Teacher’s Video Resignation Letter   Leave a comment

Couldn’t have said it better myself. My resignation letter to the Woodbridge Board of Education after just 6 years as an educator was a one-liner. This man’s 3 page letter is a good introduction to Education 101 post-Federal Goverment meddling.


Senate Commission on Mass Shootings?   Leave a comment

Joe Lieberman, Dick Durbin Call For Senate Commission On Mass Shootings- AP

“Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who is retiring, supports such a ban but said there should also be a national commission to scrutinize gun laws and loopholes, as well as the nation’s mental health system and the role that violent video games and movies might play in shootings. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois said he would support such a panel, adding that it was time for a “national discussion” that included school safety.”

It doesn’t surprise me that the horrific massacre of so many young children finally spurs this country into action. However, the very thought of a Senate Commission on Mass Shootings seems counter-productive. I know we need to take a hard look at guns, violence, our cultural leanings regarding maleness, and our educational system, among so much more. But, I don’t have confidence in the Senate, or anything related to the White House to do it.

That being said, I commend Joe Lieberman, and Dick Durbin for including the nation’s mental health system as part of the discussion. However, it isn’t just school safety that needs to be discussed, but also the distressing intrusion of the Federal Government into the business of education. As an institution, education has become less and less about the children and more about high-stakes testing and fear that the US is falling behind competitively (read: not churning out workers who can keep large corporations and stockholders in the money). I have children in the public school system, and they should not be subjected to expectations designed to create a certain data set that purports to measure academic success.

Sandy Hook, CT, USA   Leave a comment

It is my belief that a coordinated effort must be made to reduce such senseless events. Not only is access to deadly weapons an issue, but access to mental health professionals, insurance and the stigma of mental illness all play a roll. Finally, we see China as a country that puts incredible pressure to perform and conform on its citizens. As a mother of two young men educated in our public school system, I can tell you that we have yet to find a solution to the tragically narrow sphere of life we expect our youngsters to function in. What do attacks such as this say about our public schools? Couple that with the growing number of work hours and sacrifices we have to make in our unbalanced profit- driven economy to just keep our heads above water and you have an inkling of the enormity of this problem. And I can guarantee you that few, if any, education administrators will consider the school environment as part of a larger systemic disease.

This is an eloquent and fair-minded blog post. It is a must read-   Leave a comment

This is an eloquent and fair-minded blog post. It is a must read-

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

‘We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.” – Anais Nin

If there’s one word that seemed to characterize Romney supporters’ immediate reaction to Obama’s victory, it’s “shock.”

A conservative Facebook friend posted this status: “For the first time in my life I am at a loss for words…absolutely baffled by the electorate and the election results, especially considering the current state the country is in.”

A radio reporter interviewed a woman at the Romney campaign party in Denver shortly after the election was called. Her response simmered with anger as she pondered the reality of how more than half the nation had voted: “What don’t they see?? It’s mind-boggling!”

What they don’t see are people like me.

I’m a 50-year-old white woman who lives in the swing state of Colorado. I’m married, I’m a mom, I have a PhD, and I’m a Christian…

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What is Mental Illness?   Leave a comment

Biology comes to mind. Why, because we know that certain medications act on our brains in such a way as to reduce some of the symptoms of mental illness.

This is what I call the back door diagnosis. Because we really can’t prove mental illness exits beyond the fact that some of us, maybe a lot of us, are better because of the medicine. Which brings me to the title of this little tome. I don’t intend to answer the question, just so you know.

Every day millions of people are diagnosed with mental illness. The book of diagnosis’s for mental illness is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. According to Wikipedia, it provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers. In other words, it helps doctors, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies categorize all the crazies out there into more manageable groups- like chunking.

Recently, I spent 2 weeks in Arizona training for a new job with about twenty-some odd twenty- and thirty-somethings. In the evening, some of us tended to congregate at the hotel pool and a light hearted game of “I take more medications than you do,” and “What’s my Diagnosis? Would occur. A Kind of spontaneous “What’s my Line?” for the millennium set.

But what I wonder about in all this game playing of who takes what, is have we forgotten that life is difficult and painful for everyone and the human, the decent thing to do is to try to rise above it and reach out a hand to the next guy, just for a moment to say, yeah, I feel that way too sometimes?

Strange Stories   Leave a comment

Once my mother told me the pediatrician she took me and my sisters to would systematically break our hymen’s with tongue depressors because he believed it would save us pain later in life. Her dramatic retelling of the time she refused to allow him to do it and stormed out of his office indignantly left no sense of relief or safety at her hands, but emblazoned in my mind a visceral memory of it so chilling she left me feeling cold at her contrived rage.

And later a clammy nausea would settle over me as I realized I had never bled or felt pain during my first sexual encounter.

My mother had a strange way of telling stories or describing events that would matter-of-factly reveal something so horrific and devastating that happened to me as commonplace, so that I was often left wondering.

Did she tell me this to relieve her guilt for not protecting me, her daughter? Was this the proof she needed, and that she wanted me to have too, that the world is cruel, people are dangerous, and she could hurt me vicariously whenever she chose to? My mother nurtured a deep and dark revenge for her own suffering that left me feeling she was evil incarnate, even as she sought to convince me otherwise.

My mother’s love. A twisted inversion that she hoped would serve to bind me to her in terror of the wider world, so that she would never have to experience her own rage and deep sense of abandonment. She was the lamb led to the slaughter, sacrificed at the foot of own mother’s fear, and I was groomed to be hers.

What I know now is that no matter how we try to protect ourselves from the family roles we are given, they are written in stone. Only distance from the charade protects me from it, but ultimately, in refusal to be like her I must be near her again.

In fact, am often consumed with keeping her safe as if she was a helpless child. I can’t help but wonder at this role play. Why do I protect so fiercely someone who clearly used – me as her pawn with no regard for me?

My mother, who I desperately try to remain invisible to, who I have learned to present to as a pleasant and sweet daughter to disguise my own rage for- I am left unsure of just who I am separate of her narrative.

Fragile X   Leave a comment

The Sun is gleaming off the airplane wing. I am surprised at how pleasant and substantial the clouds look in the sky. We’ve been in the air for about forty- five minutes. I have several hours before I can call- find out how’re you are doing. I am sending you lots of hugs and kisses and love. I hope you feel it.

Jonathan, you are feeling all this in a very big and strong way, and that can be scary. But, I promise even these big and overpowering feelings will not destroy you. I know how much you love Laurie, and it must not make any sense to you why she did this. I know you wonder what you did wrong. I can’t answer that, and it may be that you did nothing wrong. Being young and being in love isn’t easy. And sometimes feelings can change abruptly for no obvious reason. Be proud of yourself that you love Laurie! It is an important milestone in your life. It is part of being an adult. Congratulate yourself! I am serious.

I know you are going to be fine- Jay. Your dad will stay with you on the phone while he drives home. By now, maybe Suzie or Mike got in touch with you. And Nick will be home soon, too. Ultimately, you will find your own way to feeling a little better, but it is nice to have people around you who care about you- who can give you a little love, kindness, and support when you are feeling so very very bad.

People feel hurt, sad, and lonely all the time in life and eventually the feelings change. Maybe you will feel angry, or regretful, later. Maybe you’ll feel like it is all okay. I can’t say how long it will take to change, but it will feel less strong. Soon, it will weaken and you will feel a little better.

That doesn’t mean that what happened doesn’t matter, or wasn’t real. It is real and it hurts. Everybody hurts at some point in our lives. It is a part of being alive- part of the journey we have undertaken here on this earth- our temporary home.

When you were little you went through a period of time when you were afraid of death and dying. I say death AND dying, because we can be afraid of death and not really feel the possibility of our own death. But you did. Often, before going to sleep you would say something about it. Of course, I would reassure you about it, and you would soon fall asleep. Do you remember that?

I couldn’t help but wonder back then about your temperament. Were you going to be an anxious or scared child? How would you be when you grew up? I was a young mother then, and was still learning about these things myself (and still am- that doesn’t stop). I had only my experience to go by, but your fears seemed to last a little longer and run a little deeper. I was afraid you were going to be an emotionally fragile child. Afraid that you would break easily, and all that it implies. I didn’t know then, what I know now about how feelings work.

Now, I myself was (and still am) emotionally fragile. I am scared of many things. Most of all, I am afraid of loosing the people I love. There are many ways to loose people you love- having them leave you is just one. All are terrifying and unfathomable and seemingly bottomless. That is a fact. It is immutable.

But! I have lived many years, and maybe a life or two, who knows? And I have learned a thing or two. What I have learned is that people who feel things strongly are the very best people, because of this very thing. Because of how strongly they feel pain and joy, and because of these strong emotions, they themselves are very strong. Very strong. So are you. And you will only grow stronger my dearest boy. That too is a fact.

You are very loved and very precious to me and your father. And to your grandparents and your aunts and uncles.

I hope you are feeling a little bit better.

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