Saturday, December 12, 2015

The power of touch.....

I'm a firm believer in the power of touch. Sometimes, a genuine touch can be effective in communicating support to a coworker or friend. Handshakes fall into this category as well. But for me, it's the gentle and affectionate touches that - in their silence - speak volumes. 

I'm affectionate with my kids. I am that way because my parents were not affectionate with me. Oh, sure, my mom would hug me occasionally, but that was it. My dad never hugged and never expressed his affection. During my awkward dating years I probably ended budding relationships sooner than I would have liked because I was affectionate with the women I was dating. And even in my marriage, my wife has never been an affectionate person, and when she was, it was a surprise.

Which is the reason I'm affectionate with my kids. With Colin, who's 15 now, that affection manifests itself in frequent fist-bumps, and the occasional boyish "I'm gonna hug you, but in a weird way, 'cause a REAL hug would not be cool."  Audrey, though, is a hugger. She likes to cuddle with me on the couch if we're watching something on TV, and she is always ready to give me a big hug when I get home. With her, too, I like to simply place my hand on the top of her head, gently, as a gesture of my love for her. Sometimes my affection with her does take a form of "cool", like a fist bump. But with both kids, the gesture means the same: I love them, and I know they love me.

Oh, sure. This will all change. When Colin's a grown man, the hugs might actually increase, because he might see the value in the gesture. And I'm sure that on Audrey's wedding day, she'll be holding onto me tightly as I walk her down the aisle. And I hope, for both of them, that they find partners in life who understand that simple power of touch.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

For what it's worth....

I usually try to avoid very hot button issues in my blog posts. But after yesterday's mass shooting in San Bernardino - less than an hour's drive from here (with no traffic), I felt I needed to say something. And it will be unpopular. It won't be offensive, but it might ruffle some feathers.

First, to all of you naive people who say we must "pray for the victims", or "pray for San Bernardino". Just stop it. Prayer is not going to solve this.  As today's New York Daily News published on it's cover "GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS"

To those who think more regulation is going to help, IT'S NOT! No matter what our state or federal lawmakers do or DO NOT do, it won't stop the illegal sale of assault rifles and handguns. 

And that's really the problem. Take a look at Prohibition, meant to eliminate alcohol consumption, which drove alcohol into seedy back rooms and ritzy parties, and gave birth to the legendary Capone empire. It didn't work. Because no matter what we do, there will be those without any ethics or sense of morality that will get and sell those weapons. And if someone wants one bad enough, they probably can get it. Let's face it, there will never be a way to stop this. I'm  not being fatalistic - I'm just seeing how history has been and I'm aware of the political nature of the times. Plus, I'm pragmatic. 

But to me, there is something bigger here that we are truly avoiding, and that's the reason behind these mass shootings. Whether the recent one in Colorado Springs, or Sandy Hook Elementary, or even Columbine High School, there is a systemic problem born of anger, aggression, hatred - things that we cannot control with legislation. We see it on all the social media and web news sites, and even though we don't have cable, I'm sure that the networks and cable news outlets are covering and spinning this, often to sway their viewership. We  have become angry. We have become less caring about our fellow travelers. We are thinking more of ourselves and much less of others. And rather than have a healthy disagreement that uses arguments (not fighting) to make a point, we totally disregard other people's opinions, showing a great deal of disrespect in not engaging intelligently. 

So, what CAN be done? Seriously, I don't have an answer. That was not the purpose of this post. And if the New York Daily News stated that God isn't fixing it, who can?  

We can. 

How do we start? Let's start by showing some respect for other viewpoints and ideologies, rather than dismissing them so easily. Let's not spread rumors or even truths that can lead to a complete breakdown of trust, or even sanity. Let's wait, take a deep breath, get facts (not rhetoric or rumors), and try to understand the other person before we dismiss them so quickly. These are just some ideas, and they are actually much more difficult to implement than legislation. 

But I know I'm going start with my little corner of the world.