16 posts categorized "Current Affairs" Feed

Let's End the War on Technology

The other day I was reading a pretty good article. It was about parents being better parents. Good stuff.
This is a topic that interests me. Partly, because I’m a parent and partly because I need to know about it to be good at my job.  
He talked about parents doing parenting things. It was really pretty good for about 2/3’s of the way.


Then
          it
             all
                 fell
                      apart.
And the comments underneath it!


What went wrong? He blamed technology for the parenting problems we’re seeing today.
It was too much screen time.
Blame the iPad!
Blame the gadget!
Blame the fact that we have milk in the fridge and water in faucet!
Wait? What?


Well, I mean if we’re going to blame things externally of us, why not the milk in the fridge or the water in the faucet?
Technology makes a nice new target...because it's new. I had someone tell me that there problem with it was the fact that people "don't talk to each other anymore."
I asked him to find some pictures from the earlier generations of people gathering. Turns out they were reading newspapers.
They weren't all that more engaged.


Technology isn't the reason our kids are disrespectful or disobedient today.
They are whatever they are because we have allowed them to be that way.
We have abdicated our responsibility as parents to schools, TV and devices.
And we blame technology.


Let's end the war on technology.


Let's take control of our own lives and realize that technology is just a tool.
A tool is neither good nor bad, it is simply used.
Let's not use it as a tool to jettison our own responsibility to parent.
Let's accept that our children are sentient beings with their own level of free will.
Let's stop blaming and start owning our personal responsibility.

We will never see true growth if we blame something outside of us for our problems, rather we need to examine our own motives and heart and how we use the tools that we have.


Your Health Insurance Company is Working Against You

They probably send you a happy birthday every year and they probably kill half of a Forrest sending you information about how they are for you but let me tell you an honest truth:


Your insurance company is working against you. Especially, when it comes to your mental health.  

Let me give you an example.
Recently, I was informed by my personnel director that a local health insurance company had “closed” their application process. They simply are not taking new providers until they catch up with the process. Incidentally, this insurance company is owned by a hospital conglomerate that also shares a name with cable company. If you work in the mental health agencies in that are a part of that Spectrum, this insurance which would like you to think that your health is their priority will panel those providers.


I said to her, “I’m going to blog about that.”
She replied, “Insurance companies do it all the time.”
But should they?
That is my response and my question.


Think about this. If you know a licensed counselor in the great state of Michigan who for whatever reason hasn’t been able to go through the ridiculous and long credentialing process, you can’t see them for therapy because your insurance company is currently closed. Of course, you could see her and just pay cash but you’re probably already dropping hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month to your insurance company so why go that route?


Why should insurance companies be able to go beyond the state requirements and say, “These are the people, we will pay for and these people we will not pay for services when both are licensed through the same state?”


Why not just have a process that says, if the person you want to see has a legal license in the state, you can see her?  


Because your insurance company is about making money, not about helping you.
Our whole medical insuring process is not reasonable.
The ACA in its current form isn’t helping the process. It’s giving more power to the insurance companies by guaranteeing them customers.


If we are really going to help people, we need a simplified insurance system on the provider side. If a person has a license, you should be able to see them.
As a provider, insurance companies are one of my biggest headaches.
Claims get paid, then they don’t and the reason isn’t clear.

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)

Clients call and ask about coverage, what they’re told is often light years way from what happens.
We need real, honest reform to the policies.


Right now, we are turning away clients that have a certain insurance company because we simply cannot take them. It’s not that we don’t want to take them, it’s that we can’t because some insurance company decided that they are closing the people they reimburse for services.
Because at the end of the day, it’s about them, and not you.


This needs to change.


Only you, as a consumer can make that change happen.


What do we do with Ray Rice, Domestic Violence and how do we talk to our kids?

Yesterday, I was interviewed by a local news agency regarding domestic violence and hero worship. You can see the interview below.
By now, you've probably seen the video of Ray Rice knocking his then fiance out. It's a violent and disturbing video.

800px-Ray_Rice

Perhaps more disturbing to me is how we handle the reality of domestic violence in our society.

First, let's look at some numbers that honestly cause my stomach to tighten in knots.


    •    1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
    •    Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
    •    Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
    •    Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
    •    Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
    •    Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
    •    Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
    •    A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
    •    A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death (All numbers from here).

Those numbers disturb me. With those numbers, it is probably safe to assume that someone you know, someone your children goes to school with, maybe multiple someones is the victim of domestic violence.


Someone is going to sleep tonight afraid of the person sleeping next to them.
I think one of our biggest problems is that for too many people, domestic violence is something that is just in the background of life. It's not actually something we engage or try to change.

I'm on record as loving Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook was disturbing to me. So many people wanted to defend what Ray Rice did and some went so far as to say that he shouldn't lose his job.
One person even said that they (the Ravens) are playing the hated Steelers this week and that "lot's of men have hit their women and still had a job."
I think another problem highlighted by this incident with Ray Rice is that we tend to excuse the worst of behaviors from our sports heroes. I am afraid we do this in too many high schools and colleges.
We want to feel like winners. Badly.
In order to feel like a winner, we want to pretend that these athletes exist purely on the field.
But they don't.
And this not so subtle message of it's OK to beat your woman if you're on my sports team tells our kids there are some poeple who have a different set of rules.
We need to explain to our kids that domestic violence is never OK. It's never Ok to hurt someone because they have made us mad.


Winning isn't the only thing.


There are many things that are way more important than winning. If your team loses because a key person isn't on it because he's been suspended for beating his wife/girlfriend/fiance, then so be it.
Winning a sports game just isn't that important.


Lastly, we need to stop villifying Janay Rice and all victims of domestic violence. I don't know what she said in that elevator. I don't know the current situation but she seems to believe it was a one time event.


She has the right to do whatever she wants to do with her life in regards to this situation, even if you or I think it's wrong. We need to treat her with respect.


We tend to go to extremes with our responses to the victims. Too often, we imply that they must have done something to deserve it (Stephen A. Smith, anyone?) or we call them gold diggers and other derogatory names because we don't understand why they are choosing to stay.
I do not believe that any person should stay with a person who is abusing them and men get abused as well, but I have to give each person the dignity afforded to every human being to make their own choices.


Domestic violence is real. It is tearing at our society and it needs to be addressed.

To watch my interview, click here.


It's time to move past comparative pain and passions

I admit the world is an interesting place to me. I’m not typically someone who laments life.
I don’t always agree with stuff I hear and I’m often willing to engage it with the person. I joke with my friends about poking the bear.  Interacting with others about how they feel and think is sometimes, like poking a bear. Sometimes, we need to poke another bear or we need our bears poked.


It’s how we grow. Face_male_kodiak_bear


But yesterday I saw something I admit I don’t understand. I was sitting in my office and one of our Sr. Associates who was sitting next to me said, “Oh boy!” Of course, I asked what was up.
“Well, this guy’s newsfeed reads, “An actors death has dominated the newsfeed but how about all of the kids dying in _______.”  


This intrigued me  so I went looking at various places in the beautiful place called the world wide web. Sure enough, there were people lamenting all sorts of causes that weren’t getting as much attention as Robin Williams death.  


On one level I get it.


But on most levels, I think those people just come across as jerks. They’re acting like they have the corner on what should be important to everyone.
This happens a lot in Facebook land.
I get it.


But I don’t. Yes, people are dying in the Middle East, 1 in 5 children in America face hunger, there is rioting and looting in the Mid-West over a possibly race motivated killing. All of this is true.
But here’s the thing: Lamenting Robin Williams death doesn’t negate those truths. It doesn’t diminish them.


It doesn’t impact them at all.  It just makes you look grumpy and mean or worse.


An ancient writer wrote that there is a time and season for everything. I agree with that thought. I don’t think the time to get your personal passion out there is by juxtaposing it against someone else’s tragedy.


You sound like you’re trying to minimize their pain. Sometimes, it sounds like you're trying to invalidate their pain. Arguing with someone about their pain rarely works. When we essentially say, "well, you're in pain but this thing over here is worse and you should care about that..." we set ourselves up as some sort of judge. It's always a sketchy when we're trying to balance out why our cause should be more important than someone else's, especially when they are experiencing a new wound. Scales-295109_640


Be passionate about those other causes. Our world needs that passion. But, to be effective we need it to be done at the appropriate time. We need you to have real, genuine empath for the pain other people are feeling.


To paraphrase another ancient writer, “If you have your great cause, but you don’t have love you have nothing.”


Come down and sit in the pain of the people around you. Allow them to feel their pain. When the time is right, share your passion with them.


Thanks for reading. As always, if you like this post, please feel free to share it via your preferred social media experience.


The Biggest Loser and the Roman Coliseum

The internet world has been abuzz lately with the finale of the show The Biggest loser for this season. Apparently the girl who won, lost a significant amount of weight in a rather short amount of time.

Can I make a confession? I’ve never watched an episode of that show. I’ve never watched an episode of hoarders. I’ve only seen one episode of intervention.

Which, begs the question of why, why haven’t I watched any of these shows that have “inspired” millions and coincidently made millions, if not billions of dollars?

Quite simply, because I am afraid that we have made entertainment out of people’s maladies. We’ve turned people’s problems into entertainment for the masses.

I’ve heard most of the responses:

“I watch because I’m inspired!”

“ I watch because I like the stories of overcoming.”

“I think it’s amazing to watch the transformations…”

Honestly, in my opinion, who cares? That is the wrong criteria to be deciding what we should be supporting.

We need to consider if the means that we are receiving our inspiration is right or wrong. Is it wise to sit back and be entertained by someone with a mental illness (hoarders, intervention, etc).

I’m afraid these shows highlight out societies obsession with the wrong things. We use the TV to anesthetize our own existential issues. We can safely sit on our couch and watch Mary Jane Watson from Tacoma West Virginia and thank God that our house isn’t as messy as hers.  We can watch Gwen Jones from Bloomsburg, Minnesota struggle to go from “morbidly obese” to anorexic like skinniness all in the name of health...and let's be honest, some fame.

I’m not sure we’re all that different from the Romans and their coliseum.

The story being sold is that our society is becoming obsessed with weight loss because we want people to be healthy. But let’s be honest, we kind of like the fact that we can fat shame.

Shows like this, allow us to sit back and just thank whatever higher power we pray to that we aren’t like those people. They allow us to perpetuate the myth that fat people must be lazy or that hoarders can just choose to get rid of things.

We make profit (or help others make profit) off of their misery. We can indulge in our own worship of the body and whatever “sexy” currently and feel like we have the moral high ground because we’re taking part in a system that “helps a person improve their life.”

The ends justify the means, right?

Except that they don’t.

We have to demand more.

More of society. More of ourselves. More of those we choose to make millionaires and billionaires by giving them our money.

I realize that you may disagree with me. In fact, I fully suspect that many people will disagree with me. That’s one of the reasons, I’ve been putting off writing this post even though it’s been bouncing around in my head for a long time.

I just want more. I want to leave my kids a world that doesn’t teach them that it’s OK to judge someone or be entertained by someone just because the other person is heavier than they are or has a mental illness.  

I want a world that really sees other people as neighbors, not as sources of entertainment.

 


Why are we mad at Miley?

I didn’t watch the VMA’s. In fact, I didn’t know what they were when my Facebook feed started blowing up with what was going on in them. Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 10.03.46 AM

I went back to my life and read a book.
The next day, the world blew up and most of it was hating on Miley Cyrus.

I have one question.

Why are we mad at her?

Don’t misunderstand me, I think what she did was totally inappropriate. I only had to see a few pictures to form that opinion. I’m sure what she did was shocking. I saw Will Smith’s face.

But why are we mad at her?

Didn’t we, as a society do this?

I mean, how long have we been telling kids that there are little to no boundaries when it comes to how we feel?

How long have we been telling people that when it comes to sex, the only boundary is what we feel?

We sold out to worshipping people for being famous a long time ago.

We sold out to picking our heroes based on what they can do on a screen or on a field.

In a world that says there are no rules, we sure do get angry when someone breaks our unwritten ones.

In a world that is driven by selfishness, we surely seem to be angry about someone being…wait for it…selfish.

I keep hearing and reading people ask, “What’s wrong her?”

I want to ask, “What’s wrong with us?”

How have we come to the place where we have created an environment where an otherwise mentally capable young adult would think that doing those things would be good.
We can blame her parents…
We can blame her fame…
We can blame MTV…

but ultimately…

We had better blame ourselves.

We did this and…
only we can fix it.

We need to accept responsibility that we have worshipped at the alter of riches. We have reveled in our “poverty” falsely believing that if we had that money, we’d do this or that with it.

We need to stop letting the TV raise our kids.

We need to engage our culture honestly and maybe even stop buying what MTV is selling us.

We simply cannot have it both ways. Either there are consequences to our choices and those choices must be based off of something more than how we feel or what Ms. Cyrus did was perfectly fine as long as she was fine with it.

We don’t get to judge her and ignore our own propensity for it.

Life doesn’t work that way.

We can blame Miley and the culture she grew up in, but ultimately we need to look at the culture we’ve created.

We need to change ourselves.


What can we learn about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman?

I have been hesitant to enter the Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman fray.

In my opinion, it’s just too emotionally charged to get into it online.

Sunday morning, I woke up before anyone else in my family and as is my custom, I checked my email, and did a few other things.

Then I checked Facebook.

This was my newsfeed:

Person #1’s Status: You’re not paying attention if you believe Zimmerman was innocent.

Person #2’s Status: You’re not paying attention if you believe Zimmerman was guilty.

Person #3’s Status: You can’t really love Jesus if you believe Zimmerman was innocent.

Person #4’s Status: You can’t really love Jesus if you believe

That literally happened in almost straight succession.

Now, I’m not interested in debating the merits of the case with you or anyone else online. In truth, the list of people that I would discuss it with in real life is probably short.

Unless you want to talk about what we can learn about us from this death, trial, verdict and reaction.

Not about George Zimmerman.

Not about Trayvon Martin.

I’m not interested in discussing the judicial system, or anything else about the logistics of the case.

I want to talk about what we can learn about you and me.

I want to talk about our response to this event.

Both sides are drastically concerned with one thing. What they perceive to be justice.

People on both sides have used totally inaccurate arguments. They have both stated things as facts that they were proven to not be facts.

For many people, emotions have run extremely high.

People have made cries and accusations about everything.

This angers the people on the other side.

Why?

Because both sides believe they have justice on their side.

I think our desire, our passion to see justice happen is a good thing.

The problem, I think in this case is that it is blinding each side to seeing the view of the people on the other side.

We want justice so badly that we have failed to stop and hear the opinions of those who disagree with us. We’ve failed to stop and ask how someone in another reality from us might see this case.

We want justice so badly that we fail to make sure we act justly to people who have done nothing wrong, besides disagree with us.

I am afraid that until this changes there will alway be another Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman case. The names will be different. Perhaps, it will be different races.

But it will happen again, because I am afraid we have become a non-empathy society.

In a society where have nearly been enslaved to political correctness, which attempts to force empathy, we’ve lost our way. As long as we fail to embrace our alikeness, and differences while admitting our yearning for justice in a world full of injustice, we will never actually heal.

We will always be enslaved to our worst of emotions because it will be more about stopping the pain than true justice.

Stopping the pain is never about true justice. When we just want to stop the pain, we don’t really care if we have to stretch a few truths, or tell a few lies to get our point across. We believe we can bend a few of our own morals in order to achieve the greater good.

Of course, then we’re the ones perpetrating injustice.

May God have mercy on us all.


9 year old dies: the result of stupid parenting techniques gaining traction

People wonder why I am so adamant about not indulging in these types parenting techniques. My post on the gentleman that shot his daughters computer generated a lot of discussion on here and on my personal Facebook page.

This little girl died and my fear is that if she had not died, then people would assume that this type of parenting is acceptable. I can hear the pragmatic arguments about how at least they were trying something. It wasn't traditional but it got through to her.

She

died

at

nine

years

old!

Because she ate some candy bars. SHE ATE SOME CANDY BARS. Take a moment and allow that thought to digest. She lied to grandma about eating candy bars. This type of parenting is born out of the idea that violence is somehow redemptive when it comes to children. It stems from a belief that bullying is OK if you are the parent. It comes from an angry place inside of the person administering it, not a place of love.

Violence is not OK, even if you are the parent. This type of parenting is wrong even if she had lived.

Parenting should be about shaping future adults. It should not be about our own pride or desire. Let me say this, as long as we tolerate this type of parenting more tragic results are going to come from these stupid and dangerous acts.

Not all of the victims will die. Some will just grow up with great psychological trauma. Some will have huge attachment issues. Some will abuse their kids. I sometimes wonder what in the world people thought parenting was going to be like. What did they think it would mean to be a parent? I'm done writing for today. Today, I am mourning a little girl's death. I am mourning a society that has lost its way when it comes to how we raise our children.


Texan declared innocent after 30 years in prison - Yahoo! News

A Texas man declared innocent Tuesday after 30 years in prison could have cut short his prison stint twice and made parole — if only he would admit he was a sex offender.

via news.yahoo.com

I'm going to interrupt my normally scheduled posting to post this article. I am against the death penalty as it currenlty stands in America.  This case best illustrates why I have that position. Now, I know this guy wasn't scheduled to be executed, but imagine if he was!

Twice he was given the option to just say, "Hey, I did it." and he would have gotten a lighter sentence. He chose not to give in. Good for him. Our justice system is too much about politics and what looks right on a potential TV ad for the next position.

I don't expect the system to be perfect but if we execute one person and we were wrong that is one person too many and I am afraid that there are too many opportunities for that. And I work with the victims, I get that there are a lot of people who have done terrible things, I do.

What are your thoughts?