Unpredictable Grief, Hopelessly Whitebread, and Only by the Grace of God

It’s probably a sad commentary on my current mental state that I really miss my dogs today. I’m ashamed to admit it but my heart aches so much more for these guys than for my late husband (hard to say, and sad- but true.)

It’s been almost three years since Jerry died and mostly when I think of him I guilt trip because I really don’t feel sad about it. It’s like I should…but I don’t. It feels like when Mom dragged us to Confession and I knew I should confess all the unforgiveness I held on to for all the shit my sisters and their friends did to me, but I just didn’t feel the remorse. I was going through the motions because I knew I was supposed to.

This condition of knowing- you- should- feel- bad- but- you- really- don’t caused me a lot of theological cognitive dissonance, (i.e. Catholic guilt…) until I realized that it is God who grants the gift of repentance, and it is God alone in Christ who forgives my sins. This is fantastic news, because in and of myself I just can’t do it. I can’t force myself to regret or feel sorry or to forgive. Back to Lutheran theology and Christ Alone. I get the sufficiency of Christ alone, if only because I am so pathetically weak and emotionally and spiritually impaired. Luther’s explanation of the Third Article of the Creed states it pretty clearly:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. – Martin Luther

Most of humanity, quite honestly I can do without, which may not be right, but I freely admit it. Clara and Lilo, I miss them both, and painfully at times. Even though they were dogs. I love the dogs I have now (Brutus and Lucy) and I am incredibly thankful for them, but there are days. Clara, especially, was my heart.

Emotions are just so damned complicated. Then again no dog ever did anything to hurt me, and I can’t say that about any relationship I have ever had with other humans. Especially Jerry or my sisters, because, well because. The wounds are deep and the scars profound. Can I forgive anyone by my own choice? I can only forgive by the grace and intervention of God, and it’s a long, hard process. The old Adam fights that one with a pernicious tenacity.

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I know part of the human condition is that no one gets out of life alive, but knowing my vulnerabilities and blind spots it is almost impossible for me to be open with anyone because I don’t know what weapon they are going to use against me. I don’t read people well at all. I’m fine with keeping everything on a superficial level but the deep dark secrets? I don’t mind letting others confide in me, but the converse is most certainly not true. I don’t want to rely on anyone because people use me and let me down.

I can’t say I understand what “normal” people think or feel. I’ve never been “normal” or anything close to it. All I know about “normal” is what I can see and script for navigational purposes. I put up a good front, but that’s exactly what it is, a front- a stressful and draining, but necessary, front.

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I don’t think I would have done well with the 1950s housewife gig.

I can only see where I have been and I can only navigate through the mechanics of my own wiring, which has got to be skewed. I am sure that a psychologist would have a field day with me at this point in my life. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve seen a counselor (that probably would be a good idea, but I don’t have the scratch to afford it, nor can I take time off work.) There’s been a ton of crazy shit that has gone down in my life since then.

Oh, yes, crazy shit. Living with an alcoholic and the insanity and crazy-making that goes with that for 20+ years does wear one thin. Then he gets a terminal disease on top of that…which makes him even meaner and more irrational, even though at first he does try to do the right things to a degree. Add having to watch your best friend die, then having to dig her grave, (and I am referring to Clara, who was a dog, so don’t get any macabre ideas) then having to move in a fire sale, desperate sort of way, all while my terminally ill, alcoholic husband is screaming and raging as much against me as he is his inevitable death.

It’s hard to write that. Maybe the delayed reaction is kicking in after all. PTSD – the gift that keeps on giving. We can add in all the other right psychological terms too- learned helplessness, chronic anxiety, and our miserable old companion major depression, who is always camping out on the door mat waiting for the slightest opportunity to slip in the door and come in to stay for a good long time. It doesn’t help that anxiety and depression go hand and hand with autism, and there is mental illness galore in my family history. I even took one of those genetic screening tests for shits and grins (as if I didn’t already know my ethnic ancestry…oh yeah, living advertisement for the Most Whitest Anglo Saxon Ever…)

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The ethnic info was no surprise. It also showed I carry specific genes that increase one’s chances of being bi-polar, and of suffering from major depression and schizophrenia. That explains Mom’s family…and her to an extent, which is scary as hell because there are days when I seriously doubt my mental stability.

Sometimes I want to scream, cry, sleep, run or stage a twisted combination of all of the preceding. I’m afraid to even mention some of the good things happening in my life (and there are a few, and I thank God for everything with everything I can) because I’m not convinced it’s really real…and I’m afraid I’ll jinx it if it is.

There is something deeply sweet and undeserved about being able to be safe and loved in one’s home, and that is both majestic and terrifying because I have never been in such a place before.

There’s still a LOT of pain- emotional, spiritual and always, physical, and I don’t know where that’s going to go. I think it wants to translate into fear. I don’t want to give in to fear. The panic attacks are thankfully getting less frequent and less severe but they still happen. As for the arthritis flares, medication usually keeps it down to a dull roar, but when the fire is on, it’s on, and not much will touch it.

I spend a lot of time in sacred music and Bible reading these days even though I know that forgiveness and healing are not things I can do- but what God does for me.

Kyrie Eleison…

Things That Might Be Right With the World, Absolute Truth, and the Arrogance of Supposition

philosoraptor-alternate-realities

I listened to an interesting theological / philosophical discussion today regarding pre-modernism, modernism, and post-modernism this morning.  Post-modern thinking explains much of the downright irrational insanity rampant in society today. I can’t find myself signing on to the post-modern paradigm even though most of the rest of the world already has.  This must be where the media gets the insanity that there are seventy-nine different genders, and that some men get periods.  (I might argue the PMS theory, but if I did, I would have to posit that men have PMS all month long.  Men are actually more emotional and less adaptive to change than women, at least in my experience, although I really don’t want to get into that debate.)

drag queen

There is such a thing as absolute truth.  As my illustrious offspring (who is even more of a rational, practical type than I) will tell you, nobody gets away with breaking the law of gravity, and if you think you’re the exception, you’re going to have a bad time.

I do understand the value of asking questions and of questioning authority- especially today.  I have a lot of doubts regarding the “voices of authority,” especially in the media and in science, and I think my trepidation is warranted.  Being the cynic that I normally am, it’s logical for me to question things that fail to make sense.  It probably doesn’t help that I am very much a literal thinker.  I tend to see things in black and white.  I know the gray areas are there, but I’m not much for living in them.

When I see hoof prints on a farm, I’m going to act on the supposition that the resident equines are horses rather than zebras.

horse

This being said, I am not against change simply because it’s something new to learn.  I am against change that is enacted simply for the novelty of it, or change to avoid offending “special snowflake” sensitivities.

I say again, there is absolute truth. Three does not equal five no matter what kind of argument is put forth. Absolutes don’t change no matter how badly we wish they would. There are boundaries that cannot be crossed, and laws (like the law of gravity) that cannot be broken.  There are near infinite kinds of idolatry conceived in mankind’s denial of truth and rebellion against it.  In the wake of the Fall it seems all we can do is set up substitute systems that are destined to fail because they are built on lies and human hubris.

Of the three philosophic worldviews (pre-modernism, modernism and post-modernism) I would have to categorize myself as subscribing to modernity (the post-modern deconstruction of truth and complete dearth of certainty is an utterly distasteful concept to me) for most of my life.  I wanted to believe in the god of Science.  I wanted to latch on to the Brave New World.  For seven years of my life I tried to say to myself, There Is No God.  By the grace of God, He smacked me down and made me realize that it’s not my world, it’s His.  I am not the creator, I am not the captain of my soul, and I am not in control. Here are more corollaries of absolute truth, courtesy of the pre-modern world- or more accurately, courtesy of the Creator, who does not have to honor man-made constructs.

Cross

The pendulum of popular opinion will reach its shift point eventually.  As was demonstrated in the farce that was the Obama administration (no matter how rosy a picture the media tried to paint) the reality was the Emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes.  There was no substance to that regime and no purpose to it except maybe as a warning against eliminating standards and ignoring national borders. The post-modern theory that there is no reality and there are no absolutes is just as nonsensical and illogical as a grown man thinking he is adorned in finery when he’s naked as a jay bird.

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I wonder what’s going to happen when boys who think they’re girls (and vice versa) realize that the reality of biology is an absolute.

I wonder if the Western world will realize (in time) that toxic ideologies do exist, and that Islam is not a “religion of peace,” but in reality it is a form of fascism more extreme than Nazism hiding behind a false religion.

I wonder if future generations might discover the reality of Absolute Truth and forgo the social experiments.

 

Calling Evil “Good” and Vice Versa, the Ongoing Toxic Legacy of the “Great” Society

 

lyndon johnsonLyndon Johnson has a legacy.  Of course “progressivism” (read: liberalism, socialism, Marxism, Hegelianism) didn’t start with him.  It didn’t even start in the United States with him.  Woodrow Wilson (under whom the federal income tax was established) was the first true progressive (read: liberal Democrat) president in US history.  FDR is probably the most well known of the liberal Democrat presidents, under whose watch much of the current nanny state was established.

Johnson’s term was a tipping point in that the already pervasive nanny state collided with the civil rights movement (which began, like women’s suffrage, as a noble cause) and the decay of traditional morality and ethics in society. 1968’s “war on poverty” continues on, but poverty marches on as if there had never been any sort of meaningful battle waged against it.  If one follows the trillions of dollars extorted from American taxpayers, one will find that precious little of it, save for in the Gucci purse of the occasional welfare queen who has learned how to put the screws to Uncle Sam, has ever found its way to the poor. There are, however, many suspiciously wealthy career politicians. They are suspiciously prominent on the blue side of the aisle…

marx and bernie

Today in 2019, civil rights have morphed into an irrational, untamed and ravenous monster.  Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King have given way to such fools as Rashida Tlaib

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In the name of civil rights there are endless taxpayer sponsored entitlements for everyone under the sun, especially for illegal immigrants and pet minority groups- but nothing but a big middle finger for those who are legal citizens who work and pay taxes.

In the name of civil rights there is discrimination- but only for those of northern European descent.

In the name of civil rights what was for thousands of years considered to be perversion and debauchery is celebrated and given legal preference over heterosexual marriage and family.

In the name of civil rights wicked people “celebrate their abortions” and encourage and promote abortion on demand.  Let’s call “abortion” what it is, murdering a human being-in spite of scientific proof that human life begins at conception.  Never mind that “a woman’s right to choose” begins with the word NO, unless she is willing to accept the potential consequences of her sexual behavior.

The definition of civil rights has transformed from the essential right of a human being to be regarded as equal to other human beings to that pithy dictum from Orwell’s Animal Farm: “Some pigs are more equal than others.”

We shouldn’t be surprised by what’s happening.  Even the framers’ best attempts to keep our government honest and balanced haven’t been entirely effective, and they won’t be, because there is no such thing as a 100% honest person. I am not a Calvinist, but I agree, John Calvin was completely correct in his assessment of the total depravity of man.  The current corruption and debauchery of those in American government at all levels are living proof that Calvin was right on that point. (I would argue with him on limited atonement and irresistible grace, but I am a Lutheran and that is a whole different issue.)

We have been warned.  I will give a brief disclaimer before I get into what I’m going to say.  I am a Christian.  I am a confessional (meaning I accept the teachings of the Book of Concord, i.e. the Lutheran Confessions, as being a true witness to the veracity of Scripture) Lutheran Christian which is not a popular form of Christianity here in the US.  Confessional Lutherans do not adhere to the “Left Behind” style of eschatology(eschatology is the study of end times) that is popular in apocalyptic action movies.   Rather, I hold to the confessional Lutheran stance of sola scriptura, which means: Scripture alone.  My eschatology (amillennialism)is derived from what the Holy Scriptures have to say about the days leading up to the return of the Lord and the end of days.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 (ESV)

I am not going to presume to set dates for the end of the world.  I think it’s funny when people try.  Jesus told us pretty much what we need to know about the end of the world in Matthew 24:36-51.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Is Not the Time for “Civility,” and the Eloquence of Stating the Obvious

captain obvious

It’s sad that in this politically correct world, that young adults are encouraged to cling neurotically to “safe spaces” where they won’t be hurt by cruel (though often true) words.  It’s bad enough that these poor kids grew up believing that everyone gets a trophy, but to believe that everything is OK just because you can’t or won’t face reality is simply cowardice and stupidity.

Ignoring the present Muslim invasion is ignoring history.  Of course, history isn’t taught as it should be, for if it were, the Western world would  not have forgotten the lessons of the past.  One would think that the relatively recent rise and fall of Nazism and the end of Soviet Communism would serve as stout warnings against totalitarian and/or collectivist movements, but apparently stupidity dies hard.  Islam, in spite of being a false and counterfeit religion, has been around much longer than either Nazism or Communism.  It’s been in the death and deceit business a very long time.

Radical Islam vs_ the west

 

As the world has witnessed over the past few decades of so-called Arab liberation, Islam is anything but peaceful. Islam does not seek to co-exist with other value systems, nor does it seek for its adherents to hold hands and sing about living in harmony with everyone.   It is more of a brutal and archaic socioeconomic system than it is a religion, even though in its barbarity it hides behind the worship of an ancient Arabic moon-god idol.  Islam deifies a false god that is most certainly NOT the One True God that Jews and Christians worship.  At best, Islam should be considered a nihilistic death cult that should be shunned and condemned by the civilized world.  Until just the past few decades, this was the position of the Western world.  Why we have felt the need to defend or protect those who belong to value systems that want anyone outside of that value system dead is beyond me.

I never want any female relative or descendant of mine to have to be enslaved by Islam- hidden behind a burqa, and beholden to the whims of “men” who think it perfectly acceptable to behead anyone they disagree with, and to fornicate with anything that has a hole in it.  Unless perhaps that something is a pig or a dog?  In a way I find it interesting that Islamic law considers dogs unclean.  There’s something about calling something good evil that smacks of irony here.

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Clara is actually very clean for a dog.  And she doesn’t wipe her ass with her bare hand.

I can’t help but see a very clear lesson from the past.  Neville Chamberlain thought that if he appeased Hitler that appeasement would bring peace.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  Ann Coulter has her usual catty and spot on insight on this here.

Obama (and with far less noble aims than Chamberlain) either thinks that he can buy peace from radical Islam by allowing their invaders to settle here freely, or he knows full well that he is opening the door to a foreign and hostile army by settling “refugees” in this country.  Considering Obama’s actions and affiliations in the past, he is most likely aiding and abetting Islamic terror with full purpose and intent.  Either of those above choices is a bad choice, because there is no brokering peace with an ideology hell bent upon war.  Inviting them in only makes the war all the more inevitable.  One does not appease alligators by feeding them.  Feeding alligators only makes them stronger and hungrier, as we should have learned from Hitler.

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This is not the time for civility.  It is the time for blunt honesty no matter who gets butt hurt about it.  There are people who follow an ideology- Islam-  that calls for the death of everyone outside of that system.  Even though this ideology hides behind the façade of religion, in truth, we ignore the evil of radical Islam to our peril.

 

 

Whatever I Fear, the List is Long

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I do believe in a literal hell, even though this rendering sort of reminds me of a mosh pit backlit with a red light.  Jesus talked about hell frequently in the Bible, and I don’t think He was being allegorical.  This being said, thankfully, I have neither the authority nor the desire to consign anyone to that realm.  There are enough horrors right here on this earth to convince me that I don’t want to see such things escalate or continue.

I’m sure that the way I’m wired has something to do with the fact that I tend toward fear most of the time.  Now that I’m older and have the life experience and scripts to be bit more rational about my fears, I don’t always appear to be a deer in the headlights, but those fears are far closer to the surface than I would like to acknowledge.

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I’m not necessarily talking about dreams one has while sleeping.  I almost never have the vivid and terrifying dreams I had as a child, but neither do I have the wonderful, majestic visions in “good” dreams I once enjoyed either.  If I remember my dreams at all, they are usually rather banal and bland.   Whether the neutralization of my dreams is a side effect of the medications I take, or this numbing occurs because I seldom sleep soundly, or this graying effect can be attributed to the cumulative grimy jadedness of age, I don’t know.  I am thankful for the dearth of terrifying nightmares, but I could use a really good fantasy or two to savor these days.

full mourningWhy does Victorian mourning garb remind me of burqas?

I am terrified of the prospect that some day my granddaughter could be forced to wear a burqa and be subjugated to the barbaric laws of Islam. Maybe I am over reacting to what I see and read, but history has much to teach us about Islam and what happens when radical Islamists find their ways into civilization.

burqa-banNot here.  Not unless it is a personal choice and 100% voluntary. And who would voluntarily choose this?

I remember as a child being afraid (and this was during the Cold War) that the Soviet Union would randomly nuclear bomb the entire world into kingdom come. Of course my childhood was filled with fear around-the-clock,  fear of pretty much everything apart from dogs and books.

offended yoda

Historically speaking it takes pretty dire situations to wake up the American people.  We like to stay quiet and peaceful and complacently bucolic.  For the most part that is not a bad thing, except when change is necessary or a great adversity needs to be overcome.

We have dealt with an ever increasing degree of corruption, graft and cronyism in our government at all levels.  Obama is arguably the very worst and most corrupt president this country has ever seen, so much so that his very ineptitude and disdain for this country and disregard for the people is waking people up. We are pissed. We are afraid for our future, and we are realizing the need to do something about it.

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Evil Must Be Named, Rabid Dogs, and Insanity

terroristHey, you, Terrorist Joe- your freedom of religion ends when your “religion” tells you to kill me.

I’ve been watching the events of the world unfold for the past few weeks (actually I am a more avid observer of current events and of history’s unfolding than I appear to be) and I have a few observations I believe are worth sharing.

Obama Muslim Brotherhood

First of all, Barack Hussein Obama is a joke- a sad, sick and deadly joke, but still a joke.  I’ve known this since 2008 when I saw this ass-clown running for president, and I thought (erroneously, sadly enough) that the American people couldn’t possibly be that stupid.  However, a little creative fixing by the Chicago machine, a complete whitewash (pun intended) of a shady character’s nebulous past, and a lame, senile Republican candidate (remember John McCain?) to run against, and we have the first ever foreign traitor squatting in our White House.  Repeat in 2012 just to make it interesting- all made easier because now there are even more illegals and dead people voting Democrat than ever before. So we are still burdened with this effete, weak, and completely clueless wanna-be dictator squatting in our White House, blithely putting out the welcome mat for every radical Muslim terrorist nut job in the world.

temperance ladiesI bet these girls led some pretty lonely lives.

I freely admit that I am as white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant as the day is long, so I can’t say that I’m an authority on Islam or that I can attest to what ALL Muslims believe.  I freely admit that when I was taking adult Confirmation classes (late 1980s) that our Pastor taught that Islam is a cult and a false religion.  He didn’t go in depth about Islam except to point out that it is a counterfeit, a poor substitute for the truth, and that Muslims deny the divinity of Christ. That being said, obviously they are not Christians.  I can deal with people not being Christian.  I have a good number of friends who claim to be atheist for what it’s worth.

I am not one of those obnoxious individuals who insists that everyone who believes differently than me is going to fry in the eternal fires of hell.  I believe in hell, and that there will be people who end up there, but I generally don’t try to shove my interpretation of Christianity on anyone.  As a confessional Lutheran (as well as someone who pretty much also subscribes to Molinism,) I believe humans are powerless to bring themselves to saving faith.  It’s God Who does the saving.  Now the Holy Spirit can and does work through people, and as a Christian I am supposed to let that happen, but as far as winning hearts… that’s not something I can do- apart from God Himself.

Proverbs

While as a Christian I would be thrilled to see everyone come to saving faith in Christ, in this country one has the right under the First Amendment to worship whoever, or whatever, or nothing at all.  It’s none of my business if you want to bark at the moon, hail Satan, or worship a 1993 Ford Escort- as long as none of that involves pushing your religion off on me, or worse, killing me if I don’t dance around your particular tree.

Isis Crescent Moon

From what I have discerned, Islam was founded upon the visions of a deranged individual (Mohammed) who devised a bastard theology that mixed together the worship of an Arabic moon-god with some elements of Judaism and Christianity, with a little bit of child molestation and bestiality thrown in there for fun. Oh, and let’s not forget how Islam regards and treats women.

burqa-ban

While the burqa would save time on hair styling and makeup, it would make driving a bit awkward.  Walking too.

I don’t care if you really want to believe in the false religion of Islam- or if you want to bark at the moon or pee on trees- that’s your business- until you take it to the point where you believe that you have express permission to kill everyone who doesn’t subscribe to the same ideology.

donald trump

I agree with Donald Trump that people who buy in to the belief system of radical Islam should not be permitted to immigrate to the United States.  As long as there are Islamic terror groups who chant “Death to America” and who think it’s OK to annihilate the “infidels”- and who are doing so with impunity around the world- then they can keep themselves and their belief system back in the third world holes from which they came.

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I don’t understand why people can’t see the parallels between Islamic terror groups and Nazism.  Some will be quick to say that Nazism was a political ideology rather than a religion.  I would be even quicker to say that radical Islam is even more evil as a political ideology because it uses a (false) religion as a smoke screen for its true nihilistic purpose.  All Hitler had to fly on was junk science and fabricated Nordic myths.

Winston Churchill once said that “Islam in a man is like rabies in a dog.”  The sad thing about both rabies and radical Islam is there is no cure for either apart from killing the host organism.

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Radical Islam is an evil, nihilistic force in this world that is fatal (like rabies) and much like Nazism, seeks to spread and kill and destroy anything that contradicts it.  Allowing more of this nihilistic ideology into the United States or any other civilized part of the world is pure idiocy and ignorance.

Where is common sense? Why can’t we call evil what it is?

 

 

 

 

Gruß vom Krampus (Greetings from the Krampus)

Gruss_vom_Krampus

Krampus knows who is naughty.  Oh, yes he does.

When it comes to holiday mythology, Krampus is a blast from the Bavarian past.  Those pagans had some pretty weird myths that persist even to this day.

Today the common wisdom is we don’t want to scare little Jimmy or Janie around the holidays, and heaven forbid we use anything involving Christmas gifts (or the absence thereof) to bribe children into good behavior.  We wouldn’t want to give the little critters nightmares or saddle them with performance anxiety, now would we?  We just want everyone to get his or her 12th place trophy, so nobody has to endure any of the humiliation that is rightfully deserved when one’s performance completely sucks.  That goes right along with that old standby,”Stay behind with the rest of the class,” and all of that happy PC horseshit that has put most of the American educational system squarely in the shitter.

homeschool-domination

Because a parent with the motivation to home school won’t take your shit, or your excuses, kids.  If I had to do it over again…I would not have subjected my son to public schools (even though they weren’t quite as bad then.)

Heaven forbid we do any damage to his or her precious little self-esteem- even if by sheltering children we consign them to a life of mediocrity and allow them to become habitual freeloaders and whiners and just plain people who suck.

Back in the dark ages (rural Ohio in the 1970s…) it was more than OK to hang the fear of no Christmas gifts over children’s heads.  You could scare kids in any way imaginable  to make them behave, as long as it didn’t leave any marks, bruises or bleeding that would be visible in public.

He knows when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake.

He knows when you’ve been bad or good…and he’s here for your soul to take!

Enter-Sandman-metallica-33942182-1271-613

Ok, so I may have confused Krampus with Freddy Krueger (I did have quite a thing for 80’s slasher flicks back in the day) but it’s sort of the same concept.

I can agree that keeping a child in a constant state of terror has its disadvantages, especially when one factors in stress-induced illnesses, but as far as behavior control goes, you can’t beat fear.  I spent most of my childhood scared shitless of virtually everything, but the upside was, I was quiet and didn’t cause trouble.  I was mortally afraid to cause trouble, because in my world even cutting a popcorn fart would bring down the Wrath of God.   In my mother’s economy farting was considered a sin that you had to bring to Confession.  Really. Farting.

The bad thing was that I got in trouble even for doing things most parents would consider “right” – such as hiding in a corner reading and trying to remain invisible so I wouldn’t get the shit beat out of me by my sisters and the neighborhood kids.  Most parents would be delighted if their children were quiet and unobtrusive to the point of blending into the wall.

Blending-into-Backgrounds-600x578

I got really good at making myself scarce. It is a valuable skill even today.  Especially today.

Of course, as in all things, balance and moderation is the key.  It disturbs me that the message to kids today is that no matter what you do, we just luv, luv, you anyway, and we think you’re fantastic and excellent and perfect, even if your only skill is sucking up valuable oxygen.  Nobody ever dares to tell a child his or her performance sucks even when it clearly does. When parents and teachers purvey the 12th place awards and all that feel good nonsense, it sends a message loud and clear that ending up being 40+ wearing Hello Kitty jammies and playing video games in your parents’ basement is a perfectly viable path to pursue.

My parents took the opposite extreme.  They took the noblesse oblige narrative to a level unheard of today.  I got the constant covert message that, “You suck even when you excel, because you can do better.”  I got grounded and lost basic privileges for “B” grades, for instance.

obsessed

Most of the time this works out for me.  Unless someone wants me to do something I utterly hate, or anything late at night.