Ask Jonathots … November 19th, 2015

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I am a working woman, a wife and a mother of two teenage girls–one age 13 and the other 14. I have just come to an odd realization: my girls are brats. We have spoiled them. They don’t appreciate gifts, they demand the newest everything and I see trouble coming in spades. Sometimes I don’t even like them. I feel like I’m in this alone, especially since my husband thinks I’m blowing everything out of proportion? What should I do?

First and foremost, let me explain that if you did not go through a moment or two as a parent of thinking your kids are brats, you probably can be declared legally insane.

We have a source problem in this country. What do I mean by that?

We buy products, we see end results and we view the culmination of effort… without ever having any idea on the source of how it came to be.

Your daughters are not brats, but they are completely unaware of the effort that goes into the events and conveniences which they now take for granted.

In earlier years, when families lived on farms, young kids were not better than they are today, but they had to go to the barn and grab a cow teat if they wanted milk for their cereal. They had to go out into the field, plant seeds and hoe weeds if they were going to take a product to market in order to acquire the pair of shoes for which they yearned.

It wasn’t a better time but the system took you from seed to corn, from cow to milk and from chores to completion, when playtime could begin.

I’m suggesting you create that environment for a season, so your daughters will be aware of what goes into making a meal, what is involved in paying bills, how a car is maintained, and what people have to do to make sure that the Big Mac has special sauce.

Take your girls back to the source.

There are many farms in this country where you can go pick your own berries, or you can go to a fish pond to catch a fish to bring it home, scale it and fry it in the pan.

Your girls are victims of a society which expects perfection without ever seeing the trial and error.

Now, they will be reluctant to do anything since they are teenagers, but if you wade through their bad attitudes and throw them into the waters of discovery to learn to swim, they will gain a whole new appreciation…for what it takes to turn a cow eating grass into a cheeseburger.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 47 (April 20th, 1969) Demise… December 27, 2014

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Even though I only lived a few blocks from the high school, I drove my car there–because I could.

I also went home for lunch even though it was basically against policy. Once again, because I could.

On April 20th, I decided to drive to my abode to raid the refrigerator, avoiding the cafeteria surprises. On my way I stopped off at my mom and dad’s little loan company and there was a note on the door. It read:

Closed. Family Emergency.

I knew what that meant.

My dad was in failing health. More accurately stated, he was dying. Forty-five years of cigarette smoking had caught up with him, riddling his body with cancer. So desperate was his situation that there was a quiet celebration among the family when it was discovered that the disease had spread to his brain and in doing so, had closed off the pain centers, making him less of the suffering soul.

I didn’t want to go to the house but I knew it was expected. I pulled up in the driveway and was climbing the steps to the porch when I first heard it: from the upstairs, through the walls, was the hideous volume of my dad gasping for air.

It was a death rattle.

I could not bring myself to go in. I turned around, headed back to school and was so angry–at my dad and at myself–that I skipped the next two classes.

I was furious at myself for being so cowardly, and a rotten person because I didn’t want to be near my father in his last moments.

And I was infuriated with him for destroying his body with smoke instead of dealing with his inadequacies.

I arrived back at school for the last hour of classes. After the session was over for the day I headed to a friend’s house and hung out for the rest of the evening.

Nobody knew where I was. I liked it that way.

I arrived home at ten o’clock. My older brother was waiting for me. He told me that our dad had passed away a couple of hours earlier.

I didn’t feel much, barely even noticing how pissed off my brother was that I hadn’t been there for the death-bed.

He was my dad–but I never knew him. And in like manner, he didn’t know that much about me.

Now he was dead. His ashes of ashes would turn to dust.

I cried.

Honestly, it was not for my lost parent. I cried, feeling sorry for myself.

He deserved a better son. But he should have been wise enough to realize that teenage sons don’t get better.

That is the duty and the mission … of a father.

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Jesonian: Baby Talk… December 21, 2014

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Goo-goo.

Da-da.

Ma-ma.

La-la.

Baby talk.

Jesus was a baby.

He didn’t come out of Mary’s womb espousing great parables with immaculate diction. Being human and very tiny in his understanding, he pointed to things and tried to express his inner feelings.

So “goo-goo” was goodness.

“Da-da” was Father God.

“Ma-ma” was Mother Earth.

And “la-la” was love your neighbor.

The magic of the Christmas season is that Jesus was a baby, pooping his pants, urping up mother’s milk and using baby talk.

I am one believer who feels we would be better off if the entire gospel of life was expressed in baby talk, so that we all could become children and therefore inherit the Kingdom of God.

So on this day, I say to you: “Goo-goo,” which means that goodness is achieved when we confront the mediocre before it slides into the pits of evil.

I mouth to you: “Da-da.” God is my Father, and in that position, He is not my Creator, but rather, my parent.

With a bit of drool around the corners of my mouth, I say: “Ma-ma.” Learn Mother Earth. Discern the signs of your times. The Earth is the Lord’s so respect it. Don’t be ignorant of what is current.

And finally, “La-la.” We should love our neighbor as ourselves. Without this, we become dangerously self-involved, precariously at the mercy of others who possess too much self-love and ignore us in our time of need.

Baby talk.

For after all, out of the mouth of a Babe we received great words of wisdom. 

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G-22: Complain or Comply… May 2, 2014

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baby and parentsWhen a man loves a woman and she returns in kind, often the by-product of such an encounter is a kid.

It is procreation. It is the little surprise offered to us which pops up nine months later at the end of a seven-second orgasm.

First, let’s establish some ground rules: No human being is born to be a parent. We were born to be children who hopefully learn to function in an adult world.

Much to the chagrin of those around me, I must state that the notion of a maternal or a paternal instinct is at least elusive, if not mythical. Matter of fact, those who tout that they can offer seminars on parenting are perhaps some of the more dangerous individuals in our society.

Here are two basic principles about the process of bringing human beings into a world based on our own desires:

1. Ideas and actions transfer well from parent to child.

In other words, kids are more likely to pick up on your prejudices and your vices than anything else.

2. On the other hand, feelings and beliefs are often lost in the translation of growing up.

So even though you may insist that you taught your children to feel a certain way and believe in God, they will either deny such training or rebel against it. This is why ideas get overblown from one generation to another and actions are exaggerated.

For instance, a father who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day will probably end up with a son who smokes two. A mother who is prejudiced against a certain race will raise a child who is much more demonstrative in his or her hatred.

So all feelings and faith have to be born again in each and every human. There is no transfusion of God from one individual to another. Yet at the same time, hate passes freely and bad deeds, fluidly.

So what can a parent do?

This was the problem for man and woman when they ended up with two sons. Even though both children came through the same birth canal, the tide and flow of their lives was quite different. One ended up being a complainer and the other, a complier.

I cannot truthfully tell you that one of these choices is better than the other. It seems more righteous, certainly, to comply–but at the same time, on some occasions it is essential to question.

And even though complaining is normally a whiny vice, it does afford time for reflection instead of just blind faith.

But in actual time–in other words, real life experience–complaining has a tendency to close down the door to learning, while complying at least puts us on the field of play for possible growth.

Two brothers, raised in the same household, with different philosophies, who are destined to collide.

What can mom and dad do? When could they have done it? And how effective would it have been?

This is the trio of questions all parents end up asking themselves–especially after some contentious, or even disastrous, results.

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Populie: America Is Exceptional … April 9, 2014

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American flag colorsTricky business.

How can you maintain a conviction without attacking or denigrating others if they disagree?

It is a huge problem, personified, I believe, in the popular belief that “America’s great,” intermingled with the lie, “we are better than others.”

It generates the populie, “America is exceptional.”

And by the way–good luck objecting to that in a room full of people.

  • For after all, politics loves it because the cheers come easily.
  • Religion observes it to welcome a patriotic element in the congregation, willing to attend.
  • Entertainment is always aware that butts in seats are more easily placed if asses are kissed.

But what is the truth? Let’s look at it using the element of common sense. Exceptional is a status. Case in point: if someone said you were an exceptional parent, you would suddenly feel the responsibility of the title, and need to continue your status through effort, fully aware that greater scrutiny will certainly be coming your way.

So therefore if we declare our nation to be exceptional, the proclamation comes with responsibilities. We must:

1. Lead the world in freedom and human rights.

2. Challenge mediocrity and reward the pursuit of excellence.

3. Reject self-satisfaction in favor of true self-awareness.

4. Follow through on all men and women being created equal.

5. Constantly be on the cutting edge of science and technology.

6. Speak out against injustice.

7. Take care of our own people and teach them to have a heart for others.

8. Lead by example.

Which leads me to an interesting conclusion–if we did the eight things listed above, there would be no need to claim the title of exceptional.

For after all, the world would know us by our fruits.

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