Articles by Connye Griffin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.