“I overheard your phone conversation with Mike last night about your plans to come out to me,” it reads. “The only thing I need you to plan is to bring home OJ and bread after class. We are out, like you now. I’ve known you were gay since you were six, I’ve loved you since you were born.”
He signs it “Dad” and finishes with a post script: “Your mom and I think you and Mike make a cute couple.”
Following the Christmas holiday I don’t need to tell YOU that your family is……..well, challenged. I have one myself. I had an aunt that my mother disliked so much she never talked to her brother but, because of family dynamics, I needed to allow her to sing her warble of some song I didn’t even know at my wedding. I had another aunt who, in the 1950s got a (whisper here) divorce and all we ever heard was “don’t come running home to us if you have problems with your husband.” Not exactly a helpful life lesson.
So, we all have less than perfect families, and if we are true to form, we don’t do such a great job at parenting. We do what we know, so unless you have sought out a parenting class, you will have a tendency to teach your children in the same dysfunctional way you were raised.
In the interest of changing that here are TEN RULES TO BETTER FAMILY LIFE:
- Recognize that the reason you love your friends more than your family is because your friends let you do the shit your mom and dad won’t. That doesn’t mean that shit is good. It still is shit. Your parents literally cleaned up your shit as a baby and into your childhood, but now it is time for you to realize that your actions have consequences and you really need to accept responsibility. When you grow up, your relationships with the long term people who are on your life path AKA your family, will improve.
- Let go of anger. We want to be RIGHT! We want others to know they are WRONG! Let it go. It is not a helpful manner of communication. If you really feel strongly that your little sister or your second cousin is on the road to perdition, sit down calmly, maybe with a cup of lavender tea (ha ha) and ask why they feel their pathway is going to bring them the life they want. LISTEN. They probably will not come around, but at least you’ll understand better and maybe they will turn to you when they recognize they need to change their ways.
- Look in the mirror. Recognize your own flaws. Now praise your skills realistically. Understand that each of us is made of the entire ability spectrum. You and your buddies are not the only ones who can do things right. Even your parents get it right some of the time.
- Learn from others. Yup, even that warbling aunt of mine probably had something worthwhile to share with me……hard for me to imagine but I am remembering her with a child’s memory. If you are an adult, you can go where I was unable to perceive.
- Look at your children. We watched Home Alone again this Christmas and a few things were obvious to an outsider that the family members did not perceive. Be fair when you think over your kids’ strengths and weaknesses. Don’t have them do what YOU wish you could have done as a kid if they are not interested. Help them develop their own interests. Help them learn to read and research.
- Look at your children again. Help them learn life skills like cooking, sewing buttons and hems, how to wash laundry and iron to press a shirt to make a good appearance, and how to swim. A man who expects his wife or girlfriend to do all the cooking does not realize the stress that constant task causes. More importantly, he never sees her face light up in pleasure when he prepares her a nourishing meal. A man who can cook is sexy.
- Look at your children again. Teach your kids to change their oil and their tires. You may not be that proficient yourself. Learn it together. Your daughters too. Watch your tendency for sexism. Let your sons and daughters learn they can access the entire array of arts and skills.
- Tell stories to your kids. Turn off the television and the electronic gadgets. Have one evening a month (or more) when you gather to share the stories of your childhood. Keep it as upbeat as possible. Your baggage with your parents need not be their baggage. Tell about adventures you had when you were tested and succeeded. Tell about times you thought you could do something but failed and how you responded to that experience. Let them tell stories too. Use a talking stick to pass the right to talk around the circle.
- Explore together. Food is an excellent vehicle for exploration. Move away from what you know. I remember when we visited England for the first time and I asked for bangers and mash at a pub because I had read about it in numerous British stories,. The server paused and then said, “You know that is nursery food?” In other words, for little kids. That was okay, since it was a new experience for me, but it is not okay for you to turn to mac and cheese every few days. Time to learn new tricks. You are an adult now. You have control over your gag reflex and will not barf into your plate. Really. Taste new things. You need not repeat if you honestly do not like it. But your world will open when you explore the amazing variety of flavors from all over the world.
- Realize, if you change your ways, your birth family members may make some snarky comments. That’s when you get to practice your smile and say, yeah! I’m doing great and I’m proud of my kids! And mean it.
I am a younger bee keeper, as in I have had bees for only about six years and just two hives. I have heard a lot about bee problems and have had my own issues to work through with my hives. I have some thoughts of my own and am happy to contribute. Just keep in mind that I am not a scientist with years of research under my belt. I’m just a plain ‘ol farmer trying to earn my keep!
My first thought is this: Honey bees are not native to North America. Anything forced to live in an ecosystem to which they are not native, even if it has been tens to hundreds of years, will face many difficulties. The hive, as we know it today, is not natural to them and not conducive to their well-being. It is designed to make it easier on the beekeeper for extracting the honey. So, in short, we have taken honey bees out of their native environments, put them in boxes for our own convenience and think the bees should be happy, healthy and thankful for all we have done for them.
Second is, yes, pesticides: There are many different type and applications, most of which are deadly to not only the honey bees, but native pollinators and predatory bugs, amphibians, reptiles, and birds that naturally feed on the “bad bugs”. The most prevalent killer is the 7-dust and similar products. These dusts are easily collected as bees fly through the plants and work the flowers. It gets mixed up in the pollen and taken back to the hive where it poisons and kills the bees.
The second, and by far most dangerous in my own opinion, are root and seed- treating pesticides. These poisons are put on seeds and roots of plants. They are then absorbed into every part of the plant. Its design is simply anything that eats any part of the plant will ingest the poison and die. (Now, I wonder if you could tell me which plants or seeds you have bought and planted recently that have been treated with these kinds of poisons. You know, without good research about the suppliers I wouldn’t know either. They are invisible!) Bees gather up the nectar and pollen from these plants, take them back to the hive, turn them into honey they eat and surprise, surprise–the hive dies. I wonder what would happen to anyone who would go ahead and gather the left over honey and eat it? I am not a fan of any type of poison in the garden.
BUT, for those who are too lazy or too busy to fight the good fight, my thought is simply this: Use a water-based spray pesticide. Wait until the plant has finished blooming to lessen the chance of harming the bees, and spray it on in the evening. By the time the sun is up and the bees are out, the spray will be dried and less likely to be collected by bees. I personally do not and will not use them, period! That is my recommendation.
Third is over management: The number one money-maker with honey bees is not the honey. It’s pollination. It’s too easy and cheap to get sugar-based syrups from overseas and unregulated farms call it “honey.” They sell theirs cheaper than small-timers like me can price the real thing. Farmers will pay bee keepers to pollinate their crops. This symbiotic relationship is wonderful, in my book, except when it becomes migration pollination. As poetic as it sounds, it is, in my opinion, a death sentence to the bees. A honey bee’s life is only months. They actually work themselves to death. (Warning to those who faint at the thought of a thirty- to forty- hour work week!) I can’t see any positive aspects to loading thousands of honey bee hives onto a tractor tailor and driving them all over the country. Honey bees are not natural road-trippers. They only fly up to three miles away from the hive in search of nectar and pollen. So they are stay-at-homers. And, interestingly, they don’t fly back to a physical location. When I work my hives and have to separate them to fix a problem or replace something, the bees become confused. Even though the hive body may be just a foot away from where it always sits, the bees that are coming home with their pollen and nectar fly right to where the hive is supposed to be and seem to hover in bewilderment. They fly to a navigational point–not a physical address. So, when you move the bees around, they get disoriented and many will never make it back to their hives.
A bee keeper told me once, “Ask ten bee keepers the same question and you will get fifteen different answers.” So, I leave you with my thoughts. I have read many articles and have talked to many people and can say that my three points are merely a scratch on the issue about what’s causing today’s bee problems. The best advice I can give is simply this: We need more people having just one or two bee hives, more people using less poisons in their gardens and supporting those who are!