Don’t Make Your Kid Be An Example

May 11, 2015  |  parenting  |  No Comments

“You’re older, you need to set an example for the younger kids.” At a preschool I was observing recently, this was the reason given to a child so he would comply with a teacher’s request. This idea of being an example was repeated a number of different times to several older children in a class consisting of three to five year olds. I’ve also heard this from parents on the playground in an attempt to get an older sibling to “behave.”

It may sound like a perfectly valid reason — at least to the teacher or parent. After all, younger kids look up to older children and often try to copy or mimic their behavior. Keep the older ones “in line” and the rest will follow, right? But what message are we really sending when we use this approach in order to gain a child’s compliance?

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What My Dad Taught Me About Racism

June 14, 2014  |  parenting  |  1 Comment

My Dad and Me

Growing up I wasn’t exposed to issues of racism in any significant way, at least so I thought. If my dad ever mentioned the word, I don’t remember. He may have mentioned someone’s race in passing, as a way to identify the person (e.g., “the Chinese lady”), but that’s it.

As a child, I thought little about race. I’m sure it was brought up in school in lessons about the civil war, but that was a long time ago. At home, race was a non-issue. In fact, my first personal exposure to the issue of racism (that I remember in a significant way) occurred during junior high school.

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Movie: Dallas Buyers Club

June 4, 2014  |  movies etc.  |  No Comments

Dallas Buyers ClubAs a man-fights-the-system film, Dallas Buyers Club works wonderfully. Matthew McConauhey’s Oscar winning performance is worthy, as is supporting actor Jared Leto (who also won an Oscar). There is a lot to cheer for, and McConauhey’s performance as Ron Woodroof portraying an unlikable rodeo-riding, gambling, sex addicted homophobe turned hero, is convincing. We don’t actually start to root and care for him until he is in the fight for his life, obstructed by the FDA and other government agencies who want to prevent him from obtaining and distributing drugs that will help him in his fight against AIDS.

When first diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live, Woodroof is in denial and rejects his death sentence. Then, fueled by self-preservation, this loser turned hero does what it takes to live: he does his homework.

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Angry Fish, Happy Fish

June 4, 2014  |  parenting  |  2 comments

Angry FishRecently I overheard an interesting conversation at the fish tank in the children’s play area at our local mall. It was between a mother and daughter (I would guess approximately 2 years old) as follows:

Mother: See the fish?

Daughter: Angry fish.

Mother: No, happy fish.

Daughter: Angry fish.

Mother: Happy fish.

Daughter: Happy fish?

Mother: Happy fish.

Daughter: Happy fish.

The mother, satisfied, escorts her daughter away.

To many, this may seem like an innocuous conversation.

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Movie: Draft Day

May 4, 2014  |  movies etc.  |  No Comments

Draft DayDraft Day, starring Kevin Costner as a draft picker for an NFL football team, is an exciting sports drama that is sure to satisfy football lovers as well as those who know very little about the game (I fall the later category).

What makes the film work is its high stakes and time sensitive negotiations and deal making that transpire throughout the film. Each year in the NFL, teams draft new players and, somehow, some teams get to pick their favorite new players sooner than others (they are mostly players from college football, I gather). I’m sure sports fans know the details. I certainly don’t, but even a neophyte like me could follow along and know what values are at stake.

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