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.)

 

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.)

Technology: Friend Or Foe: Some Of Each I’m Thinking . . .

Truth?  I am of two minds, as many of you are, about the upside and downside of technology and its rapid growth as it relates to humans and our futures. Many find it difficult to cope with the speed of change. So do we just let it go where it will go or do we recognise some of the impending problems that will come with rapid growth technology?  To be sure there will be issues that we will be faced with that will not be in our best interests but which we cannot change because it will be too late. There are many benefits as well therein creating the problem.

It would take years to begin to see the issues connected to rapid growth technology and by that time those particular issues won’t be relevant anymore because of the continued growth of technology. A catch 22 in the making. Here are some of the issues from many issues that are currently affected and will continue to be affected regarding the life of our global family. In no particular order:

  1. Education–Kids are highly adaptable and skilled when it comes to understanding and utilising rapid growth technology. Certainly on-line education will become the norm very soon but without the full support, understanding and total cooperation of the learners, school boards, teachers unions, teachers themselves and families the students will get left behind. There has to be an acceptance that each student will learn at their own speed no matter technology and if there is no concerted effort to match intake and application of education with output and confidence the student will suffer dramatically.
  2. Medicine–There can be no doubt about the amazing and dramatic growth of technology concerning client care, bio-engineering, diagnostic imaging and positive treatment rates in medicine. Critical medical information can be transferred from place to place with incredible speed often making the difference between life or death. Robotics in medicine have made an enormous difference in surgical success rates as well. But the one side benefit,perhaps, is that clients are living longer. But there are ethical issues that have risen around that topic. Public costs of medical treatments have also changed rapidly. Has that change or will that change contribute to a more entrenched two tier health system? More accurate diagnostics and immediate results have saved millions of lives. Medical web sites, however, are proving to be problematic because people are now ‘self diagnosing’ themselves and family members instead of seeking appropriate medical advice which can often lead to negative outcomes for all concerned.
  3. Technology has added to the discourse around nutrition and genetically altered foods. The information can be erroneous or it may be good but in the end the consumer is left with believing what they will. They can guess wrong creating medical problems that might not have occurred otherwise. Just because it says so on the net doesn’t make it true or close to being accurate. Nutritional technology may not be as good for us as some would like us to believe.
  4. Changes in how we manage the environment, to me, are ALL good. Going back to old methods would be irresponsible and naive–pure and simple.
  5. The one great concern I have with rapid growth technology is this: a) children and young adults alike are losing the desire and the ability to communicate on a face-to-face basis. I have witnessed two kids walking down the street side by side talking to one another on their phones. Others have become ‘shut-ins’ by choice, have shunned their peers and have developed addictions to the net and video games. They choose to avoid day to day contact with the outside world believing it is safer and more healthy to remain inside. They can remain ‘in touch’ by social media instead of personal contact. Of course this is their choice but it takes away from the one important need of most humans and that is to remain connected to and in touch with other humans.  b)  As a society we have become dangerously reliable on our technological devices–what would happen if for or by some reason we lost our hydro supply for a week or two? Of course we would survive but how and under what circumstances is my question?

As for the rapid technology question what I see is some really helpful and transformative developments in the quality of our lives. I also see a propaganda campaign that is and has been waged to encourage us to believe we can not live without these devices in our lives. As a result a few visionaries have become obscenely wealthy because of it. Economically I don’t believe that the majority of average Canadians and Americans are better off. The question remains: Have we experienced an overall increase in the quality of our lives?

I think that rapid growth technology is a good thing overall but only if we remain cognisant of the pit falls and we understand how to remain in sight of our humanity. In the end WE still decide but for how much longer?

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”–Albert Einstein

Anyway, that’s how I see it–thanks for stopping by, Jim

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

Please pass this along to your friends and family–with thanks.

(This image by blogs.creighton.edu was used for educational, research and criticism purposes only. I derive no financial gain 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.

(Image by pinterest.com. I receive no financial benefit from the use of this image. Used for education, criticism or research purposes only.)

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.

10 Things Men Should Know Or Be Reminded Of About Women . . .

Commentary:

A while ago I wrote a piece about what women needed to know about men that could help strengthen their relationship with their partner. Turn about is fair play and so here is a list of ten important things that men need to be reminded of or perhaps are being informed of for the first time that could certainly help strengthen their relationships with their wives, girl friends or partners.

Gentlemen. I understand that we are under attack from many sides and this is a time where confusion and irrational demands and expectations abound. I also understand why we get upset with women in general, why we tend to want to hang on to some of the ‘old ways’ regarding some of our view points and we can be quite unreasonable when it comes to what we expect from our partners. Having said that we still need to understand that women are people too. They have needs as we do. They want to be understood as we do. They want to be treated as though they matter-that they count as we do. Women want to be seen as having value and importance just as we do. So why is it that so many men feel the need to hang on to the idea that only our needs matter and that women should just understand that that is the way it is. If we as men want to hang onto our families and our freedoms we had better learn how to ‘share the sand box’ with our mates and that they are just as important as we are.

I asked a good friend of mine to create a list of all the things that she feels are important for men to know or remember about their female counterparts. These are things that, if present in a relationship, could make a great difference in the quality of that union. I put together a list of 10 things that we can do right now that doesn’t endanger our egos or threaten our existence, as men, here on the planet:

These are taken from a list that was prepared by Dr. Anne Marie Evers-a friend and colleague. Check out her web site to see all that she is involved in. She has done some amazing things to help others.

  1. Don’t feel as though you have to fix my problems. Just be quiet and listen. That’s it. If anything more is required I’ll ask you to provide some input or feedback.
  2. I need ‘me’ time just as much as men do and that could mean spending time with my female friends doing whatever I feel like doing. I need to know that our kids will be looked after and that I won’t be coming home to a mess that I will be expected to take care of.
  3. When we walk together try walking with me and not ahead of me. And look like you really want to be with me–hold my hand or put your arm around me. Pull out my chair for me and treat me like I am someone special in your life.
  4. Don’t talk over me or interrupt me when I am speaking. I have things that are important to say as well. These things are important to me like an opinion or an idea or a point of view.
  5.  Be considerate and give me a break. I may have had a tough day too and don’t feel like having sex. Try some loving kindness and some help around the house.
  6. I do not need nor will I accept jealousy or control tactics as a behavior.
  7. Drop the road rage routine. It is not manly and it is scary. The other driver can’t hear your language but I can and I am tired of listening to it.
  8. Don’t embarrass me in public or in private for that matter by making lewd remarks or ogling other women in front of me and our friends. It is never funny-just crude, insensitive and uncaring.
  9. I don’t expect you to be perfect. No one is–not even me.
  10. Never compare me to others. We are all different. The grass could appear greener on the other side of the fence but it could also turn out to be artificial turf.

So there you have it, gentlemen. If harmony and respect is part of what you are seeking in a relationship this is a great way to get that journey started. There are many more suggestions as well. I’ll pass more along every once in a while.

All the best, Jim

Comments will reach me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Disclaimer:  The use of this image is for criticism, research or education purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this photo.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I discussed the difference between praise and encouragement when speaking to our kids. Parents often get them mixed up and they are not the same. With the best of intentions, parents can actually do some harm by using praise as a way of trying to get our kids to do their best. Check it out by going to u-tube and  typing in ‘Truth Talkin Thursday’:  Episode 44

What I didn’t have a chance to offer to the discussion were these four points: These are what are not helpful to our kids–the ‘don’t do’s. These are often done with the right intentions but not so good outcomes.

  1. Don’t compare your child to some other kids who do things better or with more success. They don’t want to hear how ‘Billy stands when hitting the ball.’
  2. Don’t over protect. For instance, if he/she is trying to learn how to ride a bike make sure they have the right equipment and let them go. Running along beside them to catch them when they fall says that you don’t believe in their ability to learn how to do it. Pick them up, dust them off, give them a hug tell them that you love them and encourage them to keep going.
  3. Understand that praising is more about social control than it is about helping them to be all they can be because of their effort and desire to get better. It can’t be because they will feel you will have more love for them if they succeed. Don’t make it about you.
  4. Remember it is your child’s effort and his/her ability to solve their problems and excel because of what they learned by their own experiences and NOT how their successes make YOU feel.

Praise is about rewards. Usually based on competition. He/she is looking for your acceptance. Your acceptance is the reward.  

Encouragement is about recognizing effort and improvement. It’s about the child feeling worthy.

 

Music Video For The Week:

This is what I hope our young ones have to deal with right now. This is the life they deserve and not the one that is unfolding before our eyes with two ego maniacal ‘punk kids’-one in North Korea and the other living in the U.S.-playing with toys much bigger than anyone can imagine. They play with the world’s future as if it were their own. I thought we were better than this. Have we learned nothing about dictators and buffoons? What is more shameful is that the Republicans and the Chinese could end this tomorrow but seemingly choose not to. Wow!

So You Want To Be The Best Parent You Can Be Eh? Then Stop Doing This . . .

So you want to be the best parent you can be–good for you and good for your kids. The problem is most of us don’t quite understand what that means much less how to do it. Many parents think that we have to be tough on our kids to make them responsible. We also think that how our kids are seen is a direct reflection on us as parents. Still, other parents will say that they need to make sure their kids respect them and showing weakness is not something that is helpful to the development of the child.  Admirable to be sure but not very helpful or inspiring. All this with the best of intentions. Go figure. Unfortunately, intentions aren’t enough. A knowledgeable foundation is what is needed. As parents, we are our children’s teachers. What is it we want them to learn from us?

I have always believed we need to have a comprehensive parenting program in our schools. It needs to be an integral part of any child’s overall education. Not just some 3-hour class to pay subject lip service and to say it happened but a program that looks at all the different aspects of parenting and one that encourages the input of the kids themselves.

Let’s take a look at one of the most misunderstood but good intentioned practices in the whole parenting business. That is mistaking praise for encouragement and encouragement for praise. So many parents see these as interchangeable or similar in meaning when just the opposite is true. By not understanding the differences we can create more confusion for our kids that can, sometimes, morph into mental health and self-determination issues over a period of time.

What is it most kids want to do more than anything?? To please their parents-to have their parents see them as skilled and talented and good at many things. They want to know that their parents see them as capable and that they are pleased with who they have become or are becoming. Nothing wrong with that but this is where most parents drop the ball.

  1. One of the major mistakes that parents make is believing that kids learn best by being punished for what they do wrong. As parents, we need to learn that it is OK for kids to make mistakes. That’s how most of us learn, isn’t it? We don’t learn much from what we already do right. Should there be consequences for poor choices made-absolutely but it doesn’t have to be punishment. Just a simple question is often enough to learn something valuable without diminishing the impact of the decision. “So what would you do differently the next time?”
  2. Our love for our children should NEVER come with conditions attached. Our kids need to know that our love is unconditional and will not waver in the face of poor decision making or a lapse in judgment. This is absolute. We need to let them know that our love for them is not negotiable and does not depend on their successes or non-successes. “I will always love you no matter what.”
  3. Parents need to understand that perfection is not the goal nor should it be. Our kids are not machines and their best effort is what needs to be recognized here-NOT a comment concerning the outcome. They don’t want to hear “Don’t worry I know you’ll beat him next time.” What our kids are likely to hear is parental disappointment–that he/she was not good enough. What they need to hear is a parental comment on the great effort they put out like “did you give it all you had–then good for you”. Their performance should never be tied to a parents disappointment about their effort. Let’s not ‘judge’ them but rather let’s just accept them for who they are becoming. Kids are no different than adults in that there are days when they will perform better than others. That’s just life. They won’t compete any harder if they are discouraged.
  4.  As parents, we need to make comments on what we observe. “Even though that was a really tough job, you got it done–thanks”  or “It looks like you worked really hard to get that assignment done on time.” Our comments need to be more about their effort, not our satisfaction. They will often work harder the next time because they know that we appreciate what they are doing and how they are doing it.
  5. Our kids need to hear support, not frustration from us as parents. What they really need from us is for us to help them learn how to think and not what to think.When our kids are concerned about ‘what to think’ so they can be seen favorably by others that’s a problem because it takes away their freedom to choose who they will be in their lives. We want our children to learn ‘how to think’ so that they are free to make decisions that are in their best interests and not the interests of others.

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

Comments will find their way to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR  jimcloughley.com

Please pass this article along to family and friends, with thanks.

The use of this by markmerrill.com for research, education or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial gain from the use of this resource.

Who Are These People Anyway? I Thought They Were On Our Side . . .

Even Jean-Luc and Will (Star Trek Guys) are having difficulty trying to figure out what in the world the so called ‘brain trust’ is thinking about over in the provincial education department these days. We trust them to do right by us in terms of making decisions that are in our best interests. Unfortunately, I can’t trust in that anymore. There can be little doubt that much of the decision making coming out of Queen’s Park these days has to do with generating money to help replenish the gross amount of money that this outfit has squandered during their term in office. An election can’t be far off.

However, re-election should not come at the expense of our kid’s education. I believe there are three things that should remain universal and untouchable: education, health-care (including the cost of prescription drugs) and freedom.  We are told to do more with less but the time of doing more with less is coming to an end. The fat is gone and service seems to be next. Perhaps the MPP’s would set the example of doing more with less by taking a 20% pay cut and a hefty reduction from a bloated retirement package. Oh, not possible they say–I ask why not?

There seems to be an old pattern at play and that is to act without considering the whole picture before deciding a particular issue. In this case, it is continuing to close schools at quite a clip to save money. I don’t doubt there are some school buildings that need to be closed because they are too costly to try to save. However, there are many that are being closed because of inefficient use. Are enrollments down? Yes, they are. Have they considered ways to increase enrollments? Have they thought about how to re-engage with students who have dropped out of school? Have they considered converting some schools into multi-use facilities or is it easier to just shut them down and move on?

Have these decision-makers considered the overall importance and symbolism of having a school in a small rural community? Have they considered that without a school the likelihood of EVER generating any new interest or growth in a rural town is just about impossible? Having a local school is about demonstrating leadership, social stability and providing hope and opportunity for all even if the group is small. Kids depend on their school for a central sense of identity and connectedness. Boards don’t seem to care much about that.  How many parents want to have their kids bused an hour or two one way to attend a school with which they have no connection or history? How many opportunities would the parents have to be any part of their child’s education and what kind of relationship would they have with the teachers entrusted with educating their kids? What they, the bureaucrats, don’t seem to understand is that education is far more than books and learning. It’s about developing community spirit, creativity, and collaboration. These are the very skills lacking in many of the programs in larger centers. If a government can’t find a way to do that then they should move out and move on.

Some of the smaller schools could be refurbished especially with the new technology that is available. Utilizing solar energy and heat pumps instead of burning expensive fuel oil. Great ecological example for the next generation. Other countries are building homes and buildings out of cardboard. They are reputed to be as efficient and durable as bricks and mortar but a great deal less costly. Consider the multi-use option that many small communities have adopted.

Multi-use possibilities: Size school buildings to accommodate the number of students who will attend.

  1. Part school and part community center with a public gym.
  2. Create regular school classrooms and special education classrooms for challenged learners in the same building
  3. Treatment facilities and out patient clinics (re-habs)
  4. Medical clinics
  5. Day care/child care facilities
  6. Social service centers
  7. Rental space for small private sector businesses like dental offices or optometrist offices

We are inviting more immigrants with young families to come to Canada. These kids will need to go to school. What a wonderful opportunity to practice our goals of providing a diverse setting for all who come to join us. There are a growing number of professionals who like the idea of practicing in a rural or small town to get away from the ‘big city experience.’ They will want to know there are good schools where they are considering working.

Closing schools, especially at the current rate, is not only short-sighted but borders on negligence. Strong word. I am aware of what it means. Educators know that the communities without schools are likely to die and yet they continue to plan on closing many schools that don’t need to be closed at least before trying other means of sharing the costs of keeping them open. That is negligence to me. Perhaps it’s time to create a new funding strategy instead of using the old one that doesn’t represent the taxpayers very well. It is the obligation of our governments big and small to assume the responsibility to provide adequate education not limit its availability.

Parents need to fight for what they deserve or they are likely to get what they deserve. Don’t leave it to the government to save the day. Education is too important to leave it to the educators. 

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

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

Disclaimer: The use of this image is being used for education, research and criticism purposes. I do not derive any financial gain from the use of this photo provided by vladville.com