“12 Rules for Living” – Antidote to Chaos

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A review and commentary by MillersTime reader and friend, David P. Stang.

Dave wrote in his email containing an early draft of this post:

“My intent is to present a case for Peterson’s views that reasonably educated people would find appealing irrespective of their political parties.”

 

12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos” by Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and had previously taught at Harvard. The New York Times stated that he is “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” Evidence of this claim can be found in the fact that his lectures recorded on and accessible through YouTube have attracted over 65 million viewers.

Peterson is also a clinical psychologist with a continuing active practice. He and his wife Tammy are parents of a daughter, Mikhaila and a son, Julian. Mikhaila has suffered enormous pain resulting from years of combating rheumatoid arthritis and enduring multiple surgeries. Her father fondly regards his daughter Mikhaila as a courageous hero.

Over the course of his life Peterson also has observed much suffering experienced by his patients who described their emotional pain problems during their psychotherapy sessions with him, and he learned about suffering experienced by many of his students over the years. He clearly feels great compassion for them and for others’ suffering which often results from tragedy and malevolence. So much so in fact that it drove him to write two books related to suffering.

In this new book he states, “The idea that life is suffering is a tenet, in one form or another, of every major religious doctrine…. We can be damaged, even broken, emotionally and physically, and we are all subject to depredations of aging and loss… It is reasonable to wonder how we can expect to thrive and be happy (or even want to exist, sometimes) under such conditions.” In 1999 he published his first book, entitled Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief which Peterson stresses constitutes the conceptual foundations of his 12 Rules.

Throughout his 12 Rules and YouTube lectures, Peterson presents a mixture of the diverse classic literature and teachings of the past several thousand years emanating from pre-scientific cultures, the hypotheses and scholarship of modern-day science (including particularly neurological and psychological studies) and he constantly injects first-hand, real-life examples of human and animal behavior which illustrate the concepts he is propounding.

Understanding that one’s individual self as divine or sovereign, according to Peterson, reveals the pathway to meaning in life. A major foundational principle of his 12 Rules is that every human life is confronted by order and chaos. By order he means “the place where the behavior of our world matches our expectations and desires; the place where all things turn out the way we want them to.” Chaos, on the other hand, is the “domain of ignorance itself” and is “unexplored territory.” He tells us chaos is present when you feel despair and horror and is the place you end up when things fall totally apart. Order can be disrupted by chaos and chaos can be constrained by order. Within chaos potential exists. He informs us that your attitude toward potential confers on you a certain moral obligation: The challenge is to live up to one’s potential. The potential is in the future. Contending with chaos that disrupts order is like meeting the Dragon head on.

As part of his extensive tour this year Professor Jordan B. Peterson has been lecturing about his book. In his talks he stresses that his twelve rules can be comedic, but that they are really metaphors which point to a deeper philosophic and psychological meaning. In his book he urges his readers to focus on their individual patterns of thought, belief and behavior. He stresses that his rules are not injunctions meant to make life easier. They are injunctions to make life more difficult. He asks his readers and listeners to aim higher and to seek to become the very best they can be. Peterson stated that I hope that what I’m aiming at is to tell people stories and provide them with clinical information that is derived from the best literature and science that I know so they can be fortified in their ability to contend with tragedy and malevolence.”

These are his rules:

Rule1: “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”

Peterson emphasizes that standing up straight with one’s shoulders straight reveals not only self-confidence but also indicates vulnerability. When one is standing up straight (instead of crouching or cowering) one’s most vital spots are unprotected and exposed to danger, signifying through that confident stance that one has mastered order while simultaneously that one is courageously prepared to face chaos head-on.

Rule 2: “Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.”

Peterson’s main point here is that people tend to treat themselves more poorly than they treat others for whom they are responsible for caring. So he advises us to treat ourselves in the same way we would like our children to be treated.

Rule 3: “Make friends with people who want the best for you.”

One way of treating yourself like someone you are responsible for helping is to make friends with people who want the best for you. Some people tear you down. Don’t put up with that, he instructs, find others who lift you up. Therefore you have an ethical responsibility to surround yourself with people who support you when you do good and criticize you when you misbehave.

Rule 4: “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday not to who someone else istoday.”

This is also a rule about avoiding envy and avoiding excessive self-criticism or self-loathing. Peterson tells us that in life we face an eternal landscape of inequality. There will always be people more competent than we are. This should not lead us to despair but rather encourage us to become the best we are able. This requires setting high goals, but ensuring that we choose goals that are possible for us to attain.

Rule 5: “Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.”

Here Peterson shifts his focus from what you can do to assist yourself in attaining your life goals to how best to treat your children so they may be optimally positioned to select and attain high life goals for themselves. If you dislike your children, Peterson  informs us, others will dislike them too. Encouraging behavior in your children which enhances their likability is not an easy task because you need to correct your children when they misbehave or act anti-socially, but constant criticism seriously discourages them. It is more important to praise them when they do something right. Their good behavior needs to be quickly and positively acknowledged. If other kids want to play with your children it is a sign you are succeeding.

Rule 6: “Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”

Peterson admits that with all the suffering, distress, abuse, malevolence, injustice, distraction, and tragedy existing within humanity it is very easy to form a highly pessimistic belief structure which concludes that life is totally, futile, meaningless and not worth living. Most people with this attitude constantly criticize others and blame them or the institutions they are associated with for causing their suffering. Peterson suggests that a more helpful and promising response to such suffering ‘I won’t blame others until I have done everything I canto set my own life right.’

 Rule 7: “Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).

Throughout his book Peterson makes reference to the writings and theories of Carl Jung, whose writings greatly influenced him. Jung contended that by our very human nature we all possess a shadow or dark side. Ironically, even when one chooses to aim high and seriously work toward becoming the best one can be, one’s dark side activates and seeks to undermine the goodness one desires to attain and achieve.  When your dark side predominates you’ll be inclined to do what is expedient. This is wrong, he says. Don’t do it. Instead, go for meaning.

Rule 8: “Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie.”

Peterson explains that lying and not telling the truth obviously constitutes pure expediency. This is a choice which is about as morally wrong as you can get. He states that taking the easy way out in contrast to telling the truth are not merely two different choices. They are different pathways through life. He says they are utterly different ways of existing. The pathway of not telling the truth uses words to manipulate the world into delivering you what you want. This style of living in the world has been called a “life-lie.” Instead, your meta goal should be to live in truth.

Rule 9: “Assume the person you’re listening to might know something you don’t.”

To follow this rule, Peterson says, you need first to recognize your own unbearable ignorance. You have to decide what is more important what you know or what you don’t know. If you decide what you don’t know is more important you need to surround yourself with learning what you don’t know. You should spend every possible moment trying to find out what you don’t already know. If you listen with concentration and a desire to learn then listening can become a self-transforming exercise.

Rule 10: “Be precise in your speech.”

This is a variant of the scriptural injunction: “Knock and the door will open” and, “Ask and you shall receive.” You don’t reach what you don’t aim at. If you specify the nature of the person you want to bring into being then the probability of what you want to become dramatically increases. When you aim for that higher good with precision and serious intent you will be transformed into what you are seeking for.

Rule 11: “Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.”

This rule, like Rule 5, is directed at parents regarding how they treat their children. Its principal injunction is to provide encouragement to one’s children. The world is a hard and bitter place and also a place of betrayal and malevolence. To interfere with the child who is skateboarding by sheltering that child from danger prevents the child from being able to learn how to deal with risks and to learn independence. Also, it is good for parents to encourage their children to aim high in life. But it robs children the freedom to discern for themselves what course they will follow in life if their parents seek to force upon them the choice of a life’s purpose and vocation.

Rule 12: “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.”

This rule, Peterson lets us know, is a meditation on fragility – a discussion of what to do when you don’t know what to do; how to face a terrible tragedy such as serious illness and death. This rule necessarily concerns itself with crisis management. When the future presents itself to you as an apocalyptic horror show bearing down on you like a giant avalanche you need to cut what you consider to be an unavoidable and unbearable tragedy into a shorter time period. Thus, when you are at your wit’s end, be grateful for a cat who walks up to you on the street. Reach down and pet it.

Concluding Thoughts:

In his lectures regarding 12 Rules recorded on YouTube Peterson leaves his audience with a message of hope while simultaneously presenting them with a challenge:

Everyone is subject to suffering and malevolence. Despite the fact that that is true there is a greater reality which is the ability of the human spirit to prevail.

Peterson in both of his books writes admiringly about the great heroes in world mythology. Therefore it is not surprising that he invites us also to become heroes, just as he regards his courageous daughter Mikhaila as a hero. Continuing on with the theme of hero as role model he illustratively explains that The Holy Grail is a symbol of ultimate value. Each knight seeking the Grail entered the forest at its darkest spot to him.

Peterson asks what could justify your life so thoroughly as to make you the best player of all possible life games? His response: “Take the tragedy of the world on to your shoulders and fight with all your ability against the malevolent forces.”

And how does one achieve that objective? In Maps Peterson answers this question: “Serve truth above all else, and treat your fellow man as if he were yourself – not with the pity that undermines his self-respect, and not with the justice that elevates you above him, but as a divinity, heavily burdened, who could yet see the light.”

This sacred undertaking leads us to realize, Peterson informs us in 12 Rules, that “Meaning is the Way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes precedence over precisely that.”

This then is Jordan Peterson’s “Antidote to Chaos.”

Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe: Thru Our Lens.

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Family, friends, and most MillersTime readers know that Ellen and I love to travel and do so often. Actually, travel was built into our relationship as shortly after we first met I headed to West Africa for a two year sojourn in the Peace Corps. Then, soon after we married 50 years ago, we spent a year abroad in England, India, and Nepal, and when our work allowed, we traveled extensively. Once we had children, family trips became an important part of our and of their lives too. Now, the grandchildren are beginning to get a taste of traveling with us also. We’ve never tired of nor stopped exploring the U.S. and other parts of the world. Our travel has widened our understanding of the global community — of other people and other ways of living — and has allowed us to enjoy the beauty and breadth of the world. In short, traveling brings us much pleasure, perspective, and appreciation of beautiful places here and of the world beyond our own country. Travel for us is an opportunity for learning, and we frequently turn to each other during a trip and say, “We never knew that?”

Recently we returned from two and a half weeks in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, a trip that included many of the elements of why we so enjoy traveling.

(Be sure to scroll down to see some of Ellen’s stunning photos and the link to her slide show.)

Namibia:

Formerly South West Africa, this very sparsely populated country doesn’t seem to get many American visitors, but Ellen loves deserts and never seems to tire of them. She was richly rewarded in our six days here. We spent a day in and just outside the capital Windhoek where for five hours we simply walked with a guide (Moses) in the Daan Viljoen Game Park, spotting zebra, kudu, oryx, giraffe, and springbok. But it was mostly enjoyable for its sparse vegetation, the rolling hills, and the quiet of the outdoors (particularly after a 16 hour trip from DC). On our return to Windhoek, we drove through and learned about one of the large, poor townships and explored a market, always one of our favorite activities in other countries.

Most of our time in Namibia was spent in or near the Namib Desert, said to be the oldest desert in the world, stretching for 1200 miles from Angola through Namibia and down the South African coast to the Cape of Good Hope. Our time there was divided between two of Wilderness Safari’s small camps. The first was Little Kulala (near Sossusviei) in a reserve on the edge of Namibia’s “Sand Sea,” enormous red sand dunes where Ellen was in heaven, photographing and struggling up steep, angled dunes in a moderate sand storm (while I simply stayed put and was transfixed by the scene before me). We wandered and photographed our way through a deep canyon (think Slot Canyons of the American Southwest), and as we marveled at a sunset over the desert, our wonderful guide Ulee told us a story, one we won’t soon forget, of his life and how and why he became a wilderness guide. We ended our time in this part of Namibia with a thrilling and memorable balloon float over brown sand dunes.

Three small airplane rides took us to the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp for three nights at this eight ‘tented,’ very comfortable desert ‘lodge’ in a remote part of the Kaakoveld. Again we explored the dunes (white this time) on a long drive to the Skeleton Coast with another superb guide (Michael). Another day was spent spotting wildlife (two families of elephants and two of giraffes, and a troop of rowdy baboons, sometimes called a ‘congress of baboons’). But again it was the moon like desert, the hilly and bushy terrain, and the sand dunes that most entranced us. On our final afternoon/evening exploration, while looking for lions, Michael took us to the very top of a narrow, elevated promontory where we had a 360 degree view of the landscape and enjoyed further discussions about this country and another unforgettable sunset.

South Africa:

Our week here was largely divided between Johannesburg and Cape Town and focused on exploring our long time interest in the issues facing this country. In Johannesburg we hit the jackpot with our guide, Robin Binckes, 78, a teacher, an historian, and a life long inhabitant of South Africa. The day, eight hours, with Binckes ranks as one we will simply never forget. He adjusted our itinerary to focus on the township of Alexandra, population 600,000, where he had founded and supports a school program for children 2-6 years of age (though he also took us on a brief visit to Soweto, three million inhabitants and where Desmond Tuto and Nelson Mandela had ‘homes’ on the same street, just 300 meters apart from each other). During these visits, as well as during the several hours we spent with him at the Apartheid Museum, we realized that what we thought was our knowledge and understanding of South Africa was in fact the mere scratching of the surface. Between telling us his own story (white, Englishman who has lived in S. Africa before, during, and after Apartheid) and giving us continual history lessons of the country, we felt we were beginning to understand the complexities of what has occurred and continues to occur here. The insights he gave us made us realize how much more we had to learn despite our extensive reading and following of events in this country.

In Cape Town we continued our education about South Africa, from three different guides and a number of individuals we met along the way. Our visit to the District Six museum was another eye opener for us. It felt as if we were continuing to ‘peel the onion’ as we explored layers of political, social, and economic issues. Another memorable day included two hours of walking through the ‘small’ township of Langa, with a local inhabitant who took us through all levels of the township (from the ‘Beverly Hills’ section, to the newly built apartments and sadly to the one room shacks that would not likely survive the next serious rain). That afternoon was spent with another local guide in the colorful Malay section of Cape Town and a two hour cooking ‘lesson’ with a Muslim woman who introduced us to faintly familiar dishes and ‘entertained’ us with non stop conversation about cooking, food, her family, her children, and the joys and woes of parenting and interacting with her now adult children.

We also enjoyed some outstanding food (La Colombe, Pot Luck Club, and Baia restaurants and seafood that tasted as if it was brought directly from the ocean to our table). We were driven down the coast to Cape Clear and to the Cape of Good Hope by another excellent guide who continued our education about the country. We spent our final afternoon on a tour of Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela spent roughly 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned), the highlight of which was having a former prison inhabitant, Sparks, walk us through the prison and tell us of his and Mandela’s life there.

Zimbabwe:

We spent a late afternoon and early evening floating on the Zambezi River, spotting animals – elephants and hippos ‘frolicking’ and cooling off in the water – and enjoying yet another lovely sunset. And we continued our education about another country, one which has suffered enormously under Robert Mugabe since its independence and transformation from Southern Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.

But it was Victoria Falls that was our reason for coming and was the highlight here. Justifiably, in our view, deserving of its place on the list of one of the seven wonders of the natural world. You can walk along a pathway for about a mile with the Falls just across a deep ravine and the river, with more than a dozen different views of the cascading water. The dry season was approaching and so the falls were not at their most powerful, but that didn’t matter. Put them on your list if you ever plan to be in that area of the world.

Clearly, this was a special trip with its mixture of unforgettable landscapes, societies in transition, one of the remarkable natural wonders of the world, and guides who truly made these ventures rich and memorable.

Ellen’s 14 photo’s below will give you a glimpse of it “thru her lens,” and I encourage you to spend a bit of time with the slide show that links to this post (see below).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to see the entire slide show of photos (highly recommended):

1. Click on this slide show link: Thru Ellen’s Lens.

2. For the best viewing, click on the tiny, tiny arrow in the very small rectangular box at the top right of the opening page of the link to start the slide show.

3.  See all the photos in the largest size possible format (i.e., use a laptop or desktop computer if you have access to either).

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For Me, The Sox Don’t HAVE to Win the World Series

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Elise Amendola/Associated Press

I head off later today to Boston with my nine year old grandson Eli for a trip to Fenway Park, planned months and months ago, to see the final three games of what has turned out for me to be a wonderful 2018 baseball season. (If you haven’t seen my earlier post about our first trip to this Red Sox temple, check out  A Seven Year Old’s First Trip to Fenway.)

All three of these games will be against the Yankees, but these three games will have no major bearing on the playoffs. Rather, for me they will be a celebration of what has been the best regular season record in the 118 year history of the team. Their record, prior to these last three games, is 107-52, two wins better than their previous franchise record.

I could write pages on why this year has been so successful (see my earlier post, Success Has Many Fathers… for at least some the reasons I believe my heroes have done so well). And I could also list dozens of reasons why it has been the single best season in at least the 68 years since my grandfather first took me to Fenway when I was seven.

Yes. They won the World Series in 2004 after almost a century of not doing so. And then they won the WS twice more within the succeeding ten year period. The 2004 win was certainly the highlight of my (baseball) life as a long suffering Sox fan.

But, in some ways, this year has been at least as wonderful. Ever since Spring Training when the Sox went 22-9 (.710), they have played at a pace between .675 and .700+. Do you know what that means to a baseball fan, especially to a Red Sox fan?

It has meant that almost seven out of every ten games the Sox have played, they’ve won – sometimes on hitting, sometimes on starting pitching, some on relief pitching, some times on fielding, sometimes on base running, and often even when they were down as many as six or seven runs. They never lost more than three games in a row the entire season.

For me, that meant that I could go to sleep most nights ‘celebrating’ a victory. Also, it meant my wife Ellen did not have to sleep beside a disgruntled bed partner. And that went on for SIX months, half a year. Simply unheard of for this obsessive baseball fan.

Now, I’ve been reading and hearing for months that the season doesn’t matter if the Sox don’t at least make it into the World Series…and for some, they have to win the WS to make 2018 truly a special year.

Not so for me.

Of course I want them to win it all, and I’ll not be a happy camper if they don’t go far into the playoffs.

But nothing can take away how wonderful this season has been. How delightful it has been to see this group of 25+ players, along with their coaches, their staff, their ownership do what no other Red Sox team has ever done, and to see the joy on their faces seven out of every ten games.

Isn’t there some over used meme about getting there being half the fun?

In fact, I think one of my daughters wrote her college essay on the Ursula La Guin quote, “It’s good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

For me, this year’s Red Sox journey has been what matters.

 

Summer Movies

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Reviews by Ellen Miller.

We haven’t written about movies this summer in part because we’ve been otherwise occupied with travel and other pleasures. We have seen only a few, and only a few of those are worth reviewing because summer movies generally suck. That said, there are four worth talking about, three of which are in DC area theaters now.

Blindspotting

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“Leadership in Turbulent Times”

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Ellen and I had an experience Friday that will stay with us for a long time and gave us some perspective on the troubled times facing our country today.

We were attending a book luncheon at the Hay Adams Hotel, overlooking the White House, where Doris Kearns Goodwin was speaking about her soon to be released latest book, Leadership in Turbulent Times. (We’ve long been a fan of this Pulitzer Prize winning author/historian and have read most of her historical works and also her wonderful memoir  – Wait Till Next Year.)

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Print vs Digital: Our Reading Brains Are Changing

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Image by Mobil Yazilar

Apparently, our reading brains are changing as we all move from a print medium to a digital one. More of our reading at all ages is being done not from print — newspapers, magazines, books, documents, etc. — but from digital platforms — screens, computers, email, iPads, Kindles etc.).

If you read the article below using this MillersTime website, you are not as likely to get as much from it as if you read it from The Guardian’s print edition. As Maryanne Wolf writes, the new norm in reading is “skimming, and while there are advantages to that, there are also costs (“unintended collateral damage”), for those just learning to read to those of us who have been reading from print formats for years, and to our society at large.

Check out the article below. I think it has important information and some things to consider for all of us.

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Thru Ellen’s Lens: Wyoming

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Usually we just post photos from trips abroad, but as many of you know, the US has as much outstanding scenery and wonderful sites to visit as almost any place in the world.

Below are a baker’s dozen photos from a recent family trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. Thus, you get not only the benefit of Ellen’s eye but also a glimpse of the family too.

The best way to see these photos, however, is in the slide show which you can access by following the instructions below.

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National Book Festival – Sept.1

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One of the delights of the end of summer in DC is the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. This full day of all things book related moved from the National Mall to the DC Convention Center several years ago, and so you can enjoy the many and varied activities indoors, with air-conditioning.

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Do You Know of Jordan Peterson?

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Thanks to several emails from my friend who sees the world somewhat differently than I, here is an article by that he encouraged me to read. I pass it on to MillersTime readers as I start to explore more about what this man, Jordan Peterson, has to say.

I find the title and some of what Flanagan writes to focus perhaps too heavily on the “Left” in our political world when I gather Peterson is also warning the “Right” at the same time.

Let me know if you explore Peterson’s writing, podcasts, etc., and what you think about what he has to say.

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“Success Has Many Fathers…”

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                            (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

With the unexpected weekend sweep of four games over the Yankees Sunday night, the Sox went 9.5 games ahead of their chief rivals, the boys from the Bronx. As of last night, the Sox have a record of 81-35 (.704), and both Sox and Yankee followers are saying the race is over for the AL East Division.

Those of us who have been Sox fans for many years (at least 68 of my 75 years) know the truth of “it’s never over ’til it’s over.” With six games remaining between these two teams in the last 12 games of the season, if the Yankees make up five or so in the meantime, anything can happen.

Nevertheless, to play at a rate of winning seven out of every ten games for the first 115 games of the season is pretty special. Friends and foes alike have been asking me what’s making the Sox so good this year and are asking if I think it will it last.

As an obsessed and subjective Sox fan, these are the factors that strike me.

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12 Do’s & Don’ts for Grandparents

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Now that we are ‘old’ hands at this grandparenting thing – nine plus years and five grandchildren – we have learned a few things that no one told us when we started doing this drill. Some of these ‘do’s and don’ts’ are very important to your sanity while being in charge.

(Recently, we had the two pictured above for ‘four’ days.)

DO totally clean out your refrigerator before they arrive and before your daughter goes through it to throw out anything labeled with a sell date being before the day she checks on you and accuses you of “trying to make my kids’ sick.”

 

Do purchase a half gallon of milk per grandchild per day, one 24 oz size of Hershey’s chocolate syrup per grandchild per two days, one pound of blueberries, one pound of raspberries and a half pound of blackberries per child per day, and most important, three cups of Edy’s ‘Light’ Ice Cream (5.8 fluid ounces) per child per day.

(On the first day, we gave them ice cream after dinner; on the second day we gave them ice cream after lunch and dinner; on the third day we gave it to them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

Do get plenty of rest the week before you begin this care taking assignment and be sure you have nothing scheduled for the week following.

Do plan to go to bed within seven minutes of putting the grandchildren to sleep (12 minutes if the child takes time to fall asleep).

Do bring the grandchildren to your home for at least most of the time you have them. There’s a chance (slight) that they might be on better behavior in your house than in their own (particularly if you let them know that if they want to be ‘invited back’ they’d better behave).

Don’t agree months in advance to do a long weekend of care taking expecting or hoping that your children’s plans requiring your assistance will fall through, thus relieving you of having to take care of the grandchildren. If your children’s plans do fall through, they either won’t tell you or they’ll just make new plans, once they’ve got your agreement to take the kids.

Don’t expect to do anything other than be available 24 hours a day every day the child/children are with you.

Don’t even consider using one of those video monitoring devices that show you what’s going on in the children’s rooms once you’ve put them to bed.

Don’t expect that anything you learned or was successful with your own parenting of your own children will be of any use with your grandchildren.

(We tried to mitigate the arguing between the two grandchildren by alternating who got to ‘go first’ whenever there was a decision about something where there was choice, something we had done with some degree of success with our own children. This ‘proven tactic’ was easily obliterated by the grandchildren arguing over whose turn it was to choose first.)

Do encourage the grandchildren’s parents to put them in day camp for at least half of the total number of days you agree to take care of them.

Don’t tell the grandchildren anything you don’t want them to tell their parents.

(When I responded to pleas for stories about when we were young, I mentioned that I was arrested for stopping traffic, trying to shut down DC, during the Vietnam War. The five year told his parents that Grandpapa was put in jail for stopping cars in the war in the streets.)

Don’t, under any condition or despite any pressure, even consider having more grandchildren to take care of than the number of adults you have available to manage this task.

You’re welcome.

PS – Please put in the comment section of this post any ‘Do and Don’t’ suggestions that you have discovered that may be helpful to fellow grandparents.

Nats’ Tickets – Join Me or Go Yourselves

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Email me: Samesty84@gmail.com if you’re interested or call me at 202-320-9501.

Here are a few games where there’s availability to join me, take a kid (always for free), or to go with others:

Tuesday, July 31, 7:05 vs Mets: Three tickets in Section 127 (between catcher and first base, 20 rows off the field). Lots of possibilities: Join me, bring a friend and join me, take all three tickets. No cost and if you are first to agree to bring someone of a younger generation (i.e., a kid), you get preference.

Wednesday, August 1, 12:05 vs Mets: One ticket (free) to join me for this afternoon game, in Section 117, four rows behind the Visitors’ Dugout.

Wednesday, August 1, 12:05 vs Mets: Three tickets in Section 127 (see above). Free if you take at least one kid.

Wednesday, August 8, 7:05 vs Braves: One ticket free in Section 127.

Thursday, August 9, 1:05 vs Braves: Three available in Section 127. Make an offer.

Saturday August 18, 7:05 vs Miami: One or three available in Section 127.

Tuesday, August 21, 7:05 vs Phillies: Three available in Section 127. Make an offer, or take two, and I can join you.

Wednesday, August 22, 7:05 vs Phillies: Three available in Section 127. Make an offer, or take two, and I can join you.

Friday, August 31, 7:05 vs Brewers: Three available in Section 127. Three available. Or take two, and I can join you.

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Also, in case you missed it, there is a winner and runners-up in the MillersTime 2018 Baseball Contest #2 (Question: Which league will the All-Star Game? Tie-Breakers: Name the first MLB player to hit 30 HRs and the first MLB pitcher to win 12 games.) Check out to see if you or someone you know, won: And the First Winner Is…

PS – Winner & Runners-Up need to send me their T-Shirt size.

 

 

And the First 2018 MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner Is…

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Contest # 2:

Which League will win the All Star Game?

Correct answer: American League. Fifty-eight per cent of you picked the correct answer, 42 had the National League.

Tie-Breakers: Name the first MLB player to hit 30 HRs and the first MLB pitcher to win 12 games.

Correct Answers:

Jose Ramirez, Indians, first to 30, followed by JD Martinez, Red Sox 29, and Aaron Judge, Yankees, 26.

Luis Severino, Yankees, won his 12th on June 26 (and now has 14), Corey Kluber, Indians, got his 12th on July 2 and Max Scherzer, Nationals, on July 12. (There are others – Curasco, Lester, Nola & Snell – who are at 12 wins but were not picked by any contestants.)

No one chose either Ramirez as first to 30 HRs or Severino as first to 12 wins.

Possible Winners:

Not so easy to decide:

1. Tim Malieckal on 3/21 had the American League and Judge & Scherzer.

2. Edan Orgad on 3/21 had National League and Judge & Scherzer.

3. Dawn Wilson on 3/21 had National League and Martinez & Kluber.

4. Justin Stoyer on 3/24 had American League and Judge & Scherzer.

5. Brian Steinbach on 3/24 had National League and Judge & Kluber.

6. Brandt & Samantha Tilis on 3/26 had American League League and Judge & Scherzer.

7. Ellen Miller on 3/27 had American League and Martinez & Scherzer.

8. Jere Smith on 3/27  had American League and Martinez & Sale.

9. Tiffany Lopez on 3/29 had American League and Judge & Scherzer.

10. Eli Orgad on 3/29 had American League and Judge & Scherzer.

For not answering the initial question correctly (Which league will win the All Star Game?), Edan Orgad, Dawn Wilson, and Brian Steinbach are eliminated.

For getting assistance from Richard Miller/Grand Papa, Ellen Miller and Eli Orgad are eliminated.

For only getting close on one of the two Tie-Breaker questions, Jere Smith and Tiffany Lopez are eliminated.

Winner:

Tim Malieckal wins as a result of his being the first (3/21) to chose the American League and Judge & Scherzer. Tim will join me on Sept. 23 for a Nats vs Mets game in DC, four rows behind the Visitors’ dugout. And, of course, he will receive the ever popular and desired MillersTime Baseball Winner T-Shirt.

Justin Stoyer (3/24) and Brandt/Samantha Tilis (3/26) are the runners up, predicting the American League and Judge & Scherzer. They will receive the fabulous T-Shirts.

“At Nationals’ Park, All Star Game Is a Power Packed Thriller”?

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 “‘Monumental” Night for D.C. Baseball”

I woke to several headlines and numerous articles touting last night’s 10-inning All Star Game as a “Classic,” a “Full-powered Classic”.

That was not the 3:45 minute game (4:45 with all the introductions) that three of us watched at Nats’ Park and that the American League won 8-6 in the 10th inning.

As we left the stadium at the end of the game, I asked my friend Todd what he would lead with if he was writing the next morning’s story about the game. He said he’d probably write that if you want the All Star Game to be truly competitive, it has to mean something (it no longer determines home field advantage for the World Series).

My wife Ellen, who now attends 5-10 games a year, said “there didn’t seem to be much energy out there, neither the players nor the fans were particularly into the game after the first few innings.”

It did start with energy, both in the stands (sellout crowd of 43,843) and on the field. The Nats’ ace Max Scherzer opened the game by striking out the American League’s leading hitter, Boston’s Mookie Betts. The crowd roared. He struck out the second batter also, the American League’s 2017 MVP, Houston’s Jose Altuve, on three pitches. Scherzer and Los Angeles’ Mike Trout, perhaps MLB’s premier player, battled. The fans wanted a third strike out, but Trout  took the count to 3-2, fouled off a few pitches, and earned a walk. The fans sat down, disappointed and quieted further when Boston and MLB’s home run leader, Boston’s J.D. Martinez singled. But Schezer got Jose Ramirez to pop out and got out of the inning. The crowd settled in.

In the bottom half of the first, Boston’s ace Chris Sale gave up a first pitch single to Javier Baez, but then got the next three batters out, two on fly balls and one on a strike out. Sale threw at least one pitch over 100 mph and several at 99 and 98, something he has not done over the last eight years.

Scherzer came back out and immediately the Yankee’s Aaron Judge hit a home run. American League up 1-0. The stadium seemed stunned. So did Scherzer who then got all of the next three batters out quickly, including two by strike outs.

After Matt Kemp started the National League off with a double in the bottom of the second against New York’s best pitcher, Luis Severino, Bryce Harper, winner (and hero to the Nats’ fans) of the Home Run Derby the previous night, had a chance to tie the game or even put the National League ahead. He struck out (he did that again in his second at bat too), and the next two batters were quickly retired. All quiet on South Capitol Street.

Each team scored a run on bases empty home runs in the third, Mike Trout for the American League and then Wilson Contreras for the National League.

And for almost the next two hours, the score remained at 2-1, the American League leading. The fans began to leave when most of the starters and best players on both teams were replaced by less well known names, and neither team seemed to have much spirit. There was a spark of life when the National League tied the game on a home run by Trevor Story in the bottom of the 7th, but then rained threatened.

The fans should probably have stayed, as it turned out, because 11 of the 14 runs were scored (all on home runs but one) after the seventh.

But for some reason both managers seemed to stop managing, or at least seemed to stop trying to win. The best of the relievers remained in the bullpens, even when a barrage of hits and home runs were given up, and the game was still on the line. Then Seattle’s Jean Segura hit a three run homer in the 8th off the NL’s Josh Hader, and there were to be seven more runs scored before the American League was able to win on homers in the 10th. By that time, the stadium was more than half empty and even some of the starting players had left their dugouts.

Maybe Todd is correct. Maybe there needs to be some incentive beyond just being an exhibition game for the best known players. Maybe the Washington fans are more sedate than in other cities. (We were in Minneapolis for the ALG a few years ago, and Ellen remarked that that game was much more lively).

But a “thriller” or “monumental” this game was not. Or at least it did not seem to be so to us nor to many of the 43,843 fans who were no where to be seen well before the game ended.

I am curious what others who watched the game on TV saw and thought.

Please Comment.

Thanx.