Recently in Family Category
An ER Doc takes competitive parents to task:
"I know, I know. Your family is different. You do all these things because your kid loves to compete, he loves the travel basketball, she loves the swim team, it's her life, it's what defines him. Part of that is certainly true but a big part of that isn't. Tens of thousands of families thrive in this setting, but I'm telling you, from what I've seen as a clinician, tens of thousands don't. It is a hidden scourge in society today, taxing and stressing husbands, wives, parents and children. We're denying children the opportunity to explore literally thousands of facets of interests because of the fear of the need to "specialize" in something early, and that by not doing this your child will somehow be just an average kid. How do we learn to rejoice in the average and celebrate as a whole society the exceptional? I'm not sure, but I know that this whole preoccupation is unhealthy, it is dysfunctional and is as bad as alcoholism, tobacco abuse, or any other types of dependency."
"What this constant nagging and harping does is send a message to our husbands that says 'we don't respect you. We don't think you're smart enough to do things right. We expect you to mess up. And when you do, you'll be called out on it swiftly and without reservation.' Given this kind of negative reinforcement over time, he feels like nothing he can do is right (in your eyes). If he's confident with himself and who he is, he'll come to resent you. If he's at all unsure about himself, he'll start to believe you, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Neither one is a desirable, beneficial outcome to you, him or the marriage....
"If we keep attempting to make our husbands feel small, or foolish, or inept because they occasionally mess up (and I use that term to also mean 'do things differently than us'), then eventually they're going to stop trying to do things. Or worse yet, they'll actually come to believe those labels are true.
"In my case it's my husband of 12+ years I'm talking about. The same man who thanklessly changed my car tire in the rain. The guy who taught our kids to ride bikes. The person who stayed with me at the hospital all night when my mom was sick. The man who has always worked hard to make a decent living and support his family.
"He knows how to change the oil in the car. He can re-install my computer's operating system. He lifts things for me that are too heavy and opens stuck jar lids. He shovels the sidewalk. He can put up a ceiling fan. He fixes the toilet when it won't stop running. I can't (or don't) do any of those things. And yet I give him grief about a dish out of place. He's a good man who does a lot for me, and doesn't deserve to be harassed over little things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things...."
A meaningful apology must be more than a mumbled "Sorry." This four-point pattern leads the apologizer to understand and express specifically what they did that was wrong, how it hurt other people, and what positive action he will take in the future to avoid repeating the wrong, and then it leads the offender to express humility to the person offended and invites a response, opening the door to reconciliation.
I'm sorry for...
This is wrong because...
In the future, I will...
Will you forgive me?
A fourth-grade teacher explains how she taught this pattern to her class (her use of role-play and peer critique is interesting), and the impressive results it produced.
Don't make Kate angry with your Christmas card. Click the link to find out how to form the plural of your last name correctly.
"...I find a stack of Christmas cards and begin to flip through them--pausing to marvel at how big so-and-so's kids have gotten. And then I spot it: an apostrophe in a last name that isn't supposed to be possessive.
"I shudder, flipping past the unwarranted punctuation. But as I keep flipping, the apostrophes do, too--flipping me off, that is. They defile Christmas card after Christmas card, last name after last name with their presence. Gone is my Christmas cheer! All my glad tidings, replaced with fury."
By the way, the plural of Bates is Bateses. The possessive of Bateses is Bateses'. Example: "Are the Bateses at church today?" "Yes, the Bates family is here. I saw the Bateses' minivan in the parking lot."
"Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. Similarly, these youngsters quickly spot the inconsistencies, arbitrariness and absurdities in society and in the behaviors of those around them. Traditions are questioned or challenged. For example, why do we put such tight sex-role or age-role restrictions on people? Why do people engage in hypocritical behaviors in which they say one thing and then do another? Why do people say things they really do not mean at all? Why are so many people so unthinking and uncaring in their dealings with others? How much difference in the world can one person's life make?
"When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others' expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.
"When their intensity is combined with multi-potentiality, these youngsters become particularly frustrated with the existential limitations of space and time. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to develop all of the talents that many of these children have. Making choices among the possibilities is indeed arbitrary; there is no "ultimately right" choice. Even choosing a vocation can be difficult if one is trying to make a career decision between essentially equal passion, talents and potential in violin, neurology, theoretical mathematics and international relations.
"The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. But they quickly discover that their anger is futile, for it is really directed at "fate" or at other matters which they are not able to control. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression. "
Rebecca Gregoire offers five reasons, but I think they can be boiled down to identification rather than alienation. Her parents established a strong family identity under God and cultivated that sense of identity in their children -- this is who were are as a family, and we are all in this together. This is a very convicting post, because it reminds me of family habits that I have failed to build and practice consistently. It's too easy to let everyone in the family focus on their own priorities and to neglect bringing everyone together for worship and prayer, for communication about important issues, and for fun.
"The unloved daughter doesn't know that she is loveable or worthy of attention; she may have grown up feeling ignored or unheard or criticized at every turn. The voice in her head is that of her mother's, telling her what she isn't (smart, beautiful, kind, loving, worthy). Her accomplishments and talents will continue to be undermined by that internalized maternal voice, unless there is some kind of intervention. Daughters sometimes talk about feeling that they are 'fooling people' and express fear that they'll be 'found out' when they enjoy success in the world....
"When I was a child, my mother held me back by focusing on my flaws, never my accomplishments. After college, I had a number of jobs but, at every one, my bosses complained that I wasn't pushing hard enough to try to grow. It was only then that I realized that I was limiting myself, adopting my mother's view of me in the world."
These are the roots from which my father-in-law sprang. Youngest speakers are in their 60s, the last generation that grew up with German spoken at home, church, and school. A University of Texas scholar is documenting the dialect while there's still time. The BBC story explains some of the distinctives of the Texas variety of German. You can learn more at the Texas German Dialect Project website.
A heartwarming tribute to small-town newspapers and the late Dorothy Craig Drain, publisher of the Stamford (Texas) American.
The computer on which I learned how to program, and the first computer I got paid to program. A wealth of info about the Wang 2200, a machine that pioneered the BASIC programming language and interactive computing.