Forcing Kids Backfires Big Time

Kids

Fascinating article in the Sunday New York Times today on how the stress we are putting on our kids is making them sick. 


With testing of High school students showing incredibly alarming rates of mental illness:


– 54% with moderate to severe depression.


– 80%+ with moderate to severe anxiety.


And 94% of college counseling directors “seeing rising numbers of students with severe psychological problems.”


Even pediatricians are reporting 5-, 6-, and 7-year olds coming in for migraines and ulcers!


Another teacher said with all this, “We’re sitting on a ticking time bomb.”


Under the pressure to get into great schools and get a foot in the door in excellent careers and attain high-paying jobs, we are making our kids work longer school days, do more homework, take more Advanced Placement (AP) exams, participate in numerous extracurricular activities, and achieve, achieve, achieve. 


We’ve taken away normal play time–the fun out of life growing up–and the imagination, exploration, and discovery away from kids just being kids. 


The paradox is that “the pressure cooker is hurting, not helping, our kid’s prospect for success.”


Especially for parents who themselves grew up poor or lacking, maybe they are trying to do the “right thing”and give their kids more than they had and a “better life.”


But maybe even the best intentions to mold children to be what we want them to be, or think they should or could be, is misplaced.

 

If only we could all take a little (or BIG) chill pill…you can’t force success–with forcing you get the opposite results.


Back off people–instead of pushing and endless disciplining–how about we listen to the children, guide them, show unconditional love, and be excellent examples–show them integrity, a strong work ethic, along with an appreciation for work-life balance, then perhaps we will get not only the success of the next generation that we all need, but also happier, better adjusted, and healthier children. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Might Does Not Make Right

Do Right
I heard from someone the other day…



“Do what is right–the others be damned!”



And this is right on the money.



You should always follow the dictates of your conscience.



Do not worry about pressure from others or what others will do that you cannot control. 



My dad (A”H) used to say:



“YOU do what is right–YOU be the example!”



He was my example, and I will always follow in his footsteps. 😉



(Source photo: here with attribution to cursedthing)

Hooters’ Training

Hooters' Training

I thought this was a funny-sad photo.

This dad took his two kids (twins?) out to eat.

The eatery is Hooters.

The young, attractive, scantily clad waitresses in the orange shorts were serving them.

It may be fine for the adult, but it didn’t seem so okay for the little kids.

Not that I’m so Mr. Perfect, but couldn’t help reflect that what we teach our children is important.

This wasn’t Ronald McDonald’s, Subway, or Chipotle.

What was the lessons for these kids?

I remember when I would argue with my dad (still to this day) about religion and seeing seemingly “religious” people do things wrong (sometimes terribly wrong), and he would say to me, “You be the example!”

Maybe that’s sort of the point–is that the way we live is the lessons we showcase to others.

Each of us has the opportunity to lead by example…that’s what leadership fundamentally is.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Google Fiber 4 The Nation’s Capital

Google Fiber 4 The Nation's Capital

How About Google Fiber for Washington, D.C.?

– Lead, by example, the rest of the nation forward.

– Speed up the functioning of the government.

– Helpful for Emergency Management

– The Patriotic thing to do! 😉

All Opinions my own.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Cameron Yee, & no idea why it’s in Spanish, but I like it!)

Ten Commandments – Good News, Bad News

Ten Commandments - Good News, Bad News

This was a funny joke told over in the Wall Street Journal today:

When Moses was coming down from Har Sinai, he said to the people of Israel, “I have good news and bad news.”

“The good news is I kept him down to ten.”

“The bad news is adultery stays!”

Aside from the joke, the editorial posited why there are so many Jewish comedians–from Jackie Mason to Joan Rivers, and from Jack Benny to Jerry Seinfeld?

But maybe it should’ve asked, why do all the Jewish Comedians names seem to start with a J.

Thinking this through a little more, I realized so many other Jewish comedians out there–Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Billy Crystal, Chelsea Handler, Gene Wilder, George Burns, Jack Black, Larry Fine (from the Three Stooges), Mel Brooks, Rodney Dangerfield, Seth Rogen, The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, and so many more.

So what is it that makes the Jewish people so funny?

Ms. Wisse, the author postulates that maybe it has to do with the dichotomy of the Jewish people being historically chosen to receive the Torah and hopefully serve as good examples of G-d’s law and morality while at the same time “being targeted by some of the world’s most determined aggressors”–Oy vey! and this list is even longer than that of the comedians!

So as Ms. Wisse points out, the Jewish people are on one hand “exalted” by G-d, but attacked by the wicked among nations.

I guess that would give just about anybody a severe complex–where do I find this one in the DSM?

Up, down, rewarded, punished, chosen, reviled–can make anyone’s head spin–maybe that is why we wear Kippot (head coverings)–I was always taught it was to remember that G-d is above us and always watching and guiding us, but maybe it’s also to help us keep our heads on straight with all the mixed messages we get in the world.

People mistake what “chosen” means–they think maybe Jews think they’re better than others, but this is a mischaracterization.

I learned in Yeshiva–that chosen means we have a great burden to bear in fulfilling G-d commandments–when we do it well, things are good, but when we fail, we learn the hard way.

It’s good to be Jewish–and it would be even better, if Jews accepted themselves and each other.

None of us are perfect–some of us are more imperfect than others.

But we are still brothers and sisters.

There is a Torah, but even the most righteous among us, don’t do everything right–is anyone free from sin?

I always believed that religion is our guidepost, but as we are taught “every person is a world unto themselves” and that there is room for all of us to serve Hashem.

We each have to find the spark within and fulfill Hashem’s destiny that he has for each of us–we all have what we can give and we should do it with a pure heart. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Home Videos)

Adapt and Live!

Train

The Times, They Are a-Changin’ is a song by Bob Dylan (1964), it is also the reality of our times today, and how we react to all the change can make or break us.

Like with Agile Software Development, one of the main values is “responding to change over following a plan,” to improve the success of software development, similarly in the world today, we need to be able to rapidly and flexibly respond to change in order to successfully compete.

Fast Company (February 2012) has two important articles on this topic–one is called “Generation Flux” and the other “The Four-Year Career.”

Generation Flux is about how we are living in a time of “chaotic disruption” and that this is “born of technology and globalization.” Generation Flux is a mindset of agility versus a demographic designation like Gen X or Y.

All around us we see the effects of this rapid change in terms of business models and leadership turned upside down, inside out, and sideways.

Recently, we have seen:

– Mainstay companies such as American Airlines and Hostess declare bankruptcy

– Some titans of the Fortune 500 companies ousted, including Carol Bartz of Yahoo, Leo Apotheker from HP to name just a few

– Others, like RIM and Netflix have fallen from grace and are struggling to regain their footwork–some will and some won’t

At the same time, we have seen the ascension of companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon becoming the “kings of the hill”–driven in part by their agility to get in and out of markets and products:

– In 2010, Google was getting out of China; today Google is expanding its presence once again. In addition, Google continues to start up or acquire and discontinue services regularly; just last year they closed Google Desktop developed in 2005, Google Health Service started in 2008, and Google Aardvark purchased in 2010 (and more)

– Amazon, once an online book and music retailer has now become the premier e-Commerce company as well as the No. 2 in tablets and in the top 3 in cloud computing.

– Apple was slick in developing the navigation wheel on the iPod only to get rid of it completely with the touch-screen of the iPad.

– Facebook continues to adapt to security and privacy concerns, but still has more to do, especially in terms of simplifying choices for their users.

According to Fast Company, to survive, we need to be profoundly agile and “embrace instability, that tolerates–and enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions.” The article points out that this is just as Darwin has professed, ultimately it is the agile that will survive–not the strongest or smartest.

For organizations, change, agility and adaptability is the name of the game, and they are depending on petabytes of information and the business intelligence to make sense of it all to make the right decision every day.

For individuals, “the long career is dead” (U.S. workers have a medium job tenure of only 4.4 years and have an average of 11 different jobs over a lifetime) and “the quest for solid rules is pointless” (with automation and robotics atrophying low- and middle-skill jobs and part time, freelance, and contract work all on the rise). Now, in an agile marketplace, “career-vitality” or the continuous broadening of individual capabilities is encouraged and expected, and the “T-shaped” person with both depth or subject matter expertise as well as breadth in other areas in becoming more and more valued.

Moreover, hard skills are important, but social skills and emotional intelligence are critical to get along, share information, and collaborate with others.

Of course, not all change is good, and we need to speak up and influence the direction of it for the good, but in the end, standing still in the path of genuine progress is like standing in front of a speeding locative.

While the quiet and serenity of maintaining the status quo is often what feels most secure and comfortable in uncertain times, it may actually just be the forerunner to the death knell for your career and organization. There are no short-cuts to continuing to learn, explore, and grow as the world around us rapidly evolves.

Adapt and live or stagnate and die.

(Source Photo: here)

Milgram And The Moral Fiber Of Leadership

Four year ago (7 November 2007), I wrote a blog called The Milgram Experiment And Enterprise Architecture, which discussed lessons from this experiment in terms of the awesome responsibility that we all have, but especially people in leadership positions, to do the “right thing.
Today, I sat with my mouth agape seeing the Milgram Experiments repeated 50 years later in a study for television, conducted by the Discovery Channel, where they asked “How Evil Are We?”
I watched one participant after another administer what they believed where painful shocks to a another person with a heart condition screaming and begging for the experiment to stop.
Of 11 people, only one women stepped up, stood up, and refused to participate, saying that she could not harm another human being.
All the rest, continued to administer what they thought were painful shocks to an unwilling screaming participant having heart pain, simply by being prodded by a man in a lab coat at the back of the room saying “the experiment requires you to continue” and “it’s absolutely essential you continue.”
To the viewers horror, the participants continue to to push the lever to shock the other person at an even higher voltage!
When they ask the people afterwards who administered the shock, who would’ve been responsible if the person receiving the shock had a heart attack and died? one lady immediately turns around and points to the other man in the lab coat.
Like in the evil Nazi death camps, “authority remains a decisive force” and people will do horrible acts saying they were “just following orders.”
In the Discovery program, when they add a second person to the experiment who stops the shocking and refuses to go on, only then does the other person refuse as well. 
So aside from the lesson that we must always safeguard our own moral compass and do the right thing even in the face of others prodding us to do things that are immoral, unethical, or illegal, we can also learn that by speaking up when we see something wrong, we can indeed influence others to do what’s right as well, and in essence “lead by example”.
My hope and prayer is that all of us can overcome negative impacts of nature and nurture to see with clarity when something is not right and have the courage to stand up and say and do something about it.
Like the sole participant who refused to administer the shocks and said that she couldn’t go home at night and look herself in the mirror if she did these bad things, we too can live our lives so that when we go home to our maker, we can look at our lives with our consciences clear and at peace, and perhaps even having made a real and lasting difference in this world.