Friday, July 29, 2011
"I am more at home in school, I would like to stay longer in school than to be in the house, with a mother who seem not to know me at all."
"I hate my mother, when all that is important for her is just money and she does not even pay attention to my needs and my personal problems... so I hooked up with many boyfriends and even tried drinking and drugs."
"I'd rather be with my grandparents because they listen more to me, my parents they don't really care about me, because they are too busy with our family business."
Such thoughts verbalized put me dumbfounded. I could feel a sense of trust to be reading and hearing those, but they also shock me to realize what some or many young people could be missing in their development years. Reflecting puts me back into my actualized self with gratitude and confidence that my parents have provided me the love they could afford.
Home and school are separate social spaces sharing performative roles in the development of every child. The students I am handling are not adults yet, but adolescents. They embody the youth who could be sharing the same issues with their parents. Most of them are in the upper middle class of our society with parents busy at work or in business, if not separated or physically absent.
What struck me the most on this issue is that a student one morning asked me: ""When parents are always strict, do they still love their children?" What I heard was a representative of the mimed voices of young people, feeling bad about how their parents are rearing them. But, I could suspect that this signals misunderstanding of the constructs of love and discipline.
On the background where other thoughts, saying that in other countries it is just wrong to treat any child that strict, that it is child abuse. I understood that again as lacking grasp of the fundamental concepts of discipline, legal rights and child development, that most young people mistake to be unfair and a sign of being not loved. That happened all at one time during our open sharing on attitude in my academic advising class.
Putting the issue in the context of family communication, it is clear that those students whose points of views I shared in here are challenged in their experiences of dysfunctional family structures, ambiguous role assignments, misunderstanding of functions, and unexpressed affirming emotions. In other words, they find themselves in a mere dependent or co-dependent relations without symbolizing, signifying and valuing the meaning of family.
More than material things, more than working hard for money, more than dining out, more than having fun, more than going to church at the same time, more than sending children to good schools, it pays to share the meaning of doing all these through casual conversations. There is a richer collateral to keep a healthy communication among family members to build a stronger relationship and a deeper understanding of each needs.
When parents intend to discipline their children out of an unexpected behavior the immediate response is a punitive one. Nagging, pinching, hitting, whipping, swearing, blaming and grounding the child for their actions are the parents' response or form of reinforcement to a negative behavior. True, many parents don't know the impact of these to their child's esteem particularly when other people can see. And, very few would actually process the situation with their children.
Thus, these reinforcement compound to be associated by young people as either strictness or not being cared for. While little time is spent by parents to stay with their children, the children are more deprived to bond with parents as the former spends their own time in other means. With their friends, online and offline, and the unmonitored school schedule they have, children with "strict' parents would rather stay away from home to find a space where they are attended to.
These children who grew up with punishment as reinforcement only learn the pain of it, and not really its relevance to being disciplined. They too will apply the same to their children even worse than which they experienced. But if the children knew that they are different from their actions, and they understand what needed correction in their behavior and they were taught how to rectify their ill-conduct and wrong attitude, they will grow up in discipline and be better parents that they can be.
Being strict is never wrong. Discipline to a child is never wrong. But they have limitations, while being strict is an attitude, discipline is a process. Both have to be contextualized in the frames of family love, parental love to children and caring for every member of the family. Family culture in its own dynamics operate in honoring the family and caring for its members. To discipline with consistency an affirming attitude is never strict nor constricting but liberating a soul from being wrong.
How did I answer my student's question as to whether his parents love him even if they are strict. My answer was simple, no parents want their children to do wrong, as they all want them to be in the right. Having the right attitude, behaving appropriately, becoming better to stand on their own and to succeed in life are what parents want for their children. Being strict is a way for parent to discipline their children. Parents discipline their children because they love them. If parents see that their children have the discipline they expect, there is no reason for them to be "strict".
I furthered, parents get angry, they get mad because they feel that what they expect were violated. They feel such because they love their children. It should worry the children more if they parents tend to ignore even their wrong behavior or ignore them all the more. That is not love anymore, because the parents have become indifferent to their child's situation. What then should children do for their parents, if they love them and need them in their life? That's our next discussion point.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
There is an ambitious me, that has always been me in my plight as a graduate student. I have always wanted to make a contribution to human knowledge. Proof of which, the first proposal I drafted for my MA thesis was overrated as a dissertation paper rather than a master’s thesis.
At that time, my panelists had no questions or criticism about the research problem, its aims, methodology and the extensive review of related literature I drafted, except that it was “too ambitious” and they feared I could not handle it. MA candidates were just expected to test theories or models by applying or modifying existing instruments.
They discussed and sent me out only to ask me if I really wanted to pursue the study. I said yes, but after being intimidated by their lack of appreciation for a study above expected standards, I took the flight to work abroad, leaving them a promise that I will be defending my final paper the coming semester via online.
Seven years passed then, I inquired of possibilities of continuing my MA. Fortunately, after examining my scholastic records, the Dean approved my request on condition that I would take a penalty course of 3 units. I took the liberty of enrolling full 9 units assuming that those subjects could really help me. Only the Research Design coursed really helped me to prepare my MA thesis.
While I took the refresher course, I started to draft my proposal, which I also presented in the research class. Positive comments overwhelmed me, from my professor and my classmates. I consulted my previous professors and those at that time about my proposal. Only one of them was negative about my proposal, but Insisted to pursue it.
A month after the term I passed my proposal defense without any revision. Three months after I successfully defended my thesis with a highly satisfactory mark, with negligible revisions on mechanics and style alone. Their comment was the same from the previous: my thesis was not ordinary but as good as a dissertation.
Back then the ambitious me was successful in my personal endeavor to contribute to knowledge. From that research I was able to write two other researchers as application studies that I presented nationally and internationally. But, here I am in a dilemma, and I am writing about so that I may be able to objectify my situation to come up with directions.
All 14 research papers I did in my PhD courses had excellent reviews. They are original, relevant, interesting, beneficial and rigorous to qualify as dissertation materials. I know I can write a dissertation. I know how to do the research. I know the processes, the methodology, the concepts and the theories. However, I am in a slump, procrastinating, waiting for a muse to inspire me, juggling old papers to start with, and reading so many things not quite that I need.
Then, I was able to put up models, build theories and devise instruments. Now, I am not even sure of a definite research topic to pursue. I guess, I got to find that scholar back in me, and it has to be pretty soon. Writing this post is just a means for me to reflect on my situation. I didn’t know how to start but I am doing now.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Zombies, we now have a growing generation of it. I must confess I am being zombified. This is because of the lack of sleep due to excessive waste of time online. Included in the generation are teenagers and some adults who spend extensive period at night staying online.
To my part, I begin to notice the consequence of this elective sleep deprivation. Every time that I am at work, I stammer, spell some words incorrectly, type with more errors, space out in between and forget my personal things, like that of my flash disk still plugged in my classroom workstation (lost three already). Further, I get to feel some muscle twitches, pains in the muscle around my eyes, neck pains and the sense of being afloat.
Whenever, I lack sleep, I get to drink several cups of coffee the next day, that I could smell the aroma from my pee. I get fatigue, so I get more prone to stress and anger. When I don't sleep I smoke more in my front of my desktop. Am I really working at night at my best as nocturnal?
I reason that way, that I am a night person and that nighttime is just best for me to work while others are asleep in the house so no one's going to disturb me. But, I am not really working till dawn when I am in front of the computer. I am just surfing, chatting, looking and watching. Many of the things I do with the Internet are not even important at all to my career.
Zombified online, that's what I have become. I recall the same situation even before I had Internet access when I work with the computer. It just doesn't make me sleep. Perhaps, the visual stimulation that the screen gives keeps my brain to be working that only until I have turned it off that I would feel the fatigue, in my eyes and in my body.
Before the computers some 20 years ago, I would rather sleep at 8 or 9 at night and wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning to study my lessons, review for exams and work on my assignments. With enough sleep my body is alert through out my classes and I get to see myself happier and livelier. I could not blame the power of technology as it is important to make our tasks more efficiently. I have to look into my routine with using technology.
I can not let myself and my life be ruled and ruined by my routine of staying online and depriving my self of sleep. But, this way of thinking is not commonly shared by the many younger generation nowadays. The zombie generation among the teens need some prodding from their concerned parents to guide them and to help them devise a more productive routine.
Studies show that insomnia does not come out without a cause, that it results from sleep deprivation due to other factors like stress or excessive work and others. I have several students who tell me that they could not sleep at night because they have insomnia, but then they get to sleep early in the morning for a few hours before they go to school. Insomnia is not an elective sleep disorder, it is a bodily reaction to abnormal sleeping.
Lately, I notice that my students are either hyperactive, dull, uninterested, lacking self-control, sleepy or just tired. In one of my lecture, I gave them the rule of thirds in budgeting their time, that 1/3 of their daily life or weekly life must be sent to give their body and brain some rest through sleeping 8 hours a day. I explained that sleeping that much is necessary for them.
Studies show that sleeping time need varies but the amount of healthy sleep for any person should be between 6.5 - 8 hours. Other studies also tell specific night hours for a healthy sleep, right before and after midnight, from 9 pm to 5 am. To my shock I discovered that my students are not sleeping the way they ought to because throughout the night they are online.
Being a member of their online group, I could receive popping message from several students at 2 am or 3 am, while their class the next day is at 8 am. They are online for no reason at all. They tell me that they are doing their school stuffs online. That should please me as their academic adviser, but when reports got to my hands, many of them have incomplete online activities and they don't even do well in their online exams.
I could assume that I have a Generation Z type of z-tudents, who are merely z-urfing the net for their z-elf z-atisfaction. Sadly, they are not aware of the implications of their sleep deprivation, that they don't even realize that they are walking zombies at day time. With that, no matter how active the learning experience is given them, at the little, their memory of things taught them z-imply z-lump. They may not zzzz-nor in the class, but their mind is just zapped and z-paced out that they become zoupy in when they try to think with wide eyes open.
It would hurt, that the generation Z type of students seem z-tupid that they z-leep in the class, or just z-hut their brains from working though their eyes are open. Thus, in an opportunity I had to meet with my students parents, I boldly asked them if they know what time their children sleeps. One parent said his daughter sleeps at 11 or 12 and wakes up at 5:30. That leaves the child sleeping for around 5.5 hours, 30 minutes less than the minimum healthy sleep time.
I have no idea, for how long this routine has been going on with my students. But, I just have to make a daring advise to parents to compel their children not to lock their rooms at night, and unplug the Internet connection, get their communication gadgets from their hold, simply to ensure that the students will get to sleep right. For me, I have started opening the window blinds during my class to kill the zombie out of me and my students.
Though, at my age now, I am thinking that it is a misnomer that sleep hour requirement decline as one ages. I feel I need that healthy sleep all the more. So, I'll be adjusting my routine and start sleeping 2 hours earlier before midnight and wake up before the sun rises. Well, studies also tell that those who sleep healthily live longer, happier, healthier, with higher productivity and better personality. Zzzzzzzzzzz.
Friday, July 15, 2011
A man has his way of arriving at solutions to a problem. Why men go out with their peers for a drink after work is one means of unloading stress. Another is when a man seeks solitude as to be away from anyone else, including his family, friends or loved ones. These are illustrations of the man's defense mechanism of fight and flight, which neurologist establishes to be due to the right and left brain hemispheres at work.
The fight and flight mechanism is normally observed among men as they face stressful, threatening or high risk situations. Culturally, this may vary in degrees as there are pre-existing factors in the matrix, such as beliefs and values systems that could influence one's attitude and behavior towards the problem. Like in Filipino cultural system, our faith and fatalism leads one to take even the uncalculated risk because of that "Bahala na"mentality as the last resort.
Societies have set in their culture the appropriate behavior for the sexes, but in real life people could disregard the differences between emotional states of the two gender, that one expects to see a performed behavior in ways that contradict the nature of the person. So, we feel that different way of acting as deviant, unwarranted or inappropriate, compared to the rest of the social aggregate. But, looking at the cultural difference between gender, brings a light into the understanding of our emotions and experiences.
When I was threatened to be dismissed in my previous job because of an accusation of concessions or money-making means through extortion of money, I took an immediate flight from that difficult situation.
The allegations were not true and there were no evidences at all, but because of the administration's solution to put me under preventive suspensions for the investigation (without pay!!!), I rationalized that I rather leave because there was no use of coming to work at all. But, inside me was that strong anxiety of having nothing to provide for my family, giving them shame and the fear of losing my worth and my face to my colleagues.
Right there and then, I resigned as I was summoned by the HR officer who could not give me a justifiable complaint except for that expressed suspicion from the new vice president. After which, I locked my self in the office and cried to God as I was determined to leave while I pack my things. That was me taking flight from the stressing problem, from which I got stuck at home for a quarter of a year jobless and job hunting.
Men find "alone time" comfortable, and this also illustrates the flight and fight mechanism. In my country, I could hang out with friends just to drink and have fun to de-stress. When I worked in the middle east, I find solace in staying away from my colleagues, leaving the house, sitting on a hill, or just walking in the mall and dining on my own, all "alone". While alone, my creative right brain is stimulated to give my left problem solving brain a time to think of solutions.
Alone time takes some length differently from one person to another, from days to months. But this could be shorter, if one is able to recognize the feelings from the experience, sort out the problems, unload those heavy emotional stressors to arrive at a solution. The man in his alone time or flight time is fighting the problem. Others around him, just have to understand that and never stop to make the person feel that he can always find comfort from them.
Because the man would not like to talk and express his emotions, he carries the burden that for others may seem irrational. But, that is the nature of the man. More recently, in my work I found an escape goat to be in contact with my boss by staying away from her and even ignoring her concern that we talk things out. That lasted for two months, until I realized that I have to work with her for my tenure, without any emotional bond, but merely a professional one.
A flight is also a man's way to fight the problem. It is not fight or flight, but flight and fight. The way this works vary also between men as to their introversion and extroversion tendencies. the man will not likely involve others whom he care for with his problems while he finds solutions. This we will demonstrate in his silence, sleeping time, hanging out, smoking or drinking. But, it doesn't mean he loves less the people he value, its just the way he is.
Monday, July 11, 2011
"Many people are like garbage trucks. they run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. So when someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You'll be happier" (Pollay, 2010, p.10).I appreciated her work so, much that I posted the quote on my Facebook wall as stats. Striking thoughts like this, get me into thinking, and not until I flush my insights somewhere else will I be satisfied that I have been critical about my thoughts. Thus, I go back to some sort of management principles I learned from my MBA class and the school called life.
Ever heard of GIGOLOIL? That to me stands for: Garbage In, Garbage Out, Laugh Out in Life. Happiness is so abstract, yet a strong state of emotion that we all love to be feeling at all times in our lives. This principle and process spells that what we take in is also what give out. But, if we want to live a happy life, then we must decide and act for that happiness.
Attitude is key to happiness in life. Our attitude is influenced by our personal worldview or mindset that predetermines our behavior towards others and towards life. Our attitude is a spectrum, but in its ends are positive and negative thoughts and feelings that work as a push and pull for our behavior. I realized this to be true in daily living and especially in our relationships.
While I am happy with my partner, I also enjoy the time we could stay together. However, our schedules don't fit for us to spend more time. While I could cut from my appointments, my partner can't. One time, I expected we could meet, and I even planned to drop an important appointment just for that. But, uncertain that we have a chance to be with each other that day, negative thoughts crept in my mind.
I turned raging on even little things, as I felt frustrated, ignored and not valued. The best thing I could do was to sleep so those negative feelings can be repressed. I had to be still, I had to master my emotion or it will lord me. When negative thoughts like those fill me, other negative thoughts would pop in. I found my self lacking interest to complete anything that I had to do, even if it is due. All the happy thoughts we had were just like turned into something else - like garbage.
Negative thoughts, emotions, attitudes and behavior are garbage that need to be disposed. The unknowing can just throw these anywhere or to anyone. They hurt, as they contain pain, suffering, angst, fear and anger. Many find lashing and nagging others as an outlet, but that is merely dumping the garbage on others. What then happens to others is that they will just dump that on someone else. Everything else then becomes a dump site.
Good, I was quick to realize that there is something stinking inside me. I was mad without really understanding why, and I was dumping that rage on others. While, we were still exchanging sweet text messages, there were those negative thoughts lurking in my head, shooting me like snares, telling me to dump those negative thoughts right there and then. I got to be still, as we should all be in such situation.
I accepted the fact, that we might not really be able to meet that time. I kept with my routine and move on, went to the church for my service. I acknowledged my emotions, and I sorted them as to how they charge me negatively or positively. I began to thank and think of the positive things we had and my partner has brought in my life. There I realize, that there are more things I should appreciate rather than discard, and what ought to be discarded are those negative emotions I was trying to entertain.
It didn't end there, before I sleep that night, I had to list down on piece paper what I really felt that day, and process them by determining where they came from. Then, I looked at them again and thought of their implications and worth. Eventually, I arrived at practical solutions with a realization, that I was wrong to be making myself act like a garbage truck. That solution is that of a personal choice to live my life happy, laughing out in life, and seeing it more positively in the light of things.
Friday, July 8, 2011
We are sojourners in this world. We all walk in this life for someone we love or to find someone to love. We move from one place to another. We meet people as we journey. There are those who journey alone, while others want some company. Even those who journey alone later on gets weary and finds the need for a company. The truth is, we all need someone in our sojourns.
The decision to move on is a tough one. It is difficult because we would like to linger on the past, even if it is a hurtful past. It is because that past has become our comfort zone and it is inconvenient for us to leave that past behind. In that past, there are people we loved who we learned to endure because we love them. But since, we are no longer growing with them, we feel it is better to move on in separate ways. Our desire to keep that past prevents us from moving on to another state of life.
Untying ties with people of one's past does not mean condemning them, but merely redefining our relationship with them. Our good memories with them must not be repressed by the hurts, neither should we ignore them nor regard that they never existed at all in our lives. Even those that hurt us the most, have made our lives meaningful for us to be better in the light, against their shadow character. Sure we had joys with them and happy moments to remember aswell. Like in leaving a house as guests, we have to be polite in finding our exit.
It would do the sojourner better to fit into his backpack, very few essentials, the smallest of all survival kits including a map of dreams, a small journal of good memories, a book to go by with life, a pill of courage, a bottle of passion to succeed, a cookie of openness for new experiences, a nutribar of concern to share with another, a pen filled with optimism, a light of hope, a blanket of warmth, a mobile communication to stay connected with love ones, and a huge space to pack in all other things new that can be acquired from moving on.
We can not carry luggage as we sojourn. We need to pack our things light and taking with us only the essential. The most important of which is a map of where we want to go, a map of who we are and who we want to be. So in the completion of a recent journey, we look forward to something else without losing our memory of our life before, while all the good is packed on our back. But if we carry a luggage, we can not move on and enjoy another journey.
Mapping our journey is planning for our new life. That is thinking of our present and looking forward to a future. As sojourners, we can do this with someone else, but the decision should remain ours to make. We can seek a guide whom we can ask to be with us, but if we only see a company as guide, that person can not be with us for a long time we might need them the most. A guide remains in his post for other travellers.
But if we find another sojourner along the way, who shares the same map with us, we can find the journey more enjoyable with that company. A companion in the journey must be necessary, especially if we are trekking trails that we have never been to. With that companion, we can share our fears, our sighs, our worries, and we can even lean our tired backs on each other. That companion has to be trustworthy, caring, enduring, concerned, feeling, understanding, talking and really listening.
With a companion sharing the same map, wanting the same direction, it is never an issue to get lost in the journey or to be delayed in the journey. For all we know that is what a journey is for, finding someone to enjoy where and when we find a worthy companion for each other. That in end we may not regretfully ask, "why have we been looking out for things from somewhere else, when what we really wanted and needed is right here, right now, right where we are?"
Monday, July 4, 2011
There are non-verbal cues to lying, but it takes an expert in kinesics and semiotics to understand the relationship between the words and the actions' meanings. They also vary culturally. Consistency is a prime suspect to determine lies, but one should be very careful to see the erratic pattern in the stories told in various episodes of the social interaction. It probably takes the mastery of understanding social interactions and their implications to the content and context of communication to immediately detect lying.
You were lonely then as you told me, I was lonesome too. I have not been tired of waiting for someone I kept my heart for in the last six years. You were in love with someone else for nine years until your ways separated. Suddenly, the chemistry between us worked like potion to strike me into thinking about you. Like you, I find myself spacing out when I am not busy, merely thinking of you.
We were just so connected, then we began to be expressing how we care for each other. Like kids, we did not understand what was going on, but we just keep on going because the feeling is mutual and we reciprocate our emotional needs. We feel a sense of security and belongingness when from each other, even if we don't spend much time together. You say you are happy with me around, and I feel the same way.
We could stay together all night, not wanting tomorrow to come. We would steal a kiss as we part ways, and our hands could find their ways to hold each other tight. We tried things we've probably not done before to surprise each other. We never failed in sharing the joy we feel, even the little times we stay together.
You understood, we had so many things in common. I said, we should be complementing each other even if there were so many differences that we have. Easily, we developed that trust, respect and mutual understanding. So, you included me in your dreams you want to happen, and you became a part of my life.You said, you found a life-coach in me, while I see a life-partner in you.
Are we friends or are we lovers, to care for each other this much? Is caring for each other so different from loving each other, when we can't even define what love is? Why then do we feel a need to be together, when we have no formal arrangements of what we are? I don't understand, you can't explain it to me either.
All I know is that sometimes in life we do not have a need to understand or explain things. The best of life comes when we get to enjoy and appreciate the feeling we have for someone we care for. No one enjoys the thrills and joys of a roller coaster ride by theorizing on G-force and pneumatics to operate the machine, while on it. We just have to take the ride and so enjoy the feeling, till we are there.