Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Moral "Fiber"

Well, it can be done. In this day and age of Princess Teen Goth Witches and "The Family Guy" costumes, it is possible to keep your values when selecting Halloween attire for kids, as long as you are willing to sacrifice a few hours and a few bucks. While I can admit that I was tempted a few times to give in and just settle, there was something inside me that thought, "no way." So in keeping in line with 11 years to thematic costumes, designed to further tie together my kids' memories of Halloweens past, we decided to try Medieval (...not evil!). This year Julie will be able to continue her reign as princess of the house as the "Maiden of Verona." She can feel beautiful without aging 3 or four years. Z is "Knight in Shining Armor" which combines action and adventure, two of his most prized nouns.

You may be wondering why I am spending so much time on this topic. To me it is an indicator of a deeper problem in society. So many complaints are rendered about today's youth. These kids are ahead of their years, too violent, too grown up, not interested in the things that are important in life, taking part in immoral and unethical behaviors...the list goes on. They weren't born that way. It is easy to blame society for all of our woes but I know that I learned something this Halloween. It is easy to give in. It is easy to buy that costume or let them watch that show or let them go to the mall for a few hours. It is much harder to research an appropriate costume, go outside to throw the ball around or hang out and listen to them. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes putting our own wants and needs aside. But isn't that our biggest want and need?...to have well-adjusted kids who know right from wrong because we have equipped them with the necessary tools to make good decisions? If we allow society-at-large to equip them, how will they fare?

I guess its time to start researching next year's costumes...


Monday, October 30, 2006

Of Cabs, Cozy, and Cat Rock

On Sunday afternoon, the six of us (yes, that includes Blue and Cameron) jumped into the car and headed up to Thurmont, a small town in the western part of Maryland that lies at the edge of the Catoctin Mountains. Thurmont is most famous for being the town closest to Camp David, the private retreat where American presidents and foreign dignitaries have worked and played for decades.

Our purpose in making the drive was, as usual, a combination of strenuous exercise and tasty food. Food-wise, we enjoyed the buffet at Cozy, a down-home restaurant that is well-known around here for catering to locals, tourists, journalists, and politicians. Everything from the salad bar to the carving station, to the atmosphere itself, makes you feel like you have entered into a time warp to America's past.

Then, of course, we had to work off all of our newly found pounds. We choose to hike up to Cat Rock, an cool outcropping at about 1,500 feet elevation that offers views of the surrounding woods and hills for many miles around. The hike is not trivial, either going up (puffing!) or coming back down (especially when a 70-pound dog is pulling at the leash!). The scenery and family time together make it all worth the effort (not to mention the cardiovascular workout itself!).

We also exercised our minds, I should note. On the drive up, we had a pretty good family debate about an issue of the day. Here's the topic:

In Minneapolis-St. Paul, a growing number Muslim cab drivers are refusing to pick up passengers at the airport who are returning to the Twin Cities with alcohol (e.g., bottles of wine) in their luggage. This refusal is derived from prohibitions on carrying alcohol that are found in the Koran.

So what do you think of this? Should this refusal be protected or even encouraged? Or should cab drivers be compelled to pick up the next passenger in line, no matter how repulsive or inimical to their religious beliefs the prospective cargo might be?