Archive for the ‘Poll’ Category
Valentine’s Day is coming soon. My junk mail is full of advertisements for gifts for the Valentine’s Day couple. Just like every year, I am a little disgusted. Valentine’s Day, which is supposedly a day to share and express love for each other, is in fact a day that promotes very specific gender stereotypes – aggressiveness and violence in men, and vanity in women. You might say I am over reacting but I dare you to look at Valentine’s Day ads and see how stereotypical they are. Women are perceived as obsessed with their looks and man are obsessed with anger, violence, sex, aggressiveness and technology.
Since when do women only care about their beauty? It is a sad state of our a society if everyone believes the Valentine’s Day ads that think women are so shallow and dumb that they only care about their looks.
Since when do men only want to be perceived as strong and aggressive? It is a sad state of our a society if everyone believes the Valentine’s Day ads that think men are so shallow, angry, aggressive and childish that they will do anything to make themselves feel “manly”.
From time to time, I hear or read about parents who shame their kids in public as a way to “teach them a lesson”. I think Shaming kids is a very bad idea.
Shame is one of the most debilitating feelings. It can make people, young and old do horrible things. Many grownups I work with are trying to overcome a combination of guilt and shame which is impacting their lives. These feelings are born in childhood, when parents use this combination as an incentive, thinking, “If I shame you enough, you will feel guilty and the guilt and shame will prevent you from doing it next time”.
I grew up in a house that thought where shaming kids and using guilt were major tools in the parenting tool box. If parenting practices are the tools, my parents used a hammer. Yet my parents grew up with parents of their own who used this hammer as an educational tool. They thought that if they just didn’t hit it as hard as their parents did, that makes them better parents. Their attitude was, “I am better than my parents” because of this. As a child, when a hammer hits your head (metaphorically speaking), the thought that your parents had their heads hit harder does not make the pain go away. Funnily enough, telling me how much shame and guilt they felt growing up did nothing to ease the pain either.
As a child, I was ashamed of my grades. My parents thought that shaming me would make me want to do better at school, but rather than working harder, I diverted all my energy away from learning and succeeding and towards hating them for it.
I have been in business ever since I graduated university. I was 24 at the time. Luckily, my husband Gal worked a job and supported my business adventures. When I asked him about having his own business back then, he said he liked the way things were. Over 24 years ago, he did not think having his own business was an option. Not to mention working from home and/or working with me.
About 10 years ago, we started working together, from home. We soon discovered that we are very different people who enjoy doing very different things. Each of us slowly drifted towards the things that meant more to us. I veered towards life coaching and education and he went towards systems and consulting in one way or another.
The last 10 years have been challenging and rewarding in many ways. This has gotten us asking questions about working together and working together from home. Many of my clients ask me about this.
Recently, I travelled overseas to visit my family. While there, I spent a fair bit of time with my parents who are both getting on in age. My father is 80+ and my mother recently turned 73. Surprisingly, my dad is the healthier of the two. My mom on the other hand, has been not healthy for as long as I can remember her. First it was high blood pressure, then diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, osteoporosis and the list goes on.
Even though my visit was only for a short time, my mother and her health issues were a drama once again. Thankfully, she is not what you would call “sick”. As in, she does not have a fatal illness or anything like that. She just always seems to be in pain, or complaining about her physical condition. She visits her doctor regularly and often ends up telling them exactly what she wants them to prescribe for her. If you ask how she is, she will immediately start telling you. My sister, who is a social worker, says this is simply part of getting old. That may be, but my dad is older than her and he is not like that. I have met other people the same age, and even older, that were not like that either. I find it hard to accept that this is part of getting old.
Relationships are very sensitive and needs to be cherished. Sometimes in life, they will be threatened. Every conflict puts a relationship to the test, and we have plenty of conflicts in our lives.
As part of my work as a state director of Together for Humanity Foundation, I often lead discussions with kids and teachers about ways to deal with conflict and how it impacts our relationships. One story we tell the kids is the story of the Sand and Stone. This is a story that is important to keep in mind for every relationship: parent-child relationships, couples, friends, work colleagues, countries, enemies and for any two people who are in a relationship.
This week, I went for a ladies’ night out with some friends and we talked about plastic surgery. Most of them were very surprised when I said it was a great idea. They looked at me surprised and said, “Ronit, you?! You are the ‘be happy in life’ person. You believe we need to be happy with ourselves. How can you live with such a contradiction?”
Well, the truth is that I do not see any contradiction at all between having plastic surgery and being happy. But I have to say I did not always think like that.
When I was 16, my best friend wanted to have plastic surgery. When I heard that, I used the same old techniques (those my parents always used) to tell her that “people who are happy with themselves just accept themselves the way they are” and this is when I had a great opportunity to be challenged.
Rene and I became friends about a year after her dad died. She was the youngest in her family and did not cope very well with his death. She asked to go to a boarding school, but that did not work, so she came back to our school in 10th Grade. Rene had the most beautiful skin and lips, but her nose was huge. When I say “huge”, I mean it was so wide, big and lumpy, you could think she had a tumor in it and she hated it.
At one stage, she asked her family to take her to see a plastic surgeon. He told her she was too young to have plastic surgery, so she had to wait, but the more she waited, the worse she felt. Do not get me wrong, she was smart, a good student and had good friends. She just hated her nose.
We talked about it for months and Rene helped me realize I was pumped with thoughts and ideas without really questioning them. We talked about happiness and wanting to change things in your life and in your body. She helped me realize that our life is dedicated to searching for things that will make us happy, yet some things are considered good and others are not, although they serve the same purpose.
What do you think?
Last month, someone very close to me (I will call her Naomi) went through a very tough decision. She discovered on the 19th week of her pregnancy she was carrying a baby with Down Syndrome. Although she works as a social worker, she had no doubts about what she was going to do, but the people around her were not so sure.
Down Syndrome can be detected during pregnancy by checking the amniotic fluid (Amniocentesis) or after birth by a quick physical test. In 1866, a British physician named John Langdon Down described the condition. Almost 100 years later, Jerome Lejeune discovered it was caused by an extra copy (whole or part) of the 21st chromosome. The chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome is 1 in 733, but it becomes more common with the age of the parents.
Apart from very distinctive facial features, the average IQ of kids with Down Syndrome is 50, as opposed to the general IQ average of 100. Their health is very poor and their life expectancy is very low, and even though their life expectancy is increasing, the intellectual and physical disabilities remain part of their life and the life of their parents.
For my mom, the sex of the first baby was very important. Where she grew up (in Iran, ages ago), first born sons brought a lot of pride to the family and even in those old days, there were many ways to discover the sex of the baby.
Only when I got pregnant for the first time, I learned about all those beliefs and traditions. If you are pretty during your pregnancy, it means you will have a boy (because girls take away your beauty). If you hold your necklace with your wedding ring hanging from it and the ring moves in circles, you will have a girl. If you touch your nose after someone sprinkles salt on your head (without your knowledge), you will have a boy (because he will grow a mustache under his nose), but if you touch your eyebrows, you will have a girl.
It was so funny, I thought back then I could do a PhD thesis on the beliefs surrounding the sex of babies.
Somehow, my story was a bit more complicated.
This week, my 9-year-old daughter Noff went to a play day with 4 of her friends. The parents who came to pick them up also had a bit of “play” time socializing and having a nice pizza and some watermelon.
The discussion was about kids, Santa Clause and fairies. We talked about the right time to tell kids who really puts the money under their pillow and who really buys their gifts for Christmas. I had taken part in similar debates and they always become passionate, as did this one.
Is it honest to tell kids about Santa and the Tooth Fairy?
What should we say when they ask? (Liar, liar pants of fire!)
When is the right time to tell them about the role their parents play in this?
What will they think when they find out we are the real fairies?
For the 21 years of our oldest daughters’ life, we have been contemplating the issue of our kids’ relationship with their grandparents. You see, our kids have grown up far away from their grandparents most of their life, but their relationships with one side of the family is stronger that with the other side.
To my surprise, the relationship to grandparents has nothing to do with how nice the grandparents are or what culture they are from, how nice you are, how nice your kids are or where you choose to live around the world. It is linked more closely to evolution – that survival mechanism of humanity to keep the dynasty and strengthen it. Grandparents invest in the grandchildren they are convinced are theirs.
In 1998, a researcher named DeKay came up with a theory to explain findings from researches conducted two years previously (Euler & Weitzel, 1996 and Boon & Brassoni, 1996) who claimed that grandmothers on the mother’s side invested in their grandkids the most. DeKay came up with a theory linking the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren to certainty. His theory was that grandparents invest in the grandchildren they are certain are their offspring. In other words, the grandparent who has less doubt of being genetically related to the child and therefore to the grandchild, is more likely to invest in this relationship to support his or her “breed”.