Monthly Archives: October 2009

Quote of the Week

I have come to believe that this is a mighty continent which was hitherto unknown.
                – Christopher Columbus
                   Italian-born Navigator and Explorer
                   Journal of the Third Voyage, May 30-August 31, 1493

Happy Columbus Day weekend!

Christopher Columbus

Don’t Hide Facts of Evil and Danger from Kids

People are being murdered every day in the United States.  However, some of these murders capture the public’s attention more than others.  Hugely fascinating and frightening has been the recent murder of the female Yale University graduate student, whose body was found stuffed into a wall in the Yale University biology lab on the day she was to be married.  Perhaps it was the imminent nuptials which made people more sympathetic, or perhaps it was that one is ultimately not safe anywhere that made people respond so viscerally to this particular news story.

A 10 year old girl called me shortly after that story broke out, because she was now quite scared about everything.  Her fear only started, however, when she was in a movie theater bathroom stall and a woman came in, screaming and pounding on the doors, ostensibly looking for some other child.  Since that incident, my young caller had been scared.  Her mother was listening in when I validated this child’s feelings by saying “You are perfectly correct in being scared.  It is true that there are bad people who are willing to hurt you and that you are sometimes not even safe in your own home.”

Paradoxically, that calmed her down!  Why?  Perhaps it seems to you that that comment would make her more upset.  Nope.  I validated her worst fears, and in doing so, helped her to put them in proper proportion.  If everyone is lying to you because of good intentions, you have to escalate to get them to confirm reality.  This child did not have to bounce off walls anymore.  Someone believed her that life is not completely safe.

I continued by reminding her that she was becoming an adult.  Adults deal with truth, and the truth is that we are not always safe.  Adults need to be aware of that and, instead of just being freaked out about it,, they need to prepare for it:  locking the doors, watching who is near your car in a parking lot, learning some self-defense, being careful about where you go with people you don’t know, and on and on.

Evil is a part of life; danger is a part of life.  People need to know and respect that fact and be armed with information and reasonable plans to deal with these facts. 

A little bit of paranoia is a good thing.  It keeps you prepared.  Too much paranoia inhibits one from living life at all. 

Don’t hide the fact of evil and danger from your children.  Teach them how to recognize them and then what to do.

Unintentional Surrogate Motherhood

A short time into her pregnancy, a married woman in Ohio was told by her husband that he had just received a call from the fertility clinic which helped them attain this pregnancy.  The clinic “goofed,” and the baby in her belly was the product of the embryo of some other couple, who now expected her to go through childbirth and hand over the baby.

This couple is quite religious and they don’t believe in abortion, so in spite of their immense personal pain, they planned to hand over the baby after it was born (they did so at the end of September, when the woman delivered a healthy baby boy).Their only request was to see and hold the baby first, as they had already formed a bond.

Shame on the clinic for making that phone call!  You may be shocked at that response, but since strangers meet, fall in love, marry and spend their lives together, it’s obvious that genetics is not the prime criterion for love, or no one would be able to adopt a child.

Having been pregnant, I’ll tell you that at the absolute instant of fertilization, an intense relationship starts (and continues, in spite of morning sickness, and inevitable heartburn and constipation).  This actual “birth mother” is traumatized, as is her whole family.  And for what?  Ownership of an embryo?

I remember a Law and Order episode where the “punch line” was that the father who raised the now-teenage boy was revealed NOT to be the biological father, and he lost custody.  Shameful and cruel, I thought.

Some people think that because something is “the truth,” that it should be revealed.  Not necessarily, and especially not when terrible human suffering ensues.

The “embryo” family simply could have kept trying, and there is no proof that this particular embryo would have thrived until birth in the genetic mother. 

I think everyone was better off with this truth not being spoken.

Ill-Advised Parental Discretion

I think it’s outrageous that a married couple is suing WalMart for calling the cops over what they called “bath time photos.”

A year ago in Peoria, Arizona, mommy and daddy sent 144 family photos to be developed to WalMart.  The developer spotted eight photos of children in provocative positions, with their genitals exposed.  Apparently, the parents say that they “have told our girls that they have freedom to be in their home and feel okay about their bodies and their nudity, but that there is a time and a place for it.”  I couldn’t agree more….and a store photo development establishment is probably NOT the place for it.  You know how cheap it is to download your own photos?  Sheesh!

Obviously, these folks are big into nudity and the carefree expression of such, so their getting angry that the police and child protective services were brought in to investigate should have been an expected consequence of their beliefs. It is the intent of a civilized society to protect the old, infirm, and the young from exploitation and abuse.  The police and child protective services and the WalMart photo developer did the right thing.

After psychiatric exams and a full investigation, it was determined by a judge that these parents didn’t intend any abuse, nor were they revving up for child porn.  Fine.  Happy ending.

But they should have been sensitive and non-defensive enough to understand the idea of protecting children always comes first.

Quote of the Week

He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
               – from “It Couldn’t Be Done”  by
                  Edgar A. Guest
                  American poet
                  1881-1959

But It’s Not My Fault!

I am so sick and tired of people not taking responsibility for their own weaknesses, foolishness, bad judgment, and bad behavior.  Sick, sick, sick!!!
Here are just two examples:

- Fat people attempting to sue fast food restaurants because  they’re…well…FAT.
- People suing restaurants because they got ultra-hot coffee that they then chose to put between their legs (high up next to their private parts) while they were in a moving car.

And now, we have a so-called pathological gambler who, one unlucky night at the blackjack table, lost the $125,000 that an Indiana casino had advanced her.  But in a two-year court battle, she has argued that she doesn’t owe the casino a dime.  Why?  Because, she says, its employees should have denied such an addicted gambler as her access to the card table.  Her dumb argument is that the casino knowingly took advantage of her to enrich itself.

Well, my friends, she was gambling to enrich herself without any visible work, talent, perseverance or good sense.  She failed…and now wants to avoid responsibility for her choice.   The Indiana Supreme Court is scheduled to decide next month if she has to repay the casino.

I’m against ALL the bailouts.  When people took out loans they couldn’t pay back – too bad!  When people gamble with money they don’t have and then lose – too bad!

This foolish woman frittered away her $1 million inheritance from her deceased father.  The casino offered her a free room, free food, free drinks, and free use of a car.  She said yes, and gambled herself into a hole.

There’s a gambling commission that enrolls people in a program that allows them to voluntarily request to be excluded from the casinos for a set period of time (or even a lifetime).  This makes casinos babysitters for adults who ought to know better.  I don’t agree with this program and I hope the Indiana court tells her it’s her own damn fault:  get a job and pay it all back.

We’re losing America with these notions that individuals are not responsible for their own actions, and that “the village” is responsible instead.