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Laura's Corner

I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.

We don't need you anymore...

Shocking, yes, but for many, these words are commonplace.  In today’s society, there are millions of people who have already heard these words, yet many more will hear them within a certain amount of time.
With companies downsizing, unable or unwilling to pay promised salaries, employees are being shown the front, back or side doors.  In some cases, many are simply locked out of their computers and instructed to leave quietly. 
Although Americans are aware of this growing trend, many are ill-prepared to deal with the “hurricane” brewing amongst us. Many are dealing not only with the loss of income but the shock that assists us in forgetting about the other necessities of life. Have you become accustomed to health, dental, 401K, investments? Are you prepared to shell out big dollars for the health care which is offered to you upon the loss of your job? 
How in the world can we begin to heal a broken society?  How do we prepare for a torrential downpour?   There is no way an umbrella can cover you from this storm.  There is not a  bandaid large enough to heal a cut this deep.
It is time American, to begin to realize that everyone is replaceable.   Despite your degree from any well-known higher learning center, you are at risk of being replaced by another who will work for less than half of what your company is paying.   Unless you own the company, you may be “the next one”.   Have you noticed how often most employees will never meet the president of the company?   If you have, it may have been at a company wide function or meeting.  I bet 9 times out of 10 you have still never been formally introduced and had a face to face conversation with the owner.  Could this be so that when it is time to let you go, he or she has no emotional attachment to yourself?  How do we get prepared and how can we safeguard ourselves from the chopping block?

First and foremost, do not put your “stake” in one company.  Your job is to keep your eyes and ears open to the possibility of accepting a new position.   How sad it is to hear when a person has “served” 20 years of their life at a company only to be cut without pay or loss of pension?  How many times did this person believe, “it won’t happen to me”. The company is not responsible for you when you are gone.  They have cut others, probably many others, the same way.  Companies will never be held liable.  Today, I have rarely heard of a time when a new hire has signed an employment contract.   If they have, it usually states they have to right to terminate without notice.  It also states you have the right to resign at any time as well. 

Secondly, save your money.  At this time, with gas and grocery prices rising, think about what you need, not what you want.  Take a long hard look at your living expenses.  Think about what your parents or grandparents lived on and realize that life wasn’t so bad back then. Most every woman I know over the age of 60 was able to stay home and raise her children.  My maternal grandparents lived a very simple life.  My grandfather worked and my grandmother stayed home and raised 8 children.  They had a modest home, one they could afford and a vehicle which was paid for.  They did not have extravagant expenses and paid for everything in cash.  They did not have credit cards, car payments and lived within their means.  They never felt “less than” and saved enough to be able to retire and travel the world.  They put their wealth in their family.  They were a strong couple and did not succumb to the pressures of the world to keep up with the Joneses. 

Thirdly, take a long hard look at your personal surroundings.  If you look inside your closet, what will you find?  How about the inside of your garage?  Is there anything of value which you rarely use, or feel is used to impress others?  If you lost this item, could you live without it?  If you feel the answer is yes, and it is paid for, consider selling it. Pay down your living expenses.   Do you own many items comparable to jewelry, shoes, purses, etc?  There are many sites online which charge a minimal amount for you to post and sell these items. Better yet, hold a rummage sale.  Whatever you make put towards paying off high interest credit cards or car loans. 

Another item on the agenda are non-necessary expenses.  Do you feel the need to purchase items for your children which they could not afford to pay for themselves?  How about the cell phones in your home?  Does your child really need one?  How about that MP3 player or the newest game system?  Who pays for the games, which can run $30 on up?  Can our children live without these items?  I believe so!  How about they go interact with their friends in the neighborhood, the way we used to. Without these items our children would eventually break out of their “online” shells and have relationships with others on the block.  Initially, cutting back regarding your children will be very difficult.  At this time you have to realize that what is most important is the environment they are living in, not what they are surrounded with.   Unless they make their own money and can afford their own extracarriculars, your only responsibilities are to ensure they feel
loved, safe and are raised with boundaries.  Time with them will be your greatest investment and is absolutely free.   

Let’s take a look at our own personal expenses.  If you sold the expensive vehicle you owned, could you afford to purchase a less expensive vehicle with cash?  A girlfriend of mine owned a very expense SUV, which she was paying at least $600 a month for. She sold  that vehicle, saved up for a couple of months, and purchased a less expensive vehicle for under $3000.00.   It did not have the same luxuries, but what it did include was piece of mind and less gas. 

Next, it is time to throw yourself out there and find new employment.  How, you may ask?  Get on the internet and do your research.  There are many places available to find work.  Stop by your local employment temp agency and make an appointment to fill out paperwork.  Give them your resume and keep in touch.  Each major city should have a job assistance agency.  Your local library allows free computer and internet usage.  Stop by and prepare to spend a couple of hours in order to invest in your future.  Ask friends and family members if they know anyone who is hiring.   They may open the door to a new avenue, something you may not have considered previously. 

Ever consider going back to school?  Most employers require a degree of some sort to begin at an entry level position.  Many universities have grants or scholarships available to lower income families.   Even if you begin taking general classes, it is something you can include on your resume.  Knowing you are working towards a college degree is something most employers will favor. 

Get ready, prepare and the loss of employment may not be a stressful one.  When we realize that we only have one life, and freedom of choice, we can empower ourselves to be prepared for any situation.  Take control and do not allow someone else to decide your fate.  Be open to the idea that the loss of this job may be exactly what you needed.  It may help you to become a stronger individual and open your eyes to a new and exciting adventure.  Take the opportunity to grow and learn.   Keep your chin up and don’t give up for one minute. 


Toddlers smoking? Who knew?

Has anyone heard the recent news? I am sure we all have. As a mother of teenage daughters, I have been taken aback, to say the least. A new phase of moms and dads has come aboard. Not sure why, but some of these superstar parents now believe that allowing their children to smoke is a good idea. Recent news has come to light that two parents have been caught allowing their toddlers smoke marijuana. Unbelievable. What is more shocking is that these "parents" are being allowed to keep their children. Funny. I always thought this was an illegal substance. Yet, the police and child protective services believe these parents deserve the right to keep their children in their "care"? The most recent was an innocent two year old whose account was recorded on a cell phone. In the background, the child's mother states, "I hope I don't get in trouble for this". Guess what? You won't. You might as well give him his own personal stash so he can begin dealing at day care. The sooner the better. What is so great is that your two year old will not be held accountable and neither will you. Come on people. How far have we come? Why are these women choosing to put the welfare of their children on the backburner? How low can one's self esteem be that they are willing to sacrifice their young babies for the entertainment of others? Is it time we require common sense classes to every parent prior to them leaving the maternity ward? Another story comes to light as early as this afternoon. A young child goes to the Greenfield Ponderosa with his mother and aunt. While his mother is paying for the food, this child not only has a cigarette in his mouth but his aunt is seen attempting to light it for him. An employee of the restaurant steps in and tells them to take the cigarettte out of this child's mouth. KUDOS to the employee for stepping in. I am sure this employee was shaking in his or her boots but knew it was the right thing to do. (The full story is in the link below) I am so angered that this type of behavior appears to be of normal behavior for certain individuals. I am sure these parents will blame the system, school, friends, others and anyone else when this child ends up the next drug dealer or prisoner. Most importantly, if this behavior occurs in public, what goes on behind closed doors? God only knows. I can honestly say that if I see injustice occuring, I step in. One instance comes to mind. I was in line at a Walgreens. The mother in front of me was with her lively 5 year old. This "mother" stated to her 5 year old, "You are stupid just like your father, you are an idiot, shut up, etc". I could not believe my ears. I was with my own daughters who knew I was going to blow my top. As we both left the store, I was about 15 feet from her. I said to this woman, "Do you love your son"? and she replied, "Of course", I went on to inform her that I didn't believe that she told him she loved him, not once. I told her that my daughters know I love them because I tell them so. She went on to say that her behavior was not my business yet I told her if I heard it, it was. Another instance occurred at PickNSave. I am in line and a mom and her 7 year old son were directly in front of me. This boy decided to rest for a minute and put his head down. This mother smacked her son on the back of the head and told him to "get up, you aren't finished yet". (putting about 3 more items on the belt). Again, my heart was pounding, but I took a deep breath. As we walked out of the store, I asked her if she had ever been slapped? She stated she had and I said, "Didn't feel good, did it"? Needless to say we have our hands tied. The law is becoming more and more lenient to these types of crimes. How sad. How much more lax have to become? When is it going to be illegal to allow your child harmful substances? Does anyone in the court system realize the type of damage which will be instilled on other children? If these types of parents know they will only receive a slap on the wrist they will likely continue to test the waters. Let's stand up for innocent children and others. You may be the only person who is willing to do what is right. I know that someday, one of the children I stand up for will remember what I have done and pay it forward. He or she will say, "Because of the kindness of that woman, my life was changed". It may give him or her the chance for a normal life. Do what is right and make a difference.


My daughter's a racist?

Alright, here's the story.  My youngest daughter decided to become a part of the yearbook committee.  She volunteered her time and energy to school, staying late many nights in order to complete the yearbook for all of the students in her high school. 

To give you a background on the school, it is a Milwaukee Public School.  Many of the children are bussed and are from different ethnic backgrounds.  My daughters tend to get along well with others, my youngest being a little more headstrong than the oldest.   She stands up for what she believes in and is an honor student.  She has no problem getting along with others and has never been in trouble at school or with the law. 

Moving on with my story, what happened recently shocked me.  My daughter was working on the yearbook and had stayed late into many nights with a teacher to complete the DVD for talent night.  I gave her two thumbs up for her effort and missed her when she was gone.  She put a lot of time and effort into the project.  The DVD was the last item on the agenda for the talent show.  As we patiently watched the other students perform, I saw the excitement in her eyes.  She couldn't wait for me to see the grand finale. 

The video went on without a hitch.   Everyone in the auditorium clapped and cheered as they viewed pictures of their friends, teachers and other events.   I do admit, although I may be bias, that it was a good quality video.  Except for a couple of misspelled words, I believed that they would sell quite a few DVD's after the show.

So, here comes the day after...  I will call it THE STORM.  For some odd reason, many of the students, "minorities", stated that my daughter and everyone else on the yearbook committee were racists.  Supposedly they did not include enough picture of African Americans, Hispanics or any other races.  I could not believe my ears as my daughters went on to tell me that one of the girls went so far as to state she would "get" my youngest daughter, that she would kick her "butt". 

What started as a very proud moment, turned into a nightmare for everyone involved.   How can something so innocent as a yearbook project turn into something racist?

In thinking back, if we are completely honest, everything at one time or another turns into a "racist" card.  If you look at someone of a different race funny, you are racist.  If you state the "n" word, you are racist.  If you don't vote for Obama, you are racist too!

I recall one moment, way back when.  I am sitting in a local mall.  My purse was on the table.  A man, not naming his nationality, put his tray on MY table and decided to tie his shoes.  I immediately moved my purse onto my lap.  The last thing I want is to have a stranger steal my purse with all of my belongings.  The man was on his cell phone.  He starts speaking very loudly to whomever was on the other end.  He mentioned "that white girl", "I make 100 times more money than her", "she moved her purse onto her lap, like I was going to steal it", "she must be a racist". 

First off, regardless of your race, age or sex, this is my purse.  I can do whatever I want with it.  I don't have to defend myself.  Of course you will pull the racist card, it is probably what you do best.  So, if you ask out a "white" girl, and she says no, she must be racist too, correct? 

If we look at recent history, as a caucasian female, I am discriminated against more often than not.  I am a tall blonde.  How many blonde jokes do you hear?  Probably more than you would care to admit.  Do I call anyone a racist?  Of course not!  Blonde is part of who I am.  It is not like I am  going to dye my hair brown to avoid the inevitable. 

Anyhow, back to my original thought.  What's a mom to do?  Wait until someone attacks my daughter?  Of course not!  The solution is to address the problem and have an open forum discussion.  Is the school going to agree to this?  Probably not, but is my next step contacting the authorities? 

A few questions to the students accusing my daughter of being a racist.  Where have you been the past couple of weeks when these kids were putting together the yearbook?  I mean, it wasn't as if it was a closed group.  Everyone was invited to give their input.  Yet, where were you?  At home, waiting for the final product?  Kind of reminds me of the Little Red Hen.  She asks for help and no-one raises their paws.  She works and works and works.  The others decide they will reap the benefits of her work.  Yet, in the end, she denies them the goods.  Kudos to you Red Hen!

I say, if you don't like the yearbook, don't buy it.  It will be your loss.  When it is your 20 year high school reunion, and you are missing yours, don't blame me!  Blame yourself.   Better yet, if you want it put together differently, do the work yourselves.  Form your own committee and put the time and energy into the book for next year.   I wish you the best.  I am sure it will turn out exactly the way you want it. Give up your spare time, the time you would spend on the computer or texting your friends.  Stay up late, until 1am, and wake up early for school.  Do it!  I dare you! 

Quit calling my daughter a racist.  If she were hispanic or african american and the same yearbook had been broadcast, would you accuse her of being a racist as well?  Probably not!   

In closing, I want to say, let's throw out the race card. If something doesn't go your way, let it go.  The bible never stated life would be fair.  If someone doesn't like you,  more than less likely, it is because of the way you treat others.  Being black, white, hispanic, asian or any other race does not make you "less than".  It means you are different, as we were created to be.  Do not use your skin color as a tool to "get back" at other races.  Do not condemn me as a caucasian individual if we are not the best of friends.  Does it really matter?  Probably not.  

Until next time america!

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