Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where Have They Gone?

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln. Theodore Roosevelt. Woodrow Wilson. Dwight D. Eisenhower. John F. Kennedy.

Does anyone else remember the days when the men who held the office of President of the United States were people we could be proud of? Men who were a long way from perfect, but there was an honor and integrity in our political system? These were men we could respect as leaders despite their human flaws; enough so that we carved their faces into mountains, built monuments to their accomplishments and bestowed upon them a level of respect and consideration once they left office.

Now I’m not naïve. I’m perfectly aware that part of the reasons that the populace of the United States was able to do this was two fold. First of all we didn’t see the actual political infighting that occurred. The in-party disagreements about who should or shouldn’t represent the party were kept in backrooms and private conferences. So we didn’t have months of candidates from the various parties slinging mud and insults at each other before the real election ever actually began. Secondly the lower levels of media technology meant that we didn’t have the candidate’s entire lives, good and bad, blasted into our living rooms and flying about the internet to the point of absolute saturation.

This yet another example how our sophistication as a society has robbed us of the innocence that once gave us our heroes and our icons. Should we trade it? Should we go back? Probably not. It’s tempting to want things to be simpler, to be easier. But we also have to remember that simpler and easier, that age of innocence was used against us all as a way of perpetuating institutions in our nation that we as an ethical and enlightened people cannot accept. Innocence, simplicity and ease were used to propagate slavery—not just on the basis of race but the enslavement of multiple sectors of society—and its progeny segregation, gender based discrimination, bias in housing, bias in the work place and more.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to lose that which was good from those times. We can have leaders that are worthy of respect and admiration. But I truly believe that it is up to us as the citizens. We simply have to make it clear that there is behavior we won’t accept. It doesn’t have to do with political or social positions. It doesn’t have to do with the foibles that these people may have. It has to do with refusing to accept people who cannot lead without showing respect, dignity and class.

Yes, this is me pinging off to another topic again.
We are eight weeks and counting. Momma is getting more and more nervous. But I have to tell you I work with the greatest bunch of people in the world.

I work in a small school system that is in the Metro Atlanta area and we are getting more and more Metro all the time. But what makes this particular middle school special is that we are a family. We don't always agree with each other, we argue and we huff but we get over it and move on. We support each other and it has been wonderful. My school is such a special place that I drive an hour and a half in the morning and two hours in the afternoon to work there.

My family situation is not exactly traditional. Ward and June Cleaver we aren't. I'm not even sure we qualify as Mike and Carol Brady, though considering the current state of my house I really wish I had an Alice around to help out. But the people I work with have been tremendously supportive of me as a writer and in this journey to enlarge our family. One co-worker has already raided the sales racks at Kohls and given us a sack full of clothes sized to fit Z during the summer months. When I shook my head and told her she shouldn't have, she grinned and said they were on sale. And that was that. They are all eager and supportive of this pregnancy, asking regularly how things are going. Another lady has brought me fabric to make sheets for our Moses basket and covers for the changing pad.

And my students are also excited, but not very happy at the prospect of a long term sub. They've been making suggestions for what work I should leave them and what subs are "nice". Now I have to seriously start planning for when I'm out. What do you leave your students to do for several weeks under the teaching of someone else?

So, we are eight weeks from launch. The next couple of months will see two of my "children" meet the world. November 19th will be the release of Soul Stone, the final book in the Jewels of Ursus trilogy from Ellora's Cave and my dear little incubus Tarris will be learning to fly solo. Then, a matter of a couple of weeks later, my little Z will make his appearance.

I had the most amazing dream last night. I dreamt he was already here, I was holding him and talking to him. It was such a sweet and warm feeling to hold him. It may sound odd, but I read to Z almost every night. I read picture books. We've read Have You Got My Purr; The Monster at The End of This Book; Chrysanthemum; Llama, Llama, Red Pajamas; Don't Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus and many more.

Okay, now head on over and see what Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad and Sandra Cox have to say. And be sure to check out some of the other blogs to the left and the ones on these ladies reading lists as well. There's a lot of good stuff out there.


Molly Daniels said...

Don't laugh; I read The Odyssy (okay...still didn't get all the way through it!) to my oldest, and Chaucer's Canterberry Tales to my daughter. Youngest, I can't remember if I read anything or not; the Odyssy had disappeared by then. It might have been a few passages by Socrates...but mainly had 'Movie Hour with Disney and the first season of Dawson's Creek.

Jenny Beans said...

I'm so excited for you both, as the days wind down. I think I'd rather be born to you two than Mike and Carol Brady any day. :) You both have so much to offer a little one. As for Tarris, I can't wait for you to unleash him on the world!! While Luke is still my favorite, Tarris's story is H O T!!

Sandra Cox said...

That is so cool that you read to the baby. He is going to be so smart and well adjusted, not to mention handsome:) My sister in law started a journal for her grandbaby before the baby was born, she kept it every day and just inserted bits of information so she would know about her grandparents and parents when she got older.

anny cook said...

Chrysanthemum? Obviously, there are several books with that title! Blessing on Z!

Bronwyn's Blog said...

What a wonderful dream. I read a little to the boys while pregnant, but mostly I sang to them. :)

Hope you don't mind if I recommend a few more titles, but I was going through some of my children's books today and I thought of you immediately when I found Molly and the Prince by Mary Pope Osborn. It's a story about a girl and her beloved dog (and her little brother) and it's absolutely beautiful and seeing as how you're such a dog girl... :) It might be out of print, but I'm positive that you can get it used either at Amazon or Alibris.

Also, I think you and Z might also enjoy Pandora by William Mayne,
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde and Greg Couch, When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow and Forest Child by Marni McGee.

Sorry got a little over zealous there - children's lit is my passion. :)

Jacquéline Roth said...

The SO is a children's services librarian so we are a very big children and YA lit family. A friend recently shook her head and said we were going to have "one of those weird little goth kids who spends his time reading." And the problem with that is?

Yes, Anny. There are lots of Chrysanthemums. The one I read is about a little mouse who learns to appreciate her unusal name.

Bronwyn, let me recommend "Kitten's First Moon" by Kevin Henke, "How do Dinosaurs say Goodnight" or "Go to School" by Jane Yolen and "Food Fight" by Sheilds and Gay-Kassel. The latter is a wonderful collection of silly food related puns.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

I love Kitten's First Moon and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight! I've haven't come across the others, though - so I'll definitely check them out! Thanks for the recommendations! :)