humanity Articles

Military Structure Helps Challenged Teen Boys Succeed – Part One

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Brass buttons were bursting with pride at last month’s 33rd annual Robert Land Academy graduation ceremony.

Another class of mature, respectful, goal-oriented and successful young men completed their high school education at Canada’s only military-style boarding school for adolescent boys, some as young as 11 years of age.

School Stresses Academic Excellence

Nestled in southern Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, these boys flourish in a school environment unlike any they’ve previously attended.

It stresses academic excellence, athletics, leadership and teamwork. Extracurricular activities “make it worthwhile,” said class valedictorian Paul Burrill, 17, from Burnaby, B.C., describing games and sports of every kind, plus rock climbing, boxing, wrestling, “even jumping out of a plane.”

Students Struggle With ADHD, ADD, ODD and Other Issues

RLA’s safe, structured environment often dramatically transforms its students, like Burrill, psychologically and physically.

Their family relationships heal. They develop confidence while achieving top academic marks that open doors to any university, college and career they choose.

Hailing from all over North America, Europe, Hong Kong and the Middle East, they arrive with a rash of challenges and diagnoses.

ADHD, ADD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and different learning disabilities. Some have critical physical problems demanding lifestyle regulation. Morbid obesity. Diabetes. Others have abused alcohol and drugs or flirted with the law.


Day 18: Sherry Turkle’s “Goldilocks Effect” and Digital Intimacy…

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

What is Sherry Turkle’s “Goldilocks Effect?”

In her new book, “Alone Together, Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” cultural analyst and psychologist Sherry Turkle describes the Goldilocks Effect like this: “Not too close. Not too far. Just right.” It’s also known as the Goldilocks Principle.

(Last year, when I was in the throes of my eating disorder I was driving myself and everyone around me to distraction by wanting to be “just right.” But it was an ephemeral obsession because “just right” for me was always five pounds less. Impossible, of course.)

This is the new normal of our digital age of texting and emailing and posting and online connecting in all its many forms and endless platforms. It’s a factor in digital intimacy, but I’m not going into the Robotics side of this story here. Too much for me to handle right now.

Less is more for me…

You know, I have lost count of my Facebook “Friends.” At this very moment, as I am in Blogging overdrive so I don’t care about the numbers of Twitter or Linked In or Pinterest connections I have. I hate numbers anyway.

“Less is more,” for me. But then, I’m not normal in any way, new or otherwise. We know that, don’t we?


Day 17: An Affectionate Nod To The Late Nora Ephron…

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

In front of me I’ve placed two dog-eared, yellowing paperbacks from my library. I’ve kept them for years.

Wallflower at the Orgy and Crazy Salad (first editions) both by magnificently multi-talented, versatile, prolific and relentlessly funny Nora Ephron.

Ephron died yesterday of “pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukaemia,” her son Jacob Bernstein told the New York Times in today’s edition.

No one is forever…

But somehow, I always believed Nora would be. (She was just 71.)

She always brought a smile to my face. A giggle. Like another of my favourite resident New York writers, Calvin Trillin.

They’re both entirely different, but immeasurably engaging and amusing, at times laugh-out-loud funny because their writing in all its forms pricks our nerves, tickles us, speaks their truths with a visceral honesty that hits us where we live – in our heads and our hearts (and our tushes).

Nora went beyond journalism into screenwriting, novel writing, directing, producing, and blogging. When it came to writing and a comic, but always humane vision, there was nothing she couldn’t do.


Day 16: Researching and Reflecting on Sherry Turkle’s Work

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

I’ve been in touch with Sherry Turkle, initially to request an interview.

The pre-eminent scholar on technology and us…

Right now, she’s buried under a pile of dissertations, grading or marking, as we say here in this country, and how well I understand the pressure of that task.

It is backbreaking work. She declined my request most graciously, but surprisingly expressed an interest in this blog.

Sherry Turkle is the pre-eminent scholar on technology and its impact on our lives. How it is defining our lives and our identities ~ who we are.

Right now I’m reading everything I can get my hands on by her and about her, as I am unable to interview her.

About Sherry Turkle…

“She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.  Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

“She has been studying our changing relationships with digital culture for over three decades, charting how mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics are changing our work, families, and identity. Profiles of Professor Turkle have appeared in such publications as The New York TimesScientific American, and Wired Magazine. She is a featured media commentator on the social and psychological effects of technology for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the BBC, and NPR, including appearances on such programs as Nightline, Frontline, and 20/20.”

I need to research my subjects…

I cannot write about anything without research.


Day 15, Part One: Life Happens. It Takes Twice As Long Online…

Monday, June 25th, 2012

UPDATE: It is now 4:52 p.m. on Monday, June 25. It is Day 15 of my Blogathon. I had planned to continue the discussion I began yesterday, when I arrived home, but I just did and I’m exhausted. I took the bus and the subway. Therefore, I hope you’ll accept that this is my post for today. Tomorrow, I’ll finish writing Is “Texting Destroying Our Humanity, Part Two.”

This has not been a good morning because of all kinds of online demands have distracted me and kept me from my main obligations.

Emails. Texts. Research. Arrrrghhhh!

I had a small emergency that had to be dealt with fast. Online. That takes time. It takes twice as long, online, actually. And not because I type slowly. I’m a 150-word-a-minute girl. Started on a manual typewriter. Do you remember those?

Then another instant demand came through. And another.

There’s little spontaneity online ~ you must wait…

People do not always respond quickly. Instantly. Like on the phone. In live engaged conversation. True, emotions sometimes get in the way, but on the other hand, non-verbal cues are very telling. Frankly, they’re as important as the words.

Still, everything takes so much time. I’m not patient and I don’t like waiting.


Day 14: Texting Away Our Humanity, Part One…

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Today, I’m still pretty tired. Feeling “written out.” Exhausted.

Overwhelmed by my commitment to blog for 31 days straight. I have another 17 days to go. (Eeeeeek!)

For some reason I cannot manage to get a few posts written and “in the can” so I can rest a bit. And breathe. But this might be that post.

Ideas are still flooding into my head

For example, I had considered posting about the heinous bullying of Karen Klein, the 68-year-old school bus monitor by four teenage boys in Greece, N.Y.

That repulsive story has already received too much air time and was well-handled here by Psych Central Founder and Editor-in-Chief John M. Grohol, PhD on June 21st in a World of Psychology post.

I have some other perspectives on this incident that feed into my discussion earlier this month about discrimination and prejudice. Right now, however, I simply do not have the energy to explore them, so I’m going to recharge before I do.

Something else is really bothering me…

So, I’m going muse about that. It’s more than just bothering me, I’m worried. Seriously. Perhaps it’s a social ill. Or just a social trend. I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s fair to call it “social.”

I think it’s anti-social. You tell me.

We live in an increasingly quiet household.

Besides our dogs who live to alert us to at any activity they see outside, our phones almost never ring. I’ve disconnected one of our two landlines because they are becoming obsolete. Most people prefer email or texting, besides my mother and my youngest step-daughter who do call us and we love to hear their voices.

Several years ago, I posted about this in my earlier incarnation of Coming Out Crazy. In that July 3rd, 2009 post, I asked “Is Texting versus Talking destroying the human dialogue?”


 

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