Surviving in a Male Dominated Household

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Character Counts? Parents Must Live It.

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

Some moms say "I'm just a mom." And that makes me mad. We're not "just" anything. We're everything. Most importantly, we're the first teachers for our children. We're the most important teachers. We need to act as such.

I am not only involved with the Barn group, I'm committed. Kind of like breakfast. The chicken was involved. The eggs are committed. I'm the eggs.

My kids are learning that if there is something that is important to you, you work at it. When it seems like all is lost, you keep trying. You preserve history. You protect it. You stand up for what you believe in. You fight for it.

Let's look at what the program "Character Counts in Iowa" says:

Image from Character Counts in Iowa.

"Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship"

Why would I bring this up? This week we had people calling us for yard signs. People wanted to show their support for the barn. People donated money for a sign and placed it in their own yard.

And what happened? Two girls discovered the size and font of our words and printed out the word "Demolish". They then, under the cover of darkness, targeted our signs by using clear packing tape and taping the word "Demolish" over the word "Save". They even had the audacity to deface a sign in the yard of a West Des Moines Police Officer.

The teenage girls were identified. When a parent of one of the girls was informed about what her daughter had done, the mother replied, "She has her right to free speech."

Well, yes she does. But not when it is trespassing onto private property and defacing personal property. That, my friends, is a crime. The mother continued and, all while having Jesus fish on the back of all of her vehicles, used the "F" word in denying what her child had participated in was a crime. That's REAL Christian.

I'm all for the first amendment. If there are people out there who want to "demolish" the barn, they have the same right that we do. They can make signs of their own, ask people if they would make a donation and place it in their yard.

Respect? None. Fairness? Not so much. Caring? Not a chance.

But after hearing the parent's reaction, I shouldn't be surprised at how the daughter acted. After all, we as parents are the first teacher. Hate breeds hate.

But there we go again, getting back to Character Counts. Citizenship. We are following the letter of the law. Taking all of the appropriate steps and vocalizing our support (in a legal manner) of a historic landmark. We treasure history. If the original barn owner didn't have the vision he did for West Des Moines, Valley wouldn't be where it is and there may be a landing strip for an airport there.

Quite often I am complimented by strangers about how polite my boys are. Please, thank you, may I etc. I always respond, "It took A LOT of work," and I think that's the problem. Some parents fail to see parenting as a job. And why should it be? Put them in front of Spongebob, let them play their Nintendo DS, don't discipline them because they're just "expressing themselves." The Wii can raise kids, right?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Parents need to be parents, not friends. Parents need to be role models. Parents should NOT just play lip service to Character Counts. They need to live it. Children need to see their parents living it.

Which brings me to "the children". We've heard "think of the children" ad nauseam about the whole Valley expansion. But are we really thinking of the children? Really really thinking of the children? Let's look at the facts:

Keeping the barn in its current footprint does NOT hinder the Valley expansion at ALL.

Any funds put into the barn are funds we have raised and grants. NO taxpayer money is going to the barn. NONE.

No money that would be applied to education is going to the barn. NONE.

The school district (as outlined in the 28E) would not be responsible for ANY of the construction costs or costs of upkeep. NONE.

The benefits?

A historic and educational tool that would be available for teachers and students to use and learn from and in. WIN.

Bragging rights that they have a piece of Iowa history on their campus. WIN.

A beautiful, usable building on campus for the community to enjoy. WIN.

A landmark. WIN.

To quote Michael Scott, "This is a win, win, win." The school board wins, the community wins, the kids win. Win. Win. Win.

Yes, I may be biased as I am as committed as the egg at breakfast. But I believe in preserving history. As Edmond Burke says, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing," which is why I got involved.

I believe in showing my children we respect our forefathers and our state history.

I believe in showing my kids that even when adults disagree, they can come together and compromise to do what is best for everyone.

I believe and do take my kids to school board and city council meetings. I want them to learn how great our Government is and just how it works.

I believe in raising educated, polite, caring, respectful children.

I am a role model. I know my children are watching me. Character counts. We are the first teachers for our children. We must show them how to act, how to speak and how to care. How to be good citizens.

Yes, I know. I didn't attend Valley. I didn't walk by the barn every day for four years. But I grew up in rural Iowa where we still use barns. It is my family heritage. As Iowans, it is all of our family heritage.

If we destroy the barn, we destroy ourselves. Stop the hate. Save the barn.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

So well said, Sarah. I am embarrassed by that parent's response to her daughter's actions. Her daughter's view of right and wrong, unfortunately, is being taught by someone with a crazy belief in what's right or wrong!