Category Archives: bullying

The Thing About Taxes

I will preface this by saying I am not well-researched in the areas of politics, national financing, or whatever actually goes into this mess, in the United States or elsewhere.

But I think it might be worth mentioning my thoughts on a few things, based on personal experiences, and some things I’ve heard that just… don’t make a lot of sense.

Taxes aren’t inherently bad.

The word “tax” in itself has come to have largely negative connotations–if you’re being “taxed” by something, you’re being weighed down or put upon. We have classic examples of people, like the Sheriff of Nottingham from the Robin Hood stories, who abuse taxes.

In a truly ironic state of affairs, my dad is adamantly against any kind of raise in taxes, but he also works for the state of Minnesota, and part of our taxes are what pay his own wages.

But if taxes are being abused, for things like… oh, say, a giant wall, or a football stadium… then, yeah, I wholeheartedly understand the aversion.

I don’t think anyone is ever entirely sure what taxes are used for, but there’s obviously some mismanagement going on somewhere, and that’s the bad thing. Taxes themselves? They have some truly positive possibilities.

Let’s just, for the sake of imagination, pretend that a perfect world is possible. What should taxes, in a perfect world (and my opinion) be used for?

  • Protecting/conserving the environment
  • Researching and developing important new innovations in energy, transportation, and health (cure for cancer, anyone?)
  • Providing/maintaining a basic standard of health and well-being for everyone
  • Paying first responders, health professionals, and peace-keepers
  • Educating people well
  • Preserving culture by investing in arts, museums, libraries, archives, and community centers
  • Community improvements, like road construction, parks & rec, etc.
  • Providing some kind of safety net and/or rehabilitation programs for those who are  out of work and/or homeless. (This would include retirement, and being out of work due to an injury, veteran benefits, and other things of that nature, in addition to being in a bad situation for other reasons.)

Some people are really put out by the thought of providing for others. Which… I get, to some extent. At the moment, it’s hard to fathom providing for myself, let alone anyone else in the country–but that’s because a lot of things in “the system” are broken. They’re not being used the way they should.

If I had the peace of mind that came with guaranteed good health, the basic ability to learn the things I need to know without being in debt for the foreseeable future, and the reassurance that life as we know it wasn’t on its way to being toasted out of the Earth like a bad virus, I would happily give away a third or more of my income for the rest of my life.

In a perfect world, what would your taxes be used for?

What would you be willing to provide, to make your own life and the lives of others easier?

Bullying has gone WAY too far

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been bullied at one point or another in our lives.

As a result, I’m fairly confident that the majority of you reading this are now recalling the face of that person who made you feel so small, so insignificant and so afraid that a moment is indelibly burned into your memory.  If you didn’t have one then my guess is you’ll recognize a few iconic ones out of Hollywood included herein.

Biff Tannen Continue reading Bullying has gone WAY too far

“Smarter than the Average Bear”

Shane Koyczan is a spoken word poet who makes hilarious, haunting, and heart-breaking presentations. In February 2013, he delivered a powerful presentation of “To This Day” at a TED Conference. The poem explains the painful journey many children face when bullied by other children and “explore[s] the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.” Yet, Koyczan’s message is one of hope.

I found the poem so moving that I shared it with my thirteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. My precious girl actually teared up as she watched it and said, “Mom, I have to tell you about what happened at school…” My heart began racing as I thought of all the terrible things someone may have said to my intelligent, strong-minded, unique daughter and I waited for her to talk. She proceeded to tell me the following story.

Some boy approached me today and said, “Hey! Don’t I know you?” I was confused at first and said, “I don’t know.”

He asked me, “What school did you go to in 2nd grade?” I thought it was funny that he was asking about that grade in particular but I told him.

Suddenly he exclaimed, “You’re Elizabeth?! I knew I remembered you! When I first came here [to the United States], I couldn’t speak very good English, but you sat next to me and tried to help me. Other kids teased me but you didn’t. We were both little then, but I remember what you did. It made a difference. I was confused about what was going on, but at least I wasn’t so lonely with you around. I really didn’t know what was going on, but you stayed with me.”

As a parent, I have worked hard to raise children who are aware of the effect their actions have on others. I always tell them to try to make a difference in whatever small way they can. When my girl shared this with me, my heart swelled with immense pride. 

So whatever it takes, make a difference in someone’s life today. You never know the ripple effect your actions will have on strangers. And for Koyczan, stand up for the “Yogi Bears” of the world who like karate chops and pork chops.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make it Right

We need to learn that what is good for the goose in NOT good for the gander. As people may or may not know there is a viral video on the Internet that shows a bus monitor being harassed and verbally abused on the bus. As a result, a vacation fund was established for her, again on the Internet. It has collected $530,000 in only 36 hours. This is a wonderful outpouring. Once again, people rise to the occasion for wrongdoing. However, the children that made this video, and one innocent child, are now being attacked and harassed in turn. These children, where the oldest is approximately 13, are getting death threats over this incident. Yes, they did behave in a horrible manner. However, there is no reason for the public at large to form a lynch mob. Additionally, one of the children named, that also is receiving death threats, was NOT a part of the incident. In fact, he was never on the bus!
In this instance, calling people to action through blogs and video is not such a great thing. Most parents agree that if their child did something so ugly on a bus, the child would be punished. It really isn’t the place of the general public to “bully back.”