On Being Nice

Recently, a friend shared this story over on the book of face

Today at <restaurant> while <child’s name> and I were eating a man started talking to <child’s name> about his stuffed animal.

Man: that’s an unusual dog. ( it’s a teddy bear)
Child: [looks at man. Does not respond]
Man: you aren’t gonna talk to me ??
Child: [looks away]
Me: no he isn’t .

A. You are a stranger . My son is not being “rude,” and there is no reason for him to discuss or chat with you .
B. We teach kids not to talk to strangers. Social niceties are not necessarily a good practice for kids
C. ‪#‎sorrynotsorry‬

Bravo, I say!

But, of course, there was dissent, this is the internet, after all. One commenter lamented that it was “sad” that she was “creating unnecessary fear” in her child. Another tried to make the argument that it wasn’t a threatening situation. Another implied that she was teaching her son to be rude and disrespectful.

All because she supported her son’s choice not to speak to a stranger. This is insanity.

As a society, we’ve developed this warped idea that not nice=rude. There’s space between. He was not impolite, and he was not rude. He has absolutely no responsibility to be nice. He should be, and I assume he is, kind where warranted, but he doesn’t have to be nice. 

No one has the responsibility to be nice. You do not have to speak to the stranger in the parking lot that just needs a bit of change, or gas money, or…Well, really that stranger just wanted to get close enough to grab your wallet or steal your car. Or worse.

Because of course you should be nice to the young man that wants to sit in on your Bible study.

Sure, she was right there. The risk potential of that situation was minimal, but what kind of lesson does that teach her child? If Mom encourages him to be nice to the stranger in the restaurant, how should he react to the stranger in the bathroom? As a parent, you have to think beyond the moment. You must model the skill set so your child can make appropriate decisions in the future.

My friend pointed out that later, her son approached the cashier and politely requested a refill of his beverage. This doesn’t sound like he’s being crushed by unnecessary fear of people. Instead, he is learning an appropriate level of caution.

Living in a polite society does not mean that you must be nice to strangers. Of course, one should not be rude, impolite, or unkind, but that does not mean you owe it to anyone to be nice.





Your Pets Are Not Kids

I know, you love your dogs and cats. I do too. I stress and worry and get paranoid over the littlest things. I buy expensive dog food. The dog eats cat poop and sticks from the yard. Which I guess is alright because I also buy expensive cat food so I suppose she at least gets gourmet cat poop.

I get it, really. They are lumps of love that pull at your heartstrings and ask for so very little in return. They give you their whole lives. I even refer to myself as “Mama” in reference to my critters. My mother refers to herself as Heidi’s “gramma”.

And that’s fine. Cute even.

But understand that having pets is not the same as having kids.

The expectations are completely different. I expect my cat to want to cuddle up in my lap for his entire life. He will spend the rest of his days completely dependent on me. He will never become more than he is today. He doesn’t have to learn the hard lessons so he can make it on his own. The repercussions of his bad decisions consist of getting yelled at. I don’t need to instill a work ethic or worry about a college education for the cat.

Also, if I locked my kid in a box while I was away at work, I’d get arrested. Rightfully so.

It’s been a long time since my son wanted to cuddle with his mom. And that’s good thing. You see, as a parent, my goal is to work myself out of a job. One day, my son will be an autonomous adult. That is, if I’m doing my job correctly.

As parents, sometimes we have to make gut-wrenching decisions. We have to take away the one big thing that is our child’s whole world. It really does hurt us more than it hurts them even though they won’t realize it until years later. It would hurt our children far more in the long run if we didn’t teach them those lessons now.

The dog? She’ll keep chasing toads no matter how often I scold her. She’ll roll in the nastiest thing in the yard and continue to be so very proud of it.

Be a pet parent. Be proud of it. Just don’t try to tell me it’s just like having kids.


Volunteering After Action Report

So if I had actually published this post on Friday instead of letting it languish in my drafts folder for the weekend, you’d know that I spent my Friday afternoon helping out with the Boys and Girls Club. Oh well, you know now.

I really had no idea what to expect when our charter buses pulled up, but I filed off with 150 of my fellow yellow shirts. They warmed us up in the gym with the numbers game that got me hugged, snagged, and swept up by co-workers I hadn’t previously even met. It was hilarious. And then we proceeded to pummel each other in a ridiculous game of dodgeball. Good times.

And then the kids began to arrive. Oh man. These kids.

I found my way back to the music and drama room because, um yeah, we’ve met, right? I was in show choir back in the day. I’ve totally got this.

Dude. These kids had moves.

I know the video is terrible, but you get the idea. They taught me new line dances, new moves, etc. I didn’t get any more video because I was too busy dancing my stanky leg* off. One little girl even instructed me on how to dance to Dubstep. It’s quite..um…athletic. There was a push-up and some stomping. I skipped the flipping part. I’m still sore, actually. Another girl was very impressed that I actually knew the dance to Gangnam Style. Ha! Cool Adult Achievement unlocked! (Now to convince my just turned 15 year old son**.)

I got my face painted

She said it was a tree.

And made new friends and had much silliness

But really, it was a rare quiet moment that was the highlight for me. I got to sit down with a girl in the music room and just talk. She told me about how she loves to sing and is really looking forward to the upcoming talent show. She really loves being on stage and performing. I told her about how I sang in school too and loved getting on stage in front of everyone. I told her about how I would go to competitions and win medals much like the one she was wearing around her neck (She was Student of the Month). And then I told her how my singing paid for college.

Student of the Month: I wish I knew your people

Me: Sweetie, you just keep singing and working hard and those people will find you.

Her face lit up. It was like her options had opened up in front of her. I am so humbled and honored to have been a part of it.

It’s funny. When the volunteer opportunities were presented, we had the choice to either pack lunches for the food bank or work with the kids. I’m not really a kid person so my choice seemed obvious. Except for that nagging voice. The one that told me to get out of my comfort zone. I’m so glad I listened. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again one day, mine and the student of the month.

*One of my new dance moves, The Stanky Leg. No, I’ll not be demonstrating. 
**Today! Wish him a good one.

An Answer to the BMI Crusader Neighbor

This morning, Tam pointed us to the story of a brave woman who has taken it upon herself to rid her neighborhood of the scourge of fat kids on Halloween. By giving them this letter instead of candy.




Dear Concerned Neighbor,

I’m sure you’re wondering why you are receiving this note. Frankly, I am appalled and disappointed in you. You are setting a terrible precedent for the children in the community.

Your writing, in fact, is a stunning example of abuse to the English language. What did the poor semi-colon ever do to you? You should not be distributing such material to impressionable children this Halloween season.

My hope is that you will step up as a neighbor, pull the broom out of your ass, and fly away on it. You certainly should not be allowed to continue this uneducated publishing habit.

Thank You,

PS. If you don’t want to hand out candy, turn off your porch light like an adult and mind your own damn business. Maybe you are familiar with the phrase, “opinions are like assholes”?

For full disclosure, my kid is not anyone’s idea of ‘moderately obese’. He’s a skinny kid just like I always was. And yet, this still irks me.

The saving grace is that these kids have the chance to grow up to be beautiful human beings. She will have to live with her own ugliness that is inside.


There are some really special milestones in the life of a parent. First words, first steps, first bike, first day of school, first dubstep composition.

Wait, there are no prefab scrapbook layout for that! What’s a mother to do!

And where is the extra special frame with ribbons and a cartoon dog?

This is what happens when your quality outdoor family time looks like this.


Kids and Guns

Why should we teach our children about firearms?

Why shouldn’t we?

Don’t you want to be the one that teaches them, or do you want to leave it to Hollywood?

Be age appropriate, be safe, and teach your children*.

*Oh look! That link goes to me!

My Son Is Officially As Tall As I Am

Granted, I’m not exactly tall at 5’4″, but that’s still something of a milestone. Any day now, he’ll be taller. He may already be stronger, but I’m still meaner so it works out. And I still out weigh him, but we don’t have to talk about that.

Just 14 short years from being a tiny 5lbs 12oz baby boy to a strapping young man that speaks in a baritone. This child that I would protect with every fiber of my being can now lift  me off the ground. It’s kind of a sobering thought. He has now reached a point in his development where I must trust that we’ve taught him well. I couldn’t restrain him physically if I wanted to (well maybe, but I’d have to employ some dirty tricks. Not that there has been a need to do so.). His dad still can, but I can’t.

Now, I know my son and trust him to continue on the track he’s been on.  I’m very proud of the man he is growing up to be. He is sweet and gentle and fun to be around. It’s pretty awesome to look eye to eye with this boy that is rapidly becoming a man.

It’s an interesting process, parenting.  When they are small, you are everything to your children. Provider, protector, teacher, enforcer, etc. As they get older, they take on more and more of those responsibilities for themselves.  If we are doing our jobs right as parents, our children will leave our homes holding all their own reigns. Hopefully able to to find their own way with the guidance we’ve given them. One day, it’s sink or swim. As a parent, I pray I’ve taught him the right strokes. I don’t just want him to stay afloat either; I want him to fly.

And one day, I’ll have to let him loose to do it. That day isn’t here yet, but it gets closer every day.