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)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #77

Jane and I spoke about the tragic deaths of those folks who died out west in a traffic accident in Humboldt. There has been such an outpouring of love and sadness. They will be missed. My point was that, as tragic as this event is and has been, why does it take something like this for us to demonstrate our humanity? Why is it that we can’t be as caring and as energised to do good for our fellow travellers all the time? Apparently we have it in us. When I think of someone who freezes to death on a street in one of our cities or towns or some child who dies because of a lack of food we need to be able to demonstrate the kind of care that has been shown for those who died in Humboldt. When children are bought and sold many turn a blind eye. Catch the rest of our chat by clicking on the link below.

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

Thanks for stopping by, Jim

 

Are We Becoming More Authoritarian or Safer? Tough To Tell For Sure.

When I was a younger man knives were used to do a few things. Cutting your food at the table, surviving (hunting, skinning something), securing or preparing a food supply or carving as in creating an artistic image of some kind. Sure there were other uses but these were the main ones. But today, as the research shows, a knife has become the weapon of choice used by more unhappy, angry, disgruntled or mentally ill people than at any other time in our history-well perhaps not if we take into consideration that time before guns were invented. Those who want to create more violence-deadly violence or just inflict pain on someone else are using knives and they don’t seem to be constrained by rules and regulations-not yet.

It is so much easier to get a knife than to get a gun. It is cheaper by far therefore more affordable. Any hardware store or any fish/tackle store, any hunting shop will be happy to sell a knife to someone. Almost anyone can walk into a hunting shop and purchase a 6 inch Buck knife with little trouble. A four or five inch blade is big enough to take a life. A two inch blade is enough to cut a throat. Knives are much easier to conceal and much lighter to carry. Many folks have said that a knife is more scary than a gun and they are quiet to use which again makes them scary.

Police have reported finding knives that are 2″ pen knives to large machetes on people when they have been arrested for something unrelated. Who needs to carry around a machete?? Really! It seems there is a great deal validity to the claims of vastly increased knife use. Crimes using knives and doing bodily injury or killing/stabbing people is up around 20% in the last year. In the last 2 months alone, in London, there have been 31 stabbing deaths many of which have occurred in the immigrant controlled parts of the city. As well, according to police, gang members are given points (not sure toward what great reward) for people they stab as a part of a game they play. These are crimes perpetrated by humans not by a group of runaway or uncontrolled knives or guns.

Having said all of this and made some points that suggest a modest shift in the world around us we are still missing the bigger picture. We are still either refusing or remaining stubborn enough to leave our heads buried in the closest dirt pile we can find. THE TYPE OF WEAPON that is used to kill or maim others IS NOT THE PROBLEM. What will it take for the law makers and the “great thinkers” to get it. There are two very important issues that are being ignored here, whether on purpose or not. How can we continue to disregard that which is apparent to so many of us out here. We cannot legislate morality or individual value systems. That takes education to do that.

The two important issues I spoke of are:

  1. The nearly out of control violence that has rendered our neighbourhoods nothing more than killing fields, is/has been perpetrated by fatherless sons–those young men who are or have been without the benefit of a strong and healthy male role model. These young men are full of grief and anger and violence and resentment and hatred. They populate most of the street gangs that steal our freedom and safety and security on a daily basis. Look at the figures. Listen to the experts and listen to the many young men who keep telling us what is happening on the streets and we STILL refuse to consider it is too simple an explanation.
  2. The other problem is that our broken education systems are not exposing information to our children that would encourage a solid developmental basis of self-management skills. Curriculums haven’t changed much in 50 years and have not met the changing times with relevant approaches but rather are just providing an environment to move data from a system that has been failing for a long time to a group of learners who are bored and not interested in what the “system” is trying to push at them. It is hard for the “system” to admit that what they are trying to “teach” is not relevant anymore and no matter how much they try they can’t find a way to make it interesting. There needs to be more than evolution taking hold in schools–there needs to be a revolution–a new birth of thought and approach. We need to be teaching our children how to think and to learn not how to remember. Bored kids will only find interest and excitement in other places and that’s what is happening now.

We are burying more innocent people and blaming a gun or a knife or an acid bomb for the travesty. Does that mean that that same weapon is now responsible for creating a remedy to the problem since it was initially to blame? That would be ludicrous. Legislating a solution will not work. It hasn’t so far and will not in the future either. People kill other people. If not with a gun or a knife or a bomb then it will be something else and I shiver at the thought of what that might be. It’s time we got real and started to recognize where violence originates. Deal with the Genesis not the symptoms.

Anyways, that’ how I see things, All the best, Jim

Send your comments to:  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image by telegraph.co.uk. Photo resources used for education, research and/or education purposes. I don’t realize any monetary gain from their use)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #76

Greetings–this week Jane and I tackle the a comparison of the good ole days to today’s lifestyle. There is a crisis happening all around us and yet we don’t or can’t or don’t want to see it for what it is. Being mindful that there are a good number of great parents and kids who are doing great things we need to look at the bigger picture in our towns and cities. Our society today has sold out to technology–technology is raising our kids. We have abdicated our responsibilities as parents and as adults for the most part. Agree or disagree? Check out the rest of the conversation we had and send any comments to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. Thanks for stopping by–Jim

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