Archive for May, 2006
Hey ya folks! As most of you know, I’m an overworked, underpaid blogger. Of course, it’s my own fault, but hey! This is America and it is positively American to solicit (beg sounds so gauche) for money for a good cause. I promise you people, I’m a good cause (except when I’m bad or argumentative or polemical).
It will accept even $1. Surely you can spare some change?
Just scroll down and on the lefthand column you’ll see the Amazon Tip-Jar. Remember, it is more blessed to give than to receive. Be blessed, enjoy blessings, and give, give, give!
What isn’t said in this article is that men with higher I.Q.s get more education, wait longer to get married and make better decisions including being involved with raising their children. They are better dads.
Here’s a synopsis for you and it isn’t the conclusion of the writers of the article: stupid people make stupid decisions, smart people make smart decisions. And stupid transcends race. No kidding. Shocking.
Now, here’s the conclusion of the article:
But across all races, a dad’s education still made all the difference, Martinez said. Well-educated men “are more likely to be married when they have children and are more likely to be active in the lives of their children,” she said. “Education trumps race,” she said.
One expert thinks that the report paints a positive picture, but added that dads still need support, especially those in lower-income brackets.
“This is a very optimistic picture of the role of dads and fatherhood in America,” said Shelley Waters Boots, vice president for policy and programs at the Washington, D.C.-based Parents Action for Children. “It is quite affirming that a lot of dads are doing a lot of the work of parenting,” she added.
“In America, we don’t give parents credit for how hard it is, and how hard it is to do it well,” Waters Boots said. “So, if you have higher income and more flexibility, you see dads really step up to the plate. For dads who are really struggling to bring home the paycheck, they are paying a price of not doing the parenting job they want to do. We need to be giving dads more support,” she said.
“For dads who are really struggling to bring home the paycheck, they are paying a price of not doing the parenting they want to do. We need to be giving dads more support,” she said.
Will that really make a difference? It sounds good on the face of it, of course. Fuzzy and feel good. What does support really mean?
A person must have a certain I.Q. to succeed in school. He must have certain reasoning skills in order to make prudent long-term decisions. Once the higher I.Q. dude finishes college, he will make more money. He will enjoy jobs that give him more autonomy. He will have the smarts to make better decisions life-wide–not just in parenting. Good decisions would include not getting a girl pregnant before he’s married to her and then leaving the kid alone.
The key (politically incorrect) solution to this problem, since I.Q.s and education are unlikely to increase, is to emphasize marriage before parenthood. Even less intelligent people can make decisions for moral reasons. A married guy will in turn, even with a low I.Q. and uneducated, make more money than his single male friend, will have better health and because he is actually available, make a better father.
No one wants to say that marriage is a better solution than single parenthood. No one wants to say that marriage is preferable to divorce. No one wants to say that marriage is preferable to spawning children out of wedlock. That would be judgemental. That would lack understanding for the poor, unfortunate, ignorant souls who don’t know any better.
Bull. Even stupid people can grasp simple moral truths–like it is wrong to have sex out of marriage, like it is wrong to commit adultry, like it is wrong to divorce (except for extreme cases and by extreme I don’t mean “we just grew apart”). There was a time when ALL people, no matter their I.Q. or education, accepted these moral truths and acted on them. Higher education unnecessary. Men got a girl “in a motherly way” and he married her and supported them and they made the best of it.
There’s no going back to those days–not with women actively choosing single parenthood in preference to dealing with a meddlesome male. But that doesn’t make the new way better. Children being raised by one parent or the many permutations that make up modern families are vast social experiments. The results are just coming in–and they aren’t good.
Marriage: It Does a Family Good
Brangelina have a new baby. Snooze. They gave the kid a Biblical name. Is there any more narcisstic bunch than the Hollywood Types? Apple (Adam and Eve’s downfall?), Moses, and Shiloh, oh my. Hark, here come the saviors. Oh, that we’d all submit to saving, then the world would be a better place.
Oy vey. Who care’s already? That the little chipmunk will be a nightly news anchor matters not. Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Cooper Anderson, I mean Anderson Cooper, Tom Brokaw, WHO CARES?
Does anyone with an I.Q. above that of toothpaste watch the nightly news?
“I don’t know what happened, Doc,” a bewildered client will say, “all of a sudden bam! There was pain!”
How is it possible for a person to not know how he or she came to be so infirmed that walking is impossible? Patient after patient will come into the office in wonder at their own body malfunction. It is as if the problem is external to them, happening to them, not IN them.
Oftentimes, after a thorough history and a little time to contemplate it, a patient might say something like, “Do you think that the time I slipped on the ice and got knocked out did this?”–usually as the Doctor is walking out the door. As the patient takes in the Doctor’s expression of “uh, yeah!”, he or she will usually laugh. It sounds so silly once said out loud. Of course, this injury has to do with the pain!
Part of our job is to help people to get more attuned to the workings of their body-mind-spirit. Rather than minimize, ignore, bury and deny the pain and discomfort, we like people to recognize it for what it is: a helpful message from the body. Unfortunately, many people see the pain and discomfort as some sort of “beginning of the end”, or a proof of old age or a confirmation of the fear that they will “die just like dad and my brother” or some other scary, unhelpful belief. These beliefs cause people to run away from help and sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They wait so long to address the messages that it is, indeed, their worst fear fulfilled: it’s too late.
At the other end of the spectrum from Minimizers are Maximizers. These people have no concept of normal body variation. Every weird poop, every stray pain, every twinge of discomfort causes great angst and despair resulting in “overusage.” For the less ethical practitioners these worriers can be a practice-building dream: these patients use the health care system to fill emotional needs not met elsewhere. This is particularily true among the elderly. My own Grandma, the picture of health at the ripe young age of 88, got misty-eyed because her “doctor really cared” and I retorted, “He sure does care. He cares for your excellent supplemental Health Insurance. That is for sure!” That comment was met with a withering look which I probably deserved. Arguing medical ethics with a lonely Grandma just isn’t smart.
And in this day and age, there are also the Seekers. Why these people even visit a Doctor’s office, I don’t know. They already know it all, they simply seek confirmation. We all do this to one extent or another–chase opinions that confirm our own, reinforcing our super-smart self-view. This category of people, though, resists information that might conflict with their own beliefs. The latest scare-media article is brought in and gravely handed to the Doctor. No, they will not try that herb, no they don’t think they should take that supplement, no they read about the acupuncture needle doing this or that, no, no, no. “I have been to ten doctors for this problem,” they’ll say, “and NO ONE COULD help me.” Often, they leave the office, disgusted with the incompetence of the staff and Doctor. On down the road this person travels to torment the next unsuspecting practitioner. Rarely does this person follow any Doctor’s treatment plan. Miffed at the inadequate results in two days of trying, they quit. They enjoy the quest. Getting healthy is another matter entirely.
Do you see yourself in these descriptions? Maybe a little bit? Some of us are natural hypochondriacs, some of us are stoic toughies who “suddenly drop dead”, some of us enjoy complaining for it’s own sake–almost everyone has health issues.
We usually absorb some sort of health belief system from our families. Perhaps you had a mom who was sick her whole life. Perhaps everyone was told to “stop crying and being a baby, and gut it up”. Perhaps in your family the only way you got attention was by being sick. No matter what, that belief system affects how you view yourself today. It is a filter that can distort your own self view.
There is also the “I own it, I know it” bias. Since we all have bodies, we all can claim expertise in bodily functions. We have been observers for years, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes, though, what seems “normal” just happens to be what you, individually, experienced. It may be totally abnormal, in fact, and require further investigation and possibly lifestyle change.
So Doctors are put in uncomfortable situations at times. We must be willing to address a patient’s belief system. I remember one time, my only treatment was to tell a patient, “There is nothing at all wrong with you. You are healthy and well.” “Really?” she said, “Is that really true?” “Yes,” I responded. “Most people are deathly ill compared to you, that’s how healthy you are.” And it was true. She was well, but had gotten into a very bad spot after being sick once. Thankfully, she accepted the truth of it and stopped acting sick.
A Doctor must also teach what is “normal” and “healthy”. Analyzing a diet diary is particularily illuminating. The same person who says, “Yeah, I eat healthy” will later say they “drink only one six-pack a night. Could that be causing my liver problems?”
Once people know what is healthy and what is not, what is “normal” (and this is a very wide range, usually) and what is not normal, they can start to better guage their bodily activities. It is not normal, for example, to lose bladder function at the age of 60 and can indicate some very serious, but easily treatable, problems. But if you look at the advertisements for bladder dysfunction, you might think that everyone over the age of 50 pees their pants. They don’t and medications aren’t the answer most times.
A good doctor’s goal is to help people listen to their bodies and respond to the signals they are getting. It is very interesting, as people get well and the layered problems unpeel and get removed, people are shocked at what they put up with for years. Once they start feeling great, they have no desire to fall back into the abyss of pain, dicomfort and difficulty. They become attuned with wellness instead of trying to ignore the static.
That’s the goal: learn what it means to be healthy and whole and know when that wholeness is compromised and act quickly to fix it. Ultimately, the person in pain, must decide how to deal with it and the significance of that pain. That’s the way it should be. It helps, though, to have the information to make informed choices. Knowing yourself can mean the difference between life and death.
Just in case you haven’t seen Iran’s turmoil on the news, go to this link. Um, Tehran, they have a problem. Sick of the Mullahs, the people there are burning for regime change. Remember, Iran is the seat of the former Persian Empire. They are not Arab. They have Arabs living there–about 20% of the population. In some districts lots of Arabs live, especially near their Oil Fields. This country is filled with culture and history and lots of redeeming things. The Islamists are trying to take this country back to the Dark Ages. Let’s hope the revolutionaries succeed.
This research can be taken a lot of ways. That a study was undertaken about whether kids bond more tightly to their Day Care providers than to mom speaks volumes about a mother’s insecurity about her choices.
The child really is in a double bind, unless the mom is congruent with her choice to work while the child is in Day Care. If the child really, really loves her Child Care Provider and bonds with her, an insecure mom (and at least 75% of them are) or a mother insecure or incongruent with her decision to leave baby behind, will pass along that vibe to her child. The child is forced to choose allegiances. She often chooses mom even though most of her waking hours and core developmental time is spent with Day Care Debbie. To demonstrate this choice, Baby Girl wails inconsolably when mom drops her off. She’ll take a long time to engage with the group. She will avoid the Day Care worker. Mom is delighted by the supremacy she enjoys in her child’s heart. The child suffers disconnectedly around anyone but mom.
I know of where I speak. For fifteen years, my mom had a Day Care in our home. Anywhere from two to seven children came to our home daily while their mom and dads worked. The kids enjoyed a playground, homemade food, toys, and even baths and pajamas before mom picked up on hot, stinky days. Some of the kids were so bonded to my mom they called her Mama Marsha. The more secure parents were thrilled to have their children in such a familial, normal child habitat. Other parents went nuts.
The parents offended by the relationship made their kid’s lives hell. Lingering good-byes for their own benefit, not the child’s. Stopping by during lunch, torturing the kid with another departure. Making weird comments to my mom in front of the child like, “You don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to, honey.” They wanted the kid to give my mom sixth like they got at home.
The reason the incongruent mothers got sxxt at home? The child sensed her unease with her choice, or with her ego needs, and they exploited it. Many kids were perfectly behaved until their mother came to the door. They immediately turned into monkeys. Disobeying where they were obedient all day. Screaming where they had been sweet and happy. The mothers hated the display at the end of a long, tired day, but reveled in it, too. Their child needed them and only them. Their child punished them for enjoying being away from him or her and swimming in guilt, the mother knew she deserved it. The psychological abuse was only fair for having a mom who secretly loathed the needy child.
The child ultimately paid for the parent’s narcissism. Divided and distracted. Indulged and appeased. Tired and frustrated–bedtimes were three ring circuses at home. The kids would come to Day Care on Monday exhausted and sleep nearly all day because they hadn’t slept all weekend. The confusion sowed seeds of resentment toward the parents and the parents resented the children in return. Yup, that’s an ideal homelife.
The other kids, whose parents made peace with their choices, turned out fine. The parents happy with the arrangement felt no guilt and didn’t overcompensate and indulge the kid at home. The kid had boundaries everywhere and while he might have preferred mom to Day Care, he didn’t know the difference and adapted.
Well, most of them, anyway. Some kids with congruent parents still suffered. A few just had delicate personalities. Maybe shy, maybe immature developmentally, maybe overwhelmed by all the stimuli that a Day Care naturally contains, these children survived, rather than thrived. I felt bad for these kids. I remember a little girl I was particularity close to. She was sweet and quiet. I had a special bond with her and when I came home from school, took care of her. She had huge brown eyes and a delicate spirit. She wanted her mom. I felt bad. She needed her mom.
I think we forget that no one really likes to be left behind. Saying “good bye” to someone we love isn’t easy. Now, just imagine not having a concept of time. A child can’t really fathom one hour or ten hours. What does that mean? Even seven year olds don’t get the concept of an hour–you can equate it to a TV show or Video or the time between Safety Breaks at the pool and only then do they understand. But children under the age of five have a tougher time with the concept of time. The younger, the harder. They eventually learn the rhythm of the day and know that mom will eventually return, but they don’t know when. The anxiety increases their stress hormones. They worry. It feels like forever. It might as well be.
This will add more guilt to some. Mothers face challenging choices when it comes to balancing career and child care. There are trade-offs when working full time and putting a child in Day Care. The key is to make decisions that benefit the child.
- Moms, let your child bond with his or her care provider. They need that relationship so they can relax and develop normally.
- Moms, discipline your children when you have them at home. It turns them into monsters when you let them run the house. Do you really want to transfer your guilt to your child? Do you want that message sent? The child will grow up believing that what you did was wrong–you will have taught him that belief by your actions and needs.
- Moms, put your kids to bed. I know you want to spend extra time with him or her, but the child is growing and needs sleep. The hassle you’ll endure putting him or her to bed will pay off the a well-rested, happy kid. You’ll both benefit.
Give the kid a chance to be happy wherever he may find himself. You can teach him resilience by the way you handle these conflicted situations. If you can’t find a way to do this, quit your job already (I know some single moms can’t). Live smaller. Pick up your career again when the kids are in school or a little older. I guarantee you, five years feels like a long time now, but it won’t when you’re 65 and retired.
John Kerry continues to live in the past–now it is the Swift Boat thing. He is releasing documents he refused to release during the campaign from his military service trying to restore his reputation. His reputation, to some Vietnam Vets anyway, is as a disloyal opportunist. Since his testimony before Congress after his return from Vietnam he lost lots of friends and made lots of enemies. If he somehow proves he was in Cambodia when his buddies say he never was, will that change opinions about the man?
Over at Passionate Users they have a post on making the customer experience natural–like water running down hill. This is in contrast to making the user work hard for your product. You can bet that at least one of your competitors makes it easy.