Thursday, August 16, 2012

They Call Me Mama Bear

Kids and sports is always a hot topic.  Especially when it is YOUR kid playing a sport, and you (the parent) feel your kid has been wronged.  Let me preface this rant by setting the facts:

  1. My kid is 25% for height and less than that for weight small.
  2. He plays tackle football, some of the kids are DOUBLE his weight or more.
  3. I do NOT want him to play, he is the one who is insistent and always ready and anxious to go to practice.
  4. He has not missed a single practice and is there giving his best 10 or more hours per week.
  5. He is no where near being the best on the team, nor is he the worst.  But even if he was the worst, he still loves to play and deserves a fair chance.
  6. I have never, nor would I ever, even dream of telling a coach how to teach the game of Football to his team.  I know NOTHING about it other than the fact that the helmet and pads are pains in the ass to get on and off.
Olympic runner  Oscar Pistorius 
Now, I DO know some things about motivation from my past as a children's counselor and my present as a team leader at work.  Here are some of the truths that I believe, as a leader and as a parent, that are a MUST to be a successful role model/leader/coach.
  1. When kids are young, they respond to positive reinforcement.  Ignoring or exclusion is NOT the way to get them to do their best for you.
  2. At 12 years old and younger it is MOST important to teach kids the fundamentals of the game, the value of team work, and to do so in a way that raises their confidence levels and allows them to have some fun.
  3. Winning is NOT everything.  At young ages it really is more about HOW you play the game.
  4. Not everyone deserves a trophy, but everyone deserves an equal and fair chance at earning one.
  5. 99.999% of the kids on pee-wee leagues will never ever be good enough to get college scholarships for sports, much less play in the pros.  However, the confidence and lessons they learn from being valued as a team member MAY help them to become future leaders and successful in their careers.
  6. Focusing on a perceived negative feature of a person will not help them to overcome their fears.  If a kid has determination and desire, they have the ability to overlook their short-comings and work through them.  Do you think Oscar Pistorius' coaches focused on the fact he was a paraplegic, or do you think they focused on ways to help him be the best in spite of his limitations?
  7. Singling out a child in a negative way will ALWAYS backfire on you, especially when the child did NOTHING wrong.  It is noticed not only by the child being singled out, but by every other kid on the team.
  8. Breaking or bending the rules to fit your needs as a leader will always be noted and unfavorably received by your team.  What is good for YOU and YOUR child, better be just as good or better for the rest of team or you will suffer great criticism.
  9. If you do make decisions that will make a child upset, have the courtesy to explain the reasoning behind your decisions.  Kids are smart and they know when they are being discounted or underestimated or disrespected.
  10. If a parent comes up to you with a concern, DO NOT LIE to them.  Trust me, they have been watching and for every one concern they bring to your attention, they have held back 100 for fear of retaliation on their child.
  11. Parents of other kids do respect and have gratitude for what you do....even more if you do it in a fair and equitable manner.
Rant over.....for now!

If you want to read more about my adventures in team sports, check out this blast from the past: True story about Bubbie, Football and Bugs

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What the Hell?

I do not label myself based on politics.  I may be labeled a liberal by conservatives or a conservative by liberals, but I really do not give a rat's ass.  What I am is a self thinking adult, I like to call myself a Humanist.  I do not blindly follow ANY doctrine just because it is affiliated with a certain party/religion/group. I try to base my decisions on rational facts.   I look at the pros/cons and then I make my own decision....some of which are based on emotion, I will confess.  For example, I do not, will not ever, shop at Wal-Mart.  I would rather spend extra money at another store, or drive extra miles than to give my money to them.  I base this a personal decision on their policies towards women, benefits, and "take over the world" mentality.  Hooters is another establishment that doesn't get my money.  It isn't even based on fact, but just my emotional feeling that women shouldn't have to dress provocatively to make money.  Do their wings taste bad if the girls aren't in hoochie clothes?  The difference is I have the right to choose who gets my money, but I do not think that companies can morally say who they can take their money from.  

Recently all the hoopla about Chick-fil-A has been making me confused and angry.  I do not know if it was a brilliant way to get fat, lemming like Americans to eat more Fried Chicken, or if the ownership of that company really does not like 1/10th of the human population and feels that their money isn't good enough for them.  Whatever it is, I will NOT be eating there (although admittedly I don't know if I ever have eaten there).  To PROFIT off of alienating a group of people who just want to live their lives is shameful.  I thought being a Christian meant that you have love and forgiveness for ALL people?  I thought that being an American means protecting the rights of all?  I don't even care that they label themselves as a Christian establishment and are closed on Sundays.  What bothers me is that they label themselves a Christian establishment and PROMOTE the hatred of human beings who are different.  

When did Americans get so sanctimonious?
The Statue of Liberty tells us: "Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breath free/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/ Send these, The homeless, tempest-tossed to me/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  I do not see anything in that statement about not letting in someone based on their sexual orientation.  

I get that people join certain organizations (and I am pretty upset with the Boy Scouts right now, but that is a rant for another day) because those organizations are in line with their personal belief systems.  However, an establishment that is for profit really should be open to ALL people, and their policy shouldn't be to not hire/serve/cater to humans who are different.  Would it be okay to start a restaurant that says no one with Autism can eat there because they may disturb the other patrons? It would be wrong because people with Autism are born that way....Just like people who are LGBT.  Would anyone choose to be something that they know will result in them being the target of hatred, fear and persecution?  Not if they have one ounce of intelligence in their brains. A better idea would be for Chick-fil-A to limit their service to obese people, however I guess the part about gluttony being a sin doesn't matter as much to them as other passages in the Bible.

I have friends who I adore, love and cherish who believe differently than me and have different lifestyles than mine, and that is Okay!  I would never base my friendship on if someone believes like me or agrees with me.  I welcome their differences and always learn something or think about an issue I have not had to face before.   I have friends that are gay, friends that are tea-baggers, Muslim friends, funny friends, serious friends, friends that are liberals, and friends that are just as confused as I am.  It makes my life more enriched and allows me to better formulate my own personal opinion based on FACTS and not what I see on the news or am "instructed" to believe by politicians and other organizations.  

Life is only black and white until you are forced into the gray.  Usually you are forced into the gray because someone you love and adore goes through something that makes you open your eyes and have empathy.  I hope for my children that they are not gay, because every parent does not want their child to be persecuted.  However, if one or more of them are, I will still love, support, and make my own damn fried chicken for them!

I encourage you all to think about if someone you love dearly was told they were wrong/sinful/an abomination because of a circumstance of their birth.  Does any other human being really have the right to judge?  And, if we are judging, shouldn't we judge on all criterion not just the ones that suit us and allow us to feel superior to others?  Pride from self-righteousness  is a sin too.......

Rant over...sorry if anyone was offended by my opinion.  That's okay if you are different, I will love and respect you anyway!