Deb's Monthly Review
April 1998

Special Quote
Children have more need of models than of critics.
-- Joseph Joubert

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The Puppetry Home Page.
I could always take or leave cartoons, but characters like Lamb Chop and Mr.
Moose stole my heart the moment I saw them.

Doc's Place.
Because Notepad HTML authors gotta stick together in this jungle.

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox - December 1996.
I dislike frames on most pages too.

Fool Links - Bogus Web Pages.
Gentle jokes for special people in your life. And don't forget to do something
really nice for someone as a kind of reverse April Fool's joke this month!

A Gadzillion Things To Think About.

National Lightning Safety Institute.

The Zeppelin Library.

April Events
word festivals for April travelers

April 4-5, 1998
Alamo Mountain Bike Festival
San Antonio, Texas, in McAllister Park. Bicycle Rodeo, kids' race, cross-country events,
dinner, music. Over 900 racers participated last year, the first year of the event.
Information: Unfortunately, no phone number was given, so it may be too late for you to attend
this year.
If you want information for the race, you can write to STORM, PO Box 12371, San Antonio,
TX 78212-0371.

April 11-18, 1998
Athens-Limestone Dogwood Festival
Big Spring Park (and other locations) in Athens, Alabama.
Dinner theatre, bike/trike parade, fishing derby.
More information: Call Kim Gentry 205-233-0300.

April 12-14, 1998
Mekong Friendship Festival
Sai Thong Beach, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand.
Arts and cultural performances, handicraft demonstrations, sporting events, souvenirs.
Information: Phone 66 42 513-490-1

April 18-19, 1998
Huntsville Pilgrimage
Huntsville, Alabama.
Tour Eight landmark houses and churches built during the 19th century.
There is also a Maple Hill Cemetery stroll. Residents (those still living, we assume) will be in
costume and telling stories.
More details: Call 205-533-5723.

April 18 & 19, 1998
Fisherman's Festival
Bodega Bay, California
Music, food, bathrub races, boat parade.
More details: Call 800-326-7666 or 707-586-8100.

April 24-26, 1998
Muenster, Texas.
Street Dance, polka (and other) music, 5K and 15K races, bike rallies, barbecue, arm wrestling.
Additional information: Call 800-942-8037 Extension 113.

April 24-26, 1998
Festival of Roses
Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Stroll Edisto Memorial Gardens, where thousands of roses bloom.
And at Orangeburg Municipal Airport, there is an open house and plane rides.
Classic cars, arts and crafts exhibit and sale, Bass Tournament, River Race, golf, volleyball
tournament, food and confections.
Details: Call 803-534-6821 or 803-533-6020.

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Note To Parents: This month's special feature is not going to be something children shouldn't read, but it is the type of material you might want to read before (or with) your children.

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After listening to the allegations, finger-pointing, denials, and verbal fencing coming from Washington, D.C. the past few months, I finally sat down the other day and read a bit about the lives of some of the people involved.

Do you realize how many of them know each other and have worked together or socialized together in the past? You could sit down to draw a chart of who-knows-who and meet yourself coming back. These are not novices at interpersonal relationships. These are adult human beings, operating in a political microcosm inside American society.

Of course, this sort of feeding frenzy is a relatively new phenomenon in our world. In the early days of the United States' history, if a President was accused of something, the general populace might not even find out about it until he had finished his term, if they heard about it at all.

We live in an age when you can't pass through a grocery checkout area, or view a TV newscast without being confronted with the gory details of the latest political scandals. We give catchy names to the stories, and talk about them with friends, family, and even total strangers.

It wasn't so long ago that the office of President was a protected one, surrounded by an inner circle who did not reveal indiscretions (alleged or proven) to the media and general public.
The truth is that we like to think that whoever is selected to be in the Oval Office is of a high caliber mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some of us get out there and campaign for months, even years, to see our chosen candidate make it to the highest office in the land. And even if our favorite is not elected, we have a history of standing behind the person in the office, presenting a united front to the allies and enemies of the United States.

In the event of a threat to national security, or to the safety and welfare of the American people, we want a President who can make swift, clear-minded decisions of the highest moral and ethical nature. We don't want some weak-minded loose cannon who could cause us all to be annihilated with his or her hasty words and actions.

That having been said, let me move slightly to another arena here. There is a woman who has been in the news lately because of her ongoing relationship with a male beneath the age of consent. She was ordered by a judge to stay away from the boy. Instead, she is having his child. From what I understand, she has children of her own near this boy's age. She has been a mother, a nurturer, an adult member of society. But she has become involved in something that blurs the boundaries of acceptable relationships in our society.

Many of you reading this right now know someone who has betrayed you in a relationship, or someone who has overstepped a boundary. It could be anyone you trusted to have your best interests at heart. They may have sought you out for betrayal, or they may have slipped in their resolve not to hurt, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In either case, the results are the same. You feel betrayed, used, and invalidated.

My question is, what do we tell the children in our world? Many of our statutes are designed to protect children from adults who wish to blur the boundaries. Some laws have been enacted to protect those in the workplace from having their work and their personal life forced together in a way that is improper. People in positions of power and authority are expected to behave in a manner which does not put those with less power in danger.

And when there are no written laws, there are often unspoken boundaries. Friends do not betray friends. Spouses remain true to each other. Parents nurture offspring, and do not abuse their trust. Police officers protect and defend.

Don't they? Well, not always. We fail. Everyone does, at one time or another. But we seem to feel that children will grow up to "get it right" anyway. Get it right - from whom?
We have lied to our children about what is important in life. We have lied, not just with our words, but with our actions.

Adults have blurred the boundaries of relationships in many ways, both between adults, and between adults and children. We have failed so often in our own relationships that we have no moral fiber left with which to rear the children in our society.

When adults no longer follow society's rules, can we be surprised when children have no respect for us and what we say?

Can we be surprised when children want to do everything before they are adults? They want to drink, have sex, drive, smoke, and do all the things we have traditionally reserved as choices for adults, and not for children.
When their disappointment and rage lead them over the edge of reason, and they take up weapons, can we tell them they are evil, and demand they be treated as adults, when adults have not shown them a better way in our own failed relationships and desires?

When polls tell us that adults are saying, "It doesn't matter what people do in their private life as long as they do their job," what message do we send to the children?
Does it matter if one is a skilled leader, a brilliant teacher, or a consummate defender of human rights, but goes home from work and attacks his or her spouse, or takes a lover on the side, or fondles small children in order to maintain his or her own feelings of control?

Does it matter if corporate executives draw a company out of financial ruin, and then corner subordinates in their office and demand sexual favors, or cooperation and loyalty in dishonest business dealings?

Does it matter if the public relations manager produces brilliant promotional material, but entices their very married boss sexually at every opportunity? Or Perhaps they spend time after work extending Happy Hour into three hours, and then get behind the wheel of a car.

We Westerners are great at compartmentalizing life. We separate secular and sacred, work and play, private and public. But people are not portions of humanity. We are what we are by plan, by design. We can't destroy one part of our life without eventually destroying all of it.

And when things go wrong in our society, we tend to pacify ourselves that another law to restrict guns, or another law to pass out condoms to children, or another law to punish wrongdoers with death, or more police officers on the streets will make everything all right again, and that our children will be safe, and can grow up to be productive, moral citizens.

We pass the buck. We dodge our own responsibility as living, breathing role models, the only real "law" children can understand.

Does it matter? What are we telling the children?

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The preceding rant was pretty intense, so here's something to
lower your blood pressure, and teach you something new at
the same time.
Really useful information from y'

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Archive of past Monthly Review Pages.

September 1997
October 1997
November 1997
December 1997
January 1998
February 1998
March 1998

Note: Links on past Monthly Review Pages are NOT kept up-to-date!

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