re•cip•ro•cal [ri-cip-ruh-kuhl]

  1. given or felt by each toward the other; mutual:  reciprocal respect.
  2. given, performed, felt, etc., in return:  reciprocal aid
  3. corresponding; matching; complimentary; equivalent:  reciprocal priviledges at other health clubs.
  4. Grammar.  (of a pronoun or verb) expressing mutual relationship or action:  "Each other" and "one another" are reciprocal pronouns.
  5. inversely related or proportional; opposite.
  6. Mathematics.  noting expressions, relations, etc., involving reciprocals:  a reciprocal function.
  7. Navigation. bearing in a direction 180° to a given direction; back.
  8. something that is reciprocal to something else; equivalent; counterpart; complement.
  9. Also called multiplicative inverse. Mathematics. the ratio of unity to a given quantity or expression; that by which the given quantity or expression is multiplied to produce unity: The reciprocal of x is 1/ x.

Way back in the day, in my college years when I was completing my Gen Ed requirements I had to take a Sociology class. 

Don't tell my instructor, but there's actually only one thing that I took away from that class and it was one little section early on in the course about types of relationships between people.

The section of this discussion that stuck with me the most was on reciprocal relationships.

In this section we learned what--to me--seemed something so common sensical that some of the questions and conversation it generated in class baffled me.

The notion was that most frequently the relaionships (business relationships, professional relationships, personal relationships and even family relationships) that were successful were the relationships in which both sides contributed to the relationship equally.  Granted, there may be times when it's 60/40 or even 90/10, but overall, the relationship was balanced.  It wasn't all give on one side and all take on the other side.

Non-reciprocal relationships, however, had a significantly lower success rate.  Business or professional examples of this might be the Big Banking institutions that are now nickle and diming their customers to death with all these new fees.  They're increasing what they require of their customers but not compensating with what they give to their customers.

Personal examples of this might be the roommate who eats everything in the fridge and never contributes anything toward replacing your items that they ate; the co-worker who's always willing to push their work off on you when they're too busy, but never willing to help lighten your load when you're piled up with work; or the relative who always asks you to give up your time for them, but is just simply too busy to ever give up their time for you.

The list can go on and on because we all know examples of those types of relationships.  And in class that week, we all had a great time sharing those stories with one another.

But in the end, we all agreed on one thing.  Those types of relationshps didn't work.  We either resented or termintated those relationships in the end.  They simply weren't worth what was required to maintain them.  And most of the time they were non-reciprocal relationships to begin with because the other party didn't value us enough to put in the effort so there typically wasn't much lost when you walked away from people who didn't really care about you to begin with.

Some of the worst relationships are non-reciprocal relationships.  We see examples of this every day:  abusive relationships that continue out of dependency on the abuser; children suffer because they crave the attention and love of a parent that walked away from them and their family and refuse emotional or financial support.

Don't give your money to a business who doesn't value it.

Don't give your time to a friend who doesn't appreciate it.

Don't give your heart to a love who isn't honorable with it.

We have enough things in life that hurt us.  Our realtionships shouldn't be one of them. 

Be Careful Little Mouth

The thing about parenting is that every day you're given the opportunity to teach new lessons to your kids.  You can teach them about electricity as they comment on the power lines on the way to school.  You can teach them about safety as they ask what the different signs on the side of the road mean.  You can teach them about manners while you wait in line at the store.  And you can teach them about decisions when you're told that they've been making bad ones.

Yesterday, we got to talk about the latter.

We've been seeing some major changes in Ty since school started (as happens every year).  He's been saying things that he knows he shouldn't say.  Calling people names.  Arguing, attitude...

When school starts every year, parents know that at least one of two things are going to happen.  Either your child's going to get sick or get a cold, or you're child's going to start behaving like someone else's heathen child.

Again, we're dealing with the latter.

And it's been breaking my heart because I know my kid really is a good kid.  He's just not making good choices at the moment.

So when Mom & Dad are informed that it's been a problem elsewhere, we decided we needed to step up the repurcussions to get his attention.

So Ty was given two choices.

A paddling or a full-minute with soap in his mouth.

The pained look on his face showed that neither choice was appealing, but in the end he chose the punishment that I--personally--was hoping he'd choose.

The soap.

Because that brings in a lesson of washing bad words and bad attitudes out of our mouth. 

So after 60 seconds of soap-in-the-mouth, we had a discussion about choices.  What other choices he could have made; how better he could have handled himself and the kid he was upset at.  After dicussing that and what the consequences would be next time he was finally allowed to go spit the taste of soap out of his mouth and get some water. 

And he was his old self after that!  My well behaved, fun and funny little boy resurfaced again!

Let's just hope he sticks around a little longer this time.

The Monster Under My Bed

When I was a little girl, when I turned off the light to my bedroom at night, I would get a running start and would jump from my doorway to the foot of my bed every night.

I had to.

It was life or death.

There was a monster under my bed.

It took watching Critters to realize that there were more terrifying things than wolves that might get me in the dark.  And besides, I had "Wolf Spray" (it may have smelled like air freshener, but it was wolf spray, the stick-on label said so) to keep the wolves away.

And so for years, I launched myself from the doorway to the top of my bed.  And it worked.  I survived my childhood without notable incident from any monsters that I knew were hiding under my bed.  (Or in my Christmas Tree, thanks to Gremlins....)

I became a teen and then an adult and then a parent and I got comfortable with my assumed safety from the monsters under the bed. 

Until last night/this morning, that is.  It was a close call--a matter of life and death--when at 5:00 this morning I woke with the realization that sharp teeth had just clamped around my big toe, which had been covered, but barely hanging over the edge of the bed.  What's worse, when I jumped and scrambled to save my life, the cat shot out of the room and into the living room as if whatever had come to get me out from under the bed were after him as well!

After an ordeal like that, you're pretty much awake, too.  Your heart races, you have to check to make sure all body parts are still attached.

After a close call like that you're reminded that you can never get too comfortable.  Just because they haven't struck yet, doesn't mean they're not there. 

I felt the teeth to prove it.

The monsters are real.

And they're hiding under my bed.