Lucy

Remember Lucy from peanuts? The one who always managed to convince Charlie Brown that she would hold the football for him so he could kick it? And she always pulled it away and he always fell? The one who treated everybody like dirt? Yeah. That Lucy.

Lucy is a bitch.

I’ve never understood why Charlie Brown let her do that to him. I’ve never understood why he didn’t just say “no thanks” and walk away. Again and again she lied. Again and again he fell and got hurt.

Remember the saying “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”?

I’ve never understood why everybody let her talk like that to them. She bossed everybody around. She thought that her opinion was so valuable she set up a “the psychiatrist is in” stand instead of a lemonade stand like a normal kid. She made fun of Linus her brother for believing in the Great Pumpkin.

So really, is Lucy a bitch, or is it that everybody created this monster by not standing up to her?

I feel that Charles Schultz didn’t do anybody any favors by having this character. The audience wasn’t taught how to stand up to a bully. I feel there is a lot of stress in seeing Lucy be hateful to people over and over. Children can end up feeling helpless, and learn that being bullied is normal and there is nothing you can do about it.

On Sesame Street there was a character called the Snuffleupagus. Only Big Bird could see him. Everybody else thought Big Bird made him up. The creators decided to change this because they felt that it was sending the wrong message. They felt that children would feel that parents wouldn’t take them seriously. They felt that this was especially important if the child had something serious to report, like being abused. They felt that otherwise they were teaching them that their reality would get treated as a fantasy.

Sure, it is just a cartoon. Sure, it isn’t real. But children are constantly learning, even when we think they are just being entertained. Why not teach them something useful for a change? Why not teach them that they don’t have to be victims, whether the abuse is coming from a peer or a parent?

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Shame

I’ve heard a lot recently about how teachers should be aware of how their behavior might cause their students to feel shame. They are supposed to do away with all measures of success because it will make the lower performing students feel shame. Sure, each child has a different learning style. Sure, each child learns at a different pace. So some kids will not be on the same level as others. This is normal.

But something seems wrong about this.

If every kid makes an “A” for effort, then an “A” doesn’t mean anything. Why work hard? Why study? Your grade will be the same as everyone else’s. There is no motivation to improve. There is no feedback as to how you are doing.

The world doesn’t work like this. When they graduate they won’t be in a work environment that congratulates them for just showing up. When they enter the work world they will wonder why people don’t appreciate it when they spend an hour on Facebook and Twitter rather than working. Why try? Why work? You’ll get the same grade, right? They will be in for a rude awakening.

It isn’t healthy to treat “average” as “amazing”. Does it cause “shame” to encourage a child to try his best?

It would be better to teach kids how to have self respect. They need to learn how to love themselves as they are. They need to be OK with being different – because we all are different. They need to learn self esteem.

Being different isn’t wrong.

Having the wrong answer doesn’t make them a bad person.

Learning this will save them a lot of trouble throughout life.

How much of this is the responsibility of the teacher, and how much of this is the responsibility of the parents? How come teachers are being expected to do much more than teach?

Sure, a teacher needs to be mindful of what she says. We all do. That is just part of being a good person. But the other part of the equation is that the parents have to do what they can to teach their children to not lose it every time they get a less than perfect grade.

It doesn’t mean the kid is bad. It just means he has to work harder, or find a different way to learn the material. That is a good lesson for life in general.

Will post for food…

I read a story lately about a lady who was in dire straits. She posted on a local Facebook page saying that she needed help and didn’t know what to do.

She said that she really needed help. She was a single mom and had two little girls, one 7 and one nearly 2. She said that she was about to be evicted because she hadn’t paid her rent, she didn’t have any food, and she didn’t have winter clothes for the girls. She said she was starting a job on Monday but wouldn’t be paid until two weeks later.

Plenty of things don’t sound right about this.

Apartments don’t kick you out for nonpayment of rent for the first month. They usually wait at least two months. So this has been going on for a while.

If she has custody of the children, she should be getting child support. She didn’t mention anything about this. Perhaps she is a widow. Again, no mention.

No food? No winter clothes? Did she just wake up from a coma and notice that something might need to be done? How has she survived this long with this basic inability to plan ahead?

And why is she asking for help from strangers? Why isn’t she asking family or friends? I have a suspicion she already has asked them before and they are tired of rescuing her.

I know that as Christians we are not supposed to question those who ask for help. We are not supposed to judge their worthiness. But there has to be some accountability going on. Otherwise we should all quit our jobs and start begging. Wait – that won’t work. Then who would give us money if they too didn’t have a job?

I remember seeing a guy on the side of the road with a sign saying that he needed a new roof. When I needed a new roof I got a second mortgage. I had asked my family if I could get a loan from them, having never asked before, and I got quickly turned down. So I had to figure out another way. Standing on the side of the road with a cardboard sign never occurred to me as something that was OK. It still doesn’t seem OK.

At what point is helping someone not helping at all? At what point is helping someone just encouraging them to keep needing help?

I’m reminded of the phrase –“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for the rest of his life.”

At what point do we have to show “tough love” and make people have to be responsible for their own lives?

Showing up late.

Don’t show up at a store minutes before they close. They have been open for hours, waiting for you. Your money isn’t worth waiting another ten minutes. If they stay open another ten minutes for you, then what if another person comes during that time? Then that is another ten minutes.

They want to go home. They have their own lives to tend to. They have children to pick up from babysitters or daycare. They have groceries that need to be bought and dinner that needs to be cooked.

I’m grateful that I now work in a place where when close at 8, it means 8. I’ve worked a lot of retail and a lot of late nights because of it. There is no staying late at the library. Well, there is staying late if you are the person in charge and somebody has neglected to pick up their children. Then you have to wait for the parent to come. If the parent takes longer than 30 minutes, then the police are called and the child goes with them. That is thoughtless of the parent. Thoughtless is another word for rude.

It is rude to show up at a shop at the last minute. It is assuming that your needs are more important than their needs. Sure, this may be a small business and it relies on your money to survive. But they shouldn’t be made to feel like they are groveling for your money. If you really wanted to help them out, show up when they are open. To show up at the last minute and not be through when the closing time is to insist that you are more important than they are.

You aren’t.

Now, they aren’t more important than you either. There has to be a balance. This has to be an equal relationship. It is as if you are dating a guy and he insists that you go to horror films and you hate horror films. But you are desperate to date him, so you keep going out with him to these films. So you keep feeling bad, and he keeps feeling good. A relationship is healthy only when both people are happy. To insist that they stay late for you, especially when they aren’t going to make a lot of money on the transaction, is only going to make you happy. It is going to make them miserable.

The customer isn’t always right.

I agree with businesses that close on time and kick people out. They have to draw the line somewhere. If they tick off a customer doing that, fine. A customer that does not respect the employee’s time isn’t the kind of customer that is desired.

Worse is the restaurant business. If the place says it closes at 9, that just means that they take the last people in at 9. They could then place their order and lounge around until 11. It is very common that they will not tip to make up the difference. You may think that the waitress and chefs are being paid for that time. They aren’t being paid much – and they too have places they want to go. They too have families they would like to see. They have a life outside of work, and they would like to get to it. If a restaurant closes at 9, be courteous and be done by 9. Don’t just get started then. They will resent you.

I have worked retail for many years of my life and I have repeatedly had nightmares with people coming in late, saying “But I just…” In these nightmares, the people won’t leave. We are trying to close the doors and more keep coming in. Then more people come in after them. Then we are stuck there for an hour or more. The bad part is that the nightmare isn’t far from reality.

Trust me, your money isn’t worth that. If you can’t be bothered to shop during regular hours, they don’t need your business. Businesses should not have to beg for your business. Part of being a good customer is respecting their time.