End Of Summer Edition/Post Seven/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300Fall is upon us, lurking, waiting in the wings; maybe to entertain us with a short period of Indian summer perhaps. Or, giving us a hint of autumn that brings us an early fall so that it will prepare us for cooler weather. For those in the northern states, I hope it will not bring on an early winter, the kind that you experienced last year.

Relationships and friendships are very important to most of us in our lives. For those people who have not built any relationships and friendships with others is unfortunate. We need the comfort and support of others at various times in our lives, and especially if we enjoy the company of one friend or the company of many. Today many of us use technological resources to communicate with friends, family and associates, especially with social media like Face Book, LinkedIn and other resources. For those of us who used to correspond with our friends with post cards and letters, the social experience for many who contacted others around the world was the use of Pen Pals, that preceded  the media operation of our time, Face Book. Now, anyone can usually find friends and associates by searching information on Face Book and get results. I experienced this first hand recently, and I am sharing this possibility for those who are interested in using that operation.

As we all know who use the technology available to us on our smartphones and computers, we also can use Google to find out pertinent information as well, concerning locating family members especially in historical websites like Ancestry.com. Again, I used this service recently to locate information about family members that I was interested in investigating for more details that were not available to me at the time. So, the use of technology is vital for those of us who use it and in most cases it is the only way to research information that is not readily available to us without getting into complicated situations.

Relationships and friendships, in my opinion, go hand in hand. Usually one does not survive without the other. There are folks who experience long term relationships for years, sometimes from childhood. And, in some cases, move away from each other for many reasons, marriage, jobs, relationships with others who are in different places and different parts of the country, but, only to stay in contact with a best friend and relate to their needs and experiences at a distance. Again, the use of technology provides that convenience to many of us as we experience contacts with others through the social media available in today.

Jazz treat…JazzTimes magazine celebrated it’s 45 years anniversary with a poll that voters took part in, to choose the top five groups in jazz out of 25 groups, that included trios through nonets. The results of that poll are listed here:

1. John Coltrane: The Classic Quartet
2. Miles Davis: The First Great Quintet/Sextet
3. Miles Davis: The Second Great Quintet
4. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (1961-64)
5. Bill Evans Trio (1959-61)
6. The Dave Brubeck Quartet
7. Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five/Seven
8. Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie: The Quintet
9. Weather Report (1976-81)
10. Thelonious Monk Quartet (1957-58)
11. The Modern Jazz Quartet
12. Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet
13. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (1966-69)
14. Oscar Peterson Trio (1953-65)
15. The Ornette Coleman Quartet
16. Keith Jarrett “Standards” Trio
17. Ahmad Jamal Trio (1957-62)
18. The Mahavishnu Orchestra (1971-73)
19. Miles Davis: The Lost Quintet (1969-70)
20. Benny Goodman Quartet
21. Art Ensemble of Chicago
22. Herbie Hancock “Mwandishi” Sextet
23. Charlie Parker Quintet (1947)
24. Charles Lloyd Quartet (1966)
25. The Tony Williams Lifetime (1969)

Polls are interesting, especially if you take part in them. Mostly, as required in this poll, choices are made based on individual preferences over the years of listening to mainstream jazz, especially in the last century, that the list suggests based on the musicians and groups chosen. I wish to point out that this group of 25 groups is just the tip of the iceberg. As noted, there are some groups that contain some of the same musicians, like the Miles Davis groups on the list. There are members that were part of Miles’s aggregations who were playing with Miles and then went on to become leaders of their own groups. There are also groups that surely have earned mention beyond the list of the 25 selected. Jazz is a big world, and there are younger players who are coming up the ranks who will surely the next elite suggested players in the future.

The list, as I mentioned, contain the musicians who are and were the finest in the jazz spectrum, and the voters who chose them realize that they are paying homage to the musicians that were of their time, the creators of a development that spoke of a special group of creative musicians who maintained and created an art form that spoke to a large segment of our society and carried the expressions of jazz all over the world that will never be forgotten and cherished. The practitioners of that art form are many and their contributions in performances and recordings are well documented, and while they may be on a list of many their artistic abilities are surely appreciated.

ATTENTION ALL TEACHERS AND PARENTS

This is an article that needs to be repeated:

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot – and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.
Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.

And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.

All is love- even math. Amazing.

Chase’s teacher retires this year – after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day- and altering the trajectory of our world.

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching- it’s our best hope.

I wish to comment on this article because it is very prevalent in our society at this time. This was sent by someone I know on Face Book who has had the much experience over the years grooming and supporting young people. This article speaks to all of us in our society who realize the importance of reaching out to those who are disenfranchised and are unable to determine who they are as individuals. It relates to those people, youngsters especially, who are bullied and taken advantage of by others who disrespect them as individuals and use their bullying tactics to control others.

Because this article is mostly directed to young people, I would like to draw your attention to another situation that is prevalent in our society, especially with young African American teenagers. That is, those who take the position that they do not appreciate others who are determined to move ahead educationally, and use their efforts to discourage them from growing and following their dreams. We have to make an effort to design programs that use a method of mentorship to get young people to understand the responsibilities that they need to acquire to move  our young people forward in this society.

Finis As I look over my posts for this month I realize that there is so much going on in our world and in our individual locality, much of it seems to include lots of negative interactions with others that seems to be senseless in the scheme of things. A case in point: the story about a Muslim teen who brought a clock he invented to class at school and was arrested because his teachers thought the boy had made a bomb.

http://www.arcamax.com/currentnews/newsheadlines/s-1723264?fs

My immediate reaction to this story is that it seems that this is an attempt to destroy the obvious creativity that the young boy possessed. At times we believe what we see as racism, and in this case, it is obvious; however, let’s break it down a bit. The boy showed his creation to his engineering teacher, who was less than overwhelmed, but at the same time this teacher http://www.arcamax.com/currentnews/newsheadlines/s-1723264?fshttp://www.arcamax.com/currentnews/newsheadlines/s-1723264?fssuggested that the teen “not show it to the other teachers”. The alarm went off on his clock in his book bag and his english teacher created circumstances that jeopardized what should have been a teachable moment for the teacher and the students, rather than the circumstances causing the unnecessary arrest of the teen in handcuffs by local police who also did not have a clue of understanding the circumstances as well.

Now let us understand what I mean by “obvious racism”. There are people who we assume should be bright and intelligent, especially those who are in an educational system that teach our children. We expect these people to be of a higher standard because of their experience and expertise. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. Because someone is different from them they have a blind spot that prevents them from seeing that difference, and because of that blind spot they react in a negative way towards that person. The engineering teacher that the teen discussed his project with indicated that he not share his creative project with anyone else. That teacher knew that the circumstances of the boy’s project would create exactly what transpired in school that day. While he did not use that situation as a positive opportunity (a teachable moment) he not only failed the student and his class, but himself as well.

Those of us who use a common sense approach in our lives are able to see through these moments that we observe especially in these times that deserve more attention to our values as human beings and the diversity that is presented to us by others.

Pope Francis I cannot close the month’s post without commenting with Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States. I have found the visit by him to be a special occurrence, and an historical one. His message has special meaning to me personally, I am not of his faith, but his message is compelling and inclusive. He has been impressive.

 

 

 

 

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Summer Sizzeler/Post Six/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300Well, we are in the full blown summer months, and from all appearances it has been a hot one for many.

Just to start off with a light tone and to avoid some of the distressing news of the day, I wanted to bring up some ideas about foods that most of us prepare when the weather is hot. The usual salad dishes are available to us in all the varieties imaginable, and preparing a salad makes it easy to add to a dinner or to use it for a delectable snack before or after dinner.

Salads are great, because besides the usual standard lettuce and tomato dishes that are easy to prepare, but there are also added variations  that make salads tasty and unexpectedly delicious.  For instance, adding fruits to a salad or seafood as well. These one dish meals are available to us in various forms, and adding a beverage, like lemonade, a cold apple juice or a soft fruit juice can be delightful.

I found out recently another menu choice for summer dining is the use of a slow cooker to prepare dinner easily. Some wonderful dishes can be prepared in the morning and cooking while at work or play at the beach, and while you are out doing that activity the food is being prepared for you to enjoy when you return home, and looking for a warm meal without any effort on your part or extra energy, just sit down and enjoy.

Just some ideas to make life easier. Find yourself a good sizable slow cooker recipe book, or any slow cooker recipe you prefer and have fun preparing yourself for a delectable meal.

From time to time I run across some stories or issues that come to my attention, or things I think about that may be interesting to you as you read my blog. Often, I hope that some of these stories conjure up a conversation with you, your family or co-workers because they may be topical issues of the day. Here are some.

I recently saw a graphic that depicted Black leaders during the sixties, among them Martin Luther King, as they embraced each other in a unified embrace all of them dressed in suits and ties, with a comment that said “That was then, and now is now”. I was unable to find that graphic again on Facebook, but that comment showed another graphic of young men in attire that was the opposite to the graphic shown of the Black leaders. Casual state of undress, pants down below the waistline, and in a suggested sexual pose. The implication of that photo spoke volumes about who we are and who are children are depicted to the world. But, we have been struggling with these images for a while, as our children depending on personal interactions with their peers try to find out who they are as individuals, and the environment that dictates the pros and cons of their existence. There is a history of how we have come to this place about how we look and how we are portrayed; the clothing style of the sixties and the so-called hippie style dress, the adaptation of styles created by other ethnic groups that were designed to identify who they were, and the sagging clothes designed to identify the hip-hop generation. All of these forms of attire is designed to formulate the images that young people appreciate and desire. But, how does these images give us concerns that we need to address as adults in regarding our children?

There is no doubt that in the past ten years there has been an increase of social media, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest that have been an influence on our daily lives, regardless of how much you agree personally or how much you are involved.

The technological advancements have created an opportunity for us to witness situations that we have not seen before, in places that we have not imagined around the world and as immediately as never before.

As we peruse through our Facebook and Twitter pages, we see a world that may oftentimes seems complicated, lacking of social sensibility, disjointed, and opinionated depending on whoever is pontificating at the moment. Of course, we have the opportunity to accept or reject the comments that are posted at the time.

We also see postings that deserve our attention to make a point or to give information that requires us to sit up and take notice about the situations that surround us in our daily lives.

Facebook and others on the social media platform have placed an age limit on young people who may participate on their pages. There may be young people  (I think the age is 13) who may get parental approval even though there are rules set by Facebook, or with parents who are not paying attention on how their children are using the internet.

There is a posting that every parent should be paying attention, by Coby Persin, a YouTube user who has make an effort to alert parents to how their children are using the internet and how important it is .

This user contacted parents whose children were using social media without parental consent, most likely they were underage, and did not have any consent from parents. These children were communicating with people who they did not know, and agreed to meet them when their parents were not home. Fortunately, Coby Persin, was not who the children thought he was, and he brought the parents to prove that their children contacted strangers on-line, without knowing who they were meeting. This is a dangerous situation and parents need to pay more attention to how their children use the internet and other social media that are more designed for mature audiences and adults. Rather to be safe than sorry.

Finis We look forward to next month’s blog and to be able to bring you some news and interesting information. We hope the summer brought you enjoyable moments. The season is short but it does give us moments to settle down and do the things we usually do when the weather is warm. Hope we have an Indian summer.

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Summer 2015/Post Five/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300The Day That Was…June 17, 2015, at the end of the day it was traumatic, and one that will be remembered as one of the most tragic days in history. And, in the days that passed, the events that took place were also historic as well. As many all over the country were mourning the nine victims of this tragic event that took the lives of these innocent people, the days that followed were filled with events that changed the lives of many people; the Affordable Care Act and the Gay Rights Bill that was passed two days after in succession. As the month of June came to a close, there was a definitive mark on its calendar of days that will be left in searing memory for the ages.

In addition, at this writing, one important event has happened as the result of the tragic events in South Carolina, and that is the Confederate flag being lowered and put away in a museum forever. That event had different meaning to many people on both sides of the issue. But, in reality, pro or con, it was an important step for those who see it from their own perspective. There is a long history associated with that flag and other memorials of its kind and placing the flag in a museum is an opportunity for those who honestly understand the historical background or are interested in finding out the whole and real story of its implications. Regardless of how it is seen from a political standpoint or an honest attempt to change the direction of how it is applied, is a step in the right direction.  Change has come not only to South Carolina but to other locations in this country as well.

In Post Nine/Volume Three of the blog, What Happens Now, I posted a section about the saxophonist, Jimmie Greene, who composed a tribute to his six year old daughter who was tragically taken from him at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut . That concert was previewed and presented on NPR’s Jazz Night In America program recently. This fine composition was a dedication worth listening if jazz is your choice of music. I was happy to include this story to you as readers on my blog and hopefully I will continue to bring this kind of information to you here. Check back and read what I think is a beautiful story.

This year there has been some important jazz and popular centennial celebrations that have occurred and  some that have yet to be celebrated. Of course, as the jazz news hails many musicians in many of the various presentations that they present, they include the passings of many important jazz legendary figures that include the recent passings of Gunther Schuller and Ornette Coleman. Sometimes these events of such passings get a lot of attention and other events such as the centennial events get less noticed because of the positions held by such legendary figures.  Les_PaulSuch was the 100th year celebration on June 9, 1915 of the guitarist, Les Paul, that is worthy of mention. Les Paul was a giant in the world of music for many reasons, because when he passed in August of 2009 he not only was celebrated as he continued to play up until his death, but was the inventor of the Gibson Les Paul, one of the world’s most popular electric guitars. His contributions to the music he played, country, jazz and rock and roll, placed him in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The celebrated recording, Jazz At The Philharmonic, of that first recording, was a standout that included his solo playing with Nat ‘King” Cole on the standard, Body and Soul, as he replaced Cole’s guitarist, Oscar Moore as a last minute replacement. His popular records included many of the songs he recorded with his former wife, Mary Ford, that were immediate hits back in the 1950’s. Once a week he played at the New York night club The Iridium on Monday nights until his passing. We salute this musical guitar genius on his 100th year.

Recently, I came aware of a current book by Ta-Neshi Coates, Between The World And Me, that he writes to his adolescent son, a personal literary exploration of America’s racial history. Coates, who is a writer for the Atlantic Magazine, has written many important articles, (The Case For Reparations in particular), essays and blogs about race relations in this country and the plight of African-American peoples. His writing should be required reading, especially for people of color, and particularly for young Black people, regardless of whether you agree with him or not. We must get used to getting as much information regarding our history, about who we are and what our responsibilities are to one another.

Finis It seems that in the past several years we have seen a deterioration of so many things, individual productivity, social society, politics, race issues, the list goes on and on to the point you have to comment “let me take time to breathe” before I can take on another thing. For sure, we are living in difficult times and there does not seem to be a let up too soon.

We can place our head in the sand and hope it will pass, that all the problems that we are confronted with in our daily lives will go away, but that is not the solution that we should be looking for if we care about the predicament we are in and not make any effort to find a solution that we need to pay attention to if we wish to resolve them. We can’t solve all the problems, but as individuals we can make efforts to confront the ones we see and take action to get involved and make a commitment to do whatever we can to solve them. You see, we do not live in this society alone, and we have a responsibility to become involved in finding solutions to the problems that are confronting us.

There is so much material that I have sitting in front of me to discuss with you as my readers. On-going discussion about gun violence and how it effects us as individuals; the immigration situation that stirs up long conferences regarding race and ethnicity, police brutality that seems to be the most prevalent all over our country and the different opinions of all races of people who have different outlooks on the situation. So many things, that brings each of us to decide what our quality of life should be in the midst of all the turmoil. Tough times for sure.

Then there is this revelation mixed in to all of this, that on one level could be less important in the list of things that we confront, but it does make a statement on what someone does that concerns all of us, and that is the development of the situation regarding Bill Cosby. I previously addressed that topic in a blog a few months ago (Post Seven/Volume Three), and while I avoided to clearly state disgust of the revelation that took place in this matter, I wanted to express disappointment in my comments. Disappointment is now just a statement of frustration with a person who should know better.

Let us take a moment to consider the fallout that this series of events behold. Bill Cosby at the time was an important icon, associated with the best talents in the entertainment business and sure to evoke disappointment among the best of them who not only called him a friend but held him up with high esteem. How disappointed they must be regarding this revelation. How many of them suspected what was lurking on the other side of his personality?

There is another side of this story as well, and this is a personal comment regarding this matter. What is the responsibility of an artist at that level in the large picture of things to others who learned to respect him and admire him?  All of the people who were young at that time, developing their characters in this vitally important television series, growing up before our eyes, showing us this wonderful African-American family that no doubt had an impact on race relations in this country. It is not only disappointing, but a disgrace, and Cosby should not get away with it, ever. His revelations to the press and his family do not deserve the attention it’s getting. There are those who were willing to give him a pass, because it seemed to be another attempt to bring down another Black icon in the eyes of White Americans. What does he think about all that, as he works with his lawyers to save whatever credibility he has?  Actually, I have no sympathy for him. If it was a sign of dementia or an instability that caused this situation, I would forgive him, but this has been going on for a long while, long before we can use that excuse to save his ass. If it wasn’t for the media, I would consider commenting , Please Go Away, Cosby. GO AWAY!!!

As we finished our blog there were new developments regarding this story.

‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

This feature story appears in the July 27, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.

To close, there have been some events that have been prominent in the latest news, and should be brought to your attention. But, I will not address them because the results of all the investigations are not in at this posting and I may have some comments regarding them.

Hope the summer is going well for you. Looking forward to chat with you again.

 

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Bustin’ Out Of June/Post Four/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300Here we are in June already and I am celebrating my sixth year in North Carolina. Boy, time goes by quickly. There is still much for me to do and I look forward to the changes that I intend to accomplish in the coming months.

There are multiple celebrations in June, family, friends and others that when I look at my Face Book page there is always a reminder of someone’s birthday. CONGRATULATIONS to all you June people. It is nice to celebrate a birthday in warm weather. So much to do and plan such an event when the weather is warm.

When you take on the task of writing a blog, it’s all about an association with the use of words. We speak a language regardless of the language we speak, but it’s all about word usage and how we use them to express ourselves to others. Here is an example.

Two words that express the involvement with others is significant other.  The dictionary explains that expression in two meanings; ‘significant’ being ” sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; and ‘other’ “used to refer to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about”. That term is used currently by people that purposely describe their relationships with another person. That expression seems to be commonly used by people who are in a romantic association with one another, but it does not have to be used in that manner at all. It could encompass any kind of relationship be it an association with a person in an academic association with each other or a business associate that is significant to that business relationship. I am not a student of the use of words and language but I found this expression interesting because it is one that is used often, especially when discussions are made regarding orientation issues.

I was stunned and saddened by the news of Vice-President, Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who died of cancer this month. Apparently, this young man, at age 46, who was Deleware’s Attorney-General had a great future ahead of him, and was considered a highly respected, fine, and outstanding person by all who knew him. A comment I heard made by someone asked the question, “Why do people of this sort pass away and all of the ones who fail to make any contribution to society except for their despair and anger continue to live long lives?”  There are those among us who fall in that category and we all have had discussions about what they are offering society with their mean-spirited attitudes and disrespect for their fellow man. I guess that is something we will never understand. But, it is worth noting.

I recently joined a group, Black Art In America, http://blackartinamerica.com, because I agreed with their mission of discussing many forms of Black art and history. The website is quite interesting and I intend to follow it up with many readings. Not sure about agreeing with all the articles as of yet, but I believe it’s a necessary site worth exploring. I thank one of my colleagues who forwarded the information to me originally and I intend to pass it on to you who are interested in this subject.

I am reading a continuing article about the history of jazz in the past and currently as jazz progresses to be part of our future.

For many decades, especially in our last century, the word jazz conjures up many diverse images and in the early 20th Century it became associated with the emergence of Black artists  and performers, especially with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, two of the most important and early practitioners of the music and sensational performers whose diverse and creative sources were important to the development of the music. Their creative abilities continued until many years after they were no longer part of the development they created.

I wish to state that jazz is not dead and the word may have many roads it has traveled, but it will stand the tests of time as it has for many decades. We may find new ways to play it and create it, but changing the word jazz has been discussed many times over, but it does not change what it is and what it continues to be; an improvisational, creative music that continues to grow and mutate into an opportunity for those who are creating it and performing it.

Here’s an example. In the late 1930’s a young man, Billy Strayhorn, met with Duke Ellington and composed one of the masterpieces of his young career, Take The ‘A’ Train. Designed to give him directions to find Ellington in Harlem, it became a performing and musical statement with the Ellington Orchestra and became it’s theme song. What transpired over decades was the development of that one song over many in the Ellington Songbook. It not only became an instrumental performance piece but a vocal one as well, especially as performed by Ella Fitzgerald and later by Betty Roche in a new arrangement.

This masterpiece is what jazz is all about. The opportunity to create a musical piece that changes over time with its improvisational ability to make a statement and create the ability of the material to reach an audience that appreciates the changes that time creates at the moment. Another example of this song is the on-the-spot performance of the Ellington Orchestra and Oscar Peterson at the piano with the Duke as he gives Oscar the opportunity to perform this monumental piece of music to a live audience. This is pure creativity that speaks to the music that the word ‘jazz’ expresses, improvisational content that no other word possesses. I look forward to discuss this topic in future postings and I delight in getting a response from those who are willing to respond.

Finis Earlier in the blog I discussed the words significant other and my comment was “I am not a student of the use of words and language but I found this expression interesting because it is one that is used often, especially when discussions are made regarding orientation issues.” I recently had an office visit with a person in the medical profession and during that visit we discussed some current social media issues and one involved a person that had a sex change that was currently the main topic of the news. This medical assistant went on to voice her opinion strongly to me in disapproval and went on to tell me that she had a family member, a cousin, that was getting married to his same sex partner and while they had her blessings she disapproved of their wedding. What was apparent to me was that while she discussed this situation to me she was somewhat conflicted. On the one hand she made references to marriage should be between a man and a woman, and in the eyes of God she disagreed with them, but she however commented that she did give them her blessings. I asked her politely, since this was not a heated interaction between us, did she plan to attend the wedding even though she did not agree with the marriage. She told me that she could not attend because she was working, but on the other hand she would have attended. She seemed to also agree with the possibilities that she would attend and join in the festivities of having food and drink to celebrate. So, I told her at least she was kind enough to help them celebrate what was obviously a situation she was unhappy about.

I thought about this person who had opinions that no doubt were in conflict with her personal judgement about relationships among people. It is ok to agree or disagree with things we do not understand. As long as we do not agree or disagree violently it is ok to voice opinions about subjects that effect us personally or politically. However, it does offer the opportunity to investigate and learn about others who do not live and participate in situations that we do not feel comfortable for ourselves. Too often, many people stay in their own comfort zone and are unable to at least consider what the opposite side of the opinion may look like.

At  the start of each month as I begin to write a new addition of my blog, sometimes I really don’t have any idea about what subjects I will discuss with my readers and what the end of the month will tell what those comments will be as part of my dialogue.

Well, the current FaceBook entries are full of comments that stirred up some sprightly discussion about teaching sex in a Virginia school to 8th graders. WOW!!! And did that ever get a lot of comments, pro and con. This isn’t the first time over many years that this discussion about teaching sex to children reared its ugly head. It is not brand new, because as each group of new parents begin to think about talking about sex to their children as they reach early age or any age for that matter, it becomes a subject of controversy. It is controversial because all people have different ideas about the subject of sex, not only sexual education but sex discussion in general. The comment on FaceBook from an article that was presented went in detail about the subjects being taught and I can understand how that must have upset many of the parents. I will refrain from leading you to the thorny details, but maybe the educators deemed it reasonable to bring these details out in the open without clearly investigating what the reaction of parents would be especially for those who have opinions based on many facets of sex education and their own, say, religious beliefs.

We are now in the 21st Century, and because times are really changing as we continue to understand and investigate what life is really about in these times, it is difficult to fathom what is the right or wrong thing to do about what we see, read and things we hear about and how it effects our children, and not to mention, many adults as well. There surely is a time for everything, and even though there are those who prefer not to discuss such things to their children or even to have a discussion among themselves as adults that is their prerogative. However, on the other hand, there will come a time for some who may not want to discuss such things but to have it fall in their lap and they will have to face the facts as they are presented to them even though they might not wish to take part in the discussion.

First, my condolences to the people in Charleston, SC. May those who were victims of this tragic event, R.I. P. As I write this entry in my blog post, it is just a few days after the tragic incident in Charleston, SC. Sometimes as I ponder to write something about a tragic event like this, I try to decide how I can approach it in a positive sense rather than writing something that offers a point of view that causes others to be in pain or be disillusioned about the event. Also, there is another position to take as well, and that is to ignore the tragedy and move on to something more passive as the subject to write about. Well, what is the purpose of such a blog as mine? Is it just a senseless piece of incoherent, meaningless statements that passes off as news or general information that has no bearing or meaningful knowledge to offer to those who read it? I don’t think so.

When such an event takes place, I decide what I intend to say and convey to others who are thinking about the event as well, and how they may be handling it in a personal manner. There are a lot of people in pain that will carry this tragic event in their hearts and minds for the rest of their lives. It may be locked in some part of the brain as time passes or stay up front in their minds every single day for the rest of their lives but it will still be there to haunt them. As we deal with this tragedy individually, we pray for the victims of this senseless event, but, we should pray for the perpetrator as well. Because he, too, is a victim. As information emerges bit by bit, we will find out what personality traits this young man had and how it formed his opinions on why he took on this tragic event as he did. He left schooling in the ninth grade and never returned. That is when, most likely, he was just a freshman in high school. What was his family situation like to allow him to do that? How did he change from a likable student in his early years to dealing with drug use and possession and a person who was a loner and unable to join in with his peer group? Now, at twenty-one years old he becomes radicalized in believing that other ethnic groups are his enemy.

Someone, like this young man, finds himself in a place that he really does not understand and is open to all kinds of situations that either develops him in a positive way or in a negative way. When you are away from your peers and unable to being involved in social and educational circumstances, there is a part of you that allows you to be open to radical involvement with others, and most likely, to those people who contribute to you those ideas and ideals. I suspect that this young man is a victim of what others with negative opinions concerning other ethnic groups, government, society, and all the hatred of a society that does not include them and their way of thinking, regardless of what that would entail. He believed that Black people were raping his White woman, that Blacks were planning to take his country way from him, all the signs of the extreme, radical right that we read about all the time. This young man is the victim of all that and it no doubt will come out when this comes to trial. He was led to believe it, and no doubt he was most likely led by others who probably did not have the guts to do what he did, but found someone, like him, to do the dirty deed.

An important note: Before I sign off this month, I have to make a note about the comments I have received this month regarding an increased interest in blog writing. I really try to help with general questions, but I don’t have all the answers regarding the subject. I write my blog every month and each time I write it is a learning process.

There are other resources regarding writing a blog and for creative writing as well. Of course, there are writing courses that give you additional information, not only about writing a blog in particular but writing assignments that will help you improve your writing skills. Good luck is all I have to tell you.

 

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