Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #82

This week Jane and I chat about money and how the pursuit of money can destroy lives and how people can manage their money better so that they end up with more of it just by being vigilant–by recognizing how to use it properly. Most of us don’t have a clue as to how to manage their financial resources. Because you don’t make a great deal of it doesn’t mean you can’t accumulate enough to retire on someday. Be smart with it and it can work for you. Don’t be smart with it and it can destroy your chances of living a carefree life. Click on the link below for more of our discussion.

All the best, Jim

 

They’re Doing It To Us—AGAIN . . .

So who is that fourth guy on the pic at the top of the page? I bet half the folks out there have no idea what his name is let alone what he does and what he says he stands for. His name is Mike Schreiner and he is the provincial leader of the Green Party. Now as of now I’m not a supporter of the Green Party but that could change only because the other three are boring as hell. NO imagination and not much in terms of being honest. If they were honest they would share how they are going to come by all of this money they are throwing around like they had it.

The major TV networks don’t cover Mr. Schreiner much. Does anyone even know what the Green Party’s platform is about? Does anyone even care? Frankly I’m ashamed to say that provincial and federal politics are embarrassing and are a joke, albeit a very expensive one. Oh they do make a few attempts at instituting meaningful change in the lives of the people who pay the freight in this country. But democracies are not run by the “will of the people” a much as they are by the will of the ‘boardrooms from coast to coast.  Our system is still the best in the world but it lacks creativity and guts. It lacks integrity and true co-operation with each other. The recent cash grab to cover electoral promises being the legalization of cannabis for personal use still rings in my head. However, that’s a whole other topic for me.  At least the Green Party seems to be willing to speak about some life changing issues. I do think that it is hypocritical for these three “top guns” to shun the GP especially when they espouse the concepts of freedom and diversity but show nothing close in practice.

I, for one, would like to hear what they (GP) have to say in contrast to the other three parties. I would like to here it on a national TV station.  Maybe, just maybe, they have something of value to add to the mix. At least they seem to care for the environment in spite of what Ford and his mentor D.Trump have to say about it. But then no one has really put credit to the idea that either one of them is brilliant either. Are we destined to get what others pay for?

We have three major leaders running for the same office and they are:

Kathleen Wynne. She became premier under sketchy circumstances. I can excuse some of her initial mess due to the situation that McGuinty left her to deal with. Don’ tell me she didn’t know but I can see how her hands might have been tied-for bit. But she also came with an agenda that seemed to occupy too much cranial space which could have been better spent dealing with the problems at hand. She really didn’t show any creativity or indicate that she had any idea about how to govern and be innovative. Perhaps her greatest achievement will be overseeing the plan to specifically name particular parts of our anatomies. She didn’t lend much to the political landscape and now she can’t even decide on a clear platform representing her own party. She is content to say that she supports quite a bit of what the NDP is talking about. Now there’s a real confidence booster if you are a Liberal.

Then we have Andrea Horwath. Out of the four leaders she has probably stepped up her game the most. That’s not saying a great deal but at least she has developed a personality, a new look (for her) and is showing it off to the electorate. As for new issues or new ways of going about the province’s business–nada. It’s the same tired stuff repackaged with some different numbers attached to it but it is the same approach we are used to hearing about. Again, lacking any creativity and making it difficult to get excited about any new approach to help more of us share the Canadian dream. The same folks are handling the money and are likely to continue to do the same things with it as they always have and that is not sharing much more of it with us regular folk.

Now we get to Doug Ford. Comes from money and knows how to keep it. No political experience to speak of and reminds me far too much of  Donald Trump. They are cut from the same cloth with a similar message. Truthfully, I would not expect anything different than what we have seen from him. If given enough time Mr. Ford would self destruct just as good ole Donny has. Yikes–don’t do it folks.

NOT ONE OF THESE CANDIDATES MENTIONED THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT CRISIS OF THE DAY–THE NEED TO CREATE A NEW PARADIGM CONCERNING EDUCATION(Go to jimcloughley.com/learn) for more about this important issue).

What are they doing to us–AGAIN?  They are simply telling us what they think we want to hear. As voters, we are not asking the questions that need to be asked either. Candidates must be forced to provide an explanation of “how” and if they can’t then they get no press time until they stop talking about all of our money they are going to give back to us. Use your vote wisely and make them accountable–don’t let them buy your vote.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

 

Is Sex As Important As It Once Was . . .

Now I fully agree that I am not a spring chicken anymore but I am not an old prude either. As I survey my life I have come to understand that one of the most important aspects of human life on the planet has changed dramatically since I wore a younger man’s clothes. Being able to enjoy sex used to mean something and I’m sure, to many, it still does but for many more it seems as though it means very little beyond “a stress reliever.” I generalise to be sure but if we look at how we refer to enjoying sex over the years and what it meant you judge.

In the 60’s sex was, for many, a way of relating to another human being in a way that said how much they cared for their partner. It was considered the ultimate act or “gift”, if you like, that one person gave to another. It was something to cherish and was beautiful. The consent by a female partner meant that she cared for her partner and that the act was a special way of saying that “you are more important to me than any other.” It was a way of connecting in an absolute way that was not matched any other way. I guess that was a time when “no” really meant no thank you and that was respected.

Then came the “hippie” era, of which I was a part, and the meaning of sex and it’s importance in defining relationships changed-dramatically in some places. That was a time when “freedom” to express oneself was growing faster than many of us could understand. Sex became much more casual. It was a way of meeting someone or a way to demonstrate that you were “one of the adventuresome.” It also was a way of saying that this is my body and I will share it with those I please, when I please and where I please. It was truly the the definitive statement regarding defining one’s independence. Parents were rendered almost useless in trying to establish any rule for “law and order” and in many cases self-respect. Now I’m not complaining because as a young man I “benefited” from this lessening of the rules as did much of the free world but the meaning and importance -the innocence and the sense of connection established between two people had  changed forever. Enjoying sex with someone had lost it’s defining quality.

In today’s world we don’t refer to it as having sex as often as we say that we are “hooking up” with so and so. This is “kid-speak” for being or trying to be adult like. Having sex for some is about as meaningful as going to the mall to hang around for something to do. For many it means very little other than a way of gaining more attention or acceptance into a particular group of others. To me it sounds as though they are going fishing or something. Enjoying sex might be as enjoyable today as much as at any other time but the meaning and speciality of the act is, in my mind, long gone by. It has become more selfish than it has anything else. Again in my mind I believe that when society adopted the era of “near unlimited personal freedom” without much thought given to the possible ensuing social problems connected to such a shift we now see that the lack of those same social norms have lead to a wholesale change in our culture and value systems. Caring for self and preserving a sense of dignity seems less important to many.

Today our kids face dangers the likes of which have not occurred and sadly it is by their own hand. The incidence of STD’s like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis have reached all time highs in US history. If it’s happening there it usually happens here as well. Half of the reported cases of being infected with an STD, which number in the millions each year, affect the age group of 15-24 years of age. One of the most disturbing statistics in this age group indicates that the number of  newborns born with an STD is rising rapidly. That is selfish and that lack of knowledge or disregard borders on criminal to me. Outside of rape of incest there is NO defence for this fact.

I may be getting older but I am not getting to the point, yet, where I cannot feel sorry for the kids today who practice a disregard for anything that is special or once considered sacred besides their electronic devices. Parents—Where are you? If there ever was a time when parents need to stand up and start a revolution of their own-NOW would be that time.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

Any comments will find me by sending an email to:   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #81

Greetings–Jane and I discuss how to deal with crushing or seeming insurmountable disappointment in our lives and how some people just never seem to have a day without disappointment or let down in some way. There are some practical things that we can do to do to help lessen the the overwhelming feeling of victim-hood for instance. Check out the rest of our conversation by clicking on the link below.

Please send me your thoughts and ideas about how you deal with crushing disappointment and what others may learn from what you do. There are many folks who find themselves in this position–we need to help each other more about such things. Send any e-mails to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com        Thanks for stopping by, Jim

 

 

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #80

Greetings to all, Jane and I used our time and yours this week to speak about the crisis that we are facing as a society and yet there seems to be little of substance happening to address the issue. That issue is the rising occurrence of teenage suicide. The numbers are staggering–Between 2006-2016 the suicide rates for white kids age 10-17 were up 70% and the rates for the same group of black kids is even higher at 77%. How can they be in so much pain? What are we doing now that is different from what we were doing in 2006–? Something has changed. Click on the link below to hear what Jane and I are thinking. Thanks for stopping by. Send comments to me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

I Think Some Parents Need To Go Back To School To Learn How To . . .

It sure isn’t easy being a parent these days and when I think about how it used to be and how it is now I can begin to understand why teen suicide rates have dramatically increased. I am not blaming parents for not caring. I am suggesting that parents need to go back to square one and begin to evaluate how they are parenting their kids and based on what philosophy–what approach?

Life has changed for all of us–both kids and parents. Young adults seem to be taking on parental roles earlier than they used to. The problem with this is that many young parents aren’t quite ready to BE parents yet-they aren’t ready to give up those days when they could still act like kids themselves. They work hard at being a “young and progressive parent” and as a result they end up trying to be their kids best friend–Sorry but research tells us this approach doesn’t work out well for either the kid or the parent. Kids don’t need their parents to be their friends. They likely have friends that they count on for friendship and discussing the worlds’ secrets and have much more in common with their real friends than they do with a much older person who needs to be acting as a parent first and foremost. They need the guidance and the experience that someone their own age can’t possibly provide them. Yet we see Moms who dress like their teenage daughters and Dads who want “junior” to emulate them-“a chip off the old block”as it were.

But the major life issues for our kids mostly go unnoticed or left unaddressed. Situations like childhood depression, stress, substance use and abuse, promiscuity, bullying or being bullied, difficulty at school both academically and behaviourally, loss of interest around friends, eating disorders, teen violence, watching porn, general high risk behaviour, more isolation, addiction to violence and “murder simulated video games. There is much more going on but hopefully you get the idea. It doesn’t strike me as surprising that teen suicide rates have and continue to rise dramatically. Yet parents are still in denial about the causes and possible reasons why this is happening. Here are some ideas around the “why.”

  1. Many parents have just stopped being parents. As with many things that occur these days we tend to gravitate to particular theories and instead of using a modicum of sense we go all or nothing. This has occurred with particular philosophies concerning parenting. A prime example of this would be the decision to parent by democratic process. Some would call it “permissive” parenting-allowing kids to make their own decisions from options they believe they can choose from. If this is the style you would like to employ as parents then as parents you need to create a list of options that are presented to the kids designed to provide maximum security and safety. These are options that parents believe are in the best interest of their child/children. No other options should be considered and kids still get to choose what they want from the list presented to them.
  2. Parents need to allow their kids to grow up at reasonable pace. Using phrases and sending messages like “when are you ever going to grow up” and “act your age” and “if you want to be treated like an adult then start acting like one-take some responsibility” are not very helpful and certainly don’t build any sense of security and maturity into a parental/child relationship. Let them grow as they will and when you notice a consistent change in behaviour make a positive comment about it. Remember that kids will grow and learn at their own speed. Some kids grow faster than others. But at ALL times they learn from watching and listening how their parents handle stress, how they communicate with each other, if they are respectful to each other or do they get their way by threatening the other parent. View violence as a mediator and kids will believe that’s the way things get done.
  3. You’re the parent–set some boundaries. Start by limiting the time that kids spend on their electronic devices. It’s OK to do that even if the kids don’t think so at the time. No devices or buds at the table during meals either. No phone calls during dinner time. Once you’ve go them there show them some interest by asking how their day went, how is school going, tell us about one thing that you learned that was interesting and why–anything to engage them in a conversation of some kind.
  4. Kids feel safe and secure and much more confident in a home that has structure. Be sure to create structure and rules for living that are not oppressive but rather democratic (when all agree) and realistic boundaries. For example, if you make a mess then you clean a mess. Don’t leave it for someone else to do and expect the same from your kids. They will eventually warm to the idea that rules can be a good thing. They provide consistency.

I’ve included a great resource for you to check out. Please take the time to do that. All or any of our kids or grand kids for that matter (grand parents need to be mindful as well) could be at risk and if we are not diligent and willing to do all we can at all times it may be one of us who is the receiver of horrible news. Are you willing to take that risk?    http://www.zurinstitute.com/teenviolence.html

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

All comments are welcome: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo by helpguide.com. Used for education, research or criticism purpose. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #79

 

Jane and I took a side trip down memory lane today to discuss what we each thought best described “community.” Naturally we each described what that word meant to us but we both agreed–to some degree–that it sure sounded different when we got to chat about what it means today–how it isn’t close to being the same and how community used to mean a closeness and an attitude of reaching out to anyone who needed a ‘leg up.’ Folks would gather to help one another and then have a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. It was just different where today folks often think about what’s in it for them. At any rate check out the rest of our conversation by clicking on the link below and send us your thought-pro/con/ Tell us what community means to you.

 

Send those thoughts and comments through to:  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by. All the best–Jim

 

 

What They Don’t Teach Our Kids In School . . .

I had mentioned last week that I will be sharing my thinking on education and how there is a growing concern about how and what our kids are learning and hearing in school. Again, to be clear, I am not criticizing our teachers. I have no doubt that the majority are fine educators who care and take great pride in the work they do. My position has always been that it is not the teachers who are struggling but rather the system that they are expected to work in. I’m also quite certain that we are doing the best we can given the pedagogy but it is not good enough given the demands and expectations of todays marketplace. Business is saying so and a growing number of college and university students are saying so. The focus of “education” needs to be re-visited and a new definition of what education means needs to be agreed to. WE NEED TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY TO SATISFY THE DEMANDS OF THE NEW WORLD THAT IS COMING.

While saying this we also need to understand that our kids have changed as well. Their basic needs and demands are different. The world is not the same place as it was when we were school age kids. For as much as the world has changed it has not become an easier place in which to live. I have recently begun to read a book by Steven Pinker called “Enlightenment Now-The case for reason, science, humanism and progress.” Want to get a broader and more in depth idea about where we are going-read this.

So what is it our kids aren’t being taught in school. We seem to think that as long as we teach them about the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and how to remember enough about them that somehow we are going to be alright. We are about so much more than that and to assume that somehow schools have figured out what we need is naive at best. As we become more entrenched and more dependent on technology to lead us along. In the process we have become less dependent on our natural skills and less aware of what our human needs are. You can’t know what you don’t know.

Things that have happened recently in Toronto are easily explained away by saying the antagonists and perpetrators have mental health problems. In stead of taking responsibility for what is going on we are too busy looking to blame something or someone for what is going on. As a professional I looked at life at home first and then beyond. Our children are products of what they see and hear at home or by those around them. If we take a look at just one aspect of what is happening with our kids: teenage suicides have increased by 30-40% in the last 5 years–why? Some speculate that it is because of social media and spending upwards of 5-6 hours per day being “connected.” There is the whole cyber bullying thing going on and the pressure to “fit in” to a group. There are the inflated pressures of familial expectations to succeed-go to the best schools or to be all things-great athlete, great student, popular and so on. Medical prescriptions being written for our kids borders on criminal in my mind. Many of our children live in a world that doesn’t truly exist-often alone. They are usually right when they tells us “we don’t understand their world.”

The role of schools needs to be re-defined. I’m not meaning changing them into re-habs to treat drug and alcohol abuse or to treat mental health concerns but we need to recognize that there are other important things like real world issues that need to be discussed and understood. Our children need to feel they have a voice in these matters–that they are a part of something. Kids need to learn about how to recognize the symptoms of anger or stress or depression and be introduced to strategies and approaches that will help to reduce the anxiety they experience. They need to talk about these situations to adults they know or are familiar with–not referred to someone else a week or a month down the road. They need to hear that it’s OK to talk about these things. Education needs to teach the “WHOLE LEARNER” not just the student from the neck up.

Kids have far to much time on their hands that is not productive time spent. Technology was supposed to allow for people to get involved in other activities like learning new skills or finding out about pursuing other interests. For kids it was supposed to create more time to socialize and play. Kids also have managed to incorporate the word “entitlement” into their daily beliefs and rules for living to the point where they feel free to do what they choose to do in the name of freedom. The REAL world doesn’t work that way. Few observe or have no boundaries. That to me is what school needs to help them learn. How to live without this warped sense of what’s right and fair.

What happened recently in Toronto is evidence of where things are heading. This is not just an example of wanton destruction of human life but a real message that says something is really wrong with how we are living our lives as a society–PAY ATTENTION folks, our kids and trying to tell us something and we aren’t listening very well.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by.

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com 

(Photo image by usatoday.com. Image used for criticism, research and/or education. I gain no finanacial benefit from the use of this image)

 

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #78

Jane and I tackled the topic of ‘Communication” and how to do it so that you are more successful at it. There are so many things that we do incorrectly or that we are not aware of that sabotage our efforts to communicate. We talk about so of the more obvious ones in the clip below. So if saying what you want to say in a way that you hope will be heard then this will be most important to you. You ever wonder why someone says to you: “But why did you do that?” or “I still don’t know what it was you were trying to say.” Check out the clip to see what might help you to be more clear. Thanks for stopping by, all the best–Jim

Comments can be sent to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

It’s Time For Parents To Do This . . .

I have struggled mightily to stay out of the darkness that surrounds Donald Trump and for the most part I think I’ve done OK. I won’t waste much of your time here going on about him. He isn’t worth our time actually but again but one never knows what he will say next. I’m not sure even he knows. We need to ask a couple of questions: “Is he a joke for our time or is he a person to be concerned with in our time?” I don’t think he will be remembered for anything that he did that was good for our time. We do, however, need to protect or insulate ourselves against the possibility that his rhetoric doesn’t infect our sense of positive world citizenship.

As Canadians we should be very concerned about whatever drivel comes out of his mouth and yet he is, in many ways, in control of what happens to us here. However, there is one institution that he can’t or hasn’t affected–yet–and that is our educational system. How we educate our children and how we create our futures. I do believe that certain aspects of our culture could be at risk. That’s why I feel there is an urgency for us to re-write/re-create the pedagogy concerning how we teach our children and curriculum concerning what we teach our children. But in order to do that we have to re-write or re-create a new direction and basis for what we do in our schools from public school to university. There needs to be a new focus and a new method in place that allows our children to have a say for themselves what they are excited about learning so they can continue to move toward the eventual enlightenment and enthusiasm that comes from a desire to have a meaningful place in the society they want to live in. Up to now we have managed to provide just enough interest in the mainstream student to continue to move ahead and not settle for complacency. That complacency is what concerns me about people like Trump who has the power to do almost anything he likes and no common sense to know what to do with it. It’s like having someone flip a loaded gun around with the safety off.

Education will be the worlds salvation-of this I have no doubt. Those who believe the same need to rise up and be heard. We need to be sure that our children have a chance to develop their own innovative opportunities, to trust in their own creativity, decency and the value of the global participation of like thinkers. We need to be focusing on taking care for those who can’t yet and we need to come to the place where we understand that better for “them” means “better for all.” There is close to 8 hundred million humans walking around on Mother Earth who are illiterate who would see life much differently if they could read and write. Marginalising them is not the answer.

There are pockets of people on the planet who are beginning to move toward this progressive way of seeing the world but that movement is fragile at best. It needs more fuel to feed the fires of change. We do that by managing our educational systems much more closely and we become much more interested in how our kids are doing when looking at other children in other parts of the world. We guard against the complacency that still exists and the blind trust that “they” will do right by us. “They” are those who have the power and control over how education is done today. How we educate our children is not working well now. We have been doing “education” this way for the last 100 years and it no longer suits the overall needs of today’s learner. So says the learners who have gone through the system and so says much of the marketplace who are looking for more soft skill capabilities from graduates.

As parents we need to scrutinize the curricula that our children are exposed to and whether the methods of teaching are appropriate for the times. Our kids need to be enjoying the opportunity that school provides them to learn, how to think and to be innovators and creators and not be deterred by those who would be critical and closed minded. Parents are the ones who can do this by supporting their children’s efforts to be those free thinkers. Kids need to be allowed to choose their own field of interest based on what excites them. It is their life not ours to spend. Some will err no doubt. Some will not accept the responsibility of choosing for themselves-no doubt. But so many more will decide to work on finding ways to solve the poverty and fresh water problems. They will work collaboratively to help solve the worlds issues and are more likely to support diversity and what being human really is about regardless of where folks live. We just need to look around and listen to what our children are doing these days to see that they are more interested in global issues than making large sums of money in a career that has no life in it.

You want to make a difference? You want to be an important part of your child’s growth into adulthood then get to the town hall meetings coming up in your area and ask the candidates what they think about the state of education in your area or province. Vote for the ones that see it as in need of change. If they have no thoughts about it then DON’T put an “X” beside their name. They don’t have your kids best interest or yours at heart.

I have been asked to contribute to this topic a bit more often so I will. Thanks for stopping by.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, Jim

Comments can be sent to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no monetary benefit from the use of this image)

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