So You go Back in Time to Kill Baby Hitler. Now What?

Recently, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked if, given the opportunity, he would travel back in time to kill Hitler as a baby. He answered that of course he would, although he admitted that he didn’t know if or how that would change the course of World War II and history.

The whole time-travel-to-kill-Hitler concept has become a bit of an internet meme, and because of this, seems to have a sense of the absurd about it. It’s as if you can’t say that you would do anything else, with the gift of time travel, without mentioning that first.

This has a couple of major problems, and it bothers me that people treat it with such disregard. Of course, I’m also aware of the absurdity of writing a blog post about the issues of time travel, but it highlights a number of greater concerns.

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Be Kind.

I woke up to the news of the attacks in Paris. It’s so hard to get any kind of perspective on this sort of tragedy, especially since these sorts of tragedies seem to happen all the time. Just a few days ago, Beirut was also rocked by suicide bombings, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

Nobody close to me is affected by these tragedies, so I have the luxury of a more detached, general sadness, rather than the acute grief at losing someone I love. I know that this is the case for many people–there is no direct link with the attacks, and yet, the sense of loss and our empathy for others caught up in all this is overwhelming. In light of that, it’s hard to know how to cope with all that information. How does one process such terrible scenes? As I pondered that, while doing the washing up, I came up with some thoughts:

  1. Do the washing up. Sweep the floor. Make the beds. Do something mindless which gives you a sense of achievement and makes your immediate environment more pleasant.
  2. Donate to the Red Cross, or to Médecins Sans Frontières, or to the WorldWide Fund for Nature, or to the Malala Fund, or to 350.org. These organisations are working to help people and the natural environment which is being affected by every kind of harm.
  3. Ring a friend/parent/child/relative. Or write an email/Skype/send a text. Connect with people you love. Talk about things which are important to both of you. Listen to each other.
  4. Turn off the news. Unless the attacks are taking place near you, you don’t need all that information. Come back to it in an hour. Or a day.
  5. Plant a flower, a tree, a vegetable seedling and take care of it.
  6. Cook a really good meal, or help someone else do it, if you’re not a fan of cooking.
  7. Be kind.

Be kind.

There is so much anger. Those people who blow themselves up, or who go on shooting rampages, or who hit out with weapons or fists: they’re so angry. And you know, some of the time, this anger is justified. Just think back over even the last 100 years. There has been such a lot of wrongdoing, from so many sides. People have been massacred, their rights completely abused, families have been torn apart. Those coordinating any of these attacks, whether it’s a well-organised terrorist group or an individual with a grudge, or just some person who’s had too much to drink… they probably have a right to be angry. Everyone does, don’t they? If we feel slighted, we have a right to be upset about it.

We don’t have a right to kill or hurt other people for it. That’s not OK.

This general sense of being able to get nasty when you’re offended is not limited to terrorists, though. All you have to do is look at what happens when someone says ‘the wrong thing’ on Facebook or Twitter, and how nasty the internet can be. What righteous indignation, what ridicule at the utter ignorance/rudeness/racism/whatever else! How justified we feel, at taking someone to task for their idiocy! Most of the time, this doesn’t result in violence, but the sentiment is the same.

I’m right, you’re wrong.

You’re stupid. I’m superior. 

So this is what I take away from all of this tragedy: those people who are perpetrating such violence, they have a right to be angry, to be offended. They don’t have a right to kill or injure people. But what can I do, personally, about what’s happening in so many other parts of the world? I think of it all as a ripple effect. I can’t change the anger of someone in an ISIS camp who’s preparing to kill as many people as possible, or someone who’s stockpiling weapons to carry out a mass shooting, or someone who’s brewing over a feud and wants to go out and hit anyone they meet. I can’t stop domestic violence; I can’t prevent pub brawls; I can’t curtail gang warfare.

But I can be kind. I can be kind to those around me, regardless of what they look like or how they speak. I can be welcoming. I can be charitable. I can listen. I can be fair. And it won’t stop that mass shooting or that suicide bombing. Not this time, not next time either. The tiny ripples of kindness from me might take forever to do anything, but they will have have an effect. Whether it’s big enough to make a difference, I just don’t know. But I have to try, because the alternative is despair, and that won’t do anybody any good.

Where There’s A Will…

Several years ago, probably around the time First Offspring was born, the Handsome Sidekick and I bought a will kit. Inside were two wills, and clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to fill out the will. This should be a breeze! we thought.

When First Offspring was about nine months old, we moved house. I found the will kit. Should get around to doing that, I thought. We lived in the new house for almost exactly six years. While packing to go, I found the will kit again. By this stage, First Offspring had three siblings. Making a will seemed more important than ever, given we had four young people to consider.

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Staying Power.

I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t feel like writing the blog post today. The week seems to have raced by and I’m surprised it’s suddenly Friday again, and when I was considering this last night, I thought, I’m tired. I don’t really feel like writing the blog tomorrow. Perhaps I should just give it up. My followers have plateaued. I don’t even bother really promoting it much anymore. And I have so many other projects I could be working on, which might conceivably earn me money. Not to mention that I need to clean the house, think about what we’re having for tea tomorrow, and hang out some washing.

But even while thinking that, I knew I would write it. Part of the reason is because the Handsome Sidekick would ask me if I’d written it, and I’m a really bad liar, so I’d have to hang my head in shame and admit I hadn’t. And part of the reason is because I don’t really have a good excuse to not do it.

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Be Fruitful, But Keep an Eye on Your Fruit.

I love fruit.

When we run out of fruit, even if we have an abundance of other food – delicious food, like homemade muffins or cake, or even chocolate – I feel like our diet has been somehow tremendously impoverished. And I’ve always loved fruit. Well, I guess I’ve always loved fruit. I’ve always eaten it. That’s because when I was growing up, the answer to “I’m hunnngry” would always be, “Have a piece of fruit.” There was a large basket which sat on the floor in the kitchen and it would be always full of fruit.

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Compare and Contrast.

Last year, when First Offspring was doing swimming lessons, I would take him once a week after school and sit on the benches near the pool with Fourth Offspring. First Offspring would spend twenty minutes splashing about in the water and Fourth Offspring and I would watch the swimmers come and go. A couple of times, we were joined as a woman brought her two young sons to swim. She dressed them quickly in their bathers and then once they were in the water, stripped off to a bikini and followed them into the pool.

She was very trim and looked as though she swam often. Next to her neat figure, I felt embarrassingly aware of my own rather… messy one.

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Because I Said So.

Last night, I had the dubious honour of managing to make all my Offspring cry at the same time.

This happens very rarely, I have to admit. My emotions at the time were:

–  sadness, because it’s never pleasant to listen to children cry
–   annoyance, because of the mess I was having to clean up
–  hilarity, because Second Offspring was crying and calling through the door, “BUT WE    LOVE YOU!”

I had given them their tea – satay chicken with peas and carrots, with rice. They were all settling down to eat, and so I brought them all a drink of water, and then left the room.

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Write Idea, Wrong Execution.

I read a post the other day called ‘Why I Put My Husband Before Our Kids.’

It’s not the kind of thing I usually read, but I was curious, because I don’t, actually, put the Handsome Sidekick before our Offspring, and I wondered whether the article might have something interesting to say about why I should.

Apparently, it’s written in response to another article, which I also wouldn’t normally read, especially given the advertisements for other articles interspersed in the text (7 Sex Positions Men Love/I’m Cheating On My Husband… Am I A Bad Person?/How to Kiss Well …no, I am not making these up).

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Guilty As Charged.

When I was a young child, my parents used to listen to the radio a lot, and it was our national radio station, the ABC, which was predominantly broadcasters doing interviews and a whole lot of news. Not that that’s a bad thing—I still listen to this station nowadays, although less often since there is usually too much child-related noise around for me to hear properly. The point is, when I was a child, I heard a lot of news, and I would just absorb bits and pieces, while I was playing. This had the advantage of making me more worldly… although now that I think about it, it may have been a bit of a disadvantage, considering my social ineptitude.

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For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas, We’ve Boundless Plains to Share…. HA HA! KIDDING!

When I was an undergraduate teaching student, I had an incredible lecturer for my Society and Environment unit. (Society and Environment is what we used to call ‘Social Studies’). She was passionate and interested, and someone I felt I could have sat and chatted with for hours. I went by to see her one afternoon after class and she was telling me about a teaching aid she’d developed, and gave me a copy.

I got home and put the DVD into my computer. Continue reading