Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Plan B is the equivalent of an F - Failure

Plan B? 

The morning-after pill -- made by Duramed, a subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals -- is intended to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It works by stopping ovulation and decreasing the chances that a fertilized egg will attach to the uterus. When used within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can lower the risk of pregnancy by almost 90 percent, the maker says.

The casual nature surrounding the Plan B pill is extremely interesting to me. The pill will be available to "women age 17 and older" the FDA announced today.  What child do you know classifies as a woman at age 17.  I'm not even opening the conversation for true debate - I'm really just reflecting on what I know to be the case.  Every memory of being 17 reminds me that 17 year olds are not women - they are children in more mature bodies.  When I look around at the family members, church members, neighbors and friends who are 17, they too are not women. Young women in training maybe, but do we want Plan B to be part of their educational process? 

For the most part, we're talking about young people who still rely on their parents for food, clothing and shelter.  When, and if they work, they earn what my mother used to affectionately call "play money." Even when I worked as a young "woman" I wasn't responsible for my living expenses and upkeep, I was really just offsetting the tremendous expenses I was incurring.  When I look at who I dated, the decisions I made and the person I thought I wanted to be - I realize that I have evolved into a much different person.  Thank God.  Instead of allowing young girls the time, space and ability to evolve into who they aspire to be, we have created a society that believes fast and easy is the answer for everything.  And we're producing a generation of fast. and easy. 

Planned Parenthood and every group that supports them may very well consider this a victory, which is a sad commentary on our evolution as a society and a community anyway.  The real concern that I have, however, rests with the false premises associated with pseudo abortion as a family planning method. Since when does someone who doesn't qualify as an adult in any other context become woman enough to obtain medical treatment without parental consent?  At 17 I had already graduated from high school, started college and moved into my "higher education experience".  At that time I couldn't get an antibiotic without using the insurance card that was directly tied to the medical coverage my mother paid for.  Allergy medicine required authorization.  How in the world do we go from that to Plan B. 

I surely wish we'd write more articles about Plan A.  I imagine Plan B, Plan C and Plan D could have many alternatives other than the "oops pill."  Oops I shouldn't have had unprotected sex, so let me ingest an emergency (cough) contraception (cough) pill (cough), so that I don't have any of the consequences.  If we continue to believe that the only damage done by poor judgement is physical, we are doing a disservice to the young ladies we are bringing up as the next generation.  We have authored and labeled alternatives as if we are oblivious to the historical, cultural, societal, personal, emotional and financial implications of the choices being made.  I know that someone will write, or think, its a woman's choice.  I dare say, we aren't talking about women at all.  This isn't a choice in my book - plan B offers more stunted growth in decision making.  No wonder we can't problem solve or plan strategically, from an early age we're taught that there are no consequences to our choices. 

We live in an oversexed society that trains young girls from birth that their value is tied to their sexuality and virtue, or lack thereof.  When they are tweens we are preparing them for being teens.  The new teen looks like the equivalent of your average 20 something - with less fashion taste, and even less sense.  We try to make it better by saying that 17 year olds are women and spouting about their rights.  With rights come responsibility, and I don't see very many children at age 17 being ready for all of those either.  What can we expect of the women we are raising, when Plan B is covered in the media like something to celebrate as a culture.  Plan A could be Abstinence.  or Adoption.  or Academics.  or Athletics.  or Aspirations.  or the ability to actually grow up.  

A better name for Plan B would be Plan F - we keep failing our girls. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ah Ha Moment in Domestic Sexy

I have educated quite a few people regarding the reality of domestic sexy - when having your lawn cut is more appealing than flowers. The women in my circle understand the concept, most are married and happily in love with a partner for life who is anything but handy.  A clean car and garage easily rival flowers. Not that I mind the flowers, I just think that there are a variety of more intriguing actions that make a significant impact on my life. Laundry.  Mopping.  Clean Dishes.  Fresh Linen.  and um....changing light bulbs.  

It had been a bit dim upstairs for a few weeks in our household.  I was struggling with noticing the lightbulbs given the other domestic challenges I had been facing.  There's something really challenging about getting enough contract work that you are never at home to do your real work.  My real work is centered out of our home, you know the aspiration to be the Proverbs 31 woman.  I have dreams of blessing my household in the wee hours, yielding high regard for my husband, growing children who value my opinion more than the pop stars.  I was feeling pretty smug about the domestic sexy concept, until my husband turned the lights out on my pride.  He said in so many words - if you really liked domestic sexy you'd make sure I knew it. 

I thought to myself, I just told you how much I value domestic sexy.  He in return offered an astute directive - "I'm a hands on learner.  I'd like to equate some action with your view of domestic sexy."  Oh, okay.  He's talking losing the domestic and the y and he's cool.  Instant reward. 

I was in Staples yesterday and selected printer paper with an instant rebate, vs. a cheaper brand that required a mail in rebate.  I like instant rewards.  I was reminded in that brief moment that my husband likes instant rewards too.  I thought my positive affirmations and a phrase coined after his attention to my domestic priorities was a great reward.  He, however, is in many ways a very simple creature.  I guess wife rain checks aren't the prize I thought they were.  Maybe a bit more instant reward will yield some core association like Pavlov's rat.  Every time you take care of A, I'll take care of T&A.  It sounds so crude and so unlady like and so contractual, it sounds so stiff, I might get my patio and yard done if I did it.   My personal Ah Ha Moment in Domestic Sexy indeed. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Following the Rules - The NPR, IRAN and ESTHER Connection

Years ago when I was young and impressionable I enjoyed listening to the radio in the car.  In fact, it wasn't long after I had graduated from undergrad that I brought my first car.  I got immense pleasure out of the R & B tunes that lingered in the air on the way to and from work. I had always had a cursory relationship with music - I rarely knew the lyrics but loved the rhythm and moods that served as a backdrop to my growing up years.  Then I had my world turned upside down.   I met a nerd boy who loved politics, BBSCon Conferences, talked legislation for recreation and connected to other breeds like him.   And he didn't listen to R & B in the car. We'd head out to the movies or dinner and he'd turn on NPR, and I'd be irritated for 2 reasons - he changed my radio and he listened to stuff I didn't want to hear about. I found many reasons to be irritated and routinely enjoyed turning the music to unheard volumes and listening to the latest pop hit.  

The only problem was my future husband sucked the joy out of my experience.  He slowly implied through word and deed a belief that the majority of our community wasn't really informed about international and political (geopolitical) issues.  I don't like being underestimated.  As my commute times expanded I started realizing that I needed more to keep me awake on the drive - music wouldn't always cut it.  I started listening to NPR.  The problem with this integration into my habits - I stopped enjoying my R & B.  Don't get me wrong, Maxwell will beat Morning Edition many days for me.  Yet, it started to occur to me that the vast majority of music I listened to was a bit foul.  There weren't a lot uplifting experiences being sung to a beat that made me sway - a lot of the lyrics were just plain foul. I started realizing that music alone wasn't fulfilling.  When making the Ohio to Michigan drive I soon learned what public radio, Christian radio and talk radio programs would be of interest any day.  I memorized the little ad jingles and gained a new respect for good comedy - and I got addicted to public radio.  Urggh. I started seeking additional information from the stories, and the days of mindless entertainment just seemed to decrease in volumes.  

So today I was commuting to Martinsville and I turned on the radio.  The topic of the day - IRAN.  A series of callers discussed the shift of the US policy to discuss nuclear energy, the status of Roxana Saberi, and the perceived western media bias regarding Iranians.  A particular caller said that anyone could visit Iran as long as they understood the rules - and followed the rules.  Her voice was of particular interest as she calmly communicated that the issue isn't IRAN, it is the lack of respect for the rules of Iran which are really clear.   I couldn't shake the comment for the remainder of my trip. (Including the portion when I'm a really effective facilitator for non-profit excellence in capacity building and strategic planning.)  I thought to myself, if in all situations we communicate the rules - then we can be exempted from what happens when people don't follow them.  Is that right? 

Roxana Saberi, an American journalist, has been charged with espionage by Iranian authorities.  At last investigation her lawyer had not seen her, or any evidence, in the last 2 weeks.  The Iranian authorities have indicated that she confessed to the charges against her, a charge of espionage that has evolved from operating without press credentials.  She has been in Iran for 6 years, and was due to return to the US this year according to her father.  Her father is Iranian, her mother is Japanese and she was born in the US.  There is something innately wrong with me knowing all of these details.  Further, I have started applying the logic of the guest to all situations.  Did Roxana know the rules and simply break them  - or did the Iranian government decide to use her as a pawn in an intense political climate?  I don't know.  But I admit 15 years after the height of my R & B enjoyment, I care about the fate of Roxana.  My daughter is a promising writer and journalist, and I bet she would travel the nation to write about intriguing things.  If she was writing a book about Iran and the rules of her life were moving targets for political will, I would want someone to care. 

One of my favorite Biblical heroes is Esther, Queen of Persia.  I was an adult before I realized that Iran was known as Persia up until 1935 - which makes it more intriguing when I learn about the political debates of the time.  Nuclear energy not being used for a weapon - uh, okay.  I listened to several callers talk about the poor perceptions of Iran tied to Western media.  I wonder, however, where the dividing line exists between the people and the government.  I was intrigued to hear many people talk of their love of country and culture, while implying that they were not truly represented by their government.  I knew instinctively what they meant.  I knew what Michelle Obama meant when she said she was proud of her country for the first time - and watched the spiral of criticisms from those who didn't understand.  When I read about Esther, she knew the rules and did not follow them.  In fact, she said with the resolve and dignity of a woman who could undeniably lead me - if I die, I die.  Some rules are meant to be broken.   The question becomes, are we ready for all of the consequences?  Can you ever be really ready?  When we are talking about nuclear power, there are going to be consequences in epic proportion. 

I don't know any great leader who doesn't break some of the rules.  My husband aided in the changing of my rules regarding where my recreational energy rests.  I love music, I just love mental stimulation more.  Smart music - that's another post.  But today, my mind is still racing about politics, rules and consequences. 

Obama is breaking the rules with his choice to talk to other governments.  Everyone and their mother has an opinion.  We aren't making the choices, but the consequences will be ours to share.  Roxana Saberi made choices, but the consequences seem desperately out of her control. I was led to think about Esther in the midst of these reflections, a young Queen anointed and appointed by God.  She knew the rules and made the decision to do what was right regardless.  The rules would have her dead, but she rests in the mind and hearts of millions because of a choice to seek God.  Its hard to seek anything if you aren't open to what exists within our world.  More importantly, without some perspective about how God can use anyone, we might actually believe that its all about the rules.  All about God's rules yes, the rules that others create, not so much.  Rules are made and broken on any given day - some we cherish for their bravery, others we mourn for their risk.  

I'm glad that I can rock out to Keyshia Cole and see the connection between what we hear, what we see and what we believe.  Rules are only relevant if we are in covenant with the person who created them.  Saberi doesn't appear to have been connected to the Iranian Rules.   If it isn't God's Rules we're talking about though, breaking them is in season and the connections between what comes to us is intimately tied to how we understand a much bigger picture.  A picture where some of life's best moments are breaking rules.    

Friday, April 3, 2009

Michelle Represents Us Well

There have been so many articles written about the fashion trends of Michelle Obama, I certainly didn't need to write anything about it.  Yet, I've decided to write about the more salient point - Michelle represents the US and her family well.  I measure my personal responsiveness to the pictures, the debates and the criticisms, by the feedback of my 9 year old daughter.  She looked at this picture and said that Michelle Rocks.  Rock On First Lady, Rock On. 

During an age where Hannah Montanna gets way too much attention in the world of my child, I'm pleased that her fashion sense gets a bit of guidance from an Ivy League trained Lawyer with good home training.  I am thankful for the ability to block out the debate about which designers she wears and the ethnicity of those who fuss that she isn't wearing their particular design.  She embodies confidence and comfort in her own skin, a mighty good place to be given the world of daggers directed her way.   

My little one has a wealth of role models right before her eyes, and I'm glad that Michelle adds to the overall mix of intelligent and poised women of substance.  In my mind I've got a dated soundtrack combination of India Arie and D'Angelo playing a medley of pride to these images of beauty.