Never enough time

There’s something to be said about being so busy that you forget what it is that makes you relax when in fact, you have the ability to sit down.  My mistake for thinking that once the holidays were over, there would be more time to get back to some of the activities that keep me from being mean to people.  I’m still waiting for all this wishful extra time that I’m on the verge of just taking without regard for anyone around me.  Yup, I’m going to lock myself in my basement office that doesn’t have a locking door handle.  Knocking will just be met with silence or perhaps the occasional chair squeak that happens when I recline then sit back up again.

A few good things have motored my way in the last few weeks though.  There is a new position posted at my workplace that is 80% of what I’ve been doing for the last 9 months.  I have a decent chance of actually getting it as I’m on good terms with all of the interviewers.  While I think that I’ve done what was required in 9 months to demonstrate that I’m ready for the stretch goal this new position would put me into, anything can happen.  Silver lining is that I won’t be losing my job, it’ll just feel like being dropped a peg with a new level of management between me and the CIO.  Time will tell.  I already know that it’s more work of course, making a brain in my head that’s already tense that much more tense.

I think my daughter is being bullied in school.  Being the expert I am on that subject (go to hell bullies from my past), I recognize the signs all too clearly.  Her progress reports are slowly slipping without a noticeable difficulty in homework completion.  She is also not wanting to spend time with any of her friends and is hiding in the basement playing games, watching television, for hours at a time.  My restriction of “screen time” is met with some serious attitude, like way more than usual.  There is also a general lack of enthusiasm for any activities that she used to look forward to each week.  Yeah, she’s definitely being bullied.  The school is full of useless politically correct assholes that are experts in condescending placation when anyone reports suspected bullying.  I just hope that she decides to tell us before it starts to eat up her insides like it did to me.

The whole education system is beyond fixing at this point.  The only way to get a decent education for the kids is to pay ridiculous amounts of money for private school that is only  marginally better than public school.  Cyber schools are an option, but that is a huge commitment for parents that are both working.  Whatever the outcome of any of this, my daughter is the one suffering in the end.  I don’t have the answers right now, not sure if I ever will, but I need to get this suspected bullying taken care of now.

Don’t know when I’ll be able to sit down and write again, but as with previous posts, I do try to get free time.  The forces of life and responsibility have other plans lately.  Stay frosty.

Individuals are smart, people are stupid

Naked Security: Cyberbullying is worse than face-to-face bullying, teens say

StopBullying

I’ve talked about this before here and here.  It’s a topic I feel VERY strongly about having been bullied through my entire school career.  My daughter, who will be 9 in December, is most likely going to be bullied at some point in her school career as well.  There are some traits I can see will be topics for other children to point out and make fun of.  Both my wife and I are doing our best to raise her with self confidence and instill in her that she can manufacture her own strength.  That is a lesson in life that neither of us had when we were growing up.  We also didn’t have pervasive 24/7 technology driving our bullies over 20 years ago.

So, before anyone gets offended by the title, here is my explanation.  Individuals in this context are normal, intelligent and sane minded people that act on impulses with morality and knowing right from wrong.  They’re able to see a situation or problem, make judgements on the correct course of action, then act on those decisions.  People in this context are just the opposite of an individual.  People refers to a crowd of individuals that have lost the ability to think on their own, they’re following a slightly smarter individual that is empowered by the “people” behind them.  The thoughts and actions of people are justified if more than one person performs the unintelligent or insane action.  Mob mentality is what its referred to as in the news.

Lets steal some stuff then burn it down!
Lets steal some stuff then burn it down!

Explanation done, this same idea holds true online.  The consequences are much much worse however in that individuals that are targeted often are alone.  They feel alone, they are alone, no one is supporting them.  The article at the top goes into some detail, but I think fails in trying to address the root of the problem by using emojis that evoke compassion.  Really?  WTF is that about?  We are so afraid of offending someone or pissing off someone that we end up not being candid and blunt about the true nature of the problem.  Here is my theory.

  • Parents are partially to blame for not monitoring what their kids are doing online.  Growing up it was easy to keep tabs on a child.  Mom screamed out the door and we came running or we were home when the street lights came on.  Trouble, if caught, would easily be communicated.
  • Schools are partially to blame for not being tougher on the kids who do bully.  The schools are bound by ridiculous rules and policies that turn their discipline from a sword into a spork.  No one benefits from that.
  • Kids are partially to blame in that they’re not getting the right life lessons from people around them.  From age 7 to about 15, children are literally soaking up the world like a shop vac sucking water out of a basement.  What they see, do and hear shapes their decision processes for the rest of their lives.
  • Technology is partially to blame due to its pervasive ability to completely take over someones life.  We have, as a society, come to depend on our technology and are starting to lose the ability to function without it.  How many times have you asked someone for a phone number and heard back “it’s in my phone, which I don’t have right now.”

My wife and I are split on the technology front unfortunately.  I’ve had multiple computers and phones for years now due to my fierce separation of work and personal tech.  Work doesn’t need to know what I do on home time.  I don’t carry a phone on Sunday, not because I’m religious or anything, I just need to disconnect one day per week.  It supports my requirement for solitude.  My wife, mother in law, brother, etc. are all the same in their reaction:  “How can we get a hold of you if there’s an emergency?”  My response is always the same:  “The same way you would get a hold of me 20 years ago, leave a message.”  It’s received with mixed reactions.

I want my daughter to be exposed to technology, but on my terms.  I know there is absolutely horrible content on the Internet and I can’t shield her from all of it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try and watch her activity daily.  My wife gives her the iPod and leaves her alone.  I give her the iPod and want to sit with her and watch what she does.  My wife lets her on the desktop to do math homework and leaves her alone.  I sit with her and watch what she does and helps when needed.  Technology for me is a tool and should be used as such.  You don’t carry around your hammer or wrench 24/7 so why should you carry around your smart phone 24/7?

I’ve digressed unfortunately, such is that of a random mind.  I hope that I’m giving my daughter the sense of safety that she can tell us anything that is bothering her so we can take the most appropriate actions to help her.  I’m aware that our involvement in her life will be more and more unwelcome, but that doesn’t mean that I stop helping her.  It’s just a shift in helping to something indirect rather than direct, such as a meeting with the Principal after hours as I did two weeks ago.  I hope that my daughter never experiences bullying or cyberbullying, but the reality is that she will.

It needs to stop and it starts with awareness and an individual to counter the decision of people.

Senseless Bullying…. What a waste.

This story is really depressing and brought back a lot of memories of my high school years.  I’m sure you’ve heard by now about this Freshman that was bullied so harshly by fellow so-called classmates that taking his own life was the better choice.  I can’t begin to understand what he went through as it seems the bullying in schools now is at least a few levels more intense than the worst of mine in four years of high school.

Jamey Rodemeyer Suicide

During my Freshman to Junior year, I was teased for what I wore, called names, and a host of other horrible pranks that don’t require detail here.  Just know that for 10 months out of those three years I dreaded getting on the bus knowing what was awaiting me when I got to school.  I wasn’t athletic (still not), I wasn’t the attractive “popular” kid, and I didn’t have a lot of friends.  With a last name starting with W, I generally sat in the back of the room and stuck to myself a lot.  I guess that made me a target, to this day I really don’t know for sure why I was singled out.  The treatment I received in high school during this time launched me down the road to depression that lasted into the first few years of my marriage to G.

It wasn’t until my Senior year that I finally had enough of the treatment and I fought back physically at first, then with words.  The singular event that was physical resulted in the other guy getting a broken nose and causing a nice dent in a locker door.  In all but a few cases, I realized that I was smarter and quicker on my feet with a battle of words and generally would smack down insults and teases relatively quickly.  The teasing eventually stopped only to be directed at some other poor soul.

What most don’t realize is that the pain from bullying often carries with a person long after the actual abuse stops.  The torment from three years was at times excruciating to deal with and I would retreat into my own world of online chat, bulletin boards, and other Internet related stuff.  I internalized the pain, anger, and “why me” thoughts until it became too much to handle and I broke down following a huge fight with G that I can no longer remember its subject.  The point is that I could have easily gone down the same road as Jamey Rodemeyer.  I personally did not, but so many others have.  It started for me in high school, and it took almost a year of therapy for me to determine that.

Kids can be cruel, plain and simple.  The slightest bit of weakness or difference is amplified in a group of kids and often targeted.  The reasons vary, but they’re all senseless.  I told myself for years that all those kids that targeted me were less mature and didn’t know themselves well enough to do anything different.  Lemmings following the pied pipers.  It needs to stop, there needs to be some form of discipline that is effective enough to make a would-be bully think twice before making fun of someone else.

I’ve made my peace with all of them, personally, within my own life.  I had to, for my own sanity.  What they did was cruel, terrible, horrible…. describe it anyway you want.  The support from G and making a success of my life is what made me overcome my hang ups in the past and move past them completely.  Jamey will never have that chance, and that is sad to think about.  My mind often wanders at times thinking about all the people that don’t get the chance to live their lives completely and what are we all missing out on because of that?