Why I’m Glad I’m Not a Kid: Part Four

Media and conversations continue to remind me how relieved I am NOT to be a kid these days. It’s like kids are expected to come from the womb knowing exactly who they are and what they want from life.

If you read my other posts in this series, you might recall that I wanted to be a secret agent at one point. Oh, and if I didn’t wish to be a horse, I pretended to be a boy. All of this to say school isn’t about learning the basics anymore.

Recently, I realized that I had another advantage over kids these days. Of course, movies and journalists will claim it means I was brainwashed, but I was expected to adhere to a specific set of rules. And my mother took me to the church she believed taught the right things.

So Many Beliefs

Our world is diverse in so many ways. There are different races and religions. People choose political affiliation.

Cultures stress family units or individual achievement. Books are written about things as vague as basketweaving to the ridiculous notion of a zombie apocalypse.

Who’s to say what’s right or wrong?

Well, in the world of what I want to believe, I get to decide what is right for me. And, as a parent, I’m responsible for teaching my child the difference between right behavior and wrong behavior.
How did any of us survive with our mothers feeding us cow’s mile in our bottles? Everyone knows babies can process all those harsh proteins. They need their mother’s milk or expensive formula.
But we did survive. Our parents fed us what they ate.
Medical research has since declared cow’s milk “unhealthy” for infants. But did babies die from drinking it back in the day when people didn’t know better?
Maybe. Most likely they developed some form of allergic reaction. Even I was allergic to the fat in milk. It made my skin bubble up and itch.
All this to say that no person can teach their child every different belief system. In fact, they should give due diligence to being consistent living their own beliefs and explaining them to their children.
This whole “We don’t take our kid to church because we want them to choose their own beliefs” mentality confuses me. Introducing your children to what you believe is choosing to believe it for them?
I think not. You’ll put the Crest toothpaste on the counter in the bathroom and watch them brush their teeth twice per day. Why Crest? Is it really better than Colgate or Aquafresh or the store brand?
How can you force your toothpaste choice on your child?
Even more to the point, why do you make them brush their teeth anyway? What if they believe bad breath is better?

Pressure to Conform

Children will face pressure to conform.
If the parents don’t give them a baseline of acceptable responses (based on their own worldviews and societal standards), they’re setting their child up to fall in with the loudest voice.
For a few years, parents can be the only voice a child hears. And believe me, they will choose to ignore that voice plenty of times. Hopefully there will be consequences when they do.
Fair and consistent outcomes won’t happen very often in the larger world, but parents can make sure they happen in their child’s pre-school world. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to do it?
Because you’re brainwashing your child to be a Christian or a person who bathes or someone who eats three balanced meals per day?
As soon as they begin interacting with other kids, the pressure is on. Eventually, they’ll want different toys, different clothes, and different opportunities.
Do they really need these things to become a well-rounded individual?
Or if they conform to these expectations, are they being brainwashed by larger society to believe and act a certain way?

Freedom to Choose

God created humans to have free will.
Every person should have freedom to choose for themselves. God said so. He set the universe in place on that truth.

But if there is a choice, there is a right one and a wrong one.

Just because being a doctor is right for some people, it’s wrong for me. I don’t like to listen to a sick person’s list of complaints. I don’t want to go to school for a decade and be exposed to every bodily fluid.

But that doesn’t mean being a doctor is wrong. We need conscientious doctors who care about the physical and emotional well-being of people.

I wouldn’t be that doctor.

This is a case where the freedom to choose will give individuals unique outcomes. What’s right for one isn’t right for all.

However, children need to eat protein and vitamins. If they don’t, their brains and bodies won’t grow to optimum potential.

And fortified cereal isn’t the same as fresh fruit and organic eggs. Even if all the nutrients are the same, we know the foods aren’t equal. One choice is healthier for the developing human than the other.

In this case, freedom to choose can have a negative outcome if you choose poorly. And there is a better, more healthy choice.

All choices aren’t created equal even if the right to make them is consistent across the board.

I’m glad my mother didn’t give me a choice. Even though it meant eating liver and butternut squash, I didn’t get to choose to have a bologna and cheese sandwich instead. It meant I had to pick up rocks, pull weeds and clean toilets, but I’m not afraid to work hard and I know how to take care of my yard, garden (ugh, or how to NOT have one) and home.

I wouldn’t have been able to make good choices about many things in my life when I was a kid. If I’m honest, I still make poor choices as a middle-aged adult woman.

Let’s face it the $5 lunch from Dairy Queen sound delicious. And so much easier to make than fresh fruit, plain yogurt and sliced red peppers. But which one is a healthier choice?

What Being Anesthetized Showed Me about Life

I recently endured my first experience “under anesthesia.” The experience opened my eyes to a few things: namely how many people walk through life in this state.

Sure, all of us need a local anesthetic from time to time. Who wants the dentist drilling without a little Novacane? And isn’t that what a slice of pie is for after a hard day being misunderstood?

This post isn’t about those temporary moments of escapism from the ugliness of life. I spent an entire year escaping into books one time…because those fantasy worlds knew nothing of divorce and abandonment.

Adulthood means you have to face these disappointments, but nothing says you can’t take a break here and there with your local anesthetic of choice.

Living under the influence of the Big Bopper of general anesthesia? That’s what put our world in the ugly bind we’re facing.

Anesthetize: to render physically insensible, as by a substance that produces a general loss of the senses of feeling (pain, heat, cold, touch)

What it Means

anesthetize_defin

There’s the dictionary definition of the word (thank to dictionary.com).

Feeling nothing because a foreign substance has blocked the receptors in your brain.

That was great in the operating room. Scalpels cut into my abdomen. Scopes and tubes moved around in there to locate and remove the offending organs.

I didn’t want to feel any of that. And the doctors wouldn’t have been to concentrate if I had been feeling the pain.

That doesn’t mean my body wasn’t affected. Nope. That’s why I spent a few days with my feet up and holding my side whenever I engaged my abdominal muscles.

Without the anesthetic, my brain registered every dislocated cell.

If we put this on the societal scale, it means we’re allowing something to deaden our sensibilities.

Mental Anesthesia

I’m one of the first people who turns off the news and tunes out the media. They are the biggest perpetrators of spreading a foreign substance.

Most of the time it incites fury or riots. It encourages people to bicker and complain, call for the revocation of second amendment rights.

But it’s still a mental anesthesia.

Why? Because it dulls independent thought.

Rather than disseminating facts and allowing people to draw conclusions, the media anesthetizes us. They decide which bits of information they will share and how to twist it so hearers respond with emotion.

Anesthetize the higher thinking centers of the brain and stimulate the amygdala, where intense feelings come from.

No need for me to dredge up examples of news articles or videos that were constructed in this way. Just mentioning it has reminded everyone reading this of such a story.

Time to Recover

After my surgery, I woke up in the recovery room. It was here that I blinked sleepily and wondered where I was. The last thing I knew, I’d climbed onto the cold operating table.

And now my mouth was the Kalahari Desert and my eyelids refused to remain open.

What would the recovery room look like for your mind? Maybe you get news from independent sources that report facts. You double-check their sources.

Instead of getting emotional, try engaging your mind.

It took several hours before I was alert enough to walk out of the hospital. The rest of the day was mostly a haze of “what’s going on?” but after a good night’s sleep, my brain could function again.

Are we living under mental anesthesia?

If so, how can we sleep off the foreign substance that’s lulled us into such a state?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.

Already read one or more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.


		

Why our World isn’t ready for Superheroes

No_Superheroes

In a world where people cry over dead gorillas and ignore starving or abused children, we need heroes. Now more than ever. But the world isn’t ready for superheroes.

Thanks to my new site tagline (thanks Social Media Jedi Kristen Lamb), Holding out for a Hero, there is likely to be more posts about what it means to be a hero, heroes in real life and so on.

If you don’t like Captain America, I promise not to make it all about him. If you prefer the anti-hero character type, I’m happy to direct you to some other site.

In my world, good and evil have distinct lines. Evil is never based on personal opinion or preference but by the clear and present danger it causes.

Now, to get this post back on track. There are three major reasons it’s obvious our world isn’t ready for superheroes. I will be using film and real-world examples to reinforce my points. (There will be Captain America references – so sue me!)

Media Inflammation

Everyone is plugged in to the internet. Our phones notify us of updates to social media or our news sites. If we want to know the score for the big game, it’s a click or two away. (And there’s an app for that!)

There’s nothing wrong with being informed, but how well should we trust our sources of information? After all, who didn’t see the posts claiming Jackie Chan died a few months back. Some things are pure hype.

And other posts are an attempt to get a reaction. When I wrote this post, various articles about the Stanford University rapist bogged down my Facebook news feed.  Oh, and the gorilla incident I mentioned in the opening paragraph.

The articles became memes touting personal opinions – and calls for crucifixion of the criminal and the judge who gave him a “light” sentence. Whether I agree with these sentiments or not, the fact that a crime like this can blow up to become a worldwide discussion topic illustrates my point. (According to statistics, 300,000 rapes occur on US university campuses every year, but we’re only hearing about this ONE.)

The Fear of Power

With great power comes great responsibility – Uncle Joe Parker

People who have power fear people who might gain more power. And governments tend to be the biggest fraidy cats of all. This is the reason why information is controlled in so many parts of the world.

Because knowledge is power. If you know the truth, you can act upon it. If the truth can be concealed or packaged as a falsehood, then knowledge loses its edge.

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

In Captain America: Civil War, this truth was clearly demonstrated. After an accident during the apprehension of a terrorist, the United Nations met in an uproar. How dare The Avengers have collateral damage during their mission! Who even gave them permission to go into an African country anyway?

The governments feared the power of The Avengers (and they should). However, their fear wasn’t based in reality. If the team hadn’t stopped the terrorists, biological warfare would have been unleashed elsewhere in the world. Thousands of innocents would have suffered and died.

The UN didn’t care about the outcome, they wanted to control the power. What if The Avengers decided to step into the UN’s business? Who could stop them? But if the UN controlled their missions, the balance of power shifted into their favor.

Don’t be fooled. I used a fictitious example to prove this point, but the news headlines talk about dictators, warlords and plenty of others who exemplify this truth.

Just call us Sue-Happy

Think about some of the amazing rescues you’ve seen in superhero movies or the comics. These are when average people are saved from fires, explosions, criminals and accidents.

Now imagine this scenario. Spiderman sweeps into a burning building and removes two children, an elderly couple and even a cat from the flames. Just in time, too. The building collapses.

What if there was another unconscious person inside? Their family is incensed that Spidey discriminated against them by rescuing a stupid cat instead of their uncle.

And they sue him. Or the fire department. Or whoever they think they can get the money from.

You get burns from HOT liquid?

If you think I’m exaggerating, let me remind you that McDonald’s paid millions to a woman who burned herself on their coffee. Why did she win such a silly lawsuit? Because there was nothing WARNING her that the coffee was hot.

Seriously? Because even a two-year-old understands that something on an electrical burner is HOT.

Perhaps these lawsuits wouldn’t happen because who knows who Spiderman really is. But there would be even more pressure to discover his identity. Would it keep him from making his nightly runs stopping crime and rescuing victims?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In any case, these are only three reasons that screamed out when this topic jumped to the forefront of my mind.

What other reasons are there that might hold superheroes back? What do you see in our world that deters heroics more than it encourages them?

Why Superheroes need to conceal their identity

Superheroes might live among us. Your mail carrier could be one. Or maybe it’s the nerdy IT guy.

After all, many famous comic superheroes have alter egos. This identity conceals their true abilities and after-dark pursuit of justice.

If they didn’t live double lives, they would be considered vigilantes. Even the men and women of the Avengers who saved Earth from alien domination on two separate occasions were seen as vigilantes by some.

Because they worked outside the law to apprehend criminals.

But they always brought them to the authorities for prosecution (if they lived). Just like the A-team of 80s television, the Avengers never planned to use deadly force. Would they? Sure, if the criminals pushed them into it.

The Avengers were a special task force. And while they answered to a government agency (SHIELD), this was acceptable. Once that agency disappeared, people in power started feeling threatened.

It’s about Controlling the Power

There’s a fine line between being powerful and having control.

The Lamborghini is powerful. The driver leashes that power with a steering wheel and brakes. But what if the little plastic line carrying the fluid to those systems is cut? The power is out of control.

In the newest Captain America film, the governments of the world don’t like the idea that a powerful group of trained soldiers can fight crime and terrorism without paying homage to the local authorities.

Secretary of State says, “Where are Thor and the Hulk? If I misplaced two 30 megaton warheads, you can bet there’d be an investigation.”

So Thor and the Hulk are weapons of mass destruction? Wanda is even called that by her own team member. They aren’t people anymore. Only resources to be used by the powers that be.

And those in power are determined to control them. Were the Avengers out of control? Had they overstepped their mission?

No.

Civilians perished. It was tragic. In the process, a terrifying biological agent was kept from the hands of terrorists who would have used it to kill thousands, or even millions.

But no one’s talking about that.

In past movies, the Avengers kept each other in check. They answered to the team collective.

The Avengers were visible. Everyone knew who to blame if things went awry during the display of superhuman abilities. This visibility acted as accountability.

But that wasn’t enough. Politicians saw them only as a weapon, a tactical force to be deployed. Governments wanted a say in where they would go and who they would dispatch.

Hero_or_vigilante

It’s all in the Media Spin

The media spins the stories in our world (and the comic realities). One day they’re hailing the hero who stopped an insane murderer. The next they scream about stopping the vigilantes who are taking the law into their own hands.

In many places, the government controls the media. They can put the spin on the story so it reads like they want. Focus on the few innocents killed in a bad situation rather the thousands saved from something worse.

Superman, Spider-Man and Batman saw their heroic persona degraded and maligned. Is this why they hid behind Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne? As long as no one knows who the man behind the mask is, media can only speculate and criticize.

Did they watch the news with the same hurt as Wanda and Cap? Did the fact they weren’t named keep them from feeling responsible when bystanders got hurt?

The writers make it sound like they keep their secrets to protect those they love from retribution. But is that the only reason? Is there ever only ONE reason?

After seeing the way media hype caused problems for the Avengers, it seems obvious that there are other reasons. Having a secret identity keeps them from being controlled by the powers that be.

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

Should they answer to someone? Most of these superheroes do have contacts on the police force. The masked men and women see themselves as a “special operative.” They must. Why else would they leave those they apprehend trussed up and ready for a reading of Miranda rights?

It’s not super to be a hero in our world. People are threatened by the unselfish pursuit of justice. The media is concerned about twisting things into a story that gets attention.

My hero, Captain America, would’ve been better off flying under the radar. Hard to do when the government creates you specifically to wear the face of their ideal soldier.

There’s no going back now. Cap can’t hide in anonymity.

The real losers in the situation are all the innocents he can’t protect.

Star Wars and My Birthday

A long time ago in this galaxy, Star Wars A New Hope found its way into movie theaters. Lines circled the block in Longview, WA, where I lived with my mother and sister at the time.

I didn’t see it. When its sequel released a few years later, I didn’t watch that either. Yes, I loved Star Trek, but the movie theater wasn’t a place I frequented (cash flow problems).

Enter teenage years and the idea of going on dates. Where does every date want to take you? To the movies. What hormone-riddled teenage boy doesn’t want to corner a girl in a dark place?

It wasn’t like that when I went on a date to Return of the Jedi. He wasn’t that kind of guy.

And I fell in love. With Han Solo and R2D2 and Chewbacca and those cute, cuddly ewoks. So I rented the other movies and watched them. Yes, even whiny Luke Skywalker dazzled me.

My fantasies of moving to Narnia embraced The Force with  all its mysticism. Why not include a few light sabers with my talking horses? Who would ever think up that sort of pairing?

My Parenting

As every good parent does, I indoctrinated my children to love the movies I loved. Sadly, love for the original Star Trek movies never manifested in them.

Star Wars? Oh my, yes. Their adoration reached new heights. To the point that we bought Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, Star Wars Life and the boxed set of episodes one through six.

And many conversations have been held since we learned there would be a new Star Wars movie. The Force Awakens into lively discussions around the Hughson table.

When the release date was announced, we blocked out the date. It would be all about our family renewing our love affair with Han Solo and the wookie. Oh, and those new people, whoever they were.

My Birthday

The filmmakers investigated to discover the day of my birth *snorts* and graciously offered to release the new blockbuster the day before.

However, getting my four adult children together at the same time proved too much for even The Force to accomplish. My oldest had tickets to a premiere through his job. His wife had to work.

My youngest and his fiance were involved in a stage drama with showings that weekend. My husband was offered premiere tickets from two different vendors through his employer.

Our compromise: a 10:30 am viewing on Friday the 18th with my youngest and his girl. This would free them up in plenty of time for their evening commitment.

Was the Force Awakened?

First off, going to the movies before lunch is disorienting. I always come out of a theater expecting the black of night. Going to P.F. Chang’s for lunch on the back side of a film viewing?

Talk about the Twilight Zone.

But going to an event planned by a sales representative guarantees you won’t leave empty-handed. After the movie, they distributed the gift. In this case: a light saber.

If you don’t want to know anything about Episode VII, you should scroll to the bottom now. Go ahead. Leave me a scathing commentary about how wrong it is to hand out spoilers and ruin the movie for everyone.

If you’d rather read a more positive reflection on the movie, one that doesn’t contain story spoilers, visit my friend Jenny’s blog.

Consider yourself warned.

My Personal Reaction

On Facebook, I read a comment about the story reminding them of Episode IV. I agree. It was a remix of that theme within the original trope. With new characters thrown in the mix.

You have the orphan on a desert planet. She salvages parts off of wrecked ships and somehow has become an incredible mechanic and pilot. You won’t find out too much about Rey. Except that “the Force is strong with her.” And she doesn’t know it. Until she does. (Sounding familiar yet?)

There’s a droid hiding plans the bad guys want. The Empire is gone, but from its dregs comes the First Order. Lead by some alien who communicates with his minions via holographic message. There’s a masked Sith and a uniformed General with an epic weapon of planet-eliminating power (major echoing should be happening for you by now.)

Somehow, a Storm Trooper decides the whole idea of genocide doesn’t sit well with his life-long programming. So he’s the one who helps the rebel captive (chimes of deja vu should be gonging) of the dark forces escape the clutches of Kylo Ren.

A smuggler we know and love plays a central role in the plot. A certain princess is a general in the rebellion these days. Somehow, the Millenium Falcon can still out-maneuver tie fighters and avoid blaster cannon fire.

It’s all very familiar.

There is a father-son issue. Someone dies. In fact, there’s blood on the screen in this film, something unheard of in the original two trilogies.

I was entertained. I cried too much. I laughed. I missed C3PO’s ridiculous puns.

It wasn’t a loss. I don’t regret spending four hours inside a theater on a winter’s day.

I liked the new characters. They had spunk and skills and obvious issues driving them forward.

But too many essentials remain unexplained. And if the parentage of our not-a-Jedi who holds the Skywalker light saber in her hand turns out to be as we suspect, I’ll have a hard time buying into it.

It gets one thumb up and a hand wiggle from me. Which doesn’t mean I hated it. I just didn’t LOVE it. Although it was much more Star Wars-esque than anything I’ve seen in three decades. And PLEASE remember. I came late to this party. The first Star Wars movie I saw was Return of the Jedi (which is still my all-time favorite).

Of course, as a Star Wars aficionado, I will add The Force Awakens to my Blu-Ray collection. It will be watched and re-watched. Even the much-maligned Episodes I – III have been viewed multiple times in my household (although rarely from start to finish by me – especially Episode I).

Part of the problem with this film lies with the months of media hype. As a result, my personal expectations ramped to skyrocketing levels. Could any movie really rise that high?

Probably not.

Have you seen it? What is your reaction?

How Sunshine gives me a healthy self-image

Original image from self.com
Original image from self.com

I’m a product of the 80s. My generation slathered on baby oil and sat outside. We pulled out sunlamps and held them over our arms, legs and chest. It was all about bronze and beautiful back in the day.

Now we’re suffering the effects: wrinkles and skin cancer. Actually, my Native American heritage (hey ,12.5 percent counts) has offered me protection from those uglies. For now.

The latest health news espouses the benefits of Vitamin D (give yourself 10 minutes in the sun and your body will produce a day’s worth). According to one source, Vitamin D affects depression and mood, susceptibility to colon and breast cancer, osteoporosis, alleviates muscle and bone pain and aids in gum health. Even muscular sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis can be prevented by increasing your intake of Vitamin D.

I didn’t need anyone to tell me that being in the sunshine just makes me feel better. It has much less to do with having brown skin these days and more to do with feeling relaxed and energized.

For me, the proof is in the pudding. There are studies that support my findings with data, too. Stepping outside for as little as five minutes per day can boost mood and self-esteem, says an article in Psychology Today.

Other professionals recommend between 15 and 30 minutes per day of sunlight exposure to reap full benefits. I align with these folks and even declare more is better in the case of sunlight improving my self-image.

All the negativity in the media focusing on a woman’s body shape and size riddles our self-image with holes. My cure? Avoid the media and step into the sunlight. Simplistic? Perhaps, but sunshine will improve your outlook on life (and yourself), while promoting better sleep and protecting from autoimmune diseases.

Is it any wonder summer is my favorite season of the year? Who can feel discouraged when the sun tickles you with warmth?

Don’t take my word for it. Spend some time outside today. Start with five minutes sitting on your porch or following your pup around the neighborhood.

Close your eyes and tilt your face heavenward. Those warm rays will kiss your face and your lips will twist into a smile.

By all means, slather on the sunscreen if you’re going to be out there longer than 15 minutes. UV rays are linked to skin cancer in a negative way.

If you hate hot, choose your sun time early in the morning or after 7pm in the evening. A few deep breaths will help dispel any negative thoughts you carry onto your back deck.

Remember, I didn’t tell you to head to the beach to get your sun fix. Watching the skinny girls frolic in their bikinis will reverse all the positive benefits of the sunshine. I recommend soaking up your Vitamin D in the privacy of your own neighborhood.

In my experience, people are the biggest contributors to my own negative thoughts. Leave me alone with my sunshine and I’m the happiest, most well-adjusted woman on the planet.

What things improve your self-image? Share your tips here. With all the negative bombardment on our self-image, positive tips are welcomed.

Share the Love: Avoid the Haters

The purpose of this blog is to connect with future readers of the young adult fantasy series I’m writing. In reading my words here, you get to know me as “the person behind” the stories. If you like what you get here, you won’t mind parting with hard-earned cash to read a book I’ve written.

So goes the theory. Successful entrepreneurial authors tell me this, so I believe them.

In order to keep from offending my fan base, I’m supposed to avoid the following topics: religion and politics.

Not a problem. Neither of these subjects has much to do with what I’m writing (although there are both politics and religion in my fantasy universe). Who wants to start an argument anyway?

Apparently, quite a few people.

In checking out blogs with large followings, I’m realizing that most of them have 500 comments when they ask a question about a “hot button” topic or rant about religion or politics. Or, more specifically, how religion is misrepresented by the media and politicians.

I am eager for my readers to leave comments. Ask me to clarify something or share a similar experience.  Even a simple, “thanks” would probably get me dancing in my seat.

Do I want hundreds of comments? Duh!

What I don’t want is a bevy of haters to show up at my blog and tell me how wrong, stupid or hateful I am if I happen to disagree with their philosophy. This, I have noticed, makes up a bulk of the conversation on these controversial blog posts that go viral and get hundreds of comments.

I admire the people who disagree with the author of these rants with finesse and sound arguments. If a person can’t present their views in this way, I wish they wouldn’t comment.

Of course, I don’t know these bloggers personally. Maybe having an argument in their comments is the goal of their controversial posts.

If a person disagrees with me, I don’t jump down their throat in real life, so why would I do it in cyberspace? In fact, I know only a handful of people who react vociferously when you disagree with them. I’ve learned to keep my dissention to myself when speaking with these folks.

I love turquoise, aquamarine and teal. “I hate those colors,” you say. I shrug. After all, you’re entitled to your own opinions.

I despise tofu. Every time I’ve eaten it, it’s like choking down a piece of rubber. “I love tofu” you exclaim. I’m happy to let you have it. I’m not going to call you crazy because your palate is different than mine.

Yet, for some reason, when people come to deeper beliefs (those involved in politics and religion), this “agree to disagree” mentality flies out the window.  If I’m right about religion and you disagree, then you’re wrong. Only one of us can be right.

Maybe. Maybe not. I’m certain that if I approach our conversation with this “I’m right and you’re wrong” attitude, things will get ugly rather quickly. There’s no chance I’ll convert you to my side of things.

So, is the point just to argue – be the loudest voice – when religion and politics enter the conversation? No one really expects to change the views of the person they’re demeaning, do they?

If that’s the case, there’s no point in having the conversation. I have entered such arguments in times past about abortion, drinking alcohol, premarital sex and even homosexuality. I’m done with such topics if it isn’t going to be a two-way street of sharing ideas. Communication involves speaking and listening.

communication.quoteListening doesn’t happen when the person who isn’t talking is just formulating their next rebuttal. The process will break down completely when the name calling starts.

Furthermore, if my answer to your stand on an issue is “well, that’s just stupid,” I’ve proven to you that your argument is sound and I have no rebuttal. Seriously.

If you present me with proof that chocolate will kill me, I’ll scream “say it ain’t so.”  I might even give up eating chocolate (or just comfort myself with more of the stuff accepting that everyone dies and I don’t mind dying with dark chocolate melting on my tongue). However, if you snatch the chocolate covered almond out of my hand as I’m getting ready to pop it in my mouth, I’m going to be ticked. The conversation isn’t going to go very well because it started out on a negative note.

I think the real reason I’ll avoid blogging about controversial topics in this space is because I want to start a conversation. I don’t want to fill my comments with name-calling and hateful rhetoric.

It makes me sad. I feel strongly about many things. I won’t write about most of them on this blog. My readers won’t really get know me in a deeper way. Some people might even call me
unprincipled, spineless or wishy-washy.

It’s a no-win situation. Name-calling tends to be the only route some people know when expressing their opinion.

The Real Problem with Abercrombie & Fitch—How Jeffries’ Message Hurts Us ALL

America keeps endorsing the global view of a shallow society filled with image-craving bodies with no mental capacity.

Kristen Lamb speakes out about the latest shallow marketing message from Abercrombie & Fitch here: The Real Problem with Abercrombie & Fitch—How Jeffries’ Message Hurts Us ALL.

A&F should be horrified to learn that millions of teenagers and young adults will buy into their message that beautiful = thin and thin = cool. How do I know this? Because these same young people will binge and purge, starve themselves, exercise endlessly, and swallow laxatives only to look in the mirror and see a FAT person staring back. In reality, it will be a skeleton with skin, but they’re perception has been warped by the false messages around them.

To be fair, it isn’t just A&F. Hollywood, magazines, fashion gurus and photoshopped multi-media publications all tout the body image ideal that makes size 10 synonymous with obese.

I’m disgusted by this continuing trend. Yet, I’m still proud to be an American. Why? I believe in the ideals we were founded on.

No, those beliefs had nothing to do with image. They had everything to do with freedom from oppression. In America, the media has the freedom to promote unhealthy concepts. Likewise, we citizens have the freedom to speak out against their harmful drivel.

Do it. Today, hug your kids and let them know you love them (even if they *gasp* wear something other than a non-size 00). Then take a stand on this issue. Let the marketers know that the demographic that balks at their skin-deep ideals is much larger than the one A&F hopes to find.