Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Better gun laws? Who needs them?

There has been a battle for gun reform in this country for some time now. I've never been one to understand the fascination with them, and I must admit that I'm honestly afraid of them. I've never brought my son even a toy gun to play with because I believe that in allowing a child to think that a gun was a toy, you are creating the thought that real guns are toys, and that if someone is shot, they are just pretending and will be alive again in a few minutes. Call me crazy, but that's my thought process, and I've thought this way before I had kids.

The reason why this is heavily on my mind today is that a disturbing report came across the news that an 11 year old boy shot and killed his dad's fiance, who was 8 months pregnant. The baby also died. The report says that the gun was brought by the kids father, and it was made for children. He and his father practiced shooting and apparently were gun enthusiast. I'm not blaming the father for what his son did, but I'm just wondering, if the kid was not taught that guns were OK would he had thought to use the gun to kill someone? The reports are that he was jealous of the fiance and the impending birth of his sibling.

A few months ago, a 9 year old boy killed his father and his father's roommate. That story is still kind of foggy, but all evidence is pointing to him as the killer. What would make a child so young want to kill his dad? The reports are speculating that some type of abuse was going on, but there is no concrete evidence of it.

I am so disturbed by these reports. I know there is nothing new under the sun, but I wonder if I was to do research, would reports like these be something that was very prevalent in the past? These storires break my heart every time I think about them. I get so sad that I literally have to think of something else to get my mind off of it.

The reports are saying that the 11 year old may be charged as an adult, and he is facing life in prison. Right now they have him in a prison for adults, and the warden is supposed to ask a judge if he can be transferred to a juvenile facility because he cannot accommodate a child. Can you imagine a child being locked away for the rest of his life? He's only 11, life has not even begun for him.

I'm really at a loss for words right now. I believe that we should take a deeper look into gun laws. Should guns be made to fit a child's hand? Should children be allowed to use guns, even if hunting? We have to teach our children better.

I pray that the best outcome for both of these boys comes to pass. I don't know what that is right now, but I do know that kids this young should not have to stand trial for something like what they are accused of. Let's do better for our kids.

Sweet T

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"How do we know that God is real?"

Another question my son asked me one morning. He has really been asking deep questions lately. One morning he asked, what does virgin mean? Whoa! That's a whole other post. :)

This particular morning, on our way to school, he asked, "Mommy, how do we know that God is real?" Boy, did he get me with this one. He says, "I'm not saying that I don't believe, Mommy, because I do. I just want to know, how do we really know that He's real if we can't see him?" He kept assuring me that he believed, I guess the look on my face said it all. LOL! I was in total shock. And the thoughts that went through my head, I'm sure showed on my face. I couldn't help but think, am I doing something wrong, have I not taught him correctly, how can he question if God is real?

After the initial shock, I tried to explain it to him the best that I could, the only way I knew how. I told him, how else can we explain how the universe was formed? How do we explain the birds, flowers, how our bodies work? He then says, "Mommy, some people don't believe." And I explained that they have that choice, that is another thing that makes God who He is, we have the choice to believe or not.

On a local radio station I listen to at times, the DJ played a segment of the show where India Arie was on, singing live. She sang her song, "God is real". First off let me say, her voice is amazing! I think one of the best voices we have been blessed with. Her performace gave me chills as I listened. As she sang, she gave her reasons why she knew that God was real: When there's earth, air, water, and fire. So many different flowers Sunshine and rain showers So many different crystals And hills and volcanoes

She then begins to sing about her trip to St. Lucia, when she jumped in the water, the type of fish she saw, the colors she saw, how she felt cleansed being in the water. She couldn't even finish the song, because she began to cry. These were some of the things that I tried to explain to my son, although I could have never done it as eloquently as she did.

In looking back, I realize that the answers I gave my son, were not good enough. I realize that he has every right to ask if God is real. I do not want him to go into anything blindly. I think that's the way that people get caught up in cults. I also think that's the way people begin to follow a man instead of following God. I want him to question things. So my perspective has changed about this question. I'm glad he asked. I realize his question has nothing to do with me and how I'm raising him, but everything to do with his growth, and how he sees the world. So in actuality, I think I am doing what I'm supposed to do. I'm raising a child who thinks and is not led blindly. That's one thing I'm proud of.

Although, I don't think I answered my son's question properly, I realize that we have the rest of our lives to find the answer. I Thank God for giving us choices, and the freedom to think. I know that He will lead us to find the answer to this question and there will be no doubt that God is real!

My tidbit: sometimes we think that children can't teach us things, but in actuality if we just stop, listen and watch, they can teach us more than we think. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Sweet T

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If you can read this, Thank a teacher..............

For those of you who are parents, I'm sure you've seen the test score results come home for your child every quarter. For those of you who pay attention, you know they are scored in math and reading on a scale of 0% to 100%. If your child scores 0%, you know he/she is performing at a level that's way below what is expected. He/she would basically have to not answer the questions to get this low score. From there the scale reads like this: 1%-49%-student shows a minimal understanding of skills assessed, 50%-69%-student shows a general understanding, 70%-89%-student shows developing understanding of skills, and 90%-100%-student shows an overall understanding of skills.

This quarter's assessments for my son bothered me. My son is 9 years old, and what I consider a child who can understand beyond his age. I'm not the type of parent who brags on their child or who considers their child to be the best at everything, but I do recognize that his level of understanding is a little advanced. Here's the problem. For this quarter, he scored at a level that surprised me and his teachers. He was placed in Accelerated Math, and scored in the 70% range. That is expected because he's being challenged more in this area, so it's taking more effort for him to get the answers. In reading he scored in the 50% range, that surprised me more than anything. My son has been reading since before he entered kindergarten. He's also been talking and expressing himself since the age of 4. This is the first time that he's ever scored like this on the assessment tests.

Being the type of parent that I am, I immediately contacted his teacher. This year his teacher impressed me because during our first conference, he pointed out things about my son that no other teacher has. He knew my son, good and bad, and was very open about what he thought and what he saw as far as my son's abilities. We came up with a plan to help my son succeed, and vowed to work together to make sure he doesn't fail.

I say all of this to say, that given the bad rap teachers get these days, there are some out here who really do see the kids they teach as individuals and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the kids don't fail. Hopefully, the plan that we've come up with will help my son work to his potential, and maybe next quarters scores will be much better. I have to put in a lot of work also, but I think in the end it will be well worth it.

If you have children in school and are being taught by great teachers, Thank them. I think teaching is the most under appreciated, most difficult job. So, to all my former teachers, I say Thank you. To all my son's former teachers and teachers to come, I say Thank you. I look forward to working with you all to raise up an educated man, our future generation.

Sweet T

Friday, February 13, 2009

R U being ripped off by your electric company?

I am! For the past couple of months, I've noticed a significant change in the amount that I'm being charged for electricity. First off, let me say, I live in a town house, around 1200 sq. f, not big at all. The house is all electric, which means that I only have one bill, but it also means that I have a heat pump. Having said that, for those of you who've lived in a house with a heat pump, you know that it blows cold air, and your home never really feels warm. I've taken steps to insulate my home by installing new energy efficient windows and sliding glass doors, and I keep my temp set at 71 or 72 degrees which is supposed to keep your house warm and at the same time keep your bill under control. Well, let me be the first to say, it does not keep the house warm, especially with a heat pump, nor does it keep your bill under control. I'm not home during the day, I'm at work and my son is in school, so how much energy are we really consuming?

If you live in the DMV area, I know you've seen the countless reports on the news about angry customers who received the highest bills they've ever received recently. I've heard my friends and family complain about the bills they've received, so I know I'm not the only one. It just angers me that the companies can't give a valid explanation as to why the bills have increased as much as they have. To name some of them, in this area you either have, Pepco, Smeco, BG&E, or Dominion Power. In a report in the Washington Post, customers are speaking out. One customer paid $650 for a month, up from $350 the month before. What in the world did he do for his bill to increase by that much for a month? The report also states that the rates per kilowatt hour dropped from almost $120 to $55, which makes me wonder, why are the prices for the consumer going up and not down. The only explanation that a rep could give is that it's been cold and people have been staying in more and turning the thermostat up, consuming more of their stuff. WTH type of explanation is that? From what I can tell, the cold has never stopped anybody from going out. If he had said, the fact that folks don't have money to go out and are staying in more, I would understand, but to say it's because of the cold? Please! They also claim the longer Holiday billing cycle. Yeah, OK. I think all of this is a bunch of BS.

Another thing that angers me is that we're being charged for something that most of us have no idea if we're being charged correctly. I for one, do not ever see a meter reader near my house. When do they come out? And if they do come out, how do we know they are reading the meter correctly? How do we know the company is charging what it should be charging us? My personal opinion is that they estimate what you would use during a certain month. For instance, they know that most people use more energy around the Holidays, with the lights and Christmas tress and all, so they estimate that your usage would increase. Therefore, your bill is always higher around that time whether you use more or not. I've written to my electric company twice, with no response or explanation. My next step is my Congressperson. I've read that this area does not regulate electricity markets, which means that they are allowed to charge what they want. It was supposed to help the prices based on the competition. We see that's not working.

If there is anybody out there who can help me to understand how I'm being charged it will be greatly appreciated. I'm all ears. For now, my only recourse is to continue to write my electric company, move on to writing my Congressperson, and write in this blog to vent my frustrations. O yeah, I guess I better add, pay my bill, regardless of the cost because if I don't, my son and I may end up frozen to death because I'm sure they will not hesitate to cut it off if the bill goes unpaid.

No tidbits this time. If you have some for me, I'm all ears.

Sweet T

My Favorites

  • My Son
  • My Family
  • My KD
  • My Friends
  • Kindred Family Soul
  • Eric Roberson
  • Fred Hammond
  • Jill Scott
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Left Behind Series
  • Love Jones
  • Coming to America
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • The Color Purple
  • The Kite Runner
  • The Wire
  • Boomerrang
  • The Notebook
  • Love and Basketball


"I'm calling out to You, for a strength exchange. I'll gladly take Your Joy, for my weakness"