Too Much “Entitlement”, How to get your kids to do more

It’s funny how we have been living in families for so many thousands of years, but the modern family is so new that we don’t really understand the dynamics of it.  Our relationships to our partners is new where love as the basis for marriage came around less than 100 years ago.   Our relationships to children is dramatically different, with social influences and online access to information there are many outside influences that we may not agree with.

We are in the age of privilege where entitlement is a common complaint of the upcoming generation.  Kids these days hardly hear the word no, and rarely have to wait to get the toys they want.  It boggles my mind because it seems like we are making the parenting job so much more difficult.

o-TAKE-YOUR-KIDS-TO-WORK-DAY-facebookI agree with child labor laws to prevent us from working our children, but now we also seem to limit their contributions around the house.  As kids help less and less around the house, parents now have to work more to fill in that deficit.  And now that the kids are bored, without a sense of purpose, we have to create positive activities and parents rush around to get their kids to soccer practice on Monday night, Scouts meetings on Tuesday, the Math Tutor on Wednesday, a soccer fundraiser on Thursday, and Joey’s house on Friday night.

Jennifer Senior captured my thoughts exactly in her Ted Talk.  I suggest listening to the excerpt on the TED Radio Hour which interweaves an interview with Jennifer between the TED presentation.  She gets to this point: we have limited our goal of parenting to “Making them Happy.”  Now we all can debate the success of this goal for ourselves, and everyone we know.  But my question is how do we get back to wanting to teach our children “to function as an adult.” I see it in my nephews, and people all around us.  They are not learning to how to make a plan, solve problems themselves, manage finances, challenge advertising claims which may be deceiving.

Well Bruce Feiler’s Ted Talk addresses this issue and proposes a solution.  A way to get your kids to do more that helps out the family, and teaches them responsibility to be successful in life.

Well I might be biased, growing up as the oldest of 5 kids I had the responsibility burden when there were problems in the family.  Some people pity my childhood of cleaning, cooking and laundry for the whole family starting at age 9, but I wouldn’t trade my situation now.  No debt, paid for school, motivated and confident enough to pursue what I think is right for me.  People want to think that they are raising good people, and that is enough.  Well all my siblings are good people because of our family values, so yes that is important.  But one sibling did not get the responsibility role and now struggles to provide for himself and his family.  His work ethic is just a bit different and my parents still support him in various ways.

I think we need to give kids more responsibility, teach them how to get through it, and be supportive as they learn, but continue adding increased responsibility.  We see so many outreach programs for kids that have positive effects, many of them are successful due to the opportunity for responsibility given to young people.  This is the best time for them to learn, we should not rob them of that opportunity.

Advertisements

Inequality and the 1%

Funny thing how humans work.  And even funnier to hear about monkey’s behaving like humans.  I love this short video which explains the complaint of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Apparently it’s not just human’s who are upset about not being paid fairly.Wealth Inequality in America The actual distributions of money in the US in a video infographic

It’s funny because I just heard about a TED Talk (first story) that explains in more detail the research on how monkey’s can understand the concept of money and the consequences of treating them unequally.  The rest of the show covers other talks about money which are just as fascinating.  Especially the third story, Does Money Make You Mean? which studies the effects that wealth has on changing people.  Really it just points out how self-centered we can be, and how ignorant of the factors contributing to our success we might be.  If you think for a moment this may not be true, then listed to the third story in this episode of the NPR Ted Radio Hour.  It’s fascinating, and it’s important to understand how money affects our perception, and our compassion.

I’m not in favor of handouts, but decent pay for decent work just makes sense to me.

If Hate and Prejudice is Taught, then Love and Acceptance can be Taught too

Life Is Too Short

AM.jpg-25f11a2331401bc3747794c9315ffe28 It’s sad when people are so consumed by hate, that they don’t even recognize love.

In response to a group of religious fanatics carrying signs of hatred towards certain people, the yellow banner in this photo was created to give a positive alternative for people’s viewing.  After the pastor of the religious group passed away, protestors held up the white banner to offer their condolences for the baptist congregation.  Some of the church members are so filled with hate, they don’t even understand the meaning of the white banner and it’s significance.

If we can teach this level of hatred toward others that they would hold up signs of criticism in public, surely we must be able to teach an equal amount of love.  The yellow and white signs are the first step in that teaching.

View original post

When you buy an iPhone, where does the money go?

Where people expect the money goes

Where people expect the money goes

Where the money actually goes

Where the money actually goes

I find this pretty surprising myself.  For the 5 minute explanation from Robert Reich, see this video on Upworthy.com. It’s funny that he talks about the economy and the decrease of unions being linked to income inequality.  Today I saw another video explanation, also by Robert Reich, on the rising gap in the U.S. economy, talking about the number of unions rising after WWI.  It’s part of a series of videos called Inequality for All.  Another in the series talks to some people working at an energy plant, and really brings home the question about corporate profits and what is the value of the work people do.  Productivity has been increasing and stress is so high.  I support the recent discussion to raise minimum wage.  It’s not a simple answer, and it may not fix the problems as John Green explains here.   Personally, I can’t believe Walmart can use the catch phrase “Save Money, Live Better” in their ads, as it turns out, we pay $6,000 or more per Walmart Employees due to their low wages.  The government is busy chasing their own tail in elections, they will never fix the problem, because corporations have no incentive.  But someone out there has the answer, and collectively we have the ability to make things better.  That’s why I have increased my spending at stores offering a decent wage and benefits to their employees.  If it means I have to eat out less to save money, that is fine.  If it means I buy more second hand, no problem.  We have more than any other country in the world, we will not suffer. Personally I love the work Mike Rowe (former Dirty Jobs TV show host) is doing.  His promotion of skilled labor is idea for getting people into decent jobs, and improving the situation in the US.  It’s time we stop doing crappy work because we’re being treated like crap.  Personally, when I go on a construction site, I want to see the work being done well.  Check out his website Profoundly Disconnected.

One last tidbit, how does this relate to health care costs in the US.  Yep, saw a John Green video on that today too.  Because we don’t have bargaining power with the providers of medical devices and medications… sounds a lot like the problem of not having bargaining power for salaries due to the lack of unions.  I wonder…

We should have ONE day without shopping

Good old New England, it’s illegal for many store to open Thanksgiving Day in 3 of our states! People have three other days to shop, we don’t need Thursday. For the chains that open elsewhere on T-day, I’m boycotting them for the rest of the year.

BAD LIST:
Open in Morning: Best Buy, Kmart, Lord & Taylor
Not open til evening: Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Toys “R” Us, JC Penny, Kohls, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Sears, Office Depot, Office Max, Michaels

GOOD LIST:
Pier One, Nordstorm’s, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Sam’s Club, Burlington Coat Factory, Costco, Ross Stores, Lowe’s, Von Maur and Cabela’s, Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Radio Shack

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/thanksgiving-shopping-ban_n_4346023.html

More Female Engineers!

I am proud to be a female engineer.  We are just as good at engineering as males.  And the engineering world benefits from having a diverse population with different skills and points of view.

This new line of kids toys helps young girls develop an interest in science and math which may lead to an engineering career.  Too many science and math toys are not well suited to connect with the interests of young girls.  These books and building toys go together to make a fun and interactive way for girls to create something.  I was lucky enough to like regular blocky Lego’s when I was young, maybe that explains it all…

th

If you agree, click on this link to see the Huffington Post article, and to click the bottom link and vote for this commercial to air during the Super Bowl.

Love their commercial.

I’m Reading a Book…

Yes, this is a real book.  It has paper pages that you turn to see the next chapter.  I can take this book anywhere, and it never runs out of power so I can read it anywhere.  On a sunny beach, during take-off and landing, and in the bath if I’m careful.

reading-in-the-bathNow I happen to own this particular book.  But I also love to get books from the library too.  Thanks to Benjamin Franklin for creating the free library system, we can use books to travel to a new land, to imagine the impossible, to learn the story and lessons from important people, or to teach ourselves something new.  In fact, that’s why Benjamin Franklin created free libraries, so that poor people can get themselves out of poverty by learning a skill or trade.  At the time, books were only available to people with money who could afford to purchase them or join subscription libraries.

So books can help people lift THEMSELVES out of poverty!  But you have to be able to read first. Illiteracy prevents people from reading street signs and bus signs to get around efficiently, from doing simple accounting to make sure they are getting the correct change for a purchase, or from reading the religious manuscript that guides their life.

buildon-worldwide-mapI know a group that has built over 500 schools in rural areas of developing countries around the world.  Right now, 85,060 children, parents, and grandparents attend those schools and learn to read.  First, buildOn meets with the community members and they elect 3 men and 3 women to form a committee.   The committee works with buildOn to coordinate all the details.  Before the construction starts, all of the community members sign a covenant along with the buildOn members, that promises to send boys and girls in equal numbers to the school and other policies.  buildOn works with the local government to ensure that an educator is provided for the school.  After 22 years since the first school was built in a Malawian village, that community now has 4 more just like it that they built themselves.  Students from those schools are able to learn to be teachers, etc.   It has also improved the standing of women in the community, who are in turn speaking out against some of the awful practices committed against women.

So go read a book, and remember how lucky you are to be able to read.

Un-Photoshopped Photos

Yay!!!!!!  Verily magazine has promised not to retouch photos before printing.  Some celebs out there have expressed outrage when their images are modified to show an unrealistic portrayal of the bodies and features (scroll down this article to see the extent that Photoshopping changes how the clothes fit on women).  Men are also changed, and scroll that page down to see the before and after of a photo ad of Britney Spears.  This collection gives are non-modified images of some celebrities.  Check out the step by step process of making a model in this video.

Two photos of Kelly Clarkson taken about the same time frame, yes, that's Kelly.

Two photos of Kelly Clarkson taken about the same time frame, yes, that’s Kelly.

This view of people, men and women, has an effect on our self perception and how we define the level of normal to which we compares ourselves, and may increase violence against women.  Even the most conscientious person can be affected by viewing so many unrealistic pictures.

Sure, make-up and lighting can still do a lot.  But look at the extent of Photoshopping in this documentary video, and how easy it is to change the image with the click of a button.  “How does it feel to try to keep up with the impossible?”  It makes us feel out of control…

One girl has convinced Seventeen Magazine to stop doctoring photos for their magazine.  Next they’re petitioning Teen Vogue, click here to sign the petition.

Extreme Politicing

I had a good conversation with friends today.  When did politic change from electing representatives to “represent” our views and interests, to now electing people who think they have political capital to pass laws while ignoring the priorities of their constituents.

Seriously, through Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, … I can’t avoid learning the most intimate detail about the lives of friends and strangers alike.  But we haven’t figured out how to use social media to communicate our instructions to the Elected Officials?

Purple StatesHow did we let the failure of private enterprise to provide services catered to our needs progress into extreme Democratic views that it’s solely the government’s responsibility to give everyone an equal playing field, resulting in a safety blanket and handout for all?

And why do we allow Republican ideals of social networks to provide community support individuals need, to convince us that the government cannot effectively provide these services.  Have you heard about health care in Canada?  Compared to the US where individuals have to fight for profit health insurance companies to get the services they are rightfully owed?

The wealthy are using both systems to manipulate the US population (the Americas are comprised of 20 countries across North, South, and Central America).

  • They tell us government programs are inefficient so that they can create a private enterprise that will make a profit and may or may not be a useful service.  But they make it work for the Congressional benefits.
  • They convince of trickle down economics.
  • The only way for non-wealthy people to hold anyone accountable for their behavior and the effectiveness of their goods/services sold is to spend a fortune in legal fees (that they don’t have).
  • They convinced us to eliminate institutions for the mentally ill, who now end up in correctional facilities with no rights to seek treatment they need.
  • Conditions are even worse in detention centers for illegal immigrants, Amnesty International and others have shown the human rights abuses that occur in these centers, often held by private corporations.
  • The wealthy have learned when they can make extra profits, such as non-bid government contracts that no one is complaining about!

How might our costs for welfare, Medicaid, and criminal justice be reduced if we improve education and opportunities to decent paying jobs (where someone can pay for housing, food, and health care in their community)?

Federal Spending

We’re all connected throughout society.  I did not learn to read and write on my own, I did not invent my own internet technology or small pox vaccine, all of which helped me get to where I am today.  We can’t act as if we accomplish everything on our own.  We also can’t act as if people aren’t responsible for their own actions, however corrective repercussions will help society more than punishments.  This Radiolab show about Blame explains how our understanding of the causes of behavior is improving our ability to respond to behavior.