Monday, February 24, 2014

affirming | a small idea from Raising Adults

I don’t like it a bit when adults treat teenagers like children. But in my estimation, demanding more than people can possibly deliver is even more toxic than under-challenging them. In a reasonably healthy environment kids will rise to life’s challenges. Children want to learn and grow because learning and growing are stimulating and fun. But real learning and growth are retarded in an overly demanding environment where failure is intolerable. If failure is unacceptable, trial and error learning is right out as a learning strategy and kids resort to  bluffing, compliance, docile repetition, and playing it safe. What could be less challenging, and ultimately more useless than that? There’s got to be a better way...

I recommend you do at least this: For the next 30 days, refuse to be overly demanding with your child, just to see what happens. Beyond that, if you have the imagination and energy, I’m convinced that affirming is better by far than simply not demanding.
Affirming looks at a behavior or a process and responds with a constructive, concrete endorsement: You did that well. I admire your work. Congratulations on a job well-done. Affirming how a child performs isn’t connected to whether she is nice, pretty, smart, or good. Affirming is more objective than that.
It’s also more specific. You’re really fast! isn’t nearly as good an affirmation as You sure ran a good race! Can you tell me how you knew when to start your sprint at the end?
Affirming begins with honoring excellence, then continues by inviting interaction. Affirming is independent of outcomes. It isn’t necessary for a child to win the race for her to be affirmed for her skill and dedication as a runner. So affirming is more realistic than demanding (which stands at one end of the spectrum) and praising (which stands at the other end). In this case, both extremes are unhealthy.

Demanding <—— Affirming ——> Praising

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Demanding | a small idea from Raising Adults

Adults who are overly demanding routinely criticize children for not being more adult. The expectations these men and women have are too high and too immediate for children to live up to for the simple reason that they are adult standards.
There’s nothing wrong with appropriately high standards. Little kids can toddle; most can’t run. Hormone-challenged young adolescents can use their heads beautifully; most don’t reason effectively 100% the time—not yet, though as every parent knows it’s just a matter of time, health, and training…oh, wait, come to think of it, I don’t reason effectively 100% of the time, so….
I never heard an adult criticize a toddler for not being able to run. I guess there’s something about the size and shape of those little bodies that tells us it’s too soon for sprinting. By the same token, maybe something about the size and shape of adolescent bodies sometimes fools adults into expecting and demanding too much, too soon.
Adolescence is an inflection point—a period when people embody both the child and the adult in them. A teenager can be startlingly grown-up about one thing and strikingly childish about the next. I once shot an interview in the bedroom of an alcohol-abusing 14-year-old. As she told stories of blackouts and close calls, plush toys looked on from a shelf behind her. The harrowing tales and stuffed animals were both true expressions of her life at that moment.
This Jekyll and Hyde quality is why once upon a time, the State of Florida required extensive driver education and testing before entrusting me with a machine capable of hurtling down the highway at speeds in excess of eighty miles an hour. Okay, I was driving an 11-year-old VW Karmann Ghia with a top speed of 50mph on a downhill straightaway—had there actually been a sustained downhill straightaway in Florida. But you get the point: We require evidence of  reasonably serious intent, judgment and skill before we hand over the keys. 
In a similar vein, we seek to limit access to alcoholic beverages and most other psychoactive substances by children and adolescents not because we’re holding out on them but because the medical evidence suggests these intoxicants may disrupt adolescent development—and nobody want to prolong the transition into full functioning adulthood. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

In the wind | tweets from the week ending 02.08.14

Common Sense Media asks, What Are Boys Learning from the Super Bowl? #raisingadults #notbuyingit

read it yourself | 2014 Guttmacher Institute study on US abortions

Faith leaders wrestle over growing support for marijuana

nationally representative study correlates teen energy drink + shot use with high risk-taking

Minecraft | are children showing us the future of social media engagement? 

OK, so I'm paying more for health coverage each month (sort of) 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

the new apostles creed | what orthodox Christians have always believed

I've recently encountered a number of people who supported their positions by asserting they are simply affirming what orthodox Christians have always and everywhere believed. This makes me think it must be time to update the ancient creeds which somehow omitted such indespensible articles of faith. Herewith a first draft for your consideration.

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, 
Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord:




I believe in
the Holy Spirit;
the holy catholic church where I'm a member;
free and unfettered markets;
exempting the wealthy from the effects of fluctuations and abuses in the free and unfettered markets;
paying white men more than anyone else for the same work;
the superiority of money over work;
a young earth, completed in 168 hours;
small government;
the war on drugs;
regulating women's access to healthcare; 
society's mandate to protect and nurture each person unless and until he is born;
the privilege of the United States to impose its will on other nations by force;
my freedom to tell others what to believe and how to behave;
the communion of saints who share my theological perspectives in whole and in part;
and the life everlasting.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

OK, so I'm paying more for health coverage each month (sort of)

I'm not gonna lie to you: My monthly health coverage premium is higher now than before the Affordable Care Act — and it's already saving me money.

Before the Affordable Care Act most of the medications in my family were completely out of pocket, charged at full retail, because the law allowed my insurer to exclude coverage of preexisting conditions.

So what?

So...the refills that cost around $200 a pop in 2013 cost less than $50 in 2014. Which means  ObamaCare is working for me.

So...if you haven't already jumped into the insurance pool, come on in, the water's fine...

[btw, an entrepreneur friend — married, 40ish, two young children — told me his monthly premiums are $300 less now, with a lower deductible and better coverage than he had before, so...horror story averted I guess.]