Saturday, November 28, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Many of us have heard by now that yesterday the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) announced its word of the year-- “unfriend.” At first I thought “how modern!” of the OED to choose a word associated with social networking.
Then I heard on NPR that “unfriend” actually dates back to the 17th century and meant about the same thing it does now, although it is currently exercised in previously unthinkable and creative ways on Facebook and elsewhere. No longer is an actual gauntlet or epee required to “unfriend.”
So hearing this, it could not have been more timely to see a patient in my office yesterday afternoon who was describing the drama of her last year and a half as she emerged from a painful middle school experience and has begun to settle nicely into high school. In the process, however, she has had to “unfriend” a MeanGirlWannabee or two. Liberating herself from the toxic influences of these personalities was not a negative move at all. Instead, I supported her decision to be herself and to accept that not everyone is “friend” material. The dewy eyes that I saw as we talked were a clear indicator of the intensity and anguish involved in the decision and process of extricating herself from an old group. Not to mention the scary steps of judging, navigating and cultivating a new set of companions moving forward.
There may be pain in severing relationships whether that happens electronically or through face to face negotiation. Having language to describe what happens in the new world of e-communication—apparently “sexting” was a runner-up for Word of the Year—will go a long way to encouraging dialogue as we all grow and evolve with the many new inventions quite literally at our fingertips.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
During a recent parents' meeting at my childrens' high school, the principal implored parents not to text kids during the day as it is not only disruptive, but bad parenting. For instance, he said, it is not a good idea to text right after the math test. Let your child process his thoughts, feelings, anxieties and concerns or even his elation over the test before you try to edit those sentiments by intruding with :"How did it go?" The principal went on to describe a parent who phoned the math teacher after such a test/text situation before the school day was even over! How will we teach our kids resilience and self-reliance if we don't allow them to tussle with and deal with emotion-laden moments on their own?
It is useful to remind ourselves that teens change their feelings and viewpoints very quickly and it is often healthier (and brings less drama) to wait a few hours and see how they have sorted things out for themselves without parental input.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Today is World Pneumonia Day. I had no idea until I received a clever email from Save the Children entreating me to play "Mission Pneumonia". Never one to turn down a challenge (I love the SAT question of the day, for instance), I clicked into the game. It is an apparently simple strategy to get you to donate money (of course) but just as important it teaches us about pneumonia:
- pneumonia is preventable and treatable;
- a child dies from pneumonia every 15 seconds somewhere in the world
- community health workers are a powerful force against the #1 killer of children under 5
What are the most critical actions you can take? Log on and play the game at Mission Pneumonia.