What do your fellow citizens fear most? Almost half of them - 49% - are most afraid of running out of money during retirement, a higher percentage than the 44% whose chief concern is failing health, according to a recent survey by Aegon Center for Longevity and other groups.
We teach our children, at that moment in life when they’re adorable little indefensible cherubs, that life is simply a series of inalienable rights, that we will take care of them always and forever, that the world is full of wonderful people with amazing and pure intentions. It’s an important lesson and one that I hope never changes. Life will knock them down soon enough. This little seed of an heirloom rosebush, if planted soon enough and tended to lovingly, will surely bloom right as the sweet spell of childhood wears off. One day, as a not so innocent and far less cherub-esque adult who’s just about to give up and throw in the towel, they’ll spontaneously remember that one time Mommy or Daddy or Grandma or Aunt Karen told them they were perfect and everything will be better tomorrow. And, just like a proverbial dawn before the clichéd storm, it is. That’s my hope, at least. Unfortunately, I’m on the downside of the cherub, more akin to a rotting plum than a new born babe. Still, I cling to the voice of my father telling me what a smart girl I am – to the voice of my mother telling me to dream only sweet dreams. Therein lies the problem. Sleep, the one thing that really should be an inalienable right, like a constitutional amendment, has turned out to be an elusive enigma. More and more, a restful night’s sleep is just something else I vaguely remember from my childhood, like a good game of freeze tag or swing the statue. I don’t sleep well and, to add insult to injury, I either don’t dream or can’t recall that I do. Give me liberty, or just give me some decent sleep.
The question about the quality of America’s public schools can be answered in recent, and decades old, education statistics. Out of four million 4th graders in the nation, three million cannot read proficiently. Among African American students, 3 out of 4 graduating seniors cannot read well enough to be successful in college. American students rank 29 out of 35 industrialized nations in science. If these statistics reflected the cleanliness and sanitation of restaurants in America, no one would go out to eat. But this is the standard we accept to educate our children and prepare them to be self-sufficient adults.
The first round of state testing is around the corner. Countless students are bemoaning the dreaded testing and the seemingly endless reading that will follow. For many students, the reading will simply be a seamless extension of their normal activities. For others, reading will be a dreadful experience they will work diligently to avoid.
I have many life rules. Most are present in the same way societal rules came to be. Someone, somewhere, did something heinous and now we have a rule in place to prevent that from happening again. The next time you see a rule posted that’s inconceivable, remember that it’s only there because someone was dumb enough to try it. For instance, it is still illegal, in Arizona, to allow your donkey to sleep in a bathtub. Imagine this interaction. “Momma, I wanna take a bath.” “That’s nice, Junior, but Winston, the donkey, is sleeping in this morning.” Texas is no better. We have a law remaining on the books that makes milking another person’s cow punishable. While I’m not terribly concerned over where donkeys slumber or who’s milking all the cows, I do care deeply about packaging. That’s my rule. Never trust a package. Why, there was a year where I received a HUGE Christmas gift from Mr. Moon. What I assumed was a professional grade Kitchen Aid mixer turned out to be a box of literal rocks. There were also several books, a brick, a ton of wadded up newspaper, and finally, and engagement ring in the mix. I was elated, yet secretly a little miffed about the mixer issue. That packaging snafu turned out to work in my favor, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the rule works in reverse, too. My momma would say to never trust a book by the cover. I just say to tread lightly on your expectations. Packaging lies.