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*THIS* Close

I am *THIS* close to being done with school for this year, and that means I have a lovely 4-week break ahead of me to try my best to enjoy the holiday, and somewhat recuperate before being thrown into my next class.

You know what that means don’t you??!!!

You should be seeing more of me here on the blog in the very near future. Hopefully I’m not lying to you. I do miss it. I really do. And you know you miss all my updates or rants, whichever you get lucky enough to receive. 😛

In other news, I am officially in Christmas-time hell over at my house with the impending stress of the holiday, the lack of preparations I have made, and trying to wrap up this class, while still trying to seem all “awesome mom” through it all anyways.

Photo evidence…

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Being Bad: Breaking Social Norms

Last week in Sociology, I had to perform a social experiment by breaking a social norm, and then write about my experience. This is what I ended up with… Enjoy!

Social norms are rules that govern behaviors within society by establishing standards of conduct (Kendall, p. 72). Sociologist Talcott Parsons theorized that social norms are necessary in society to help dictate our interactions with people (2011). Through these day-to-day interactions we learn what behavior is expected of us – how to dress for specific occasions, proper hygiene, manners, language that is appropriate in conversation, etc. These rules help us differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in any given situation.

My plan for the experiment was to meet two of my girlfriends at our local mall, have a drink and some dinner, and formulate a plan on how to break a social norm. I decided to bring along my friends for support, and to hold me accountable, so that I didn’t back out of the experiment. I struggled with the idea of performing the experiment, which had less to do with actually breaking a social norm, and more to do with having to acknowledge the reactions of people around me.

On the night of my experiment my anxiety levels were exceptionally high. I felt nauseous, tightness in my throat, heated, and my heart raced. As we ate, we discussed possible scenarios. I considered some of the class suggestions, along with staring, breaking into dance and using a phone app called iFart to fake a bodily function, among the more ridiculous.

In theory, all these ideas sounding very interesting; I wanted to be that person who could perform the experiment from a completely scientific place and be unfazed by the implications of it, but the reality of performing the experiment by breaking even a mild social norm seemed overwhelming. I reached a point in my evening where I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Why was this so hard for me?

It actually isn’t that uncommon for me to break social norms. Quite regularly I talk very loudly in public, especially when I am excited, and sometimes about topics that could be deemed socially inappropriate. Other times I have been known for nursing my toddler in public, yet even the idea of doing those things with the conscious purpose of getting a reaction seemed an impossibility.

It became clear that there is a stark difference between breaking a social norm because it comes naturally to you, or because it ties into something that is central to your belief system, and breaking a social norm purely for understanding how people will react. Typically, when I break a social norm I studiously ignore the reactions of the people around me.

Most would like to believe that they care little about what others think about them, but we are driven by how people perceive us, and the impressions that we leave. It is culturally deep-seated, this need to care and leave positive marks on the people we interact with, so to knowingly go against the grain and do something that will be perceived as odd or unacceptable with serious forethought feels wrong. At the root of my trepidation, there seemed to be a bigger fear of confrontation, which makes me wonder why I don’t fear that confrontation more in my everyday activities.

On the way out of the mall, as a last ditch effort, I decided to break a very mild social norm by riding the escalator down backwards, while my friends helped with cataloging the reactions of the people coming up the other side, as I watched people behind me. The most interesting thing happened, which was that nothing interesting happened at all. No one acknowledged me. All the people that passed by or were within the vicinity took absolutely no notice of me.

The result of the experiment left me considering how I generally go about my daily activities, especially in a public place. I go about my business, rarely looking at the people that are around me unless it is socially necessary, such a waitress taking my order or saying, “Excuse me,” when I get in someone’s way. Even in the moments of necessary interaction, I rarely make eye contact, and when I do it is limited. At any given time someone could be exhibiting strange, socially abnormal behavior and I would never notice it unless they were screaming, “Hey, look at me! I’m doing something socially strange over here!” So, this leaves me wondering if being inattentive to your surroundings in public is within itself a social norm, or just a socially awkward behavior that some people exhibit?

It occurs to me that people’s reactions to breaking social norms could vary greatly depending on the personality of the person/people you are interacting with, the size of your audience, and the quality of the norm you are breaking. It is my conclusion that it has almost become a social norm to break mild social norms, and that in combination with the patterns of behavior we exhibit in public places and our lack of observation to our surroundings unless necessary, it is likely that you can safely break mild social norms without anyone much caring or noticing.

References

Kendall, D. (2011). Sociology in our times. (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.

(2011). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norm_(social)

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T.I.R.E.D.

I’m feeling a little burnt out. This seems to happen to me when I’m taking a class, and since I am currently looking at just a 1-week break before I start my Genetics and Evolution class, and then will be juggling that along with my Intro. to Sociology class starting the week after… I’m not expecting to feel less so than I do at this moment. The blog is suffering, I know. My posts are infrequent,  and I feel like most of what I write is complete crap, just trying to go through the motions to get it done and over. Just another thing on my to-do list, and I am happy when it is no longer there.

Tonight, I had planned to try and post this week’s Peek at My Week post, but you know what? I’m tired. Really tired. There are no words to describe the level of crazy that Addison had in her tonight, like a child possessed. No words. My nerves are still frazzled from dealing with her.

So, I’ve promised myself that I won’t post unless I really feel like posting, however infrequent that may be.

That is all.

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Some Insight From My Boy

In bed last night, I was reading the book, Maybe you should fly a jet! Maybe you should be a vet! with the kids and Haden said that he wanted to be a writer when he grew up. So, I asked him if he could write a book about anything, what would it be about?

His response…

“I would write about all my thoughts. I’d write all the stuff in my head, about bad days, and good. You know I have a really awesome life?! I’ll blog like you.”

He made me smile and laugh, but it seemed strange to me that he associates me as being a blogger since I don’t really see myself that way or ever self-describe myself as one.

After all this time, (It has been 2 years!) & 154 published posts (Umm…wow.When did I do that?), it may be time I start taking myself more seriously. Or not. 😛  I do none-serious pretty well.

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Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief

 

I have been steadily working my way through the book, Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief, since it was recommended to me by a friend after my post To the Non-Religious: How do you talk about religion with your children? I have really been enjoying the book so far, and I was happy to find at the end of each chapter, lesson plans/activity ideas to do with your children, along with additional resources like books and websites. It has worked out rather nicely for me since I bought the eBook, I have printed out the ends of each chapter to use, so that I can start working them into our homeschool. The activities range in age appropriateness, but there is something for the littles and up.

My newest notebook is now separated into 9 different sections:

  • The Inquiring Mind
  • Ethics
  • The Religious World
  • The Physical Self
  • Positive Living
  • Celebrating Life
  • Life & Death
  • Creating Community
  • Recommended Films

 

I’m excited to get started! As we begin working them in, I will try to come back and blog about the ones that I liked the most. 🙂

 

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This is me… throwing down.

Today, I sat idly flipping through a Star magazine, trying to kill a few minutes while I waited for my stylist to finish up with another client so that I could get a trim. I can’t say I was shocked, when the 2 stylists closest to me and their clients started talking about the Chick-fil-a controversy. I mean, who isn’t talking about it right now??!! I wish I could say they were saying things that made my heart happy and caused me to think, “Hey! Kindred spirits!” It was more in a way that made my blood pressure go up and I felt an extreme urge to throw down. However, I refrained. Barely. In the end I knew it would be a pointless battle, just like many of the others I’ve had this week. Or in the past. And will likely have again in the future. The one I’m waging at this very moment…

I sat there easily listening to their conversation, while they took no notice of my being there. No care for the teenage girls listening. What if I were gay? Or one of those teenage girls? Or both? Or even one of the people participating in that conversation? How would all of these little conversations make me/them feel?  The one today or one of the thousands I can find just about anywhere on the internet right now. If there is one thing that this CFA controversy has surely succeeded in doing, it has been to pull down the walls that made being anti-gay socially unacceptable. That used to be one of those things people *mostly* just kept on the down low. Oh, but no more! “CFA” has deemed being anti-gay a wholesome Christian value and that has everyone with the same values(however misguided), stepping over lines they wouldn’t have once crossed. I miss those days.

Yesterday, thousands of people flocked to their local Chick-fil-a’s, so they could effectively and “on their turf”, support CFA and give the gay community the finger. A message sent out to the roughly 9 million people that identify as LGBT; it was surely a job well done. I wonder how many LGBT youths were dragged to CFA with their parents yesterday and forced to show their support for a mentality that treats them as if they are less than people? That there is something WRONG about them.

 

So here’s the thing…

Research from the Family Acceptance Project… “shows that LGBT youths “who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence (when compared with those young people who experienced little or no rejection from parents and caregivers) were more than eight times likely to have attempted suicide, more than six times likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times likely to use illegal drugs and more than three times likely to be at high risk for HIV or other STDs” by the time they reach their early 20s.”

And now, not only do they get to feel that rejection in their homes, they can blatantly feel it everywhere they turn. Great job, folks!

My brilliant friend, Amanda, gave me the idea of trying to take away from all the negative that is being put out there, and do something good. So, instead of throwing my money at hate, I’ll opt to take the money I could have blown on chicken sandwiches and waffle fries yesterday, and give it to the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBT and questioning youths. With the influx of hate spreading right now, I would place bets on the fact that they could use the extra help.

[box] BTW, for those that think this whole thing is still just about one guy’s religious beliefs, then you obviously haven’t given any of this very much thought.[/box]

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A Peek at My Week: Fwacking the Birdie

This week my cooperative had their 2nd annual Homeschool 101 event, and I packed up a nice rolly cart full of homeschooling goodies to share with everyone that came. I even managed to score some new-to-me books at the used book sale for $5! Mostly Magic School Bus = total win.

The event took place at the park where our classes will be held in the fall, and while we were there Haden spent the majority of his time learning to play Badminton with a group of kids from another group. He was fwacking the birdie pretty good by the time we left. 😛

Our cooking project this week was Lemon Brownies, and they were freakin’ AMAZING. Plus, easy to make. I will be making them again and again.

More pictures from this week…

The water in our fish tank must taste much yummier than the water in the water bowl, because my cats really prefer drinking from it.

In other news, we decided to revise the way we use our workboxes just a bit, because the original way just wasn’t working for us as I had hoped. Otherwise, I am still loving my drawers!

Oh, and I started reading the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. It is amazing so far, and if you haven’t read it, you REALLY should. I haven’t even made it all the way through the second chapter yet, and the things I have learned are astounding. I spent the earlier part of my day being completely appalled by the fact that we actually have a national holiday to celebrate Columbus. That’s pretty F’d up.

We spent the weekend with my family for my sister’s birthday, and enjoyed our time at Lake Jackson today. Here are a few more pictures for the road!

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This Sucks

Maybe it is because of all the freakin’ rain this week. Or maybe it’s because I am a little hormonal right now, due to the only thing that is unfortunate about being a woman. 😉 Either way, I am in a totally unhappy place inside my head.

I am struggling with all these negative emotions, which range from  feeling stressed & overwhelmed to bored & lazy. Listless even. Yet, I can’t quite pinpoint the exact reason I am feeling any of them? Maybe it is something about summer. Last summer was not a good place for me either.

Haden seems right on the cusp of being in another not-so-great phase, and I can’t help but doubt my abilities as a mom, as usual. Every time we start fighting more, I start feeling like I have done something to perpetually ruin him. That boy has serious mouth on him, and why wouldn’t he? I have a serious mouth on me. Sometimes being a mom sucks.

I was feeling totally confident about the upcoming school year, happy with how far *I* have come in the past year, and all of a sudden I see myself wanting to slip back into old patterns.

Today, Haden told me that he doesn’t want to do yoga anymore, and it almost made me wanna cry. Which is just STUPID. Fuck this. It is Friday and I think I need a drink.

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A good idea gone bad or just a bad idea?

I am, what I would call, a committed homeschooler. I knew I would be homeschooling from the time that Haden was a baby. I have rather strong feelings about homeschooling and the public school system. My kids have never gone to public school, and if I have my way, they never will. It would take some very serious life hurdles to get me to even consider it. Never say never, but that is how I feel. That is truth.

However….

I ran across the above quote from John Holt on a homeschooling Facebook page, and then subsequently ended up getting into a small online altercation with a woman that I am fairly convinced is a bit nutty. 😛 The quote, along with reader comments, has left my mind churning with this ideology that seems more and more prevalent over the past year. One, of which, I am not a fan.

I obviously have no great love for the public school system. Anyone that gets me talking, will hear an almost endless list of my issues. But, the idea that we should just get rid of compulsory public schooling altogether… really?? THAT is the genius solution to our education problem?

My thoughts are that not all children are so lucky to have parents as dedicated as the ones I am previleged to know, and for THOSE children the only form of positive guidance may come from school teachers. School may be the only chance they get in their young lives to be exposed to the possibilities that exist outside of their home life and their neighborhoods. That is a reality. It seems a bit naive to assume that taking away the compulsory public school system would benefit all children. Some would be irrevocably hurt.

[box] Am I missing something here? What are your thoughts? A good idea gone bad or just a bad idea?[/box]