Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Double Standard

I decided to log off of Facebook around noon this afternoon because I was becoming more and more discouraged by the posts/comments/pictures in my newsfeed.  Like everyone else, I had heard about the outcome of the vote in North Carolina.  The majority of voters voted against gay marriage.  We live in a country where we have a right to vote and make our voices heard.  It was wonderful to find out that so many residents of NC exercised that right.  As with any vote, the majority rules and people have to be accepting of the fact that the result might not be in their favor.  We all win some and we all lose some.  There will be more elections and more chances to be heard.

Instead of expressing sorrow and disappointment in the results, an overwhelming number of my FB friends decided to openly bash anyone they believed was responsible for this "tragedy."  As you can guess, at the top of the list were Christians, namely Catholics.  It started with sayings such as, "North Carolina:  where you can marry your cousin. Just not your gay cousin" and calling the people of NC "close-minded bigots."  The name-calling escalated to include several combinations of curse words and statements about how the Bible means nothing, God's law has been watered down, and people should be able to do whatever they want to do, regardless of morality.

Up to that point, I could take it.  It was no different from other careless remarks I'd heard before.  People don't always think before they speak or write. I get that.  Because religion isn't important to them, they don't care that others might be sincerely offended by their words.  They don't seem to realize that when God flows through your veins, it's impossible to separate Him from the rest of your life.  It would be like cutting off an appendage.  People want to hear a stance against a moral issue that doesn't involve religion; I challenge them to throw a baseball without an arm.

Around noon I stumbled upon a picture of a cartoon Jesus hanging from a cross with the words "gay rights" scribbled across his chest.  What utterly cruel, intention, cuts-to-the-bone mockery to a Catholic, who holds the cross in such high regard.  How dare they?  HOW DARE THEY?

I understand that people are upset that the majority of residents in NC still have a strong moral compass but that doesn't give anyone permission to be downright nasty towards anyone who believes in Jesus. It was a low blow.  It does nothing to help the cause.  It certainly doesn't create dialog between believers and non-believers.  If anything, it causes people to shut down, much like I did today on FB.  I was disgusted and felt that if my newsfeed was going to be clogged up with hateful garbage, I was better off without it.

I have never and would never post offensive comments about gay people, gay marriage, gay civil unions, etc.   I happen to believe that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman and that the sanctity of marriage should be held in the highest esteem. Biologically, men and women have "parts" that fit perfectly together.  They complement one another.  The natural purpose of sex is procreation.  We were wired to want to have sex (hence sex being enjoyable) so that our species could continue.  Yes, we could have sex with any person, animal, thing, we desire but that doesn't change the original purpose for sex.  I also believe that sex should be reserved for marriage.  Sex outside of marriage devalues the sacrament and lessens the importance of the union between husband and wife.  Unfortunately in our society, marriage has been reduced to quickie celebrity weddings that last 70 hours, cheating left and right, and people who kick their spouse to the curb when things get a tad bit challenging or boring.  Where's the commitment?  What happened to 'till death do us part?  It has gone by the wayside.  We have normalized feelings of lust.  We have adopted a "do anything that feels good" mentality.  We try before we buy.  God isn't in the bedroom anymore (or we try to convince ourselves He is not).  All this so we can do whatever we want without the feelings of guilt that creep in from time to time.  And the more people on board, the better.  But that doesn't make it a marriage.

Yes, I'm hung up on semantics.  I value marriage so deeply and I respect those couples who have stuck it out through thick and thin and are still happily together, honoring their commitment to marriage. To call my relationship with my sister a "marriage" would be wrong.  A relationship between two friends is not a marriage.  A relationship between a parent and a child is not a marriage.  A relationship between a caregiver and a patient is not a marriage.  Let's call it what it is. Let's use the proper term.  We know what a marriage was designed to be and all I'm asking is that we stay true to that.  Anything that deviates from marriage is not "less"'s just not marriage.

I'm traditional.  I'm old-fashioned.  But I am not a bigot.  I am not a hypocrite.  I do not resort to name-calling when interacting with someone whose beliefs are different from my own.  Why must it be done to me?  Why must I be bombarded with hurtful pictures and belittling remarks when I log onto FB?  I always try to use my page as a medium for conversation and there has been much successful dialog between friends on opposite sides of the spectrum. I'm proud of that.  But today things crossed the line.  The blame, ridicule, and nastiness were uncalled for.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Why Don't You Work?"

I walked into Bobby's preschool at 11:00 like I do every Monday and Thursday morning.  He'd been there since 7:30 and it was time to pick him up.  His classmates seemed extra bouncy this morning, and it made me wonder if they'd done anything out of the ordinary.  All of a sudden I felt a tug at my shirt.

"Bobby's mommy....why don't you work?"  I glanced down at Kinsey's precious little inquisitive face.  Another student, Audrey, chimed in.

"Yeah, how come you don't have a job like my mom?"

The logical part of my brain understood that their questions were reflective of 4-year-olds' natural curiosity but the emotional part felt a bit defensive.  I wanted to respond, "What do you mean, why don't I work?  I work harder as a Stay-At-Home-Mom than I ever did at any of my previous jobs.  It's 24/7 with no vacation and no sick days! And I haven't slept well in four years!!"   Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to answer because the teacher signaled to the class that it was time for lunch.  And it was also time for me to join her in the office for a parent-teacher conference to discuss Bobby's state testing results.

Anyone who's ever had a parent-teacher conference with two young children present knows how crazy it can be.  Some of your attention is on the teacher (who's explaining extremely important information) but most of your focus is on your children (who are yanking books off the shelf, hiding staplers, throwing erasers, or playing in the garbage can).

What I managed to gather from Bobby's teacher in between re-shelving books and redirecting my Curious George-esque children was that this particular test was administered in February to all of the 3-year-olds in the school.  It covered twenty areas including: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sequencing, spacial relations, patterns, predicting, identification, matching, and rhyming. Bobby's score was broken down like this:

2/20 questions= on a 4-year-old level
13/20 questions= on a 5-year-old level
5/20 questions= on a 6-year-old level

He was 3 at the time and scored above age/grade level on every question of the test.  I was very impressed!   The teacher told me one of the test questions was, "What would you do if you walked into a dark room?"  An age-appropriate answer would've been, "I'd turn on the light."  or "I'd be scared." Apparently Bobby said something to the effect of, "I'd pull my art desk over to the light switch, stand on it to turn on the light, push my desk back to where it belongs, and then find my train track under my bed.  I like to set up the track the way Daddy does so that it looks like an 8...."   He went on and on, giving the teacher much more information than she needed/expected.  There's a rubric to score these types of open-ended questions and the content of his answer matched something a 6-year-old might say.  

I know every parent brags about his/her child and I'm no exception.  Bobby has always been intelligent in my eyes but it's reassuring to hear it from someone else (who's not family).  In a way, it validates my decision to stay at home and raise my children.  I've worked with Bobby out of workbooks since he was 2 and 1/2 years old.  We do puzzles, flashcards, and constantly talk about what's going on around us and why.  I'm a teacher by trade and I love being able to teach my own children every day.  It's hard work and tiring at times, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Bobby's classmate asked me this morning why I don't work.  Now I know how to respond.  I may not have a traditional job with a paycheck but I'm doing the best I can with what I have.  And it seems to be paying off.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Game Theory and Renting a House

The most recent chapter of my economics class covered the different types of competition that exists between the two pure forms of perfect competition and monopoly. Requisite to the topic was a discussion on game theory, which seems to have an application in a housing dilemma we are facing.

Basically, game theory is a way to observe the behavior of participants in an oligopoly, where there are few producers competing for greater market share--fundamentally what our entire upper echelon of our economy is. However, it has applications to any situation in which 2 parties with opposing interests have interdependent decisions.

We are in a house, rented at a low rate, but not maintained well by the owner. Our lease is up in roughly 7 weeks but renews monthly at that point, terminable by either party with 30 days notice. Rentals are hard to come by in this area, and finding a house of similar size at a comparative rate will be difficult.

Meanwhile, this street has had several houses demolished over the last year or two to make room for more parking for the nearby college.

Does the landlord have plans to sell this house for potentially more than it is worth as a residence when our lease is up? If so, can we find an alternative home with just 30 days notice? Will an extra 3 weeks of searching give a significant possibility of finding somewhere else to live with little change to our expenses?

If the landlord does not intend to sell, do we unnecessarily seek out a new place at a potentially greater expense? Or, do we risk being homeless after 30 days of fruitless searching should the assumption that he does not intend to sell is incorrect?

Our dominant strategy? We're moving (again)! Don't know where, don't know when, but why is clear enough. Stay tuned for another adventure...