I’m getting back in the swing of LA life again—thank god!!! I guess that’s what happens once you’ve vented and you know there’s nothing else to do but get up & get on with it.
It’s also what happens when you get out and about. Last week started a “campaign” to get me out more. And with the right attitude comes results!
The other day I had coffee with a friend I possibly text more than anyone—and have done since we moved—my fellow carpool mum. We rarely see each other though so coffee was long overdue. Off to our latest “S” we went. In one and a half hours we saw Paul Stanley, Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall. OK not everyone is a “star f#@$er” (as one of my Australian girlfriends likes to call me) but there’s nothing that makes you feel you’re in LA more than the good old celebrity spot.
The interesting thing about celebrity “stalking” (I prefer to say watching with heightened interest) is that realisation that we’re all the same: they really are normal people. (OK I have to say most of the ones I’ve encountered over my nearly two years are …. Kanye West maybe not so much).
Paul Stanley for example was up and down from his table the whole time he was there—getting coffees, getting chairs, moving chairs, getting serviettes (or napkins), taking one kid here, taking another there. Sound familiar? (Remember BK—before kids—when you could just sit and enjoy your coffee before getting up & down the whole the time?).
Over the weekend at the Dance concert at school—well done to my gorgeous girl for her dance—out come the parents to watch their kids dance (best place to celeb watch). Every school function I’m at I see one of the original members of Guns n Roses. I love that he’s always there and actively involved. Just a normal dad (actually he may well be at more school functions than Mr H).
School in 2015
Speaking of school don’t you wish you went to school now? OK, maybe not to go back but to go now instead of when you were at school and with all you know now?
Being at that Dance concert made we wish I was at school now—even with the added pressure our poor kids have these days. Even though I went to an excellent school I didn’t make the most of all the opportunities I was given. I did ballet (outside school) and I think if I was at a school like my kids are at—where dance and drama are offered as electives—then I would have continued dancing a lot longer. Actually I might actually be a Hollywood star living in one of those nice big houses that sit alongside mine. You can call that either laziness (I didn’t have to go outside school to dance) or peer group “pressure” (supported by the fact others are doing it with me and I’m not “unique”) or a bit of both. I also think dancing has come a long way from the days of classical dancing at my ballet studio.
Diversity is a big topic at the kids’ school—as it is in America. So is LGBTQIA—and a big deal is made trying to inform and educate the kids on these issues. I find it both well-meaning but also a little condescending and so 2008 that they’re on this bandwagon.
Here’s why: We’re in LA, California in 2015. We support same sex marriage—yes Australia it’s legal and it didn’t hurt one bit—and we made Kanye West famous, in spite of the fact that he’s a bit of a knob. We have openly gay students, we have many kids the product of gay marriages and we have a sprinkling of different nationalities and backgrounds (perhaps not so much socio-economic but that’s not the school’s fault per se).
(As a brief interlude don’t you love that Australia is generally far more liberal than here in the US yet there are more states that have legalised gay marriage? Shame on you Australia letting a prudey minority conservatives control that line of thinking.)
Diversity is exemplified through the actions of the kids and administration and not by their words. Wait, isn’t there a cliché actions speak louder than words? Hmmm….
What I love is that two boys can get up and perform a dance and receive a rousing response—duh! because they were really good. There were another two boy dancers who were also very good. One boy—who was also a standout at the musical Godspell I blogged about late last year—was a more traditional dancer and he was so good and, alongside the talented girls, was applauded.
These boys are empowered (I hate that word) to get up and join in and perform in front of the school community. The other boys didn’t shoot them down and call them girls, they embraced them—they respected them and congratulated them. And by the way those boys are also on sports teams and participate freely in whatever activities are open to them that interests them–they’re not labelled and pidgeon-holed “dancers”.
You don’t need an assembly telling kids to embrace lots of different types of people you just need to show them. Shoving ideals down people’s throats—no matter how good they are—never worked and it’s not about to now.
Death by firing squad
My Facebook feed has been filled with opinions and tributes for two of the Bali nine guys sentenced to death (via firing squad) for trafficking drugs into Indonesia. This issue runs deep, there are many different opinions and no right or wrong answer (or opinion).
Seeing that footage in the link brought shivers up my spine. Seeing the media contingent taking photos & live footage and the onlookers also brought shivers up my spine. As did this news story detailing what goes on at such an execution.
As one of my Facebook & old (as in past not that we’re old!) school friends, Anne-Marie Hardy, put it … ”On a day where the whole country has an opinion, I’m reminded how important it is to listen to each other. Listening, without interrupting and constructing your next sentence takes practice and restraint, especially if we disagree. We are lucky to have free speech, let’s listen freely too.”
I think it’s wrong that in 2015 people can still be sentenced to death. No, no, please no haters or arguments for and against, I can see both sides so just let me finish… in general we were taught no “eye for an eye” and all that. The way some of these countries choose to punish people is so First Testament and being a “feeler” as opposed to a “thinker” I don’t like it. Particularly if a heinous crime has been committed, like my 14 year-old son said, “don’t we want want to make them suffer through their life rather than ending it?” (He’d be perfect too if he wasn’t a teenage boy).
Anyway, don’t be yelling at me via your screen or device—this is a light-hearted blog it’s not a conversation—or debate—starter, it’s actually a segue.
Consequences and behaviour
I’ve talked a few times now about the kids’ school here in LA and how I mourn the Australian approach to teaching. Here in America (Hollywoodland) they refer many aspects of our education style and system as “Harry Potter style”. (If we’re going to talk condescending maybe we could take a look at that …?).
I mentioned last week about the uniforms and because the administration didn’t believe their role was to police the rules they changed the uniforms.
Well now it seems there’s a bit of good-old-fashioned cheating going on. So you think that would be nipped in the butt before it becomes an issue don’t you? Apparently once again “being strict police officers creates an environment opposite of what we want to create”. Oops. There go those brakes again, screeching to a halt.
Say what? I am picturing the looks on the faces of the headmaster at my son’s school and the principal at my daughter’s school wondering how long it will take for them to burst into fits of laughter. Or at least die of shock.
Like parents, teachers are not in a popularity contest (did I say contest instead of competition?). Cut if off at the pass, take the bull by its horns, nip it in the butt, there are so many clichés to say stop it before it becomes an issue. How do you stop it? Consequences people consequences. You lay down the rules, you get caught you face the consequences. Can no one else see that?
Many of us back home (in Australia) are in awe of a Kiwi lady named Celia Lashle. She worked in prisons for many years and decided to look into how these men got to where they were. I highly recommend her books (especially if you’ve got boys at home and want/need to understand them better). You can find them here on Amazon.
Basically one of the things she says is that boys—which we can expand to be we as a community wherever we may be—need to have clear boundaries set and we need to be aware of the consequences if we break the rules or veer outside (or push) those boundaries.
It’s a bloody hard lesson (no harder than those poor boys who faced the firing squad) but if we don’t start by showing our kids what consequences mean then you want to hope it’s not too late by the time they do actually have to learn.
In other words we’re not doing anyone any favours by not showing consequences for poor choices at school because by the time they get to the real world—and they think they don’t need to follow the rules because they can get away with it—those consequences might just be a hell of a lot more than detention. (And if the Breakfast Club is anything to go by detention can be quite fun).
And before you go reading more into what I’ve said I did not mean those two Australian boys deserved what they got, I’ve moved on from there–it was a segue remember? That’s not a consequence that is strictly black or white, there are more than 50 shades of grey in that one.
I don’t know when exactly I grew up (or how I got so bloody perfect) but life’s not meant to be easy. The sooner we teach our kids that the better equipped they’ll be to deal with it. Otherwise, what does Edward Rooney say?, “I weep for the future.”
Bring me school according to Harry Potter anyday. (I guess I better watch those movies so I know what they’re talking about. Yes, yes, yes, I haven’t seen any of them. No, I haven’t read the books either. Don’t bully me or talk about me behind my back. I haven’t seen any of the Lord of the Rings or the Hunger Games either while we’re at it. Yes my husband is in entertainment, whatever, move on.)
When I went to school—and every other school the kids have been to—you’re scared to get hauled into the principal’s office. You know you’re in big trouble. But guess what? You usually respected that principal and you knew unless you wanted to get in trouble you stay within the boundaries. That’s all I’m saying. Boundaries are actually a comfort zone & policing those boundaries is a community service.
Back out for more celeb watching, this grown up thinking and parenting stuff (and being perfect) is exhausting.
xx It Started in LA xx