Friday, November 11, 2011

Braggers, Beware

I do not like to hear bragging.

That is something that I've felt since I was a child. Was it because perhaps the bragging that I did hear at the time came from other children? "I'm buying a ______"; "We're going to ________ for winter break"; "Do you like my ____________ jeans?"

Maybe listening to braggers made me see what I was missing in life. These kids' parents bought them "things", gave them "things" that I might not have had.

But I'm an adult now, and I still don't like braggers. Braggers talk about their children, braggers talk about their trips/their homes/their jewellery; in essence, braggers talk about themselves. They shine the spotlight on themselves and their families.

I know of someone who brags constantly on Facebook...primarily about the trips they're taking: the whens and wheres and with whoms. I think that person must have lacked money as a child and now feels the need to let others know what they have in a materialistic sense. The person is also an idiot, if you ask me, advertising the details in a public forum, of when they'll be away on anybody can have access to that information of when their house will stand vacant and for how long.

I know of someone else who married well and likes to place a price tag/ a reference to a tangible amount on everything she talks about: how many square feet her home is, the value of her home, the cost of the ring she recently bought. It so detracts from a conversation because it becomes superficial when all one does is affix $$$$$ signs to words.

Other people I know talk about their children ALL THE TIME. Yes, they're  the pride and joy and sometimes heartache of their parents' lives, but ALL THE TIME...? C'mon, does nothing else define you as a person besides motherhood?

I was taught as a child not to brag. When I was about 10 years old, I was going home with my brother and talking about my report card marks to him. His friend overheard and asked, "Are you smart?" I announced "YES!"at the same time that my brother said, "Yeah, she's smart." When I relayed that conversation to my mother, I was instructed not to talk about myself and my smarts; it was for other people to talk about. My brother was proud of me and answered on my behalf. That should have been enough.

Other times, I'd brag about where my family was going on vacation. On one or two occasions, those holidays got grounded and didn't happen. It made me look bad to the other kids.

I have learned by experience to not brag. Although my children and my husband are my pride and joy, I rarely talk about them, unless someone asks specifics or my telling certain details lends itself to a conversation.

Not liking braggers doesn't mean you're envious or jealous. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have a poor self image,either.

It does mean that you recognize that people have to be humble in life; people have to wait for compliments to be bestowed upon them, not seek out compliments by giving details up-front.
It means that you recognize a spotlight will seek you out...when it's the right time....and not the other way around.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Crybaby for a Homecoming

Once in a while I watch FAMILY JEWELS, the Gene Simmons/Shannon Tweed reality TV show that brings cameras into their daily lives.

I enjoy watching the interaction, conversations and kibbitzing between the family members, and perceive intelligence runs fairly strong in the Simmons/Tweed household.

Yes, I know that Gene and Shannon finally married this season ("Gene, what took you so long to put the ring on her finger!?"), but the episode that has moved me, time and time again -- and I do mean "time and time again" -- is the episode, "Blood is Thicker than Hummus", when Gene, Shannon and son Nick visited Israel. The plotting Shannon (and production team) takes Gene back to Israel, the country of his birth -- which he left as a very young child -- where, at a ceremony in Haifa, he receives the Haifa medal, simply for being born there and becoming successful in his life, thus bringing pride to his birth city. Under Shannon's guidance and leadership, he visits his childhood home, goes back to the cafe where his mother worked, back to Rambam Hospital in Haifa to see his birth record from 1949...but most importantly, to meet his half brother and three half sisters, from whom he learns more about his father. A father whom Gene feels rejected him and his mother when Gene was seven years old...and as a result, whom Gene rejected in turn...not wanting to see his father again. Yet he provided for his father and his father's financial needs over the years.

How poignant when Gene opens his mouth to speak Hebrew at the awards ceremony. "Ha-shem sheli Chaim Witz"...My name is Chaim Witz. My tears began to shed...

How poignant when Gene visited his childhood home, at first not recalling anything, but then visual memories rushing back to him. My tears began to shed...

How extremely moving  the reunion between brother and brother and brother and sisters...and extended family. The words exchanged, the photos and slide shows all so poignant. More tears...

How tremendous the scene when Gene is brought to the cemetery to his late father's gravesite. Personal words written by Gene's late father are directed to Gene, and it moves him, and the viewer, tremendously.
Alone at the grave, Gene breaks down more and apologizes to his father for never making the effort to see him, while at the same time, defending his own position in life with his children. He is not his father, he is not his father...

I have seen this episode at least 4 or 5 times. Each time I've watched it, a repeat show tonight no exception, I've sat there with my eyes welling up, my throat clogging and tears rolling down my cheeks.

No doubt much has been edited out of the episode in order to make it one hour long, but what's left in the episode speaks volumes.

I like Gene Simmons, but I like Chaim Witz even more. His Israeli homecoming was a means for him to truly come home...and find his roots...and the branches that have sprouted from those roots.

He might've said Shalom (Hello) when he entered Israel, he might've said Shalom (Goodbye) when he left Israel, but more importantly, there is a newfound Shalom (Peace) in his life to carry him forwards.

Here's lookin' at you, Chaim Witz... ("sniff, sniff")