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10 entries from June 2011

No 'him' or 'her'; preschool fights gender bias - Yahoo! News

"Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing," says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. "Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be."

The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden's efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward.

Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools, underpinned by the theory that even in highly egalitarian-minded Sweden, society gives boys an unfair edge.


I'm curious to hear what people think of this. Is the obliteration of gender a positive or a negative in your mind?

Points to Ponder (100 words or less)

I was watching a TV show about a minor league pitcher that lived in a nursing home. One of the people in the documentary said something to this effect:

When you are living around people in their 80's and 90's you hear stories about risks not taken. Occassionally you will hear about risks taken but by and large people lament the risks they didn't take. (Emphasis mine)

I wonder what our stories will be about when we are in our 80's and 90's. (68).

Traits of a leader: what's your list?

Recently I had to watch a video of a former Professor talk about leadership. He said that a leader possessed the following characteristics:

1. Exhibits self-awareness
2. Embraces ambiguity
3. Exhibits a sense of humor
4. Takes risks
5. Shows respect to others
6. Provides a vision

What do you think of the list? Would you take any away? Would you add to it? If someone asked how they could improve their leadership how would you direct them?

We are desperate for fathers

Fatherhood is something that is always motoring through the placid and not so placid places in my brain. Of course, I have a father and I am a father.

I have been entrusted with shaping my children. That scares me.

I love being a Dad.

I also work with a lot of people who have Dad's that have proven to be absent in their life. Dad's who have donated sperm for the creation of a life but who have refused to actually be a father. For every person that I work with, we have probably another 5-10 people who will never see a counselor or be inside a locked facility.

I think the problem is that we have raised multiple generations where we have told them that the most important thing in the world is how they feel. We have told the world that selfishness is a virtue.

We are wiping out entire swaths of generations because of this selfishness. I read once that children with an engaged father are almost 80% more likely to not go to jail, even when the socio-economic situation is the same.

We are desperate for men to actually be fathers. To actually guide their children. The results of absentee fathers is well documented. We have to turn this around. Being a father is hard.

Being a father requires selflessness.

Being a father requires wisdom

Being a father requires being able to say I was wong, please forgive me.

Being a father requires a lot but it also gives so much.

Being a father offers rewards that are hard to quantify.

What about you? It is truly one of the greatest things that we will do in our life. What can you do to be engaged in the life of your child(ren)? If you already engaged, how can you keep on being engaged?

Being Present: thoughts on parenting

I have an iPad. It's a great tool for a counselor. There are so many ways it has helped me in my practice. An added bonus is that my kids have a "computer" to play with that is pretty easy for me to monitor. The drawback of this arrangement is that they have figured out how to take pictures and make movies on it.

I mean literally thousands of pictures and videos.  One daughter took 189 pictures of just her right hand. It's kind of fun to scroll through them.  Many of the pictures are too distorted to actually be of any value. Of course, if you and I are facebook friends, you've had the opportunity to see some of the videos.

Today, as I was preparing for my daily sessions I hooked the iPad upto my computer and began to look at the new pictures. Some made me laugh. Some I couldn't quite figure out.

One made me stop dead in my tracks and swallow really hard. There was a picture of my daughter and my friend's daughter. My baby didn't look like a baby anymore. She looked entirely too grown up.

Lately, I've been more aware of this truth. My girls are growing up.  The day is probably coming when they won't want to spend as much time with me as they do now. I want them to stay this small longer. I want them to need me longer.

Of course, I really don't. That's not actually the answer. That's a recipe for emotionally stunted adults who don't know how to function.

What I want is to soak up every minute I have with them. To gaze on each smile, and catch the glint in each eye. What I need to do is be present every moment that I am with them.

My time with them is limited. Today I will see very little of them. There isn't much that I can do about that. Tomorrow, I will have the opportunity to make them a part of my entire day. They can help me weed the garden, mow the grass (mostly just riding in the wagon behind me) and I can play with them. Or I can choose to do other things that need to be done. I can be distracted by the pressures of life.

Here's hoping I choose to be present with my girls. In fifteen years, I doubt I will remember the chore that I didn't get done today. I doubt that I will remember the stress of today.

I am quite certain I will miss my girls. Tomorrow I will have the memories that we create today.

I screwed what? I feel bad.

One of the common issues that I deal with in couples counseling is related to the aftermath of mistakes.

A spouse cheats

A spouse uses painful words like a scalpel to cut as deeply as possible.

An angry outbursts scares the bejezus out of a spouse

A secret offense is brought to light.

The list is quite long, and I am sure you could probably add two or two hundred things that you have experienced or heard of happening.

Invariably, the question posed to me is, "Why can't she get over it?" or "Why can't he just move on? I said, I was sorry. I feel bad about it."

Often this comes across as defensive to the offended spouse and even to me as a counselor. The following are some steps that I believe are helpful in repairing broken relationships.

1. Leave all the but's in the barn.

You've heard this one before, "I am sorry, I feel bad that I did that, but...." Invariably, an accusation or degradation for the spouse follows that but. Here's the problem, when you say I'm sorry but___________, it sounds like you aren't really all that sorry. It sounds like you're wanting to make sure that your spouse gets some of the blame too.  It sounds like your saying the adult equivalent of the four year old, "She did it too" defense. It's silly. It's shallow. And it is not helpful. If you messed up, own that. Don't try to deflect blame. Don't try to pass it off to your spouse. Just admit that what you did was wrong. No one made you do it. We control our own actions. What is interesting to me is that when someone commits to this idea of actually owning their own mistakes, thier spouse will often start admitting their own errors.

2. Double down on your patience level

If you have done something that has damaged trust in the relationship there is absolutely nothing you can do that will "fix it." You may have to answer a lot of questions. You may have to answer the same questions more than once. You may have to answer questions that don't seem relevant to you but matter immensely to your spouse.

3. Check your ego at the door.

I suspect that I get the most push back on this one. If you are the offending party, you gave up all of your "rights" by acting out. No, I don't think you'll need to pay for the rest of your life but I find that most people don't want to pay at all. Too often they want to just act out and hit a reset button. That only works in video games. Marriage requires that you die to yourself. When you are working on repairing a marriage it requires it all the more.

4. Invite Accountability

If you cheated, your life now becomes an open book. If you lost your temper, whatever find someone who can help hold you accountable. Not judge you but truly hold you accountable. Help you come up with a plan for the next time this temptation comes your way. Set yourself up for success.

5. Get the help you need.

This will allow you to understand what is really happening. What are the issues behind the issues? There is no weakness in admitting we need help and if it helps us to save our marriage, to have relationships that truly excel, we must pursue it. One of the best ways to ensure that a behavior will be corrected is to seek professional help regarding it. To really lean into it, examine it and make changes you may need someone to help you.

I think this list is a good start. It's not the end all. It's probably not complete but it's definitely a start.

What about you? What would you add to the list? Is there something you would take away?

What do you see? Your culture is probably affecting your view.

When you see this picture, which I am using courtesy of The Cultural Intelligence Center, what do you see?

According to research they quote in this article what you see will depend a lot based on what culture you are from. I admit I focused on what other American students focused on. What about you? What did you focus on?

If this study is correct, what do you think are the implications are for two people who are getting married and are from two very different cultures?

All You're ever gonna be is mean! Really? Says Who?

There has been a song running around in my head recently. In it a young lady sings that someday she's going to live in a big old city but the person that she's singing to is only going to be mean. 

Besides asking you to not judge me about my music tastes (and what's the big deal about living in a big old city?), I want to ask you a serious question. Have you ever been on either side of that issue? Have you ever been where you thought someone was never going to change.

Have you ever felt stuck where you thought you were never going to change. Where when you looked at other people, you knew that they thought you were never going to change?

One of the reasons that I am a counselor is because I believe that everyone can change. You don't have to be held captive by your past. You can change your behaviors. No one has to be bound by their parents. Just because your parent was a drunk, does not mean that you have to be. If you are mean, you do not have to be.

You can change.

I can be different tomorrow, than I was yesterday.

It will require hard work. It will probably be painful. It will require us to give up something that is comfortable and familiar but probably destructive. It will probably require us realizing we cannot do it on our own. 

Are you stuck in a rut doing some behavior you don't want to be doing? Call a counselor. Set up an appointment. Every study shows that counseling helps most people change.

Let me ask one more question. What have you found to be the most effective change strategies for your own life?


5 Reasons Why You Should Commit Your Goals to Writing

Of course, most people don’t bother to write down their goals. Instead, they drift through life aimlessly, wondering why their life lacks purpose and significance. I am not saying that committing your goals to writing is the end-game. It’s not. But it is the beginning.


The internet is a fun and wide open community. I spend times in different "neighborhoods" where I get to meet different people and be exposed to different ideas.

Michael Hyatt's blog is one neighborhood I hang out in occasionally. I doubt that Mr. Hyatt and I would ever cross paths in real life, but on the internet we have a bit of a one way relationship (he writes, I get a notification that he wrote and decide if I want to read it). It's working for use right now.

OK, humor aside, Hyatt has some good things to say/write. I'm sure you can find some stuff to criticize too but that's not the point of this post. The point is that he has an excellent post on why you should commit goals to paper. I am a big believer in both goal setting and putting them on paper. Click the link above and enjoy.