Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unique If Nothing Else

Sometimes I'm not exactly sure what takes over Eli's mind and body. He is definitely a unique individual and never boring.

We have been trying to get him to read's not his favorite thing as it involves having to sit still and concentrate without pestering his brother, his sister or a is not easy...on anyone.

Except for the breakthrough we seem to have made tonight. He found a book that he was absolutely enthralled with, wouldn't put down and I have had to confiscate from his bedroom at bedtime. This book has no plot, no testing value for school (at least that I know of) and has probably not ever been read front to back.

The name of this wondrous, Eli appealing piece of literature? Our local phone book. Yep. The phone book. He spent 2 hours on the couch reading the town names, finding our town, finding his friends names, family names and talking about the other town names he recognized.....TWO HOURS! and I'm not kidding about having to take it away at bedtime.

I'm probably in the running for bad mom again as after the first 30 minutes of answering his questions, spelling names and giving him a local geography lesson, I banned him from talking to me about it. No, it didn't stop him talking to me about it but it did make me feel less inclined to hold my own book burning. I'm moving the phone book out of the drawer in the kitchen and hiding it....hopefully if we really need it I'll be able to locate it or maybe Eli will have it memorized.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Racism or Ignorance

I have to be somewhat careful with this post as to not identify too many people or places...protecting the innocent. If that's possible because when racism is involved the innocent are no longer innocent. Their world is forever changed by the ignorance and hatred that has touched them through others.

We have dealt with racism on a pretty regular basis from almost the first day that we were in Manila to pick up the boys. A Filipino lady confronted Mike and the boys in the hotel elevator the 2nd day after we'd arrived, looked at the boys and then turned to Mike and making (in Mike's words) a very ugly, nasty face towards the boys and said, "Hmphh! Africaans." Well, who ever said racists were smart?

Anyway, these types of remarks, looks and actions of all natures are too many to relate and only give them more power to describe them. We deal as they occur and the boys deal in the ways that they can relate.

Fortunately our family friends and relatives have been spared these comments and behaviors when we are out together. During a recent conversation, one of our friends (I was with her and knew that the person she was speaking to had "issues") ran smack dab into a highly verbal, opinionated person who is anti - anything to do with "those people who come to our country from somewhere else and don't try to learn English, pay taxes, bring all their kids with them and we pay to educate them, America should remain for Americans". She is not someone who would learn or think about anything differently if you were to try to broaden her horizons.

The tirade was offensive from so many standpoints....and ignorant. I know I can't advance this persons' thinking. I simply stand there and stare people like this down until they have run out of steam and then continue to stare at them. It's amazing how uncomfortable you can make someone by looking them in the eye and not saying a word. Sometimes the loudest argument is that of total silence and dismissal thus relegating both them and their views to a position lower than a snails' butt.

Our friend who had not run face first into this wall was appalled. As we were leaving the area, she was in total shock. Later she said, "I know you've told me about this but I can't believe people do that and in front of you especially when they know about the boys!" While I feel bad for her, worse for the people that the abhorrent person will encounter, I did feel somewhat better having had this friend witness this first hand. Often times when this attitude gets to me and I've tried to explain it to people they dismiss it as a once in a blue moon, never around here or that's just me being over sensitive. I wish that were the case.

Sometimes in these situations it's hard to be objective; is the person racist or ignorant? It's easy to tell at times and harder at other times. I suppose in some areas we've done our friends and family an injustice by not making them more aware of the prejudices within our communities. This is not to say that we have been extremely blessed by our community and friends. As a whole they are unbelievably supportive which makes it even harder when these special people lose a little of their innocence when blindsided by hatred.

In parenting classes before the boys came home we talked about the issues of racism, stereotyping and prejudices. At the time we were thinking more of the small it would affect us, our children and families. Racism affects everyone. The innocent and the racist. Whether it is acknowledged or disregarded because you personally have not been on the receiving end of such entrenched hatred, know that even in the face of such disregard for other human beings there is love, acceptance, understanding and an increasing support system for families like ours who will not let our children fight this battle alone. So, thank you to all our friends, family, co workers and community for stepping into the circle that surrounds our kids until such time that they are able to join with us and face head on those who would hate them with such ignorance.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All Is Not So Quiet...Just Breathing

Well it has been almost a month since my last post...oops! We have had multiple birthdays and illnesses and school contests and .....LIFE! I've gotten several emails and calls from some who stop by here and were wondering if we are doing ok.

One of the goals I had starting into this blog (2+ years ago) was to NOT be one of those bloggers who shared and allowed people to travel along our journey and then just disappear. Perhaps a little like a book that you are really into and then the final chapters are missing. Urghh! For an avid reader that really drives me crazy.

Unfortunately, it's really easy to get consumed with the day to day and let posting slide. I'll do better. Thanks for checking back with the blog and checking up on us in general. It means a lot.