A Letter To My Sister

A Letter To My Sister

Just in case you needed to know how awesome you are.
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Dear Sydney,

When I was growing up, you were always the one that my parents wanted me to be like. I know that each person is their own individual self, but it was awesome to know that I had someone in my family that I could emulate.

Ever since I was a kid, you have been there for me when I was facing some pretty tough choices, and you took time out of your day to talk to me when I really needed it. While you lived 442.9 miles away from me, you still cared about me, and it meant and still means the world. No amount of distance could ever alleviate the extent of your impact on my life.

I don't like to have favorites, but let's just say that I tend to put an emphasis on THAT side of the family. I do not particularly enjoy talking to my mom's side of the family all that much. I love them in the sense that they are family, but our bonds don't really go beyond the surface. With you, though, it is a deeper, more comedically inappropro bond.

As I write this, it's actually kind of hard, as it is hard to put into words on how you have impacted me. While we may not share the same parents, we share the same DNA somewhere. (I think? I mean, we were both granddaughters of a doctor, so we should know this, right?)

I am grateful that you are the other blue dot in a red state. You get it. You were there for me the day after the election when I was crying, and you did not just listen, you actually understood it. Why? Because you were feeling it too. It has been comforting to have someone who is related to me that gets what being a Democrat is. It is the so called "little things" that make your impact on me that much stronger.

Just as you have changed throughout the years that we have known each other, I have, too! I mean, we both made the transition out of the awkward years, but one of the few things that has remained constant is your presence.Oh, and can't forget the I was grateful for it then, but I am even more grateful for it now as I tackle adulthood. You were the one who inspired me to get into photography, and supported my books. It means so much that you have seen me change into the strong woman I am today.

We both have a lot to be proud of, ya know that? I mean, you are kicking some serious buttocks at the school of law, and I am going to kick some buttocks in undergrad. I mean, you got to meet Nancy freakin' Pelosi, and only buttocks kickers get to do that. You have encouraged, not discouraged me to follow my personal goals both in and out of the college classroom. While my other side of the family looks at me with sarcastic "ohhhs," you and that side in general has told me to go for it. Or if we are in Louisiana, to geaux for it.

I think that the way you turned out is not only a testament to you, but to Uncle Jim and Aunt Tammy, too. I mean, I tend to think that they are pretty cool, and while I know you don't see eye to eye sometimes, they are pretty awesome. I am also heavily biased as Uncle Jim is my godfather, and getting to compare him to Marlon Brando is SO COOL.

While you may not be my biological sister, you are the closest thing that I will ever get. I am so glad that you get to fill that role. You really are the "cool older sister." I cannot wait to see you again! I miss you so much, but I just thought that I would tell you how cool you are. I would say that you are the Barack to my Joe, but you are more like the Tina Fey to my Amy Poehler. After all these years, you have still managed to be someone I can go to, but at the same time, can make inappropriate jokes with. I promise, though, that in my Inaugural Address, I will make sure to mention how you Barack my world.

I love you!

Emily

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The Impact Of Technology On The Younger Generation

What effect will growing up in an “age of technology” have on the younger generation?
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By now, everyone knows what a prominent role technology plays in our society. It is nearly impossible to go a day without hearing something about technology on the news in some form, whether it is good or bad. Usually, these stories focus on the effect that it has on teenagers, since they are the group that is most heavily involved with using it; however, now, more than ever, kids and pre-teens are beginning to use technology just as much as teenagers and adults do. Unlike teenagers and adults, though, the younger generation has been raised with this constant influx of technology around them— they practically do not know life without it. What does this mean for them? What kind of impact will this have on them, both now and in the future? Overall, will this have a positive or negative effect on how they grow up?

In a way, growing up in an “age of technology” is a double-edged sword. While it has an abundance of advantages, it has just as many, if not more, disadvantages.

First, the advantages. The use of technology from a very young age helps in schools, due to the fact that it helps students want to learn, as well as makes it possible for each student to learn at their own pace. Additionally, it allows learning to become more interactive than it has ever been before. Kids essentially have the world readily available at their fingertips— if they want to know something they can look it up on the Internet and in just a few seconds have an answer.

Then, for the disadvantages, which many argue are much stronger than the advantages. Growing up with technology continuously around them, kids have a greater chance of becoming dependent on it, and become overly used to relying on it for everything. Among other effects, this can have a serious impact on their social skills. If kids and pre-teens communicate primarily through texting, social media, etc., from a young age, it is all they will know, and, as they get older, they will not be able to interact with others the same way they would if they were behind the screen of a device.

Kids are also more likely to follow what they see. For example, if they see their older sibling or parent constantly on their phone or laptop, they will do the same. Most kids today would rather stay inside and watch television or play video games then go outside to play. If they learn these habits now, it will be incredibly hard for them to break out of them. This will only lead to future generations becoming more and more introverted and technology obsessed in the years to come.

The bottom line is that having kids and pre-teens grow up in a world that is so influenced by technology has both good and bad effects on them. There is nothing wrong with their use of it, as long as it is balanced with them doing activities that kids should be doing, like going outside and playing catch or jumprope, or reading a book. There is no escaping technology— society just needs to learn how to use it in a way that is more beneficial than it is harmful.

Cover Image Credit: Ralph Nader Radio Hour

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Our Leaders Need A 'Time-Out'

We all learned a few essential rules as children.

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As I look watch the news, I can't help but wonder if the lessons we learned as children might not serve our leaders well. They seem to have forgotten these basic lessons. I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

Watch out, hold hands, and stick together.

I think this could be useful in a couple of different contexts. First, the current divisiveness in the country doesn't serve us well. We are first and foremost, a part of the family of humankind. Differences in politics, religion, and so on come in far behind that one important attribute. What happened to the notion of agreeing to disagree?

Second, when leaders get off a plane in another country, they should remember who they came with and who they represent - "watch out, hold hands, and stick together."

Clean up your own mess.

Trump seems to take great pleasure in blaming everyone else for their "mess." The government shutdown was someone else's fault – any Democrat. When the stock market went up, he happily took credit, but when it went down, he quickly shifted gears and placed the blame on the Federal Reserve Chairman. Daily and hourly tweets out of the White House place blame on someone else for his "mess." Sadly, he still likes to blame Obama and Hillary for his mess.

Don't lie.

Politicians have always had a bad reputation when it comes to honesty. Still, the number of lies that we hear from Trump (and members of his staff) is unprecedented even for a politician.

We all learned these lessons when we were little more than five years old. Now more than any time in history I think our leaders need a " time out" to re-learn these lessons.

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