind and taking our eye off the ball. It’s more about awareness through allowance and support of something good outside of ourselves. Which, if you think about it, shows well on us anyway.

This was just a thought running through the emptiness between my ears so I thought I’d try to channel it towards something legible. Thanks for reading through this with me.

Reflecting

It’s cool, it’s blue, this place of solitude
Sit for a while, reflect, in this quiet place
 
Notice things that normally get away
Slow down, exhale, embrace this new pace
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This spot was where Amaris could get some sun, read, and let the twins play around her while cooling her feet in the water. On the edge of Abrams Pond in Eastbrook, Maine. We had gorgeous days and even more beautiful evenings.

Gallery

Oh my deer

This gallery contains 4 photos.

These were taken 10 days apart. The top one was in the front yard this morning. The bottom one was from the backyard a week and a half ago. I have seen a few more deer in between, but I … Continue reading

Abrams Pond Moon Rising

Full Moon rising. Abrams Pond, Maine.

July 3rd, 2012

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Abrams Pond, Maine

Abrams Pond, Maine 2012

Amaris and I with five of the six kids.

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Text, Text, Boast. Tweet, Tweet, Post.

#YOLO. You Only Live Once. This is one of today’s not-well-thought-out (if involving any thought at all) statements made by the youth of the day. Unfortunately this is not, carpe diem, live life to the fullest, or seize the day. This tends to be more like a sentiment of indifference either preceding a bad choice or a comment following a thoughtless act.

I know I may be a little bit different in my thought process than many, and sometimes different is good. Sometimes I wish I had been born in an earlier time, when life’s lessons, the right way to act and behave, came long before the disrespectful, errant ways were introduced. This, coming from someone who grew up in a home where the courteous, thoughtful, respectful way was taught and shown by example daily.

Remember when the boy would ask out the girl and the conversation would even take place face to face. Break ups were so difficult because relationships were possibly more genuine and the end would happen in person where there was no place to hide or a mass quantity of messages to lose meaning in. Communication would take place in writing, on a piece of paper. Disrespect would happen outside the home because your parents wouldn’t allow it, the phone didn’t have a long enough cord to escape the truth, and there was no other way reach anyone unless you went to them.

Now everyone has an email address, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a phone number with which to text. What happened to the home address? It used to be that interactions took place at school, or church, or at someone’s home address. Not a web address, or the such.

Remember when we all knew every inch of your yards. We knew the way the land contoured in every instance. We knew the hiding spots for games requiring one. We knew the trees to climb and the best route up. We knew the best places to lie in the grass and take in the sun, the passing clouds, or a starry sky. If there was water, we knew where to cross and where to play. We learned the best, quickest, easiest, or most efficient way to get the grass all cut. We knew where to start, where to finish, and where to put all the snow when shoveling the driveway and walks. We knew where the sun came up, where it went down, and where all the shade and shadows were at any time in the day. We knew where the flowers ended and our play area began. We knew how to help in the garden or at least recognized the various plants in that area. We knew where the ground-hog made their holes, where the squirrels and chipmunks hid, and we could tell you where the robin’s blue eggs were in the nest. We could tell you where the best places were on the property to embrace a summer breeze or to avoid a winter gust. We knew how to whistle with a blade of grass. We knew the sweet taste of clover and where to find it. In other words, there was a lot time spent outside, at home, with our imagination often times being our most loyal companion.

Now tweets, updates, emails, and texted conversations consume the hours in a day. The thoughts required, or lack there of, to manage such a log of activity is quite time-consuming. An adolescent mind need not be so busy, especially busily pursuing matters of little matter. Think of this, thousands of text messages coming and going each month. Another several hundred emails and tweets over 30 days. Countless updates, messages, comments, Likes, and scrolling sessions on Facebook. Add this all up and maybe it comes to something like this, conservatively. Texting requires an hour per day, typing, thinking (some), replying and reacting, sharing info with others, and thinking some more about the conversations in bits and pieces. That’s 30 hours per month. Emails and tweets, consuming time and thoughts, and then thoughts to react, ponder, respond, etc. I’d calculate that time at roughly 2+ hours per week, or about 10 hours per month. Then the overall brain power and time required for dealing with Facebook is easily an hour per day on average. That’s another 30 hours per month. I think these are conservative for millions of youth. Even so, that’s 70 hours, 3 full days, or 10 percent (conservatively) of one’s time spent on electronic communication. Communication where much is immediate, but still, it’s a place to hide, be bold, be arrogant, and disrespectful without correction in too many cases. Furthermore, time spent with friends, in person, is now accompanied by multiple distractions. Friends tweet, message, text, email, and send pictures to others while “spending time, in person, with their friends”. This just minimizes the time spent together and dilutes the quality experience it could have been.

All of our minds, especially the adolescent ones, need some time to just innocently wander. Or think on absolutely nothing. That’s the time where we learn our yard, the trees, the ins and outs of home. It’s a time when our imaginations and the subsequent pondering are the best ways to use our time and brainpower.

It’s true, at least here on earth, you only live once. So don’t miss it. Be present. Be participating. Technology is not required to do either. Enjoy moments. Don’t let them get away while paying just partial attention. If you want to hide behind YOLO while making bad decisions and doing stupid things, then at least be real enough, or adult enough, to accept what comes back at you. Live life. Go out and make life happen in full, not in tweets and texts, all the while inattentively living each passing moment. Slow down. There’s no hurry to quit being a youth or a kid. We all want to grow up, and as soon as we do, we wish again to be a kid. There’s no hurry. Enjoy youth. Enjoy home. Explore the loving, caring people and spaces closest to you. Those are the places and people you will long for over the balance of your days.

Try to unplug more and live better. Don’t get caught up in the world of Text, Text, Boast. Tweet, Tweet, Post. Instead, relax more, body and mind, rest in the hours put aside for such things. Do your chores. Respect everyone, especially family and elders. Be courteous and thoughtful. Be a better and nicer version of yourself everyday, and if you have a real bad day, rest, and rebound even stronger tomorrow. The growing up will happen whether you like it or not. It will also happen whether you’re ready or not. Let your mind grow and get ready for adulthood. Set in stone your honesty, integrity, and the meaning of all you do. There will come times in your life when those things will be your saving grace or your limiting step. So don’t miss the lessons you could be learning by being elsewhere mentally while physically present in life’s classroom.

Serenity

The porch is part of the main house. It’s finished. Wood flooring connects the open space to the living room and the kitchen. Eleven windows and a nearly full glass door wrap around the porch-living area offering much light. At the end furthest from the kitchen, two wicker type chairs with a matching stand, face the windows looking southeast across the 400+ acre pond.

This morning the showers were heavy and somehow soft at the same time. Either way, they were soaking and no air moved while the rains fell. Soon enough the drenching downpours subsided and faded away as a soft mist. The darker grays yielded to softer gray and even some low wispy, white, puffy clouds. Still the air was very calm, the humid air still cool. The sun still climbing to its heights started to make its presence felt as patches of blue appeared and vanished amidst the grays.

The water of this large, but shallow, pond is still calm even as the skies overhead change by the minute. Several families of ducks teaching their young to navigate the water and a loon couple causing the only real ripples on the water.

In my corner on the porch, I read, enjoying this place and the peace it affords. The pitter-patter of two year old twin feet draw my attention around this open space. This is vacation for us. The quiet time in the cool morning, even in July, is relaxing and even a bit sleepy.

Soon enough the twins want to be outside, to go “schwimming” as Jacqueline proclaims. Grabbing mom, and their big sister they head for the front door and the deck on the front of the house. The deck is no more than 8 inches above the ground, perfect for the youngsters. The soft green grass is mixed with much, equally soft, clover. The gentle slope away from the house and toward the water is a perfect place for small feet to safely trod. Several hardwood trees help to frame the picture I see from my seat in the corner. Trees to the sides still allow plenty to be seen. Space enough to see the rising sun. Or to watch the performance of a diving loon. Plenty of room to watch the kids and their water fun. A perfect place to trace the path of a rising moon.

The sun is working as more blue appears. But the clouds that part grow darker in this mix of humidity, sun, clouds, and showers nearby. The leaves on the trees glisten, lit by the suns rays, with the drops left from the mornings rain. Breezes are yet to kick up but can’t be too far away on a day like today.

I sit in my corner and read. I learn more of our nation’s history and take in the eloquence with which others write. Last night I finished reading “Trail of Tears, The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation”, written by John Ehle. This morning I have started reading “Goodbye to a River”, written by John Graves. Reading about the past and the true stories of a hundred, or two, years ago, I wonder what this spot I gaze upon looked like when our nation formed.

So now I sit and write this out to share this place and the peace that I enjoy. There’s barely cell service here. There is no access to the Internet. There’s a television which gets just a few channels. The DVD player is in use often, as the kids settle down between adventures outside. From where I sit I can see the top of Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. Within 2-3 miles of where I sit the fingers of Frenchman Bay reach north to the road we take to get here. Also within a mile or two from here sits another pond to my south, where my grandfather had a cottage long ago. I can’t help but wonder what he thought as he sat and pondered those spaces around him dozens of years ago.

That’s all for now. I want to get back to my reading. Of course the kids require attention too. As I close this piece I look up and see a loon dive and I wonder where he will appear next.