Articles by Connye Griffin

Connye Griffin
My life has both purpose and meaning because I weave words together to inform, inspire, and illustrate. As a former teacher with thirty-seven years of experience and now as a freelance writer and editor, I have coached others to communicate their messages effectively and listened closely to help others record their memories. I have written, edited, and coached all my days, and these have made for very good days.

Never Burn Bridges– You Only End Up Burning Yourself

Burning bridges is an ill-advised, final emotional act, one that will not serve any of us well. First, the satisfaction in telling off someone is brief. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have found a fair degree of self-loathing present after I have told off another. At the very least, I set a higher standard for myself–in spite of the occasional failure to meet that standard. I wish to treat others as I would like to be treated, the old Golden Rule. Whether someone deserves a sound verbal drubbing or not just doesn’t measure up to the standards I strive to meet.

Discovering Celiac Disease: My Gluten-Free Way

Choosing a gluten-free diet is popular right now, even among people who do not have an allergy to gluten and consequently, Celiac disease. Gwyneth Paltrow admits that she is not allergic to gluten, but has stated that she feels better eating gluten-free.  “Cupcake Wars” contestants have included owners of gluten-free bakeries, suggesting that eating gluten-free is bigger and bigger business. Even more convincing is that product labels now carry the words “gluten free” prominently, making it easier for consumers to choose wisely.

Appreciating the Work We Do With Our Capable Hands

Whether you are a fan of the 1984 or 2010 versions of “The Karate Kid,” you surely recognize the Zen-like instruction that transforms a lost, defenseless kid into a disciplined, convicted young man. Mr. Miyagi is stern and steady while requiring the Kid to wipe wax on and off an old car or take a jacket from his shoulders and hang it correctly on a hook.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, In Our Every Day Lives

Who doesn’t love the latest Girl-Power anthem, performed with great energy and passion by Kelly Clarkson who belts out: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”

Every time I hear it, I want to press the accelerator a little harder, go a little faster, bounce in my seat, and sing out loud. If I’m at home, I simply must move, dance, and celebrate being strong, a survivor.

Censoring Music or Limiting Musical Taste is a Bad Idea

My daughter often challenged me. She was bright and given permission to question and participate in many decisions; she took this privilege and pushed herself into areas in which she had little expertise or insight, often exasperating me.

One testy discussion included music. I argued for limiting exposure to popular lyrics and MTV or VH1 because they are pernicious, weaving their way into our memories, often without our critical judgment or awareness.

Love Is Silly, Frivolous, and Grand

Before Thanksgiving, my husband asked me to provide ideas for upcoming gift-giving occasions: my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. I answered as I have for several years: “I don’t need anything. We’re trying to downsize anyway. Let’s put our money into our home or travel.” He usually agreed, but in 2011, he felt the need to give and pressed me for a list.

Birth Control Controversy: Can’t We Trust Women to Govern Their Own Bodies?

I’m a big fan of Easy A, the 2010 film starring Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes. It’s a fanciful romp through the halls of America’s high schools where bullying, gossip, and rivalries never end in lethal outcomes and the tormentors take a healthy dose of humility by movie’s end.

Olive, the protagonist, bears the harsh judgment of her peers, especially that of the antagonist, Marianne, a proselytizing Christian who spreads the word about Olive’s fictional tryst. In real life, such rumors would drive most high school girls into an eating disorder or depression, but Olive is very self-aware, the daughter of two actualized and trusting parents who do not require that she stay home, cloistered, even when she begins dressing like Pretty Woman before Richard Gere rescued her from the streets.

Organized Sports Teach Women How to Be Strong, How to Fight, and How to Win

When I was a girl, I did not have a full slate of athletic options. In required Physical Education classes, we played Dodge Ball–a heinous form of Gotcha, in my opinion–although, I’ll grant, Vince Vaughn as captain of a dodgeball team softened the punch of this game by taking outcasts and oddballs under his rather large wing. In my experience, Dodge Ball existed because it entertained our teachers. We also played Red Rover, volleyball, half-court basketball, and the one that toughened us the most: field hockey without shin guards.

If You’re Apart From Your Children, Give Them Palm Kisses for Everyday, Especially Valentine’s Day

I once believed that I invented Palm Kisses one early morning in the late 1980s when my daughter was in need. I now doubt that the idea is original with me, especially after reading and buying a copy of The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak (Washington, D.C.: Child Welfare League of America, 1993). No matter who first imagined them, Palm Kisses are a wonderful gift to give your child when she or he must spend hours away from you.

A Visualization Exercise to Confront and Overcome Your Fears

Once, during a very dark patch in my daughter’s life, I searched for some way to help. We lived a bit more than five hours apart, but her need was immediate. Skype and phone calls were insufficient because they must come to an end, and schedules and commitments shrink our abilities to use them. So I proposed that we mimic John Donne’s famous sonnet and cry, “Fear, thou shalt die!”