A Meeting of the Minds…

Former First Lady, Michelle Obama and the Actress-Activist Tracee Ellis Ross

At the store this morning, I started up a conversation with a man behind me in the check out line. He looked tired, and I soon found out why…

“My wife had a baby on Wednesday night,” he said, “a little girl.”

“You’re kidding! I had my 65th birthday on Wednesday,” I replied.

That surprised and pleased him. He added that they already have a 2 year old son, and this little girl will complete their happy family. His smile stretched from pierced ear to pierced ear. His cart overflowed with baby stuff, He also had a bouquet of red tulips and a yellow Tonka truck… presumably for his wife and their little boy.

I try to embrace “diversity and individualism” but some kinds of “diversity and individuality” are easier to embrace than others.  And piercings and tattoos are not my personal preference.  Nonetheless, I had to admit that the man behind me radiated all the IMPORTANT “good daddy attributes”.

I walked in the same direction as him through the parking lot, and I caught a glimpse of an energetic little guy bouncing in the front seat of an older model sedan. A woman I assumed to be the boy’s mother cuddled her pink-blanketed bundle of joy… she was conventional-looking with flowing chestnut hair… She waved at her husband, and he hurried to her side.  Their happiness touched me.

The young family stayed on my mind. And today, I watched a video that I wish I had seen as a new mother. In fact, I hope everyone on the planet will watch it. The 40 minute clip features former First Lady, Michelle Obama and the Actress-Activist Tracee Ellis Ross having a conversation on stage at the “United State of Women Summit 2018”, in Los Angeles, CA.

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/wzZunHRn_uz/United+State+Women+Summit+2018+Day+1

The two celebrated women speak about the importance of helping children to keep the openness they are born with and to use their unique voices. They believe children come into the world with no negativity… but it doesn’t take long for others’ opinions to influence them.  Obviously, the children who are shown love and acceptance fare best. Good mommies and daddies raise strong-minded sons and daughters who have values,  work hard., and do not feel threatened by differences… They thrive on change.

The father whose path briefly crossed mine, and the words spoken by Michelle Obama and Tracee Ellis Ross reminded me once again, to be accepting of change… and respectful of others’ differences and personal choices.

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12 thoughts on “A Meeting of the Minds…

  1. I read in “The Secret” that we are all originally programmed to be positive as we go through life and being positive in our way of thinking was the secret behind the world’s greatest geniuses and most successful people. As we grow up the “no-no’s” of our life evolve into monsters that forever alter our ways of thinking and living. One of the most important things I got out of “The Secret” is to turn the negatives of everyday living into positives and, believe me, that is VERY HARD work. An example: When you are rushed for an appointment and your panicky response is “I don’t want to be late”, that is a sure-fire guarantee you will be late due to delays and other obstacles. If you turn that statement around and force yourself to think “I want to be on time”, positive things happen and you will be on time.

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    1. This ia a great comment Sharron. We try to live our days keeping “upset” to a minimum… not realizing that we’re propagating that very thing with our inflexibility. If we could just relax about the “notion of time”, we would be much better off. I think this is why a lot of people enjoy living in Mexico.

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  2. I certainly raised two strong-minded children! Dani is more subtle about it, but she can ‘kick butt’ if she has to. John has had to learn to ease back on the cavalry charge. When he was 27 months old, he negotiated the ‘nanny rules’ with a new nanny. When I came home she announced that he was going to be a lawyer. In 10 days he convocates from law school at UBC.

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  3. It can be even more difficult when that tattooed, pierced person is your own child! Our daughter got a facial piercing, a “Monroe”, on her 18th birthday. I would not consent to it when she was under age. A Monroe is a piercing that mimics the mole that Marilyn Monroe had slightly above her lip. I was quite unhappy with our daughter at the time, but have to admit that it would now be strange for her to not have it. Shortly after she got her piercing my Dad was staring at it. Finally he asked, “how does it not cut up your mouth on the inside?”. His experience was with seeing earrings and the post showing through the back of the ear. So she unscrewed it and showed him it was flat inside, and the post was to the front and that’s where the jewelry screwed on. He was quite accepting of her piercing, he just wanted to know how it worked.

    When she was about 24 she got a full back tattoo and I was NOT PLEASED. I’m still not very happy about it, but it seems to mean a lot to her. She since got a two-part tattoo that wraps around her upper arm. I know the reason and the deep meaning of these and am totally on board with them. (Not that my opinion matters much!)

    In all other ways she is “conventional”. She is a young, university educated, professional woman, who has an excellent job and is rising in the ranks. She has her head firmly on her shoulders, knows who she is and what her goals are in life. Her seeming contradictions are a good reminder to me to not judge a book by it’s cover.

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    1. Joanne, it seems we have similar opinions and feelings as well as names. It is a stretch sometimes to accept attitudes and behaviours that are so different from our own… but we have to encourage our children to be who they are… and I am now accepting that for some people, the tattoos are a statement about all that. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. You’re right… what I did at 18 and 24 was not easily wiped away, was it? But I am not judging… to the contrary, I am admitting that I have learned to look at many behaviours, ways of life, work styles and even tattoos with different eye. It is fine people like the young dad I met, like Dani and Connie who are changing my mindset.

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  4. When I was 17 I told my newborn daughter that When she grew I would never tell her what to do and how to be. I hoped she would take the life lessons I had shown her and live with them and create her own. She is the joy of my life and I have been so proud of her. She’s been with her husband over 30 years owned her own business 24 years toured with her band all over Europe. She has a pink Mohawk and many tattoos for years and my favorite is the full back of Frankenstein and the Bride. She is 55 years old and my best friend. So by all means, don’t judge. Instead think positive♥️

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    1. I know Connie and her brother, Matt… they are every inch the fine human beings you raised them to be… and that’s what Michelle Obama stressed… we need to let our children have their own voices… and you did that. My personal feelings about tattoos have not altogether positive because of their permanence. Once they are on, it is pretty hard to have them taken off. But I must say I am changing my opinion somewhat… one fellow told me that his tattooed body was like his story board. Like my blog? Not quite, the blog can be edited…

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  5. I have known very unconventional parents whose children turn out splendidly and others who try to do everything just “right” whose children struggle with many issues in their adult lives. There doesn’t seem to be a predictable correlation. Regarding the celebration of diversity as part of a child’s education, I couldn’t agree more about how important that is. I send out a big thank you to my deceased parents for teaching me to respect and honor all races and creeds.

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    1. Well said Chloe… I too thank my parents for the lessons they Taught me… and they certainly allowed me to march to my different drummer… I bet if I’d spoken more with the tattooed daddy I met in th store, we’d find that my life has been more unconventional than his will ever be… You can’t always tell a book by its cover…

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