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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Importance Of Problem Solving!

To learn and not to do is really not to learn....

To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. (Photo credit: planeta)

This post is finished.  I am done with the revising and editing; but I wanted to put it up early so a class I am teaching could use it to learn something about critical thinking.

Cognitive development continues in adult life and some of the crucial elements are the individual’s creative and learned abilities to solve problems.  Do it “My way; but nicely” as a musical comedy (The King and I) song says is the way many parents and supervisors lead.  Could it be that the problem-solving skills of these individuals are also underdeveloped not just those of their children or their supervisees?  A good work relationship requires an able boss and a good employee, an able parent and a child with undeveloped potential, an able teacher and a willing student.  In all of these equations, both the leaders and those being led have to participate and make contributions.

How do we help this along?  It is by not letting an “I can’t do this” attitude from hindering a person’s development.  Learning does not stop at 16, 21, or 35.  It goes on for a lifetime.  I realize that I have, when confronted with a barrier or an obstacle, have not taken the time necessary.   I just want to get on with it so I continue on with that detail not attended to and also on depending on someone else to do what I have not learned to do for myself and not bothering to problem solve and master what may be a new skill for me.

Obstacles and barracades are opportunities to grow and learn and to acquire new skills.  How often have you said I can’t when you probably could.  Being constantly dependent on others to do things for us which we can’t or have not learned to do for ourselves can lead to anger both at ourselves and for our helplessness and at others whose whims we see ourselves are susceptible to.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

Take on a new project.  Find one thing that you have not learned how to do for yourself and master it.  My spouse recently showed me for the nth time how to call up a missed number on the phone.  I had always depended on him to do it for me and if he wasn’t there I could get mad at myself for not knowing how to do it and at him for being in control of my life that way by not being able to return a simple phone call without him.

Now I have a growing list of things I should be able to do for myself which demands I usually met in the past with a feeble, “I can’t…”  Sometimes it is not easy; but, when mastered, these things give you more freedom to do it your way, not theirs.  Learning involves communication between pupil and teacher.  The student needs to build on what they already know in order to bridge the gap between themselves and teachers.  It is this communality that fosters learning.  The attitude, “This is so stupid.  Why can’t he learn this”, is often an example of the teacher’s tendency to give up and externalize the blame onto the student.

Finally, once you’ve solved the problem, remember to use what you have learned the next time you have that problem.  Remember practice makes perfect.  What you learn for yourself is often the best learning method.  You don’t leave any steps out or forget to define terms.  Focusing on the neuroplacity of the brain means that we can go on learning the rest of our lives.  It increases self-esteem,  it develops abilities you may be able to teach others as a legacy, it enlarges your sphere of life (now no more saying to yourself limiting yourself by saying, ” I won’t go there because I can’t do that and I am not willing to learn”.

Remember you sometimes can chose what you want to learn to do but you can’t always control others so that they will do things for you when you don’t know how.

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Toddler having a temper tantrum and screaming at her mother. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.Double teaming is a wrestling term I think.  We did it yesterday with our three toddler grandchildren who were over for the day.   I know sometimes you might want to be right and fight with your partner over what the kids ought to be doing, the limits that need to be set, and the punishments that need to be given.

Sometimes I would rather be wrong than right, consistent, instead of inconsistent, and be seen as grumpy than to let the children go hog wild.  The time to disagree with your spouse or the children’s parents may not be now.  Keep a united front.  It is melody to my ears to hear the kids say,” I’m sorry”,”Please, and “Thank you”.  It is not so much that I want to control the kids (let’s be reasonable about the limits we set); or one-up their parents; but I want to see the children grow up with a good attitude.  If you are observant, you can see preschoolers trying out new (not-so-nice) behaviors which if not caught now could multiple in the future.

unrulyboyRemember to adjust your expectations as your children grow.  Also remember, “Monkey see; monkey do.”  Don’t always apply adult motives to childish behavior.  It is more let me see what I can get away with today.  Also they learn divide and conquor very soon in life.  If they can turn being disciplined around into a fight between two adults, they will.

Also the younger the children are are; the more easily distracted they are.  So something may not be as serious as it seems.  Do you ever get ready to follow through with some discipline to notice they have already stopped doing it and have gone on to something else.  Adults some times invest a whole lot of time and energy to handling a potentially bad situation with a children only to find that the whole thing has all blown away and they have gone on to something else in a few short minutes.

4-disciplining-children-450a032108Children can learn to do small, useful tasks if you are consistent and appropriate in asking them to help like throwing their dirty diapers in the trash.  Don’t worry, there will many things that they can’t do for themselves yet.  Children need to show respect not just for adults, but for other children, and for themselves too.


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People With Equal Problems Attract

Getting Back Together With Your Ex

Getting Back Together With Your Ex

I have always said that people with equal problems attract and I admit that was true in my case in a past marriage.  I know you have (like I have) heard recently separated or divorced friends talk about all the problems their soon-to-be ex or ex spouse had.  To hear the story told, your friend is or was a blameless or a helpless victim  in the situation.  Actually a person with fewer problems than the ex- had would not have gotten into a permanent, or ,should I say, semi- permanent, relationship with such a person as he or she described often using not-so nice names like “lazy,” “useless,” “slut,” womanizer, “boozer,” or worse.

Not Her Taste

Not Her Taste

I am sure most people have had a narrow escape where they met a person and got involved with them and escaped before any damage was done.  I once went out with a person whose sex seeking line was, “You wanna?”   He said this at the end of the first date.  He drug me from one college party to another where he would consume “doubles” and “triples”.  I was glad to get out of that relationship as he was the one doing the driving that day and also he had ignored me all day and even stopped on the way home to wait while his buddy had a quickie with the girl he was with.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a cat person like some people are dog persons.  I went out with this guy also for the first time and he told me he liked to go out into the woods and shoot feral cats for fun.  Needless to say, I never went out with him again.  I surely got the wrong number in both cases.

Some people think that they got lucky and escaped into the arms of someone else before their partner could dump them.  No matter what if you left them or they left you, you both could be making the same mistake if you do this.   That is going from one person to another with the same problems.  I did, but I got lucky.    When the first guy I was dating seriously after my divorce dumped me, he revealed his passive-aggressive side which had hurt me before.

It takes at least two years and/or some exploration on your part of what the problems were in your past relationship, both the other person’s and your own, before you can enter into another relationship without making the same mistake as you did before.  Haven’t you heard of women who kept getting involved with alcoholics time after time?

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Happy Child, Happy World! The Happy Dance

child-wedding-mainHappy child,  happy world!  Children are naturally happy.  Don’t rain on their parade.  Joking or teasing just to see how flustered and upset a child can get is as a certain toddler would say, “Not nice!”

Keeping children out of certain places just to please certain adults is also “not nice.”  The noise and the possible mess generated by children can be the price to play for their exuberant company.

Attitudes are contagious.  Bad attitudes are contagious in a bad way.  Some people are just “no fun” to be around and yet, we don’t necessarily bar themfrom joyous occassions.  Yet, they can be wet blankets.  When considering including children in the mix of social occassions, don’t let these adult wet blankets spoil your occassion if you are considering not including children only for this reason only.

Children are naturally happy and playful until they come in contact with some adults who don’t appreciate the natural spontinety of children.  These people often legislate to keep children out of places where they the adults congregate.  I agree with this when such a place is no fun for children.

However, maybe we should spread joy and happiness and encourage the presence of children at certain happy occasions like weddings.  I have seen children attending these joyous occasions getting into the spirit of what the day is all about.  This makes it truly a family occasion and the good spirits of children (not necessarily alcohol spirits) can be contagious.  Children love to dance; but it is usually not ballroom dancing;but it might   hip hop or break dancing.

Some of the best wedding receptions I have attended have been where children were present.  I am not crazy.  I know s sometimes babies are happier in quiet surroundings and can voice their displeasure loudly and disrupt things at a ceremony or reception.  Also children can reach their limit earlier than adults and can become cranky and not the life of the party.  This is true in all of life!  Children can be the natural seasoning of the mix of a good time and a family occasion.  A good time can be had by all.  .

Adults who don’t like children around them are no fun and when there are such people around, it is no fun for the children also.  Joy comes from inside you and when you depend on controlling the things that happen outside you to be happy, you are often no fun for yourself or others.  As the song says, “Let it be; let it be.”

Yes, it might stop adults from drinking as much and “ruining their good time”; but children are an example of how you can have a good time without alcohol.  No, I am not a tee totaler, but I have an occasional drink when I am not driving.  There is alcohol in my house when I want it (which is not often).  Just like I don’t drink and drive; I also don’t watch children and imbibe.  Why spoil your fun?  It is your decision if you are over twenty one and whichever decision you make, make it the right one.  Not all people like to be around children all the time.happy dance

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Raising Children Or Raising Cain

"Under the horse chestnut tree", 1 p...

“Under the horse chestnut tree”, 1 print : drypoint and aquatint, color ; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Raising children to meet your own needs can be a form of abuse.  It destroys a child’s self-confidence, their self-concept, and their self-esteem.  It can turn them into people pleasers or renegades.  Instead of learning to take care of themselves, they learn to take care of others.  When this happens they usually rebel or become enablers.  Children learn to change their behavior to make their caregivers happy or miserable.  Either way, they don’t learn how to do what is best for themselves.

Perhaps you are familiar with what people say about “preacher’s kids”.  They are either angels or devils.  They either do exactly what their parents want them to do and live up to their expectations and become good Christians, Catholics, Jews, or Muslims, etc., or they do exactly the opposite.  It doesn’t always happen that way; but it happens often enough for people to frequently say, “Tsk, tsk, what a shame the reverend’s or the rabbi’s children act that way.”

Parents should not feel that they can only succeed in life through their children’s accomplishments.  Some times it is a difficult thing to do.  Doing a good job of raising children and being a success in life can sometimes conflict.  It may require sacrifices that can interfere with a parent’s own goals.  Doing a good job of raising children can represent an accomplishment but parents may not always recognize that what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander.  Each child is unique and not a mirror image of one or both of his parents.  Some of the most successful children are not doing anything like their parents are doing and are happy doing it.  To each his own.

Children deserve unconditional love.  No, “I’ll love you if…”  Parents can dislike what a child does and still love him or her.  It takes a mature parent to do this.  Of course, some people are early maturers and some people are late maturers and some mature right on time.  It could be partially due to the example that their parents were for them.  Another part of this equation is the parent’s ability to love him or her self which is more likely when the parent has received unconditional love as a child.

Remember unconditional love must be given away to grow.  The more you give, the more you get.  I hear a , “Yes, but.”  You are thinking that you must withhold love sometimes to prevent a child from doing something that would harm them.  Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to set a boundary that one might think would show that they had stopped loving their child.  Giving a child break after break may only encourage them to keep on doing what will ultimately hurt them severely.  It takes great love to do this.  This is one of the biggest sacrifices a parent can make a for a child which is to risk losing them forever.


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When You Know You Are Alone in the World

i am in my world you are in your world-2-w_thumb[6]

How to make your life work for you.  What you can do to help yourself.  This is everybody’s responsibility to do for themselves.

When did you first realize that you were alone in the world?  Was it when your mother or father first put you to bed and let you cry yourself to sleep?  When did you first think about thinking (this is called metacognition)?  Was this when you first realized that you were a separate individual?  Rather lonely wasn’t it.  From feeling safe and warm cozy in our family to feeling cold and alone.

I first realized this when I went to school at age five.  I was on my own and my parents weren’t necessarily on my side.  I learned to keep secrets from them when what I did was not acceptable to them.  They were no longer always on my side.  They expected something of me that I couldn’t or wouldn’t produce.  I had a lot of spirit then but it usually led me to tears.  Was this the beginning of weltschmerz? (world pain).  I realized my parents didn’t understand me and probably never would.  How alone is that!


metacognition (Photo credit: WOScholar)

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Maybe, You Are Where You Are Supposed To Be


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Maybe, You Are Where You Were Meant To Be

Did you ever wish you were in somebody else’s shoes.  I have.  But you know, they just might not fit.  With the internet, reality shows, newspapers, and magazines, we probably just haven’t realized that we might know too much about people we used to think that we would like to be and it’s not good.  Fame, things don’t buy happiness and some of these people have not learned this yet.

Do They Fit?

Do They Fit?

Envy and jealousy eat away at your happiness.  Society says, “Don’t be satisfied with what you have got.  Don’t cultivate a feeling of gratitude for these things.”  However, this is your real path to happiness.  Many successful people do this and then realize down the line that while they had stuff, fame, and fortune, they never had time to enjoy it.  They were too busy seeking more of the above and many have found out they were not working for themselves, but others who depended on them.

Do you choose your friends and admirers or do they seek you?  What is the payback?  Some hangers on depend on the fact that you have poor judgment and will take them on and will essentially work for you.  I know a reputable psychic who appears to be compelled to do readings (for which she gets a hefty fee), to support her own church, to keep releasing new books, and to keep up an exhausting schedule of appearances and she is at a point in life where she needs to sit down and smell the roses.  I used to envy her until I realized this.

People have been taught to idolize and sometimes even worship other people and have been encouraged to model themselves after them.  Today they are more often called teachers or mentors.  We all have flaws and the most saintly of us have readily admitted this.  Mother Teresa knew that she wasn’t always perfect and that her life wasn’t always perfect.  Even Jesus on the cross asked that his Father would take this cup from him.  Even if you are not religious, you still may realize that the most famous people, the most powerful people, the ones with the most influence and wealth can’t always have what they want or live the way they want and there is nothing they can do about it.

One of the biggest pleasures in life is to do what you love doing (hopefully making enough money to be able to keep doing this), to have true friends and family around you, and to have a philosophy about life that enables you to keep doing this.  One size does not fit all so wear your own shoes that you have already broken in.

I will take this further at where I am more open about my spiritual beliefs.

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Expert? Expert At What?

Do you always get in your two cents worth.  Does doing well at one thing  make you a fountain of wisdom about other things?  We live in an era of Ego Mania!  Who do we listen too? celebrities,cannon , fodder Celebrities, the media, sports figures, wanna be politicians?  What qualifies you to be an expect on something?

Where do you come out telling somebody else what to do when you are not them and don’t know where they are coming from?  Perspective is important.  People on one side of the mountain see something different from those on the other side of the mountain.

Advice is free.  Good advice is priceless!  When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come.  Exercise good judgment.  Don’t let everybody else tell you what to do.  Think for yourself.  What is that person’s track record on giving good advice?  What is in it for them?  Some people are just like ventriloquists dummies.  They say what ever they are told to say thinking that they are putting it in their own words.  It often happens with experts who are called in to court to give their opinion on something.

Expert-Full-NYC-3People are easily buffaloed.  I see all kinds of people presenting themselves as an expert in the media.  Did you know that experts in a court room setting are asked for their credentials, relevant experience, and are cross examined on this?  In the media so-called experts are introduced by name; but often credentials are not mentioned.

Whenever I give advice and I do so sometimes like I am doing now, I realize that the person receiving it, can accept it or reject.  It may or may not make sense to them at this point in their life.  Take my advice or leave it.  I am not invested in your believing I am right or I am wrong.  Maybe this gives you a new perspective on something.

taking-advice-badgeWe build on the old.  We generally do not completely rearrange what we think based on new conflicting information.  When new information and old concepts do not coincide, something has got to give.  You can change your theory of how things work to fit new information or you can adjust the information to fit old theories.

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