Let’s Rock For Character!

“Be respectful .. be loving ..  be happy.”

What’s your passion?  Do you have one?

For me, it’s writing.  This is my passion.  Spreading inspiration, creating imagery with words, taking your head to another place, even if for a little while … THAT’S my passion, with four kids, a husband, 6 chickens, 2 bunnies, a dog and a cat … That’s about as passionate as I get, these days … wink wink!!

Recently, I sat with Rocco Costanza, who is a 24-year-old ROCK STAR … well, at least locally, he is, but I promise you, please remember his name, because his talents are certainly going to pay off … maybe sooner than expected.  Rocco walked into my house, very confident with his dark Ray Ban Aviators on, his very cool, very stylish ripped jeans, hat on backwards, guitar in hand … ready to sit down and chit-chat.  I couldn’t help but to wonder … Was I that confident at 24?!


Immediately, I admired him.  Was it the confidence I admired?  Yes, but that’s not all.  He was polite, respectful, talked to my youngest child as if he knew her forever … a rock star, but better!!


In an earlier blog, I mentioned The Anti-Bully Squad, which was started by a friend of mine and my husband, Tom Peterson, along side Brandon McManus, from the Denver Broncos.  Well, Tommy also started another campaign back in 2000, along with an old buddy of his, Kyle Poyer, (small world) who is also from the area, but now resides in Anderson, IN.  Together, they have formed something called Rock For Character, and I’m on a mission, to be their voice, so they are heard!!

This campaign is AHHHMAZING! I’m a lover of writing first, but music is a very, very close second place!  For me, it’s my get-a-way from LIFE.  If I’m in a bad mood, I’m cranking up the tunes, because I know, that at some point while listening, my mood will change.  It’s magical.  Why is it magical?  WHO CARES WHY?! It just is, and that’s all that should matter, because I know that I’m not the only person this happens to.

Me:       “What was your favorite elective in elementary school?”
Rocco:  “It was music, and gym.”

For me, it was music.  I love to sing.  I’m a freaking rock star every day in my shower.  It’s an AMAZING show, too bad my family are the only ones to have the privilege of listening to SUCH awesomeness! wink wink!

Me:       “Why is it important to keep music in schools?”
Rocco:  “If music wasn’t in school when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had the desire to sing, and make music.”

He also went on to say that it was his MUSIC TEACHER, who taught him how to play the piano … in school … for free.  Did you hear me?! FOR FREE!! Yet, another, rather PHENOMENAL reason, to  PLEASE keep music in the schools!

What does this organization do?

They go into the schools. All schools. Elementary through college, and any event you can think of in between. They deliver a VERY clear message, by using music, and singing, to get the attention of the students, and staff.  Everyone loves music, or at the very least, they can appreciate good music.  Rock For Character, takes a young artist, guitarist, drummer, etc., and they start off by singing an inspirational song, more than likely a cover of a popular song, they already know … so this automatically engages the students.  When that song is done, the artist reaches out to the students, and speaks to them in a language they understand. I watched a video of this program.  I was instantly inspired.  They go on to sing another song, maybe a little riff on the guitar. They inspire some more, by speaking their language.  I was so inspired personally, that I have offered to help in ANY way I can, to “relay” this message, the best that I can.  So, I’m starting with this blog …

I’m sad to learn that it’s hard to get this program into OUR NJ Schools … I’m actually not sad, I’m freaking mad! Rock For Character (RFC), has no problem booking schools in PA, OH, CT, parts of NY State, and IN.  I’m not understanding what the problem is in OUR NJ Schools?!  To me, this is a no brainer!!!  RFC, has a motto, Keep your character in tune, one string at a time.  They also incorporate this six letter acronym (like a guitar has six strings) into their message, P.A.R.T.T.Y., however, not in the way you may think!

P=Passion, A=Attitude, R=Respect, T=Trust, T=Thoughtfulness,  Y=You

Rocco said, “It starts with you, and ends with you.”  It starts with your passion, your want and desire to do whatever you want, be whoever you want. They speak about attitude, respect, trust, all things that are very self explanatory.  Here’s where they tie in the Anti-Bully Squad, through THOUGHTFULNESS.  It makes sense, right?  Again, I’m echoing my sentiments in my previous blog, but bullying is getting out of hand, and it seems these children are getting younger and younger, and parents are fighting with schools for help with their depressed kid, and NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING!!! WTF?!

PLEASE!! Let this organization into our schools!  It could save a life.  Not only has it been proven that this type of campaign can help to stop bullying, it can also help reach a kid who is thinking about dropping out, smoking tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy, violence, and other destructive behaviors or decisions.

Me:       “Rocco, what message is it that you, personally, want to convey to the younger audience?”
Rocco:   “Be respectful .. be loving ..  be happy.”

Hmmm .. Sounds a little familiar to me.  Again, echoing the sentiments of my previous blog, be anything, but MEAN!

You can all have the pleasure of seeing Rocco perform, this FRIDAY, JUNE 23rd, at a fundraising event, that a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD freshman, has put together for a classmate, whose family lost their house to a fire last month.  It’s being held at Horseshoe Lake, in Roxbury.  You can find more info here.  Please make sure to also stop by the Rock for Character website to check them out, along with the Anti-Bully Squad.

Everyone here is just trying to do the right thing, and spread the message.  Thank you to Tommy Peterson, and Rocco Costanza for swinging by, and having this conversation with me! I appreciate everything you guys are doing!

Me:       “Rocco, how important is it to be an honest, thoughtful person?”
Rocco:  “HONESTY is huge … from the fans, from the critics … It’s great to be honest, you don’t have to be mean.”







Dear 18 year old, ME!

These are the moments, that make us who we are!

As a person who likes to write, I carry my knowledge of “life” a little differently.  I keep certain things on the back burner for “just the right moment” to  give a life lesson.  Child #2, who is almost 16 (and female), says it best when I have some advice to offer.

She says, “Does everything have to be a life lesson, Mooooommmmm?!!?” Ohhhh how I wish you could hear me imitate her, I’ve pretty much nailed it.

My response, “Why yes, yes it does, because I wish I had someone like ME around, to offer this same advice to me, when I was your age! Now be quiet, and listen!!”

HA! So, since we all know kids hardly ever listen, I’ve decided to write this letter to the person who listens to me the most, HEARS exactly what it is that I’m actually saying, and loves me to the moon and back … yup, you guessed it … MYSELF!!

Dear 18-year-old, ME,

Soon you’ll be graduating high school, the best years of your life … or were they?  I know you hear it all the time from your mom, or grand parents, how “these are the best years of your life”, but are they?  Do you know what is in store for the next 60+ years?  High School is a mere minute, in this thing called life, and I know it’s hard to see past next week, but  you have no idea what life will entail exactly, but I do know these things…

STUDY, study hard, because graduating high school, is WAY more important than that party in the woods…

Remember to thank those that taught you, no matter what you think, they never gave up on you….

When you fall, jump back up, because as you get older, you can’t jump quite as quick,  both literally and metaphorically…

Those kids that talk shit behind your back, HA! Have no worries about them, Karma most certainly will give them a smack…

Don’t worry about the clothes you wear, people aren’t going to remember if you had clothes from the Thrift Store or The Mall…

You don’t have to drink or do drugs to fit in and be popular, be yourself, and those who matter will love you for you … and trust me, it is very clear, if you open your eyes, who will still be there in 20 years, and who will be gone…

There are more important things in life than your unruly, curly, frizzy hair (ha! who am I kidding, I’m still pissed off about this one, and some things will never change … yet another lesson in life)

That boy who broke your heart, it’s okay, there will be plenty more fish in the sea, and guess what, YOU WILL SURVIVE.  You will also get married at a young age, and when he breaks your heart, you will think your life is over.  Just know it’s okay, there is a reason, and that reason will make you happy and content for the rest of your life…

That boss who cut your hours?  Don’t get mad at him, he needed to give the hours to Susie Noname, because she’s a single mom of two kids, under the age of 3.  She needs the money way more than you.  Be gracious, be kind, because one day, that WILL be you, and you will be okay.

Your “best” friend just ditched you for other friends, it’s okay … They weren’t your friend to begin with … Your true friends won’t hurt you, ever, not intentionally, of course.  Remember, we are all human, and it is okay to make mistakes, it’s never okay to be mean.

You got ditched at the shore, because guys can suck?! It’s okay, the blessing that “saved” you that weekend?  She is still in your life at 41, and she’s the one you call your bestest … guess what? She didn’t even go to your school!

That sense of humor that got you kicked out of class??  Don’t ever lose it!!  Having a sense of humor will get you through the darkest of times.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in!  You have every right to have your own thoughts and opinions.  Stop trying to please every single person in your life, and worry about making yourself happy!! It’s your life, live it to the fullest.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Those honors students are Honors, for a reason … They are smart, they can help.  Just ask. It’s better to get help, than to fail, but if you still fail, it’s okay, you did your best, and gave it your all.  Not everyone understands ADHD, but as you get older, you learn how to deal. It will be okay.

That girl who called you fat? She has issues of her own … let it be.  Don’t name call back, just try to be a friend, because you DON’T  know what goes on at home.

The rest of your life is waiting for you, you’ll be amazed to know that the best is yet to come.  Even though life has its ups and downs, twists and turns, the rest of your life is better than this. So don’t fret when Sally Soandso talks shit, or Joe Blow breaks your heart … These are the moments, that make us who we are!!

Love you always,

Your 41-year-old Self