USA Today disclosed last week that the average family home in the US has 71 toys. 71?!? I can only remember having two when I was a child — a farm set and a train set. Admittedly, both had multiple pieces. But 71?
Actually, I can believe it. I always seem to be stepping on toys when I walk through our home. Even at our daughter’s in Indianapolis, the living room floor is the favored spot for dumping toys. My wife always said that toys were things to drag from the bedroom and dump on the living room carpet, and then the kids go out and play with a stick.
It wasn’t like this in Africa. Most children there had no toys, unless a family member had made one from a used car tire or an old cardboard box.
When we first moved to the US, I was fascinated by how different American children are from African children; not for the better, I might add. Too many American kids say bad things back to their parents and are more materialistic when it comes to getting things (toys and candy, mostly).
Part of the problem is television programs and commercials. Children put incredible pressure on parents to buy them everything they’ve seen on TV and advertisers know this. Credit cards enable parents to buy – few in Africa have CC’s. One other factor I think all parents should think about – how many buy toys out of guilt? With very little time to devote to children, parents over-compensate by buying lots of things.
I think their offspring would prefer time with Mom and Dad. We didn’t have lots of things growing up, but our mother was always there, thankfully.
One other thing we should be concerned about is not to encourage materialism or greed in our children and grandchildren. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “ (Matthew 6:19-21).
It’s no surprise that Jimmy Fallon and Meryl Streep criticized President-elect Donald Trump Sunday night at the Golden Globes.
Fallon even commented that the Globes are now the only place in America where the “popular vote” counts. Really? I wasn’t asked to vote on the best movies of 2016.
The theater was full, as usual. Many of those seated threatened to leave the United States if Trump won the election. Canada seemed the preferred destination. But they were there at the Globes. Presumably they flew back for the evening!!! Or, perhaps, upon reflection, when they saw how much they would have to pay in taxes in Canada, they decided to stay in the United States.
These people are unreal. (Well, they are actors, after all.) They rake in the millions or hundreds of millions and spend more money on face-lifts and breast enhancements than Donald Trump will ever spend on the military. Their gowns alone cost more than the GNP’s of many countries.
Meryl Streep is a good actress. So are some of the others in the audience. They should stick to acting and stay out of politics, before millions of their fans turn away from them in disgust.
There was also an element of hypocrisy when Meryl Streep, commenting on Donald Trump, warned that violence begets more violence. Hollywood has arguably done more to promote violence than Donald Trump or any other president could possibly do.
Diane and I have just been down to Indianapolis to see our eldest daughter, Alix, her husband, Mike, and their four children. It was an enjoyable and relaxing few days.
I was able to take our two granddaughters, Alyssa and Elena, to tour President Benjamin Harrison’s home in downtown Indianapolis. It was well worth the time and money to tour the historic house. I am pleased to say that both girls asked intelligent and perceptive questions.
President Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States, in office from 1889 to 1893. He replaced Grover Cleveland and was succeeded by the same man, a Democrat. Harrison was a prime example of Churchill’s later dictum: “If you’re not a socialist (liberal) at 20 you’ve got no heart; if you’re still a socialist at 30, you’ve got no head.” He started out as a Whig but later became a Republican.
Historians do not rate his presidency very highly, but it’s interesting to note that he was facing the same issues that confront President-elect Trump today. He raised tariffs on imports to help reduce the federal deficit and built up the navy which had been neglected since the Civil War. (Interestingly, the day we toured the home, a website revealed that, for the first time in decades, there were no US naval vessels on patrol anywhere in the world.)
President Harrison is remembered as the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, who was president for exactly one month. He gave a very long speech at his Inaugural in 1841, caught a cold which developed into pneumonia, and died. The two Harrisons are the only grandfather-grandson presidents in US history.
The second president also saw six states enter the Union during his four-year term, a record number under any chief executive.
It was sobering to note that the three-story home had no indoor plumbing!
It was an interesting visit and I recommend it if you are ever in Indianapolis.
On a different day I took the twins to McDonald’s for an ice cream sundae, followed by a visit to Meijer, a huge grocery store that also sells toys. (The twins would probably describe it as a toy store that also sells groceries!)
When ordering ice cream for them, I asked for a hot tea for myself. The man taking the order responded with “Excuse me?” I repeated my request. He said he had never heard of it! (seriously!) So I asked for the manager and, again, repeated my request for a hot tea. He had at least heard of it. I added a request that the bag be put in the cup before the water as it tastes so much better that way. My order came five minutes later – a styrofoam cup with luke-warm water and a separate tea bag!
I’m pleased to say that Tim Horton’s is moving south – they have now reached Ft Wayne. I think I will stay away from Indianapolis until they move the extra 120 miles! At least the Canadian franchise makes decent tea – just stay away from the donuts.
There was an interesting paragraph Monday morning from an Israeli paper:
“Religious Jews are more excited about Messiah’s return than Christians are,” Markell told WND. “Muslims are more anticipatory about their Mahdi’s return than are Christians about Jesus’s return. This shows the deplorable state of the church today that is ‘majoring in minors.’ They have their finance seminars and marriage conferences but have shoved the idea of the Lord’s imminent return not just to the back burner, perhaps to the back yard.” (WND)
The latest terrorist attack at Fort Lauderdale’s airport is disturbing. It highlights the danger that ISIS is spreading beyond Islam to non-Muslims. The perpetrator of Friday’s attack was an American born Hispanic. If ISIS spreads its influence to hispanics and other minorities in America, attacks like this will only become more common.
A Palestinian drove a truck into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem on Sunday, killing four and injuring dozens. These truck (or lorry) attacks in France, Germany and Israel are also spreading.
NEW YEAR, 1917
We were with Alix and Mike over the New Year’s weekend. Mike came across a quote, supposedly from Russia’s last Czar, Nicholas II, who wrote on the last day of 1916, in the middle of World War I: “1916 was cursed. The new year will surely be better.” Those who know Russian history will be aware that the Czar abdicated in February of 1917, the country was plunged into civil war before the year ended and the royal family were all slaughtered. The “quote” was tweeted by Gary Kasparov, the famous Russian chess player who now lives in the United States. Whether it’s true or not, it should make us think!