Friday, January 20, 2012

Salemites and Twitter

"How high's the water, papa?"

The last time the creeks and rivers spilled over their banks in Salem (1996), folks in our neighborhood were out and about walking and talking--especially to the police officer keeping watch near the group of houses threatening to slide down beside Heath St. I remember run-off from the hillside above our house rushing through our front and back yards. I happened to walk outside in time to rescue a neighbor's small Koi, who had been displaced by the moving water.

Once again, the waters are rising and once again we watch as they rise into and up to the edge of area homes, while N's and my only problem is trying to figure out where the detours are to get to our destinations.

In 1996, Twitter and my electronic connection to local Salemites didn't exist. Except for observing what was happening to our neighbors, I didn't have that knowledge of what local individuals were going through and how others were helping.

Twitter has changed that. This time around I'm watching and reading how people are reaching out to those who are knee deep in the water--and (more importantly) who is knee deep. This new method of receiving information is both anxiety producing and heart warming.

Now that I'm sitting here typing this, I can see the clean, efficient beauty of social media in a situation like this. Connecting people, illuminating needs with the ability to instantly respond.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spinning my wheels over Personal Responsibility

I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to instill personal responsibility into children. Particularly children who have daily challenges (whether it be due to poverty or an unstable home life). Partly after watching my own children grow and partly due to watching kindergartners over the past twenty-some years. I have neither the education nor the research to make a sweeping statement about whether children have changed drastically over the past 50 years. Though there is no denying that our world has changed. Let me be clear, I don't believe in the "good old days". Change is change, some good and some bad.

But this issue of personal responsibility keeps my brain going. Are children born with this knowledge/instinct? Is it environmental? Or perhaps a mixture of both (like so many things)?  Most importantly (and what drives my thoughts) can it be taught?

There is so much crap going on in the lives of some children, it seems to me perhaps if there was some way to put their future in their own hands it might give them some hope, drive, ambition. Or maybe I'm a crazy idealist.

Let's see if I can put my "shower epiphany" into words that make sense to others.

Before it all began, a well thought out plan would be imperative. It wouldn't work with a seat of the pants attitude. (I believe you must invest in an idea or don't bother) A video presentation for students would be created--a creative, visual map to show them the plan, the pitfalls and the rewards. (Shown yearly?)

  • Each child would be given a yearly account accessible via a debit card. (Starting at 4th or 5th grade?)
  • They would meet up with a personal "budget counselor" 4 times a year. (what do you need vs. want)
  • Bonuses would be given for a variety of things: exceptional work, gpa, volunteering, tutoring, frugality
The end goal would be to finish school with enough funds to enter college and the confidence and experience to know how to apply for assistance via working in cafeteria, etc. to keep their momentum. Maybe with the option to continue with the program until they complete college?

*wish I had a clue how to keep their funds from being misused by others.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolute in my resolutions

I'm sorry I googled that subject line.
Horrible feeling to know so few thoughts are original. ;>)

Resolutions have had zero appeal or inspiration for me over the past 10+ years. No particular reason. Maybe my brain has been stuck in one gear? Or I've been treading water waiting for a change in the current?
Who knows.

What I do know, is that I'm ready to put my plan out there.

#1 Stick to my current exercise schedule

#2 Don't turn my back or make excuses when an opportunity for a walk arises

#3 Eat more fruits and vegetables

#4 Slow down when eating

#5 and Push that plate away instead of refilling it

Huh, I sense a theme . . .