Friday, June 10, 2005

"One Nation Under Therapy"

I heard about this book on "The Daily Show" one night, the author was being interviewed, and I had to get it. I picked it up this week. Basically the book is about kids and how we're over-coddling them, creating members of society with virtually no coping mechanisms whatsoever. It makes some blanket statements that I don't agree with completely, but it cites some examples of this "therapism" in real schools and real organizations across the nation that are frightening:

- Some schools have banned tag, chase, red rover, and other games that identify children as "out" or "in" during recess. The games are just too hard on the child's emotional state. Replacement game: have the children sit in a circle and talk about their feelings, what makes them happy. Make sure that when playing "musical chairs", everyone has a seat.
- Some schools have banned the use of red pens for grading papers and replaced them, across the board, with lavender ink pens. The red is just too harsh, too offensive and causes feelings of inferiority and pain.
- When standardized tests were under attack during the Clinton administration, a panel of psychologists were asked to review the test content and make suggestions. Narrative stories about peanuts (George Washington Carver, their nutritional value) simply HAD to be removed because those students with peanut allergies might feel a little anxious and excluded and therefore could not complete the test without inhibition. There was another story about a tree stump in a forest. Various bugs and insects made their homes on the stump. The stump was compared to an apartment complex, which clearly might offend those students who lived in government housing.

I've only read about 20 pages.

There are more than just school stories, lots of commentary on the focus on our children's mental health -- not allowing children to grieve or feel pain, medicating too quickly, etc. The author is by no means saying that we need to lose our focus on the mental health of our youth. I think the most interesting point made so far is that with so much focus on how most children are generally stressed, anxious, depressed, etc., that those kids with real problems get lost along the way. Kids with severe issues get lumped into the general population of kids and labeled and treated the same. The thought of losing one child along the way terrifies me.

Again, I'm not too far into the book. There's a lot more to read. A lot more that I'll agree or disagree with, I just find the topic insanely interesting. In the work I do with youth, I see things that intrigue me -- kids' reactions to stress or authority, their jealousy, their world-view. I know that kids are kids, and that much of what I see is exactly the way I behaved when I was their age. But seriously, some of it isn't.

I'm certainly not anti-therapy. I think the title of the book is a little misleading. Of course, I'm only 20 pages in. I'm anxious to read more about it and see where they're going with it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Passing Thought on Reality TV

I'm sitting here eating my lunch, and I'm wondering if reality TV will soon take over our televisions...Will we get to a point where the only thing to watch is other non-famous, non-beautiful people on TV doing stupid tricks for tons of money? What will become of People Magazine?

We've got shows about amateur boxers, nannies, wife swapping, pretty girls dating ugly guys, bachelorettes, bachelors, "little people" falling in love with normal sized people, a bunch of men on a ranch where no one knows who is gay and who is straight, for love or money types, Martha and Donald's apprentices, people facing their worst fears (which has turned into people eating really nasty things), amazing races, trading spaces, American idols, and of course, Survivor. It seems like the only shows with "real" people we used to see on TV were beauty pageants, game shows, and the news.

I saw a preview the other day about a show where people in a neighborhood will get to choose their own neighbor -- they'll pick a family to move into an empty house on their block...All I can ever think is, "What will they think of next?"

If everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, won't everyone become famous at one point in time? I wonder what I'll have to do to get my fame...?

I need to get back to work and go buy my lottery ticket.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Chiggers, continued.

Now I've got them. WTF?

Monday, June 06, 2005

I will try anything once.

(Skaines and Scott, please refrain from commenting on that title.)

This weekend I got no sleep, I drank too much, my diet consisted mostly of fried and fattening snack foods, and I dragged my tired ass out to Grapevine and played paintball on Sunday.

Did you hear that? Yeah. Paintball. Or as I'm calling it today: PAINBALL. I have the biggest bruise I have ever had in my life on my hip. There's one on my boob, but it's not as ugly. This one on my hip is black, blue, red...kind of puffed up a bit. It's DISGUSTING. Again, I'll try anything once. But you will never find me back out on a paintball field unless it's winter time and I can pack on the clothing and padding so that I am not limping the next day.

The youth group kids loved it. And they stunk up my car with their sweat, but I still love them anyway. But if I ever find out who hit me at such close range...

Friday night -- dinner with Todd's family. I had turnips for the first time, and I liked them. We drank a little, played some games, and then drank some more. Lots of excess.

Todd, his groomsmen, and my brother got fitted for tuxedos on Saturday. Thanks to their cooperation and my friend Vincent's help, we knocked that out in about 50 minutes. Then we started drinking. Then we kept drinking and playing games. More excess.

Today I'm just tired. I don't want to work and I don't want to do all the million little things I have to do.

One of those million little things...cutting the guest list from 341 to 200. HA!