The latest issue of Newsweek has a computer generated image of Princess Diana at age 50. Next to her is Kate Middleton, the new bride of Diana’s son, Prince William. It has been met with disbelief and outrage. Personally it makes me think about the night she lost her life. No one knows definitively what caused the accident that killed her, but the fact remains she was being chased by the press and cameras. It now appears that nothing was learned from that tragic event.
Diana was a shy, nineteen year old when she was swept off her feet by a prince looking for a princess. A young woman who instantly captured the hearts of many. We all know what happened to the relationship, but the people loved her regardless of her marital problems. She was graceful, giving, and a loving mother. Whether they want to admit it or not, she changed the role and image of the monarchy like no one else before her.
The magazine ran the cover along with an article written by editor-in-chief Tina Brown. Ms. Brown writes a prediction of where Diana would be, and what she would be doing at age 50. This is highly disrespectful and reeks of sensationalism. The only objective by Newsweek and Ms. Brown is to sell copy and make money. It is not an exaggeration to compare this to what Princess Diana had to deal with during her lifetime. It is disgusting to think that it is happening to her in death.
I am not usually intrigued by fame or celebrity, but Diana used her platform to show the world what was important. She was a wonderful mother to her sons. She took up causes that helped the weakest among us. She used her life to help others and thus became loved by the people. As I watched the royal wedding, I realized that Kate Middleton will be under much of the same scrutiny. The difference is she is older, strong, well-educated, and is married to man who loves her. Prince William learned much from his mother and undoubtedly will carry on her legacy. That is something that can’t be captured by a camera, a magazine, or a book.
For the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that the flag has been flying at half-mast. Although it is always noticeable when lowered, it has been this way for what seems longer than usual. The reason is there has been more than one loss of a young soldier in a short period of time. As time moves on, as the war spreads over years, we can become complacent in our realization that lives are being lost every day due to wars in another part of the world far away from the United States. A country that many of us will never know, never visit, and will never understand. President Obama has announced that troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, and 30,000 will be sent to the U.S. by next summer. For Americans, the time has come to bring our people home.
Summertime has arrived. School has ended. The children are experiencing carefree days filled with relaxation and fun. We go off on vacations, spend time swimming, and have barbecues. The days are longer and the pace is slower. Life for many is enjoyable, and yet that flag flies at half-mast. I can only imagine the magnitude of the loss felt for these young people. The family and loved ones they left behind. The hope for the future they held, and the promise they gave to serve their country. It was a promise which most likely would have continued in some capacity upon their return.
Equally important are the soldiers who returned but have been physically injured or mentally impaired. They left Afghanistan, but are still dealing with the effects of war. So much has been given in order to fight an evil that destroyed a country, and threatened ours. For many, the memories of this war will linger long after we move on.
In this period between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, we should remember all those who served to provide us with the freedoms of which we are accustomed, and often take for granted. Next summer there will be many others who will join us in our celebration of hope and happiness, of liberty and justice. In the meantime, we must continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers for a safe return, and never forget the sacrifice they made for the love of our country.
A Long Island, NY mother was arrested for threatening coaches, the school principal, and other children because her son did not make a traveling
little league team. There have been similar stories of parents reacting inappropriately because they believed that their child was cheated in some way.
These cases are extreme and sensational, but they don’t surprise me.
On a smaller scale, there are many parents who believe their child is the greatest athlete, artist, dancer, musician, actor, and student. From the youngest ages, I have heard parents lament how superior their children are compared to others. Most of the time it is done subtly, but the message is made clear. I have stood side by side with other parents at school and activities in which my children are involved. I have been forced to listen how much their children enjoy the activity, or the vast amount of academic skill they have developed. Mind you, my child might be just as able, but they don’t want to hear it. I have decided it best to let the achievements of my children speak for themselves.
I have seen parents push children as young as 3 or 4 into a sport or other activity that they truly do not enjoy. I think it is good to expose children to different experiences, but it is best to find something in which they want to participate. It might not be the one the parent chooses, but it is what the child wants that matters. The former soccer player might not have a child who likes the sport. The professional musician might not have the next Yo-Yo Ma. The idea that they have to be the absolute best is a disturbing trend. Where has the simple concept of fun gone? The joy should come from seeing their little faces light up just for being part of something.
All children do not excel at everything. They have to be taught to try their best, and to understand that they might not be chosen or rewarded for everything they pursue. My children have already had this experience, and they have learned to accept the outcome. What is encountered as a child will prepare them for disappointments, as well as accomplishments, during adolescence and adulthood. That is the reality of life. A life they eventually will have to live without their parents.
I have heard about extreme couponing for years. The TLC network now has a show highlighting shoppers and the techniques they use to pay practically nothing for hundreds of dollars of purchases. They go in with a plan, buy only what is on the list, and watch with adrenaline flowing as their items are scanned at the register. Then with glee, they hand over their rewards card and coupons. The excitement builds as the number falls towards zero. The other shoppers stand around amazed and often break out into applause. Surely this is a feat, but I wonder, does anyone notice what is in the cart?
The people profiled love to show off their “stockpile”. This is usually a basement, garage, closet, or room filled with items. I don’t see the purpose of storing 50 bottles of detergent or a hundred tubes of toothpaste, but there is no harm amassing these products. It is the food items purchased that make me sit up and take notice. Most are either frozen, canned, or dehydrated goods. Candy is often purchased in large quantities if it can be had for free. The drinks tend to be sodas, sports drinks, or flavored waters. If the labels of these items were read, it would reveal high levels of sodium, sugar, and preservatives. This leads me to wonder about the value of extreme couponing.
The families who shop this way claim to save thousands of dollars a year. I have no doubt they do considering the amount of time and passion they invest, but what they save in dollars, they sacrifice in nutrition. Rarely do you see vegetables, fruit, fresh meat or chicken being placed into the cart. You never see milk or orange juice as part of the purchase. I’m not suggesting that these families do not include these items in their diets, but it should be recognized that most of what they purchase does not promote healthy eating.
We have become a nation dealing with rising rates of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Eating processed foods on a regular basis can lead to the development of these problems. The money saved at the grocery store now, may lead to higher medical bills in the future. It may lead to a life of physical difficulties and complications caused by a poor diet. All the coupons in the world can’t make that worth it.
The Federal Court has decided to indict John Edwards on using campaign funds to hide his mistress and child during his run for the presidency. He claims innocence, and says he can prove that he did not commit this felony. What he does admit is that he made a big mistake that hurt many of his love ones. I accept that he acknowledges his actions of human misconduct. What I don’t understand is what caused him to do so. There seems to be a never-ending list of male politicians cheating on their wives. While all have certain elements of betrayal and sadness, the John Edwards story is very different to me. Why? There is only one reason. His wife was Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Edwards had beaten cancer once before. It returned during her husband’s run for president. Instead of backing away from the race, the couple decided to pursue his ambition and desire to become our national leader. I can tell you from experience that nothing is easy when you are undergoing cancer treatments. The fatigue, the weakness, the hair loss, etc., all take a toll on the mind and body. Despite this, Elizabeth had the strength to stand with her husband while he went after a dream. What was the payback for this support? He has an affair with a staffer who later had his child. He claims he hid the fact to spare his family. After hearing interviews and reading articles, I believe it had more to do with the election than his family. Why would he go to such lengths otherwise? Did he really believe this story would never surface? This was the thinking of a man who wanted to be president.
Elizabeth Edwards was a strong, intelligent woman. Her first role in life was mother to her children. A role she cherished to the end. She wrote books, shared her stories, and helped those who were going through similar difficulties. She testified before senate committees on issues of importance, and appeared to be as down to earth as anyone in her position. The crime John Edwards committed is what he did to her and his children. A crime he will have to live with forever.