Archive for the 'relationships' Category

07
Apr
11

Discuss…

How do we convince people who do not derive power from it or lose out as a result of it that the White Male Privilege does exist and that it would be almost universally beneficial to eliminate it?

03
Apr
11

What Zuckerberg Did

I saw an article this week on Facebook Depression – basically the idea that people who don’t have many friends on Facebook or whose friends don’t interact much with them can become depressed and suicidal. I suppose if you’re socially awkward or withdrawn normally, your Facebook life would reflect your normal life. Everything we do is a reflection of us anyway. The article makes a valid point, but omits one glaring and serious fact – our experience is what we make it.

Facebook may be depressing for some, but for others, it is amazing. For others it is a way to connect with friends all over the world that they might not have been able to afford to call or wouldn’t have felt comfortable writing. Facebook has made it possible for people to look up relatives they knew existed but had no idea how to contact. It has made that initial reach out to someone you wish you still knew just a little bit less scary and therefore; infinitely more possible.  It has renewed relationships and friendships that people thought we lost and provides hope that we may get so see someone again, someday… if they’re on Facebook.

Sure, we may get annoyed when we see a lot of negative statuses, but Facebook forces us to accept that some people are complainers.  If we cannot accept it, Facebook gives us the option to walk away, unseen, unnoticed, until we choose otherwise.  It gives us an opportunity to support each other that we didn’t have in the past, not because we didn’t care, but because we didn’t know.  We’ve learned that we can empathize with people we haven’t seen in years and simply because we were once on the same team or went to the same school.  Those people, even if they exist in your life only when you want them to, by extension, enrich or diminish that part of your life only if you let them.

I can’t ignore that a lot of my friends are struggling, but I know for sure that Facebook is not the cause of their struggle.  Their struggles are with their health, their relationships, their jobs or lack of them, and the frustrations of every day.   Facebook allows us all to garner the support we need to wage daily war against the harshness and cruelty of life, even if it’s just in the knowledge that someone else is going through that too, and there is someone out there who does, indeed, know where we are coming from.  Their status proves it.

Does Facebook cause depression?  Maybe for some people it does, but it also weakens it.  Facebook virtually fills the holes where depression would entrench itself until people we are connected with in the real world can take over.  Our experience with Facebook is about how we choose to use it.  Zuckerberg gave us a power we didn’t have – to positively or negatively affect people’s lives without being in the same room.  How we use it is up to us.

23
Mar
11

A Crisis of Faith, Part 1

Having been raised a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I’ve been following the recent scandals quite a bit.  I can’t imagine the grief felt by the core group of victims. What a hardship it must be to see an ideal of perfection in a form that it so completely fallible, and in way that so violates a sacred bond of trust. I wonder, though, about the private emotional battles existing in the minds and hearts of many area Catholics who are questioning their faith in a system that may not have their best interests at heart.  If the image of the Church has been put above the welfare of its parishioners, how can it possibly see for the beam in its own eye?  Part of me stands in awe at the ability and ease with which the Church sought to cover up these allegations and in wonderment at the parishioners who knew what was happening to the victims and SAID NOTHING.  What do you say to someone to convince them that an act so deplorable should not be openly condemned?

09
Mar
11

Violence

One of my students was shot and killed yesterday just standing on the corner with his friends.  He was dedicated to turning his life around after making some bad choices as a very young man. Violence is a real problem in America. I believe education is the solution, but I’m open to other suggestions.

19
Feb
11

Education

People travel the world to study the artwork and music of great men and women because of what it teaches them about themselves and history.  They climb mountains and trudge through jungles to seek out the knowledge of one philosopher or another.  They will pay thousands of dollars to hear a lecture by a great  professor.   There are beautiful minds untapped worldwide, and though they may be sparked by the law, by the microscope, or by the Word, they become flames by the work of the teacher.  If society chooses to build stadiums instead of schools and cases instead of classrooms, it has already passed judgement on the importance of what I choose to do.

Without knowledge of law there is chaos.  Without knowledge of medicine disease reigns.  Some teachers sacrifice time and money and energy to teach people to read, but others sacrifice EVERYTHING to teach people to live.  Education has built nations and lack of it has destroyed them.  Knowledge is so revered that many civilizations believed that only the gods possesed it, yet society places so little value on those who seek to distribute it.  If every last being on Earth were destroyed save two, they could recreate the world using our books.  I am human, I am fallible, and all I have ever wanted to do from the depth of my soul is to be good enough to inspire someone else to be great.  I would do it for free and unappreciated every day for the rest of my life.  I believe in education like you believe in God.  Judge me as you please.

09
Apr
09

Having a Girl

Throughout this pregnancy I have been terrified that I would have a girl.  Despite the remarkable advances made in the 20th Century, this is still very much a man’s world.  I’m reminded of that every time I pull into the parking lot of my company and see the men’s cars, more expensive and more kept up than the women’s because they are paid 30% more on average, even though they do a hell of a lot less work than I do.  I’m reminded of that when I look at photos of the United States Congress, The United States Senate, the United States Supreme Court, and the Presidential Cabinet (though huge props to Obama for moving us a little further along).  I’m reminded of that when there is a gathering of the heads of major universities and major corporations.  I’m reminded of it when I look at my health care plan and see that there is 80% maternity coverage, no birth control coverage, and no coverage for pap smears and mammograms.

I see the way women are still treated in today’s society, still objectified, still ignored.  I see “women’s professions” being considered less important, women’s sports being covered less, women’s issues being glossed over in the media, and women’s bodies being legislated.    I hear young women talking about the way they should behave in relationships – how to bite their tongues when their partner is angry, how to dress to please a man, how to cook to please a man, and how to clean to keep their partner’s happy.  I see little girls wearing clothes tat are too old for them because they’ve learned early that the sexier they dress, the sexier they dance,  the more a boy will like them.  I see women putting on themselves the majority of the housework and the majority of the childcare because they can’t rely on their partners to help them.

Having a girl makes me nervous.  I can only hope that her chances of being truly equal improve as she grows.

28
Feb
09

Coercion

I teach English.  More importantly, I teach English in the City of Philadelphia to students of varied races in a very low socioeconomic area.  As a result, I do my best to to incorporate literature written by people of all races and religions in every course I teach.  I follow the school district curriculum as much as possible so that my students will pass the standardized tests.

So I was really insulted when a few of our students wore all black and protested in front of our building because we weren’t doing anything for Black History Month.  I should mention that we didn’t do anything for Hispanic History Month (October), and we weren’t planning on doing anything for Women’s History Month (April).  Our school makes a special effort to include all cultures in all of our lessons and relate what we’re doing to our student base. We strive to be better then those schools who, because they ignore the black students most of the time, NEED Black History Month to remind them that we are a multiracial society (though I take issue with the fact that African Americans aren’t the only minority and yet their political groups insist on pushing their histpry over all others).  But since these students decided that we don’t try hard enough the rest of the year (and we REALLY, REALLY do), I have to take days away from the middle of a lesson on the Canterbury Tales (in which I included the Middle Eastern and African influences that entered Europe after the Crusades) to show some movie that has no relevance to what I’m doing in class.

**In an unrelated note, I am currently in the middle of a divorce (which I’m writing about here: http://thisismyamerica.wordpress.com/) and 17 weeks pregnant, which is why I have been slacking off on my writting. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things.  Thanks for your patience.




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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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