The Burnout Generation

If you haven’t heard of or listened to “The Burnout Generation”, it is definitely worth it! It is a new book available on Audible written by Helen Petersen about individuals that are working 2-3 jobs, have difficulty paying their student loans, and feel consistently exhausted by the continual t0-do-list they are pressured to complete. Helen Petersen interviews various persons across the United States of different cultures, races, SES backgrounds, and sexes and their experiences in the workforce.

I am not of the same generation as Helen Petersen, but I definitely understand and am experiencing her exact problems. I think 80-90% of individuals in the workforce feel exactly the same way as this author. Student loans, the high cost of bills, and unrealistic expectations by employers seem to be at the root of the problem. The role of social media as an advantage and disadvantage also seem to lead to factors of burnout.

Is burnout a new phenomena or did our parents experience it and just push through these horrible feelings? Are young people and those that work multiple jobs truly experiencing a phenomena that hasn’t been experienced before in this nation? Is this phenomena a reflection of our isolation from each other and our incessant need for social media? As someone that homeschools my own children and is a YouTube creator, I definitely feel that isolation. I definitely don’t feel burnout anymore, though. I quit my job as a public school teacher and moved into a mobile trailer with my family. We will own our home in 5 years and will only be paying $350.00 a month to live in this trailer park after this time. Is it crazy that I really am not anxious to own a home, anymore?

We have 1100 square feet, 2 bathrooms, and our cost of living is extremely minimal. YouTube TV is $50.00 a month and our electricity and heating costs are also minimal. My burnout is done because I don’t accept the bullshit “American Dream” that owning a giant home and perfect cars makes a person happy. My children and I play lots of board games and video games and are able to go more places because we won’t be indebted to a house for the next 30 years. We are actually saving up to buy our own home some day, instead of paying the bank all of our money for the next 30 years. After my student loans started knocking at the door, I realized I didn’t want to play the game anymore and be house-poor. I wasn’t happy and I definitely feel a sense of peace that I’ve never felt before.

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A Whole New Level of Crazy

So, had you driven by my home yesterday at 10:00 P.M., you would have seen me sitting on a stool with my dog attached to a leash. Why? Because I’ve had it with my 10 month old Golden Retriever pooping in the house! So, I’ve decided every single time I see him squatting in the house that I’m going to take him outside and sit there until he poops! I sat outside for 70 minutes last night waiting for this monster to poop! Of course, when he finally did it I whisper-yelled and gave him a treat congratulating him and he was totally excited.

I hope to God this little power struggle doesn’t go on for long! I am itching at least a dozen mosquito bites that I didn’t have before and I’m not looking forward to anymore. I can’t wait to get magically rich someday so I can just pay someone to duel with my dogs. I had to keep telling myself, “It will be worth it not to pick up poop anymore in the house!” There is nothing worse than an animal making themselves at home and just letting go on the linoleum. If I didn’t love dogs so much, I probably wouldn’t own one anymore. It will all be worth it, right? Any tips out there please let me know!

I Can’t Believe How Fast the World is Changing

So, I have to admit that since I’ve been producing educational videos for YouTube, I’ve been watching more videos created by young people. Yes, there are quite a few videos showing young people doing stupid things, but there are just as many videos where young people are creating successful and plentiful businesses. What I am most excited about is that young people are truly changing the face of business. I am seeing young people that have made it in business and are now helping other young people to be successful without plundering them for all they are worth. I can’t stand companies whose main goal is making money and taking advantage of those that work their socks off. I’m tired of companies that don’t think they have a responsibility to the Earth and putting something positive back into their communities.

I am really proud of the young people that we have raised. They’re refusing to work 40 hours a week in a cubicle, aren’t buying 4-5,000 square foot homes, and want belongings that save energy and help the Earth to sustain itself. I recognize this is a broad statement, but all of are lives are temporary. The messages that we give our children and the value we put on material items will have an impact on our children and grandchildren. I want my children to truly make a difference on this Earth and for their lives to matter. I don’t care what amount of money they make. I just want them to be happy and to support themselves.

Homeschooling 2

Yep, you read that right! I am homeschooling two children, now! My 9th grade son (Gabe) went back to school and within a week or so started informing teachers they weren’t moving fast enough for him. Gabe is my son with Autism (for those of you that are new to my blog). I had no idea he was doing this at school and by the time he made it home at the end of the second week, he told me he was done.

I have to give my child some credit! I definitely taught him to advocate well for himself. As each teacher explained to Gabe why they wouldn’t accommodate a quicker speed, Gabe knew he was done. My mornings have consisted of Gabe coming to my door and asking me when we could start school. Who does that? My other child Kalan rolls his eyes when I tell him our lessons are going to get started. Gabe is a child that loves to learn and I can’t believe how philosophical he is.

I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed homeschooling Gabe. We have connected on a level I don’t believe we would have without homeschooling. I didn’t realize how many questions were swimming around in Gabe’s mind. He’s really concerned about the injustices of the world and why certain people are not treated equal in comparison to others. Gabe also wants to understand how to world began and how telescopes allowed us to see into space and calculate the distances to other planetary systems. As I sit and listen to all the theories and questions that Gabe poses, I think about how much his voice must have been stifled in public school. What did he do with all of these questions that he brings up with me? Did he just leave them to swim around his brain while he sat for hours, regurgitating teacher lessons?

Gabe loves to process what he’s learning and I’m realizing how methodical he is about each question he’s asked. When he and I work through multiple choice questions, he has to talk though each choice and describe to me why each answer is inaccurate. Kalan barely reads through the choices, quickly snatches the correct one, and is moving on to the next question. Whereas I have to slow Kalan down and get him to think about each choice, Gabe is already scrutinizing every detail of every answer and rewriting the choices to be more accurate. It’s so amazing to have two children that are so different in their learning styles.

I wish I had started homeschooling earlier for all of my children. The big difference I have seen in Kalan (who I’ve been homeschooling for over a year) is his confidence and how he enjoys getting involved in various conversations. Mike, Sydney, and I will be having a discussion and Kalan will be playing video games in a different room and will insert a comment into the discussion to the surprise of all of us. He doesn’t look like he’s listening, but he’s hearing everything that’s been said and is following right along. Kalan’s vocabulary is more indicative of a 9th or 10th grader even though he is only 12. Whereas he used to get made fun of in school for being smart and quirky, now he is complimented for his thoughts and questions. Kalan was so excited the other day when we went to a used bookstore and could finally pick up the books he had wanted. The school hadn’t allowed him a chance to get books because he had lost the other ones and for months could not accompany the other children to the library. What is wrong with our school system?

So, needless to say, I am a busy mom. I homeschool for 6 hours a day, but I’m already seeing the benefits of homeschool education. My children no longer lack confidence, they are getting back into reading and enjoying it after 6-8 years of hating it, and both are ahead of their classes in the material. My son Gabe is now on schedule to complete college courses in high school and Kalan is moving so fast, it scares me. I don’t want to even think about where he is going to be in another 2 years. Most of all, I am so proud of all of my children. I am a huge advocate of doing what is best for children and in my family’s case, that means homeschool.

Preventing Mass Shootings

By, Dr. Kerris Dillon

I apologize for not writing for a couple of days. I’ve been piles deep in statistics and research about active shooters/mass shootings. After listening to the news and hearing reporters talk about the lack of studies concerning mass shootings, I felt it was important for me (as an American citizen) to do my part. Honestly, it made me feel good to be able to do anything given the helplessness I’ve been feeling watching all the coverage of El Paso and Dayton. As a mother, I feel horrible for all of these individuals and their families.

The information I found did not always correlate with what the news media has been finding concerning mass shootings. I took FBI statistics and used active shooting/mass shooting cases in which 4+ individuals were killed and gathered evidence about motives. I put these motives into categories and created charts and graphs as to whether it was mental illness, minority led, Islamic extremism, ex-partner violent act, disgruntled worker, or white supremacy led. I put all this information into a video format to make it easier to disseminate.

Please remember that we are not helpless. All of us have skills and can help those involved in mass shootings. If you are spiritual, please pray. If you are good at fundraising, please put together something for the victims. If you are effective with public speaking, put together a lecture for the community. If you are an artist, allow others to join you to create a peace of artwork for individuals to express themselves. I think apathy is the worst outcome from tragedies like these. Please commit to something for these atrocities. Believe it or not, sending prayers and good energy (love) is probably the most powerful!

Could you pass the U.S. Citizenship Test?

By, Dr. Kerris Dillon

As a former public school teacher of high school social studies, I find it ironic the US asks immigrants from other nations to know more about our government than our own citizens. I taught public school for 10 years and was dumbstruck by how little students knew about their own government. It is might hope that they learned quite a bit from me about it, but I taught during Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative where focus was solely on reading and mathematics. The school district that I taught in was consistently on the watch list and therefore the elementary and middle school had to often cut social studies because more time needed to be spent on math and reading.

This was such an enormous mistake because students are lacking basic understanding of geography and government. It is difficult to have a discussion with anyone about political issues because often times, they don’t have basic facts about the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I remember having the students complete simulations where cops would attempt to search vehicles and teaching students when it was legal and not legal to have their personal property searched. Wouldn’t American citizens want to know this information? Maybe it’s the fact that I was taught by teachers that lived through the 60-70’s who lived through the Vietnam War, its protests, as well as Nixon’s resignation that made me mistrusting, but I don’t always believe that law enforcement has citizen’s best interest in mind.

Don’t get me wrong! I love the police, law enforcement, the military, EMS, the fire department, and anyone else that serves our nation. I have always taught my students not to blindly believe everything that you are told, though. I lived in an area at one point where a police officer was arrested for bargaining with women that he stopped for oral sex in exchange for not arresting them on drug charges. The powerful tend to prey on those that are younger and less knowledgeable about their rights. It’s hard to get a classroom full of students to understand this, though. As a lifelong lover of history, I always considered the consequences of power and am one of the many citizens that is very worried about the current state of our nation and its democracy.

Nevertheless, I still think understanding government, our rights as citizens, and a basic understanding of civics is important whether we are immigrants or not. If you aren’t politically involved, I just want to emphasize the importance of it within the nation, now. The state of our country is in flux and its important for all voices to be heard so that we can move toward a nation that we are proud of and want to defend. Here is a video that I recently placed on YouTube. It is meant for fun so don’t take yourself too seriously if you watch it. It doesn’t mean you are a bad citizen if you don’t pass it. I just thought you might find it interesting what we expect immigrants to know in order to become citizens.

Keep All Those Baby Teeth!

By, Dr. Kerris Dillon

The search for stem cells has been difficult, but in 2003 scientists found stem cells in old baby teeth. If there is pulp left in the baby tooth (or teeth), this can be used to fight against certain forms of cancer, regenerate tissue, as well as fix future dental issues. Stem cells are cells that have not had a role directed to them, yet. We have cells all over our bodies for different functions like skin cells, blood cells, nerve cells, and thousands more. Before a cell gets its instructions from DNA and other sources, it is called a stem cell. What is so valuable about stem cells are that when given directions, they can become the healthy cells we would like them to be. This could eventually eradicate some forms of cancer.

So, you might be wondering if your adult teeth have these same stem cells and the answer is no. Baby teeth are unique just like an umbilical cord is unique. The stem cells gathered from the umbilical cord also have lifesaving properties and stem cells that individuals can save. Unfortunately, companies in the U.S. are asking for thousands of dollars to save baby’s umbilical cords. The stem cells that were discovered from baby teeth were not preserved, but still had some pulp, which meant they still had stem cells. Corporations began jumping all over “saving and preserving baby teeth” after hearing this scientific news. It is so frustrating that there is such a high degree of greed in the United States. I do not have the money to preserve my children’s baby teeth or their umbilical cord, but I am keeping all their baby teeth (just in case).

I know from one poor mom to another, you might have not heard this information so I wanted to share. God forbid something horrible happens or you get news you don’t want to hear. Anything that could potentially save a child’s life is important to pass along. Thankfully, I still have my own baby teeth that my mother saved. She didn’t know it at the time what she was doing, but I suppose it is kind of strange that I still have them. My husband thought it was exceptionally strange, but now I feel a little bit more comforted by keeping them. I hope this information helps someone in the world and please share this with any other mother or father with children that they adore and love to the ends of the Earth.