Tag Archives: family

Home On the Range

6 Mar

danielle meitiv

Have you heard of Free Range parenting? And I’m talking about human parents, not chicken parents. Apparently everything old is new again because as I read this story I couldn’t help but thinking that this was a story about parenting in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s…you know, before the whirlybirds landed and took our old parents away and replaced them with the newer helicopter variety.

Anyway, In Maryland a couple who allowed their children to walk around their neighborhood unsupervised are now facing a child neglect ruling in their home county. Following a two-month investigation, Montgomery County Child Protective services found Danielle and Alexander Meitiv responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect… which means that their case will remain on file with the state for the next five years.

Authorities launched the investigation, after two police officers spotted the Meitiv children, a 10-year-old boy and his and 6-year-old sister, walking home from a park about a mile from where they live. The officers brought the children back to their house, where they confronted their father who was shocked to see his children being escorted home by 3 police officers…but he shouldn’t have been because this was his children’s second offense! A few months before, someone had phoned in an anonymous tip to Child Protective Services when they had observed the two youngsters playing alone at a different park a few blocks from their home.

This is why the Meitivs are known as “free range” parents (couldn’t we think of another name…please?) because they allow their children to “run off and play” as opposed to the so-called “helicopter parents,” who are known for hovering over every aspect of their child’s life (including play) in an effort to keep them safe.

Now in case you are wondering, an unsubstantiated neglect ruling typically comes when Child Protective Services gathers some evidence that suggests child neglect, but not enough information to support a more concrete conclusion. The Meitivs said they wouldn’t let their children walk around the neighborhood if they didn’t feel the children were capable of handling the responsibility. And they let their children regularly walk home from their bus stop, to the library, and to nearby parks, all of which are less than a mile from their home.

But in all fairness, they’re only the children’s parents…and do we really trust any parents these days…or any adults for that matter? Just a few months ago a 12 year old child was walking around a park in Cleveland, Ohio, pretending to shoot people with a toy gun. Remember that? And when the police found him they didn’t round him up and bring him back to his parents. They shot him! When I was a kid my friends and I would run around our neighborhood with toy guns all of the time, pretending we were our dads during WWII shooting Nazis… And no one went looking for us unless it was night time and we hadn’t returned to base all day. Boy, I guess were we lucky that nobody shot back at us with real guns or captured us and took us back to their leader.

So perhaps, as many of today’s parents might suggest, the Meitivs should consider themselves lucky that their children were returned to them safe and sound… but now what are “free range” parents to do?… on a range that is no longer as free as it once was, back in a day when the deer and the antelope played along with everyone else…and discouraging words or neighbors were seldom heard?

If they don’t comply and keep their children supervised at all times, the Meitiv’s worry that should their children roam free again…and be turned in again… they’ll all, parents and children, be in bigger trouble. Because now, not only is it unsafe for children to go out into the world unsupervised but also for the parents as well! Which I guess, sadly begs the even more important question:

What’s on TV?

.

The Great American…Loan

18 May

 

People in the United States owe a lot of money on credit cards. In fact we owe about 700 billion dollars in credit card debt. The only thing we’ve borrowed more money for is home mortgages… but home mortgages aside, who owes more than adults when it comes to borrowing money?

It’s school kids! And although technically they are school adults, if you have 1 or 2 or more of them in your home they are still kids to you…but still, the number one debtor in the United States today are young adults who have taken out loans from the federal government to finance their college education.

Student loan debt has gone over 1 trillion dollars…as in 1 followed by 9 zeros, and the federal government has just forecast a record 51 billion dollar profit this year from student loan borrowers. That’s more than the earnings of the nation’s most profitable companies.

Who knew? Did you?

But the good news? In July the 3.4% interest rate that students are paying on borrowed money now will jump to 6.8% …unless of course Congress passes the “Student Loan Affordability Act” which is proposed legislation that would keep existing interest rates… on some student loans… for the neediest households, fixed at 3.4 percent. However, The bill does nothing for existing student debtors….and besides who doesn’t smell a filibuster in the air?

The Department of Education…that much maligned government entity that oversees our crumbling school system and that also gave us the “No Child Left Behind Act”, has generated almost 120 billion dollars in profit over the last five years from student loans which ironically enough, is the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis.

And get this… Apparently officials in Washington are now worried that perhaps overly indebted student borrowers will be unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement…and become, you know…productive American citizens.

What is it that we expected would be the rewards of plunging our children into massive debt? Talk about not leaving a child behind?! What about leaving adults behind?!…before they even get started!

And for some reason these adult/children/student borrowers are also finding themselves unable to refinance their loans even if they graduate from college and secure well-paying jobs, even though  most other borrowers are able to refinance debt at quite low rates. And why is that?

Because these loans have become so profitable to lenders thanks to the Bankruptcy Reform bill of 2005 when both federal and private student loans became non-dischargeable during bankruptcy. This has turned student loans into credit risk free loans for the lender. (with a debtor who literally has a lifetime to repay it) The loans are just too good for any respectable financial institution to give up…as any gambler could tell you,  they’re a sure thing!

Getting a higher education is a wonderful achievement but once again with the help of our nation’s love affair with capitalism, we’ve turned a good thing into a profitable thing and that profitable thing into a must thing…and with ever escalating college costs happily jumping on the bandwagon, (because if you can’t afford this much it’s just as easy to not afford that much!)…this thing is spiraling out of control.

Our children are literally taking loans out on the American Dream, which is being dangled in front of them like a candied carrot on a stick, with money they do not have and may not ever have… and in what may be the most sinister twist of fate…all of their government loan filing and debt approval makes them perfect candidates for…

credit card approval once they’ve graduated.

Where your Treasure Is There Is Your Heart Also

14 Dec

In school, Students are always falling in and out of love, always grappling with and agonizing over the question, “Does he/she love me?” or the age old exclamations:

I thought she loved me

Why did he say that?

How could she treat me that way?

It’s just not fair!

This is my advice for those who want to know what love is.

And I believe it to be the truest of tests.

And if you ask yourself and answer this question honestly,

HONESTLY,

It will never fail.

And ask this question both of yourself and your lover, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, significant other, life partner, parent, child or whomever…and ask it just as it is stated and in the proper order.

“Where is your treasure? What do you treasure? What does your partner treasure?” Now answer it honestly for that is where your/her/his heart is and what you/they love.

Then you must accept the answers.

Does your boyfriend, lover, etc. treasure you? Are you what’s important to them? Then they love you. Their heart is with YOU.

If they treasure something else (i.e.: that something else comes first in their lives) like work, money, car, sport, hobby, mother, father, whatever, then their heart is there and that is who or what they love the most, above all else.

It’s nothing to get angry about. It’s the truth and must be accepted. You can’t change it and it won’t be changed through wishing or begging or imagining or promising or by people saying it is or isn’t so. If you can honestly say that you are the one treasured, the one who comes first, then you are truly loved. And consequently if you can say that about someone else then you are in love. And if two people can say that about each other then they are in love and they have found true love, and it will last. But you must ask and answer the question honestly within yourself. Do not let others answer for you and do not rely on others to answer honestly to you for they will always respond with an answer that they will think you want to hear.

You must discern the answers through your own honest and heartfelt observations. If you do, then the answer cannot be disputed. Don’t sugar coat it, don’t compromise it and don’t rationalize it, if it is not the answer that you were hoping for.

Life is truth and truth is neither good nor bad. It is simply truth… and it is only confusing when we endeavor to confuse it.

Follow Your Bliss

8 Dec

Follow Your Bliss

After 33 years of experience as a teacher, this is the best advice that I have to give to any student, or person, for that matter…          

Follow your bliss!

What makes you happy? What are you drawn to? What do you see yourself doing in your dreams? (And for you movie lovers out there) What completes you? (But it should not be another person. We’re talking about YOU remember?)

The late author and mythologist, Joseph Campbell, wrote, “Follow your bliss and doors will open for you” and I believe this is true.

We should direct our students and children to what their aptitudes are not for what WE want for them or for them to be, to complete US.

Happiness is the thing! Happiness is the key. All of us who are older and who have been around for a while all now want the same thing. We want to be happy. We want to pursue and be around those people and things and activities that make us smile and feel joy. We would trade everything we have and everything that we’ve accumulated for happiness.

So we should direct our children towards that which brings them joy; that which fills their heart with a love of life, whatever it may be. There can be no substitutes. When we make substitutes and sacrifices, when we say that this “isn’t what I want but it will do”, when we make decisions based on compromises we close that door little by little until it seems as though there is no turning back.

But I will say this to anyone at any age. It’s never too late to turn around and open that door and follow the path that is right for you. The door is always there and it’s always open, even if just a crack. It never locks.

How would you follow your bliss? Take a moment, put your feet up, sit back, relax and think about it.

 Do it now! Happiness awaits!

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