Giving Thanks

boys walking

I have been quite a laggard in postings. My apologies to my loyal reader. As the turkey roasts, I am thinking about the thanks I am giving.

  • I am thankful that the 17-year-old hooked me up with my new favorite band. Great music to prep Thanksgiving Dinner by.
  • I am thankful that the Spouse has cooked dinner pretty much every night since September 15. AND has done the dishes, too.
  • I am thankful that the 14-year-old has introduced me to the FIERCE sport of wrasslin’. Little girls cried during the last meet. Fierce, I tell you.
  • I am thankful for working in the Bush administration. Without those guys, I would have never learned new levels of tolerance–and never loved so many Republicans. Yes, they are people, too.
  • I am thankful that we have good health insurance, didn’t get dumb in the mortgage market, live within our means and have stable jobs. I pray that the new guys–with our help–make changes so that more people can give this set of thanks next year.
  • I am thankful for Facebook. Sounds dumb, but it’s like living in a far-flung dorm–low pressure way to be in the lives of people you care about. (Sibling, get on the stick!)
  • I am thankful that my mother is a fighter. She has been in rehab 3 times over the past year, after a fall, a broken ankle, and then major GI surgery. Each time we worried that she might be too tired to push her 85-year-self through rehab. And each time she proves us wrong.
  • I am thankful that I have the best spouse, kids and dog in the whole wide world. Bar none. No one can dispute this. Don’t even try.

And I am thankful to you, my loyal reader. I write this mostly for me, but am thankful that you take some of your time to think with me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friend Request

Image of part of a Facebook profile page.Every couple of weeks I send a Facebook friend request to the 16-year old. I just now sent another one.

Me: Hey, did you get my friend request?
Him: I don’t know.

or

Me: I sent you another friend request.
Him: I know.

Facebook is an online networking group originally for college students, and then high-school students, to keep in touch. You create a personal page and can send out electronic “friend” requests. “Friends” can send messages, post photos and videos, and add new friends. All from the comfort of your own computer. In 2006, they opened up the floodgates and let even old geezers like me in. That’s the problem.

The Post today has front page (don’t ask me why) story on “When Mom or Dad Asks to Be a Facebook Friend.” And kids, here is the right answer.

JUST SAY NO!

Of course, I am stalking the 16-year old to be my “friend.” I’m the parent, that’s what I do. But frankly, he should be able to exchange pleasantries–and not so pleasantries–with his peers. And, I AM NOT HIS PEER.

I don’t want to be a peer. My role in this show is to be the parent. Part of him growing up means that I don’t get to know everything. I don’t need to know that there is a group “Get Guy Laid.” Really, I don’t need to know. And he needs a modicum of privacy.

Okay, I know why we want to know. We want to protect our kids. And wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them germ free. But I also know that that is no way to grow up. The path to adulthood is fraught with danger. That path has got to be traveled, and decisions on which turn to take have to be made by the traveler. Otherwise they can’t become adults.

That’s really the point of parenthood. We take our precious babes and help them to grow up and leave us behind. From a 7 pound eating-pooping machine to a 6-footer able to make good decisions when he comes home to a broken pipe in the basement. And hopefully when confronted with even harder choices, too.

We succeed when they are successfully independent. Not if they have no bruises. Not if they don’t make mistakes. Not if they don’t take risks.

By the time they are rejecting our Facebook friend requests, they are working from whatever we gave them. Not like we don’t matter anymore, but they are applying the lessons we gave to the ever widening world they live in in high school and in college. We don’t need to spy. There are other ways to know your kid.

So yes, I will continue to bug the 16-year old about being my friend. He has 289 to my paltry 19. But I don’t need him to be my friend. He is already my son.

And good for me that he doesn’t read this. Otherwise, he would never take me seriously.

What Were They Thinking?

Facebook worth $15 billion? Don’t tell Microsoft, but I think that they got took.

This stuff–from Facebook son of MySpace son of (do you remember?) Xanga son of something else– and all those zillions of identities and passwords we can’t remember, reminds me of the freeways in the 70’s. Instead of billboards we have banner ads. Instead of Styrofoam Big Mac boxes we have a cyber-landscape littered with forgotten passwords and logins. Databases with data junking up some one’s server. No value. And doesn’t break down well.

So, Big Bill and Co. sink $240 million for 1.6% of the “company.” I half wonder if the Google-guys tricked them into the investment.

I mean, c’mon. They don’t even have a sock puppet. Yet.