It has been a long time since I posted. In this time I have ushered my kids off to college and I have re-started my Architecture
practice. It has been a difficult and yet rewarding transition. But that is not really what this post is about, or maybe it is.
We live in privileged times for many of us and not so privileged for many more. Social media, the internet, 24 hour news, heads of households working full time, and an overabundance of children's activities have nearly collapsed our sense of community. And by community, I mean the secular public forum. The place were a variety of backgrounds meet, discuss, work and come together in a voluntary effort of good that illuminates our common humanity and grace.
In this environment it is even more important to teach our children how to sit and listen to others, respect other's philosophies, and speak up in a respectful manner when you believe there is injustice. Educationally, we need to pass along these skills to our children:
- critical thinking
- life long learning
- analysis and reasoning
- alternate ways of thinking
- community engagement
- speaking skills
- group dynamics
- respectful communication
- desire for knowledge
It is not too early to model and teach these skills. I started with my children when they first came home from the hospital. Communication knowledge and style are the first skills. I never spoke "baby talk" to them. I modeled appropriate verbal communication speaking as an adult using not only introductory language words and concepts, but higher levels that I repeated over and over for years. I believe this process strengthens a child's understanding of language and complex concepts. With a strong basis for language it is much easier to each all of these other concepts.
My take is that we underestimate our children. They go through a rough process of maturation and should be respected like any other being. If we are patient, accepting, respectful, and understand that they deserve a mature approach, they will evolve with a strong desire to sit well with and advocate for others.
By Russell PetersonDayParentDad
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
Seems we are obsessed with pop stars of late and they are obsessed with us. Our society is eager to cut someone down who has made it and personalities with their entourages are trying to spin a media frenzy in order to avoid being forgotten. Either way, there are more important lessons to teach our children from this foolishness.
Recently, pop star Justin Bieber has been in the news for an arrest, a warrant, drugs, alcohol, resisting arrest, assault, rehab considerations, and drag racing. When I spoke to my kids about this, one of them said, "Imagine growing up in that environment with girls clawing at you and the media hounding you non stop. The push by adults to grow up fast, make loads of money, be popular, but still remain a kid. That could screw you up." They are right. There is something to be said about the unnerving world of "child personalities." Compassion is a value I'm glad they have learned.
On the flip side, I pointed out that every child on this planet is important. Each day 17,000 children die in the world due to hunger. It costs less than a dollar a day to feed those kids. Let's say $17,000 a day. Every major and minor media outlet covered Mr. Bieber's DUI arrest multiple times these past weeks and not one mentioned child poverty. The pop star is worth $130 million which in total could eliminate child death due to hunger in the world for 21 years.
Although I do believe that Mr. Bieber probably has a legitimate rationale for his environmental pressures, it seems to me that no matter your situation, you must rise above. Justice is as important as compassion.
Think about it. Seize your destiny, don't waste it. I'm sure Mr. Bieber would agree.
Children are hungry all over the world.
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Just Bieber arrest photo.
Just Bieber tour photo.
Last night I watched the Miss America
pageant with my wife and daughters. We were of course cheering for Miss Minnesota as she is from our home state. But we knew right from the start that Miss California and Miss New York were going to be hard to beat. They all displayed poise, grace, intelligence, and talent. These are all the things of Miss America and should be of all of us. Unfortunately, within minutes of announcing Miss New York had won, there were racists rants a plenty on twitter. Then this morning we woke to a shooting spree at a naval yard in D.C. This afternoon a friend posted this letter on facebook about a woman enduring discriminatory disdain from another while using an EBT (food stamps) card in the grocery store in our community.
These events reminded me about the time 20 years ago when I got in line behind a couple with a young child at a grocery store in St. Paul. As they were checking out it became apparent they did not have enough money for all of their groceries. So they started working with the cashier to take out certain groceries to get down to the amount they could afford. They were well dressed Hmong immigrants who spoke very little English (none of which should matter). They were buying great whole foods (no junk) and obviously distressed at the situation, but very polite. I could have gotten impatient, angry, violent or even discriminatory as we've witnessed by the events of the last 24 hours. But, after about six or seven items were removed I turned to the cashier and said put the items back, I will pay for them. She was stunned. The couple in disbelief started shaking their heads in thanks. As they left and kept thanking me, the cashier just said over and over that I was an angel sent from heaven and she had never seen the likes of that and it was a miracle. I told her thank you and as I drove away I thought to myself I am no angel and this was not a miracle. It was just a little kindness.
I'm so tired of the shooters, and the racists, and the discriminators, and the hate mongers defining who we are. It is time to pick up our collective selves, stand against hatred and oppression, challenge intolerance, and start acting like the human beings we have the potential to be. Angels and miracles? I'll settle for poise, grace, intelligence, and talent...oh, and a little kindness.