Mr. Donald J. Trump: Self-Made American Brand and Unintentional Manchurian Candidate

Post-CNN GOP Presidential debate before Super Tuesday Redux: 11:52 p.m.

Note: I’m a CEO of the Home (domestic goddess or the antiquated “homemaker”) here in South Florida at the Bean household with husband, children and grandparents asleep and am afforded some strength to write tonight.  

I can easily agree that earlier tonight we saw Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz really come alive during the questions and getting into it with Mr. Donald J. Trump.  But for lack of a more original assessment, too little too late. The brand has been seared into the psyche of most tired Americans–regardless of political affiliations.

Here’s what you cannot disagree with when it comes to Mr. Donald J. Trump: he makes headlines, he has children loyal to him and vice versa, it may seem he stumbles but he doesn’t fall, he might even be quoted with foul language and harsh words but in the end he makes the deal happen and even if he technically didn’t make the deal happen he is able to put the verbal stamp of approval by Trump himself.  In essence, he is a smart man and though he may use simple words and repetitive phrases, most Americans are able to process this in a positive manner.

Simply put: The American political system, namely both Democrats and Republicans, have brought this opportunity to capture the GOP presidential nomination for Mr. Donald J. Trump by a collective ignorance of how most Americans are faring when it comes to their relationship with the government, especially the federal system (let alone their local municipalities).

John Kasich: He still has a place in the federal government, I believe he should be a Vice President nod or Secretary of State.

Ben Carson: Surgeon General? Please step down sir, it is time, but thank you for the gentleman fight.

For those family, friends and political colleagues of mine that are still not understanding how we are on this road now with Mr. Donald J. Trump: I am a native Floridian, I grew up in West Palm Beach and remember his name at an early age and both the ire and desire that it drew from folks irregardless their political or social background.

Despite the way people may feel about him, he is consistent in his manner and although he may seem like an unlikely choice for President of the United States, I ask you to look back at the last several cycles and ask yourself what is the “right” choice for this job? Our country is young and yet we’ve been blessed with incredible technological advances and also  weathered some terrible social regressions (think domestic terrorism, chronic racism debates, lack of personal responsibility).  Extreme islamic terrorism has come to our land and global neighbors abroad. Our domestic markets have taken hits and the generations following the “Baby Boomers” have names with letters at the end of our alphabet, just like the money that runs out for most of them each month.

Stay tuned America, especially you who like your brand names and your repetitive pop and R&B song refrains: will the 2016 winner of the presidential race bring us a spouse of a dynasty, an America brand businessman or a senator that has little support in general? Recall that our country is struggling with its own form of “bankruptcy” in its extreme debt.

Ramona V.S. Bean

P.S. To the question as to “where are the donors’ or Super PAC’s (sp) voices about Trump: They are not stupid. They are gauging where this is going and they don’t want to be on Trump’s bad side, he does not easily forget.

IMG_1589

 

 

Reflections, Projections and Reality: Memoir for a Moment

Note: Started writing this shortly after 2014 began and find that my birthday this week is a more appropriate time for a reflective and somewhat autobiographical piece.

Welcome 2014!

The beginning of a new year can produce the feeling of renewed hope for some as we’ve shed the tired coat of the waning year–at best no looking back, only forward.  Although I normally reserve the right to keep my resolutions to the safety of my personal correspondence and journals, I feel comfortable sharing the following reflections, projections and reality of what I expect of 2014 and beyond.

Last Year’s Ending On the Road 

photo-7

Just over a month ago I ran competitively in a local road race after training for nearly 6 months straight.  My goals for the race continued to change as the race start date came closer to pass.  First I kept focusing on placing in the top three females overall.  As I kept getting up around 4:50 am a few days every week to get the training done, my body and spirit awakened to the sacrifice I was purposely subjecting myself to–its effects were lacing my conversations with family and friends as a bitter brag.  The daily routine with my children and immediate family were labored because I had already taxed myself before the day had begun.

As the exhaustion compounded I realized that my heart wasn’t into it so when I came across the story of an eastern European woman who once was a competitive runner and now represented the Race to Respond program with the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) I wanted to know more.  After I contacted the IOCC and found out that this program was open to any and all athletes who wanted to participate and raise funds while running in a race.  By chance that same week I got into a conversation with a colleague at my church and found out she was training for the same race–when I shared the info about this program she was very excited and we teamed up.

IOCC has been doing a lot of work in Syria with those displaced in the warfare ravaging the population there and most recently with relief efforts in the Philippines following that tragic super-typhoon in the fall.  Running for this cause breathed new life into my discipline for what I needed to accomplish each time I practiced.  The painfully early mornings were more manageable because the cause was much greater than my own ego or assumed goals.

At race start time, my colleague and I had raised over 1100K in just a few weeks and I felt part of a team again as I wore IOCC’s logo on my racing top.  However, while running the race I was overwhelmed by the unexpected: I felt completely drained and light-headed.  By mile 4 I had become dizzy and labored in my running form.  When I passed through mile 8 and saw my family cheering me on there was a part of me that just wanted to stop right there and walk with them back to the cars and speed home.  The other part of me was very frustrated and had resolved that I was finishing this race without collapsing because of the donations from others to IOCC on behalf our running in this race.

In short, I finished in the top 10 women, 2nd in my age-group and was simply devastated by one of my slowest times in the half-marathon.

New Year’s Fears and Frustrations

If you know me well personally, the last couple of paragraphs make sense to you–if you don’t know me, I don’t blame you for being impatient with my tone.

Of the many things I learned in 2013, it became clear to me that I really thrive on helping others and if I’m to push my body physically then I definitely need a cause to support beyond myself.  Within weeks of the switch I made to run for charity I had also received a call that I was nominated to be part of the induction class for the 2014 Palm Beach Sports Commission Hall of Fame banquet in March.  Cliche as it may seem, I felt like everything in my athletic life had come full circle.

There’s also my squirming emotion that revolts against the idea of being inducted into an athletic hall of fame:  My will screams that I’m not done yet with my competitive days, the Olympic torch continuously burns in my heart for a chance to make the Games and I still dream of races both past and future like a soldier might be haunted by battles on the field.

What is more important to learn?  Is it to rise up always and conquer?  Or is it more complicated; can success also be found in being content to accept and forgive one’s self for not accomplishing the stereotypical dream story of a child growing up from a poor and abused background to achieve star athlete status on the worldwide stage?

Peace and Gratitude

Running in that race last month also helped me truly dissect what my running career was for me in my younger years:  It was an escape from the daily burdens of personal life.  It provided opportunities to have wonderful father figures and mentors like my coaches Harry Howell and JJ Clark.  It was my prayer and my dance for my Creator.  I loved running and meeting others who were like me–connecting with them even if we were so different in other aspects of our respective personalities.  It provided me educational opportunities and the honor of wearing my University of Florida’s orange and blue colors in our uniforms in competition.

By accepting the honor to be included in the Hall of Fame for Palm Beach County’s Sports Commission I’m affirming that my running accolades are a testament to what discipline and dedication of others can yield.  Looking back I also realize that there are countless people I wish to thank for their inspiration, support, prayers, unconditional love and overall belief that I was capable of setting and achieving various goals in my sport.

Being Here, Looking Ahead But Present Still

I’m a runner and always will be but it’s not the only thing I am and associate with in this life.  For nearly 15 years in my childhood and early adulthood years it was second only to my academic career and so I suppressed other aspects of myself until I could expand in those areas later.  What I strive for the most now is to truly live in the here and now–to engage in whatever moment I’m living whether as a mother, a wife, a lover, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, an artist, a gardener, a writer, a dancer and the list goes on ad nauseam.

What I hope you can take from this personal babble is that my philosophy is shaping to understand that it’s possible to peacefully dissuade regret and the “what-ifs” from the psyche.  The truth is there is ‘what has been’ and may be ‘that which comes’ but the best we can all do is be here and thrive in the ‘now’.  Then there isn’t a question as to whether you did all you could because you did–for the better or the worse doesn’t even matter because you respected the present by exercising your will to live.

R.V.S.B.

“Let it Be” The Beatles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4zaofnVhps

Irony: The link between ‘flushable’ wipes and the possible 8.8 billion stars with just-right planets in our galaxy

Note: The following philosophical rant is inspired by the following pieces in news in the past couple of days http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/05/at-least-88-billion-earth-size-just-right-planets-found-study-says/  and http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/commentary-please-dont-flush-those-flushable-wipes/nbfgk/

IRONY:  How can ‘flushable’ wipes and the “Goldilocks zone” have anything in common?

To be fair, ‘flushable’ wipes has been a subject with little attention paid by the media markets but a costly issue that can hardly be ignored.  In short, stop flushing anything down the toilet besides personal waste and toilet paper designed to break down in the sewage!  However, even though we’ve had decades of talk about climate change and our human effect on our environment–there are still folks that don’t give a second thought to tossing their personal wipes into the toilet bowl and in turn causing clogging of pipes and pumps, causing serious blockages and repairs of systems that can reach into the millions of dollars.

Meanwhile there are scientists and astronomers that are absolutely giddy at the recent findings that suggest our planet Earth is not the only girl available to dance with at Life’s Universal Prom event.  “Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone.”  The funny question follows by the study’s co-author Geoff Marcy who asks: “If we aren’t alone, why is ‘there a deafening silence in our Milky Way galaxy from advanced civilizations?'”

Wipe, Don’t Flush It

Having read both these random articles lead me to believe that there was a real connection between the two.

We may have i-Phones and devices galore that reflect our amazing technological advances in recent decades but we are having a global crisis of sorts as to what lines exist in privacy of government leaders (i.e. recent NSA leaks and the likes of German Merkel being quite upset with the U.S.A.).

We are aware that we should be striving to reduce and reuse our waste materials and yet we insist on indulging in products like the K-cup coffee and the like revolution: coffee your way in your size although I’m personally clueless on how we can go about reducing the waste onslaught into our landfills by these products.

We claim to have such instantaneous communication capabilities and a wealth of knowledge to anyone who can log onto the World Wide Web…and yet, we still cut each other off with the most vicious disdain when merging onto an interstate highway in the car.

The Good News in Short

The likelihood is we Earthlings are most probably not alone in the universe, if not the Milky Way itself.  However zealous we may be to escape the drudgery of this place in hopes of seeking out new friends in the cosmos, we must take a pause and look around us—better yet, look at ourselves.  How can I make this place a better space to live and thrive in?

It is a comfort to even sense that we are not alone in the unknown of our surroundings past our own atmosphere and humble solar system—but it is a reality check to recognize that there may be countless reasons why other possible civilizations have hesitated to engage with us.

Earth: the toddler planet who refuses to wipe properly and dispose of its waste accordingly.

In part jest and part seriousness,

“live long and prosper”,

R.V.S.Bean

Poetry After Pause: A reflection often precedes a restart

Note:  To friends and family who are gracious enough to follow my blog site here at http://www.ceoofthehome.net , I apologize for the long absence since my last post a couple of months ago.  After being involved in a car accident in late July that spared the lives of my children and I…I have found the business of living life to be more important and even critical at times than writing or creating art by visual or written means.  However, I’m ready once again to openly share reflections, lessons and philosophical rants with the world again.

“A Few Moments”

A breath sweet,

peak retreat.

Touch of snow,

silence no foe.

Craving a pause,

refine my cause.

So much to do,

Ah, to take a few.

R.V.S.Bean

Mother’s Day: A Day Open for Interpretation

Attention all women: Happy Mother’s Day! (belated as it was technically yesterday-wrote this just before midnight)

Several years ago I sat alone in a greek Orthodox church in Falls Church, Virginia listening to the priest deliver his homily message on a spring Mother’s Day.   Although I can’t recall his specific words, I do recall that he said they would be giving out a single stem flower afterwards to every girl and woman in the room after the church service–this interested me greatly as at the time I wasn’t a mother yet.  He explained that the purpose doing this wasn’t just to avoid any awkward questions as to who was a mother but to also honor the nurturing role that females play in our human society.

This morning I was crawling on my knees between pews and following a darting flash of golden hair and giggles as my youngest demonstrated his toddler skills in another greek Orthodox church here in south Florida.  The priest was delivering his Mother’s Day message by making fun statements that “without mothers nothing would get done” and also alluding that whether any woman was a mother via birth/adoption of children, this day was meant to honor us regardless of being a mother or not.  It was a pleasant deja-vu moment to have the priest announce that a single rose would be given to each female exiting the church in celebration of Mother’s Day.

It was my pleasure to reach out today and wish a “Happy Mother’s Day” greeting to my family and friends whom I know are called “mother” by their roles in their families and rank.  At the same time, it was equally natural to me to recognize and express gratitude to the other women in my life whom I know or have met in passing who have also fulfilled the role as a mother through their selfless giving of themselves to me or my own children.

Happy Mother’s Day!

R.V.S.Bean

Ramona's cell phone download 930

To Disarm Procrastination’s Stranglehold, Grab the Power of the Half Hour

Encouragement in Sharing

Everyone struggles with procrastination.  It’s a human condition found throughout our time recorded here on Earth and countless are the reasons resulting with the stranglehold we find ourselves in because of procrastination.  It’s an action verb defined by inaction that becomes a noun due to its chronic paralysis in a person.

Why Do We Not-Do?

Lack of energy. Lack of resources. Lack of time. Lack of insight. Straight out toddler-like “No, I don’t wanna…”

Solution-Searching

We could read books on how to combat procrastination and persevere with results–but I personally would procrastinate doing so in deference to the countless other items that are backing up in my internal list.  Like the junk or unwanted/unread emails in your inbox(es) right now, procrastination racks up the casualties of ideas that never reach fruition or duties finding their mission accomplished.

Humble Offering

I’m open to hearing your ideas on this struggle everyone has on a daily basis with the tendency to not get things done that need to, we’re inspired to do and so forth.  My humble idea on the matter has manifested in the past couple months as I find myself barely keeping afloat in my personal sphere of existence: embrace the power of half an hour…30 minutes.

Explanation for Defamation of Procrastination

What I propose is that every day or night–whichever is your “free time” in the day that you are able to steer your ship with how you direct your energies.  For instance, my personal time is usually most evenings after 8:00 p.m. and I’m challenging myself to spend one 30 minute segment each day working on something that I have been putting off consciously for any amount of time.

You may be wondering how 30 minutes a day doing this could really have any sort of effect of worth.  Consider this example: For those of you who like to keep scrapbook albums whether digital or with physical albums.  If you spent 30 minutes on a fairly regular basis working on this ongoing project it would be much more productive than the last 6 months in which you’ve done nothing (don’t be embarrassed, I’m on a 8 month dry streak from my scrapbooking piles that continue to grow in dust and photo accumulation).

Cheering: You Can Do It!

Proof that this half-hour power can battle procrastination and win? I just wrote this short blog in the space of 30 minutes after having not written in many, many days and having topics to write about fill my head and yet bind my hands somehow from typing them out to share.  If I can get something done in the space of half an hour I believe most people can too.  Power over procrastination O human nation!

R.V.S.B.

Note: Another website I must stop procrastinating from updating with more art, http://www.ramonabean.com

 

 

 

President Hillary Rodham Clinton: Hope for Women, Democratics and Republicans Alike

My Political Confession

When I was just an emerging teenager I was excited to get my hands on a Clinton/Gore campaign sign and proudly tacked it onto my busy bedroom wall–the “Pinterest” way of doing things back in 1992 was to clutter one’s wall with quotes, photos of celebrity crushes and so forth.  I couldn’t vote yet but I knew what it was to be on welfare and food stamps as my single mother of three children struggled to recover economically after escaping an abusive marriage and I liked what Bill Clinton said as I listened to him late at night playing saxophone and speaking with Arsenio Hall.

After September 11, 2001 I found myself moving to Washington, DC as a newlywed in January 2002 where I would embark on an amazing journey in just over half a decade’s time where I would serve several positions as congressional staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for a couple of Members–one of which was infamously known for the U.S. House Page scandal that preceded the fall of the GOP in mid-term 2006 election cycle.  In the wake of fall of 2006 I was able to accept the opportunity to serve President George W. Bush’s administration in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

As the 2008 Presidential election debates waged before the respective Democratic and Republican conventions, I personally had just given birth to my first child and was reeling in the awesome responsibility and reality of my new occupation–politics seemed like a poorly written drama series that I watched bleary-eyed during frequent feeding for my newborn.  I understood and was at peace with that after 8 years of a Republican president who had been bludgeoned in public opinion here at home and abroad afforded the Democrats a clear path to the presidency.  Of course the question remained who would it be?

During the 2008 Presidential campaign our country witnessed an amazing possibility for two people of minority status (one a bi-racial man and another a woman), one of which would go on to win the Democratic nomination and the overall election most decidedly–namely President Barack Obama, our first bi-racial president.  Hillary Rodham Clinton, however, I personally felt was the woman for the job and although I’m a Republican, I believed in her ability to serve our nation as the first woman President and conduct herself fairly amongst the two major political parties.

Where Is Hillary Today?

It’s still less than 100 years ago that women in the United States of America were afforded the right to vote.  The right to vote!  If only we could describe the ridiculous nature of that reality to the young women today–that truly, women who bear life to men, support men, love men and ultimately will many times sacrifice for men, were not allowed to vote in matters of government.

It was a bitter pill to swallow to watch a woman who had every right and ability to serve our nation as President to be beat in some unfriendly exchanges and by political machinery supporting our present POTUS (President of the United States).  At the same time, it was impressive to witness how Mrs. Clinton took the loss and then proceeded to accept the opportunity to serve as our Secretary of State.  If you were paying attention to the weekly reports, she did a most impressive job at it up to her resignation recently.

Where is Hillary today? There is some silence with a distinct shuffling sound heard in the background–the power deck is being shuffled and perhaps the groundwork is being laid down.  You can conduct your own internet search via Google or other search engines: my own yielded a recent report from a Greek American online outlet http://usa.greekreporter.com/2013/02/11/exclusive-hillary-clinton-will-run-for-president-in-2016-confirmed/

2016: Change Will Happen, Is There Hope for Women?

There has been so much flux in most Americans lives in the past several years–maybe it’s the acceleration of our technology, our vulnerability to crazy things like terrorists or that we’re trying to find our bearings in a new global economy that reels almost daily from our connectivity.  What we do know is that anything is possible nowadays, especially in the realm of politics.

Although it was easy to attack President Obama for his lack of executive experience when he first entered the White House as our POTUS, we should be thankful that he helped pave the way for his successors.  It turns out that there is no perfect resume for this job–the best prerequisite for this work is dependent on the character of the person and their ability to adapt and proceed forward successfully despite the unexpected (public marital infidelity: i.e. blue dress), harassing public opinion (upon first being elected as NY senator), being disrespected on the campaign trail (Google anything from 2008 campaign shorts) and the list goes on for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At this very moment I cannot formulate my ultimate opinion on the question on who it could be but I remain hopeful that there will be a woman President of the United States in this century and I believe it is possible to be a Republican and support a Democrat–as a Floridian I’m proud to say that many voters in our state have been this way for decades.  My encouragement to you is to do your own research on the candidates in the next Presidential election and then search yourself as to what you feel is best for our nation.

What Democrats, Republicans and any other political party believers can agree on is that there is no absolute party that is the best for the U.S.  We are free to discuss, debate and decide–we then have the personal right to try to support whoever (or whichever party) ends up leading our nation through the next round.  The political pendulum continues whether our man or woman wins the election, as Americans we must keep up hope and work together regardless of the results each time.

R.V. Saridakis Bean

RomneyRyan Florida Sunset

 

 

 

 

Modern American Marriage in 2013: An Institution between Two Adults of any Religion, Color, Race, Gender or Sexual Orientation?

Note:  I have been moved by this subject matter for over a decade and most recently my personal world has been rocked by how this topic has proceeded in our country causing division and confusion.  This post is meant to help myself and others see that we can’t ignore the issue and must see the truth—regardless of what our personal comfort levels may or may not be.  –RVSB

Jealousy Felt Around the World

What’s both great and arrogant about our United States of America is the plethora of freedoms that we really do enjoy in comparison with the rest of the nations on Earth.  While there is debate as to whether or not our economic status or stock market powerhouse still yields the same influence as it has in decades past—there can be no argument that this is still the best nation in the world when it comes to our religious and social freedoms that natives and immigrants (and even not-yet-legal immigrants) have access to thrive.

What is the Definition of Marriage?

When most of us were children, it never occurred to us that anything other than a man and a woman defined the basic ingredients for a marriage.  Needless to say, it’s 2013 today and our world’s consciousness on the matter has hit an open range of possibilities.  Consider for a moment that in Islam, for example, a man can take for himself up to four wives as long as he can provide for his respective spouses and offspring thereof.

What dictates the definition of marriage usually depends on who is answering the question: for instance, someone of a conservative Christian background will repeat their religion’s conventional or Bible scripture wisdom on the matter while there remain sects of Mormon believers that still practice polygamy.

There’s no doubt, however, that public opinion is in a full debate whether the same gender or various sexual orientation unions should or should not be considered as standard marriage material.  Why is this even a question anymore?

What’s Not New Under the Sun

Here’s what we do know—anthropologists and historians would agree—there have always been heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals in our human race.   Most recently we’ve had the medical-breakthrough ability to manipulate hormones and such that individuals committed to doing so can change their sex (especially in the case of those who may be born with both sexual organs and seek to be one or the other).

It can be verified and inferred that there have been countless marriages involving homosexuals that have married a heterosexual, a bisexual married a heterosexual or any other combination.  Throw in any transsexuals or cross-dressers and the complexities continue.  We are lying to ourselves if we don’t already recognize the fact that these legal marriages have existed.

Common law marriage?  There have probably been more homosexual and/or bisexual unions that qualify to be a common law marriage than in the strictly heterosexual circles!  It’s just that they haven’t been detailed as recognizable by our state’s laws.

What Matters Most: Comfort or Conformity?

 The truth remains that in the U.S. you can get married either by a secular or a religious person and be recognized as a legally married couple by federal law according to each state’s laws—the lines between church and state have been blurred at this point and therefore leave room for the freedom of two legally consenting adults to be married despite their physical gender, religious or political affiliation, race (like bi-racial as in the case of our very own President of the United States) or sexual orientation.  In other words, there’s really no reason that gays (or bisexuals, etc) cannot be recognized as a legal marrying sort.

How Do We Go Down the Aisle of Acceptance?

While the U.S. Supreme Court has been in the news recently because of two cases before them, including a proposition situation in California after the elections in November 2012—they cannot ultimately fix this unfortunate glitch.

The hopeful signs, however, are that more lawmakers by the weeks and months passing are beginning to break their silence over the matter and show support for those seeking the ability to get married regardless of whether they are the same gender or have a sexual orientation other than “heterosexual”.

If there is one thing I would like to say in terms of a request from my American peers, it would be that we please stop trying to politicize this issue of allowing non-heterosexuals to participate in the legal action of marriage and its rights therein.  Although it may seem like it’s mostly Republicans against this, it’s simply not fair to those Republicans that don’t mind or simply don’t care.

Love is love and in America where we pride ourselves in being created equal, we must accept that whoever wants to walk that aisle of selflessness to bond with another imperfect person to face the world’s joys and sorrows is truly an inalienable human right.

R.V.Saridakis Bean

P.S. For those who are Christian like myself and would tell me that I should consider that homosexuality is regarded as a sin in various scripture quotes and interpretations–I would immediately remind them there is nothing seen or unseen that goes unnoticed by our Creator.  We are all sinners.  Again, this question as to whether non-heterosexuals should be able to participate in a federal/state-recognized legal marriage is irrelevant as American marriage is not exclusive to only those in the Christian religions.

???????????????????????????????

I Spy the i-Generation…Momm-i, Dadd-i?

digital blog 4-1-2013

What Can I do?

If you’re a parent, please read this now or when you have a moment, “The Touch-Screen Generation” by Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/04/the-touch-screen-generation/309250/

Quick Review

If you’re a busy parent like every other parent, here is a short review and discourse of this article. Ms. Rosin is also a parent and writes this candid piece in the wake of attending an event in spring of 2012 where a group of developers of children’s apps for phones and tablets met in Monterey, California—a short drive south of Silicon Valley—in order to show and tell about their respective games and programs.

 Today’s i-Reality

As fast our fingers can swipe on these touch –screen gadgets is how pervasive their presence in our lives have become. The American Academy of Pediatrics has not been able to keep up with the technology as it struggles to report on its policy about young children being exposed to various media (we all remember the under-2 years old not so good for TV exposure). How many of us have witnessed the child in the high-chair dining nearby with an iPad to boot? How many of us are that parent(s) who have handed over the iPhone in desperation at the post office as the line snakes around for twenty people or so?

 i AM the parent i AM!

“Norman Rockwell never painted Boy Swiping Finger on Screen, and our vision of a perfect childhood has never adjusted to accommodate that now-common tableau.” –Hanna Rosin, “The Touch-Screen Generation” The Atlantic

You are still the parent no matter what technology shows up in our world today. Truly you are still the gate-keeper for your little one(s) who need human touch more than a touch-sensitive tin screen that is derived from horrible mining conditions parallel to the “blood diamond” controversy in recent decades.

Research? Doesn’t really exist yet on whether or not the good outweighs the bad in terms of a child’s exposure to these gizmos and gadgets that get smaller, smarter and faster as the months pass. What hasn’t changed is that you still are the best gauge to measure what’s right and wrong for your children. Ms. Rosin found it interesting that when she spoke with some of the children’s app developers about how they approached their home rules when it came to screen time—she got answers like “no screen time during the week”, “on the weekends, they can play. I give them a limit of half an hour and then stop. Enough. It can be too addictive, too stimulating for the brain” and “one said only on airplanes and long car rides”.

Personally, with a toddler and preschooler now in my stewardship, my husband and I find no reason for them to need to use touch-screens right now. There will be no learning curve for them to master as this stuff is so easy that it makes watching TV seem like a chore. Seriously, I witnessed a 90-year old yesterday using “face time” on the iPad at a friend’s home. At the same time, I do allow them to utilize the touch-screens at museums and to witness peers using them—please forgive the reference, but I can’t be Amish about this subject with my children, they are aware these technologies exist (especially as one of their beloved relatives is a computer engineer).

 Complex Answers to Simple Swipes

“The reason many kids’ apps are grouped under ‘Education’ in the iTunes store, I suspect, is to assuage parents’ guilt (though I also suspect in the long run, all those ‘educational’ apps merely perpetuate our neurotic relationship with technology, by reinforcing the idea that they must be sorted vigilantly into ‘good’ or ‘bad’”. –Hanna Rosin

There are so many ways to approach this question as to whether exposure to these digital technologies will help or hinder our children. If you thought what we feed our children was a concern, this one is an alarming obsession since we ourselves are busy trying to learn the new gadget in our hands before our kid gets a hold of it and masters it in less than half the time it took us to find where to tappity-tap.

Ms. Rosin says what I feel as well:
“Every new medium has, within a short time of its introduction, been condemned as a threat to young people. Pulp novels would destroy their morals, TV would wreck their eyesight, video games would make them violent…There are legitimate broader questions about how American children spend their time, but all you can do is keep them in mind as you decide what rules to set down for your own child.”

Enjoy the Ride

As parents in the early part of the 21st century, we can’t complain about being bored with this awesome responsibility of raising the next generation who will likely see this 22nd century bring about new technologies we can hardly fathom. I hope we can impart to them the importance of love for each other, for our natural resource (Creation in general) and a healthy curiosity for the unknown and ever-changing landscape of our human creativity.

R.V. Saridakis Bean

 Book and Reading Recommendations:

  •  “Screen Time” by Lisa Guernsey and her website http://www.lisaguernsey.com
  •  “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning” by Marc Prensky and his website http://www.marcprensky.com
  •  “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv

Why Weed Within: Seashell Philosophy by She – Part 8 in a Series

Note: This series usually includes philosophical reflections during my visits to the beach, most often the Atlantic Ocean coast. This post, however, is an exception to this style as it came during my time in our garden about 15 minutes west of our beloved shoreline.

Wierd Winter

In general, gardening or farming in South Florida thrives during the winter months as the sunshine is less strong than during our sweltering summer season. Varieties like broccoli, squash and strawberries come in tasty bounties from December through March. Heavy growing in a small gardens also includes weeds of every shape and strength.

Why Weed: Pros and Cons

I’ve always assumed that weeds should be taken care of right away upon the first sight of them in your garden space. That naive assumption has been overwhelmed by the reality that weeds can invade more quickly than we’d like and the question becomes “why and when do I weed?”

Did you know that weeds actually benefit the soil by their very existence? I didn’t know this tidbit until recently in my self-taught journey of tilling the soil. All my life I believed that all weeds were bad and need to be eradicated. It turns out many can actually benefit a garden environment by balancing the soil’s composition and affecting the insect population. A British website called Plants for a Future is one of the many in cyberspace that has great information for any of you interested in learning more about how weeds can benefit: http://www.pfaf.org/user/cmspage.asjustpx?pageid=44

At the same time, it’s not advised that we start planting weeds en masse or allowing them to take over. They can strangle weaker plants, repel certain types of plants and overall wreck havoc in a garden’s design.

Weeds Within Us All

Yesterday I continued the work I began a couple weeks ago following my return from a 5 week trip away from home. A gardener’s bittersweet emotion is coming back to their garden after a long absence: anxious to see what’s happened, both good and bad.

The initial shock of seeing all the weeds that had hidden my humble garden wore off after a couple days and I set to working little by little each day to remove them. The hardest part has been overcoming the procastination that paralyzes me when looking at what needs to be done.

As I pull weeds from their roots, I imagine I’m also pulling at those inclinations inside my spirit that I’ve allowed to take hold and sometimes dictate illogically what’s the best way to react to persons and situations.

My grapevines are in a frozen stranglehold that makes it difficult to discern which is weed and which is the true vine: I have to prune with my steel cutter carefully so I can be certain to remove the hindering plant(s). This reminds me of how when I’m facing a behavior pattern or addiction that I cannot just pull out every facet at random. It must be a multi-step process with care to every detail, enabling true freedom and healing that will endure future entrapment.

One day, when life may afford me more free time, I hope to learn the names of some of the beneficial weeds that I encounter in my garden every year. As I pulled more yesterday and shook the soil out from their groping roots, I could see how there were vegetable and herb plants around them that weren’t hurting–they looked stronger for having had to bicker with the assaulting weed beside them. How often we can all agree that going through tough or sticky circumstances or personal relationships have help strengthen our character’s resolve to strive to still live for the good and love of all?

Weed On: Whether Garden or Soul

I hope this short piece can help any reading as we are all gardeners, if not of the soil, definitely of our soul. May you find Peace always.

R.V. Saridakis Bean

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"