Archive for November, 2006

Stop the crying

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Raising kids is tough business. I'm no authority on the subject for sure but sometimes I think about things like crying babies. I know when ours were young we wrestled with what to do when they were crying. My wife was especially intuitive about what was wrong but there were times when the crying seems to be for no reason. I'm sure there was always a reason since babies can't manipulate their parents, can they?

At times when they would cry we would time them on with a clock. With one eye open at 3am, I would time pass as slow as ever, 5 minutes; 10 minutes, then finally one of us would stumble in to check on them. It seems like we finally read somewhere to be careful about checking them every time they cry. The idea was to teach them to comfort themselves especially if they weren't hungry or a dirty diaper wasn't the reason for the cries We were desperate to get some sleep back so we tried it. Those first few times were hard especially when the crying went on for what seemed like hours. With our new strategy we had to understand that crying wasn't necessarily bad and that it was okay for them to cry because they would eventually learn to comfort themselves back to sleep.

Recently, I've picked up on a marriage principle I've found in several books that seems almost as counter-intuitive as letting babies cry. The general principle is that couples must allow for a certain amount of conflict in marriage. In fact a recent study has hypothesized that the way couples "fight" is a predictor of the strength of their marriage. The thought that a healthy couple never fights is unrealistic and potentially dangerous. Generally good conflict can produce conversation and truth that can build trust as each express their feelings. Again, a strategy is needed to promote healthy conflict and much care should be taken with the words we use. Nevertheless, conflict can be a good thing when two are working on becoming one. Keep the issue and legitimate feelings in the center of the communication and don't allow personal contempt or cutting remarks any room period. You are two distinctly different people so there will be disagreement. As one author put it, "Fight fair." Just remember that crying kids add another voice to the mix. 

Get in line to wait

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Last week I flew out of town to a conference and was reminded of a sight that I notice every time I fly. After I check in and find my gate I like to sit and relax for a minute. I people-watch and make a few phone calls. As the time draws near to board, people start standing up and then it happens. After the first class passengers and frequent flyers, the gate "keepers" announce that boarding will begin soon. Instantaneously there is a rush right up to the barrier line or rope. Then, comes the announcement that they will be boarding from back to front beginning with the last rows, where my ticket inevitably says my seat is. All of us once a year travelers weave through the slalom course of suitcases, knocking over a few, fumbling for our boarding pass and ID before we get to the gate attendant. Once we hear, "Have a nice flight," we walk about 30 feet to encounter a line waiting to board the plane. It seems like this line moves about an inch a minute. Once on the plane, I'm caught standing again waiting between the seats staring at seated people who must be thinking something. Those ahead of me are stowing their luggage in the overhead compartments where they can find them. Once stowed they have to work their way back through the line of people to find their seat. Is it A or B? I think I'm in F… Finally, at my seat I can't help but wonder about the necessity of hurrying to sit in that. It is half as big as it should be but I proceed to fold up in between the arm rests. Is it a patience issue? Why all of the frenetic line making and the fast forward to get a ticket punched only to wait, take a step and wait some more and then sit, uncomfortably at best. Fly. Arrive. Moreover, at the gate it is everyone for themselves again before the door can open!

The truth in numbers

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

I'm sure this is just a normal everyday kind of thing but it made me think; news is supposed to be the news and unbiased, right? Right.

The other night it was reported that there were "about 7000 people" at an event for a political candidate. The next morning on a radio station the reporter said that "hundreds gathered" in reference to the same event.

Both could be consider true but probably not quite the accuracy I would hope for. I don't know who was closer to being right but it frustrates me that you can't just tell the story.

Makes you wonder about all that we hear and read…who do you trust? Why? How do you know something is true?