“On Children” from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes you just need a good quote get refocused on doing this whole parenting thing in a meaningful way:

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

—Kahlil Gibran, “On Childrenfrom The Prophet

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Opinion: The Reason Why Jon Ossoff and Archie Parnell Lost

by Scott Archer

Like most people, I have been closely watching our country slide into chaos as promised by the elected president. And like most, I am terrified at the fast pace that things are moving in the wrong direction. Terrified of the emboldened Trumpets. Terrified of the divisiveness of the Republican cesspool the electorate has gathered to serve at the pleasure of His Almighty (our current president). But tonight, in a moment of clarity, I recall the George W. Bush presidency, and the same feelings suddenly come back to me. This is not new, this is a constant cycle, almost predictable. Sure, we now have a few more insane additions, such as the whole Russia thing, but the Republican agenda has always remained the same over time. The biggest difference is that now you have a person who speaks what is on his very, very small mind, and has millions of followers who have felt suppressed for many years that he has now emboldened. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and both Bushes have upheld the same Republican principles that they fight for today.

Historically, I have always voted Democrat, but I haven’t always been left-leaning. I was a pretty conservative Democrat. My family on both sides were from the South, Tennessee to be exact. And yes, the 2nd Amendment, ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps,’ and ‘you should be proud to be a ‘Merican boy’, was the way I was raised. First Church of the Nazarene! Brimstone and fire! Until I started traveling. Meeting the others who don’t think that way. Those who think for themselves, seek the truth, don’t rely only on inherited beliefs. But I certainly do understand the comforts of belief for those who are easily pleased. Or, as I so affectionately call them, the ‘happy idiots’. I was one of them. But, then I grew up…

So, why did Ossof and Parnell lose amidst all the Resistance, all the money (over $40M), all the hype? It’s quite simple, really. There is a huge disconnect in the leadership of the Democratic party. They do not understand the modern democrat(ish) populace. The truth is, Bernie Sanders would have won if he was just a little more to the Right, or, deleted the word Socialism from his dialog, I’ll rant on that in another post, but he is closer to getting it right than the Democratic leadership.

A lot of people are ready for a woman president, I will include myself. But if we are being honest, Hillary was not the right woman. She, and her husband have always been tied to questionable political ethics. But our want, our need, for equality, the hope of Yes! Hell, yes! there can be a woman president suddenly, and without noticing it, got in the way of our clear thinking. I wanted my girls to see it happen so bad, that I too cheered on the less crooked of the two candidates.  We justify what we do as Democrats, just as the Republicans justify what they do. We justify what we do to suit our own agenda. Like it or not, it’s the truth.

I personally loved Obama, but he was not able to get everything done and we assumed, in our state of bliss, that things would continue to get better. He did move things in the right direction, but all the while, those who were unemployed, undereducated, but proud ‘Mericans, just weren’t getting what they needed. The middle class is quickly slipping, jobs are not coming back quick enough, and baby boomers just won’t retire to make way for a new workforce who wants to advance to the future.

The Democrats will not stand a chance if they continue in the mindset of “Vote for me, I will make Washington less corrupt” (see Archie Parnells ad), or “Vote for me, I’m not Trump.” I was at a Democratic gala here in my home town, and heard these words come out of the mouth of Representative and Deputy Chair of the Democratic Party Keith Ellison: “Whoever we vote to the ballots, no matter what our feeling toward them, we must rally around that candidate for the good of the party.” Um, wrong! I will not rally around a candidate who is the lesser evil. This is the disconnect. People are tired of that mindset. The new generation of the democrat(ish) populace do not think that way. We’re tired of it.

If the Democrats, or anyone, want to win against the Republican ills, you better be looking, and vetting, and backing a candidate that is a proven leader, has proven leadership behaviors, ethical behaviors, and a progressive (but not too progressive) mindset. While I am ready for a very, very progressive agenda, most people are not. They still have fear, and it needs to move a little at a time in a progressive direction, otherwise, it’s “feel the Bern” all over again….

Alaskan Cruise with Kids – Part 4, Sitka

Day 4

Sitka, Alaska. We pulled into port at about 7:00 am and readied ourselves for a whirlwind tour of Sitka.

The thing about cruising is that you really don’t have that much control over your time when in port. You have to make sure you’re back for ‘all aboard.’ If not, you will be left behind. Our style of travel (explore where the wind blows you) doesn’t fit well with this schedule, but we took the experience for what it was worth and booked an excursion that introduced us to the Alaska Raptor Center, Sitka National Historical Park (part of the National Park Service), and a cultural presentation by the native Tlingit people at the Naa Kahídi Community House.

Alaska Raptor Center

Our first stop was the Alaska Raptor Center, where they care for injured bald eagles, owls, and other raptors. We saw up-close some of these beautiful birds and met some of the people who care for them.

Alaska Raptor Center
Bald Eagles in the flight training center – almost ready to re-enter the wild.

We saw a presentation that introduced us to Spirit, a young bald eagle. She won’t get the recognizable white head and tail until she is five years old.

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Spirit, a young, injured bald eagle

We also explored the outdoor areas and spied some more beautiful raptors.

Alaska Raptor center

Unfortunately, we did not have long to explore, before being ushered on to our next sight of interest.

Sitka National Historical Park

Our family loves the National Park Service and could have spent all day exploring Sitka National Historical Park. Once again, that would have to be saved for our next trip to Alaska.

Sitka NHP was a beautiful sight, featuring walking trails, wildlife, and amazing totem poles. We took a short nature walk, encountered a couple of totems, and earned our Junior Ranger badges.

Sitka National Historical Park
On our nature walk, we saw many interesting trees.
Totem Sitka National Historical Park
And saw some awesome totem poles.
Sitka National Historical Park Junior Ranger
And we can’t forget about our Junior Ranger Badges!

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Naa Kahídi Community House

Next, we saw a cultural presentation by representatives of the native Tlingit tribe. These fine people introduced us to the symbolism of their culture, taught us a few Tlingit words, and performed several dances and songs. It was truly enjoyable and educational.

Naa Kahídi Community House

Naa Kahídi Community House
Beautiful stage and performers.
Naa Kahídi Community House
Performers in native attire.

Lunch

Yes, we did all of that before lunch. Needless to say we were hungry and exhausted, but we had a few hours until we had to be back on the ship. So we intentionally missed the bus back to the boat in favor of exploring Sitka for a while. (This bothered my son to no end. He was so worried that we missed the bus and couldn’t figure out why we would intentionally do so!)

Anyway, we explored the town, the local bookstore, the local Ben Franklin, and found a little cafe in town. We had some vegetarian raviolini soup, bagels, and soft pretzels. And topped it off with some frozen yogurt.

After exploring a bit more, we took the free shuttle back to the boat and continued our cruising experience.

Check out Part 5 here. Follow our adventures from the beginning here.

Alaskan Cruise with Kids – Part 3, Glacier Bay National Park

Day 3

Cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. I have to start this post by stating unequivocally that this day was filled with unparalleled natural beauty, the likes of which I have never before experienced in my life.

Additionally, what made this day truly spectacular was that my husband and I were able to observe the quiet, serene beauty surrounding us at our leisure while the children hung out in the boat’s kids’ club with a National Park ranger and a representative of the native culture. The kids learned about the park and were read a story about the Tlingit culture. They even took the kids outside to do their own glacier viewing. And after all that, they earned Junior Ranger badges! We love the Junior Ranger program offered by the National Park Service.

Quiet reflection gave us the following moments:

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Calving Margerie Glacier Bay National Park
Margerie Glacier Calving
Glacier Bay National Park
Payful sea otters.
Glacier Bay National Park
Curious Arctic Terns (I think) – some idiot was feeding them from their balcony and got called out on the loudspeaker by the captain. Seriously, what’s wrong with people?
Glacier Bay National Park
And hungry children who didn’t want to stay still for a picture.

We ate lunch with a glacier right outside our window. After lunch, the kids were much more chill.

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Oh, nothing. Just hanging out in Alaska. You?
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Oh, nothing. Just giving myself a ballet class on the deck of a ship in Glacier Bay National Park. You?

Check out part 4 here. Follow our adventures from Day 1 here.

Alaskan Cruise with Kids – Part 2, Tracy Arm Fjord

Day 2

Juneau, Alaska. In Juneau, we decided to book an excursion on a small boat that traveled up the Tracy Arm Fjord to get up-close and personal with some glaciers, icebergs, and wildlife. Binoculars and maps were provided, and passengers are able to move from the warm interior cabin, with free hot chocolate, tea, and coffee, to the top of the boat which is open to both the elements and the spectacular views.

iceberg juneau alaska tracy arm fjord
Awesome iceberg

 

South Sawyer Glacier
The bluest blue. Gorgeous!
South Sawyer Glacier
South Sawyer Glacier
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Bald eagles!!!

This 7-hour boat ride may not be ideal for all young children. Our young ones survived the boring parts because we were able to buy snacks and a couple of brand new stuffed animals (a grey wolf and a sea otter, in keeping with the Alaska theme) onboard. And mom survived because she got to sip her very own Glacierita—seriously, a margarita made with a chunk of glacier ice.

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The kids got to hold some glacier ice.
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Glacierita!!!

…to be continued here. Follow our adventures from Day 1 here.

Book Review (Gr 1-4): The Youngest Marcher

I believe the children are our future. Sounds like a funny reference to an 80s hit song, but it’s true. I really do believe that what we teach our children now can make or break the future. Apparently Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did too.

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I had never heard of the 1963 Children’s March before reading The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.

This children’s book (Grades 1-4) tells the compelling story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, an African-American elementary school student who volunteers to go to jail in an effort to answer MLK’s call to ‘fill the jails’ in Birmingham so no more civil rights protesters could be arrested.

After the adults had failed to answer the call, Reverend James Bevel came up with the idea that children could make a difference and proposed the Children’s March. From May 2-7, 1963, between 3,000 and 4,000 children marched and were arrested. Audrey Faye Hendricks was the youngest known marcher and was sent to juvenile hall for 7 days, during which time the jails were successfully filled, which allowed change to take place in the city of Birmingham.

This book is inspirational and really touches a nerve, for parents and children alike. Not only did young Audrey exhibit much bravery in her decision to fight for what was right, but so did her parents. I’m not sure that I would be brave enough to allow my child to do the same, even in the face of such serious injustice.

Children are powerful. And it’s very important to me that my children know that and feel that. This book highlights the power of one very brave little girl.

 

Alaskan Cruise with Kids – Part 1, Embarking in Seattle

Let me first start by saying, if you want a life-changing family Alaskan adventure experience, a cruise is not the way to go.

We had never been on a cruise before, so it was a valuable learning experience. But I did start to feel like one of the people on board the Axiom (the ship that was cruising people around in space after the Earth was left pretty much lifeless in the movie Wall-E).

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All snark aside, we did have a great time. And cruising with kids is a good way to go if you are new to travel and are trying to slowly step outside your comfort zone with your family. We chose a seven-day, round-trip Inner Passage Alaskan Cruise from Seattle with Holland America.

I’m just going to give you the run-down and tell you everything we did day by day so you can make an informed decision when choosing your own Alaskan family adventure.

Day 0

Chicago to Seattle. We flew to Seattle a day early because I was nervous that, if our flight was delayed, we would literally miss the boat. We made it there on time and in one piece (even with my daughter flying the plane!).IMG_0204

We stayed at the MarQueen hotel, a beautifully restored old building, in the Queen Anne neighborhood. Everyone was very nice and the accommodations were quaint and classic at the same time. (You may want to explore breakfast at a different location, however, because they only serve a true continental breakfast.)

We also explored the Queen Anne neighborhood for excellent views of the Space Needle, beautiful homes, and a park with the best slide ever.

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Dad thought it would be funny to have the kids balance the space needle in their hands.

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Day 1

At sea. One word of advice. If a friend, who is an experienced cruiser, recommends that you take some sea-sickness pills like Bonine, also known by the generic name meclizine (which doesn’t make you as drowsy as classic Dramamine), take her advice. Trust me. My daughter and I spent the first day in a puking competition. Luckily, the score didn’t get that high—-she won two-to-one.

And in case you wanted to try one of those acupressure bracelets, I’d like to refer you to this scientific study that shows they’re a waste of money (just read the ‘Discussion’ section).

After taking our motion-sickness medications, and a morning of making my husband and son fetch us food and other comforts, we were able to enjoy the Crow’s Nest of the ship for beautiful views of the water.

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…to be continued… Click here for Day 2.