Thank You To Those Who Care

Thank You To Those Who Care

Tell those who matter thank you because you won't always be able to.
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In my life, there have been many people whom I have admired. They've ranged from coaches to politicians and even to co-workers, but the people who have had the most significant impact on me have been my high school teachers, so here is my thank you letter to that one specific teacher for changing my life.

When you walked into the classroom on the first day of my sophomore year, I knew there was something about you that set you apart from all the other teachers. You had a personality that radiated love and care for every student's well-being and education (a quality that the modern school system seems to be lacking).

In the beginning, you didn't know of my existence, but I still loved sitting in your class every day. Then November came around and both our lives changed - our grandparents had passed away. That moment was a turning point for us. I understood you and you me and the world seemed like a better place to be.

Since that day on, I can safely say that you became not only my parent but also my best friend. You became someone who wasn't afraid to push me to my breaking point but also knew when to stop. Someone who knew both the good and the bad to me, and wanted nothing more than to make me a better version of myself. Someone I could say I would be happy to be when I'm older.

I may be gone, but our bond remains unbroken.

Fellow students, take a moment out of your holiday break and text, call, email a person who has taken a keen interest in you and let them know you appreciate them. Our time on this world is finite, so take a minute and let those care know you appreciate them.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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4 Reasons Why Dads Threatening Their Daughters' Boyfriends Aren't Funny

No guns, threats, or creepy infringement on their privacy necessary.
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This week, former NFL player Jay Feely caught Twitter's attention by posting a picture with his daughter and her prom date and a handgun.

While the comedic undertones of the photo are obvious, Twitter had a lot to say about the picture and most people weren't happy.

He has since issued a statement of clarification after the tweet went viral, acknowledging that gun safety is an important issue and clarifying that he was in fact joking. Unfortunately, though, the damage had already been done.

Feely is far from the only dad who's ever made this joke. It's a largely prevalent theme specifically among gun owners and in country music. Check out the song "Cleaning This Gun" for another example. It's catchy, I have to admit, I just listened to it again voluntarily the other day even though I don't agree with the central message.

But what's really the matter with this picture? After all, it's just dads being dads, right? Wrong. The political, historical, and gender-specific rhetoric behind the idea of dads protecting their daughters by threatening their boyfriends have all combined to create a lot of things wrong with this picture. Here are 4 of them.

1. Gun violence is no laughing matter

This theme has come up over and over and over again this year but it's one that continues to be relevant and timely. Gun violence is a very real issue, with thousands of deaths, dozens of mass shootings, and deep political biases, making it far from a joke. While there is a major difference between the handgun in Feely's picture and the assault weapons that have been at the center of recent mass shootings, threatening to shoot someone, particularly an unarmed teenager, is just poor humor.

2. Parents do not get a say in their daughters' sexual choices

From chastity rallies at churches to purity balls entrusting their sexual purity to their dads to presenting "virginity certificates" to dads at weddings (hint, you can't medically prove someone's a virgin), parents' obsession with their daughters' sexual behaviors, not their sons', mind you, just their daughters, is creepy, intrusive, and disgusting.

Decisions about whether or not to engage in sexual activity, at any point from high school to marriage and on to the rest of their lives, is up to the two people involved, not the parents, the church, the government, or any outside parties. By reinforcing the idea that the parent is in control of these decisions that their kids are supposed to make for themselves, parents like these are perpetuating archaic ideals, destroying the trust their children have in them, and setting them up for destructive sexual behavior down the line.

3. There is an extremely obvious (and dangerous) sexual double standard between boys and girls

While young women are told to guard their purity and that engaging in sexual activity makes them less worthwhile people, boys are encouraged to use sexual conquests to assert their dominance and their behaviors are not focused on nearly as much by parents, religious organizations, or sexual education programs.

If women are taught to remain virginal until marriage and homosexuality is frowned down upon, who exactly are these boys supposed to be having sexual conquests with? Beats me.

4. Sexual repression and rape culture go hand-in-hand

These parents criticize their daughters for participating in safe, monogamous sexual relationships but do not give the same attention and threats to people that threaten their wellbeing. By teaching your daughter that she can't trust you, you're setting her up for trouble down the line.

While this entire situation could be passed off as a harmless joke that got a little out of hand, it's obvious that the problems run deep and can have a lasting effect, especially on the girl at the center of the "joke." Bottom line, trust your kids. Believe that they have the self-respect and the critical thinking skills to make healthy relationship decisions and support them in making them. No guns, threats, or creepy infringement on their privacy necessary.

Cover Image Credit: Jay Feely: Twitter

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To My Boys From Back Home

Thank you, for not only holding my hand, but holding my heart as well and showing me that not all boys are the same.
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This past year, being in a new environment, I have been guilty of rolling the “all boys are the same” phrase off of my tongue. It seems as though the more boys that I meet, the more often I use this phrase. But there’s one thing I always seem to forget to take into consideration; my boys from back home.

With every bad relationship, comes a lot of bad aftermath. The ruins of these relationships are not always pretty, but when you have people around you whose souls are, the outcome is more beautiful than before the aftermath.

Time is something very fragile. With only 24 hours in each day, our attention given to others is very limited, or so each toxic relationship I have ever encountered has shown me. Thankfully, my boys back home have shown me otherwise. No matter what the miles are, and no matter what time of day it is, my boys are always there, whether that means a drive down to university or a FaceTime call. If you are important to someone, they will make the time to be a part of your life. If you find yourself having to fight for someone’s time and attention, they are not worth yours. So, thank you to my boys from back home for telling me that you miss me and meaning it.

Your mind and soul can be a beautiful thing if you share it with the right person or people. This can be a terrifying concept, but if you are truly comfortable with someone, you will find yourself sharing pieces of yourself with them that have never been shared out loud before. Never allow yourself to share your energy with someone who does not value what you truly have to offer within who you are. So, thank you to my boys from back home for knowing me better than I know myself and still making it a point to love me despite my quirks.

Success, a seven-letter word that holds no weight unless you have people there to share it with. Do not be the girl who allows herself to live in someone else’s shadow by giving all she has to give and receiving nothing from the other end. Instead, be the girl that radiates because she allows others to shine with her. No flower can blossom without the help of a little water and sun. If you find yourself receiving no water, and no sun, leave. Nothing beautiful comes from a withered soul. So, thank you to my boys from back home for not tearing me down, but instead building me up into a girl who now knows what she wants and what she deserves.

So, this one is for my boys from back home. I call them “my boys” not to place ownership on them, but because they are my best friends as I am theirs and together, they are men, real men. They have shown me that yes, boys and girls can be just friends but also that the label of a relationship does not have to be the defining factor of how a woman should be treated by a man. It is because of them that I know not to settle for any less than what I bargain for. So, thank you, for not only holding my hand, but holding my heart as well and showing me that not all boys are the same.

Cover Image Credit: Brittany Clark

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