Take a Hike – Acts of Resistance in a So-Called “Increasingly Violent” World

There is still peace in the world, but it's not on your iphone.


Is it possible to mourn a tragedy, fight for gun control and mental health access, and manage our own fears and terror without concluding the world is a dangerous place and passing that fear on to our kids?  Yes.  And as parents, we have no choice.  We have to find that balance.  Otherwise, we are the ones creating that terrible, dangerous world.  Our kids are looking to us to understand what is dangerous and what isn’t, and to teach them to determine when to take risks and when to be cautious.  If we teach them that the world is full of evil people seeking to harm them, we are not only giving them false information, we are robbing them of a full life.

A horrific, unfathomable tragedy occurred in Newtown, Connecticut this month.  For me, when those children go through my mind, they all have the faces of my precious twins.   My maternal instinct tells me to lock the doors, close the shades, batten down the hatches, and teach my children to be afraid.  That is the world we live in, right?  Don’t talk to strangers, stay inside, don’t touch that, you can’t go in there, you never know, use hand sanitizer, abstinence only, better safe than sorry.

I can’t say how frequently I hear parents musing longingly about how they used to play outside all day from morning until night, left to their own devices to manage relationships with other kids, explore, solve problems, and make their own fun without parental supervision.  When I hear these things I’m always puzzled.  If these parents know how good this was for them, why don’t they let their children do the same?  But before I can even respond, I hear the inevitable, “But this is a different world… you just can’t do that anymore.”   Where did we get this idea, and who is benefitting from it?  Certainly not our kids.

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A Newtown Every Three Days – Race, Class and Gun Violence

Close your eyes.  Picture Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.  We all have an image in our minds of innocent, white children in a quiet, middle class suburb being suddenly, and horrifically exposed to gun violence.  Now close your eyes again.  Picture the same scene, but this time the children are black.  What do you imagine our national reaction would be to this tragedy?

Now close your eyes again and picture 20 black children who have been exposed to gun violence all their lives being killed one by one in the cross-fire of all-too-familiar neighborhood violence in an inner-city setting over the course of three days.  What do you imagine our national reaction would be?  Wait.  We know what our national reaction would be, because this scene, like the first scene in Newtown, has actually happened.  It is happening right now, to approximately one child or teen EVERY THREE HOURS.  That means a Newtown EVERY 3 DAYS in America!

So what is our national reaction?  Our national reaction is nothing.  No media frenzy, no demands for better security, for arming principals, no calls for tighter gun control, no focus on mental health access, no conclusions that the world is a dangerous and cruel place, no tears from our half-black president, no frenzy of blogs, no discussions on listservs, no terrified white parents trembling as they drop their children off at school, no mental health professionals scurrying to assist grieving parents in explaining these events, no discussion of post-traumatic stress.

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Can you be Sexually Gay and Romantically Straight?

Why do we keep expecting limits? There are no limits!

Also Appears on elephantjournal.com.

A few months back it came out that actor John Travolta may have had sex with men.  Whatever the facts of the case, the blogosphere and my sex therapist circles were a-flutter with speculation.  What did this mean?  Was John Travolta gay?  Does sex with men necessarily mean gay?

This fascinating Good Men Project post Mostly Straight Most of the Time talks about men who identify as “mostly straight,” including men who feel politically or personally limited by the heterosexual male role, men who find other men attractive but primarily enjoy sex with women, and men who have romantic feelings or enjoy cuddling or going “beyond platonic” with other men but not having sex.  It also talks about men who have sex with other men but still identify as “mostly straight.”  For example, the article quotes a man named Dillon who explains that “he resides in the ‘Sexual Netherlands,’ a place that exists between heterosexuality and bisexuality.”

So what is going on with these men?  Are they gay, straight, or bisexual?  My answer to that question is that it is the wrong question.  Rather than trying to squeeze people  into existing labels, perhaps we should be making new labels.  Can you be sexually gay and romantically straight, or as some of my colleagues described it, “homo-sexual and hetero-emotional?” Of course!  You can be ANYTHING.  That is what we keep missing.  No matter how many categories we make, people will keep inhabiting “the netherlands in between.”

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True Mommy Confessions 7 – Pre-School Edition

Last week I brought my children to a playgroup that meets in the basement of a church in my town.  There were many kids there ranging from infants to 5 year-olds.  The folks were friendly and there was a great, almost entirely enclosed space for the kids to play.  The facilitators had a simple craft for the kids to do.  They decorated “flashlights” (paper towel tubes) and then went on a “bear hunt” around the basement area.

As the other children played inside the enclosed area, my little J dedicated himself, in typical form, to escape.  I’m not just talking about escape from that area, but from the building.  We had come down an elevator, and J ran down the hall toward the elevator repeatedly shouting “press-a the button!”  Had I not chased him quickly enough he would have happily rode the elevator up and exited the building.  In the meantime, O pulled every single book off the shelves, and dumped several bags of blocks which she then proceeded to ignore.  She sat on the lap of most of the adults there, much to their confusion.

When the craft began, I tried to interest my kids in it.  Somehow, someway, all the babies and kids managed to participate but mine.  While the other kids colored (some with parents’ help), mine ran around, jumped on furniture, and attempted to escape up the escalator.  When the “bear hunt” began, my kids were nowhere in sight.

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Lyla Cicero