Losing Freedom

One of my favorite writers https://earthwalkingworld.wordpress.com/2019/11/16/let-the-looting-begin/   began his post today talking about the freedom we achieve when we are first able to drive. I would like to talk about the opposite problem

As we grow older our ability to drive can decline. Whether it is due to vision, slowed reaction time or mental losses we may have to stop driving. In many European countries this is not such an issue since public transportation can take someone anywhere. Those who live in city centers can walk many places and if they are able to do that don’t lost that freedom.

innovation in aging

For most of us who live in the US driving is our key to mobility and therefore our independence. The hardest thing to convince us as we age is that we can no longer drive. For those who have enough money to Uber everywhere it may not be a problem but the majority can’t do that.

For those who live alone losing the ability to drive can cause isolation which leads to depression and going downhill. I wish there were a simple solution but there really isn’t one. As the age of our population increases the problem will become more acute.

Creating a volunteer group of drivers who would be willing to help people run their errands and be with friends would be a good solution. I wonder if anyone has done this if so I haven’t heard of it. I hope someone does it in the future.

Life and death

Years ago I was distressed by  a family’s loss. In an auto accident one young daughter was killed. I felt that her life had been cut short. A minister friend had a different perspective. He felt that each of us has a life span that is ours alone….just as we are all individuals.

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I was reading a novel today and came across a similar thought that was attributed to the Gullah people of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. The book is “Gullah Secrets” by Susan Gabriel. Living near and having cared for Gullah people I have always respected their wisdom.

An elderly Gullah woman says: “Like a story, every life on earth has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sometimes a story lasts only hours. Sometimes days, years, or decades……It is not about the lucky or the unlucky. The good or the evil…..Life and death are in an eternal dance just like that whirlwind. Wind and sand. Sand and wind. A dance across time.”

This vision of each of our lives is comforting to me. My birth and death are mine and are as unique as I am. Life and death. They both continue.

 

 

How things change!

Today I heard and interesting statement. “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” This thought has made me think about how things are changing in our country and other parts of the world.

The phrase came in church after an discussion of The Leverite Law in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Levirate Marriage

When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 

Times have changed since this was in effect. The woman was not considered at all. Now our laws recognize women as equal.

changing values

However, as we look at the initial quote we begin to question exactly what the values are today. So many are changing so fast that we can’t keep up with them and are part of our divisions. Even various religious denominations have switched from one idea to another. The earlier position of life at first breath came from the Bible: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7

It is debated if the shift to life at conception was a political one or a change due to science or some other influence. Either way it was a big shift that has led to a conflicted country regarding abortion.

This is just an example of how “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.”  I never thought of it from this perspective and it is interesting to do so.

Learning and using it

Today I had to attend a class to re-certify as a mediator. The class was helpful and interesting but I realize I am no longer used to sitting in class all day. At one point I stood up for a while to just get out of the chair. We were given breaks but the first one was long in coming.

It is interesting when many things that you have done in life enrich whatever you are doing presently. I have noticed this happening several times in my life. It’s as if I am being prepared for the next thing to come. Today was mostly about listening, discovering what lies beneath problems, and helping to find common ground between people. I have used and taught communication skills many times in my life and this was mostly a endorsement of what I have already learned. I will be using it in a different way and learning that was helpful.

Learning-never-stop

If we are truly living we are learning all the time. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. Maybe from TV or books or other people. It is interesting to think at the end of the day about what is new and how can you use it.

Nothing is ever wasted. As you age you learn something you thought was useless 10 years ago is just what you need now. Absorb everything you can in life and somehow it will be used.

Anamnesis — Remembrance

Today was All Saints Sunday. Brought forward from the actual day which was November 1st. All Saints is a day of remembrance in the church.

Remembrance..a word that brings forth things gone. I have long felt that those who have gone on before us are still with us. Not as ghosts or some kind of spirit but as memories. I feel that as we think about those in the past we connect with them and they still live in us. We are a part of all that has gone before. Some old Biblical translations used the word anamnesis. Later it was changed to remembrance but I think the earlier word is closer to the original meaning.

an·am·ne·sis
noun
the remembering of things from a supposed previous existence (often used with reference to Platonic philosophy).

remembering

I still feel the presence of my mother, father and other family members. Their love and caring continue on. As do the lives of those who are in my past and whose lives brought mine about.

There is more to learn

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Yesterday we had a high in the 80’s. Last night it went down to 45. For us that is winter. Where is fall? I actually enjoy the cooler weather and look forward to having a fire in the fireplace.

One of the most difficult things about growing older is when you begin losing friends and contemporaries. Going to funerals is not much fun. The only blessing is that most of them have lived good, fruitful lives. You can be grateful for the time you have known them and the joy they have brought to life.

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I don’t mean to sound depressing. Most of the time growing older feels to be just another phase of life. It has some incredible joys and blessings. I have experienced so much and learned so much and writing has allowed me to continue to share. I try to appreciate each day. One of the hardest things is to learn to live fully each and every day. Time is not to be wasted but experienced. If only we could learn to let go of living in the past or the future and just be where we are at the moment.

Memories and emotions

Where families are involved life can treacherous. Sometimes the most innocent remark can be twisted into a major conflict. I suspect this is because there is history and much emotion involved. Often the negative reaction has nothing to do with what is going on at the moment. It is rooted somewhere in the past where the emotions are stuck.

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I have never forgotten that our emotions are tied to so many things. A piece of music from our past can have us experiencing the emotions we felt at the time. These past connections can emerge at the worst moments and skew our perception of the current experience.

Many of us have been taken straight back to our past feelings by a song, a scent, a person, or a scene. We don’t realize what is happening and our responses are not appropriate to the moment. This is doubly true for those we spent a lot of time with growing up. We are creations of our environment as well as our genes.

family breakup

It takes real strength to look inside and connect with the past so that we can disconnect ourselves from it. Most of us don’t want to relive the negative things that formed out emotional responses. It make take talking with a counselor to root out those emotions and at least understand them. Hopefully doing so will allow us to reconnect with those we have turned away from. Maybe not. Some we may not want to but there can be some that can heal connections that will change our hearts.

Help your children in a complex world

I am sharing this article in the hopes that it will reach those who need help with raising their kids. It is a tough job and we need all the help we can get.  I am sorry for the weird format but that is how it copied. The author requests that it be shared.

link to the original article https://deeprootsathome.com/kids-friendless-bored-impatient/

WHY ARE KIDS IMPATIENT, BORED, FRIENDLESS, AND ENTITLED?

3.3MSHARES
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A pouty little boy in a paper and metal crown looking you in the eye.

Kids today are in a devastating emotional state! Most come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this.” ~V.P.

In her practice, my friend Victoria Prooday, OT is seeing something so widespread and alarming that I asked if I could share her thoughts. Due to the overwhelming interest and conversation on this topic, I am re-sharing her post. This article is also now translated into German and Russian. Spanish is coming soon!

I encourage every parent who cares about the future of his/her children to read it. I know that many would choose not to hear what she says in the article, but your children need you to hear this message.

Victoria writes:

I am an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers. I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects.

I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in children’s social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.

As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction.

Jackie’s Note: be sure to get the printable list of 30 more ways to help your kids

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Here is why:

1. KIDS GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT IT

“I am Hungry!!” “In a sec I will stop at the drive thru” “I am Thirsty!” “Here is a vending machine.” “I am bored!” “Use my phone!”  The ability to delay gratification is one of the key factors for future success. We have the best intentions — to make our child happy — but unfortunately, we make them happy at the moment but miserable in the long term.  To be able to delay gratification means to be able to function under stress. Our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors, which eventually become huge obstacles to their success in life.

The inability to delay gratification is often seen in classrooms, malls, restaurants, and toy stores. The moment the child hears “No”, they react with belligerence because parents have taught their child’s brain to get what it wants right away.

2. LIMITED SOCIAL INTERACTION

We are all busy, so we give our children digital gadgets and make them “busy” too. Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills.

Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time.  Also, technology made the parents less available to socially interact with their child. Obviously, our kids fall behind… the babysitting gadget is not equipped to help kids develop social skills. Most successful people have great social skills. This is the priority!

The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If you want your child to be able to bike, you teach him biking skills. If you want your child to be able to wait, you need to teach that child patience.  If you want your child to be able to socialize, you need to teach him social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!

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3. ENDLESS FUN

We have created an artificial fun world for our children. There are no dull moments. The moment it becomes quiet, we run to entertain them again, because otherwise, we feel that we are not doing our parenting duty.

We live in two separate worlds. They have their “fun“ world, and we have our “work” world. Why aren’t children helping us in the kitchen or with laundry? Why don’t they tidy up their toys? This is basic monotonous work that trains the brain to be workable and function under “boredom,” which is the same “muscle” that is required to be eventually teachable at school.

When they come to school and it is time for handwriting their answer is “I can’t. It is too hard. Too boring.” Why? Because the workable “muscle” is not getting trained through endless fun. It gets trained through work.

4. KIDS & TECHNOLOGY

Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner.  We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification.

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Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring. When kids come to the classroom, they are exposed to human voices and adequate visual stimulation as opposed to being bombarded with the graphic explosions and special effects that they are used to seeing on the screens. After hours of virtual reality, processing information in a classroom becomes increasingly challenging for our kids because their brains are getting used to the high levels of stimulation that video games provide. The inability to process lower levels of stimulation leaves kids vulnerable to academic challenges. Technology also disconnects us emotionally from our children and our families.

Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for child’s brain. Unfortunately, we are gradually depriving our children of that nutrient.

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5. KIDS RULE THE WORLD

“My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She is too lazy to eat on her own.” This is what I hear from parents all the time. Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed.

What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them? Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to school irritable, anxious, and inattentive.  In addition, we send them the wrong message.  They learn they can do what they want and not do what they don’t want.

The concept of “need to do” is absent. Unfortunately, in order to achieve our goals in our lives, we have to do what’s necessary, which may not always be what we want to do.  For example, if a child wants to be an A student, he needs to study hard. If he wants to be a successful soccer player, he needs to practice every day. Our children know very well what they want, but have a very hard time doing what is necessary to achieve that goal. This results in unattainable goals and leaves the kids disappointed.

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TRAIN THEIR BRAIN

You can make a difference in your child’s life by training your child’s brain so that your child will successfully function on social, emotional, and academic levels. Here is how:

1. Don’t be afraid to set the limits. Kids need limits to grow happy and healthy!!

  • Make a schedule for meal times, sleep times, technology time
  • Think of what is GOOD for them- not what they WANT/DON’T WANT. They are going to thank you for that later on in life. Parenting is a hard job. You need to be creative to make them do what is good for them because, most of the time, that is the exact opposite of what they want.
  • Kids need breakfast and nutritious food. They need to spend time outdoor and go to bed at a consistent time in order to come to school available for learning the next day!
  • Convert things that they don’t like doing/trying into fun, emotionally stimulating games
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2. LIMIT TECHNOLOGY, AND RE-CONNECT WITH YOUR KIDS EMOTIONALLY

  • Surprise them with flowers, share a smile, tickle them, put a love note in their backpack or under their pillow, surprise them by taking them out for lunch on a school day, dance together, crawl together, have pillow fights
  • Have family dinners, board game nights (see the list of my favorite board games), go biking, go to outdoor walks with a flashlight in the evening

3. TRAIN DELAYED GRATIFICATION

  • Make them wait!!! It is ok to have “I am bored“ time – this is the first step to creativity
  • Gradually increase the waiting time between “I want” and “I get”
  • Avoid technology use in cars and restaurants, and instead teach them waiting while talking and playing games
  • Limit constant snacking
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4. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO DO MONOTONOUS WORK FROM EARLY YEARS AS IT IS THE FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE “WORKABILITY”

    • Folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table, making lunch, unpacking their lunch box, making their bed
    • Be creative. Initially make it stimulating and fun so that their brain associates it with something positive.

5. TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS

  • Teach them turn taking, sharing, losing/winning, compromising, complimenting others , using “please and thank you”

From my experience as an occupational therapist, the kids changes the moment parents change their perspective on parenting.  Help your kids succeed in life by training and strengthening their brain sooner rather than later!

Jackie’s Note: be sure to get the printable list of 30 more ways to help your kidsVictoria holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the Medical School at University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University. She is founder and director of a multidisciplinary clinic in Toronto, Canada, for children with behavioral, social, emotional and academic challenges. Victoria, along with her team, has helped hundreds of families across Canada and around the world and is a frequent guest speaker to teachers, parents and professionals.

Shared with Victoria’s written permission.

We are a whole being

For years the common thinking among physicians was that anxiety and depression caused digestive symptoms such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea and possibly even Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Now the pendulum is falling the other way. the Brain/Gut connection is becoming more important in treating people with such problems. I have long realized that my IBSD causes anxiety and if bad enough depression. I am glad that treating the whole person is becoming part of how medicine thinks.

gut-brain-relationship-600x300

We are definitely complex beings and anything that affects us physically or mentally cannot be separated out into one or the other. Physicians have divided up into specialties and seem to focus on that area. It is understandable as medicine has become so complex. You can’t know everything about everything. We need a different specialty the “wholeness doctor” who tries to put the pieces together. I know that there are now DO’s and other categories of people who look more at the whole person but we need more of it.

I hope that in the future we have those physicians who take the information from all of the specialists and put it all together. This is what Internists would like to do but getting the reports and information from other doctors is like pulling teeth. This has to be worked out also.

the-whole-is-greater

 

 

We are not parts stuck together but a whole just waiting to be understood.

 

Hallothankhanuchris and more is coming!

Cooler weather. Autumn is finally showing up in the south. We really don’t get much cooler until December/January but this 73 feels great. The real key is that is it cooler at night. During the summer (that includes September) the nights seldom go below the high 70″s.

Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-SAD-1-1024x643

For those of us who thrive with sunlight we are heading into the dark. Sometimes that can be sad. Having our updated bathroom done except for the shower door helps. I don’t feel as discombobulated.  I will try to get outdoors more during the light and that helps too.

It seems as if we are getting ready for a holiday called Hallothankhanuchris. There are decorations in the stores for all three days at once. Can’t we just savor each one? They really try to squeeze the holidays to make money. I am not sure that we take the time to appreciate each of them.

Halloween is related All Hallows Eve remembering those saints and others who have passed on. It is believed that it originated when Christianity met Celtic celebrations. Christianity has had a history of incorporating local traditions to help people move to the Christian beliefs.  It is followed by All Saints celebrated by many Christian denominations.

Many holidays are connected to our faith traditions. However, too often, the commercial aspects end up taking over the holiday with most people today not thinking at all about where Halloween comes from and Santa has taken over Christmas/Hanukkah.

holidays

 

I find this sad. Each of the major faiths have wonderful celebrations and I wish we could appreciate them in all of their meaning.