To Be Or Not To Be . . . Why This Should Matter To You

” I love you” are likely the most misunderstood words to be strung together since language became important. This phrase has caused more grief and sadness and has brought more joy and happiness than most other statements made. What does the word love mean? How do you describe love? It’s much like trying to describe what a cherry tastes like. Can’t be done. But most everyone who walks the planet says or suggests they they “love” someone without really knowing what that means. People talk about loving their pets or a song. Really! The problem is most of us have our own understanding of what the word “love” means but not really knowing what it means to others. We just assume that it means the same to others as well. When our expectations regarding what it means to us aren’t met relationships tend to end or are seriously altered in some way and not always for the best.

Back when this declaration of “love”, for me, was primarily connected to hope, fervour, and fascination with someone else’s physical attributes. Sex was also something that, for many, was shared as one way of demonstrating “love” for a partner. The point is that sex was and still is an integral part of developing and maintaining that “loving feeling” human beings have for one another. But what happens to a relationship when the sex stops or is infrequent? When we are young we fall in love with a Hollywood image. It is often based solely on “looks” and when the looks change or begin to fail so does the passion and the closeness of the relationship. Just look at the rise of divorce rates and the instances of common-law relationships. Much of this change has to do with babies and boredom.

There are many “senior” relationships which survive all of this and enjoy a closeness, a respect, and a “love” that defies description. Perhaps it’s because they truly are “in love” with that special person they met a long time ago. I still haven’t come across any senior who can tell me what love really is or feels like but there is a twinkle in their eyes that says they got it.

Unfortunately there are many seniors who are unable to enjoy sex any longer. There are some who are relieved and some who see that inability as a sign of old age-that life is passing them by much too quickly. Not being able to enjoy sex for many is a sadness that deeply affects them. ( I plan to write a piece about this later on) It affects their self esteem and messes with their mental health. It is in our best interests to learn how to enjoy our partners and maintain our interests in our relationship with them without having sex.

I have put together a few ideas that some might find helpful.

  1. One of the things that we often share is the same sense of humour.  Even the young have to come up for air once in a while and so having a common sense of humour is most important for them. They wouldn’t stay together long without it. It is the same for seniors. They enjoy laughing together and finding they still have a common interest in what makes them laugh. It is a commonality that connects them and is special to them.
  2. One of the most exasperating things is to constantly be corrected by your partner and for you to do the same to them. As we age our minds will start to slip a bit, our hearing becomes a bit more taxed and our memories will also be challenged a bit more. To be reminded of these deficits is never pleasant to hear. No one needs to be keeping score about who is right or wrong more often than the other. Someone once said-“and he exercised his right to be considerate and kept his mouth shut.”   Real solid advice.
  3. Don’t be afraid to catch your “honey” under some mistletoe at Christmas or to steal a hug in public. I saw a beautiful couple the other day, I’d guess in their late seventies, walking along all dressed up in their winter gear.  As they approached what looked like a slippery patch on the sidewalk, the first thing he did when they got a bit closer was to grab for her hand to make sure she didn’t slip or fall. Kindness with no thought of reward still works really well to say how much someone cares. Try it. It feels good.
  4. Do nice things for each other. Most can still hold a door open for the other. It’s a show of respect and kindness for the other and not an imagined weakness. Screw the politically correct and the feminists. Since when did being considerate get pushed off to the side like a piece of trash. Try making a cup of tea or something as a surprise for the other. It says, “I was thinking about you sweetheart.”
  5. Always be on the lookout for something new to do that you both can enjoy learning more about–together.

Our relationships become dramatically more important as we move through time. Sometimes it gets down to deciding whether or not you want your last vision to be that of someone you “loved” or being alone because you didn’t pay attention to the really important things in your life.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim                                jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: the photo resource was used for education, research, or critical purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of these images.)

The Secret To True Happiness Is . . . ? What’s The Answer Worth To You? I’ll Give It To You For Free.

I hope everyone had a truly remarkable and enjoyable Christmas season. After all isn’t this supposed to be the season of Peace and Love and Joy? This is the time of the year that is supposed to see new beginnings blossom along with forgiveness of past transgressions. This is the time of gift giving and going above and beyond. But why do we wait for one season of the year to show our kindness and humanity?

Staying with this theme I decided to share a secret so special that many spend their fortunes to get a glimpse of it. Some get so close to it (at least they believe it is what they seek) only to see it vanish like smoke passing through their fingers. To be honest I came by this “secret” completely by accident but I certainly believe that it is true and the science bears it out. The truth of this is time tested. I will share it with you in a minute or two. So many stand in their own way of finding happiness. Many will only accept that the solution to find something as wonderful as this must be more complicated and difficult to realise. Some would ask, “If it’s that simple why isn’t everyone doing that?” Good question.

We have been told that the secret to happiness or being happy comes from hard work or earning vast fortunes or becoming important, powerful, envied, held in awe, being free and independent.  Not true. There are two things that money will not and can not buy. Those are class and happiness. It IS true that money can buy us comfort and power but not happiness–at least not true happiness. Not the kind of happiness that can actually extend the length and quality of our lives.

We have lost or perhaps misplaced the true meaning of the word HAPPINESS. Scientists, of course, have tried to explain it as a chemical reaction in our brains. Others have suggested that it is a state that is void of sadness. I believe that we will know it when we feel it. Who cares if we can explain it as long as we believe we have found it. The closest I can come to explaining it is to say that it will be a state of being that I have never felt before. That’s about as good as it gets.

The source of the “secret” is the Harvard Grant Study. This was a study that began in 1938 and continues to this day. It is one of the longest running longitudinal studies of its kind. The study began with 268 males. Females were not included in the study because Harvard, at that time, was an all male institution. It would be truly fascinating to do a similar study of females and compare the outcomes. Perhaps someone will take it on. Out of the original 268 men that were studied there are still 19 men living. They are presently in their 90’s. I have included a paragraph or two below which comment on some of the findings of the study and there is also a link that will connect you to the actual article outlining the study in more detail:

“Researchers who have pored through data, including vast medical records and hundreds of in-person interviews and questionnaires, found a strong correlation between men’s flourishing lives and their relationships with family, friends, and community. Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels were.”

“When we gathered together everything we knew about them about at age 50, it wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old,” said Waldinger in a popular TED Talk. “It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”

“The researchers also found that marital satisfaction has a protective effect on people’s mental health. Part of a study found that people who had happy marriages in their 80s reported that their moods didn’t suffer even on the days when they had more physical pain. Those who had unhappy marriages felt both more emotional and physical pain.”

“Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, said Waldinger, and the loners often died earlier. “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

It is important to recognise that the reference to “relationships” is not limited to marital or intimate relationships only. It includes those relationships we may have with friends and community as well.

This may be one of the most important documents you will ever read on the net or anywhere else. Please don’t write it off as some silly science of some kind. This is an opportunity to see life for all the good it has to offer and to understand more about the pursuit of true happiness in our lives. This article and study could be the most important “gift” that you will ever receive–Merry Christmas. A bit late but no less important.

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

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

(Disclaimer:  Photo resources and quotes are used for education, research and/or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of either examples.)

 

Our Kids Aren’t As Smart As They Used To Be . . .

 

Now more than ever we think we are so much smarter than our predecessors. We equate technological “smarts” with “living smarts” when there really is no comparison. No one disputes that today’s teen  gets around a key board with little or no trouble but that doesn’t make them smarter when regarding life skills.

There is a growing body of work and research that suggests that kids from the mid 70’s were just as smart and in many cases smarter than today’s “wunderkind.” The following is an excerpt from a study done at Kings College in London, England that supports the previous statement.

(By Charlotte Bailey)

But average achievement was found to be similar in teenagers from both generations. Professor Michael Shayar, who led the study, said: “The pendulum test does not require any knowledge of science at all. It looks at how people can deal with complex information and sort it out for themselves.” He believes that the decline in brainpower has happened over the last ten to 15 years and could be a result of national curriculum targets which drill children for tests as well as changes in children’s leisure activities, such as an increase in computer games and television watching.”

As parents we have been told that our kids are growing up much faster than they did 20 years ago. There is a great deal of truth in that statement but only if you consider physical growth as the only criteria to be considered. Considering mental and emotional growth these test results say exactly the opposite. Are we expecting our children to grow up much faster than before and if so does that mean that they are better prepared to make “adult” decisions? Does that mean they are better equipped to deal with the consequences of those decisions? My answer to that would be a simple and emphatic “NO” they are not.

We, as those who are supposed to be responsible for preparing our children for adulthood, have, for the most part, been woefully ignorant or reluctant to do what is required in order to do that. Not all adults or parents of course but far too many. We expect the school system to perform that duty and parents are saying “that’s why we pay you guys.”  In the end we have a generation of kids who are trying to figure out who and what they are supposed to be. How are they supposed to behave? They don’t feel they can talk to their teachers or parents about the issues they face and are accessing public and social services at an unprecedented rate. Go to the Canadian Children Rights Council/Fatherless children in Canada to see just how dire this situation is.

So the question remains: “Are our kids as smart as they used to be?” If we believe the outcomes of these two studies and the information attached to the link I listed above–It is clear that we need to pay attention. Our children are not learning what they need to learn in order to be more confident, successful and hopeful in the new world they live in. When our children are trying to tell us they are more fearful of being bullied, that they are fearful of the outcomes of exams because of the pressure put on them to succeed–we need to pay closer attention to them. When their behaviour indicates that using alcohol and drugs is the answer to many of their emotional and spiritual problems–we need to listen. Perhaps if we pay closer attention we can help reduce the number of teenage suicides per year.

Our kids are doing their job by trying to tell us what they need from us. Now we need to do our job as parents. We need to expect much more from our school system. Education is more than just feeding facts and information to kids who are often bored and disinterested with stuff they don’t feel has any relevance to their future lives. We need to listen more closely to our kids and let them know that we have heard them and help is on its way. We need to stop believing that our kids are smarter than we were and they will handle life more effectively than we did because they are growing up faster. We need to understand that that is just not true. We must stop expecting them to make adult type decisions using a child’s view of the world around them. It just doesn’t work that way.

Anyway, that’s how I see things.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas

Thanks for stopping by, Jim

 

Please pass this along to family and friends. Comments are always appreciated–jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(The study information and the photo image have been used for research, criticism or educational purposes. I derive no financial gain from the use of that material.)

 

I’m Not So Sure I Would Call It A Democracy . . .

I offer my sincere gratitude to those who witness and manage the outcomes of the human destruction and tragedy that seems to be increasing all around us. What they do is amazing and I’m not sure how they do it. I’m just glad they do. That goes for soldiers as well. Amazing people who are passionate and who care about their fellow humans. I thank them all.

I’m also thankful that I live in a place where most of my basic needs are met but saddened by the constant erosion of those rights in the name of my own best interests. Canada is truly the best country on the planet to live in-I would not want to live anywhere else. But I’m becoming more challenged to see it as a true democracy. The word ‘democracy’ suggests majority rules. The will of the people is supposed to stand above everything else. For instance, in a true democracy, Trump would have been removed from office a long time ago. He certainly does not have the backing of anywhere close to a majority. He wasn’t elected by a larger number of voters. I am not a ‘Hillary’ fan but she did garner 2million more votes than he did. Put two or three names on a piece of paper and a check mark beside the one you like. Count the check marks and there is your leader. Pretty simple stuff.

I don’t quite agree with the interpretation of ‘democracy’ as it stands. I do not want to put my vote in the hands of a politician who doesn’t know me or know how I feel on a particular issue. Why then should he cast a vote either yeh or nay in my name. If we lived in a true democracy we, being eligible citizens, would be able to have a direct say in the important issues that frame our lives in some way almost every day. A direct say would simply mean-ONE VOTE cast by each eligible individual. The person or issue with the most votes wins the day. It is considered to be the common will of the people. This is a true democracy to me.

And it is not true that anyone can run for public office. Money, time, support of power brokers, special interest groups and those who gain if John Doe is elected are some of the reasons why the ‘average Joe’ can’t run or would never win an election. Let’s at least be honest about that.

The following are some of the issues that I believe need to stay within the direct influence of everyday people and not left to the representatives we send to parliament to represent our best interests. I can’t remember the last time my ‘representative’ called me to ask for my thoughts??

For example: (I realize that rule by plebiscite isn’t ideal either. However, it is much easier to do now using the technology available and it sure is more ‘democratic’ than the current system.)

  • We need to have a way of impeaching a leader if he/she fails to live up to ‘election promises’ within a specified period of time. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver–it’s called accountability and honesty.
  • Declarations of war. Perhaps the leaders could send their kids to be among the first to fight the enemy. Would they be as anxious to wage war a half a world away?
  • Implementation of the death penalty. This issue should not be left to whichever leader has the strongest moral conviction one way of the other. It depends on what we collectively stand for and what kind of justice are we seeking.
  • Abortion-decision should be the sole decision of the mother.
  • Gun control. If you like to shoot go to the gun club where your secured firearm is located. It is different if you hunt for food and clothing. I understand hunting for sport. You just don’t get to keep the thing tucked away in your closet. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons should never leave the firing range or designated firing areas.  They are useful when hunting people and that’s about it. The NRA now wants to have silencers legalized. Apparently, it hurts their ears–HEY-get some friggin’ ear plugs.
  • Legalising cannabis–for medical purposes only and absolutely. It should be covered just as any other prescription is covered.
  • Major constitutional changes depending on what they are. If the outcome would interfere with how the government goes about it’s business then that outcome needs to be dealt with in a different manner.
  • Euthanasia–it’s MY life and it does not belong to anyone else. If I want to end it because I have had enough and I am deemed to be of sound mind then the state should not have a say in that.

These are some of the issues that we ALL should have a say in–a direct say-one vote-one eligible citizen across the board. If more people vote yes than no then it happens. If you don’t agree then go out and try to persuade as many others as you can that you are right and they need to listen to you.

Let’s leave the government to macro-manage the national systems like the railroads, highways, air travel, funding national education programs, global representation at the UN for example and negotiating international trade agreements, the judicial system, national medical programs, national defence, international climate change initiatives, funding R&D and energy production. These issues are discussed when elections take place-vote your conscience. The other issues are what we have to live with every day of our lives and for the most part direct the quality of our living experiences each day. We need to have a direct say.

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

Contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: the use of the photo is for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no monetary benefit from the use of it)

The Past Week–The Short Version

Commentary:

When I look at the image at the top of the page I see a place that is peaceful as it spins around on its axis. It’s difficult to tell that there was so much violence and destruction that has just past-at least for now.Whole countries have been decimated-people have been killed by nothing more than a severe storm of amazing magnitude. For many, this is a blip on the screen of life. Better them than us I heard someone say and sadly there is much truth in that. But have we really stopped our busy lives long enough to consider just serious and how devastating the past events have been for so many who were already powerless to change the quality of their lives and now they have less than what they had before which was not very much. One thing for sure is that I marvel at the stamina, tenacity and sheer bravery that all those islanders and those in Houston and Florida have shown. They are the true fighters and lovers of the gift of life.  But not much has changed for many of us. Perhaps a few words to describe the difference between self-care and being self-centered would be in order?

In true fashion, we grumbled, although not for long, because the oil companies decided to ‘cash’ in on the horror of it all. Perhaps I would not be quite so ornery if the oil companies had jacked up the price of fuel but instead of looking for the government to shoulder the whole financial responsibility to provide aid and some basic comforts had said they would donate the proceeds from the increased pump and fuel prices to help provide things like clothing, housing, schools, hospital services, decent food and fresh water for those in true need. You know-the necessities of life. After all their own citizens were being crushed as well. I guess they haven’t made enough money this year–got to take care of those pesky shareholders don’t you know.

What a sad lot we are. ‘Nuff said I guess.

A Forward-Thinking Program: Preparing and Educating Our Children For The 21st Century:

The formal text is done and the formatting is being done. Soon we will be out in the community ready to inform those who are interested in how our kids will adjust to the new approach and thinking that will be necessary if they are to have a chance at competing for good fulfilling, creative and exciting careers in the new global marketplace. There are many major changes on the horizon. We can only hope that the government stays away from commenting on how those changes will be instituted. Their job should be to fund and otherwise make the inevitable changes possible to implement to ensure that all the ideas and energy that are sure to be presented are given the time and interest they deserve. They need to leave the creativity, critical thinking and innovation part that will surely be necessary to develop a vision of what is needed to the people who are actually qualified and experienced to do that kind of work. Boards of education need to support and champion the new days and ways of educating our kids. The mentors and coaches and other professionals need to be free to create the ‘how to’ part (new curriculum) so that the real consumers in the system-the students/learners will receive the best, most interesting and challenging system possible. If everyone can swallow their egos and commit to work together for the realization of a common goal, do the part that they are responsible for and set aside their distorted beliefs that they and they alone know better than the folks who live in the trenches regarding what’s best for everyone there is a good chance that we can make this work to the betterment of the real group (the kids) who have been trying to tell us for quite some time now what has to change in order for them to get excited about attending school again.

The task of the government should be to provide all the resources necessary to make the inevitable changes possible and to ensure that all the ideas and energy that are sure to be presented are given the time and interest they deserve. They need to leave the creativity, critical thinking and innovation part that will be necessary to develop a vision of what is needed to the people who are actually qualified and experienced to do that kind of work. Boards of education need to support and champion the new days and ways of educating our kids. They need to support and encourage the mentors, coaches and other professionals to be free to create the ‘how to’ part (new curriculum) so that the real consumers in the system-the students/learners will receive the best, most interesting and challenging system possible.

If everyone can swallow their egos and commit to work together for the realization of a common goal, do the part that they are responsible for and set aside their distorted beliefs that they and they alone know better than the folks who live in the trenches regarding what’s best for everyone there is a good chance that we can make this work to the betterment of the real group (the kids) who have been trying to tell us for quite some time now what has to change in order for them to get excited about attending school again.

Let’s start with one of the main underlying principles that will have to change. Any new system will have to be learner-centered meaning that the learners will decide what they want to learn depending where their interests and skills lie and not the system which strives for conformity but little in the way of creativity.

More to come in the following weeks. We are planning to offer some public forums like town hall meetings around the peninsula in the fall. Our hope is that parent groups, single-parent groups, teachers and union reps, trustees, business owners and any other interested parties will want to know more so that they can help support the work and the learners. Our goal is to to be to produce the best educational system and approach on the planet. Currently South Korea, according to most, holds that distinction.

That’s me done for the week, all the best and thanks for stopping by. Send me a comment if you like–jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Image source unknown to me. I do not derive any financial benefit from using this image. It is used for research, criticism or educational purposes.)

Jim

What’s Worse Than Being Angry, It’s Being . . .

This past week presented me with an opportunity to re-think an old issue–trying to understand what the difference is between anger and revenge. It appears to many this is the same issue just spelled differently. I have come to understand them as being very different from one another.

Anger is an emotion. It is often triggered in us as a response to something unjust–something that has happened that is wrong, unwanted or something that has challenged us in some way for which we may have no reply. For instance, being criticized in public in the presence of family or friends or being challenged in some way that is clearly an effort to embarrass us. Our response to anger is usually not pre-meditated but rather a defensive act of some kind either verbal but sometimes physical. Anger is also very powerful. It can be used to summon energy or direct emotional energy into an act that sometimes focuses on a reply that is not warranted or is not calculated. It just happens. I’ve known people to experience ‘whiteouts’ meaning losing all sense of what is happening around them at a particular time and then becoming aware that damage of some kind  has been done to another person or property.

ANGER can also be used as a force for change-a cause of some kind. It can be used to focus on creating positive outcomes when tenacity may be needed to stay a particular course of action. Anger can be used to mobilize and motivate people to become engaged in social change where ‘wrongs’ have been perpetrated on those who have little or no political power-no voice. Perhaps they are people who are always being used in some way for the gain of others. It could be about helping the homeless folks receive a better deal than they are getting currently. It can also help us deal with danger and threats to our personal safety. The point is anger is NOT always a negative thing.

So anger is an emotion. It is usually displayed as a more immediate reaction to a threat or challenge of some kind. Seldom is it planned.

REVENGE is a crafted response that has been created after thought and consideration over a period of time. There is no real good that can come from acts or behaviours that are born from ‘getting even, proving a point or showing up the other guy’. I can hear many who are reading this groaning about another ‘do gooder’ or ‘bleeding heart’ but the fact remains that some people spend countless days, weeks or even years planning and plotting their revenge. Hate grows and poisons people to the point where they can think or feel nothing but negative emotions. There is no room for joy or celebration and certainly no chance to gain any peace.

Some believe that to do nothing about a perceived wrong would be, in some way, disloyal or perhaps indicate that you don’t care about what happened. That is not true at all. We all show our grief in different ways.  I admit it feels good sometimes when a bad guy gets what he has coming to him/her but it is short lived. In the end it is not as satisfying as the planner would have hoped. Once the deed is done there is a huge vacuum left in us with nothing to fill it with. As good as it may feel at the time the ‘bad guy’ wins again because he/she has stolen something from us and we gave it up willingly–our time.

The other day a guy asked me the inevitable question: what if someone took or hurt your child. Wouldn’t you want to get even? Wouldn’t you want to hurt that other person so bad so they would know what it felt like to be hurt as they hurt others? Honestly–damn right I would. I would want to see justice done. I would want that to be at my hand. No doubt about it.

The power of revenge has no bounds really. I know, for me, I would not want to waste my precious time on someone who didn’t deserve another minute of it. I would not spend time trying to ‘forgive’ nor would I try to forget. I would spend time, I hope, remembering my child and how precious he/she was and how important they were to me. I would want to remember what good they brought to the world. I would honour them and I would cry for them and I would live my life for them as well. Spending time plotting and scheming would only find me in a negative hole so deep I would not be able to climb out and carrying through with the plot to ‘get even’ would not help me escape the pit I had fallen into. Truthfully I’m not sure how I would overcome that but I do know what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t keep the hurt alive by remembering it everyday. That’s what happens when we try to figure out how to make the other guy pay.

So revenge is a behaviour. I understand that it is fuelled by an emotion but I ultimately have control over how much time and energy I will spend on planning and plotting my revenge. Once I execute my plan or plot I realize that nothing can or will be the same again. I’m not sure that is the legacy my child, using this example, would want from me.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

 

Please send this along to family and friends. If anyone has a comment to make please send it to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or through my web site at: jimcloughley.com

(This image by pinterest.com is being used for criticism, education or research purposes. I do not derive any financial benefit from the use of this image.)

No Wonder We Have Trouble Understanding Each Other . . .

For the longest time I admit I had difficulty trying to understand what people–both males and females, but mostly females were trying to say about who or what they believed in or stood for by the clothes they wore or their physical appearance. There were standards back then that had nothing to do with anyone’s rights. Parents, for the most part, had the greatest say in what unspoken messages those standards provided. One thing that I did come to understand and to this day has not changed much was the females at my school were just as curious to learn about ‘the boys’ as ‘the boys’ were to learn about ‘the girls’. I figured that was kinda normal considering chemistry and biology.

There were some basic rules of course but not that many. There were certain lines that just didn’t get crossed. Today they are constantly obliterated by both females and males. The same messages that kept law, order and reason in check back then are all but forgotten now. Consider the language that both men and women use in public in ear shot of little kids. In the name of growth, power and freedom we have lost the importance of the meaning of those standards. I accept the concepts but not the interpretation of those words. Today it is much more difficult to interpret or understand what the messages people are sending to one another really mean. I believe that this ‘misunderstanding’ or miscomprehension, apparently such a word does exist, is, to a greater degree, part of the reason there is so much sexual violence going on out there and just plain violence in general.

I’m fully aware of the thoughts and feelings of some that suggest men need to be more responsible for their’urges’ and ‘cravings’ and I totally agree with that. Men need to dial in their egos and understand that times have changed and so must their attitudes towards women. Women are no longer to be seen as weak or toys to play with. But women need to park their efforts at trying to be more ‘man-like’ in how they present themselves as well. Parents need to do a much better job of educating their sons AND their daughters about respecting each other more. I also understand that regardless of how much or how logical that may be to some we will not erase or make disappear the ‘leopards spots.’ We are who we are. Say this or do that and stuff will happen as a response to the message received. Men continue to be creatures who see the world differently than their female cohabitors. By the way-women also see the world differently than we do. No one is right or wrong but we BOTH need to understand that we are different from each other and neither of us is likely change how we go about our business no matter the coercion.

Can we agree that sex sells? The message that is sent by women is that they are tired of being exploited and sexualized by men. However, part of the confusion here stems from female participation in all forms of commercialism which includes the entertainment world where less truly is much more, music videos especially the rap/hip hop genre, movies, commercialism and advertising not to come close to denying the fashion world their piece of this business. What is the message that participants are sending? I understand that they are being well compensated by sharing their assets with paying customers and viewers. What’s the message being sent?

There is more than enough finger-pointing to go around but what concerns me is we are missing a teachable moment. What are folks REALLY trying to say by how they dress and what they look like. For many, the reasons are a large part of their personal story but we seem to focus on the things that matter less. If a young man or woman puts on a great deal of weight is it because they don’t care or is it because they are trying to make themselves unattractive? Perhaps someone had sexually abused them when they were smaller or less able to defend themselves. Perhaps they are still too frightened to say anything to anyone so they resort to living a false life-often very depressed and always unhappy. They wear the masks of terror or fear. There are those kids who are full of anger and hate. What are they trying to tell us by how they dress or look? What do the tats, the piercings and the push to be different in some way mean? There is a whole generation of kids out there who seem to be malnourished only because they have an awful time keeping their pants up beyond their back sides. What’s the message they are sending? Is it “I really don’t care or I want to be different?” Hey if you want to be different try wearing them on your hips like other folks. How many people try so hard to just ‘fit in’–to feel connected somewhere so they might be less bullied or targeted? What about the ugly, public displays of hatred that are surfacing? People aren’t born hating others. That is something they are taught–by who? Now we have a generation of young people some of which have skewed value systems and a moral compass that is clearly broken. These represent the new generation of parents that have the task of being teachers to our young men and women. What messages are they sending?

So the next time your daughter leaves the house with half her clothes still in her bedroom or your son is walking around tripping over the crotch of his nice new jeans ask yourself what is going on? Really? What is it they are trying to tell us?

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

All the best, Jim

If you want to make a comment to me just send me an email at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Please send this along to family or friends and ask them to do the same–with thanks.

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You Asked So I’ll Do My Best To Answer . . .

” Breaking the sound barrier”

Disclaimer: This photo is used for educational, research or criticism purposes. I derive no financial benefit from using this image.

Commentary:

Part of what I enjoy doing now that I’m retired is engaging people, any people, in conversation. About anything and everything. It doesn’t matter the topic-I just like to debate or discuss things. So this week I thought that I would mention a couple of topics that seemed to be on people’s minds.

  1. A man who was a supervisor at work was complaining about some of his employees and how difficult it was to get a good days work out of them. It seemed that the harder he pushed the less they did. The solution seemed obvious but he was unable to see it. All he was concerned about was the visit his supervisor made to him saying “if you can’t get them to be more productive then we will have to find someone who can.” This response ratcheted up his anxiety levels to the point that he was fearful of having a break down of some kind. Young man-young family-big bills to pay. I suggested that it might be time for him to try another approach with his employees since threats and pressure were not working out so well for him. Then I pointed out to him that what HIS boss said to him near crippled him-isn’t it possible that his pressure tactics were doing the same with those that he was directly responsible for. So I suggested he allow for some ‘quiet ‘time for his crew each day. This would be time during the day for each employee to just go somewhere quiet, when it is appropriate to leave and relax for 10-15 minutes. Perhaps listen to some good music or read a book or the sports page. Perhaps enjoy nothing but quiet. He was a bit sceptical so I suggested he do a bit of research on management styles and see what Google is doing to manage their employees and how other companies deal with reducing the risk of ‘burnout’ in their places of work. Often times the most basic or simplest solutions for managing stress or anxiety are the best. I look forward to talking with this fellow next week to see what, if anything, has changed.
  2. I overheard a couple of kids talking about how dissatisfied they were with school and how they hated going. What a waste of time one said and the other commented that he didn’t understand why they had to take the stuff that was being ‘thrown’ at them. The other one wants to quit and get a job making a lot of money and getting on with his life. Naturally I couldn’t help myself so I said “so what is so horrible with school that you would quit–and then do what? So if you could change school what would you do?” They both responded saying they would learn stuff that made sense and was fun to learn. Turns out they were just bored because they couldn’t see using half the stuff they were being taught and felt as though what they wanted didn’t matter. Classic. I suggested they go share those thoughts with someone and then I got to thinking-good idea but who would that be? Parents are likely think they are just whining and teachers don’t want to hear about it because half of them are bored and feel uninspired as educators. They feel the same way as the kids do. School boards, instead of protecting their’turf’, need to step up, pay attention to what their learners are saying and actually do what they are supposed to do and that is provide these students with a challenging and relevant education that creates an environment of innovation, creativity and possibility. Currently that doesn’t happen near as often as it needs to. Is it any wonder that kids are struggling at school and faltering in their lives regarding some of the decisions they are making.

A Forward Thinking Program:  Educating and Preparing Our Kids For The 21st Century:

Well it is finally done. The main body of work is completed with just the formatting to be done. I thought the best way to introduce this new program would be to publish the goal and mission statements first so that readers, parents and caregivers would have a better idea of what we will be describing over the next while.

Please ask yourself or anyone you think is interested ‘If you had a chance to provide the best opportunity for your kids to thrive and enjoy their learning experiences would you be interested in making that happen?’ This is where that opportunity for you and them could begin.

Mission Statement:

“A Forward Thinking Program: A New Look at Educating and Preparing Our Children For the 21st Century” strives to create a superior educational environment where participation in self-directed learning opportunities will prepare learners to compete for challenging, creative, and fulfilling career opportunities at the highest level.”

Goal Statement:

“To offer a new paradigm regarding a free, non-discriminatory, local, national and global learner centered education program that merges enthusiasm, participation and excitement with each learners’ unique learning differences, a capacity for high performance and an innate desire to maximize self”.

Music Video Of The Week:

It’s not really a secret that I really enjoy the music out of the 80’s. I cam across this ‘golden oldie’ earlier this week. It’s by a good Canadian Band from the west coast. Interesting that they were popular in the U.S. but couldn’t get the play time in Canada that they deserved.

***just ‘x’ out the annoying ad

Send any comments to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for stopping by and please forward this newsletter to friends and family.

Minister of Education Is Doing The Right Thing For All The Wrong Reasons . . .

For those parents who have not been paying attention or don’t have any school age children this likely wont mean much to you. My hope is that you will read it anyway because ALL of us need to be concerned by these types of decisions. We are ALL affected by school closings since they affect the overall health of our communities.

The provincial government says they have put a halt to school closures–until they can come up with a ‘better’ plan and process for closing schools in the future. This sounds more to me like an election decision than one born from common sense and reason. Research and studies will suggest that it can be just as costly closing schools as it can be to refurbish them.There are more than a few questions that could be directed to Ms. Hunter regarding the decision making process she alluded to in a recent article announcing the government decision to halt school closures –for now. But above all we need to feel as though our elected officials can be trusted to safe guard our health care system, which includes the mental health system, and our system for educating our children. To quote Charles DeGaulle: “politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” Unfortunately, this government and many before it have proven this sentiment to be true.

There are programs and places where some cuts can be made but health care and education should not be on that chopping block. A cut made somewhere always creates a deficit somewhere else. Usually to the detriment of the taxpayer. If money is a determining factor perhaps our politicians would like to give back 20% of their yearly salaries to start that cost cutting process as a showing of good will. Like that is going to happen. They throw us a bone or two every once in a while but often that bone is not near enough to justify the reduction of funding resulting in cut backs in services. Health care and education should never be sacrificed for a balanced budget. We should never grant permission to the ‘bean counters’ to make decisions as vital and important as any that would affect these two vulnerable systems.

Other provinces are becoming much more progressive and realistic concerning philosophical changes to how education is presented to the new learners of the 21st century. British Columbia is light years ahead of us and Alberta is showing signs of undergoing large changes in curriculum. So called experts have stated that we should not toy with the system because it has historically returned quality marks in international testing. There is no question that we are very good at how we are teaching the present curriculum. The problem is that the present curriculum is NOT RELEVANT any longer. Our system is still focused on providing a knowledge based system when the world does not require knowledge it requires imagination, innovation and creativity. These are the skills that will open the doors to prosperity and opportunity for our next generation of learners. Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” 

Points to ponder:

  1. I can understand that the public is concerned about any new approaches to educating our children but other countries have been doing what we are talking about for years now and have managed to become the top 5 growing economies in the world. They know something we don’t and have not been shy taking a chance to thrive. Mistakes are what we learn by. But a mistake here can be one that keeps us ‘safe’ and finding ourselves left behind in the global marketplace.
  2. Let’s work to put kids back into school instead of accepting decreasing enrolments. At the very least perhaps working harder to find out why kids are dropping out of school instead of learning and enjoying their educational experiences would be prudent. Dropping out could be related to the fact that kids find the current curriculum boring, uninteresting and not relevant. Might it also be that learners and parents are finally figuring out that secondary and post secondary education is expensive and does not adequately prepare learners for the demands of future global economies. No one really has a clue about what those demands will look like because of the dramatic growth of technology but we do know that they will be much different from what grads are presenting with today.
  3. If we could find a way to lower the drop out rate across Canada by 1% point we would save billions of dollars per year in costs to fund the demands of social services, police services, court services and medical and health services. In fact we may be called upon to provide more schools.
  4. Can we not be more creative around the use of empty school space in rural communities. Things like sharing space with medical clinics, senior programs, treatment programs, social programs, community centres for kids and daycare spaces could be options as well as renting empty space to small retail stores.
  5. If the trend continues private schools will continue to see increased enrolments in their programs. This despite the fact that parents still have to pay public school taxes regardless. That tells me that there is some concern on behalf of parents that the present system is not delivering what it advertises.

It’s time that parents and care givers began asking their trustees and representatives on school boards the important questions and do not leave until you get a straight answer. Pay attention folks-your child’s education and indeed their very futures depend on how diligent we are right now.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.

All the best, Jim

Please send this along to friends and family. Feedback or comments can be sent to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: Photo by linkedin.com. The photo is used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from using this image.

We Are Not Doing This Right And It’s Costing Us Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars . . .

Do I have all the answers–no I don’t. I don’t suggest I do. However, I feel pretty certain about the answer to the following question: Why are we spending millions and millions of dollars needlessly every year on a ‘war’ that doesn’t exist? I understand what folks are trying to say but we have gotten lost in the meaning of the words. There is no war on drugs. How can you fight something that has no conscience, no soul, and no heart beat? It can’t be killed. This whole business about a war is nonsense. Is there a problem with alcohol and drug addiction–a huge one. No denying that. There are no individual freedoms to be gained-just grief. Strange, though, how we struggle with the idea of someone choosing to end their own life for whatever reasons-humanitarian or not. I guess we really will do anything for money after all.

By the way. In my opinion legalizing cannabis was a dumb-ass decision that will turn out to be a costly error in judgment. Use it for medical purposes of course. Should have happened 20 years ago. For ‘recreational use? Nothing good can come from this except the revenue-shame on us for selling out. (For more info click on the underlined text). Just what we need–another mind altering drug on the street with about as much success keeping it out of the hands of the under 18 crowd as they have realized with alcohol. Best of intentions my ‘butt’.  If we wanted to go after drug dealers we need look no further than our own back yard. Let’s look at Big Pharma and physicians who over prescribe and don’t follow up with the folks they prescribe it to as a part of our drug problem. Now those are tangible targets. Perhaps we could ‘wage war’ on them. Canada currently spends over 2 Billion $/year on this ‘war’. We might as well rip up the cash for the good it is doing. The strategy just does not work. It never has and it never will. There isn’t any evidence that suggests our efforts have reduced the global drug problem. Granted there are large quantities of drugs coming into our country. We should do what we can to reduce that amount but we are missing something quite fundamental here.

Why don’t we spend that money trying to influence the DEMAND side of things instead of the supply side of things? “WHY” is the question that should be asked and a solution to the answer would seem to be a more prudent approach. Why are people using? No one–NO ONE–gets up in the morning and decides that they want to be a drug addict. People use illicit drugs and over prescribed prescription medication because they provide relief of some kind. It is often the only product that does this without rendering the user useless or unable to function at a level that allows him or her to perform their duties at a job or to provide for their families. They are easy to come by and often unable to detect. Being a quick fix society and that is certainly what we have taught our children to do-take the quick way out–we often hear “just take this and you’ll be fine.”

We need to put a hefty portion of our ‘war chest’ into treatment programs and approaches that are well thought out and which treat the source of the problems people struggle with instead of dealing with the symptoms of those issues. Let’s take on things like loneliness, isolation, depression, fear, anger, resentment, panic and anxiety, feelings of being disconnected from life around them and that they don’t belong-need I go on. We are using alcohol and drugs as the great equalizer because it is the only thing that seems to work. Obviously, it doesn’t make the problem go away but it does provide some relief from the constant, daily presence of issues that can be dealt with. We also have to ask “why” do our children feel the need to risk their lives just for the buzz? What are they trying to tell us as their parents, their mentors or their role models? My guess is that they are really disappointed with what we have NOT given them. Things like our time, our love, our guidance. You go figure that one out and perhaps they will stop harming or killing themselves. Either by accident or design, they are still gone.

When we are able to reduce or eliminate the demand side we won’t have to worry near as much about the supply side. That will take care of itself.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim.  Thanks for stopping by.

Please send this along to friends and family.

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

Disclaimer: Photo resource used for education, research or criticism purposes. I derive no financial gain from the use of this photo.