Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Not to Say

As a parent, you're supposed to provide wise council, words of inspiration, and thoughtful discipline. The key word here being supposed. Really, you're just figuring it out as you go along. In the heat of a conversation you'll toss out the same cliche lines your own parents used. They didn't work then. They won't work now.
Here's a few things you shouldn't bother to say.

"If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge?"
Because 1) the answer is obvious 2) the action you're discussing isn't a life or death matter 3) if it is, you shouldn't have to bring in the bridge. Death is already at stake. Then 4) there are so many better answers.
No, really, look.
 "Because I'm the Parent!"
Yes, and they're your offspring. Now that you've got that sorted out, come up with an argument. This is no more sophisticated than an is/ain't argument. And your son knows it.
"I Gave Birth to You!"
You daughter never asked you to give birth to her. That was your own choice. She doesn't owe you for concieving her because she had no control over it. I suppose you could get technical with this- "I didn't abort you as a fetus! Be grateful!"
Wait, that was an option? Quick way to make her hate you.
"I Own This, I Can Take It Away!"
The moment you convcieved/adopted/chose not to abort your child, you became a parent. That position, like any government position, means you have responsibility. Yes, you also have rights, but they only come when you fulfill that responsibility. It's your role to provide food, water, clothing, shelter, nurturing, protection, and love.
When you take something away, be it love, a favored toy, or Internet access, you cease to be viewed as a hero in the eyes of your teenagers. You have rights with no responsibility. You are a dictator. When this happens on a large scale, we get revolutions.

Especially when that something is a material possession. Remember, John Locke's original words were "life, liberty, and property". People like their stuff. Don't be surprised when taking it away provokes a rebellion, and don't blame them for rebelling, because that will only stoke the flame.
Also, if your son buys something himself-a phone, a car, a sandwich-it's his property. You have absolutely no right to confiscate it.
Any Kind of False Humility.
Go ahead, get tramped by a rhino
Go ahead, get mugged and left for dead
Me, I'm just your mother, what do I know?
I only bathed and changed and nursed you
Go ahead and leave me, I deserve it
Let me die alone here, be my guest
When it's too late, you'll see - just wait
Mother knows best!

Why shouldn't you try this? Because Disney villains always die at the end. Don't be a Disney villain.
"I'm the Parent! You Can't Tell Me What to Do!"
Actually, your daughter can tell you whatever she wants. You don't have to listen, of course, just like she doesn't have to listen to you.
You don't have to listen to this post either. But now you won't forget it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Anne Frank

“Although I'm only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong. I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty mad from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child, I feel quite indepedent of anyone.” 

This is exactly how I felt when I began blogging at age fourteen. Anne Frank is a great example of youthful courage and perseverance in the face of danger. Her life wasn't easy by any means, but she kept her spirits up. Even though she died 68 years ago, she's still an inspiration today.
We love you, Anne!

Monday, August 19, 2013

This Has to Stop

Look what I found on twitter today.

I've recently joined a youth service group that works with disabled people. I have no patience for whiny, intolerant adults who can't control the exclamation point key*, let alone their emotions. This woman is a coward who can't even be bothered to sign her name to her stupidity.
I struggled with Tourette's syndrome in fourth and fifth grade. Not once was I intentionally bullied by kids my own age. The people in my class were so understanding. One day we had a substitute teacher and I worried about explaining my condition to him. Turns out, I didn't need to. My friends had already gone up to him before class and taken care of it.
Say whatever you want about my generation. At least we're more tolerant.

*Also, there should be a comma after music and the paragraphs aren't indented. Idiot. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

If You're Not Deaf Yet, Start Listening

Last month, I saw my grandpa for the first time in a while. I began to worry he was going deaf. I'd say a sentence and he'd ask me to repeat it. Sure, I talk fast, but I'm usually not that hard to understand.
Then we had a conversation about religion. My grandpa is an atheist (he brought up the topic). Suddenly, I had to repeat everything two or three times. My words changed as I had time to think. I found gentler answers to make my point. Answers that wouldn't offend him. Answers he liked better.
Wait a minute.
He was deaf. When it suited him.
My Grandma Penny actually is going deaf. We had a fun conversation on Memorial Day.
Mom: "Eliza and I just got back from the cemetery."
Grandma: "She's a secretary?"
My grandparents are in their seventies. It's only natural for them to have difficulty hearing. But now my parents are having trouble and they're in their forties. I'm worried. Are they losing their hearing already?
My mom says she's in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and that's why she keeps saying, "Call what's her name for me" or  "Go get the thingy out of the room".
Wait, no. She's done that since I was little.
Recently, I've started to wonder if my parents' hearing works like my grandpa's. Our communication gap has less to do with them being forty six than me being a teenager. If I don't have a contrary opinion they can hear me just fine.
Lakyn, my friend for several years, has 10% hearing in one ear. About once a month, she'd turn her good ear towards me and ask for a repeat. About just as often, I'd realize she missed something I said and repeat it for her. To my knowledge, she's never used a hearing aid. She takes notes in class like everyone else. When we sit down she'll make sure her "normal" ear is facing me. She can hear whatever she wants to.
I am hard to understand. I talk fast. But Lakyn knew me long enough to get used to it. My parents have known me longer. They knew me when I had to do speech therapy for my r's. They knew me when I thought determined was pronounced "detter-mind."
Shouldn't they understand me now better than ever?
I see other adults pull this trick on teenagers all the time. There are people who really struggle with hearing loss. They've learned to deal with it. It's an insult to them to play it to your own  advantage. It's like faking a limp so someone will help carry your groceries. Even if they're younger and stronger, or if you are a little tired at the moment, that's no excuse.
Adults: If you want something, or if you don't like what we have to say, come right out and say it.
Youth: If you know for sure that someone's giving you this kind of crap, don't put up with it. Say what you have to say.
They may not be listening but they just might hear you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teenagers Who Changed the World: Joseph Smith, Jr.

The year was 1820. The place was Palmyra, New York. Joseph Smith was 14. At this time, people were unusually excited about religion. There was lots of conflict between the Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians.Some of the Smith family had joined the Presbyterian church and he leaned towards the Methodists. So, Joseph couldn't make up his mind. He wanted to know for sure which was true, or if they were all wrong together. So he opened his good old family bible and found James 1:5.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Well then, Joseph thought, I'll try that. He went to the woods behind his house, knelt down, and prayed for the first time.
What happens next? In his own words:

"I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

My object in going to inquired of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)- and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong: and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that; "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."

He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned upto the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replies, "Never mind, all is well-I am well enough off." I then said to my mother, "I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true." It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?"

His account goes on to talk about how people ridiculed him, especially other religious leaders, because of his age. And, you know, the whole Jesus thing. In 1830, he established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with six members. It wasn't easy. He was tarred and feathered, arrested on trumped up charges, separated from his family, had his teeth punched out, and lost four children. He continued to serve it until his assassination by a mob in 1844. But the church, this little religion that wouldn't exist without a young boy, didn't die with him.
 Now there are 14,782,473 members. Which is kind of bigger than six. Youth involvement is heavily emphasized. There are summer camps, seminary classes, and weekly meetings for youth. At eighteen or nineteen, young men and women are encouraged to spend 18 months to 2 years of their lives as full time missionaries*. There are currently 58,990 of them. Not only has the LDS church touched millions of people, it's changed the way so many teenagesrs live our lives.
And it all came from a fourteen year old boy.

*My cousin Aimee (22) is serving in Spain right now. My friend Isabella (19) recently left for Missouri.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blog, Blog, Bloggedy Blog

I normally don't talk about my family here. There are enough people ranting about their personal lives online. But my brother has now created a snarky meme blog. Enjoy.
Note: In one post, he describes us going to 'a subway' to eat. He's talking about this.

Not this:

I told him to go back and capitalize, to which he replied, "Screw that." Yup, he's one of those bloggers.
And while I'm at it, here's a blog from a friend of mine who can actually spell.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Your Fictional Life

Have you ever looked around and wondered if your life is actually a poorly written, tween directed, teen featuring sitcom? This should help you figure it out.

1. Your bell makes a BRRRRR-IIIIIIIIIIING sound.
2. Your teacher has glasses and does her hair in a bun.
3. Your teacher starts every period with the phrase, "Today, class,"
4. All your classes last approximately three minutes.
5. You still have blackboards.
6. You spend most of your life in front of your locker (Eight classes X three minutes? I don't see a problem here).

7. You spend a good portion of your life stuffed into your locker. Hey, it's roomy enough.

8. When you're not in the hall, you've been called down to the principal's office.
9. Your principal is a fat little bald man in a sweaty suit.
10. You don't need to worry about him because you never get caught.
11. And if you do, you're back to school the next day with no problems.
12. Your gym teacher is a huge, sweaty bald man with a whistle that goes BRRRRREEEEPPP!
13. When you're not either of these places, you're in the lunchroom.
14. All your meals consist of mystery meat and tuna surprise.

15.If you're a boy, you're being pushed around by the football team.
16. If you're a girl, you're being pushed around by the cheer squad.

17. They wear their uniforms complete with pom poms on non game days.
18. It's ALWAYS football season.
19. Your school has no apparent dress code.

20. Your lunch room has about twelve people in it.
21. All your best friends sit at the same table. You all have the same lunch, of course. Have you seen those class sizes?
22. You never age and you have less than five fingers on each hand.
23. You should be too old to pass as a sixteen year old.

Remember that episode when Jackson and Miley dated? The actor, Jason Earles, was twenty nine. And she'd just barely turned fourteen. That's Hollywood age for you.

24. Your teachers chirp but never talk and you never stand next to them when you talk.

I wish I had a teacher like this.
25. You can cut class with no consequences.

26. You've gotten an A+ on an assignment.
27. You haven't heard a decent joke in months.
28. You have a character friend who exists to make horrible jokes.
29. You parents are completely clueless and you get away with everything.
30.  Look to your left. Is there's a Mickey Mouse head floating in the corner?