Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wearing Purple

Today is Wear Purple Day.  I am wearing purple, to honor the memories of the 6 teens whose lives ended as a result of bullying for being gay.  Asher, Raymond, Tyler, Billy, Justin & Seth Rest in Peace & may your memories continue to inspire the world to keep moving forward towards peace & harmony.

I have also taken this day as an inspiration to create a purple treasury to honor them and to further spread the message and speak to the world of the preciousness of every spirit.

A wise woman, who is a devout Christian, when discussing the horror of the bullying and the lives lost, told me a few weeks ago that "God made them, and God does not make anything he hates."  If we could all recognize the wisdom of that statement.  In the mean time those of us with caring hearts and voices need to keep spreading peace & acceptance of all people no matter what their sexuality, race, faith might be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bleeding Heart

"My heart bleeds" ... for so many reasons.  It's October which means it's Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Which my sister & daughter both volunteer for, my sister's dedication to the cause is inspiring.  I love that my daughter willingly gives her Mother's Day weekend to volunteer with my sister and sometimes my brother for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.  I am supporting it in a smaller way.  For the month of October  will donate 20% of the proceeds of all jewelry in my Etsy shop and all pink items.  A dear friend bought a necklace as soon as she heard - thank you Karen!!! There are still more pink necklaces listed Pretty in Pink Breast Cancer necklace

The news has had too many stories that make my heart bleed.  The dictionary says a "bleeding heart" is a person who shows extravagant sympathy especially for an object of alleged persecution.  That works for me.  The stories of all those poor kids being tormented, beaten, outed for being different.  Not all of them were or are gay, bullies don't need or want facts their fear of people who are "different" is often enough to make them lash out and hurt people.  Why???  Who knows, I bet there are more reasons than there are bullies or kids being bullied.  Karen and I were bullied as kids, it made me stronger and more sensitive, but I don't want anyone else to have to endure it.  Some kids who are bullied turn around and bully others.  When my kids have been bullied or witnessed bullying I have tried to discuss possible reasons the bullies do what they do, and reassure them that it will get better, as people mature there are fewer bullies in any given group.  I wish I could say that there are no adult bullies, but most of us have worked with or for a bully at some time in our lives.  But most of us find a way to cope or move on to a different job/school.

I have been moved by some of the beautiful videos made for the "It Gets Better" campaign.  While listing a new Rainbow Pride Necklace in my Etsy shop this week I was inspired to make a treasury with that theme.

It gets better

It Gets Better

The response to this treasury was overwhelming to me, for a little while it was ranked "hot" enough to make it to the front page of the treasuries.  Many of the comments made me cry, and some made me proud.  Among the comments came some new information to me, there is a  QueerEtsyStreetTeam , they have a shop.  All of the proceeds of this shop support the Trevor Project.  The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

I don't ask you to support any of my causes, but that you take a moment to support a cause that your care about.  No matter how small your gesture of support may be it will make a difference. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pondering what it takes to be a success in life?

Goodness it's been a long time since I've posted anything.  Most days I think I'm going to get around to posting something but then I get distracted by a "to do" list longer than my day.  Why is it that all the little stuff takes up so much more time than you think it will?

If you've been following me you will know that it's marching band season and this year I am serving my first year as the Music Booster President.  Eeep!  How did that happen?  I'm not sure, I keep asking myself how I found myself in this position and my oldest is still only in 10th grade.  (Wait, did I say only in 10th grade - how did she get that old?  It feels like weeks ago that she was in elementary school.)

Oh well, here we are deeply into the marching band season, practices to drive kids to & from, flags to cut, pin, sew, football games & competitions to chaperone, events to plan, fundraisers to participate in, and so on. Clearly I spend a fair amount of my time dealing with my kids school stuff.  So, today  I'm pondering what education gets us at the end of the day?

I'm continuing my struggle to balance the urge to create with my lack of business skills that would enable me to make a living from creating.  A couple of years ago I attend a seminar for artists trying to be entrepreneurs, I think the most enlightening/depressing moment was when we were informed that to be a "successful artist" we should spend approximately 70% of our time being business people.  Ack!  I have long felt that each person is given a certain amount of skills that come naturally.  Some of us are gifted musicians, some artists, some business persons, some chefs, some teachers, some doctors/nurses, etc. and naturally we gravitate to things we are good at doing, but is that enough?  I don't think so. We can all learn new skills, if we put our minds and hearts and time into the process.  Some of those additional skills must be business oriented no matter where your gifts are or your inclinations direct you.  But, why is it so hard for many of us to wrap our brains around some of the most basic business concepts? I can make beautiful objects or teach interesting classes but I have yet to learn a successful strategy to promote those things so I can actually earn a living from them.

I wonder if they could offer basic principles of business as a standard school subject?  Think about it, a lot of kids hate school because they see very little practical purpose behind studying history or sciences that they know they will never ever use when they graduate.  I personally see all learning as a positive and would never suggest we remove them from the curriculum anywhere.  But we will all need to balance our checkbooks, keep track of budgets and learn how to sell/promote ourselves - even if only to HR people when we are applying for jobs.  This is no longer a world where you take one job that will last for your lifetime.  Most people will have not just multiple jobs in their lives but multiple career tracks, changing focus at least once if not several times.  The one core is that we will still have to manage the businesslike details of life no matter the field you are pursuing. 

Beyond that, we also have to make our lives outside of work a success.  Are we still preparing people to do that?  Wouldn't it be interesting if schools returned basic life sustaining classes to the curriculum?  I know it's hard to create standardized tests for things like sewing & cooking, but we could all benefit from learning those dying arts.  Once upon a time we all had to take "Home Ec" classes and some of us had to take "shop" classes because they were preparing us for our careers as "homemakers" or machinists/laborers.  The world has changed and those shop classes are not the career prep they once were.  Those "Home Ec" classes are looked back on as quaint, but in reality we could really use them now.  They are not "bird courses" that you can just fly through without paying attention.  In this busy world few parents have time (or skills) to cook and therefore can't pass those skills on to their kids, and fewer have the skills to sew a garment or even fix a hem or sew a button.  I can't count the number of college kids I helped learn to cook or even do their own laundry, those things I could help with; but heaven forbid anyone asked me to help write write a resume, apply for a job/grant or for help with sales or interview skills. 

I look at my daughter's intimidating honors/AP class schedule and can't think where you could squeeze in a class on basic life skills, and wonder how I can teach her the aspects that I am still struggling to learn myself?  Am I alone?  Are mine the only kids who are getting a "good education" but without some of those most basic life/business skills to actually make a success of their lives?