One Thing That Men Need That Women May Not Realize

Over the course of time I have worked in this field I have worked with gay couples, older couples, younger couples, racially mixed couples, previously divorced couples, couples with blended families and whomever that leaves. The conventional wisdom suggests that counsellors at some time would ask the individuals to describe their view of what a relationship is and what does it take to make it successful. So off they go talking about the importance of trust, a similar sense of humour, similar likes and dislikes, respect, love, the need for acceptance of whom each is but seldom does either party mention the one element–the one statement that is vital to a relationship if there is going to be any harmony and joy. It doesn’t mean that a relationship couldn’t be created and functioning but it does mean that that 5% or so that many hold back gets committed as well–it’s ALL IN TIME and for some that’s hard to do.

Never having been female I can’t speak to what females feel or value outside of what conventional wisdom dictates. But I can state that in my opinion the male ego is likely the most “fragile” of all. The one thing most important to a man is to know that someone, hopefully his partner, believes in him. Sounds too simple to be true and yet there it is. When we look at the list of “ingredients” many women have that would describe a great relationship this “ingredient” is usually not there. How difficult is it then to develop a sense of trust in someone if you don’t believe in who he is or what he does or how he does it. Believing in someone means that we trust that person to do the right things; that he will keep his family provided for and safe no matter what happens; that he will “take the bullet” for the family because that is what a man does. A partner believes in his talent and skills as a man to do what needs to be done.

Now before anyone blows up here think about the next time that limb over the house needs to be trimmed back. Whose the likely candidate to grab the chain saw and climb the thirty feet to the top to trim the tree. He needs to feel that his loved one or ones believe he’ll get the job done–that he has the skills and the courage to get the job done because he is who he is.

It is difficult to move ahead and to succeed without someone telling us that they believe in us and that they have faith we can do whatever we want once we decide.

Amanda Marshall, an outstanding Canadian talent says it about as good as anyone when she sings I Believe In You. Take the time to listen to this great song to understand the full meaning of what I’m trying to say.

Anyways, that’s how I see things–all the best, Jim

Please let me hear from you about your feelings on this topic. send them to me at:  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

(Photo image by islandweddingservices.com–used for education, research and/or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #89

Jane and I take a light hearted but serous look at “guilt” and the idea that perhaps we look a bit too hard to find things to be guilty about. Sometimes others will expect things from us that we are not comfortable with and will not do them. Should we feel guilty about that? I say “no.” There are times when “not feeling guilty” is a good thing when those around us think we should. Double click on the arrow below for other examples and further discussion about this topic-it’s an important one-check it out.

Let me know what you think–comments to me at   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #88

This week Jane and I went on the road for a wee ride to Pt. Abino Boat Club. Beautiful spot right on the water. Once there it was easy to relax and chat about being who we are really meant to be and how we waste so much of our precious time trying to be who we are not. We watch reality shows and wish that could be us. We watch “soaps” and take the place of one of the characters. My point was why is it so awful being “us”. We are special into this world and we bring skills and talents and a unique view of the world. All of our trials and experiences have prepared us to be who we are and we are meant to help others who struggle with who they are. Anyway–double click on the arrow below to hear the rest of the story.

Comments to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

All the best, Jim

What Does It Mean To Be Authentic?

I’ll try to keep this little meltdown “authentic.

The other day I was thinking about the struggles that some have around being who they really are. So few of us really know and understand who we are and what we are supposed to be doing. How are we supposed to respond to the things that go on around us? What are we supposed to think? How are we supposed to think? What happens if no one else feels as we do or sees things as we do or feels the same about things that happen as we do?

And my question is “why do we care?” And then I got to thinking about my own life and how it is going by so fast and the older I get the faster it goes. There is so much I have to do yet and not enough time to do it all.  Now I have written about this topic several times but this time it feels different somehow. Perhaps it is because I am still doing the work I do and many of my clients are people with real issues and real hurts. Some are so depressed and others are so lonely. Still others are just bewildered by life itself.

The one most common comment or factor if you like is that most, not all, but most spend much of their leisure hours watching reality shows. I cannot begin to tell you just how sad I feel that so many folks only feel alive when they are watching someone else living their dreams or what they believe is a magic world of some kind. There are many who believe that this is real life and they would be much, much happier if they could trade places with the people n the screen.

But it is not just reality shows as I’ve come to believe. It is about people who wish they were anyone but who they are. How sad is that?

There are those who spend thousands trying to look different physically. They gather the latest trends in fashion or style hoping to be blended into the crowd that is seen as “it.”  Appearance is everything because they are afraid to be who they really are. At what point did we become so insecure and so lost? We try so hard to be all things to all people that we forget who we are and how important that is. We want to be connected to other people so much so that we are willing to give up our own authenticity-our own identity and uniqueness. There is only one of us. Why would we want to give “us” away so that we could become like someone else? We need to celebrate who we are and how we became us.

My hope is that we can stop chasing dreams, phonies and folks who are trying desperately to be someone other than who they are. These people are acting out roles that have been scripted for them. Is that really who you want to be? Not me-not for a second.

One client asked me this week “how do I begin being authentic”–Number 1–start being real in terms of how you see the world. Don’t be afraid of being different-of not going along with the crowd and don’t be afraid of stating your mind-saying what you really feel, think and how you see things. Be willing to speak your truth about things. Afterall your thoughts and perspectives have value because they are yours. Don’t give away your power to someone else. You have as much right to be you as they do to be them.

Other qualities of an authentic person:

–They are open and sharing about things that they are passionate about. They don’t balk at wearing their feelings out where others can see them

–Learning is important to authentic people and so is learning from the mistakes they make.

–Usually indicate a clear understanding of reality

–They look for the best in others and celebrate their achievements

–They understand what motivates them.

–Their words and their actions are consistent

In this day and age where we live fast and loose we are forgetting about a very important part of our humanity and that is authenticity–being true to oneself and living a life filled with honesty and transparency, being able to look at ourselves in a mirror and like who and what we see, not being ego bound but rather able to share joy with others and to find the most important lessons within our own fields of experience.

Most importantly is the idea that we need to live for ourselves and for what we are passionate about and then call on our fortitude, strength, drive and conviction to follow that through. We need to see that passion become reality and not remain some fantasy. Even in the face of being alone and being criticized.

Anyways, that’s how I see things today.

Any comments can be made to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

All the best, Jim

( Photo image by “joansanusi.com” used for education, criticism or research purposes only. I do not derive any financial benefit from the use of this image)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #87

Jane and I discussed how to handle our “stuff” and why that is so important to our survival. By “stuff” we are talking about the challenges we face every day-the issues that confound us-We need to be able to say “no” at times and feel OK about doing it. We can’t worry about what others will think of us or whether they will be angry with us. If we are not looking after us then we will not be able to help or support others when they need us to. SO–it’s OK to say “no”–when I say “no” I’m saying that I need to help me before I can you. Check out the rest of our conversation by clicking the arrow below.

Comments will find me if you send them to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

Teacher Centered Education vs. Learner Centered Education . . . Part 2

Last week I wrote about some of the on going discussion concerning how the earlier approach to educating our children has served us well but the time has come to reform the system so that our kids are more suitably prepared for the needs and challenges they will experience   when they enter the marketplace seeking employment. If we listen to our children and young adults we will hear them speaking about the need for a more relevant education and not being fully prepared to embrace the expectations that the marketplace will demand from them especially when that concerns a lack of soft skills–critical thinking, being able to collaborate and work in groups, to be a self starter and to demonstrate creativity and problem solving skills.

Recently I was asked the question: “Who has the most influence with our kids when we think about education and learning?” With little hesitation I responded by saying “parents–no doubt in my mind.” This is not a criticism levelled at parents–there is no “blame” intended here. Parents are the initial providers and guides responsible for their children’s view of the world they live in. Not only do parents send the messages but they also create the images that influence the thoughts, morals, values and insights their children will bring to the world. Unfortunately there are many parents who don’t understand this connection. Our children seek reassurance involving their search for their identity, their purpose and their feelings of being connected. If they don’t get those needs met at home they will get them met in other places but they will get them met.

Schools, then, become the next logical place to get that training. Schools and their purpose have changed dramatically in the last 20 years but curricula and teaching style/approach have not kept up to the need for change. Children have indicated that they need a different approach and so have those professionals who are asked to provide services to promote safer and more convivial communities. In many instances the services those professionals provide are stretched to their financial limits with no remedy in sight.

A group of colleagues who are experts in the field of providing progressive education have helped me put together a very brief outline of what this new approach could look like: (In no particular order of importance-it is all important)

–Kids learn at different speeds. Some are slower at grasping concepts than others. It doesn’t mean that they are slow learners but rather it takes a while to understand the concept and how to apply it in a practical way. We cannot demand that they learn quicker than they are able and therefore we need to do away with the “grade” system. There are alternatives that can be used to gauge a learners progress that are much less stressful. Grades are great for grading the quality of meat or eggs but not human beings. The “learners” will tell us when they are ready to move on to the next level or the next unit regarding a particular topic. To push them before they are ready or able just sets them up for failure.

–No homework or very limited amounts of it. “Home work” should be done at school as part of a group learning exercise so that more kids can learn at the same time rather than a teacher (educator) working with one student at at time. In some instances kids will learn from other kids by discussing solutions that other kids found. There is no proof that more homework promotes more learning.

–Learners (students) will work with their mentors/coaches (educators) and parents to design a learning/study plan that reflects the learners interests, skills, talents and strengths. Before you start with “Kids don’t know what they want or he/she will take all the easy subjects first” know that kids are voracious learners-they WANT TO LEARN and they will apply themselves more diligently if they are really interested in what and HOW the information is presented.  Kids need to have a sense of having some control and some input into what and who they become when they reach adulthood.

–Standardized testing is not particularly helpful to the child but more so for the program itself. Many funding formulae are attached to the outcomes of standardized tests. Schools with higher test results often get more money. Kids don’t benefit by being compared with how others are doing. At the least test results need to be discussed with the learner to find out what can be done to raise their own test scores if need be.

–In many instances hard-to-serve kids are not those with mental health problems or behavioural problems but rather those who are bored, disinterested or having trouble assimilating the information into their day to day lives and therefore don’t see the point to listening.

–Curricula must address the needs of the “whole learner.” Kids need to learn about the causes of stress, depression, anxiety and panic–what they are–and how to mange the symptoms. They need to learn much more about substance abuse and drug abuse and how they affect physical functioning and what is dependence?

There is so much more to know and learn about regarding learner centered education. Go to U-tube and type in Sir Ken Robinson. He is an expert in the field. He offers so much clear and basic information about learning and education. He does offer a book among the many he has written on this topic targeted specifically to parents to help them understand how to get in involved with their kids, the educational system and how to get the most out of it.

As parents we need to be interested and excited about what and how our kids learn. We also need to be concerned about what is going to happen next regarding education because it can help determine progress, stability, well being, quality of life, fairness and social justice,  freedom and solutions to world issues like homelessness, poverty, global health and wealth. I want to know that our kids will be prepared for what is coming and perhaps be an integral part of that change process. They are or can be the true agents of change. We need to make sure that they have what they need to to be successful.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, thanks for stopping by, Jim

Other videos about the need to change education by Sir Ken Robinson-click on the highlighted text.

Comments to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo images by ‘gettingsmart.com’–used for the purposes of education, criticism or research. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

 

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #86

This week Jane and I discussed Fathers Day and what it means or at least what we,as fathers, hope it would mean. We each talked about the relationships we were involved in with or being a father. Jane talked about her experience with her dad and spoke about being a father and what that meant. Being a father is such a personal experience and not always easy to speak about. My hope was that you would find a way to do that and don’t wait until next Father’s Day to do it. Every day can and hopefully is Fathers Day. Check out the rest of what we had to say about that great day by clicking on the link below.

Comments are always welcome to either Jane at: jterdik@hotmail.com  ot to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. Would appreciate hearing from you. PS I have an outline for a 10 point program on how to re-build a father-son relationship for those dads who want to be a part of their sons (or daughters) life but don’ know how or where to get started. Go to jimcloughley.com–it’s under “Programs” on the content bar on the home page.

Teacher Centered Education vs. Learner Centered Education . . . ? Part 1

I will admit that the image I used at the top of the article is a bit overstated but not by much. Not every classroom looks like this regarding student interest but most are not too far removed from this image either. The point is there are some and that’s too many. After how many years of “investigating” alternate methods of educating our children we have come up with very little that would constitute any meaningful change and the learners in our school systems would likely agree. There has been a great deal of press coverage that has not done a creditable job outlining or explaining the new thinking about transforming education. It is so much more than just providing information and data and expecting the kids to pick it up or understand it in some form that they might be able to use somehow-someday-perhaps. The kids are telling us what they need and to date we have only paid them lip service.

I fully support, endorse, agree, and hope that we can find a way to listen to what our kids and the experts who know what needs to happen to move ahead are saying. We need to begin transforming education and the methods by which our kids are supposed to learn.

The place to start is to provide a simple, clear, no double speak and easy to understand description of the two options one of which is most likely to be implemented.

The first option is to tinker with what is happening and has been happening for a very long time. This option would see a minimum of change take place and not much improvement in the outcomes. Classrooms would continue to be served by one teacher generally at the front of the classroom who requires the learners (students) to be quiet and focused and to pay attention to what he/she is saying. This person is often referred to as the “sage on the stage.” The second option would represent wholesale change in that there is no “talking head or sage on the stage” but rather an educator who presents information by many different means–eg. technology, u-tube presentations, experiential methods–“Do and learn” instead of “learn and do.”

Many parents and the general public for that matter have been told a slightly different story about what a learner centered program VS. a teacher centered program is about.

Some of the misconceptions about a learner centered program suggest that the students will only study what they want. Many believe that kids aren’t mature enough to create a course of study that will be of use to them when they enter college or university. In fact the concern is that they will not be prepared to succeed at that level. Yes there will be some major changes in the study programs–certainly curriculum  will be different and yes the students will have choices about what they want to study according to their interests, skills and talents. Why would they study programs and try to incorporate information/data that they believe has no relevance to their ambitions or life goals. Although the challenge is about deciding and understanding the choices they make the other challenge is to decide HOW they will receive the data or information in a way that makes sense to them and that they understand. Here we are discussing the “pedagogy”–the method used or the practice exhibited when “teaching.” The old system would have students sit still, be quiet, allow the teacher to be in total control of dialogue and discussion. A new learner centered program would turn that around so that the students could speak, discuss, ask questions, work in groups thereby developing their skills regarding collaboration, communication and investigation but most of all it provides an opportunity for the learner to feel that they are in control or have some control of their lives, what they decide and which area of interest they want to pursue. This is as it should be. They want to be equal partners in the choices and decisions they are expected to make concerning their futures.

In the movie “Whose Life Is It Anyways” Richard Dreyfuss helps the audience see that we are each given a life which is unique to us and because it belongs to us we have a right to spend it as we choose.  It would be easy for a conversation about this topic to branch off in all directions. The point remains that we may not agree with the choices our children make about their education or any other decisions for that matter but as long as those decisions don’t encroach upon the rights of others to do the same–meaning make decisions that they believe are made in their own best interest, we really don’t have much to say unless asked for our opinion or feedback.

This is a 2 part series. Next week we will look at a variety of topics including:

–doing away with the need for homework; doing away with standardized testing; eliminating the use of “grades (grade 10 or grade 11 etc.) and grading in general; what it means to educate the ‘whole’ learner and who are the hard-to-serve learners? I’m sure there will be other topics as well.

We may not want to think about it but education and doing it in concert with the new social times is more crucial to address–NOW– than important issues such as poverty, homelessness, political correctness, immigration and on. This is not to take away from the importance of those other issues but this one is the one that will help solve the other social issues of our time.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

I welcome your views so please send comments to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

All the best, Jim

(use of the photo image by ‘getsomezzz.blogspot.com’ used for research, educational or criticism purposes. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

 

 

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #85

Greetings–thanks for catching this weeks chat with Jane and I. This week we got talking about how folks tend to handle problems and issues that arise from no where. For instance, we plan things out and for some reason unknown to us things go south on us and we get all in a dither wondering “now what”. I know things like this have happened to you–they happen to all of us at one time or another. Sometimes more than once. Point is how do we handle this stuff when it shows up at our door. Catch our discussion about how to handle these times and what you can do to add to the solution. Sometimes the less you “do” the better.

 

 

Is There A Difference Between Selfishness and Self Interest? . . .Surprise!

I wonder sometimes if we, as a civilization, are becoming more of what we expected from each other or are we becoming more self-interested? And if it’s about paying more attention to self-interest is that a bad thing? What are the differences between selfishness and self-interest anyway?

Remember when we were kids our parents and grand-parents would tell us not to “brag”-that wasn’t nice to talk about yourself. Our churches preached on giving all we have to others first and not to pursue wealth as a goal. In my day to day work with other people I often deal with those who are conflicted by the use of alcohol or drugs or perhaps it’s a gambling addiction or a shopping addiction. Many folks present with sex addictions or being addicted to the Internet. Are all addictions simply about being selfish or can they be about putting their self-interests at the top of their list of what they believe is in their best interests? Who really knows why people use “stuff” until they realize they can’t live without it? One thing, it seems for sure, is that the line between selfishness and seeking self interests is fine at best and often blurred. Many struggle with trying to determine which is which.

When we watch today’s parents struggling with this dilemma in terms of what to tell or say to their kids it is somewhat easier to understand the behaviour of many of our kids today. They have not received a clear message regarding which is which and so they just do what feels right at the time with not a great deal of consistency. I often wonder if our struggles with bullying aren’t a by-product of the lack of an unclear explanation of which is which. Our schools say it is wrong to bully others but do they present a clear explanation of “why” it’s wrong? Perhaps the bully’s argument would be that when they are holding power over someone else that is the only time that they feel good about themselves. How do we counter that logic?

There are many instances when we have justifiably made a decision to react or respond to something or someone in a way that would suggest we put our own best interests and desires ahead of others. I remember a time when I had a chance to attend a function at the last moment and it was something that I really wanted to attend but I had told someone that I would do something with them. I chose to offer a bit of “untruth”and attended the function instead. We pass these times off as telling a “little white lie” with little or no harm done. I try not to do that anymore.

However, I still need to be able to explain the differences between the two states of mind. Is there a clear distinction between the two? I’m not sure there is but I can recite some of the principles that are recognized as being part of one camp of thought or the other.

Someone who is said to be “selfish” is one who gets his/her own way and does so by ignoring or not taking into account the rights and well-being of someone else. If I get what I want on the back of someone else I would be seen by most as being selfish. It is not a matter of getting what you need but instead it’s what you want. It then becomes a matter of not caring how your decision affects anyone else. At this point folks would say “yes, but what if I need so and so. Obviously if something is life threatening involving your life or the lives of others that takes priority over everything else. If you had to harm someone else in order to prevent harm coming to someone else therein lies the issue. I believe you do what you feel is right and deal with the fine points later.

The difference with pursuing something connected to “self-interest” is that you don’t continue on at the expense of someone else’s freedoms or rights. That doesn’t mean that we can’t carry on but we need to help the person who will be affected by our decision understand why we are doing what we plan to do and that we continue, not because we don’t care about the other person and their rights and freedoms but because we need to do what we are about to do–it is important to our well-being.

So the distinctions  are: selfish–wants met with no regard to how others could be or would be affected. Self-interest–needs met with regards to how others might be affected by our behaviour.  Not everyone will understand and there will always be some who see what we do as selfish. Hopefully there will be those who see what we did as being motivated by “self-interest.” There is no preventing the dichotomy that develops. Truly, I am more concerned about what WE are left with in our being and how we look in the mirror and say that was the right thing to do.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. All comments are welcome.

(Image/quote resource used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image).

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