What Were They Thinking ? . . . (Re-posted From October 13, 2013)

In light of recent events south of us I went back to a past article I posted on a related topic. I don’t want this opening paragraph to come off like I am defending men or the decisions some make or have made. Not in the least. I offer this as an opinion or partial explanation as to these recent events and how confusing things can get. I also offer this thought for males and females both. Careful the places you find yourself–what are the messages that are being sent, received and acted upon or responded to.

Now that there is a new ass sitting on the Supreme Court bench it is safe to say that the rule of law and it’s meaning are in decline. If nothing else Kavanaugh should have been held in contempt of court for lying under oath about his drinking history. Those lies remain undisputed. Even if Ford’s story had too many claims that could not be proven under the rules and regulations laid out by the White House, he should have been held accountable for the ‘bullshit’ and the ‘B’ performance he put on at that table in that hall. And there is Trump in the background with that smug ugly face staring out at the world saying ‘hey, gotcha again.’ He is the absolute worst role model and the poorest example of strength and legitimacy that the citizens of the United States have ever had the misfortune of placing on the world stage for all to see.

As a parting thought here I thought that the hearings were worse than a cheap ‘B’ porn movie with the starring role played by a character called “Trump Kavanaugh”–just saying . . .

 

“What were they thinking. . . ?

Now that I’ve had a chance to think about this I find myself asking ‘what were they thinking?’

I have to admit that I am really confused, as a male and a human being about what the Y.U.N. chant thing was all about. But the big question for me was what the hell were these future pillars of society thinking about when they advocated the legalization of rape and child molestation? If they were trying to be challenging and controversial the only thing that has been accomplished here is the confirmation that supporters of this idea are not only misguided and bored but border on being misogynistic.

The main concern for me and the part that has me very confused is the number of females who were right in there supporting the whole premise. It didn’t seem to bother them that they were backing the idea that it is perfectly OK to force a young girl to have sex whether she wants to or not. So how young is too young? I mean underage is just that isn’t it? So when is it OK to feed alcohol to a 12 year old to the point where she is not aware or able to cry out for help? What ever happened to the arguments that women have been putting up for years now that say they and they alone are the arbiters of what they decide to do with their bodies? These young women who have supported this lunacy have set that whole discussion back to the stone ages. Truly now, if this was their sister we are talking about would they really feel the same way? Would they be all for it? And where are the women’s groups? I haven’t heard a great deal of criticism or dialogue involving those who have been advocating a ‘different’ deal for women. At the very least a clear statement of some kind speaking about respect and equality. Even just a touch of outrage.

And the men-I can’t call them men.  Are the males who support this so challenged and so unable to attract and develop a sexual relationship with someone who is functioning, emotionally, at about the same level that they need to pick on young girls who really are not equipped with the critical thinking that goes along with giving permission to share themselves with someone else in a meaningful way?  As a man, I’m embarrassed to say that this whole idea is about the same as reducing sex to scratching an itch on their ass. It is a conquest and a power-grab not an emotional act of any kind. This type of behavior is what clearly illustrates the growing lack of respect for self and others that seems to be so prevalent in the youth of today.

I have an adult son and daughter. My son and his wife have blessed us with a beautiful granddaughter. She’s two years old. If what this chant is promoting ever happened to either daughter or granddaughter, at any age, and I were to confront the perpetrators I would not report them. I might, however, bind their testicles with a liberal piece of piano wire secured to the bumper of my car and let them know that for as long as they can run they can keep them attached.

Perhaps a bit radical but then again so is this absurd idea that it’s OK to take what you can regardless of how the other person feels about things.

That’s how I see it anyway, Jim”

Comments?–Send them to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Use of this photo is for education, research and/or offering criticism. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

Are Our Lives Really Just A Day Long . . ?

As I have come to understand my life started out as most do. I woke up and it was dark as usual. It seemed like I had been asleep or resting for a long time. Then all I remember was I was moving. I was going somewhere and it was a bumpy ride. I wasn’t liking this much. All of a sudden I noticed this small light ahead. It kept getting bigger and bigger-brighter and brighter until-BANG-I was in a whole different place. Some of me was in-some of me was out (I think it was out) and it was cold. There was a lot of noise now and I was not happy about being here. Before I knew it the long ride was over. Hands were all over me and then someone smacked me and I wanted to scream Hey!What’d I do? Someone picked me up and I felt warmer. Well I wasn’t sure about whether or not I was going to like this place so I started to wail. What I really wanted was to go back to familiar territory. One thing for sure was I was hungry. At least I think that’s what I felt-hunger? Next thing I knew I ended up with this big soft thing that I could put my head on and if I squeezed it stuff would come out. It was warm and not bad.

This was the beginning of my day known as “Morning.” (the morning of my life)

Time passed me by and I got to the point where I was tired of being carried around so the first chance I had I started to learn about being mobile. Big people that I had come to recognize as my parents helped me and soon I was able to go from here to there with little injury.

Soon I went to a place where other people like me were hanging out. They were dealing with the same issues as I was. Bathrooms and what was supposed to happen in there. Not being able to capture that thing with legs but didn’t look like any of us was frustrating and when I did get it and pulled it’s head it got angry and other people rushed to take it away from me.

Sooner it seemed I went to a place called school but I saw less of the people who used to spend a great deal of time with me and then I started to ride a thing called a bus. That was fun for a while. I went to a “bigger school” with crazier people although some of them did things that made me laugh.

I think they called my next stop “public school.” My days seemed longer-sometimes really hot-sometimes really cold and sometimes not much fun. One day my parents told me I had to “work” doing things around the house. Most of that entailed cleaning up messes that I had made. Then I had to learn how to be nice? to other people. I didn’t know why but they said it was the right thing to do-so I did it. Turned out they were right. The longer I was around the more they taught me and the more I felt OK doing it. As it turned out I stopped going to these “smaller schools” and started to go to bigger places with more people than ever and I was learning strange stuff I really didn’t want to know about.  This time space, as it turned out, was called the “Afternoon” of my life.  This was really a great time for me. Freedom to do what I wanted. I met some interesting people who dressed and talked differently than I. Some wore dresses, some had long hair, some had beards and mustaches and some were called “hippies”. Music was great, I entered a relationship with alcohol and cannabis which I believed would lead me to a greater understanding of the universe. Truthfully it ended up being a most tumultuous relationship and not always ending well. I learned that girls were more fun to be around than they used to be and I learned about respecting other peoples opinions and values and rights. Along about this point I started to tune out most of the adult voices in my life in favor of  younger more dymanic voices. This was my second great mistake. I stopped listening to my parents and older folks figuring they were out of step and didn’t know what people like me needed to know. I missed so much of their wisdom and knowledge. They had been where I was going. I regret that decision now.

Eventually it became time to get serious about how my life was going to be spent and I started on a career path that was an awful choice. I did it for a long time reconciling the choice with the idea that this is what folks do to raise a family and buy a home and have toys and things. I learned that I alone was responsible for being the author of my own story. As it turned out it was a great time to be alive. There was a vibrancy all round. I needed my parents to guide me and to listen to me but I never asked them. I thought I knew better. I didn’t.

I had my family and changed my career in mid stream-good move. I had struggled to learn but learn I did. I managed to get it right, at least for me, and I’m good with how it all turned out. This has been and continues to be the“Evening” of my day. I’m still healthy; I still have enough energy to do most of what I want and most of the time the means to do it. I realized some successes and I continue to use some good advice “from back there” that, somehow stuck with me.

The last stage of my day is “Twilight” and although I’m not there yet I will be soon enough.

There are seven points that I’d like to share:

  • value what you have learned no matter how you learned it.
  • never pass up a chance to learn something new-even at this stage of your day.
  • don’t get caught up with what others are doing or not doing.
  • don’t suffer stupid people easily.
  • never forget who your friends are.
  • patience is often over rated.
  • time is your most valuable resource

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

jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

Have You Really Thought About The Quality Of Your Child’s Public Education?

Who sees your kids more than you do? School teachers. Who has more opportunity to influence your kids than you do? School systems. Yet parents, for the most part, spend less time speaking about or thinking about what is happening at school and what are they being taught. We send them off in the morning expecting to see them at the end of the day but beyond that we don’t give their day much thought. We assume that they are looked after and that they are learning something useful. We trust schools and school systems to know how to do their job and we just accept the fact that when they graduate they will do fine “out there.” That is happening less and less on many fronts.

I often wonder how many parents actually take time at the end of the day to talk with their kids and ask about what they learned at school that day or how did school go today or what was something you learned today that you didn’t know anything about? In other words what happened that was interesting.

And so it goes. Each day the kid goes off to a place that parents know little about being told or given tons of data/facts that really don’t have much relevance to the kids everyday living experience and we, as parents, can’t understand why our kids aren’t crazy about going to school each day and doing better. Could it be that school is long, boring, and not much fun? There are any number of kids that would say the same thing when they get home at the end of the day. It was boring and they ask why they have to learn that stuff. Plus they have an hour or more homework to do for tomorrow and they don’t have a clue how to do it or what to do about it.

They sit in a classroom 6 rows across and 5 rows deep or vice versa for hours listening to a talking head fire data/information at them with the expectation that they will “get it.” And we can’t understand why some kids are trouble makers, disruptive or hard to manage. How many of those get diagnosed with ADD and put on meds?

Many questions remain when I think about the relevance of the current pedagogy and the value and relevance of the curriculum that is presented each new school year.  Talk to some of the teachers and they will tell you what they think is going on but no one seems to hear what it is they are saying. They are trying to tell us that “we have to change how we do school-this system isn’t working.”

Along with those concerns is the bigger problem being the reluctance to change anything or update the overall approach of the public school system as it stands.

I know this much and that is that the system has become virtually unresponsive to the issues being mentioned. It needs to change dramatically and almost immediately if we hope to offer our children a chance to compete with other kids from other countries for challenging, rewarding and high paying jobs.

So how do we do that? Parents–whoever and wherever you are you need to get involved with what is happening with your kids future. That means you will have to become better informed about the options out there for your kids to gain an education that will help prepare them for the professional challenges of the 21st century. There are more options available than you know. The public system, although preferable, is not the only option. But to become more informed you need to talk to your kids and ask the right questions. Be prepared to listen to them because they are the experts on what is or is not working in today’s classrooms. They know what the changes are that need to be made and why they need to be made.

With a great deal of passion, assistance and input from a well informed and motivated group of colleagues and educators I have spent the last three years creating a new approach to educating our kids that addresses many of the issues I mentioned above.

First thing needed is to understand what some of the options are. Check out the differences and the pros and cons of Charter schools, magnet schools, public schools, private schools and home schooling. Once you understand some of the differences and the similarities you can now ask the important questions from the school board members and the trustees and you’ll know more about the quality and validity of the answers you get in return.

I’ll be writing much more about this topic in the weeks to come. I’ll share some of the solutions and suggestions that we came up with as a result of our research and from some of the actual experiences some of my colleagues had that worked in their classrooms but were never considered alternatives or even food for thought.

The following statement is the goal that we have identified for our group. It can be done but only if the parents who really care about the quality and the opportunity their kids receive speak up and are heard.

“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 learner’s unique differences, a capacity for high performance, and an innate desire to maximize self.”

I’ll be absent next week but I’ll write more about this in two weeks. Eventually I will provide an outline of the program we develop on my web page at jimcloughley.com

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

 

 

Dress Code? Uniforms? What Would You Wear To Work?

There is a growing controversy centered on or around what kids are wearing to school these days. Out of this comes the debate about whether or not schools need to implement a policy about wearing a school uniform while attending school, imposing a dress code or allowing students to determine their own ideas of “what is appropriate for school” attire. It seems that the last idea is losing ground to the school uniform supporters. Where do the parents fit into all of this?

I often wonder if the parents even care about what their kids look like when they go to school each morning? Does it make any difference to them if Susie is wearing a little top that exposes her red bra and a generous portion of her chest or that Billy has decided to wear his new Joe Boxer underwear with the blue waist band and the generous view of his back side along with the bulk of his jeans hanging in a pile around his knees as he tries valiantly to walk down the front steps to the bus? I think the only people who REALLY care are the manufacturers of the jeans who are grabbing 70 bucks a pair and saying how cool he looks!! I feel badly for Billy in that it seems he can’t determine how to wear his hat. Front to back or back to the front? Does the beak point more to one side or the other?

It’s the schools which seem to be caught in the middle trying to be politically correct and yet trying to support the idea that kids need to be able to express their identities and their characters. Nice way to dodge the responsibility of setting reasonable standards.

To begin with there needs to be some serious dialogue offered to the “rocket scientists” who seem content on blaming a great deal of this controversy on the female population suggesting that dress codes are needed to curb the temptations they project onto the poor defenseless male populations in the school. Apparently these females are compromising the males ability to concentrate on the subject matter and therefore are in danger of not doing well in school. Perhaps they are not doing well because the curriculum is failing to deliver a source of interest for these unfortunate young men and some of the half naked females are a pleasant diversion.

First of all we need to look at the motivation behind the behavior which in this case is the propensity of adolescents to push the boundaries. Kids are being asked/expected to act like adults so they will promote themselves as adults. However, the idea that women should be identified and singled out as the main part of the “problem” is absurd and even more so when they are being told that THEY need to change but the males are free to carry on.

Advertisers and designers have, for years, been the driving force behind how our youth present themselves to the public at large. Nothing has changed except they have focused more on the idea that less is better and suggests more freedom of expression which is, of course, our kids right. So fashion sends the messages to the world in general: It’s more difficult to be accepted if you are not”fashionable.” Tattoos, the car you drive or the shoes you wear are often about the message you want to send to others around you. Males and females have now taken to carrying guns and knives as a way of sending messages to those around them especially at school. Weapons like this have almost become another part of the “current school uniform” as sad as that is to say.

Then there is the style that many kids-females and males alike-demonstrate. Gansta for one, other gang affiliations, the ‘tough guy’ look meant to intimidate and so on. I always think about what the message is supposed to be that these folks are trying to send the rest. Put that inclination in a school setting and there is a recipe for disaster and turmoil and puts education on the back burner for sure.

Lets not lose sight of the prime objective and that is to establish schools as safe and encouraging environments in which to learn. If schools represent the opportunity to learn, grow and develop the skills that will help us live our lives with success as we have defined it. How does getting caught up in the dress code vs. uniform debate help anything. It really has nothing to do with free choice or economics. The choice should not be about dress codes ect. The choices open to learners and the parents of those learners needs to be–are you going to school or not?

Learners need to dress for success meaning in this case that they dress each day as though they were going to work. How would you dress if you were going to work in an office space or as a professional of some sort? The first thing that needs to be done is to show some respect for where you are earning a living. Go to school dressed the same way. It’s an expectation not a debate.

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

Comments can be made by contacting me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo, by abj.eics.ab.ca, is used for education, research or for the purposes of offering criticism only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

PS–My colleagues and I will soon be unveiling portions of our new paradigm for educating and preparing our kids for the 21st Century. It will revolutionize the way they learn and will do it better than we do it now.  More on this in a couple of weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting Then And Now. . . Is It Really All That Different?

When I look at this image I see 4 people who are older or younger than each other but I can’t tell what they are thinking or how they see the world they live in. I wonder if any of them stop to think about how our world has arrived at it’s present state. What has changed? Why is it so much different from the way it was say 50 years ago. One answer would be how we each parent or parented our children. Now the youngest one pictured in this image hasn’t had any parenting experience and very little life experience but it is what it is and so she has little to compare her present life situation with. Her life is ‘normal’ for what she knows.

Technology has certainly changed many things in terms of how we spend our time. We encourage and expect our kids to grow up much quicker now than before because progress has sped up our living experience. But we need to understand that the brain is a much slower developing organ these days than the human body. Don’t get left behind is the panicked message that most parents send their kids. The pressure to grow up fast and assume responsibility creates a great deal of stress that kids aren’t equipped to handle partially because they have never been taught how to do that. Parents aren’t equipped to do that work because THEY were never taught. It wasn’t necessary during their childhood or at least never acknowledged or spoken of and schools wouldn’t dream of touching that topic in school (check out my web site at jimcloughley.com for more information on what our kids should be learning at school). Over the last two generations thoughts and actions have changed from teaching our children about how to be good citizens to striving to get all they could  and to take care of themselves first. Compassion is not a word that is familiar to a great number of kids today. Bullying, gang violence and mass murders are a visual symptom of this.

As often happens the pendulum of common sense swings so far to one side or the other and does so very quickly. Consequently human beings find it difficult to keep up with the pace of change. Rather than seek a balance between rapid change and thoughtful consideration of facts and experience we jump on the first idea that makes a modicum of sense and go with that forgetting or passing by all the wonderful lessons and ideals from our pasts. These are things that worked for us and helped us navigate the world we lived in when we were growing up. We were guided by the concepts of respect for others and especially our elders, generosity of spirit, accountability for our decisions, hard work and the idea that we were not entitled to anything. If you wanted something you worked for it. Not every kid gets a trophy just for showing up. His/her self esteem will survive such a tragic event.

Today, many parents are at a loss to figure out how to parent their children successfully. I suggest we consider applying the lessons we learned that made a critical impact on the quality of our lives as we grew up and combine them with some of the great messages and some of the new ideas that are based in solid successes of the day. Instead, this generations’ ideas about how to parent have come from reading books and listening to the so called experts. We depend more on what others tell us we should be doing to parent our kids responsibly and not from what we believe, intrinsically, to be true for us.

True that life has changed and we need to change with it. That is not in question. The question is HOW will we do that? Consider how we create and nurture relationships. This simple act has changed dramatically. There are many more common law relationships and many more single parented homes directed mostly by women (exceptional growth of father-less homes) then there were a generation ago. Many parents struggle with just saying “no” believing in the “democratic” parenting method of kids making their own choices. There are times when there should be no options. Instead we, as parents, might need to remove any options until we feel the kid is capable of understanding and accepting the responsibility of making a poor decision. That is called accountability. A weak judicial system needs to be more responsive and creative when dealing with juvenile delinquency. Many children don’t seem to respect others property and physical welfare. They, not their parents, need to pay for the damage they create to society. On and on we go.

As parents we don’t want to risk damaging our kids self-esteem or dent their precious little egos. Yet the incidence of teen suicide creeps higher every year. There is growing evidence of depression at much younger ages and very mixed views on the roles that are presented by women and men.

Our “modern day” parenting approaches and ideas don’t seem to be working well. Perhaps we need to consider what we are NOT doing to parent our children responsibly and return to a time when we held our kids responsible for their behavior. A good place to start I think. There were consequences but also lessons learned that were often the difference between trouble and learning experimentally–a powerful and long lasting way of learning. Just a thought.

Anyways, that’s how I see things today.

All the best, Jim

Comments will find me at:    jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. Please pass this article along to friends and family.

This image (considerable.com) was used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image.

What Would This Great Storyteller Have Said . . .

As Paul Harvey might have said: And now for the rest of the story.

Last week I was very critical of 3D printers and the potential disaster they represent to the world as a whole. The technology will make it so much easier to kill others and to exact some wild idea of fair play. I went on to talk about how dangerous it will make the world and how it will be for those who are brave enough to try and defend  our way of life and to protect our civil rights. I think of those who concern themselves with the safety of our homes and family. They risk their well being to ensure our security. I’m still fearful of that being jeopardized by somebody with an ax to grind. I understand the frustration and the unfairness–I do. But if that is the only way that we can show our displeasure and anger then we need to go back to the drawing board because it only strengthens the true forces of evil that exist around us. It slides right into the argument that we need to protect ourselves when it is these same forces of evil that we are concerned about. The ‘bad guys’ get more entrenched and legitimate citizens pay the price.

With all that said I must say that the video that follows my offering today has certainly made me sit up–shut up–and pay attention to all the good that 3D printers and that technology can provide for many of us. It is amazing what can be done to further our efforts to provide for many of those who can’t because of a lack of resources or political will.

The advances and designs of medical equipment will be upon us at light speed. I doubt that we be able to keep up with the changes in our personal, industrial, and scientific lives either. Just about anything that we can see or conceive will be duplicated and improved upon using 3D technology. Any of you remember the 6 million dollar man with Lee Majors? Inside of ten years that fantasy is likely to be a reality. There are already or near ready some designs and plans to build a functioning heart for human use. Those who have lost limbs to accident, disease or birth defects will opportunities to use artificial joints and organs that are only dreamed of today.

I guess my thinking has changed somewhat although I still believe that there will be an element who will always pervert progress. In this case the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks as this video suggests.

I applaud this father who refused to give up and instead fashioned a solution to his little boy’s problem. That’s what Dads are supposed to do and this man does it in spades.

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

All the best, Jim

Any and all comments will reach me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

 

 

What’s The Big Deal With Killing ?

Quick-get your guns so we can kill these animals. The little ones will be big ones soon anyway so what’s the difference?

There is so much killing going on everywhere these days and I am having a hard time understanding why. I get it on some level. People are  frustrated and resentful and mean spirited and angry–so much anger abounds. We seem to be losing the spiritual and emotional connection we had with life not too long ago. Life meant something as a standard. That’s what concerns me the most. What are we doing to each other animals or humans and why? To experience what satisfaction? What do we get out of blowing some innocent animal or person away just because we can?

Within the past week there was a shooting in Toronto where a young woman (18) was shot dead and a ten year old died as well. Many others were taken to local hospitals and cared for with many receiving emergency and life saving treatment. Then I see a picture of some rich kid standing in front of her latest conquest. She had managed to kill a rare black giraffe–oh wow-good for her! Some feat this was. She was pictured in front of the dead animal after, no doubt, doing a victory lap. She was quoted as saying her prayers had been answered. Rack up another one for GOD I guess. For her part she had been tracking a giraffe, with the help of a guide who should be ashamed of himself or herself, armed with a high powered rifle and a scope sight that could see a flea from 300 yards. Now there is a challenge for ya. My point in question here is the skilled and talented huntress gets a pat on the back by those as sad as she is and the man who shot all these people gets labelled with a mental health disorder of some kind and yet they both indiscriminately murdered living creatures. We are not talking here about ants or spiders either. So my question is what is it about murdering living things that gets some people all jacked up. If it’s about the culmination and thrill of the hunt then hunt with freakin’ camera bozo. Shoot a frame and not a bullet.

Look at the picture of this lioness. Look at her posture and the look on her face and tell me that she doesn’t love her offspring just the same as the human parent who lost her child or children. Does this lioness feel pain when she knows that her babies are dead? I’m thinking she does. One is called sport and the other a tragedy. They are both tragedies to me. Why do we have to kill anything at all in order to feel ‘good’ or excited. There is something terribly wrong with that. Get some help. Really.

The truly amazing part of all this, to me, is that we are no closer to understanding the purpose–the rational–the satisfaction of killing other entities at will. Is it about “just because you can?” Do people become mass murderers as a result of a mental illness of some kind? No. There are many who slaughter others who are quite “sane”-so what’s going on with them?

When I think about young folks who are violent and who commit murder and mayhem on our streets and in our homes how much has social media , music, videos, movies, electronic games, horrible role models who are more evident every day who are obviously above the law, those who never seem to be held accountable for their behaviour and their decisions contributed to the newly developed “violent entitlement” culture of the young.

As parents perhaps our permissive parenting model needs some adjustments and the initial goals of pursuing that model need re-tooling a bit. This isn’t about blame this is about moving the pendulum back to the middle of the spectrum. Perhaps that move back needs to include more discussion about the sanctity of life for all creatures not just some.

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

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

(Photo image used under the “Fair Use” provision. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image)

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)

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)

Can You Name The Most Important Social Issue Of Our Time?

I will likely keep writing about this until people finally hear that we are not doing a very good job of taking care of our young. Of course this is not about all parents nor does it refer to all kids. But there is a very important social issue that we are not acknowledging as we should and it is costing us the lives of the innocent. For instance the recent shooting in Florida was perpetrated by a young man who is/was fatherless. Of the 27 mass shootings in U.S. history 7 of those occurred after 2005 and were perpetrated by young males. Of those 7, 6 were committed by fatherless sons. If that doesn’t concern us it should. We are witnessing a problem that is more important to deal with than the other social issues we have identified. This is not to take away the importance of dealing with homelessness or poverty or abuse but rather to indicate just how severe THIS issue is.

I will soon write about the fatherless female issues as well but lets look at the young males first since they are the ones that are better researched.

Like it or not males and females are not the same. We are different with very different wants and needs and social issues and socialisation issues. Right from day one of our lives females and males are treated differently. Baby males are still mutilated at birth (the ritual of circumcision) in many countries and the act is seen as a “normal” thing where it is now against the law in many countries to mutilate young females. We have different genetic make-ups. A recent study reported in the Daily Mail identified over 6500 differences between males and females genetically speaking. So can we stop the rush to androgyny and concentrate on the real problems of fatherlessness that directly influences the characters and personalities of our children-both male and female. Can we just accept and allow our kids to be who they are without fanfare and love them for WHO they are and less about WHAT they are. I get there are kids who really struggle with their identities but the public and social issues connected to fatherlessness is considered by many to be at the genesis of much more violence, death, destruction and danger.

Take another look at the information at the top of the page (title box). There are about 24,000,000 kids (about 35%) who are living without a father influence in their homes in the U.S. In Canada 80% of single parented homes are led by Moms. The numbers and the consequences are proportionately similar in both the U.S. and Canada. That is a great deal of energy and potential that is running around with no place to displace it or take advantage of it except through violence, gang life and self destruction. So what are we not doing that we need to be doing to begin to rectify this massive social problem?

In my mind there are a couple of places to start. One, obviously, is the family home. The legal system needs to take a look at how it treats single fathers and custody rights, support payments, non-support payments and what is in the best interest of the child or children. To jail a father who is unable or even unwilling to pay support does nothing but separate the family and exacerbate an already terrible situation for the child or children. I’m not saying he shouldn’t support his family but threatening his job or incarceration is simply not the answer. It has never worked and it will never work going forward. Making it even harder to pay makes no sense. The other option is to redefine our school system and what education really means. I understand that our culture has changed and the “rules” of living have changed but the one thing that has not changed is people. We still have the same needs as we did 500 years ago. True we get those needs met in different ways today but they are still the same needs. Go back to Maslow’s Hieracrhy–food, shelter, clothing, water, air, sleep and to reproduce. Further on we need to feel we have purpose, we are connected to something or someone, able to receive love and be able to give love. This is where the whole process has broken down. We no longer pursue the traditional family system. We have many excuses for not doing so and since I don’t believe in coincidence (I’m mostly a cause and affect guy) I have to look at the changes we have made in family, church, values, morals, only to recognize that we are not near as well off regarding safety and security as we used to be. As a society and community we have allowed the break down of the “traditional” family and the values and morals that were a part of that to have little meaning. The question then is are we better off today? and if we want to change things how far back do we need to go?

Schools and their curriculum have a massive role to play. I’ll be commenting on why I say that and how that could work quite successfully in coming weeks. Education needs to include a “whole learner” approach meaning that kids are now in need of learning how to self manage their emotions, develop/learn new coping strategies in order to deal with depression, addictions, anger, stress, boredom. Key here is to learn how to deal with being fatherless in todays world.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim

If you have a desire to comment one way or another please connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo resources are used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of these images)

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