Be the Good.

I never write about politics here, on LinkedIn, or any other social media platforms.  The reason is that while I love to debate I hate to argue, and both politics and religion are two areas you can typically  count on people getting mean and unreasonably argumentative if you let the conversation go on long enough.

But after last night’s election I, like a lot of other people, really feel a need to express my opinion. I went to sleep last night secure in my belief that although I know some Americans can be self centered and unkind the vast majority of us are good people who would not step on others to get what they want.  Although I was a little worried, I didn’t really think Trump had a chance of being our next president. Sure, a lot of reasonable people I know supported him, but come on.  I was wrong.

I was honestly shocked and depressed all day.  I don’t agree with a majority of Trump’s political views, but that’s just part of living in a democracy.  The problem I have is with what he stands for.  The problem I have is personal.

I have a son who has always loved to shock people.  He’s said the most outrageous things he could think of since he was old enough to talk.  He’s a teenager now and in spite of  frequent discussions about it simply not being nice he still loves anything with shock value.  Mind you, he’s a great kid who really does emphasize with others and is a truly good person.  He just loves to say things that get a big reaction.

He’s said he was a Trump supporter since day one (since I said how opposed I am to him) and joked about how when Trump won I’d have to carry a ‘woman card’ and wear an apron.  He laughs when he sees Trump say crazy mean and outrageous things, and I think because Trump is not just getting away with being a racist, sexist person in public but is being cheered on for it. I am maybe one of the least emotional people you could meet, but the fact that Trump was elected makes me want to cry. How do I explain to my kids that people like that are not OK and acting like that will get you nowhere when it just got Trump elected?

How do you fight that kind of negative example when it just got someone elected to the highest position in one of the most successful countries in the free world?  After fretting about this all day I still don’t have the words to fix this.  Because there are none.

Maybe that’s OK. I can’t change the world, but then I wasn’t able to change it yesterday either.  Just like yesterday I can only change the little bit of the world directly around me.  I can do more of the things I already do to try and reflect my morals, and look for new ways as well.

I can volunteer my time to do things for causes important to me.  I can reflect my values in my daily life, like I do by being vegetarian. I can stop and talk to the homeless people I pass instead of acting like an entire piece of the human race is invisible. I can attend marches and demonstrations that highlight equality and the importance of each being. I can do things as simple as share information that I find important here, on Facebook, and anywhere else I deem appropriate. And I can hope that doing all of these things as often as possible will help to counteract the hate that my kids see in the world.

I am hopeful that a lot of people do not find Trump’s attitude towards what amounts to anyone not like him or agreeing with him OK. I am also hopeful that those of us who agree on this will stand tall and stand for what is right.  Voting every 4 years is important but it is not enough. We need  to live our values on an every day basis and make sure that our kids see that you don’t have to be in everyone’s face and blatantly offensive to be right.

I do have a huge ray of sunshine in all this.  I fully expected my son to gloat and make jokes all day but the only thing he said all day was “Did you see who won?”.   Not another word was said and he’s actually been really subdued all day.  I’m hoping that as a teenage he kind of considered the whole thing a joke until today. Kind of like a lot of Americans.

Time to move on and move up. Time to be the good.  I’m going to try and make a point of sharing lots of the good here that can find, I think we may need it for a while.  Good like what? Good like the usual. Paddleboarding . Cycling. Being outside. Theater and restaurants and things to do around Tampa. Wine. Yoga. Pizza.  Good things like volunteering, wonderful people, and causes important to me.

This blog already has more than enough subjects, but so be it.  I do have focus though. Focus on being the good.

What can you do to fight hatred and exemplify good?

 

 

 

 

 

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World Oceans Day at Mote Aquarium

I’d never been to Mote Aquarium, though I do love aquariums.  It’s almost 2 hours from my house so I can’t exactly just drop in.  But with the celebration of World Oceans Day as an excuse I was in. My almost 15 year old hates car rides longer than 15 minutes so much you’d think he was allergic but to my surprise both of my teenagers wanted to go to and seemed excited about it.

When you first go into Mote’s Aquarium you enter a big room full of aquariums containing fish both native to Florida and invasive to Florida, like the lionfish, that are in our local waters.  Lionfish are beautiful, but they have such a detrimental effect on the native fish and therefore the reef habitat that people are encouraged to catch them with no limit and there are even cookbooks focused solely on lionfish dishes.  Just another reason for me to be happy to be a vegetarian.  🙂

Tanks I love the clown fish and the starfish, but I’d say my favorite was the jellyfish.  We even happened to be there when they where being fed, which was interesting and very cool.

Jelly Collage

After we went through this area we went outside where they had shark exhibits (I love hammerhead sharks!) and where they where they had a ton of booths to give information on ways we can help avoid polluting the oceans, what to do to avoid hurting loggerhead turtle hatchlings (I didn’t realize how important it is to fill in any holes you dig at the beach to avoid trapping them) and all kinds of family friendly activities like  face painting, making bracelets and necklaces, temporary tattoos (got some!) and listening to a cool band whose instruments where all made of trash.

crowds Collage

After we talked to all of the people at the various booths we went across the street to the mammal area.   This is where you can see the otters, giant turtles, and manatees.  Awesome!

One great thing about this aquarium is that there are people all over telling you all about the individual animal’s backstories and how they got to the aquarium.  We were told not just how the manatees got to be at the aquarium, but also little tidbits about their personalities.  It was just one more reminder of how all animals have a personality beyond just what is known of their species in general or expected behaviors.

Random Collage For the record, otters are crazy hard to get a picture of underwater,  they are so fast!  I don’t know a thing about otters but they seem like such playful creatures it’s hard to stop watching them and walk away.

If you’d like to visit the aquarium Mote is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236.  Mote is an independent, nonprofit marine science institution dedicated to research. It’s a great opportunity to support a great cause by having a great time that your entire family will enjoy, even my finicky teenagers.  Who can’t get behind that?

I received 2 tickets to the aquarium as a member of Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with Mote Aquarium in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, of course.

1, 2, Skip a Few, 99, 100

Did your kids used to use that in kindergarten when you asked them to count to 100?  My oldest was notorious for his kindergarten escapades. His last name is pain and on his very first day of school he told his teach his full name ended in pain in the @$$.  Proud parent moment right there, let me tell you.

Then there was kindergarten graduation where all of the kids had to get up on stage and tell all of the parents what they wanted to be.  There were future princesses, presidents, doctors and lawyers.  There were kids that wanted to be just like whatever their parents were.  Know what MY son said, in front of the entire school?  He wanted to be a clown that juggles.  Where did he get that?  I have no clue but he had the entire audience laughing. That and sibling rivalry pretty much sums up my experiences as a parent so far…

And that is all I have for today. I didn’t want to miss my post today but honestly I am just not prepared. It’s been a crazy week and I’m just going to have to get caught up on all my photo prompts over the weekend.

So for today – 1,2, skip a few, 99, 100. And done. I learned that from my son.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Family Connections

How do you connect with your family?  Today’s photo prompt was connect – and as usual a few ideas came to mind but I decided to go with family.  A couple years ago we all REALLY connected –  everyone got together, and went tubing for a few hours – with all of our tubes tied together.  This picture is about a quarter of the total.

TubingConnectedI connect with my daughter usually doing things like watching Supernatural and Walking Dead (Do I get an awesome mom of the year award for that?) or hysterical videos she is always showing me of things like this. Strangely addictive.  You’re welcome.

Then there’s my son’s, our biggest thing right now is Tae Kwon Doe, but there’s also the occasional Mine Craft session.  I’ll spare you a photo.  🙂

I swap seeds and gardening photos with one of my nieces, talk dinosaurs and super heroes with my littlest nephews, everyone has their own thing!

How about you, is there any particular way you connect with your family? Do you find yourself doing completely different things with everyone in the family?

 

 

Color Us Rad!

Saturday morning me and mine and my sister and hers all got up at the you-know-what of dawn and went to Color Me Rad. Our (8 between us) kids ranged from her 3 year old twins to my 20 year old, we were quite the rag tag assortment.

We were a little late (we have a rep to keep up) and it was a wee bit warm but there was a nice breeze, they were handing out plenty of water, and we had a blast.  I think the kids favorite part is that they were not only allowed to get dirty, they were allowed to get OTHER people dirty.  The twins were rubbing their hands in the colored powder on the ground and then on peoples shirts, pre-school heaven.

Here’s our running crew.  AfterColorMeRadNeedless to say we did a whole lot of walking and trading the wee ones back and forth; they walked, ran and hitched rides  at will.  The run was on the fairgrounds so we didn’t feel uncomfortable letting the older ones run ahead of us. No cars and nowhere to get lost!

As much as I’d love for these fun runs to instill a love of running in the kids you really can’t say what will happen.  But I can say that events like this are a great way to spend the day as a family, get away from computers, and make great memories.  And my kids have all of their race bibs pinned to their wall.  I didn’t suggest it, so it makes me happy to see that they are proud of them.

And seriously, who couldn’t use a little more boom, a little more rad, and a little more color in their day?

The boysTo top it all off I had the added benefit of a build in chauffeur.  I still don’t get why people don’t love having teenagers around.  Well, OK, it depends on the day.

My DriverMy family’s other favorite thing to do together is eat, the family is Italian so we can get 40 people and 10 pounds of pasta together in a heartbeat. Like magic!

The family that plays together… probably bickers all the way there and back, but whatever.  How about you, what do you and your family like to do together?

Disclosure: I received race entries in exchange for posting about Color Me Rad.