Save the Future from Idiots

Sounds kinda harsh but I’m seriously worried about future generations. Living in New York City is a unique experience. You probably hear that often but it really is like no other place. That being said, I’m sure not every young person lacks courtesy, respect and motivation. I started riding the train about a year ago and the young people I was coming in contact with were scary! Foul mouths, disrespectful, un-classy young ladies and, Oh, the conversations I heard…

In 2010, I started working with teens and I found great conversations. I enjoyed hearing their perspectives, concerns, and found my second youth in spirit. I know they’re not all damned; at the same time, I’m seeing more and more young people becoming rude, disrespectful, and lazy.

Why, when I was a young girl…ok, I won’t go that route but we have to do something. Whitney knew the children were the future and how important it was to teach them well.

Can I completely place blame on parents. Yes and no. I as a parent constantly remind my children to use kind words, be respectful to adults, say excuse me even if others are rude. I also tell them no often. It gives them a healthy balance. They are sometimes annoyed at my favorite saying “sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no”. So much that they often rolls their eyes and finish the sentence before I get it out. They’ve learned to just deal with it. my daughter also picked up a great line (I wish I knew who to credit) “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”. Plain and simple phrases.

At parent teacher conference, I asked how she was getting along with the other children. My concern was that she often plays alone. The teacher said that other girls are catty and she chooses not to participate. I was glad and worried. Why are other girls being catty in 1st grade? I always tell my daughter it’s important to make others feel good not feel bad. Wasn’t there an anti-bullying movement going around? What happened?

Teenagers. Whenever we get on the bus, the children roll their eyes when they see teenagers. My children are well aware that the amount of profanity they use is ridiculous and their noise level is out of control. We all make the best effort to catch the earlier bus to avoid them. Where is the parenting? Yes, I’m ranting and blaming parents and I feel I can do so since I am a parent. I am always on my children’s back about making sure they are aware of how others are feeling. No one wants to hear loud teenagers cursing about a notebook early in the morning. Literally every other word is profane.

I’m positive that young people would be less lazy and more motivated if there were more outlets for them. Why do we have to pay $800 for ten karate lessons? Is it necessary to charge $1500 for piano lessons? Back in the day…I know I said I wouldn’t go there but why not make comparisons. Kids were taught arts for less or for free. Look how well rounded those generations turned out. If you have class to the mix, the underserved are the low income. Big surprise! Right?

So, what can we do about? Nothing…. I started mentoring young people after being involved with a great non-profit. When I stopped mentoring with them, I kept finding young people to spend time with. Young people need adults to be role models.

You can be a Big Brother or Big Sister. There are tons of other organizations that you can link up with or knock on your neighbor’s door. Why not?

3 Ways to Get Organized

If the kitchen is a mess, I refuse to cook anything. There’s just no way I can cook well with piles of dishes or spillage on the counters. That’s a whole other ballgame, though. Some label me (though labeling is a good thing to be organized, pun intended) with medical diagnoses that I won’t list in order to be slightly politically correct. I just prefer things to be in order. It’s the 21st century and we live busy lives these days. Two page “To Do” lists, longer work days and we just need to squeeze entertainment somewhere in there.

At home, you can probably get away with dis-organization. At work, it’s way more important. You need to find the contract for billing, you need to find the payments you made to a vendor, etc. Filing to not fun and it can sometimes be time consuming (and of course, time is money). Here are 3 ways to get organized. Keep in mind that the setup is the most important and will likely take the most effort and time. However, in the long run, it will saves time, money, and energy.

What are things you pay attention to versus things you look at and ignore?
What are items that you need to pay attention to, items you can drag on and items that can go filed away/stored away/trashed?

At home, you might want to have two boxes, one (Box A) for items that you use every day and another (Box X) for items you barely look at. As you are sorting, be honest with yourself about what you don’t use. When putting it items into Box X, don’t feel as though you can’t properly store them in a neat, tucked away place. The idea is to have items in Box A, neatly in front of you so you can address them while putting non-essentials away neatly for you to take out as needed. (Kind of like telling kids to put their toys away and only keeping the two or three toys they’re playing with at the moment – am I the only one?).

At work, same concept. What you work on daily versus items that you use less frequently. If you have a desk job, it’s best to get up from your desk often to exercise. It also helps to group according to daily tasks, items that can be completed at any point during the week, and items that are monthly. Items that are on your desk, should be items that need your attention. The less you have on top of your desk, the more you will be able to focus on what tasks need action.

Trashing things…
We don’t have to use words like pack rat or anything. That article on remodeling bathrooms was the best by far and it’s perfectly logical to want to keep all receipts for payments ever. Here are a few ways to tuck away and throw away.

1. The age of digital storage – That great magazine article, newspaper article, or other important paperwork can be scanned and saved to your server. There are several other digital storage options such as One Drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

2. Replaceable items – If you can order it easily, find it online, or it is common, just go for it – Throw It Away! You save room and will have less clutter. If you’re not referring to it monthly, weekly, or daily, it’s likely not worth keeping.

3. Storage – Keepsakes are great! I have tons. I box them and label them and store them in a closet and I have a storage as well. If you can find space to keep your memorabilia then go for it. After your clean up and organizing, you should have plenty of space. You can decorate with your keepsakes. Otherwise, tuck it away the way a dog buries precious bones. (I’m thinking of Jacque from Lady and the Tramp).

Color Coding
The colors help quickly locate and identify things. Someone once showed me their library and you could easily see that yellow labels were for fiction, red labels were thrillers, blue labels were non-fiction, and so on.

Label Makers
Have you seen Mrs. Doubtfire? Miranda had labels on items in her cupboard. I thought it was great! You can adopt a similar strategy. In an office, it’s common to label office supplies and you can do the same at your desk.

Putting items in containers, drawers, or in files is a good way to locate things later. You won’t have to go rummaging through piles of papers and wondering where you left that post it. The container store has wonderful solutions to get you organized. From plastic totes to pencil cases, the container store is great! Containing the problem give you so much control. No more tables with paper clips falling on the floor and hidden post its with the phone number to the VIP who will plug you into other profitable connections.

You can do it, I know you can! If you have other awesome solutions to get organized, please share in comments.

What happened to good, old fashioned detention?

When I was in elementary and middle school, there was in-school detention and out-of-school suspension. I’m sure there were proper terms for these behavior modification techniques but I remember them differently. Before my time, there was simply detention. If you broke school rules or misbehaved, you were given detention. That meant staying after school to help the teacher clean up or you were given extra school work to pass the time. The consequence was not being able to leave school with friends and play before dinner time. 

Think about Bart Simpson. Photo Credit:

Sure, he was still a mischievous kid (cartoon character) but children are children. The important thing to remember is that when you teach a child right and lead them down the right path, when they are adults they will continue that path and respect those who led him. Children love it when they mess up over and over but caregivers still love them and believe in them. It forms trust and creates a bond.

(No, I’m not getting mushy! I’m heading towards a point here)

There are tons of kids in poverty (etc, etc) and they need guidance (etc, etc) but kicking them out of school, I guarantee, will not work. You can’t constantly push someone away and still expect them to love you and respect you. The signal being sent is “You’re a throw away”.

So, what happened to good, old fashioned detention? (I hear grumbling in the background) Teachers work hard, need raises, need more free time. Yes, educators are commendable for the amazing work they do. They teach our children! I appreciate teachers. They move the future. They are crazy important to society!

At the same time, you have to go the distance. No matter what your job is, it’s hard. No matter what your role is, you are important. 

I tell my children all the time how important the sanitation workers are and how much I appreciate janitors. Someone has to do the job and they take pride in their work. If no one did their job, we’d all be miserable! My boss told me that janitors are important and you probably won’t think so until you’re in the stall and there’s not toilet paper. (Just saying…)

I digressed…not really though.

If you are going to take on the responsibility of caring and educating my child, why on earth would you kick him or her out of school. Oh, there was a temper tantrum? A fight? Refusal to do class work? All of these seem to indicate a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. Maybe something is going on at home, maybe the child (or teen, etc) is being bullied, maybe he or she is not understand the classwork and needs a little more help grasping the concept(s) being taught. 

I say, if you give up on a child (Child = Anyone Under 18), you are giving up on yourself. 

Hypothesis: If children are given in school detention as a consequence for negative behavior, then they will (1) develop a positive relationship with educators, (2) receive more attention on classwork concepts, and (3) do better in school overall with grades and building healthy relationship. (Yes, that is a challenge, please feel free to try the experiment and accept or reject my hypothesis).

Under-staffing cannot be used as an excuse. As a community, everyone can do their part. Meaning, take turns (that is what we teach our little ones). 

Pay it forward. (That was a cute movie by the way).

Cheers, to the future!

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What’s wrong with the Redskins?

Originally posted on Karen Petree:

Photo by Washington Redskins photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t think many football fans give the image in the Redskins jersey much thought.  Football is about tackles and yardage and touchdowns. The Redskins are the guys who brought home three NFL championships and three Superbowl rings.  They’ve been the Redskins for over eighty years.  So why does it matter what they’re called?

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Equal Justice

The best environment to begin nipping at this idea is in a college classroom. I believe the conversation would be fruitful and rewarding because of the many ways it can be “untied” (Rhode, 2004). I can appreciate the way Rhodes (2004) layered the issue. Beginning with defining equal justice is the best place to start and the best environment is the classroom because it is where law is learned.

Defining equal justice is no easy task but Rhodes notes the importance of answering who should set parameters of the terms meaning. If the United States is founded for the people and by the people then the people should determine what justice means. Yes, different income brackets will define equal justice differently but all should come together so that one understands the other and can respectfully come to an agreement; that is, in a perfect world.

Rhodes (2004) notes, “the systems in which these parties operate have been designed by and for lawyers”. Ignoring the disparities is what should not happen. In fact, the U.S. should ignore race and understand that the majority of issues stem from issues of class and not race. Though everyone cannot be “rich” fiscally speaking, equal access to many things can make one “rich” otherwise.

Rhodes suggested a shame should be felt by America and I would point the blame toward the judicial system and the American Bar Association. Both should be the checks and balances of the system to guarantee that all American citizens have equal access to the same “kind” of justice. Despite the 10th Amendment, a general rule of equal access should apply. The ABA, especially, should check to make sure lawyers are fostering equality in the system.

There is no need for an overhaul of the justice system so no need to bunch anyone’s pants. The solutions Rhodes offers is as follows:
“Reducing the need for professional assistance calls for strategies along several dimensions: increased simplification of the law; more self-help initiatives; better protections of unrepresented parties; greater access to nonlawyer providers; and expanded opportunities for informal dispute resolution in accessible out- of-court settings.”

I couldn’t have said it better. There are so many DIY projects and the For Dummies book series has tons of information on how to navigate almost anything. In the same way, lawyers, judges, and others part of the court workgroup should provide an easy way for the layman to find his justice.

Rhode, D. “Equal Justice Under the Law” Access to Justice (2004). Santa Clara University, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics,