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Attention Educators!

20 Apr

Front Cover

Front Cover

We have a national epidemic on our hands!

http://www.amazon.com/Teacher-Student-Relationships-Crossing-Emotional-Physical/dp/1475802366/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1366476640&sr=8-1″ title=”Teacher-Student Relationships: Crossing Into the Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Realms” target=”_blank”>

Ms. Construe Meets Ms. Interpretation

18 Feb

“He is a fool who thinks by force or skill to turn the current of a woman’s will.” (Thomas More)

I was sipping my coffee this morning and, in-between paying bills and prepping for the day, a bit of humor emerged from the midst of the mundane.  In other words, my brain was seeking its own entertainment.  Sorry people, my mind sometimes works to the chagrin of others and this blog will prove to be no exception.

The reader might very well consider most of what I write along the lines of “sigh”-chology.  Be that as it may (I love colloquialisms too), I am smiling at the possibility of the trouble I am going to get myself into this morning.  

Here is my first attempt at stirring up a bit of trouble:  I think women interpret things so very differently than men interpret things. Let me write it a different way.  Women have a higher tendency, or let us call it a gift, an intuition, to “read into things” much more deeply than we men read into things.

What could possibly result from this sort of “reading into things?”  Because of this intuitive “reading,” women may be more prone to misinterpretation.  Now, if you are interpreting what I just wrote, you missed the part where I said women MAY BE MORE PRONE.  Possibly emotions caused a bit of misreading.  For the record, men are also prone to shortcomings in this area!

Uh oh! I can hear it now. “What does he mean by that?”

See what I mean?

All the men are nodding their heads in agreement, folding their arms and loving that someone finally telling it like it is. The women are trying to figure out some elaborate and grand interpretation.

OK, stop. STOP!

Men are more apt to take things at face value.  We say, “I love you,” it is precisely what it means. If we say, “We love you,” we are not thinking compared to whom, or more than so-and-so, or she is better to love than Gertrude. When we love, we are not saying it to cause cognition, or interpretation, such as,“OK, what does he mean by this, and how much does he really love me?”

We are not trying to get something from you.  How shallow is that?  We mean it at face value.  Too often, men cease the use of words and favor “love-actions.” Actions speak louder than words, and are often less misconstrued.

Allow me to illustrate.  Women love diamonds.  They are told, “Diamonds are forever.”  Marilyn Monroe sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” We get it. We really get it.  Women love stuff. By contrast, man’s best friend is “dog.” We love our dogs.  We love our women.  Face value, ladies!  FACE VALUE.  We do not love our women as we love our dogs.  In addition, we do not treat our dogs as we treat our women.  (I can hear the mumbling and gossip now. “Yeah, they treat their dogs better.” See? You did it again)  Now, just pretend you understand and we will buy you a diamond ring, or a set of earrings.  There!  Is that better?

There is truth in the statement that sometimes men think you love them as you love your diamonds.  Thus, we believe that you conclude we love you as we love our dogs.  Speaking on behalf of most men (and I surveyed millions of men just this morning), we separate the things and people we love.  This is called compartmentalization.  We love stuff.  We love people.  These are different loves. Get it?  Cool!  You keep this up, and we are going to throw in a necklace with the ring and earrings.  Are you smiling yet?

Second point to be made is this:  Women see body language, and they interpret. Not only do they interpret body language, but women also interpret another woman’s interpretation of body language.  Nuances in words are interpreted.  Looks are interpreted, always-seeking-meaning, and even motivation does not escape subtle deciphering.  Mind if I ask just what language is being used to “interpret” these things?  For men, it seems foreign.

OK, play a little game with me this morning.

It is nearly spring. Some birds are chirping, trees are blooming (No allergies are allowed in my game), and you are young all over again.  A guy sees your gorgeous visage, closes his eyes and drinks in your perfume.  He is lost in the rapture of your voice, and you are both 17, once again.  You watch all of this.  Your heart is touched.  He opens his eyes, saunters on over to where you are seated. He smiles and says, “I think I’m in love.” Your eyes meet and you smile.

INTERPRET PLEASE!

For the guy, at that moment he thinks he is in love.  What do YOU think?  Is he is love with you?  Is the young man in love with someone else, something else? WHAT?

Do you hear wedding bells? Are you seeing something that he does not see?  Is he a keeper?  Is he even yours at all?  Do you size him up, like a pair of shoes?  Does he have the potential to be an excellent father and grandfather?  Is he going to be rich?  I am waiting for an answer.

“The so-called weaker sex is the stronger sex because of the weakness of the stronger sex for the weaker sex.” (Anonymous)

Women and men are different and that is the way it is supposed to be.  Our brains and hearts are wired differently to complement each other, and not just for the couple’s benefit, either.  Raising children is a chore done best with both male and female present.  No apologies for that.  Children in schools have female teachers so much more than they have male teachers.  Students are taught from female perspectives more than from male perspectives.  I wonder what to make of that (flipping the tables on you).  However, I will save that discussion for another time.  Play nice, men.  Promise to bring the earrings if she brings the remote.   

I am just lost at how Ms. Interpretation and Ms. Construe have become best friends–soul mates, as it were.  However, men should take a lesson.  A good place to start is in the kitchen. Consider the old Home-Economics teacher who “espoused” . . .

“Help your wife . . . When she washes the dishes, wash the dishes with her. When she mops the floor, mop the floor with her.”

Stop interpreting, ladies!  We mean well.  For once, just once, would you mind sitting up nice and tall, open your mouths, begin to pant as if our presence touches your existence, and look at us, as we are sovereigns?  We have diamonds!

Ms. Interpretation

24 May

“He is a fool who thinks by force or skill to turn the current of a woman’s will.”  (Thomas More)

I was sipping my coffee this morning and, in-between paying bills and prepping for the day, a bit of humor emerged from the midst of the mundane.  In other words, my brain was seeking its own entertainment.  Sorry guys, my mind sometimes works to the chagrin of others and this blog will prove to be no exception.  The reader might very well consider most of what I write along the lines of “sigh”-chology.  Be that as it may (I love colloquialisms too), I am smiling at the possibility of the trouble I am going to get myself into this morning.  Want to know why I say “trouble”?  I bet you do!

Well, hold on tightly.  Here is my first crack at trouble:  I think women interpret things so very differently than men interpret things.  In fact, women have a higher tendency, or let’s call it a gift, an intuition, to “read into things” much more deeply than we men read into things.  I think most readers know exactly to that which I am refer. 

As a result of this intuitive “reading,” women may be more prone to misinterpretation.  Now, if you are interpreting what I just wrote, you missed the part where I said women MAY BE MORE PRONE.  Make no mistake about it, women do not corner the market on misinterpretation.  Men are also prone toward this!

Uh oh!  I can hear it now.  “What does he mean by that?” 

See what I mean? 

All the men are nodding their heads in agreement, folding their arms and loving that someone finally told it like it is.   The women are trying to figure out some elaborate and grand interpretation. 

OK, stop.  STOP! 

Men are more apt to take things at face-value.  We say, “I love you,” it’s precisely what it means.   If we say “I love you,” we are not thinking compared to whom, or more than so-and-so, or she is better to love than Gertrude.  When we love we are not saying it to have you think, “OK, what does he mean by this, and how much does he love me?”  We are not trying to get something from you.  How shallow is that?  We mean it at face-value.  Too often, men cease using the words and resort to love-actions.  Actions speak louder than words, and are often less misinterpreted.

Allow me to illustrate.  Women love diamonds.  They are told that “Diamonds are forever.”  Marilyn Monroe sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”  We get it.  We really get it.  Women love stuff.  By contrast, man’s best friend is “dog.”  We love our dogs.  We love our women.  Face-value, ladies!  FACE-VALUE.  We don’t love our women like we love our dogs.  And we don’t treat our dogs like we treat our women.  (I can hear the mumbling and gossip now. “Yeah, they treat their dogs better.”  See?  You did it again)  Now, just pretend you understand and we’ll buy you a diamond ring, or a set of earrings.  There!  Is that better? 

There is truth in the statement that sometimes men think you love them as you love your diamonds.  Thus, we believe that you conclude we love you like we love our dogs.  Speaking on behalf of most men (and I surveyed millions of men just this morning), we separate the things and people we love.  This is called compartmentalization.  We love stuff.  We love people.  These are different loves.  Get it?  Cool!  You keep this up, and we are going to throw in a necklace with the ring and earrings.  Are you smiling yet?

Second point to be made is this:  Women see body language, and they interpret.  Not only do they interpret body language, but women interpret another woman’s interpretation of body language.  Nuances in words are interpreted.  Looks are interpreted always seeking meaning and even motivation.  Mind if I ask just what language is being used to “interpret” these things?  For men, it’s seems kind of foreign. 

OK, play a little game with me this morning. 

It’s spring.  The birds are chirping, trees are blooming (No allergies are allowed in my game), and you are young all over again.  A guy sees your gorgeous visage, closes his eyes and drinks in your perfume.  He is lost in the rapture of your voice, and you are both 17, once again.  You watch all of this.  Your heart is touched.  He opens his eyes, saunters on over to where you are seated.  He smiles and says, “I think I’m in love.”  Your eyes meet and you smile. 

INTERPRET PLEASE! 

For the guy, at that moment he thinks he is in love.  What do YOU think?  Is he is love with you?  Is the young man in love with someone else, something else?  WHAT?

Do you hear wedding bells?  Are you seeing something that he does not see?  Is he a keeper?  Is he even yours at all?  Do you size him up, like a pair of shoes?  Does he have the potential to be an excellent father and grandfather?  Is he going to be rich?  I am waiting for an answer.

“The so-called weaker sex is the stronger sex because of the weakness of the stronger sex for the weaker sex.” (Anonymous)

Women and men are different and that’s the way it is supposed to be.  Our brains and hearts are wired differently to complement each other, and not just for the couple’s benefit, either.  Raising children is a chore done best with both male and female present.  No apologies for that.  Children in schools have female teachers so much more than they have male teachers.  Students are taught from female perspectives more than from male perspectives.  I wonder what to make of that (flipping the tables on you).  But we’ll save that discussion for another time.  You bring the remote and we’ll bring the earrings. 

I am just lost this morning how Ms. Interpretation and Ms. Construe have become best friends–soul mates, as it were.  Men should take a lesson.  A good place to start is in the kitchen.  Consider the old Home-Economics teacher who “espoused” . . .

“Help your wife . . . When she washes the dishes, wash the dishes with her.  When she mops the floor, mop the floor with her.” 

Stop interpreting ladies!  We mean well.  For once, just once, would you mind sitting up nice and tall, open your mouths, begin to pant like our presence touches your existence, and look at us like we are sovereigns?  We have diamonds! 

Change

28 Apr

Things change.  People change.  Life moves onward within the marking of days, weeks, and so on.  Philosophically, there are a few things that will never change–and one of these things is change, itself.

As creatures of habit, we all seek to find our routines and establish some sort of normalcy within the context of our daily regimen.  We all do this, as we seek order to our lives.  Yet as we do, we glance in the mirror, or we watch our own children and grandchildren, and we come “face-to-face” with reality.  We are made aware that change is a constant.  Some of this change is celebrated and some is not.

Are you ready for the oxymoron of the day?  Here it is:  Change never changes; Change remains constant. 

Having said that, we must add, also, that since nothing ever stays the same, we can conclude that change indeed changes everything by its very nature.  It even changes itself, by not changing.  Are you still with me?

As humans, we can either succumb to the universal law of change, or choose to work within it.  I like to call this universal march of time by the term “our path toward decay.”  I am smiling over that phrase because I know the changes my body and mind have undergone these past few years.

The acceleration toward the big “event” seems to be picking up speed.  Yet in all of this reality mixed with humor, we humans are creatures of choice.  We can choose to battle forward, directly in the middle of this change.  Or we can sit back and allow change to maintain its exponential impact, right squarely in the middle of our supposed routines.

We only live one life.  We enjoy our sense of stability, with family, friends, and even with work.  But do we have regrets about things unchosen?  I mean, look . . . we can’t undo past choices.  But we can certainly make new ones.  Do we regret not having made a choice to do something differently in life?  That choice not to choose is really a choice, too!  I don’t like living with regrets, do you?

We can choose by faith.  We can choose by sight.  We can choose by both.  We are not dead yet and, for many of us, making a choice to cause change in our routines might very well be what is best for us at this time of our lives.  There are as many reasons why we should do so.  There are some good ones why we cannot, as well.  But I have to be honest.  I am both fearful of, and apathetic to some changes.  I am probably not alone.

People of the Baby Boom Generation have given so much to this current generation.  Those of us in our 50s and 60s need to ask ourselves, “What now?”

So let me offer this challenge right from within this short blog on this lovely morning.  Do you have a passion that still drives your soul?  Is there an area in life whereby you can imagine yourself making a difference somewhere?

In order for change to occur in our lives, we first have to choose to allow this to occur.  As a Christian man, I choose to walk by faith into that arena.  I know in my spirit that “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

It has been said that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Hebrews 13:8 puts somewhat differently:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yes, and forever.”

As for me, watch out change!

Mind Your Manners

7 Feb

Assemble a large group of people together in one location and watch the displays of manners.  At times when my awareness is heightened, I ask myself, are things really this bad? Are people, young and old, really this rude — and must we tolerate these behaviors in our schools? 

Could it be that I am alone in thinking that manners, those cultural and behavioral norms of the past, are irrelevant for today? Has neo-American culture replaced politeness, neatness, wholesome language in public and even chivalry? Have we encouraged our next generation to practice boorishness and crudeness?

I am curious as to when things changed enough to tolerate the wearing of baseball-type caps inside of buildings, in restaurants and in school classrooms?  Also, would someone tell me why T-shirts and bare feet are allowed on golf courses? I have seen my share of each of these. 

Where are manners, these days?  When people burp, others think it’s funny. Children scream in stores and are allowed to roam freely.  Are we teaching our young people to think of anyone but themselves?  Are families so stressed out that precious little time is spent actually drawing contrasts in culture for children? 

Has anyone else noticed fewer and fewer people actually hold doors open for others?  What about the phrases, “Excuse me,” “Thank you” and, “You are welcome?” Apparently, these phrases are becoming parliamentary dinosaurs.  Also, few people return lost items to those whom they know, let alone to strangers. If they do return an item at all, most people feel entitled to lift anything of value, because of their “good deed” as some jaded “finders-keepers, losers-weepers” notion.

Do parents really want their young people filling their minds with abusive talk about women, especially preached by today’s rappers? When was the last time we looked into the music downloaded on our child’s computer, on his or her iPod or CDs? I am sad to report that any manners and respect we might be teaching are probably being undone by other forces. Are these neo-American cultural norms?

Thomas D’Urfrey, reasoned: “He that hath more manners than he ought, is more a fool than he thought.” 

I don’t agree.  All stuffiness aside, can we have a little couth please? And while we are at it, might we add a little more of the Golden Rule? 

“Do unto others as we would have them do unto us” seems to have changed meanings today. The current meaning reads more like “Do unto others before they do unto you.” I could be wrong, but the general sense among today’s students is that self is held in higher esteem than the feelings of others. How about a little common good?

Ralph Waldo Emerson noted: “Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.” I think Emerson was onto something. What is sacrificed by not burping loudly in a restaurant?  Who is a loser by allowing someone to select a food item first, or check out first at a store? The incivility of some adults at sporting events, fundraisers and various competitions indicate that lack of manners is not endemic only to young people.  Add alcohol to the mix and things get worse.  If parents, teachers, coaches and other adults do not model acceptable, positive manners, where can we expect the younger generation to learn them? Seriously, what is lost by wearing a belt, pulling up one’s sagging pants, or speaking without profanity?

Now where do we place the blame for what many see as a breach of manners in our culture today?  We would all like to pin it on one group or another, and maybe some of that might be justified. However, there is no discounting the reality that there just seems to be a spirit of rudeness that stretches across our culture. 

So here’s the challenge: How do we correct ill-mannered behaviors? Specifically in schools, do we simply overlook the profanity? Do we allow students to be on their cell phones or listen to their iPods in class — both of which are in violation of school rules?

Should schools teach manners directly and positively, or indirectly as a corrective measure when a young person gets out of line? Manners, like character and morality, are best discussed at times when openness and peace exist. There is a greater acceptance in times of peace. These are what educators call “teachable moments” and they exist for us all. Teachable moments must begin at early ages and be practiced consistently and from within the fabric of the family. But difficulty exists there, too, when standards of behavior on weekends differ from weekday standards.

In closing, where can we look for help? Is it the media? Schools? The entertainment industry? 

Certainly, we can continue to blame the traditional whipping posts. There are no easy pinpoints on this one. But we can begin to shape the world one person at a time.  Answers do lie in the possibilities of all of our cultural agencies working together. But we must ask:  Is it possible that the cultural wealth of America’s past can once again become valuable over the present culture of selfishness and material wealth?

We Are Funny People

30 Jan

We are absolutely hysterical and most times we do not mean to be. 

Let’s take a look at our morning-selves.  What’s up with that hair?  Some of us must sleep like we endure a night-long noogie–and the noogie won.  I don’t know about you, the reader, but my hair is greasy in the mornings.  I sort of resemble Ebenezer Scrooge, with it sticking out all over the place.   It is reminiscent of an enlarged kernel of popped corn.  Kind of smells like that too, so I am told.  But I wouldn’t know. 

When we had cats, they used to run and hide under the couch.  Poor things.  Looking back, now I know those guttural “meows” were for a reason.

I’d swear that “al’olio” was invented between the hours of 5:00 am and 7:00 am.  Why waste good oil!

We bite our nails to stubs.  Who cares about dirt.  We pick at our feet.  We slam plastics and wads of cotton in our ear canals, and sneeze like some creature about to enter extinction.  Since this is a family blog, I will keep it above-board.  But we are funny creatures. 

How many of us have relatives who eat noisily?  Grunts, heavy breaths, and moans that would make even the hungriest of dogs envious over gnawing their bones.  Then there are those who chew with the same sounds made by clothes-washers.  Those of us who talk with food in our mouths have not mastered the art of multi-tasking.  Burps and other-world nebulosities add smiles to our faces–but not to the faces of others.  And what the heck is “Hey, pull my finger,” anyway?  I had a grandfather whose gait was in step with the cadence of his flatulence.  I remember holding his hand while walking, and peeking behind us for the mouse that was supposedly following us.

Oh my goodness.  My dad used to tell the same jokes over-and-over again.  Do you know anyone who laughs at his own jokes?  Now I find myself doing the same thing.  I miss dad.  He sure could snore.  Mom talked in her sleep and dad snored like a buzz saw.  I won’t tell you which of these I do.  But add walking in my sleep to the mix, also.  Do you have anyone in the family that holds conversations in their sleep?  Nothing is sacred around this house. 

May I ask why older people scream into cell phones?  The party-lines and switchboards are all long-gone.  And who else takes all the soaps and shampoos, and even the shoe-shine kits from hotels?  Hmmmm?  We throw those suckers into our suitcases like we’re really getting away something.  Yeah, we are proud of ourselves.  We are so funny.

Men, why do we part our hair right above our ears, anyway?  Why not use our backhairs, or the long ear hairs to comb over the top?  That’s what God gave them to us for, isn’t it?  I have to think that women love long nose hairs, all dripping with morning dew.  Yep!  We are some weird creatures.  We pick our teeth, rub crust from our eyes, squeegee our ears, and shift, grab, and twist most everything else.  We cannot avoid looking in windows to catch our reflections.  As I write this, I am laughing out loud.  Yeah, I am one of the weirder ones–and proud of it.  I wear gym shorts and tee shorts in the winter.  I don’t wear those black sox and white shoes yet.  Holding onto those so I’ll have them when they come back into style. 

My students call me weird.  I say thanks for the compliment.  At my age any attention is good.  They stare.  I smile.  They shake their heads.  I dance and ask them to join me.  They run as if they’ve seen some creepy creature driving the local ice cream truck.  See what I mean? 

We lose everything we own.  Keys, glasses, papers, more keys, and we misplace mail.  Admit it.  You have asked where your glasses were, while they were on your head.  Come on!  ADMIT IT!  Women carry purses that qualify on carry-on baggage for United and American.  What the heck is in there?  No, never mind.  We do not want to know.  Save it for TSA and the evening news. 

Everything from our tastes in food, entertainment, clothing, body art and piercing, beliefs and practices, traditions and phrases–you name it!  We are just plain funny.  Our autos change even the most genteel into aggressive daredevils.  I was flipped-off by a lady I though was about 80 years old.  At least I though she flipped me the bird.  It might have been arthritis that froze her finger in the upright position.  I was too busy laughing to ask her. 

Then we have cutesy names for people.  We made up nicknames for animals too.  We even have names for body parts–those that still work and those that do not.  We suck in our bellies and throw out our chests, depending on gender.  Some of us have both enhanced, fixed, raised, lowered, you name it. 

You know what?  All things considered, I am all right with being human.  Sure, I have greasy hair in the mornings and breath that needs help.  Yeah, my body and face have changed over the years and I need masks every day now, instead of every three days.  But being human fits me well.  I find humor in most things in life.  When I get to thinking ill about myself, or get a bit down over this or that.  I just spend time looking at your pages.  I come away feeling much better about myself.  HAHHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA   Just kidding with you all.

The funniest thing about people is that we are people.  Can I get an Amen?

P.S.  God, I need to have a little talk with You one day.  What’s up with these bowed legs and varicosities?  And do you think the spiders might want their veins back?  I’ve had them long enough.

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