Friday, May 25, 2012


I just spent a good portion of my time looking for my glasses so that I could sit down and write this message.  Before that I spent quite some time trying to remember what it was that I was looking for.  That’s a lot of wasted and I don’t like it.
Before I began looking for my glasses, I had been relaxing in bed, wondering what it was I had planned to do today.  I couldn’t remember, but I didn’t concern myself, because you see I’m in my 80s and forgetfulness comes with the privilege of aging. So a couple of years ago I came up with a plan to help me remember things.
 I have this bright red binder that I keep on the bed stand next to my bed.  I placed it there so that I could find it.  In the binder I keep Daily Schedule and Planner sheets for each day of the week.  The sheets list the days’ date, errands, appointments, phone calls as well as miscellaneous things I plan to do. This system and those sheets have been a blessing that I’ve come to appreciate.
 I’ve had this system for quite some time, but my grandchildren think that its old fashion, so last Christmas they bought me some sort of fancy gadget called a Blackberry.  It was suppose to replace my Planning Sheets and be easier for me. They tried to show me how to use it, but I wasn’t impressed.  I couldn’t make hide nor hare out of that dog gone contraption. Besides, I put it up some place so that I could find it later and only God knows where it is.  I say good riddance!  I’m back to the old tried and true.
 Of course lately I’ve been kind of iffy about writing my plans down on a daily basis.  You see one day I had this bright idea about moving my red binder to some place where it would be more convenient.  Well, after that I never saw it again but I was sure that I’d find it someplace around here one day.  At least I had copies of the planning pages that I put in the binder.  Unfortunately, I needed my glasses to write on the planning sheet.
Well, I was about to write out my schedule for today when the telephone rang.  I can’t recall who was on the other end, but while I was talking it gave me a chance to pick up a few things here and there as I was walking through the house chatting.  Lo and behold, what did I stumble up on but my red binder!  Guess what was tucked between the pages?  My glasses!  
 Of course the planning sheet page that I had right in my hand must have fallen on the floor and slipped under some furniture or something, because I couldn’t find it.  Now, I don’t know what else I was planning to do today, but at least I’m sitting in front of the computer ready to write about—

Hmmm, what was it?  Hopefully, I’ll remember before the day is over.  Meanwhile, I’ll muse on it.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I’m Beatrice Bell.  My friends call me Bea.  I’m a fairly intelligent woman with a high school diploma  and I’m retired now,  but during my life-time I think I earned a pretty good living.  I’m not well-to-do but I have enough money to meet my needs and wants and I’m relatively happy.  However, one of the regrets of my life is that I did not get a college education.

I tried to instill in my children a love of learning and my late husband and I managed to put both of our sons through college with financial assistance from grants and scholarships.  Plus, our boys worked while they were in school.  You see by being vested in their college educations, I believe that they appreciated it more.

Back when I was growing up the old folks used to always stress that I should get a high school education so that I could get a “really good job.”  Nowadays to be considered for almost any “really good job” a college degree is almost a must.  It seems that a lot of people are trying to do just that. Turn on the TV or radio or read a newspaper or magazine and you’ll see an ad for a college of some kind. These days it seems there is no way to not get a college degree.  There are traditional colleges, accelerated courses, trade schools, virtual colleges, and weekend degrees. Yet, I’ve discovered one thing over the years and that is just because a person has a degree doesn’t mean that they’re educated, and I mean that in more ways than one. 

I don’t want to generalize, but I’ve always suspected that there are a lot of people with degrees that still have no education.  After reading an article by Andrea Neal, who is an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, it seems that my suspicion may be justified.

Neal cited some of the following statistics:

According to the National Research Council, as of 2007 there was “A pervasive lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign languages threatens the security of the United States as well as its ability to compete in the global market.

·         85 percent of college students can graduate without taking an intermediate level foreign language course,

·         In 80 percent of schools students don’t have to take a class in U. S. History

·         In 34 percent of schools, students don’t have to enroll in a single math class

It’s not just that the education that a lot of students receive may not be worth the paper it’s printed on, but according to Neal, a  study by economists Frederic Pryor and David Schaffer, conducted in the year 2000, showed that a growing number of college graduates were taking “high school” jobs because of their low level of cognitive skills.  That means that they don’t know how to think through a problem. 

You see the world in general, and the business world in particular, is shrinking. In order to get the “good jobs” of today, at the very least students need some knowledge about how the world works.  They need the ability to speak a language besides English, and they need to understand how different cultures work.  Our college students are competing with bright minds from all over the world and an intimate knowledge of video games just won’t cut it.

They say that knowledge is power.  Today’s students need that knowledge and to get it they will have to roll up their sleeves and prepare to work If they truly want to get a better job and make more money, they’ll need to do their part.  That means taking harder classes, spending most of their time studying their subjects and actually attending classes.  People who really want to be educated will have to search for schools that make them use their minds and that will help them to develop their thinking skills.

The first step in developing cognitive skills is being able to figure out that if you spend thousands of dollars for a degree, it ought to be worth more than just the paper it is printed on. Students need to take the college courses that will make them well-rounded, and for goodness sakes, students should make sure that whatever institution of higher learning that they attend is at least accredited. But beware! Neal’s article points out that many accredited schools aren’t up to par when it comes to developing the skills that graduates need.   So please!  Muse on that.

Friday, May 11, 2012


This is Hattie Collier reminding you that something I’ve always heard is very true:  be careful what you ask for, you just may get it.  Back in the 60’s and 70’s a whole lot of women, were hollerin’ about sex discrimination.  I wasn’t necessarily one of them, but even I had to admit some things about being a woman was downright unfair.
Once a woman married, her personal identity all but disappeared.  She became “Mrs. John Doe” and was sort of identified by her husband.   If a woman wanted to buy so much as a piece of gum on credit the salesman wanted an okay from her husband. 
Things hit the fan with the Equal Rights Act.  Now, I thought it was about women getting equal pay for equal work; same as a man.  Instead it turned into a whole lot of hoopla on what jobs women could or couldn’t do, whether a man should still open a door for a woman, who should pay on a date and a whole lot of other nonsense that, to me, just missed the point altogether. 
Everybody knows that compared to the rest of the world, the United States seems more obsessed with the subject of sex than any other country, so the Sexual Revolution was almost inevitable.  Women wanted to be as free to be as sexually promiscuous as men.  Congratulations! We got what we asked for.
So, here we are today where sex is freely talked about, looked at and practiced.  Everything has sexual overtones.  You buy a car and a skimpily clad woman suggests that someone like her comes with the purchase.  A television commercial suggests that plumbing problems are solved by two sexy ingredients with the “longest snake” ever to unclog your drain.  Lord have mercy!
Some would think it’s an improvement that television shows have evolved from married couples sleeping in separate beds to naked unmarried couples rolling around in a chorus of groans and lip-smacking kisses. Really?
In spite of what my friends might say I’m not a prude, but in my opinion people who say that they want to tone down the sex and violence in the media are wrong when they claim they want to do so to protect the children.  It should be toned down to protect the rest of us from ignorant adults who apparently have no self control.
In just one week of reading the news and watching television I counted no less than five stories on teachers and coaches molesting children.  One of these adults was accused of having sex with a student on his desk! What is going on?
We have senators, congressmen, presidents and president-wantabe’s who can’t control their sexual urges long enough to get elected or to serve the country with honor.  Am I wrong?
I’m not stupid.  I know that without a healthy interest in sex, none of us would be here.  Yet in the grand scheme of things, it just aint that important.
They say that familiarity breeds contempt, and they’re right.  In this country, sex has become a recreational sport or a pastime to replace having a real relationship.  Folks are having sex when and where they want.  We talk about it any place and at any time.  Some folks even allow their kids to engage in sex at home where it’s “safe”.  In short, when it comes to sex in the good old U.S.A. almost anything goes.
I taught my children to do what’s right and not fall for the ‘everybody’s doing it’ line. That advice might be good for all of us.  Just because everybody is doing it, doesn’t make it right.   We need to be careful about what we ask for just in case we get it.
Now muse on that!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Hi! Connie Palmer here and usually I don’t write much about kids on this blog. My late husband and I raised four children who are all grown now and are out on their own, so the subject is not one that occupies much of my time.  Yet when I went on the internet this morning and read this article with the title, “5 Things Parents Shouldn’t Say to Their Kids”, I changed my mind.  I decided that I had something to say about this.

Again we got some “experts” telling parents what will ruin our kids for life.  While I can agree with the therapist who said that “words hurt and they can’t be taken back, so be careful”, I find it hard to agree what some of the other things that other “experts” went on to say.
Don’t say, “I don’t care because you’re cutting off communication with your child and saying that something important to him or her isn’t so important to you.”  
Okay, I can understand that. What is recommended is telling the child that they can share what they have to say with you at the end of the day.  That sounds reasonable, but I’ve got to admit that I didn’t have time to sit down and address all of the things that my four kids—who were all two years apart—had to tell me about every little thing, every minute of every day.  I had a business to run, a house to clean, homework to check, sports events to attend, parent-teacher conferences to go to, a husband to try and make happy as well as love to dispense to everyone in the household, not to mention elderly parents to care for and worry about. I don’t remember having enough time at the end of the day to address much of anything else but sleep.     

Don’t say, "Act your age!"   The therapist says that this is less about the child's behavior and all about the parent trying to manage his or her own frustration. The child may, in fact, be acting their age. "Instead, “come up with an effective response instead of a reaction.”  Of course she can’t give you the “effective response” because then she’d be blamed if it didn’t work.  It is assumed that in a parents very busy day they have nothing but time to go through a list of things to say to your eight year old, laying on the floor in the middle of a grocery store having a tantrum.  
I guess I flunked on that one, because I did say “act your age”.  I say it now to my grown children and to my grandchildren, and I’ll continue to do so.  I personally  think that with maturity comes increased responsibility.  So sue me.  
Don’t say, "Say you're sorry!" The reason for this one according to Bill Corbett, a parent educator, author, producer/host of the parenting TV show “Creating Cooperative Kids, is that "forcing a child to apologize does not teach a child social skills." He suggests that if your kid hits another kid this is what you should do:  “apologize to the child for your kid as a way to model the behavior you're trying to encourage. And make sure that when you're in situations where an apology is warranted, you deliver it just as easily.
 All I’ve got to say about this one is, are you kidding?!  I have no problem saying I’m sorry if I do something wrong, because it’s wrong, and I damn well expected my kids to apologize for the same reason, and they still do.

Don’t say, "Don't you get it?" if your child doesn’t understand how to do something after many unsuccessful tries.  Learning specialist and author Jill Lauren says that “Implicit in a 'don't you get it' comment are the judgments of 'Why don't you get it?' followed by 'What's wrong with you for not getting it?” She suggest that the parent steps away from trying to teach a child something,  perhaps  research alternative approaches to teaching whatever it is your child is trying to learn and go back to them again and teach it. 
Oooookay.  While I don’t totally disagree with what’s being said here, I just have to say that I personally envy all of the parents out there who have the time to do all of this research.  Times really have changed.

And this last one is my favorite.  Don’t say "I'm going to leave without you!"  Deborah Gilboa, a family doctor, parenting speaker and mother of four boys says that saying this results in the child quickly learning that parents make empty threats.  The doctor’s suggestion is this: "You can tell them it's not acceptable but you have to motivate them with a consequence that you can carry out." 
Uh huh, and this sounds like what we did.  When our kids were young and inconsiderate enough to disregard the time limits of our family, we wouldn’t let them go on the next outing, reminding that child that they had made us late the last time they went along.  When they were older, we also didn’t make empty threats. We left them. I can’t tell you how many times one of our kids had to chase the car down the street, or call one of our relatives to pick them up or get on a bus and come home.  The results have been four prompt kids who up to this very day are respectful of other people’s time. So I guess we passed this one, not that I care what these experts had to say.  Ooops!  I’m not supposed to say that.
Anyway, some non-expert like me who also read this article came to the following conclusion about the results of all of this expertise.  He left this comment:  “ we have a culture of spoiled people with little sense of humanity except their own.” 
Maybe all of us need to muse on that!