Learning To Read

Learning to read is not like flicking on a light switch.  You need to start with the basics:  the alphabet.  My son is four now and our primary focus is on letters.  I started with what most people probably start with which is singing the alphabet song.  Over the past year we have been working on writing a different letter each day.

3_lined_paperAll you really need to do is work at it.  You don’t need to spend money on fancy materials or programs; you just need to put in effort.  For example, you can grab a sheet of paper and write out some lines for your child to write between.  Kids like to stay in between the lines when they write.  I usually use three lines per row:  A solid line on top, a dashed line in the middle, and a solid line on the bottom.  I just grab a pen and make five or so rows on the top half of a sheet of paper and write the letter myself in upper left hand corner.  From there, I ask my boy to try to write the same letter as many times as he can in the remaining space I’ve provided.

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The Miley Cyrus Syndrome

Miley Cyrus Tongue OutThis is one of those predictions that’s not fun to make:  Miley Cyrus will be shaving her head and rebelling soon.  The prediction is that over the next few years Miley will get more and more into drugs and alcohol and spin out of control.  Now my wife really doesn’t like talk like this because she disagrees and thinks I’m just being pessimistic.  It seems like simple psychology, however, given signs like her performance at the Teen Choice Awards.  When you consider the Teen Choice performance and what we’ve seen happen over the years with other child stars that have turned out to be super “successful” like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Dakota Fanning, and the Olsen Twins it’s cause for some cynicism.  She’s only going to push the envelope harder as she gets into her twenties.

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Culture of Fear in the Workplace


Why is there a culture of fear in the workplace?  Why do the people that generally rise to the top of the managerial org chart happen to be people who keep their disciples in line by keeping them fearful of retribution for breaking their rules?  Why do those who rise up the corporate ladder tend to exhibit sociopathic tendencies?

 The example I’m thinking of for this blog post is this:  I went back to ask a girl in accounts payable for some office supplies.  When I showed up at her desk and spoke her name, I had surprised her.  The look of surprise and fear on her face was so genuine.  It was if I had ‘busted’ her.  What was she doing wrong?  Nothing really.  She was surfing the internet which is done by everyone, but not condoned by management.  The look of surprise and fear stems from the usual judgment handed down by the very same people who practice the very same behavior.

In many companies, people have some liberties with regard to surfing the net, checking their facebook page, and reading a news story on the internet.  But there are still many companies that have access to many of those same things because business requires it, but at the same time are policing any recreational surfing.  And, it’s understandable that managers don’t want people to abuse their privledges, but management that does one thing and says another breeds contempt and gives people the jitters.  A lot of people can’t afford to lose their job, and it stinks to see people sweating the same behavior that their bosses are comfortable doing.  We all need a break sometimes and it’s healthy and actually boosts productivity.  And, as said earlier, there’s a fine line between a productive break and abuse, so it’s not easy to draw the line sometimes.  It’s just a little bit of a shame to see people so jittery about behavior that is not that out of line with what managers are doing too.  If someone is not getting their work done, that’s another story.  That’s when reprimand should occur.

 If someone that surfs the net in their free time punishes someone else for doing the same thing he’s a hypocrite.  There are many managers in many companies that breed this culture of fear to discourage people from doing the same things they do.  By doing this, they create employees that are unhappy, jittery, and unproductive.  Those managers are cowards.  Those managers are everywhere.

Sleep, Napping, and Attitude

sleep-better-cuteSo much of your child’s disposition has to do with his last night’s sleep or whether he’s taken a nap.  This is really no different for adults as well.  Your quality of sleep has a lot to do with how you’re feeling.  How you handle your child’s ill tempered disposition because of sleep deprivation, or whatever other cause,  is the challenge that will define your parenting skills as pro or amateur.

As soon as I get home from work and my 4 1/2 year old boy and 2 1/2 year old girl rush up to see me and hug me, I can see in their eyes whether they’ve had a nap or not.  Generally if there has been no nap, it’s entirely apparent in their eyes and quickly becomes apparent in their disposition.  Without a nap, kids are much more likely to be standoffish at the simplest of questions or a request for a hug.  When you place a plate of food in front of them and they swipe at it and say they don’t want it and are difficult to deal with, it’s often because there was no nap that day.

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