Upgrading kids.

“College is a waste of Time and Money.” is the ironically titled essay I had to read for last week’s classes. I was almost convinced to drop out of the college.

That was a joke obviously. But let’s be serious, is this opinion valid?

The Essayist thinks that if you’re only going out of a sense of obligation, or because you think it’s just what you do after high school, then it is a waste for you.

I do question, as a born and bred homeschooler, how effective institutional education is.

One of the points the essayist brought up is that college is like an extended adolescence for many kids. They aren’t ready to face the world, so they go to school, school is familiar.

That’s so sad, especially when I think how kids used to be raring to get done with school and enter the world at large to make a place in it.

As this essayist or one of the others I read observed, the world just doesn’t seem to have a place for these college kids. They go to college in the hopes that they will find a place afterward. When they are more useful.

I can’t say I blame them. How many kids know how to work?

I don’t blame the kids, by the way, most of them would have been happy to learn a skill if we just stressed it’s relevance, they don’t want to waste their time learning stuff they’ll never use.

When I briefly worked retail they taught me organization, but that was about it. I just needed to be fast and efficient. Which I wasn’t.

We were talking in class about how businesses see workers as liabilities now, not assets. With a few exceptions. So if you screw up, you’re out.

Which explained to me why I got fired. It didn’t matter to them whether I was honest or more dependable, I was just too slow. (Speed takes practice to build up.) Instead of being an asset they could train, I was just a liability.

After all, machines do it better and you don’t have to teach them.

But when we like our machines more than our people, what motivates us to train kids in hardworking jobs?

The great irony of electronics is that they are sucked up by Millennials and younger, even while they bite them in the rear by making those very age groups less necessary and less of a priority to businesses and organizations.

We don’t know much except for how to organize and drive forklifts and run computers.

I’d rather do a real day’s work so long as it was for something good. Some people have said I’m a hard worker, some people say I’m slow. Some people say this younger generation is lazy and indolent, others say we’re full of energy.

I think it’s a matter of perspective. One thing we aren’t is dependable. It hasn’t sunk in to us that there are things that have to be committed to all the way if they’re going to work out. Unfortunately, even schools tend to coddle students, all those second chances and programs to help them get by with less effort.

I’m all for helping someone who really needs it, but our methods don’t seem to working.

One thing people tell me is that I am stubborn. Or determined, to put it more nicely. They usually say it about how I pursue the things of God. But a positive side effect is that determination spreads to all areas of your life. I was not always a persistent worker, but I’ve changed a lot since becoming a Christian, because now I have a a reason to pursue goals.

I had a reason. So I changed. Sometimes either you upgrade, or you shut down.

And kids don’t have a reason to upgrade, so they shut down.

After all, do they really feel like society needs them? Do most kids feel like their family needs them?

I had a alteration in my perspective after my family moved and I realized that my parents really needed me to be more responsible, and my siblings needed me to be strong and able to help them. I was the bridge between the two.

Because parents tend to shield their kids from responsibility so the kids won’t worry, the kids feel they have nothing to offer. When was the last time you heard a kid talk about being necessary to something. They probably wouldn’t have used that word, but it would have been implied in their tone.

Before the past 50-60 years happened, kids were absolute necessary, even from the age of 6, to their families. They represented difficulties, but once they got older the parents needed them to help with chores, with the business, or with keeping house so the parents could work.

You see prosperity is meant to grow as your family grows. Ideally your business starts small but by the time your kids are old enough to help it’s gotten too big for you to handle. And then from family you get community as you bring in outside workers also.

It used to be that way. But things have inflated too much.

Still, we need our young people. Moms would not be so overwhelmed if they taught their older kids to help more and let them be responsible for stuff. Maybe we can’t let them work jobs (though child labor is only a bad thing when it is excessive, a few hours of it never hurt any kid as long as they were doing something they could handle) but we can let them help us.

There are always going to be mishaps. But adults forget their car keys, leave their phones as home, and lose paper work. Should we judge kids if they knock stuff over or do something wrong because we didn’t explain it to them?

Kids may not like working at first because we’ve taught them they shouldn’t have to do it. But once they get used to the idea, nothing is more rewarding for them then feeling they helped mom or dad do something difficult.

That’s a feeling I think young people shouldn’t be robbed of.

Until next time–Natasha.

The problem with authority.

Here’s one of the main problems I have always had with authority:

Should I question it?

And if I were to expand that, I would add, should I view myself as inferior to authority.

Let;s start with the highest authority in my life, God Himself.

The Bible tells us to talk to God as we would to our father, or our friend, which is pretty humble on God’s part, and surprisingly hard for us to do. If we believe in God at all, then it’s daunting for most adults to think about addressing Him, especially as a friend. That’s why religious jargon is so common in all types of religions.

Just because I can talk to God as my (almost) equal does not make Him my equal. That’s the truth. But God has no interest in creating distance between us and Himself, so He allows for that equal kind of communication.

Language, by the way, is the best equalizer between people, especially for those in authority, we’ve all known the frustration of someone talking over our heads and then talking down to us in a condescending way.

God’s authoriyt is untouchable, so clearly He is my superioer. I hav eno problem with that, He doesn’t rub it in.

But any other authorities in my life are going to be human. Since I dont’ belive Animals to be above me, and the Bible says that even angels are not higher in authority. (Make what you will of that, it’s a whole other post.)

And the problem with humans is that they make frequent mistakes.

Knowing this, and being by nature a bit of a smart alec, I have always been unsure about authoiryt. I didn’t wonder aobut it when I was very young and would call my teachers out on inconcistities in whtat they wee saying when held up agaisnt my NLT Bible. And yes, hat was in Sunday School (I’m not giving you non church goers much confidence in the institution am I? It’s really not so bad as that, I’ve been to much more accurate churches since then.)

When I was under some family friends instruction, this attidtude I had became a problem. I’m sharing this becuase I figure I’m not the only one.

And it’s important even for people in authority to think about this because  I’ve had my teachers be just as confused as me over the nature of our relationship.

My Youth Group Leader used to tell me not to answer every single question, because the other kids wouldn’t even try since they knew I’d answer. I thought maybe he had a point, so I attempted to hold back. (It wasn’t fair though, because in youth they ask you “who knows…?” and it would be dishonest not to raise my hand, wouldn’t it? It’s a honest question, right?)

“Someone other than (insert my name)?” My leader would ask despairingly as the rest of the group looked blankly at them.

Nope. Only me.

I began to get really frustrated with this. Often the leader didn’t know the answer either. Until they looked it up. If I knew, why couldn’t I say?

Why did I have to play dumb for the sake of everyone else?

This came up when those family friend’s tried to teach me also. Whenever I caught on, I would be impatient and interrupt them. Which bugged them. Sometimes I jokingly said “Not the way we do it,” when referring to a lesson that compared to a household function (like cooking.)

I shouldn’t have been rude, but at the time I had no inkling that my jokes were being perceived as disrespectful. I just wanted to be funny.

And that’s when it came up again, my teachers, or just adults in general, seemed to think I owed them greater consideration just because they were older than me. I didn’t have the same freedom with them as I did with my family.

And if they did something wrong, I had to be careful about saying so. Often, I couldn’t say so without offending them.

Once I talked to a whole group of adults about how stupid I thought their arguement with this other group had been. I thought, (and my dad hadn encouraged me in this)that I had as much right as anyone to point this out; but they ended up very offended over it.

Looking back, I think I was right. It was stupid. And I also think a kid has just as much right to point that out as anyone else, sometimes kids are the only ones without an agenda.

I now know that that stuff doesn’t fly with many people. I would say one of the main reasons is, we (because I am an adult now) are insecure.

I’ve caught myself getting annoyed with kids for doing the same things I used to do, and I feel guilty, because I know the kids are right. And I’m wrong. But I don’t want to admit that to them because I don’t have to.

And there’s the rub. People prefer not to admit they are wrong anyway, but most of us who are healthy will admit it to our peers and our superiors, but precious few will admit it to kids. Because kids can’t make us do it.

Kids would, if they could, they are pretty straightforward about their sense of justice. Bless their hearts. IF they had control, we’d all be more honest…and probably in more danger. I am not suggesting we always give in to kids and their sense of right and wrong, kids are apt to be one sided too.

But I do think we need to remember that as far as morality goes, kids are often superior to us. They may lack the social skills we’ve invented in order to not offend each other when we notice something’s wrong, kids don’t have that, they can chafe our hide with their bluntness; but they’re still right.

And adults who are like kids in this respect are usually disliked by many people for their blunt honesty, the wise know they should be listened to.

I don’t know where I fall in this category anymore. I’ve bitten my tongue for many years, and only now are people starting to encourage me to un-bite it. I’m finding some people can accept my more difficult qualities.

But people like me, and I know you bloggers are like this or you wouldn’t use the freedom of the internet to express ideas you have no audience for in your social circles, we aren’t encouraged a lot in this world.

So, here’s to all of you who blurt out the truth and step on toes and challenge authority, and can’t seem to help it, there is a reason we desperately need you.

Until next time–Natasha.

Free spirits.

Do you know what the hardest thing about college is? Remembering your assignments and instructions.

Some students are going “amen sister.”

Why does the system have to be that we do everything the way the book says?

This is the home-schooler in me talking, I’m too used to putting my own spin on things. I mean, for example, if someone gives you a writing assignment and lists some possible topics you could use, but adds “Or you  could pick something yourself” I am that girl who will pick something herself.

I don’t think that means you have to do everything the opposite of what people suggest. I take advice, I follow important rules.

But when it comes to stuff that is non-essential, I like to shake things up.

I have gotten in trouble with teachers more for wanting to do things my own way, or actually for resisting doing everything their way, then I ever got for being flat out disobedient.

I don’t directly disobey authority, I try to obey it on my terms.

I think someone reading this is bound to relate.

I apply this to my religion also, In fact I give God all the responsibility for me being this way. (Yeah, I can play that card.) I don’t wish to offend anyone, but I could never be Jewish, Mormon, Amish, or any of the more organized forms of the faith.

I hate regimentation.

I know that there’s merit in tradition and discipline, and I have no beef with the above sects for doing things that way, but it would drive me crazy.

I don’t think this about being too good for conforming, so much as it’s my character is already too developed in the kind of freedom I’m used to.

I love a good tradition, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to storm about how Christmas tress are dull and Easter services are restrictive. And I need to be more disciplined.

But tradition and discipline are like salt and pepper, some like a lot, some like a little, but at bottom they are still seasonings.

The main dish of life is variety and flexibility. Because life is unpredictable.

And that is why people like me, though we seem helter-skelter to those of you who live by a schedule, tend to bounce back a lot faster when our plans go awry.

I will say this, you don’t have to have an outgoing personality to be into individual touch.

My mom, for example, is an introvert who doesn’t like the spotlight and will read the instruction manual before doing something. She likes organizations.

but I admire my Mom, because through her faith she’s learned to be flexible and change her plans a lot. She would naturally prefer organization, but she will stay the most calm in the chaos and crisis, and bounce back the fastest. Though her personality might lead you to believe she’d have a meltdown under pressure, that’s only if you don’t know her very well. All the people who know my mom know she’s tough.

But in a quiet way that’s very different form me. Yet she has that same “design it your own way” thing. Though she reads the manual, my mom believes in creativity.

Which goes to show you can’t put people in a box.

My dad on the other hand prefers things be done his way.

I can be like that too, maybe too much actually. (I have that oldest child bossiness thing.) But I prefer to go my own way.

On principle I tend to object to movies and books that send that message to kids. Because I believe kids need to be guided and they are not mature enough to know which way to go much of the time. But I do not believe at all in micromanagement. My mom never did that with us, and I think that’s why we turned out to be free spirits.

Young teens need to be able to express themselves outside of what their parents like or understand, but I would never advocate letting teens be rebels in the name of expression.

I don’t have kids, yet based on my own experience, I’d say freedom within certain boundaries is always the healthiest way to handle kids and their creativity.

To tie this back into the college students out there, I think this shapes our approach to academia.

I am so used to thriving when I can express myself with freedom. I’ve had a couple teachers in my life who understood me in that way. But college professors are so busy, how cant hey be expected to nurture that?

Well, the truth is, college is the last chance teachers have to awaken that in young people before they turn them loose on the world. It’s a slim chance, because 18-25 year olds are already pretty set in their ways, but there’s a chance.

We need college professors to care just as much, if not more, then high school teachers, because this is the last schooling most of us get before we set off on our career paths.No one is ever too old to be mentored.

I will praise my English professor for being the only one of mine to get this in some way. But there’s precious few like him. IF you have one, you better be thankful.

Any person who is willing to teach thickheaded freshmen for eight hours to 16 hours a week has patience, but not everyone has inspiration.

College is the only part of education that puts two adults together but still on unequal footing. We’re all allowed to choose for the first time what we will learn.

But no matter ho much responsibility we take, it can’t be denied that teachers play a pivotal role in inspiring the student.

That’s all for now, until l next time–Natasha.

You’re allowed to rest.

We’re springing forward  tonight. I don’t know if every country uses daylight savings but I doubt it. Daylight savings means that twice a year we set our clocks back an hour or forward an hour, depending on whether it’s the spring or fall one. So 7:00 becomes 8:00 when we go forward.

In other news, I made salmon for the first time. (My favorite fish.) It’s pretty easy. And for those of my followers who pray, please toss one up for my extended family. A bunch of them just got the nasty flu that’s been going around. Ugh. I was lucky to escape it so far and I want to keep it that way.

I was surprised by how many people responded to my last post about Burnout. I knew it was a big thing, I just didn’t think people were that interested in reading about it. I didn’t even give any tips for dealing with it.

Which is mostly because I don’t have that many. But other sources do and I’ve heard a few over the past few days that might help you out.

First, rest.

It’s the obvious one. But we neglect it shamefully. Don’t be “on” all the time. Today I deliberately didn’t do homework or that much physical labor. I slowed down, read, watched a movie or two, played games with my family, spent some time outside before it started raining, and spent my time with God.

Which is the second thing, though I know not everyone can or will implement that. But one christian to another, please, do this more. Unless you’re better at doing it then me, in which case I take my hat off to you. Of course being spiritual is not a contest of favorites or superiority, but it is something you have to do on purpose. I find the best way to just relax with God is to worship. Music is a great stress reducer when you pick the right songs, especially worship ones. Surprisingly, I’ve heard that even non Christians find christian music relaxing or fun. (I recommend Bethel, Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Laura Hacket, and Jason Upton, to name a few. I also like Switchfoot.)

If you don’t want to do that, then even listening to regular music, if it’s happy or upbeat or soothing, often helps me relax. It can take my mind off the things that bother me.

Third, and this is a big one, let it go at the end of the day.

I used to do that thing all the time where I’d go to bed and start thinking about everything I had to do the next day. Or about all the things I failed to do that day. And I mean everything from controlling my temper to doing a chore. Even blogging.

I actually thought it would help to plan things out. I might be more organized.

But, surprising no one I’m sure, that never worked. I would forget the plans I made by morning; but I would certainly stress myself out in the meantime. That effect lingers.

If you didn’t do everything you wanted, or needed to do, don’t lose sleep over it. Unless you have to turn something in by tomorrow and absolutely won’t have time in the morning (and I mean if you have to rush somewhere, not if you want to waste time watching a show or whatever,) I would say don’t do it. Just go to sleep. Do something fun with your spouse if you’re married. But let it go. You’ll work better after a good night’s rest anyway.

Another tip is to read. Read something you like, something you want to read. Something that takes you out of yourself for awhile. But avoid books about self help or goals when you’re trying to chill. They are guaranteed to make you feel like you’re not doing enough. There’s a time and place for that written kick in the pants, but an off day is not one of them.

And go outside for goodness sake. Find a safe park or a garden, or your own back yard. Don’t take any electronics. Or keep it in your pocket if you do. Just enjoy it.

Keep in mind screens are stressful. Especially white ones. But even TV can stress you out further or at the very least not do any good. Unless it’s a really good movie that you like, TV usually does nothing to relieve stress.

That’s about all I know. There’s always diet and exercise habits, but I’m not an authority on those. All I can suggest is fruit and pleasant walks.

And I was talking about what to don on off days in order to relax, not how to fix your life. Though a little rest can go a long way.

Most of all you need to give yourself permission to rest and detox. Even if you can’t afford pampering, and can’t set aside a whole day just to take it easy, you can set aside time on one day to do something for yourself. Remember that you deserve a little me-time just as much as your kids, family, or friends do.

It’s okay to need it, really. Don’t think you’re tough enough to go on without ever taking a break. It’s humble to rest.

Until next time–Natasha.

Easy A

Review time again! Yay!

I wish I had picked a better movie to watch today, but Is til have chances to make it up. There’s always Titanic in a pinch, right?

In all honesty the description of this movie sounded better than it was.

In case you’ve never heard of it, Easy A is about a girl who’s friend thinks she’s slept with a college guy, and Olive lies and says she has because her friend is digging for it so much. then a christian girl overhears and spreads the word. Eventually everyone thinks Olive is a slut and a prostitute, and she starts getting paid to say she’s slept with a bunch of different losers. Then one loser actually want her to do it for real, and she is horrified.

In the end she makes a webcast telling the truth about the whole mess, and finds a guy who actually likes her for her. The end.

Ugh….picture me rolling my eyes right now.

The story is supposed to be a retelling of The Scarlet Letter. Which is about a woman who actually had committed adultery, but without realizing it till it was too late, and who ends up pregnant. She gets ostracized, and she ends up embroidering the scarlet letter A, which she is forced to wear, on all her clothes, and when she has her baby she beautifully embroiders her clothes.

She ends up being more sympathetic character.

unlike Olive, who you get frustrated with for continuously lying and giving in to peer pressure over her sexuality. I’m not sure why movies like this continuously portray doing stupid things as somehow daring and indicative of a unique personality. Pretending to have sex with some guy at a party falls under the stupid category in my book…but hey, she did it all the way so…she’s spunky?

Even though Emma stone is hard not to like, in her own sardonic way, she was wasted in this role. By the end of the movie she’s learned nothing. Except that lying about sex is a bad idea.

No one else in the movie has an aha! moment where they change their perspective. And not once is the idea that sex outside of marriage might actually be a bad idea seriously considered.

even though by my count, two people’s reputations and 1 marriage were all ruined over the idea; as well as many others faking their way to popularity.

I don’t want to be petty, but Christians were stereotyped within an inch of our lives, which is what I would expect, because Holly wood forbid that they make us look like rational, compassionate creatures.

Not that all of us are, sadly, but I find it hard to believe any christian teen in public highschool would act the way these ones did. They have more gall then me.

And that parents i this movie were sick. They had no problem with their daughter dressing like a whore, and being labeled as having an STD, and getting detention. (actually on the last one I had to sympathize.) They encouraged her to be promiscuous.

No parent worth their marriage license would react that way. It was so stupid.

In the end Olive concludes that her sex life is none of anyone’s —-business (imagine that!) but she still thinks she might lose her virginity to her new boyfriend. Because clearly that doesn’t lead to any problems.

I mean, duh. What the heck was the point of this movie?

If that’s how much power a rumor had, how much worse to actually do all those things.

even though Olive realizes how disgusting everyone’s obsession with sex is, and that’s a good point right there, she never seems to realize why it got to be that way. Why not having boundaries leads to so many problems. Why if people just honored sex by keeping it in marriage none of the things in the movie would have happened.

And forgive me for getting on my soapbox, but when the movie is making that point without even trying to make it, you know you have an issue.

Really, it missed the whole point of the “source material” which is that sexual promiscuity has consequences, and people can not see the forest for the trees when it comes to one woman’s mistake and their own hypocrisy, but in the end patience and virtue will win out if you practice them diligently.

That’s what the woman in the story did, it is not what Olive did. continuing to make the same dumb mistakes that got you into your problem, and embracing the reputation that ensues, is being stupid. It’s not being brave or noble about it.

Olive admits she had no notion of being either of those things, or being patient and meek. Even if that would have spoken volumes more about her innocence then what she did do.

So basically, this is a what not to do movie that never even really shows why the religious people it was critiquing were so wrong to think they way they did. Weren’t they right? Didn’t it all lead to a lot of bad stuff happening?

Anyway, I don’t recommend this flick, until next time–Natasha.

The Matrix

I’ll describe the way this movie makes you feel in one word.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Seriously, what the heck was that?

I guess this was a hit in the nineties or whenever it came out, but it is so dated.

My idea is that the screenwriter wanted to make a martial arts action thriller, and got stuck with a sci-fi movie instead. The action is quite good, especially for a movie of that decade. It had breakthrough shooting techniques I’ve been told.

But guys, the plot is crud.

I find it hard to discuss this movie rationally because it makes my brain feel dizzy trying to figure it out. If you get it, then good for you, but it does not compute for me.

Which is funny, since everyone in this movie acts like a computer.

I have to hand it to the director, he succeeds it making you feel just how unreal it would be to live in a world of machines run by robots. That’s the experience this movie puts you through for 2 hr+.

You find yourself unable to differentiate the Matrix from the “Real World” as you watch the movie. It’s like it was intentionally made to be confusing.

How can Neo still have superpowers in the second movie when he’s not in the matrix? HOW did he stop those squid things? Why did he go into a coma?

If the Oracle is the enemy why do her prophecies still come true? If she doesn’t control Neo, how can he be subject to the Matrix? IF he is subject to it, how can he fight it? Ahhh!

I’ve only seen the first two movies, and the second one made me so dizzy I don’t know if I can handle another one. The more my sister and I tried to understand it the more our heads spun.

the first one, which is slightly better and easier to follow, and actually made me feel something for a split second there when Trinity kissed Neo. Yay! True love!

In the sequel I couldn’t care less about their relationship because it’s just physical, none of the emotion comes in, even when it’s supposed to. Neo reaching into her heart to restart it…what?

And they kill her in the third one, so what was the point of it all?

If you live in another country and never heard of this or saw it, you didn’t miss anything.

The second movie only improved on the first in its action. I enjoyed some of the scenes where Neo beat the crud out of the other dudes. Though Mr. Smith’s constant appearance got irritating. Die already you freak computer program!

It’s like when you have a glitch in your computer that always trips it up when you don’t want it to.

The meaning (and I use the term loosely) of the Matrix is basically humanism. Cosmic humanism I think. The idea that men have to be independent and can’t rely on something like an oracle or a constructor to fix things.

That man has to break free from the  powers that be and do his own thing to survive.

Even if the world hardly seems worth surviving in when you see it for what it is.

And there’s no afterlife to make it worth doing what’s right.

Now, it’s the second movie that killed the series. The first one didn’t go that far. It actually had valuable moments about faith in it.

And let’s be real, the people who liked the Matrix when it came out liked it because of Morpheus and his undying faith. And Morpheus has quite a lot of profound advice about faith that makes sense to me. I think it’s valuable even outside of a religious context. Stand by your morals, and try to make things better. Who doesn’t like that message?

The first movie did that okay, it was weird, but I didn’t feel like puking when it was over. Now, the second undid all the good things about the first one. Oh, Neo’s a Bruce Lee of computer programs now? Yay! I’m so inspired by someone who can imagine their reality into being reality….what?

I thought they sequel blew its one chance to improve upon the first by making Zion ugly and depressing as heck.

If you want us to feel humanity is worth saving, show us some beauty in humanity. Show us art. Show us family. Any touching moment at all. Please.

But hey Morpheus is in a  love triangle and he gets the girl by the end, so there’s that.

Because obviously we all wanted that.

If this was a modern series, I would be begging for it to go under. As it is I’m amazed anyone watched the second one. I could see them watching the third in the hopes that they would finally find a way to understand this weirdness.

But one interesting thing I can observe for you folks who saw it but don’t watch current teen movies is that ever single dystopian series has been stealing from the Matrix 1 and 2.

The Hunger Games ripped it off, and the Divergent series blatantly did it. I watched the first and third of that series, and while it’s more enjoyable and less confusing then the Matrix, it’s pretty much the same plot. Right down to the main character waking up in a chair after being plugged into a drug induced computer hallucination….yes, they did that.

The real lesson boys and girls is don’t use computers, and don’t do drugs. Because you’ll become part of the system…well, I guess that’s kind of true in some ways…

But trying to pull any real life lesson from the Matrix is impossible because nothing makes enough sense to justify the few things in it that are profound.

Morpheus, the best character, is shown to have been wrong abut everything! And he was the inspiration for all of us… to keep watching. For crying out loud, movie!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. If you’re a millennial who’s curious about why the Matrix keeps getting referenced in new shows and movies, then you guess is as good as mine, but please don’t waste your time by checking it out for yourself.

The movies make more sense if someone explains it to you then it ever will watching it yourself.

Until next time–Natasha.