How to protect your kids with #saynoandtell

Women everywhere shared brave stories of everything from “putting up with” to surviving sexual abuse with the #metoo campaign in 2017, bringing attention to the severity of a widespread yet “hush hush” problem. You probably saw social media posts of friends, neighbors, teachers, or peers you never would have known suffered through some kind of sexual abuse coming forward to share that, yes…”me, too.” Brave, sad, enraging, despicable, inhumane – these were all words that came to mind as I read these #metoo stories.

It got me thinking about my own passion for humans and feminism, but more importantly after becoming a mom, it got me thinking about my kids. My two girls, specifically. While I applaud all the women for coming forward and appreciate having a platform to share the problem in an explosive way, I just kept coming back to my kids. My girls. Stories I’ve heard. Things that have been said to me. I don’t want them to join a #metoo campaign years from now. I don’t want to applaud their bravery or feel sad and enraged. I want it to stop. I need it to stop for them and all the little innocent boys and girls who grow into vulnerable teens. I need it to stop because it just has to.

4 common grammar mistakes (and how to fix them).

Even before I became a high school English teacher, I felt passionately about correct grammar. Strangely enough, I never received strong formal grammar instruction in school because when you were in the advanced English classes, the emphasis was on reading, critical thinking, and writing.

As any avid readers can relate, grammar and vocabulary comes more naturally the more you read because you internalize the rules and words in practical action. I think grammar and vocabulary are actually more effective this way. Although, admittedly, I do not know all the grammar rules and crazy nuances that come with our wonderful English language, I actually do not think they are all that important.

Woah.

Did the English teacher really just say that? Yes, I sure did. Let me explain though. I value being able to write and speak compelling arguments. How compelling will your argument be if you have incorrect spelling, poor grammar, and limited vocabulary? Not very, you guessed it.

Why are white people whispering the word ‘black’?

Here’s my disclaimer as I open up a racial conversation: I’m a white woman living in the Chicago suburbs where I also grew up. My husband, family, and neighbors are white. In grammar school, I can remember two girls who were black, and in a high school of about 2600 people, everyone around me was pretty much white. I honestly can only recall one black student, without thinking too deeply or consulting my yearbook, because he dated a girl in my social circle. The most colorful part of my day was in my locker hallway: I was sandwiched between the fun-loving, kind group of Albanians and a group of harmless, white boy potheads, and, only to be discovered years later, across the hall from two lesbians. Oh, and I had a friend who was Jewish, how very exotic.

Some people may criticize and say I’m not the right kind of person to write about race because I’m white; I don’t even really know many black or brown people. But I think I’m exactly the type of person who should be talking about this, and hopefully other people who look like me will listen, and people who don’t look like me will weigh in.

I love my town and had a great education there, but it wouldn’t be until I went to college that I realized the white extent of the sheltered bubble I lived in.

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