Cat’s vs Humans

Ever notice that cats are interesting creatures. In some ways they remind me of humans. I know, I’m weird, but just think about it for a moment.

Cats can be quite aloof creatures. They definitely have their own minds about what they want. One minute they want to know you and will come up, purring and rubbing themselves up against you, to let you know that they want to be held and petted, and at other times they will walk away from you. Ever notice that humans can be like that. One day they like you the next they don’t, one day they’ll talk to you, the next they’ll walk away and ignore you.

They, being cats, can be fussy eaters. Some will eat anything while others will be picky. Mine, for example, will only eat an expensive brand of cat food. I have tried them on cheaper ones but they refuse to eat it. I have heard people say that if you leave the food there, the cats will get so hungry that they will eat it eventually.

I tried that but my cats are and were stubborn… maybe they take after their owner, but after two days, I gave in. They refused to eat it and I felt guilty that they hadn’t eaten, so I relented and got the tins that they like.

But humans can be fussy eaters too. There are those who will eat a specific diet like Vegans and Vegetarians; or those who are lactose or gluten intolerant. There are some who will eat anything and everything, including anything you leave behind on your plate. Then there are those who have been traumatised by food, yes that has happened, and so don’t like specific ways food is cooked. If we didn’t need food to survive I for one would be quite happy not eating, period. And all the food lovers have just gasped in horror at the thought of not eating.

Each cat I owned had a different personality. One was feral so I treated her with care, one started attacking people but when she attacked at night, the vet suggested Valium to calm her down. Well she ended up on 10 micrograms, enough to knock a person or two out. but no, she kept on attacking and ended up having to be put down. My current cat is so docile.

She is 16 but looks like a six month old. She never grew very large nor did she age and so I’m always forgetting just how old she is. She’s very rag-doll in her behaviour. She has tiny little teeth and claws that do absolutely no damage. So she’s very cute.

You can roll her over and rub her tummy and she won’t do anything but lie there. Occasionally she gets grumpy if you rough play with her and she’ll give a little bite, but the look on her face is priceless. If she does bite, she gets this horrified look on her face that says ‘Oh no, what have I done. I’ve bit the human.’

People have different personalities too. Some are aggressive, some are docile, whilst some of them, their mood depends on whether or not they’re having a good or a bad day. Some people look their age whilst others don’t. Cats come in all shapes, sizes and colours depending on their breed. So too do humans. We have different shapes, heights, cultures, colours – it is what makes us unique and should bring us together in unity rather than divide us.

Sometimes I think that people are a bit like cats. Sometimes we’re nice and want to be social and at other times we just want to be left alone. We can be snarly and scratchy or cuddly, warm and friendly. Really though, we should not forget that people are not purrfect, but we are meant to be relational. We are meant to get on with each other; we’re not meant to go through this world solo, yet many of us choose to for whatever reason we have to do just that.

Unwanted House Pets

Yuk. Yuk, yuk, yuk – that’s all I can say. I have a few pet hates. I like nature so long as it’s outside where it can roam free and chances are that I won’t see it. But there are a few of nature’s critters, that insist on coming inside and that’s where I draw the line. I’ll put up with flies, they’re mainly a nuisance in summer but the good old fly spray does wonders at killing them, although their death dance is annoying. And I’ll put up with the odd ant, sure it’s got a bite but I’ve got a rule, bite me and die, but there’s a few things I won’t put up with. Even the possum is preferable and he’s noisy, oh boy, is he noisy.

I hate cockroaches. Every time I see one, I cringe. I’m not alone in this. Most people when you just say the word, ‘Cockroach’, they cringe and say ‘Eeww.’ I have heard people scream when they see one.

I know they have their purpose, they are nature’s scavengers. They can eat anything and can survive without food for long periods of time. These things have survived from prehistoric times, so they’re not easy to kill off. We often joke, that if anything is going to survive an atomic blast, it’s the cockroach, but it wouldn’t surprise me, these things are tough.

But I can’t stand them. It’s not like they’re even pretty. No, they’re downright ugly but I’m sure someone likes their sleek style and reddish tinge. Fly spray doesn’t kill them, if anything it just makes them angry. And you have to spray them from underneath to do any kind of damage. I don’t like stepping on them because I hate the crunching noise of their body breaking underfoot. And they are fast, I mean these things are incredibly fast and they can turn and dodge just as quick. They’re also mean; I swear they deliberately chase you down.

Up there with cockroaches are spiders. I have a fear of spiders, so much so, that I will freeze if I see one. If it is near me I start to panic. Someone suggested watching the film ‘Arachnophobia’ to cure my fear of spiders. It worked so well that my fear has increased. Having been bitten by a few poisonous spiders, surely no one can blame me for not liking them in my presence.

I heard on the radio a guy from the museum explaining why spiders come in when it’s hot. ‘They have sensitive legs’ he said ‘so they come inside because the heat outside is upsetting them.’ They’re upset. They have sensitive legs, really, oh my gosh. Care factor, zero. I’m sorry, I don’t care, these things bite and their fangs hurt. I still have the fang marks from one encounter.

The huntsman are the worst, they like to scare you. Oh, they’re not poisonous but they do like to get into places where you’re likely to see them or come into contact with them. Like the poor guy who picked up his coffee cup to get a drink and found one inside. Shiver down spine moment. Or the guy who took off on his motorbike, builds up speed, flipped his visor down and found one on the inside – no wonder he had an accident.

But there are those that are poisonous and winding up in hospital is not my idea of fun. There are so many nope’s with these pests I don’t know where to start. No spiders, absolutely not allowed. Rule of house, if you’ve got 8 legs and come inside… you die. End of story.

A long time ago there was a mouse plague. I was up in the rural area and the mice were everywhere. There were so many that the cats gave up hunting them, they just let the mice run amuck. You just had to lift a sheet of tin of the ground or bang on the shed walls and they’d go running. I even woke up one night to find one looking at me. Yes, it gave me a fright, that is not what you expect to wake up and see.

Driving down the roads at night and they’d be streaming across the road. You had no choice but to drive over them, all you heard was a popping noise as you ran over them, but it made the owls very happy and very well fed, without having to do too much work. But I’m not a fan of mice.

Lately there’s been a lot of activity in the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. We’ve had a lot of houses ripped down in the neighbourhood and new ones being built but the problem is when they demolish and dig up the ground they disturb the mice and rats. And where do those vermin go? They find a new place to set up home which is usually the nearest house.

There is nothing worse than hearing something chewing or gnawing at night. Nothing worse than seeing a mouse or rat run across the floor or across the curtain rod. Mice are a little more tolerable. They tend to scurry away and almost apologise for disturbing you but rats. Those things will stare you down and dare you to deal with them. I’m so glad for the new self setting traps. No injured fingers or hands when using them.

Those are the house guests I don’t like entertaining and they know the rules. Enter and I see you, you die. I don’t like killing spiders, mice, rats or even cockroaches but I’m not setting up a breeding centre either. They can find somewhere else to inhabit. I don’t care where, so long as it’s not in my house. And now, I have to go explain to my cat, that her role is to kill the mouse, not make it her friend.

What Have I Got To Be Thankful For?

You have a lot to be thankful for. You may not see it but you do. Being thankful though doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Being thankful is, in fact, a choice. It is an active, deliberate choice that one has made in order to think about the things that he / she has rather than the things that they don’t have. When you are thankful for what you have it releases a joy, a happiness within you, that others can see, and it allows you to be generous to others, no matter whether you have a lot or a little.

I used to struggle with having no gratitude or thankfulness. I’m not perfect, I had a hard life and so I struggled big time with this concept. So I know others will, have and do as well.

When you hear the word ‘Gratitude’ or ‘Thankfulness’ what does your brain start thinking because those first thoughts are good indicators of whether or not you have a heart of thankfulness. Do you think ‘I’m so thankful for…’ or are your thoughts more like ‘Are you serious? What do I have to be thankful for?’

Does your thoughts go to the problems in your life. How can I be thankful I have no money, no food, no home and/or no work. Or do your thoughts go deeper – how can I be thankful my life was terrible, I was abused, I’m in a Domestic Violence situation, or perhaps, I was or am being bullied.

The problem with this line of thinking is that soon the ‘What if’s’ and the ‘If only’s’ scenarios start to play out. We can find a whole lot of reasons to not be happy and to not be thankful. I know I’ve been there, I have the scars to prove it, and my life could dictate to me how I should be ungrateful, because of the trauma I’ve been through, but at the end of the day it comes down to a choice.

We can spend our life complaining about what we don’t have, and living in our own torment, sorrow, anger and jealousy, at those that have what we want or think we want, or we can change our mindset and be thankful for that which we have, which can then potentially open a door for more good to come through.

Being thankful, having a heart of gratitude produces joy – a happiness that others can see and for those who know your circumstances, it confuses them to the point that they want that happiness too – because they will be thinking when they watch you ‘How can he/she be so happy when…. has happened?’

But it’s not easy especially if you have scripts from the past that play on a constant reel in your head. It’s hard to silence that voice. I know how hard it is to be happy when you have nothing. I’ve been there; I’ve been so broke I’ve been homeless, days when not eaten because I chose to pay a bill over getting food. It’s not easy when everything you see says you’re not good enough, nothing you do will work out but that’s where you have to find strength from somewhere to push through and tell yourself that you are better than circumstances say.

I’d love to have the bravado and creativity of Sir Richard Branson. To look at him you wouldn’t know that he was an introvert, that he trained himself to be an extrovert. I’m an introvert, I’m not a people person naturally but I force myself to pretend that I like people, I engage with people and I make them laugh and can have a great conversation. I’ve been told by people that they I encourage them and they wish that they were as confident as me and when I tell them that its an act, that I’m not that confident, they say that they would never have known. But I would like some of Sir Richard Branson’s creativity to get around problems.

I’d love to have just a fraction of the capital that the rich people do, like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and how about Oprah. I’d love to have enough so that I could pay my bills on time, to not have to worry about whether or not I can eat this week or to have plenty so that I can buy a coat because Winter is coming. But I wouldn’t like my life to be on display like there’s is for all the world to see and love you one minute and hate you the next. And coming from a Domestic Violence background I definitely can’t afford to have my picture splashed across the tabloids. But it’s nice to dream occasionally.

Changing your mindset though is going to take time. For some it will take a long time, for others a shorter amount of time, for others who really struggle they rely on God to help them change but it is making the decision that you want to change that is the first step to change.

I was challenged several years back. I felt it was God challenging me to look at changing my attitude from ingratitude to a more thankful attitude. I felt Him challenge me to write down one thing that I was thankful every day for a month. I was okay with that. Not a problem. But then came the criteria.

It wasn’t allowed to be the same thing every day. Okay, that makes it more challenging but yep, I can do that and then the final criteria. It wasn’t allowed to be shallow, I had to say why I was thankful. So I committed myself to this challenge and got a journal and spent the next month writing down something I was thankful and why each day.

A couple of my entries were:

I’m thankful for those coupons I get. The 4 cents of fuel voucher, the buy 4 coffees and the 5th one is free, spend $5 at the bakery and get stamp, on the 6th trip I got free loaf or 6 rolls, or the buy two for one. Why? Because I saved money which could be spent on something else and interestingly enough the free coffee and the free bread was usually when I didn’t have any money left.

I’m thankful that I don’t live in a country that is riddled with war. Why? I live in a country that gives me freedom. Freedom to wear what I like, to have an opinion even if it’s different to someone else’s, I can go to uni, I can live where I choose to live. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for living here.

I’m thankful that I woke up this morning and there wasn’t a chalk line around my body. Why? It gives me an opportunity to say hello to someone, to encourage them, to show them that someone thinks that they’re important.

Being thankful is a choice. It releases joy and happiness and a desire to share what you have whether that be a little or a lot. Being thankful becomes a lifestyle.

Life Sucks

Life sucks. Well it can at times. That’s how it is. At some point in time, someone is going to hurt your feelings. It will be either deliberate or unconsciously done, but someone, at some point in time, will hurt you.

The trick is what do you do when that happens? How do you react when you are hurt? Because it is how you react that will let you rise above what has been said or done, or sink to the level of those who have hurt you.

There is a lot of hurt and anger in the world today. It seems as though violence has escalated to heights, that have not been seen before. Every day the news is full of one punch injuries, someone that has been killed or injured horribly in a Domestic Violence situation or fights that have gotten out of control.

There are some people who live in a state of fear of getting hurt and they go to lengths to avoid confrontations and arguments so that they are not hurt. The problem is that a lot of people when they get hurt, retaliate. They get revenge by getting even, as they perceive, to the wrong done to them.

This can take many forms from being physical, talking behind the person’s back or indeed not talking at all. It can take the form of addiction in order to kill the pain that the person feels inside, be that alcohol, drugs, spending money one doesn’t have, work or any other addiction to ease the pain.

All that does is keep the pain intact, it keeps the pain inside, whereby the person either hurts someone else, or themselves, even more than they are already hurt. Lashing out in reaction is not healthy it is destructive. Reacting solves nothing, but makes a situation worse and can create a cycle that is never ending.

As hard as it is, when one is hurt, that person needs to look at why, whatever was said or done, has in fact hurt them. When one knows why something has hurt them, it is easier to tackle the issue. Not reacting when one is hurt is hard and yet it is the better way.

To be able to say to someone ‘What you just said / did has hurt me’ allows a door for discussion to open. The other person might not have any realisation that he or she has hurt you. By opening the door, it gives them a chance to apologise, and if need be to discuss why you have been hurt. And yes there will be those that don’t care that they have hurt you but you can’t do anything about that.

That is where forgiveness comes in. Forgiveness is not about forgetting what someone has said or done, but it is about cutting the emotional tie, that binds you to the person who has hurt you. Forgiveness is not about the other person but about you, it gives you the freedom to keep moving forward, instead of being held back by hurt, anger and/ or resentment.

The majority of conflict in our world stems from miscommunication. Being hurt by someone’s words or actions is miscommunication. The key to resolving miscommunication is opening a door to allow people to speak and to be heard, and where there is too much difference, come to a mutual ground of common acceptance.

Budgeting 101

Budgeting. It’s a word that not many people like to hear. Most view it as a complicated exercise and give up before they start. It can in fact be an easy exercise, that yes takes a bit of time but is a worthwhile exercise.

The question you need to ask yourself is – do I want to be in a better financial position by the end of the year or do I still want to be chasing my tail, trying to pay bills. If you want to be in a better financial position then you really need to know where it is that you are spending your money.

Step 1: What bills do you have?

There are going to be regular bills like your car registration, birthdays, phone, power, water, rates that come in either yearly or quarterly. Food is a regular bill but is weekly. Spoiler for those who are disorganised… Christmas is a regular bill you know that you are going to spend up but Christmas happens at the same time every year as does the New Year. Then there will be irregular bills like car or house repairs, clothes, vet bills, takeaway, coffees, pub nights, movie nights and shoes etc.

Step 2: Write it down

Find the bills that you have paid over the last year if you have kept them. If you haven’t then you are going to have to rack your brains to remember the bills you paid. Rule a piece of paper up or create an Exel document with columns across the top with the months of the year and down the side the name of the bill. List them all – the regular bills and the irregular bills in the column of the month paid, and the amount paid. Don’t forget to include food, takeaway, coffees, and personal items etc.

Every time you paid a quarterly bill put it in the column for example: Power is normally a quarterly bill so you might put $300 (quarter) in February, May, August, November. Yearly bills would be put under the month paid. For weekly bills times the figure by 4 as there are normally 4 weeks to a month and put the figure in each month of the year.

If you want to live better than you do, include the things you don’t have but would like to have such as holidays and include yourself. Where would you like to go for holidays, how much approximately would that cost you, how many times would you like to go away – once a year, twice? Write it down. Pay yourself a portion to stay in savings – how much would you like to save $20, $100 a week, whatever the figure write that down. If you want to have a holiday once a year at Christmas time then put approximate figure in December’s column.

Step 3: The shock

Add the figures up and you will get how much you spent in the last year. If you have included wants as well then this figure you will be looking at. Once the figures have been added up and you have your yearly figure, then divide the total by 52 (weeks in the year) and you have the figure that you need to be bringing into the house each week.

If your income is not sufficient to cover your expenses, then you have to either increase your income or lessen you expenses. But by having everything listed, you can see where most of your money is going.

How do you increase your income? Get a second or even third job depending on what your current work situation is. Find another avenue such as pet walking, house sitting, be creative and sell stuff on ebay or etsy.

How do you lessen your income? It may be as simple as instead of buying 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day you buy 1 or 2. Buy generic items instead of brand name items for paper goods like tissues and paper towels. If go to movies or the hotel every week maybe only go once a month. Shop around for deals and use coupons where you can.

There’s a saying ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way’ and perhaps that’s the biggest challenge. Do you have the will, to make the hard decisions, in order to get a more financially secure life.

The Words We Use

I don’t know about anyone else but I am fed up with how sensitive people are. People have sanitised everything down to make it more palatable to the general populous. These days, you can’t use certain words in case they offend someone and so they go around renaming things.

For example: A spade is no longer a spade but is now a digging implement, a manhole is now a utility-hole and a car is no longer called she but is now an it. Are you serious? Have you not heard of context?

If I say ‘I’ll grab the spade to plant the tree’ there is no doubt, as to what I am referring to but the politically correct people, if they had their way, would have me saying ‘I’ll grab the digging implement to plant the tree.’ That is ridiculous.

Here are some others:

Evil = niceness deprived

Cheating = cooperative assignment

Cat = quadruped non-human associate

Girl = pre-woman

Homeless = residentially flexible

Dishonest = ethically disoriented

Crook/Thief = morally (ethically) challenged

Wrong = differently logical

Poor = financially inept

It seems that common words of which one knew its meaning, has been reworded in order to make it seem less harmful, but then they have gone to the extreme, of applying that same logic to animals and both tangible and non-tangible items. It’s a cat, people, not a quadruped non-human associate.

It is now not politically correct to have an opinion these days. If you say the wrong thing you can upset someone or get fired or reprimanded. They say it’s about respect and acceptance and absolutely, people should respect and accept one another, and they shouldn’t use words in a disparagingly way.

It’s called manners, something anyone over their 40’s was taught. That is what should be taught. Manners, not renaming everything under the sun, but the art of simply showing respect to your fellow human being (aka man).

Political Correctness has invaded every aspect of our lives and fairy tales and nursery rhymes did not escape the chain saw of political correctness. They have been changed in order not to offend or potentially scare the children.

The three little pigs has been sanitised so much it’s lost its huff and puff. Spoiler alert: The first two pigs were eaten by the wolf originally but now they all survive. And Humpty Dumpty now sounds more communistic than nursery rhyme – ‘…all the people’s people and all the people’s army..’

Here’s a thought. Maybe, children would be less afraid of shadows if they had the original stories told. They were never intended to scare children and they usually had some kind of moral teaching to them.

The problem with making everything palatable to the general populous is that it doesn’t help people to learn to build coping mechanisms. People, in the real world are not going to care whether they have hurt you or not in real life. They are not going to care whether you are an extremely sensitive person or not, and whether you like it or not, people have biases.

I don’t think that we are doing people any favours by sanitising everything. It’s all about context. What is the context of the sentence being spoken? That has always been the way to figure out what someone is saying.

In this respect, maybe we need to go back to the basics and learn our manners, think before we speak, and learn how to respect and accept each other as the unique individuals that they are.

Words

It’s amazing how language is living as some would say. Over time, it changes and words that meant one thing now mean the polar opposite like for example: wicked – it used to mean evil but now means good.

We no longer speak ye olde English, for which I’m grateful. I find it hard to add ‘eth’ to everything – wouldeth, couldeth, and ‘est’ wouldest thou mindest…, keep getting tongue tied. There are so many languages that have died out over the years, but how cool would it be to still be able to write in runes.

But I don’t like the English of today with the current generation, especially, using acronyms when writing forms or job applications – did no one teach them, you just don’t do that. But then again, I get lost with all the meanings of the acronyms.

America has a lot to answer for killing the English language, but now we are hearing the brutalised version day after day, and people now think it’s normal to speak like that. They say that it’s because of all the American shows, shown here, but either way, I’m sick of spell check telling my spelling is wrong because I use ‘s’ and not ‘z’.

If I were to write ‘In my organisation’ it does not need to be highlighted as wrong and the helpful prompt of ‘Organization’ to be inserted. Likewise other words like utilise does not need to be corrected to utilize, rationalise and so forth.

And I am sure that many years down the track, language will change again and again and again.

Who Turned the Lights Out in SA?

It is inevitable that at some point in time you will have a black out. And it will be at the worst possible time like peak hour traffic, or 2 a.m. on a 40 degree night, or just as you’re cooking dinner. After checking to make sure that the safety switch hasn’t been triggered, you realise that you either haven’t paid your electricity bill or you’re in a blackout.

Most people then wait for about 20 minutes to see if it comes on, before ringing the power company’s automated black out line, to find out how long they will be out for. The average is two hours, but on rare occasions as recently experienced it can be for hours leading into days.

What to do? If you or your family are reliant on technology, there will be withdrawal symptoms to cope with. But the best solution is be prepared.

Always have a torch handy, the battery operated lanterns are quite good and candles are a good substitute, but remember not to leave them near anything that can catch fire. A backup generator is not a bad idea to have. But what do you do.

Well you can play board games by torch or candle light. Here’s a novel idea – talk to your family members. I know right, actually talk to them, reconnect. Other games besides board games is story telling. One person starts and says a sentence. Then the next person adds a sentence to what has been said and so on and the story will grow. Another is play the guessing game.. What time will the power come on?

Have a back up method of cooking such as a barbecue or if your house is on gas, then there’s not too much of a problem cooking. Keep the fridges and freezers closed as much as possible to keep the coldness in. Have cans of emergency food which can be eaten cold and don’t require heating.

Side note: As an electrician once told me, they can legally put through as low as 210 volts and as high as 250 volts, to allow for fluctuations that happen. Which is also why appliances wear out a lot quicker.

Causes of blackouts range from extreme weather events like massive thunderstorms. Extreme periods of heat will have them load shed, and as the electrician told me the poorer suburbs get hit with a lot more black outs than the richer suburbs because of that reason – they don’t want the wealthy inconvenienced.

Then there’s the car accidents – when cars run into the stobie poles, or the possums when they fry themselves at the substations, or the termites, when they chew the underground wiring. When the message is ’cause unknown’ – that’s code for the termites, apparently, and of course bush fires.

At the end of the day. We will get black outs, especially during summer so be prepared.

Honesty is the Best Policy or is it?

It is said that honesty is the best policy even if it hurts. It is said that the truth hurts. It hurts because it highlights what we need to work on; it highlights what our weaknesses are, but then it is our choice to look at the issue highlighted, or to ignore it and hope it goes away.

The truth about society is that society is made up of people and because it consists of people it contains all their emotions and hurts. The simple fact is that society is full of people who are

petty and vindictive, vengeful, spiteful, jealous, egotistical, apathetic and hurting emotionally. There is anarchy, disunity, opportunistic ready to take advantage of someone without a second thought. The list goes on and on but every one of them falls into one or more category of the 7 deadly sins.

The 7 deadly sins are running rampant in today’s society. Well known they are considered in no particular order to be greed, wrath, sloth, pride, gluttony, envy and lust.

Greed Whilst greed is normally thought of as a person who has a desire for money. It’s what they live, think and breath about to the point that everyone and everything else around them is ignored. Reality is that greed can be a unrealistic desire to get or own more than one actually needs or even deserves. The person is not satisfied unless he or she has more and that can relate to anything not just money although money is usually the main objective.

Wrath is quite often thought of as another word for anger. Whilst it can be, wrath is normally used to refer to someone, whose anger is more hostile or warlike in reaction to what has been done to that person, whether real or believed. Wrath is people choosing and displaying acts that are violent, intimidating or whatever act is unfriendly not excluding what your thoughts are. Thinking of ways to kill someone or to make them pay is just as hostile but instead of being external the damage is done internally – to you.

Sloth or being lazy is a reluctance or dislike to work or exert yourself. This is avoidance by any means from any form of work whether physical or spiritual, including not practicing the art of virtue by doing what you know is right and avoiding what is wrong.

Pride There is a difference in having a sense of self respect and being satisfied knowing you have done a good job and that of developing an overrated opinion of your abilities which leads to arrogance or superiority when measured against others.

Gluttony whilst most will concur that is in relation to food it can be extended to other things. Gluttony is eating to excess but it is also an unreasonable desire to consume more than that which one requires or needs. This can be physically or spiritually

Envy is spite and resentment at seeing the success of another / desire for others’ traits, status abilities or situation. It is not being satisfied with what you have got, not liking who you are as a person or what you look like but is always about wanting to be or have what someone else has.

Lust is to have an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body/ self indulgent sexual desire / have a craving, appetite or great desire for…(anything)

This is our society. We wonder why there is so much anger and violence in our world. It shouldn’t be a surprise. We are partially responsible. Studies have shown that a person’s environment has an effect on their thinking and behaviour. Studies have also shown that humans operate with “herd” mentality. People follow a group even if it is doing the wrong thing because they want to fit in and so they will discard their own beliefs in order to do so.

Society is choosing to live and feed on the 7 deadly sins. The truth is you don’t need to. It doesn’t have to be this way but it needs people willing to be different, willing to reach out, willing to start showing acceptance and love to those around them.

Occasionally we see glimpses of how good, kind and compassionate people can be. We see it surface in crisis situations like bush fires and earthquakes where people pull together in unity and this caring attitude for someone they don’t know comes out and touches people because deep down every human wants acceptance and love it’s just that they are looking for it in the wrong places.

Why should it be only in a crisis situation? We should start with ourselves and let the ripple effect move out. It will be difficult because people who are hurting inside will hurt those around them but showing love will cross the divide.

If we truly want the world to be less violent then let us become a people who understand what is meant by loving and accepting other people regardless of their upbringing and circumstances, by looking beyond ourselves and becoming other people oriented. But it is a choice. The decision is in your hands.

I get it. I really do. I understand why schools’ want to appear to be inclusive and pro student. But is it really helping the student prepare for entry into an adult world or is it setting them up for failure.

Take sports day – Back in the dim, dark ages when I was a child sports’ day consisted of different events – races, hurdles, the hop, step and jump and pole vaulting for example. The classes practised the events and chose their best performer, who then lined up for the race or other event on the allotted Sports Day.

The prize for competing was a ribbon for first, second and third place. The class cheered their chosen representative on and their was a sense of pride if their classmate was the winner.

Today everyone gets a ‘Participant’ ribbon whether or not the student has actually done anything. There is no longer a first, second or third placing, because they want every child to feel as though they’re a winner, that they have achieved something, even if that is as a spectator.

I get the idea but seriously this doesn’t teach them that in reality not everyone wins. During my years, we learnt that if we weren’t selected to compete, it was because we weren’t fast enough, or we couldn’t jump high enough. Those that came first, second or third knew they were good enough on the day and won. Was there disappointment?

Sure there was, but in life you get disappointed, but we learnt to deal with that disappointment and try harder the following year. By giving everyone a ‘Participant’ ribbon it teaches them that it doesn’t matter if you compete or not, you win by just turning up – and that is not how it works in the real world.

Banning of certain foods – aka ‘Nut Allergy’. I understand that banning nuts is to protect those who have nut allergies. I get that it would be terrible if a student had a reaction to nuts and wind up in hospital or worse but in the real world, once outside of school and in the workforce, businesses don’t have to cater for and usually don’t cater for those with allergies. They have a policy in place for ‘just in case’ but they don’t ban others from bringing in food with nuts or potentially other foods which could cause an allergic reaction.

Why? Because they’re adults and they should be allowed to eat what they feel like. Now, if people choose not to bring certain foods out of respect for someone with an allergy, that is a choice. But banning foods at school is not helping them to develop a plan to deal with being in the vicinity of nuts.

There is research being done which is showing good results in those that are allergic, that when exposed to small doses which over time are increased their reaction takes longer to kick in. So maybe the schools are doing more harm than good in their micro-management.

Banning Clapping – Seriously, now some schools are banning clapping out of respect for those with a sensitivity to noise. So students are allowed to do air punches and wriggle about to show their excitement.

These same schools also have a ‘Friend’ chair whereby if a student is feeling lonely at playtime, they sit on the chair and the other students are encouraged to include them in their games or to join their group.

The problem is that it doesn’t prepare them for the real world. When they leave school there is no ‘Friend’ chair for them to sit on and there is a lot of noise in workplaces, so they may as well learn ways to cope or deal with their issues now, rather than be protected in a safe environment, and then learn how to deal with their issue when they enter the real world.

The issue with this and other policies is that the real world isn’t fair. There are winners and losers, not everyone has friends, there is a lot of loneliness in the real world. Schools want to prepare students for the real world, but in reality they are setting children up for failure, because when the child realises that he/she doesn’t get points for just turning up, or that there is no friend chair or their co-worker brings nut products to work, it creates more problems because they don’t know how to cope in the real world.