Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

I am 22 years old this year. I remember too many school shootings having happened. In wake of the most recent shooting in Florida, I don’t know how to respond anymore.

As a young conservative, I believe in our right to bear arms – for defense.

But, the ugly truth is, weapons weren’t all designed for defense, many were designed for offense. They were designed to kill.

At the moment, I’m all in favor of taking every weapon on the face of Earth, putting them on a rocket, and launching it into the sun along with all the blueprints, instructions, and any information on how to make these weapons. Outlaw, the creation of them and the idea of violence at all.

But that’s a dictatorship that I can’t begin to imagine beyond this. What’s more, it would be wrong to impose my will on anyone. But, the thing about not tolerating violent acts like this, is that at some point you have to impose your will on someone or something.

At some point, legislation has to be enacted.

At some point, we have to do something!

Death is never acceptable.

This morning I woke up with the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas running around in my head.

It’s a poem that I feel speaks to us all now as loudly as it did when it was published in 1951. “Wise men at their end know dark is right,” these words are what draw me to this poem. This is talking about wise men at the end of their lives. But, people who die prematurely, this line isn’t about them…

Thomas’ poem isn’t a call to old men, it’s a call to young men, and women, to fight against what’s happening to them. To fight against early death, against senseless death. It is a call to those who realize that they had so much potential, but didn’t go through with it and accomplish anything with their lives – to rage against the dying of the light, to not go gentle into death. To not just stand their as they are cut down and killed. It’s a call to fight, never to take anything lying down.

I see so many young people being bashed for “being liberal” and “too easily offended” – but what’s really happening, is young people fighting back in the only way they know how.

When I hear someone crying out about gun control laws, and our need to implement them, I don’t see a liberal young person fooled into thinking that guns are killing people instead of people killing people, I see a human being, afraid that they’re not going to survive because there have been 18 school shooting in 35 days.

I live in a very conservative household, and I myself am a conservative. When my grandparents – usually my grandfather – hear anything about gun control, there’s usually something to be said about it. Something about taking away the people’s rights and about how legislation is already in place against murder, and things like that. Anything that can possibly dispute the need for gun control, for better legeslation to keep things like this from happening again, and I can’t stand by it anymore. I can’t listen to that anymore without saying something.

We have to do something. While I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking away all firearms, I’m also not okay with anyone, anywhere, dying when they don’t have to. Dying when they shouldn’t.

I normally stay out of politics, but enough is enough. Something has to be done. I don’t know what, but we can’t continue like this. No one deserves to die before their time, before they have a chance to live and do what they need to do to make this world a better place.

I have people in my life that will tell me that we’re going into the end times, if we aren’t there already, that it’s going to get a lot worse, that we can’t fight it, but Jesus will come back and then everyhting will get better. Basically, what I’m hearing from these people is that we shouldn’t fight. While I believe that Jesus will come back and that this will get worse before it gets better, that doesn’t mean we can’t fight.

We have free will. God gave us that. It is our responsibility to stand up for what is right.

It is not right to go gentle into that good night.

It is not right to stand by and watch innoccent people die.

Jesus preached love. Total, unconditional, unrelenting, and sacrificing love. Is it any way to show love by watching people die just because you weren’t willing to give up your guns?

So, from one conservative to anyone who will listen: take the guns, put better healthcare in place for those that have mental illness. Quit holding onto weapons designed to kill, just because you think one day you might need to defend youself. There are other ways of defending yourself, non-lethal ways.

Do not go gentle into that good night! Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light!

Do not let anyone else die needlessly. Don’t tell me that God wants us to just stand by and let it happen when there is a possible way to stop it right in front of us. I don’t care if it hurts you or me, if you saved a life in doing it, that’s love. That is true, unconditional love, sacrificing something of your own in order to save someone else, even if it hurts you in some percieved or unpercieved way… that is love.

Do not go quiet into that good night.

Fight, fight to stop the fighting.

Sometimes, the only way to win is with a sacrifice of your own.

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Being a Part of “The Fragile Generation”

people-2570559_1920I am a millenial. I was born in 1996. Since going to college in fall of 2014 I have come to face many opinions regarding my generation. Not all of them good. There are always those people, usually professors, who have come to realize that they need to teach us how to make the world a better place because pretty soon, we’ll be in charge of it.

Let’s get something straight – what are millenials?

Millenials are those of us who were born between the years 1982 and 2000-2004. (The end dates are a little fuzzy still.) Generally, people born 2002-present are part of “generation Z” or the “iGeneration” so nicknamed for the technology that is practically raising them.

So let me explain something based on what I just told you. The oldest millenials, as of 2017, are 35 years old. The youngest millenials are 17 and 18, just old enough to start voting.

We. Are. Here.

Many of us have children. (Not me.) Most of us are in the workforce. My parents just barely qualify as “not millenials” and fall in that awkward space between Gen-X and Millenial, sometimes refered to as Generation Y. My brothers, though of the same familial generation and born in 2002, most likely belong to the “iGeneration” – or the societal generation after mine.

Millenials are often portrayed as children. The younger of us can be very child like. There are millenials with children who are millenials. And thus it can be very difficult to understand who millenials are, though people seem to use the term mostly in reference to college aged millenials, so the very youngest of us. I know 35 year olds who don’t have to put up with half of the stigma that I have to deal with at 21 years old, simply because no one thinks of the beginning of the generation as millenial. So, I hate this term, millenial. No one really knows what it means.

But, I stray.

In a recent articleLenore Skenazy & Jonathan Haidt discuss the formation of the millenial generation/the stigmas that make the generation what we think of it as.

This article drove me nuts. Not because I didn’t agree with it, because there were parts that I totally agreed with. It drove me nuts because not all millenials grew up this way, and I certainly wasn’t one of them, for the most part.

People my age, a little older, and definitely younger than myself, don’t quite know how to be adults. There are basic skills we lack. I know people my age that don’t know how to boil pasta or chop onions. Many people my age are afraid to talk to other people about things that make them feel uncomfortable. Many millenials have been so coddled that they have never had to perform these basic tasks of life.

There’s the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there’s a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.

Here’s the thing about this quote from the above mentioned article, I agree with half of it. We do fear that everything can hurt children. We protect them from everything, we don’t allow them to be exposed to so much as a skinned knee if we can help it. We want them to be happy all the time. It’s so bad that, as the article points out, we won’t even let children settle their own squables with their friends. We get involved, and try to solve it for them. I, personally, was so excluded at first that I retreated and excluded myself even more. Now, when something goes wrong with someone I start to ask other people, the older adults in my life usually, how to deal with it and how to solve my problems.

It really is a problem.

But the second half… It’s true, there is a belief spreading that words can hurt. It’s not just in higher education. This is where the article and I have our first difference. It treats this statement as if it’s a false statement. As if words can’t hurt or be traumatizing.

As a writer, I have what might be considered a biased opinion of the power of words. But words – words have the power to start and end wars. And I’m not just talking about the fictional ones.

Personally, I’m heavily of the opinion that people should watch what they’re saying at all times. It’s a basic principle in many a lore. The most prevalent example I could think of would be Faery lore. (No, that isn’t a typo!) In Faery lore, the Fae are a wild and mischevious bunch. Saying one thing the slightest bit — off — can result in an offence that will lead to war, on your person with the Faery in question. One wrong word could leave you indebted to that Faery until they feel you have repaid them properly and you never know what they will consider fair repayment. If you anger them, or seem impolite at all you’ll likely die for the offence before you have a chance to make another.

Words, even words that seem harmless, have power. Words can be life or death. So, yes, words can hurt. I’ve actually gotten mad when someone said that words can’t hurt. I’ve been hurt by words. Just little things too.

No, words can’t kill you. They won’t kill you. The pain caused by words is not a physical pain, it’s an emotional pain. That’s why millennials have “safe spaces.”

The article points out early on that parents are afraid to leave their children at home without an adult “Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time.” After all, “you want to make sure that no one’s feelings get too hurt if there’s a squabble.” And this can be so very true. Maybe not all millenials were treated this way, but some were. If you never leave children alone to deal with their own squabbles they will later need to  learn how because, news flash here, you won’t always be there to resolve their arguments for them.

“Safe Spaces” are portrayed as a bad thing in this article, but here’s the thing. A safe space isn’t necessarily a shield from all the bad words. If anything, a safe space is a place where opinions can be freely expressed and discussion held. It is a place where you learn to think about your words because, they might be offensive, and you learn to resolve your differences of opinion, culture, religion, or whatever peacefully. A safe space is somewhere you don’t have to worry that you’ll get hurt or be attacked because it’s all about resolving differences and learning to do those things that you didn’t get to learn as a kid in your little bubble. The point of a safe space is to make it so that later, we won’t need safe spaces because we finally know how to resolve conflict without hurting other people. Learning to be a decent person essentially.

After school, kids no longer come home with a latchkey and roam the neighborhood. Instead, they’re locked into organized, supervised activities. Youth sports are a $15 billion business that has grown by 55 percent since just 2010. Children as young as third grade are joining traveling teams—which means their parents spend a lot of time in the car, too. Or they’re at tutoring. Or they’re at music lessons. And if all else fails, they are in their rooms, online.

None of these things are bad, necessarily. What’s not good is when kids are given NO TIME to play and do things unsupervised. This is when and how children learn best. It’s how puppies and kittens, and horses, and wolves, and birds, and gazelles… basically the whole animal kingdom, learns to survive in the lives they have.

This is where we get the argument that, they aren’t wild animals, they’re children. But, the same principle applies. Children learn by play, and if parents aren’t letting them just play and explore, they’re going to have a problem. I have children in the 1st grade sunday school class that I teach who don’t know what to do with legos if it isn’t a kit with some kind of instruction book or someone showing them what to build. I find that absolutely ridiculous. By structuring children’s lives like we do, we are robbing them of creativity and imagination. (May I also point out that these 1st graders aren’t millenials!? They are technically part of the “iGeneration” and thus being raised by millenials and Gen-Xers.)

Even more dishearteningly, adults who believe it’s good for young people to run some errands or play kickball down the street have to think twice about letting them, because busybodies, cops, and social workers are primed to equate “unsupervised” with “neglected and in danger.”

This statement, right here, this statement kills me.

There are people who have been arrested for child endangerment and neglect for letting their 12 year old watch their younger siblings while they made a quick run to the grocery store for ingredients for dinner because the neighbor called the cops once they realized the kids were all alone.

I was discussing this with my aunt, and she said that when they were kids (70s/80s), they didn’t dream of misbehaving because the neighborhood busybody wouldn’t call the cops/CPS, they’d tell your mother/father exactly what you’d been up to and what you were doing wrong and then you would hear about it later – big time.

These days there is no sense of community. The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is one that comes to mind. But there is no village anymore, it’s every man for himself. As a kid, I was half-waiting for a knock on the door from CPS because of how often my parents left us home alone. Luckily, that never happened.

As a part of “the fragile generation” can you tell I’m getting upset at this article? And I know that’s a “milennial” thing to do, but I’m tryign to put the record straight.

Just because we’re young, it doesn’t mean we’re wrong.

What we’re doing, is looking for our freedom after years of being closed in by parents afraid we’d be kidnapped. (Statistics say that the odds of being kidnapped are very low. Especially if you teach your children what to watch for and not to take candy from strangers and stay away from the bad part of town. But, they can figure it out. Like in the Lion King, Show them what’s their’s and teach them to stay out of the outlands – badlands – whatever they were called.)

Milennials are defining their space, they arent demanding new spaces, they are defining the space they have, a space that was never defined for them as children kept in boxes like veal.

Millenials didn’t get a childhood, not the way it was meant to be experienced.

Admitting Our Faults

I’ve never made a secret out of it, except maybe to myself. I have anxiety and depression. I struggle with basic things, like crowds, getting out of bed, and motivating myself to do simple things and things that I love.

There is no shame in admitting that you have mental health issues. But, there is a line. When your mental health becomes an excuse and a crutch, there’s another issue happening there, and you should probably seek professional help in order to overcome that crutch.

Part of the rise in calls [to the counseling center] could be attributed to the fact that admitting mental health issues no longer carries the stigma it once did, an undeniably positive development. But it could also be a sign that failing at basic “adulting” no longer carries the stigma it once did. And that is far more troubling.

We’re probably all familiar with #adulting and the sucesses and failures that come with it. Let me just come out and state my opinion as a millenial and explain this for all of you “non-milennials”.

It’s a good thing that it doesn’t hold as much of a stigma!

Newsflash, old people, your judgement of our inability means nothing if you haven’t taught us how to do these things.

What happens when we take away this stigma and share our failures? People who are better at it than us know where they can help us. It’s like when you’re in high school math and you just aren’t getting it, so you ask for help from the “smarter” kids and get a tutor to help you figure it out. There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do something because if you just go on pretendig you can do it, no one will be able to help you do it for real.

Frankly, I don’t want to screw up on my taxes and end up losing money one way or another because I was too afraid to admit that I couldn’t do this basic adult task. I’d rather say I can’t do it and find someone willing to teach me how to do it.

This IS NOT a byproduct of the participation trophy culture.

By the way, I’m pretty sure participation trophys were for the parents more than the kids. No one wants to accept that their child isn’t the next Michael Jordan, or Stephen Hawking because somehow in our brains that means they “failed” as a parent because their child wasn’t an all star champ.

Children can learn to deal with failure. They know they lost. The participation trophy is for the parents who don’t want them to have to deal with failure. Let me tell you, I never improve more than when my ego takes a hit and I get knocked to the ground, I am never more motivated to come up swinging and prove that I am worthy of that trophy.

But, when the parent is so upset by that, the child learns to be upset by it. The issue transfers. Problems like this don’t show up overnight. They are learned somewhere. Milennials, by learning to admit their failure to each other and the whole world, are learning to accept failure and move on like they weren’t really able to do as children. why do you think in YA books parents are either absentee or overbearing in such a way that the main conflict is the child just trying to breathe?

Little Timmy doesn’t want to go to school on a football scholarship and be an NFL player, Timmy’s dad! Timmy wants to dance in the New York Ballet and be the best male ballet dancer the world has ever seen. Quit putting your dreams in his head, Dad!

In free play, ideally with kids of mixed ages, the children decide what to do and how to do it. That’s teamwork, literally. The little kids desperately want to be like the bigger kids, so instead of bawling when they strike out during a sandlot baseball game, they work hard to hold themselves together. This is the foundation of maturity.

The older kids, meanwhile, throw the ball more softly to the younger ones. They’re learning empathy. And if someone yells, “Let’s play on just one leg!”—something they couldn’t do at Little League, with championships (and trophies!) on the line—the kids discover what it means to come up with and try out a different way of doing things. In Silicon Valley terms, they “pivot” and adopt a “new business model.” They also learn that they, not just grown-ups, can collectively remake the rules to suit their needs. That’s called participatory democracy.

Best of all, without adults intervening, the kids have to do all the problem solving for themselves, from deciding what game to play to making sure the teams are roughly equal. Then, when there’s an argument, they have to resolve it themselves. That’s a tough skill to learn, but the drive to continue playing motivates them to work things out. To get back to having fun, they first have to come up with a solution, so they do. This teaches them that they can disagree, hash it out, and—perhaps with some grumbling—move on.

These are the very skills that are suddenly in short supply on college campuses.

These are things that weren’t allowed to us as children, so we’re learning now. We just have to do it in an adult manner.

Experienceing Childhood as an Adult

I’m in the middle of this right now. I’m just now discovering, and I mean really figureing out, that I don’t just like 80s rock and wahtever my dad listens to. I’m 21 and I’m  just now discovering Fallout Boy and Ed Sheeran. Everyone else my age liked these people/groups when they were teens. I’m just now discovering that teen angst phase that I was so determined not to go through as a kid because I was beyond that. I mean, i’m not going full on Emo, but I’m learning to like things. i’m learning to figure out what I want to do and be.

In December I had a day wehre I panicked, and I mean panicked because I realized that I had no idea what it was to actually be passionate about something. I mean, I’d had an obsession with horses when I was a kid, that lasted years. But I didn’t have anything Iwas passionate about. Even my writing wasn’t a passion. I realized that I’d only been writing this long because people told me to, because it was something they wanted me to do and I felt ressured to do it. I’m just learning, as I write this, to set their pressures and ideas aside and figure out what I want to do.

My aunt has been asking me to write a story for fifth grade boys because she knows someone with an in to a publishing company that wants non-fantasy books for fifth grade boys and that would be me getting paid as a writer. Which is great, except for one thing – it’s not what I want to do. I’m not passionate about it. I love writing, but I don’t want to write that. And with that situation comeing up it has never been more apparent to me that I lost my passion for writing. It became a career move and I started to feel lethargic about it. Writing was no longer fun, it was a chore to be completed.

I’m learning now, to have fun with it again. I’m not in school, though school and my time in the Ball State English Department gave me tools to use. I’m just now getting a chance to play with the tools and learn how to love writing again.

I’m learning that I love the outdoors when I’ve been such an indoor type person my entire life, because that’s what people thought I was. People assued because I liked books I didn’t like being outside very much. Because I didn’t have other kids asking me to come play, I didn’t go outside so I must not like it. I must be telling them all no, there’s no way I would choose to stay inside if I liked going outside. Now, I work in a garden center and I like to take the dog to the county/state parks when I can because I want to be outside. I want to breath the air and be a real person.

I’m not going to lie, I feel like Ive been robbed. I didn’t get to have a childhood the way a lot of other people seemed to.

I always thought I wasn’t suceptible to peer pressure, but I was wrong. I was just suceptible to pressure from adults to become an adult too fast. I don’t think they realized what they were doing. I think they just amde assumptionsa and acted on them and I was too submissive to rebel against those assumptions like other people my age and discover what I actually liked for myself.

I’m doing it now. I’m more mature in some areas, I know what I like. My faith is something I won’t rebel against, but music, clothes, books, art, hobbies, the outdoors, and even movies/TV. I’m learning to rebel in these things against the normal things that everyone ahs always assumed I liked. I’m learning to like what I like. I’m learning to be passionate about my own things. I’m experienceing what I should have experienced in childhood, now in my early 20s.

When parents curtail their kids’ independence, they’re not just depriving the younglings of childhood fun. They are denying themselves the grown-up joy of seeing their kids do something smart, brave, or kind without parental guidance.

When we don’t let our kids do anything on their own, we don’t get to see just how competent they can be—and isn’t that, ultimately, the greatest reward of parenting? We need to make it easier for grown-ups to let go while living in a society that keeps warning them not to. And we need to make sure they won’t get arrested for it.

When children are denied the ability to test themselves, parent’s are denied the opportunity to be proud of them. And let me tell you, now that I’m experienceing these things now, there’s no one to be proud of me for it. And I mean really proud because the things I’m learning how to do on my own and learning to enjoy are things I should already know at this age. Just learning to go to the store alone without freaking out.

Sometimes I’m still nervous about making a run to the store for lactose-free milk or shampoo, or some other thing I try to pay for on my own when I get out of work after 9 or 10 at night. When I was 8, that would have been something for my parents to be proud of, not only am I paying for something I need on my own, I’m going to the store by myself. I’m being independant. Now that I’m 21 it should jsut be something that happens without me thinking about it. But I have to sit in the car for 10 min before convincing myself that I really do need my soap and non-deadly milk and that I have to go in and buy them. And don’t get me started about taking to a cashier vs. going through self-checkout.

There is no reason for anyone to be proud of a 21 year old doing something this simple.

The Point

This article that I’m responding to states: “We want them to be insulted by the assumption that they and their classmates are so easily hurt that arguments must stop before they start.”

Well, they got what they wanted, because I am insulted by that assumption.

More than that, I’m insulted that they think we aren’t already insulted. Millenials are here. Millenials are adults. Millenials are making up for what we missed in childhood, right now. And we’re pissed that that’s what we have to do. We’re pissed that you assumed this about us in the first place!

We’re angry that you assumed we weren’t trying to fix ourselves.

We’re angry that you started this and now you don’t like the way we have to fix ourselves.

Adults learn a little different than kids. As a result, we fix ourselves differently than kids. And you may not like it, but we’re doing it.

I’ve got news people.

WE. ARE. HERE.

WE. ARE. PISSED.

WE. ARE. LEARNING.

And we WILL NOT be silenced just because you don’t think we’re “real adults.”

 

 

I Can’t Stay Silent: 13 Ways to Show Love

man-2599320_1920There’s been a lot of political strife, everywhere I go. I can’t get on social media without seeing it, I can’t drive to work without seeing a million bumper stickers with the latest liberal or conservative slogan on it. And it’s eating me up inside.

I’ve tried to keep silent, remain neutral, do my best to just love and be an example for Christ, but I’m starting to think that sometimes you can’t love without the truth. And sometimes the best way to love is to stand in the way of a bullet. I managed to convince myself that if I spoke out politically I would ruin my chances at a writing career. But by being completely silent, I’m ruining myself as a person. I have privilege that others do not.

I come from a conservative background. I hold a lot of conservative views. And I know a lot of people will disagree with my personal views. But this is just getting ridiculous.

The triggers behind this opinion piece are the comments from the president, whom I would have voted for if I had received my ballot, I’m not going to explain that particular sentiment, that’s for another time, and by the NFL players who are taking the knee. But what really is triggering this response, are the responses of NFL fans.

IN NO WAY DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE THEM FOR TAKING A KNEE!

Yes, I’m a millennial. Yesterday I posted an opinion piece about why I hate being a millennial. But here is a millennial point of view.

I think that there is inequality in the world. I think that taking a stand against police brutality is a good thing, as long as we understand that there are good cops out there, in fact, the majority of them are good men and women just trying to get home to their families at the end of the day. The media just hypes up the bad cops, all we see in the news for any major and well written piece are the cops that shot someone or tackled someone they didn’t need to.

I just watched a video of a Redskins fan who burned all of his memorabilia because a few players took the knee and he felt that was disrespectful of the flag. A friend of mine posted the video with the comment “Excellent” and all I could think while watching it was, this is childish.

I don’t watch football. I don’t like football. I don’t give a rip about football. I made it all the way through college without going to a single football game. The only reason I went in high school was because I was in the marching band and pep-band. the only reason I go to high school games now is that my little brother is now in the marching band that I was in, playing one of the instruments I played. I couldn’t care less about this man’s support or lack thereof for the NFL.

This response is just childish, I mean, really! He said he didn’t want their protest to ruin his football. I don’t think that the time those players took to kneel had any affect on the game they played, whatsoever. What this “gentleman” really meant was that he didn’t want to be faced with the ugly side of the world.

Not for one second are these men disrespecting the flag. In fact, according to U.S. flag code, there is nothing wrong with kneeling at any time other than the pledge of allegiance, and only if you are delivering the pledge! Nowhere does it explicitly say you can’t kneel. What they are doing is drawing attention to an issue they care about. And an issue that I’m really starting to care about.

They aren’t hurting anyone, delaying the game, nothing at all, all they are doing is forcing people to think.

This country isn’t great. I don’t know that it ever was. We’re a bunch of obese, unruly children who get offended at everything. The older generations blame it on the millennials, my generation.  And the millennials blame it on the older generations.

I have no problem with what these players are doing, because what they are doing is opening a discussion. They are forcing people to think about the big issues. If you have a problem with that, maybe you should think about why you have a problem with it.

Next time you hear the national anthem, I want you to pause and check your patriotic pride for a moment, and think about the words you’re hearing.

Oh, say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming.
And the rocket’s red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night,
That our flag was still there.
Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
For the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

The last two lines. Can you answer them with a yes?

I want you to think about it, the flag is just a piece of cloth, it’s what it flies for that matters and I don’t think it’s flying for what it was supposed to fly for, not anymore. This country is only as great as her weakest citizen. And the people getting mad about this protest, they aren’t strong, they don’t want to be faced with the ugly.

Nowhere in the Bible that I have ever read did God say to get angry when someone won’t bow to your idle. And that seems to be what the flag has become, what this country has become. This country, nor any country, will never be worthy of the praise and worship these people seem to be demanding of us. But it can be worthy of respect. Until that flag stands for equality, it isn’t worthy of even that.

I believe in God, and God demands love. Love demands respect. Not agreement. I don’t love the flag, the flag is not my god. I do not love America, America is not my god. I do love the people, God tells me to love the people. He never said I had to agree with them, and on many issues I do not. But on this one, I agree – wholeheartedly.

America is not great.

The American people are not great. They’ve forgotten how to love.

I can not remain silent any longer. Love demands the truth. And since God demands love, I have to speak.

Love isn’t always soft and coddling.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

13 Ways you can Show Love

  1. Be Patient – listen to all sides, but then make your own decision
  2. Be Kind – don’t slam those that don’t agree with you. Tell them the truth, but don’t be cruel about it
  3. Curb Your Jealousy – Make sure that what you’re doing, that the “love” you speak isn’t driven by jealousy.  The guy in my trigger video was quick to point out that these NFL players are overpaid, therefore they should have to give up their rights. That sounds like envy to me.
  4. Be Humble – Take the log out of your own eye before trying to remove the spec of dust from their’s. Don’t talk about how great you are, look at your own faults before you criticize theirs. After you refrain from boasting and take a look at your on faults, humble yourself, don’t be proud, look at yourself and your faults and realize that they need to be fixed.
  5. Have Honor – Don’t put others down, it’s something we get taught in grade school. Because really, dishonoring others dishonors yourself. We could all stand to develop a more archaic sense of honor.
  6. Build Others Up – Look out for others, look for ways to build others up, not yourself. You’ll find that when you build others up, you’ll do a lot better job of building yourself up in their eyes than you ever would have putting them down.
  7. Check your Temper – Getting angry can start a chain reaction. So check your temper at the door. When you get angry, everyone else will get angry. You’ll never hear or see anything other than your anger. If your angry about something, think about why and then check if that’s really valid reason, or if it’s really the reason you’re angry at all.
  8. Forgive – Don’t hold a grudge. Grudges foster anger and resentment. Sometimes things happen that you feel like you can never forgive. There are people who hold grudges for generations, entire families and groups of people who don’t even remember the exact reason why they’re fighting anymore, the event that started it all. Don’t let that happen to you and the people around you. Forgiveness is hard, but when you work together, make a choice to love, and try to resolve your issues, you’re already on the right track.
  9. Rejoice in What is Good – Yeah, that one’s a mouthful, but it’s the only way I can phrase it. If there is something wrong, don’t celebrate it. You can’t force people to stop, but you don’t have to celebrate their wrongness with them.
  10. Protect – If you see something wrong, you might not be able to stop it, but you can protect those who are suffering from it. Don’t be silent. Take a stand and say that enough is enough.
  11. Trust – Trust others, there is no better way to show love than to look at someone and tell them that while you may not understand what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, they have a reason for it. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to understand what they’re doing, but that initial bit of trust can open a lot of doors.
  12. Always Hope – There can’t be love if you don’t always hope for a better future, a better outcome. Without hope, depression sets in and eventually you give up.
  13. Persevere – Never give up on getting through, on making it to the next day, encounter, step, whatever. If you give up, you’ll never get anywhere with love.

Do these things and I can guarantee that Love will not fail. Because love never fails.

Independant Thinker from Interdependent Roots

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This article from Vox has raised some interesting thoughts this morning.


I graduated with a bachelor’s degree this last spring, three weeks before I turned 21. That’s a pretty big deal. Neither of my parents have a bachelor’s degree. My mom worked through for an associate degree in business and got it about a year before I graduated high school. My dad was a banker for 13 years, until I was in first or second grade, but when he lost his job he started working at a grocery store, the same one that my Mom and he met at while working as teens. The same one that he works at to this day while my mother works at the same store in another city. My Gramma never got her degree, though she as a secretary and a kindergarten teacher for a short time.

Both of my grandfathers have bachelors and one of them has a masters Both of them have a degree in history and my Dad’s father has an extra degree in math, yet both worked in hard labour jobs, electric, steel, whatever put food on the table. I grew up in a non-denominational church. And even though I went to a liberal college I found myself having more conservative view than my peers and my parents. A point that seems to cause some uneasiness between my father and I.

Growing up my parents made $300 too much to qualify for food stamps, though we really needed the help. If they cut back hours to not make that extra $300, they would have received $300 worth of help in food stamps.

There were 6 of us in a four bedroom house with one bathroom. You couldn’t lock the door to the bathroom when you were taking a shower, only if you were using the toilet. If you did lock the door Mom or Dad wouldn’t be able to finish getting ready for work and would end up being late, or your other three siblings wouldn’t be able to get ready for school and then you would all be running late.

There would be entire weeks where I didn’t see one of my parents because their work schedule clashed with my school schedule. Dad would give up coming to band concerts or plays so that he could work overtime and make sure the house payment was made. In so many ways I still resent that. I’m crying, or trying not to cry as I type this.

My father is a borderline hoarder, and if it wasn’t for my mother he could probably be a whole season of Hoarders by himself.

Our house was always messy. There would be a giant laundry pile in the hall that you had to climb over because none of us wanted to do it. It would only get done when Mom got pissed off enough to do it herself, staying up late or spending her entire day off doing the laundry for 6 people. The dishes would pile up because no one wanted to do them.

The dog, who died when I was in 7th grade, was so allergic to fleas she didn’t have any hair behind her rib cage. I remember watching in utter disgust as masses of fleas moved across her skin. No matter how many baths she had, no matter what kind of medicine we gave her, we just couldn’t get rid of them. She slept in my bedroom because I was the only kid who would pet her and tell her I loved her still and my schedule was probably the most predictable at the time, so she knew she could count on me. I feel so bad for what we put that dog through because we couldn’t afford to really take care of her.

My parents would have trouble just trying to keep us in clothes that weren’t always running away from our ankles. It’s the reason why now that I buy my own clothes I don’t like to wear anything that shows my ankles. Because anything that short reminds me of when I had no choice but to wear clothes where my ankles showed.

We were always clean and presentable at school, Dad would sew bright patches of fabric onto our clothes to hide holes and he did it so well that teachers complimented us on it, thinking that our parent’s had bought the clothes that way. When we got new clothes, we all got them, but they were never in style. I remember feeling very out-of-place.

When I was in high school I suggested once that I might take a year off before going to college and I was given looks of shock and horror and my grandfather shook his head at me as if I’d just told him I wanted to dye my hair orange and pierce my eyebrows.

They knew that putting off college wold make it harder to ever go back. As it turned out, going to college was the best choice I could have ever made. I may have lived like we were from a poor family, but according to our income we were “lower-middle class” – still middle class, and that was enough for people to assume I had it easy.

The article that inspired this, I find the views of different classes towards college interesting. When I came to college it was not with the mindset they establish for poorer students. I came with a desire to get away. But if anything, the distance from my family allowed me to get closer to my God, and to become more appreciative of them, even if I still have my issues with some of them.

For me, college was the way I was going to finally figure out who I was outside of my three siblings and my parents. Outside of that tiny house. (In reality, it wasn’t tiny, but with 6 people, it wasn’t huge.) College was a place I could embrace my introverted nature without fear. And where I could explore the occasional extroverted activity without fear of being suddenly relabeled and expected to be extroverted all the time.

The first night I was there my roommate told me I could “turn out the lights if you want to.” Those words, if I wanted to, sent me into a fit of laughter that had me on the ground for about an hour. She thought she’d broken me, and in a ways he had. For once, it was my choice. it wasn’t governed by someone else. It was my choice to do something. I didn’t have to turn them out because my mom or dad told me to, because my siblings across the hall were trying to sleep and my light was keeping them up, I could turn them off because I wanted to.

I’ve always been strong-willed, as a result I didn’t have the same problems other people with backgrounds like mine had. I went straight int a humanities field, even though I didn’t think it would make me a lot of money or get me the best job. My college career was about what I wanted, for the first time ever, I was able to think independently without someone else telling me I should be thinking interdependently.

Yes, some of my motives were that I want to give a better life to any children I might have, that I would love to be able to take care of my parents when they get old, and make a better life for myself than what I started out with, but those weren’t at the forefront of my mind. What I wanted was to explore what makes me happy.

That’s where my real challenge comes in. I’ve been criticized for the fact that I’m looking for the job that will make me happy. ‘When I was your age, we took whatever job we could get and were grateful for food on the table and a roof over our heads.’ (An amalgamation of things that have been said to me.) It’s hard to overcome something like interdependent thinking when it’s how families think, and ou come from a background where your family is conditioned to think that way.

Not that interdependent thinking is bad, just that it wasn’t the way for me. If I thought interdependently, as it is assumed I should, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I would not be the writer that I am, or can be when I’m not rambling.

The real trick, that I’m finding anyway, is not to think independently as opposed to thinking interdependently, but to intertwine my independent thinking with my interdependent thinking. It’s all well and good to think for yourself, but sometimes you need to think about the people around you as well.

My parent’s house still has issues, but it looks better. It probably won’t be what it should be until my brothers move out and Mom and Dad don’t have to take care of them anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but I can attest that your background makes your college experience different. My mindset was of someone with a different background than my own. I was lucky. But at the same time I was given that background, I still met resistance because people want to keep you where you’re at. My biggest struggle in life has always been in getting people to let go of me where I’m at, and getting them to let me in where I want to be.

I still live at home, now with my grandparents. I work a working class job that makes less than $20k a year. But I’m writing and I’m happyish. I don’t know how some people manage to be truly happy in a job like mine, but they do it everyday. It’s why it’s sometimes hard for people to accept that you want to move on to “better things.”

The whole point I’m trying to make is that it’s not just colleges that discriminate against class. It’s the classes themselves. When you try to move up in life, even though people are encouraging you to do it, there will always be that resistance as they try to keep you with them for a little longer, afraid you’ll leave them behind and never come back. And it’s not an invalid fear.

Sometimes, the challenges you face are societal. Sometimes, they aren’t. It’s important to examine your challenges and figure out where they’re really coming from. It’s also important too look at your background and realize that in one way or another it will present a challenge. But that’s just the way life goes.

College Debt and Why I Hate Being a Millennial

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In a recent NPR article: Why Summer Jobs Don’t Pay, Anya Kamenetz briefly examines the mathematics behind working your way through college with a summer job, then and now. As a recent college graduate with more debt than I am comfortable with, this article hits pretty close to home right now.

I’ve been working at the local Lowe’s home improvement store all summer and I worked there last summer as well. My first summer in college I didn’t work. I was stubborn and afraid to get a job, so I paid for it by not having a lot of money for the summer. I also worked through college. One way or another, I was only without a job in college for maybe 5 months all together (counting that first summer) during the three years I took to graduate.

Despite an awesome rent situation with my grandparents, no car payments thanks to a borrowed car from my grandmother, saving half of my paychecks, and not touching that savings unless I have some kind of emergency or one of my goals has moved up in necessity, my bank account only has a little over $1000 in it.

That’s more than I think it’s ever seen at one time in its four-year existence.

In a month or two I’m going to start making payments on my student loans. In my bank account I have less than 4% of what I owe in student loans and I’m depending on my taxes to pay off my credit card in full for the things I had to buy like clothes for work and clothes for job interviews, and gas in between jobs and transitions from school to home.

Apparently when you work in a garden center you should wear work boots, jeans, and flannel or something comparable. And unless you’re applying for a lumberjack position, that doesn’t really fly as clothing for job interviews. And the yoga pants you wore in college and now wear at home and to bed are unacceptable to both. (All I can say is that I’m glad my dog doesn’t require a dress code, that could get expensive.)

But that’s all beside the point, that’s just my situation. There are countless stories out there. For every person in my situation there are a dozen more people in worse or similar situations. And there are some in better. I have a friend who paid off her entire student loan account a few weeks before graduation because throughout college she worked 2-3 jobs or worked as a resident assistant, which they give you free room and board to do.

I wasn’t so fortunate, but I did have some things working for me. I was a 21st Century Scholar, an Indiana program that meant all of my tuition was covered. I didn’t pay a dime in tuition money, everything was room and board. I had a few scholarships that meant I didn’t have to take out as many loans as I might have had to, only a few thousand each year.

I never lived off campus, but campus jobs paid barely above minimum wage, my one off-campus job didn’t pay terribly, but I had to drive a little over an hour to get there and stay at a friend’s house for the weekends to work 24-30 hours in a 3 day period. Because of things like phone bills, food, and other life necessities, not working during the school year was not an option. But for me, working more than one job wouldn’t have worked with my homework load. I have time management issues when it comes to my personal life and it was a real struggle to keep myself together. But I also know that because of my personality I would have gone mad without a job.

And this is why I hate being a millennial. Because I talk about my student loans now and I have been asked why I didn’t work harder to pay my way through college and I’ve heard the standard “I worked a part-time job in the summer and I managed not to take out any loans,” story countless times.

I’ve got news ,people: tuition and housing prices for college students have all gone up. Month by month, I was technically paying what was one the total per year cost of attending college. The only way my parents were able to really help with that part of my life was in the form of taking out a gap loan that I have to pay back. There was no escape for me, coming from a lower middle class family especially.

My friend recently wrote about her experience coming from a lower-income family to college where she was looking for the right career and what would make her money to help herself and her family later. You can read that here.

I was lucky, I didn’t care about making money. Once I decided to major in English, I stuck with it. I didn’t fluctuate, and I have a habit of being at least mediocre at everything I try to do/learn.

But as a millennial, I heard a thousand times over again that I was “such a millennial” and was stupid for picking a degree in the humanities fields. Not from my family, they call me a millennial because I look at my phone a lot, I heard this from people I hardly knew, and even from a few friends.

I hate being a millennial because I talk about the student debt crisis, I talk about all my dreams and how I can’t accomplish them like this and all I get told is that life isn’t fair and I should quit whining, be glad for the advantages I have. And I am so glad for my advantages, because I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

I hate being a millennial because I have to live with this debt for at least the next decade unless I win the lottery suddenly and all that people older than me can seem to say is that I need a better job, to try harder, or that they’re sorry they can’t help. I’m trying to get a better job, I can’t try any harder than telling the truth and letting them know I’m interested in the job, and I don’t really want help – just a listening ear.

(Unless you have enough money and feel like generously paying off my student debt. 😉 )

I have to watch them smirk as they ask if I regret my English degree and wish I’d gotten a real career in science or engineering, even though I’m a woman and those same people would tell me that those are men’s fields.

I hate being a millennial because I look back and read this opinion piece and think, this is such a millennial thing to write. Even though, I know it’s the truth.

Millennial has become so much more of an insult for me. To me, a millennial is a whiney, self-absorbed brat who pretends to care about the greater good to garner sympathy. To me, a millennial is someone dependant on technology who can’t do anything for themselves or even think for themselves. But, I don’t actually know anyone like that. All the “millennials” I know are really decent people with big hearts stuck in a not so great financial situation.