Obituary for Common Sense

This was forwarded to me by my mother who realizes my frustrations with the world at large. I was fortunate to be brought up by Common Sense and continue to miss him!  I will share some examples of the common sense my parents used with me as anecdotals in the obituary.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, COMMON SENSE, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the worm;
Life isn’t always fair;   My father made it a point in my young life that I was exposed to a great variety of religions – both in spirit of the religion and actually visiting religious places of worship (unfortunately he was not able to get me into a Mormon Temple).  Suffice it to say that by age 10 or 12, I had been to Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian Churches, Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Synagogues, Buddhist Temples,  Muslim Mosques, Hindu Temples and various other places which I have since forgotten specifically.  I was told one thing by my father: He  did not particularly care what religion I chose to observe – he expected me to respect the religious values of people around me as long as they were good people and did good things for themselves, family and community. To this day, this is how I judge people – not on their particular religion, rather the premise that they must be a good person.

and maybe it was my fault.    Own your choices, good, bad or indifferent.  We have free will, however, with this ability comes the compromise of owning decisions.  I was taught to think about and research my choices.   Although I often go with my “gut”, when I make a mistake I want to learn from it so I am not doomed to repeat it – i.e. know your history, literally and figuratively.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn)  In particular, my mom did something WONDERFUL with this one.  As I was growing up, I would periodically borrow money – as a child it might have been against my allowance, so maybe a couple dollars and as a teen-ager, more – case in point, $75 to buy a used orange 10 speed bike from my friend Judy.  When I got ready to go to college, my mom wanted me to go to the bank with her one day (mind you my parents made sure I had a checking account by 16 and started getting tiny amounts of credit on credit cards such as Sears and Montgomery Wards by purchasing car tires, etc.) and proceeded to give me a “secret” savings book. The secret savings book had EVERY SINGLE LOAN in it as a deposit.  My mom redeposited the money every time I paid the loan back.  Over the years that account drew interest. Suffice it to say, that special savings account helped me through college.  More importantly, it taught me the VALUE of  a dollar, hard work, being honest and responsible.   I am  true blue saver of money, make sure I have a budget and have never had a bounced check or credit card, loan, bill, etc. go to default/collection.

 and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.   In the last five years of teaching, I have both been the accused and bore witness to teacher colleagues who talked to parents in earnest about helping their children/students.  The parents blamed the teacher and administation supported them as it was easier to pass the blame to a teacher than actually confront the situation and help the parents become parents and learn responsiblity along with their children.  Each and every time this happened, parents wanted grades changed/raised (social promotion) at the end of a term or year when grades were being posted. The parents made zero effort to be involved in their students day to day education, despite countless progress reports and notes requiring parent signatures.  These same children often dropped out of  high school and/or never made it through college as they could not believe their parents could not talk to college professors and get grades changed.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.  See above anecdotalAlso note, this included parents being angry for their children dancing with skirts up and pants down at a school dance. I had been told by principal and parents this was none of my business and just politely ask the kids to stop.  To be honest, I don’t want to know, even now, if any skin actually touched skin as it is too disgusting a thought.  Colleagues at the same school, and myself, who also chaperoned school dances with similar escapades, began to call this “Dancing Like an 8th Grader”.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.  

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.   No matter how unsavory it may be, it is always better to tell the truth and own the problem.  I am watching this spin out of control right now on a number of fronts including the current economic situation in our country and the world.   Prior to Peace Corps, I told members of my extended family I had applied for Peace Corps and wanted to serve on the Continent of Africa.  One was bold enough to ask why I would rather go to Africa then go to Israel (supposedly “my” people) and live on a kibbutz, etc.   I was happy to explain the following: (1) Israel was given to the Jews by the UN after WW II, however, everyone came out of Africa and in fact hominids are older than organized religion.  (2) I do not agree with how the Jews treat the Palestinians and since my tax dollars already help support Israel, my volunteer hours/dollars and vacation money will go to places of my choosing. (3) There is no building or piece of land worth killing over – human life has dignity.  My poor extended family then essentially felt sorry/blamed my parents for raising me poorly……if only they understood the reality.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;  The four stepbrothers apparently now live in Oakland, CA, based on recent news/events.
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now    This lesson was brought home to me by my Peace Corps experience and walking 5k each way to the cement post office (with zinc roof – visualize hot in 120 degree F heat) and waiting up to three hours for my mail.  I realized Americans think they are some how better than others and deserve something faster merely because they are present and inconvenienced, not because something is a hospital emergency.
Someone Else Is To Blame – See above – learning from mistakes and knowing history.
I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember COMMON SENSE, pass this on and do something to demonstrate being a good person to yourself, your family, community and world.

If not, join the majority and do nothing, just stop whining and complaining about it!

updated 7/14/09