Mindless in America

A telemarketer called a few days ago. He was promoting a new organization and hoping to sell wholesome family films.

The idea was admirable. No one can argue, against the fact, that there are too many images of violence and “adult” subject matter available to children on prime time television. Soon enough, it became clear that he was reading a script.

It was a time, in my work day, when I was getting my day care charges ready to go home so I was distracted and rushed. My manners have always kept me from just hanging up, so I listened. I also always figure that the person,calling, is earning a living and deserves, at least, a few moments.

As I listened, he repeatedly said,” Studies show…” . Then, he started saying that Spongebob was an example of mindless broadcasting to be avoided because “Studies show, this is also a poor choice.”

He had my interest, at first. But frustrated from not being able to get a word in and the time constraints…after all, I was “on the job”… made me lose my patience. This is what I told him:

“I believe you are promoting a worthy cause and this call is your job, but when you have said repeatedly, “studies show” and have expected that you could convince me without telling me where the studies were conducted, who did them, and how many people were studied, suggest that you are the mindless one here or you believe that I am. I grew up watching the Three Stooges and never once was tempted to hit someone with a hammer. There is definitely too much violence on TV, sir. The greater problem, in my opinion, is the cultural break down of the American family. If you have any interest in the success of your organization, I suggest you change your speech and get real. I have no extra money to invest and I thank you for trying, good-bye.”

Now, I wonder, how many people are willing to believe the rhetoric “studies show” without pause?  I don’t really want to know because it scares me too much to consider further.

The original Three Stooges in Soup to Nuts
The original Three Stooges in Soup to Nuts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Calling all imaginations…

There is an alarming trend in kid toys in recent years. I’ve watched 2-year-old toddlers receive toys that made no noise, did not light up, and did not ask them to play. The kids are tossing them aside people. The same can be said for greeting cards that contain no money…junk, in the eyes of modern day youngsters.

Yes, some of those electronic toys are cool, but Lincoln Logs are really cool too. Play dough factories are insults to the imagination. Playing with just a few tools and your hands is a fascinating enterprise. A wondrous transformation from a 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional plane is waiting to be awakened in kids. A cardboard refrigerator box makes the grandest spaceship. Threading macaroni on yarn is the best jewelry maker. Just plain making bubbles with a wand allows so much room for creativity.

Greeting cards should NOT contain anything but a message. What ever happened to, “It’s the thought that counts.” ? We are creating the glitz and glam, that’s barren of imagination.
Fewer toys, no batteries, and more thoughts are needed desperately!
Don’t go crazy and throw all the “new” toys out. I suggest that you hide them and bring them out after the kids have had their share of pretend time.
Two tin cans on a string made for hours of fun when I was a kid. I really feel a pang of loss when I see kids with “real” cell phones as toys.

If I were to recommend one, over looked activity, that will bring back a sense of wonder to childhood, I’d choose puppet making. Anyone can make a puppet from a sock or wooden spoon. You’d be very surprised how little they have to resemble Kermit to evoke fun and imagination. Try drawing a face on the inside of your thumb. Making “Thumbkin” talk can make for discussions that will amaze you.
Try drawing in the dirt with a stick. Try using only one color when painting. Make any inanimate item have a voice. NOW, watch the fun and ideas flow!

Imagination is the strongest sense that we have. Don’t let the kids in your life let theirs die.

Stranger Danger

You are wiser than you’ve ever been.

Your brain knows right from wrong.

There’s a story I must tell,

Because I know you’re strong.


A stranger shouted out my name.

I didn’t know his face.

He said he needed help from me,

Which COULDN’T be the case.

I  ran away as he approached,

Keeping lots of space!

NO adult needs help from kids.

So I kept that speedy pace.

If a person’s strange, that IS the rule.

Away from them you race!

Even if they shout or cry,

Quickly leave that place!


Remember manners don’t even count,

When there comes up a  stranger.

You won’t get at all  in trouble, friend,

You’ll get right out of  danger!



Once a pond a time, there was a wee brown frog known as Muckapog.

He got his name from his extraordinary brown color that resembled the mucky pond bottom more than the brilliant green meadow nearby.

The other polliwogs thought Muckapog was sooo cool. He could hide at the bottom and never be found. They all wanted to be just like him.

As the days rolled by, the polliwogs got greener and Muckapog got sassier. All the attention had gone to his head. Muckapog never used his manners and often stuck his tongue out at the “greenies”.

There came a day when the polliwogs graduated into real frogs. Their sleek, long legs, and perfectly polka-dotted bodies were a delightful sight.

Muckapog was soon forgotten when the meadows called with adventures to be had. He dared not go into the meadow. Brown did not belong there and he would be gobbled up by the first bird, if he stuck out. Now, being different was not such a treat. He began to regret having been so rude to the others.

Instead of sassy, he felt alone and afraid. None of the “greenies” wanted anything to do with him since he had been very unkind to them in those early days.


Muckapog noticed a water bug skating by his ear.

“Hey, Muckasnob!”

“That’s Muckapog please.”

“You’re not so sassy now! I’ve had my eyes on you for a while. I’ve seen your kind come and go fella. A water bug doesn’t get to be MY age, in a frog pond,without a few brains.”

“Please sir. I don’t know what to do and this water is becoming uncomfortable to me.”

“Tell ya what, Muckafee. I’ll answer your question if you’ll answer one of mine. Deal?”

“Oh yes pleeease.”

“Why is it you youngsters NEVER learn humility until it’s too late?”


“Gosh,Muckaputts, humility means you consider other creatures’ feelings not just your own.”

” Well, I was very cool. I could hide the best. I didn’t care, they loved me…I was wrong, wasn’t I?”

“Exact-a-duh Muckadude! Those me and I s  have got to go!”

“Thank-you. Will you help now?”

“Your answer was in your reflection, Muckypants. You aren’t more special than the others just different. You are a wood frog, my friend.”

“A wood frog?”

“Yup, Muckadunce, you belong in the woods over there. Now take a hop outta here!”

“Might I ask one more thing, sir?”

“What do I look like? Google Earth?”

“If you are telling me to be kind to others…why are YOU so rude to me?”

“I’m just a water bug, what the heck do I know?