Posted by: Michelle Knoll | July 9, 2016

Too Many Thoughts, Too Much Emotion

It’s taken me a while to get my thoughts together in a clear enough fashion to even begin to write a blog post. And I still may not be at full clarity, so bear with me.

This past week was a tough one. Amen?

Two senseless killings of black men. Then senseless killings of police officers, and many at the protest said they weren’t at odds with the officers who were there to watch over the protest. And then a shooting in a town where family members live, and then another less than 24 hours later.  Then a black man commits suicide by hanging, and people automatically assume it was a racially motivated murder.

Insanity.  All insanity.

My mind has been reeling, and so has my heart, while trying to come to terms with all this. It hurts; I am grieved, and yet I am also irritated at some of the reactions I see posted on Facebook and Twitter. Yet I know that the posts I read are fueled by emotion, deep emotion, the same as what I feel.

I watched a video today where a white woman asks a white audience to stand if they want to be treated as badly as black people are treated in this country. I saw the blank stares looking back at her, while she stood on stage and glared at them. I saw what she was trying to ask, what she was getting at, and yet I saw the fallacy in what she was asking.

First of all, nobody wants to be treated badly, white or black, so they’re not going to stand up when someone says “stand up if you want to be treated badly.” However, that doesn’t mean these same people enjoy treating other people badly, or enjoy the fact that people are being treated badly. Was the lady assuming the people in the crowd enjoyed treating black people badly? Well, if so, in my humble opinion, that was a bad assumption on her part.

But let’s say just for a minute that she wasn’t assuming that.  Did the lady stop and think for one minute that many of the people in that crowd might know black people who aren’t treated badly? Is it possible that those white people in that audience just didn’t know what the lady was talking about? Could that have caused some of the blank stares she was seeing? That’s very possible. See, many people hear of black people being treated badly, but it’s “out there” somewhere, and it’s not close to home. So they can’t truly imagine it, or empathize with it.

I’m not saying that black people are never treated badly. Some are. Some are treated horribly, and there’s no justification for it. And though there are laws in place, and we’re supposed to be a nation built on equality, there are still some places in this country where white people think black people are less than human. It hurts me to even think about that, but it’s true.  Sad, but true.

But there are also some places in this country where white people are treated badly, just because they’re white. Yeah, I understand that to a lot of people, that’s a downright impossibility, but it does happen. Sad, but true.

How do we stop this?

I have my personal thoughts, but I really want to hear from you all.  What’s the answer?

Okay, one last thing.  I really don’t like calling people “black” and “white.” I mean, those aren’t true skin colors, you know? The background of this page is white.  The type on this page is black.  No one on the entire planet has skin color anywhere close to black or white. We are all different shades of beige.  Or brown. The only reason I used those terms in this post is because they are well-known, frequently used terms in the world.

So, readers, I’m asking you to respond to the blog post, and tell me what you think. What’s the answer?  How can we get people to stop treating others badly? How can we encourage kindness?



Posted by: Michelle Knoll | June 30, 2016

Managing? Or Being Manipulated?

It’s amazing to me just how much electronics dominates our lives. And the applications that run on said electronics.

Our phones, our TVs, our laptops, our everything. We can’t get away from electronics. Just last week, I was researching slow cookers/crock pots, and discovered that a lot of new crock pots have digital controls.

“But,” I thought, thinking to myself, “digital controls and heat don’t mix very well.”

Crock pot. Digital controls. Heat. Crock pot. Digital contro-…


Thankfully, I opted for one that had the old-fashioned knob on the front.  You know, “Low,” “High,” and “Off.” Oh, wait.  I think this new one also has a setting for “Keep Warm.” Yeah, I’m moving up in the kitchen appliance world.

But electronics is in EVERYTHING, and there are apps for almost everything.

The thing that gets me is the extra time it takes for us to do stuff, now that electronics are involved.

When I was a graduate student, I could grade a set of 30 math papers in about an hour, maybe an hour and a half.  Nowadays? I still grade them by hand, but I have to enter the results into a spreadsheet, not just a gradebook.  Extra time.

When I was a college student, I typed papers on a typewriter.  There was no “document” that had to be edited.  There was no spell check, no backspace to undo stuff, no rethinking what you were going to say.  Oh, yeah, there was a TON of up front work, that you did on note cards, so you had your thoughts together BEFORE you started typing out your paper.  Consequently, every paper was well thought out before the typing even began.  So the typing went rather quickly.  Oh, and you always checked the spelling of words before you started typing, because you really didn’t want to use correction fluid on a college paper.

When I was first married, there were no cell phones.  Phones stayed at home, where they really should be, because if you’re talking to your best friend, you really shouldn’t be driving at the same time. Talking is for when you have nothing else to do, to distract you from talking.

And a phone was just a phone.  It wasn’t a game center, weather advisor, camera, or computer.  It served one purpose: talking.

And there was no texting. Or distraction of any form, to keep us from interacting with those around us.

But we have that now. We have so much distraction from all the electronics installed in everything we own.  I mean, while I’m writing this, I’m getting distracted because of email alerts popping up on the screen!  AAAHHHH!

It’s ridiculous, and somehow we’ve got to make it stop. We’ve got to get back in charge of our lives, put down the electronics, and start living again.

How do you manage the electronics in your life? Do you actually manage them? Do you ever turn them off?

Or are you being manipulated by all the electronics around you?

Have you ever shut off Facebook?  For a day? For an hour? For five minutes?

What about your cell phone?

I’m not judging you, Friend! I, too, have a Facebook account, a cell phone, an xBox in my house, a laptop, and a car with a computer (let’s not even begin to talk about how much more expensive car repairs are these days, just because of the computers that run them).

But I don’t have a digitally controlled crock pot. :)

Managing?  Or being manipulated?  Which one is it? What do you think?



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