I won’t apologize

It is the weekend of September 11, 2016.  Fifteen years since America’s last major attack on one of its’ major cities.  So many innocent people died that day.  So many innocent people were injured that day.  So many innocent people remain ill and many are dying because of that day.  Our President elect during that time has been accused of mishandling the action taken to combat the evil that exists in the part of the world that attacked us. I am not among those who would know the truth about the reason he chose the action he did and I try not to judge others, instead choosing to believe in the good of all mankind.  Don’t get me wrong, I also see evil in the world and the people who are the epitamy of that evil.

Many people have chosen to see the attack and its aftermath as a devious plot on the American side.  They have chosen to blame America for its own attack. Some of these people are my friends, some are strangers to me. Well I don’t believe that conspiracy.  In my heart I know it was evil that attacked America that day.  I know that they chose the World Trade Center because it was the financial hub of the entire country.  We are a capitalist country and those who are evil, the ones who hate our way of life, chose that target with one idea to ruin our country economically.  They hoped to destroy us from within by destroying our financial pulse.  They knocked us down for a little bit as the following years showed, but they didn’t destroy us nor did they win in any sense of the word.  They didn’t think we had the committment to keep our country strong, but they were wrong.

Now I am surround by people who are hurting America from within.  They have been blinded either by fear and/or frustration. Once more, they blame America for their personal problems.  People are people and given the freedoms they have here to keep their own languages, to keep their own cultures, to keep their own religions they are managing to cause more problems instead of solving the ones we face everyday.  The fear and stubborness of so many Americans and the immigrants that live here are at the core of our current issues.  We are forgetting that we are ONE COUNTRY, ONE NATION.  If one part of us gets hurt we all get hurt, but if we don’t fix those hurts we will destroy the entire body.  There is so much more good than bad in America.  We are losing sight of that fact.  Everyone seems to have gotten the idea that one race is better than the other.  That one class of people is better than the other class of people.  That isn’t why America was founded.  That is so far from what America truly is.  Are we fallible? Yes! But only from our own citizens.  It is time to put away the hate.  It is time to get out of our own selfishness and realize that only UNITED we will face future attacks from evil beings.  That all the people who sacrificed in the past for us to have our freedoms believed it was to keep us UNITED.  “Biting the hand that feeds you” is detrimental to your own survival.   Americans should know this.
Too many since the beginning of our birth have sacrificed to get us through some of the worst times in history.  The point is we did get through.  The point is we should want to be better by now.  I believe with all my being that people who hate America and live in America should leave America.  Many of those whom shout the loudest about how awful we are as a country are the ones who have benefitted most from what this wonderful country has offered them.  They should really find somewhere else better suited to their ideals because if they all left we would probably have lots more room for the refugees who need a new country, who want a new country, who will become citizens who appreciate their new country as our ancestors did before us.

We are currently in the middle of a Presidential election year.  Before us are two people with very different ideas about the direction our country should take.  We have to elect one of them to be the face of us, to show their leadership of the greatest country in the world.  For me neither one has the qualifications to do this.  One is corrupt, the other acts like an idiot.  However, no matter what I personally think, one of them is definetely going to be elected.  All I can do is pray that the right one gets into office and proves their worth.  All I can do is hope they realize what a great country America truly is and how her people, her ideals, her future is worth every effort on their part to protect her.  These issues that are within our own borders  in today’s world are solvable issues.  The issues that face us outside our borders are far less likely to be solved.  Whatever the future holds, whatever fate has in store for us, we need to face it together united in the respect of our country, united in the responsibility we each have to make us worthy of being the beacon of light to all those who are persecuted throughout the world.  This can only be accomplished if we are united as Americans.  The families of the innocent people who died and were injured on September 11, 2001 deserve to know that they didn’t sacrifice for nothing.  We owe it to all those from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War who fought for America that we can keep their legacy alive and keep America beautiful. With this comes the responsibility to keep the evil and the haters out of American borders whether they come from the North, South, East or West.  Makes no difference if they hate America they shouldn’t live here.  We can only survive as a nation if we have pride in our country.  We can only survive as a people if we learn to live together as one people..American people.

So no I won’t apologize for loving this country.  I won’t apologize for loving all people of every race and every class.  I won’t apologize for loving the animals that roam the earth and the lands that provide us with beauty and survival.  I won’t apologize for believing as I do and for stating it for the world to see.  I won’t apologize because I have nothing to apologize for being an American.  If I have one thing to leave to my chldren and grandchildren I hope I leave them the pride I have in America and the belief that we are privileged to live here.

And that is the way I see it, here in Brooklyn.

K

It Takes A “Special” Man To Be A Dad!

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Special is defined in the English dictionary in this way: unusual or better; held in esteem; reserved; made for specific purpose; arranged for specific purpose, etc. In accordance with that definition, my dad was a very “special” person. Today May 4, 2016 is the 47th Anniversary of his death.  I was sixteen years old.

Complex; complicated; misunderstood; unstable; loving; self-educated. My dad had a disease known as alcoholism. As mean as he could be when he drank he could be just as kind and nurturing when he didn’t.  I often thought of him as two people in one. His need for alcohol was always present, although it lessened in his later years. I came into his life when he was forty-three years old. I like to believe that I made a difference in his life at that point. Members of my family have told me that he was crazy about me at the instant of my birth. My memories begin when I was a small child. Naturally, some of those memories are not good. I would rather focus today on the memories of Dad that have stayed with me my entire life.

The most poignant memories begin with Dad and me watching television in our tenement living room. I would sit on the floor, he in his favorite chair. On the screen before me was always a movie starring either John Wayne, James Cagney, Busby Berkley Musicals or Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers. My Dad would tell me all about the stars in those movies and we would often sing along if it was a musical. When we weren’t watching television, he would work with me on my homework assignments and every day he would “assign” me the jumble puzzle printed in the Daily News. I was always praised and rewarded if I got the jumble words correct. In those days, many students went home at lunchtime. I was one of them and for lunch my dad would prepare grilled cheese sandwiches cooked in the waffle iron, or heat up Franco American spaghetti for me. On Fridays he would add a fish cake or fist sticks with the Franco American spaghetti as the side. He always tried to make lunchtime fun for me. After school, I would often sit at his feet as he told me stories about his adventures in the military or advised me about the importance of education and the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. I always thought he was truly a smart man. Even when he wasn’t sober, there were things that he said that remain with me. When I first heard the words he said, my thought was that he was a very selfish person, but as I got older I realized the words he used were quite filled with real wisdom. He would always say whether drunk or sober, “Me, Myself and I , first comes me then comes you, capital R capital O capital N.” Today I realize that he was saying a person needs to care first for themselves before they can take care of others. It wasn’t a selfish statement at all,  instead it was the most sage advice I ever received.

My Dad as complicated as he was, was truly a special man and if he were here today, I would thank him for all those times he was there for me and for all the times that he made me feel like the “special” one. My hope is that after all this time his spirit is at peace now.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn!

 

K

Looking Ahead

Yes, I know it has been awhile since I have been here.  By now I should be filled with words, ideas, opinions.  Thoughts that will somehow change a life if not the world.  It isn’t as if I don’t have lots to say.  There is enough material around to keep me writing for months. 2016 is a busy year.  Lots of weddings, parties, doctor visits. It’s an election year as well, and boy is America reeling with opinions and competition!

I should tell you that it has been a slow go since my surgery last November. So many tests to follow up with and new docs to see.  For awhile I had thought my back problem improved and my life was gonna change delightedly for the better, but nope right back to square one with no hope in view that I will ever boogie as I once did.  There are other productive things though as long as they don’t take standing more than 10 minutes at a time.

My youngest son got engaged last November and life continues once again.  Unfortunately, being the mother of the groom there isn’t much to do in terms of planning and such.  I love my sons totally, but it’s kinda sad that I’ll never know the joy of having a daughter as well.  The mothers of girls seem to have most of the fun sharing, planning, spending time with their daughters more often than the boys do with their mothers.  I truly am very grateful for all my sons do for me and with me, guess it’s like they say, “You always want what you can’t have.” It should be a great December wedding though!  Christmas in the air and all!

Day to day life for me is truly blasé now that I am retired and without true mobility. Even my wondrous friend, writing, is suffering from the doldrums.  Bare with me as I am trying to revive this tired old friend, hoping to bring a fresh new outlook to its soul while keeping its heart beating stronger than ever.

So we are living in an election year.  Attempting to elect a new POTUS. The playing field is astounding. We have Bernie Sanders (not the Colonel) and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump (yea the Millionnaire) on the Republican side.  Not a day goes by where I am not either astounded or hysterically laughing. How this isn’t the biggest political fiasco of all time is beyond me.  I love America and believe always that it is the greatest country on earth…..but with this election my head is hiding in my elbow 90% of the time!

Hopefully, my thoughts will stop gathering moss and I’ll share my own insights into this year’s election shenanigans very soon.

Until then,

That’s the Way I See it here in Brooklyn!

K

 

 

 

Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy.  It’s more than an adjective or adverb, noun or verb.  It’s an actual feeling.  It’s hardest to do when you are a young adult because all of the troubles in the world are on your shoulders. However, if one would learn to push the negative out and allow the positive side in, I am willing to bet that happiness will start to infiltrate the soul and before you know it…you will find yourself …happy!  For me, I can jump-start the process of feeling happy by listening to music….happy, uplifting, danceable music!  Maybe for others it would be a movie or perhaps a book, or maybe just a smile from a fellow human being.  Whatever the start is pay heed to it!  Follow it through.  Allow yourself the luxury of feeling happy.    

I decided to be happy even though another year has gone by and I am no better nor worse than I was a year ago!  As I reflect upon my life these days (which I always seem to do around the date of my birth) it becomes more and more apparent that although I have had trials and tribulations, as most of my fellow human beings, for the most part I have had a good life up to now.  A GOOD LIFE, now that isn’t something everyone can say.  As I think back and see my childhood, my teen years, my young adulthood and now, I have had the support of family and friends always in one form or another.  The people I have met have kept my life in perspective.  My life is enriched first and foremost by my family.  I have a terrific family.  Sure we are all a bit nutty here and there, but no more so than most.  My life is enriched further by my friends.  I have made so many wonderful friends.  Sure they are all a bit out there at times, but those are the times that make me laugh the hardest!  So I have concluded that people really do create love.  

Even though it’s about to be my birthday and people tend to be a bit nicer when it’s one’s birthday, I have to honestly say that most of my birthdays have been memorable and happy.  Yep, I said it …happy!  It’s actually a euphoric feeling when one decides to be happy.  It isn’t the same as when something makes you happy.  It isn’t the same when people wish you happiness, either.  It’s more of an inner peace.  A gift to yourself.  Choosing happiness in the face of adversity, choosing happiness in the face of illness, choosing happiness in the face of poverty, is truly a unique and rewarding feeling.  Truth be known, only you can do this for yourself.  Happiness is the one true choice a person can make for themselves.  All it takes is a decision to be happy.  To look at the sadness that surrounds you and the awful things in the world that you can only pray will change and decide that you will do your part to better it by first caring about those things and then do something about them with a happy outlook.  I decided that I can’t change things as I would like them to be, but I can accept them and I can make a difference with every word I write and every smile I give.  That is how I choose to make a difference and give the gift of happiness by being happy.  I have heard through the years that when the person in the household who keeps everything together is happy than the whole household is happy.  Same applies to the person on the job or anywhere.  If that person is happy everyone is happy.  I have tried it and I know firsthand that it works.  Happiness is infectious!  So infect people with happiness wherever you go!

So Happy Trails! Be Happy Together! Smile!  Act as if your life depended on it, because actually it does!

And that’s the Way I See It, here in Brooklyn!

K

Justice

imagesCount me among the naïve in the world because I still believe that the truth is the truth and no matter how one tries to cover it up, make excuses for it, or give that age-old comment that there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth, it is still the truth. For me justice and truth are partners. Married for life. In American society today, and perhaps even in the world, media and communication methods have evolved into a state of exaggeration, exploitation, and injustice and all for the sake of dollars and cents. Everyone seems to have forgotten what morals, honesty and forgiveness means. The media are most guilty of doing this and we as a society have enabled them to succeed by buying into all the sensationalism and thrills that they provide by coloring what is truth and in turn what is actual justice.

It troubles me that we are all forgetting that our country is based on “innocent until proven guilty” in all matters, regardless of circumstances. We are all so ready to be gullible and swallow all the hype without questioning its origins or ulterior motives. Very few of us has the courage anymore to stand fast and loyal to what we have been taught, to what we have experienced and most importantly to what we actually believe in our hearts. I am personally upset by the news all around me. All of the sensationalism has sickened me to the core.

Justice fairly distributed is an American pride. Where is it going? How do we get it back? What has to change in order to feel that pride again? It worries me that the future generations are being swept up in misguided ideals in such a quantity because of modern technology and communication that the very foundation, from which they have come, is so severely cracked that their entire lives will be slowly destroyed if it continues along this path. It has actually upset my balance of self just from watching, reading and listening to all the misguided virtues and untruths being tossed about in order to entice, tempt and devalue all the work that was done to build this country in the first place.  America is nothing more than a rebellious teenager in the history of the world and it is time she grew into the next phase of her existence by remembering her foundation, improving upon them and utilizing her mistakes, experiences and lessons to keep her earned title of the greatest country in the world.

  • America needs to remember the value of family and that today’s family is not the family it once was formed to consist of. Today’s family is any body of people who reside as one unit and take care of one another in whatever way possible. That family is the American family.
  • Our elected officials are elected to represent the consensus of the American people. They are not in those positions to form small dictatorships or private enterprises.  It is society’s responsibility to keep those representatives in compliance with their positions.
  • It is society’s responsibility to uphold the principles of our country’s constitution, including the protection of all people within the boundaries of this country who are participating in this country’s laws and regulations, customs and predominant language.  All American people inclusive of all races, creeds and religions have been given the rights and privileges afforded by that Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
  • Uphold the premise of “innocent until proven guilty” as the ultimate form of justice.  It is that very premise that will set us apart from all other nations and help us to grow and learn from our past indiscretions and outright wrongs.
  • The media are not the law of the land.  Justice, independence and integrity are the laws of this country.  Society controls the perception of these values and to me right now, they are lost in the misguided notion that media and communication are the scripts of the law and justice of America.  This age of technology has given us a great deal, but it has also taken a great deal from us.  The media is a place to report news, to entertain, to share.  It is no more than opinion in any way shape or form.  It is society’s responsibility to know that difference and to subscribe to it with that knowledge.  It is time to stop and take an assessment and realize that our rebellious teen ways must come to an end.

I am at a time in my life when I don’t believe I have that many more years ahead of me as those I have behind me.  My one wish is that I once again am allowed to see the pride in America rise.  That the justice I believe is the cornerstone of our great nation will once again shine as a beacon across the seas and she will hold her head high knowing that she has moved on from the past and has kept her foundation, while reaching the next phase of her existence and is stronger than ever and ready to embrace her future, free and independently as she was born to be.

And that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,

K

Higher Education CAN take you Higher!

I read an editorial in the NY Daily News today, May 28, 2013,  by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. (http://www.nydn.com) The editorial struck home with me because I have worked in Higher Education for more than twenty years and what Mr. Cohen portrays is a sentiment that I have held for quite a long time.  Aside from being an administrator in higher ed, I am also a parent and aunt of many who have received a college degree.  The position I held allowed me the very fortunate circumstance to meet with thousands of students from every walk of life.  Being associated with them afforded me the luxury of learning something new each day.  The things that they taught me are still meaningful and have remained with me throughout my career.  It seems to be the appropriate time to write about the things mentioned in the Daily News editorial since in New York it is just about commencement time for most of the Universities.  The editorial was written to portray the value of a college degree in today’s world and whether or not it was worth it.  I have to agree with Mr. Cohen’s belief that it is.  I have heard many students proclaim that they didn’t understand why they needed their degrees and there were some regrets as they were graduating.  However, over time they realize what they didn’t realize right away.  All those classes, the ones that may have had nothing to do with their chosen careers or jobs, are the classes that taught them to broaden their horizons, think outside the box and better themselves in the future.  They come to realize that the information that was given to them as college students was vital to the world around them.  Those wondrous tidbits of facts gave them the tools they needed to make this world of ours a better place.  What they may have learned about physics or classics or aesthetics will serve them well as they travel far and wide to apply their degree in television or radio or teaching or architecture.  Some realize this immediately, while the majority take years to fully appreciate the value of a well-rounded Associate or Bachelor or Graduate degree. There are those who go directly to a job and many may not be designed to attend college, but that is fine as well, because not everyone has to go to college.  However, those that do can come to appreciate the value of the degrees they have earned.  They would serve themselves well to have pride in their accomplishment and to search for their place in this world with the wisdom they have gained through the knowledge they have earned.

I would be remiss, if I didn’t congratulate all these wonderful college graduates.  They are a large part of the future of my world and the world of all those living today.  These graduates will go on to be the next generation of parents, doctors, lawyers, teachers, marketers, financial wizards, creative geniuses, and oh so many more glorious paths in life.   They will be or are parents who will have the insight to raise their children with a thirst for knowledge as well.  This amazing circle of life will continue because thousands of people will have graduated from higher education during the next month or so.  It won’t matter if they need to take jobs at lower pay scales, the knowledge they have attained and the opportunity given to them is something that everyone should have as an opportunity. A chance to broaden one’s mind and expand their own worlds should be everyone’s chance in life.   A higher education has given many people the power to become higher in life because their minds were overloaded and empowered from all those classes that had nothing to do with their chosen fields.  I truly hope they are as proud of themselves as a I am for them, past, present and future.  They are my hope for a better world in the very near future.  CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES!

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn,K

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Teachers Appreciation Week

A week to celebrate a worthy profession
A week to celebrate a worthy profession

I have dozens of friends and relatives who are teachers.  I have worked in higher education for over twenty years.  Because of those two facts, I feel qualified to speak about teachers in today’s blog.  So here is the way I see it!

In today’s society it seems so easy to pick out the teachers who are “bad” or who make the wrong choices or who shouldn’t have become teachers to begin with or were turned into monsters from their experiences.  There is always a media hoopla nowadays about the negative aspects in teaching and the education system itself.  I don’t want to talk about what is wrong in today’s education system or about those handful of people who shouldn’t be teachers, but I do want to talk about the changes I have seen through the years in the attitudes toward teachers and about the most unappreciated profession in America today.

Many years ago a teacher was respected, they were the educators of our children.  The people who had the knowledge that we as parents and our parents didn’t have.  It took me years of working within the education system to realize that teachers, as in all other walks of life, are ordinary people with all sorts of different personalities.  However, there is that one element that I recognize in teachers that not everyone possesses and that is a desire to help children and adults alike, to open their minds and experience the power of thinking independently in order to make a difference in both their individual lives and the world in general.  The look I have seen on a teacher’s face when they have reached a person who struggled to learn and then one day that very same child or adult was enlightened is priceless.

Only a person with the calling of a teacher can truly experience such a phenomenal feeling that reaching someone through teaching can give them.  These people, these teachers have earned our respect.  Through their chosen professions these individuals have created a path and an opportunity for our children to progress toward the future and to make a difference in some way, big or small, that will affect the entire world.  These people, these teachers deserve our respect.  Yes, it is harder to be a teacher today because there are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about teachers in the general society.  Media helps to further that belief by focusing predominantly on the negative teachers and less on the overwhelming majority of positive teachers.  This false sense of knowledge is a portion of why people have lost respect for this great profession and have in many cases passed these negative attitudes along to their children.  Years ago, there was an education system that allowed its’ teachers to be severe disciplinarians, it took a lot of change and lot of maturing to realize that punishment of children in so severe a way is totally unacceptable, unwarranted and has no place in education.  All the teachers I know today agree with that finding and strive everyday to teach undisciplined children and adults alike.  Most of them teach their lessons while children talk out in class, throw things, start fights, or worse.  These teachers hunger for ways to reach these students, but unfortunately, how can they really accomplish that if the system itself strips the teachers of all authority?  In today’s educational environment, teachers have to literally possess the patience of a saint or some other extraordinary being.  They must be politically correct at all times.  They must tolerate being cursed at, verbally abused and sometimes even physically abused.  There is no course of action for teachers today, and yet, there they are everyday in their classrooms willing and ready to try to reach at least one mind if not all.

These are the teachers I write about today.  These are the people I know exist in my family and in my circle of friends.  These are the teachers who are in the majority and these are the people who should be respected more than any other profession.  These are the people who still possess knowledge that most of us will never touch upon.  These are the people with whom we leave our children in the care of day after day.  These are the people who will shape our future world by imparting to our children the knowledge they need to make a difference in this world.  From pre-kindergarten through graduate school, these people work endlessly with one purpose in mind and for that alone they have earned and deserve our respect.  I, for one would love to see the day dawn, when power is given back to the teachers of today.  The ones who know that severe disciplinary actions are unnecessary and are things of the past.  The ones who will use that small dose of authoritative power to have a classroom of people where mutual respect exists.  History has shown us that mutual respect is the key to accomplish many great things, it is up to us as parents and guardians to instill in our children this notion.  It is up to us to impart the truth about teachers and to watch over our children and to be aware of any abuse of such power.  It isn’t the role of our teachers to be the parents or guardians.  The teacher’s role is to teach.  The teachers I know (and there are a lot) want to do just that.  They want to spend their hours in classrooms teaching for it is their calling to do so.  We can help them to do that by doing our part and by teaching respect for those who have been called to this great profession.  We can stop feeding into the belief that we know better than them and dropping the attitudes that are picked up by our children that exude an aura of disrespect and superiority.  We can help teachers to do their jobs, their calling, by supporting our schools and by check-listing the administrators instead of the teachers.  Society today tends to blame the teachers for its failing education system, when in reality it is the think tanks within the administrative side of education that is to blame for our failure in educating our children, but that is a different blog, for a different day.

Today I want to say thank you to every teacher I have ever had and to every teacher I know.  Thank you for choosing to become a teacher.  Thank you for your patience, your fortitude and your understanding.  Thank you for doing the very thing I, and many like me, are incapable of doing–teaching on a professional and disciplined level! Thank you for wanting to do that in the first place!   I hope this week each of you has an opportunity to experience the gratitude you richly deserve and that in some way, big or small, you are celebrated and most of all respected.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K