Those who have read advance copies of Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” fuss over the author’s shifting-sand focus drifting from platitude to attitude and back again as a hodgepodge of feminist manifesto and how-to career guide. Before we, as moms, bury one of us for succeeding let’s see if there’s something relatable about this woman.
It seems to me that we love to make heroes out of women who succeed in traditionally male-dominated roles and then we absolutely glory in being catty about their success as we claw out the eyes that were on the prize.
True, Ms. Sandburg, 43, has gobs of money and degrees from the Ivy League. And while she and I may share a passion for posting inspirational phrases, mine are on fridge magnets, while hers are custom framed on designer walls. I am 47, work freelance in order to be home with my kids and my boots are more UGH!, than Ugg. Meanwhile, my favorite New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Sandberg a "PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots." Owie.
So as a parenting blogger and a mom, I am about to become persona non-Prada with Ms. Dowd by taking a hike up a higher road to see how Sandburg looks from up there.
I found my lookout’s perch in the Washington Post’s “Lean In Cheat Sheet.” The Post tells us about Sandburg as a real person and mom: “She gained 70 pounds in her first pregnancy and had morning sickness the whole nine months. She got married at 24 and was divorced a year later. It took her a year to find a job in Silicon Valley. She’s been the subject of sexist comments, such as the client who wanted to set her up with his son. She’s cried at work (many times, apparently). And throughout her life and career, she confesses to having felt at times like an imposter. She admits, repeatedly, to worrying too much about being liked.”
Here’s a woman who has spent her life hacking down the barriers that may have barred some of us and the next generation of girls from wearing Prada or any other pair of shoes we might like to afford, putting herself farther out there for us. Here is the target we are shooting for, and we strapped a fellow mom to it and took our shots even as we read that her worst fear is being unliked?
For what it’s worth – and believe me it won’t buy you anything but peace of mind – I’d like to share with Sandburg, and any other woman who has fought her own fears, helped others to be inspired and been taken down by critics, the song “Did You” by my friends Deirdre Flint of Philly, that always helps me get back up. Deirdre’s a school teacher who started writing educational songs for her students and found that she had a gift for teaching us about how to be better to ourselves.
I’m going to post it on my Facebook wall right now with a shoutout to Sandburg.
Another work-a-day is done
A day a week a year is gone
And every breath you're further from
The one you meant to be
You can't recall the moment when
That Someday turned to Could Have Been
But a weak voice in you now and then
Asks what became of me.
A dream so loaded down with hope
It never would have flown
But would the fall hurt this much as this never having known
Did you stop believing just short of your miracle
Did you think a dream come true was the right of someone else
Did you wave the white flag when you knew you had a prayer left
And did you give more chances to a stranger than yourself
Like me? I did. Did you?
You're the first a friend calls when
They need a leap of faith again
You share the burden write the check
You weave the victory crown
Think how far you could have gone
If you'd had you to cheer you on
But the words you save when you're alone
Dig in and drag you down
From time to time you still replay
The moment drives you mad
You turned back moments from the top
And lost the chance you had (CHORUS)
No explanation for some things we do
But I sure would like to know
Why so many of us learn to fly from those
Who clipped their own wings long ago.
Like me. I did. Did you?
My kids and I are over the moon about today’s Goodle Doodle of Douglas Adams who I feel has influenced the lives of my sons nearly as much as I have. Also, by naming his only daughter Polly Jane Rocket Adams, he gave me license to name one of my sons Avery Danger Suhay, for that and many other parenting lessons I celebrate Mr. Adams today.
Adams not only wrote some of my very favorite books, creating characters who made me laugh and gave me stock lines I have passed on to my boys, but if looked at in a certain light – perhaps using a chartreuse bulb – he’s the definitive guide to parenting.
If Adams had ever written a guide to being a parent it would have the words “DON’T PANIC” written in large friendly letters on the cover.
Inside would be Adams’ words, intended for wit, but surprisingly accurate to the parenting situation.
“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so,” according to Adams. If that’s not a teenager I’m a paranoid android.
By the way, as a mom who drives kids everywhere, I am often moved to repeat the stock phrase of Marvin the paranoid android from Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they tell me to take you up to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cause I don't.”
As Mom’s Taxi service, I follow the Adams' maxium, “I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.” This is also true of choosing to be an at-home mom because as a parent our plans are often zapped by the laser of life as we follow the parenting path to some really cool places.
When anyone suggests that my choice of working from home and being with the kids isn’t a job or of value I quote Adams saying, “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”
He accurately described every parenting plan I have ever read in a book and tried to emulate in my home by saying, “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
Adams also, unintentionally, described what it’s like to tell a teenager to do a chore, “For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”
Some parents may resort to trying to feed away a problem with a child with a treat or mistakenly think that the act of having everyone at the table for dinner automatically makes it “family time.” I’ve learned that family meals require some serious effort in order for there to be actual conversation beyond the sound of “Nom, nom, nom” with four sons. Adams tells us, "It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.”
When we lived aboard our sailboat I fell into the habit of reading Adams books aloud as entertainment and that hasn’t stopped. As a result, my son Zoltan, 19, informed me he intends to take sky diving lessons, and when I incoherently burbled my terror at him he coolly responded, “Mom, don’t worry. All I need to do is throw myself at the ground and miss.” That came from the Adams quote “Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
Ian, 17, is brilliant but has terrible grades because nothing is ever turned in on time. His stock answer comes from Adams as well, and it’s my own fault for repeating it aloud so often, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Avery Danger Suhay (whom I dearly hope will someday adopt the pen name A. Danger Suhay) often writes “DON’T PANIC” in large friendly letters on the white board on the kitchen when I look as stressed as Arthur Dent with a Vogon fleet overhead.
Quin, 9, with Asperger Syndrome is a kid who can repeat things he’s read and heard verbatim. So when things get loopy – and particularly after a tornado warning here, which we get more than you’d expect for Norfolk, Va – he, too, quotes Adams: “We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem.”
Adams gave me the most valuable, lasting and essential parenting tool, humor. Using that, we have built a love of reading, laughing and flights of fancy into our family.
Most elementary schools celebrated the 100th day of school around this time of year. “Bring in 100 of something,” the teachers will say. And the day will be devoted to enumerating all manner of things: pennies, Cheerios, acorns, etc. In my former school, it was the day when Zero the Hero saved the day by restoring the specially decorated 100 cake. You can’t have 100 without Zero.
The day is also a tipping point. It sneaks up on you. Suddenly, the psychic midpoint of the school year has arrived. It has been circling and watching and coming closer and closer and then … it pounces. Though it may feel like the midpoint, that doesn’t necessarily mean “half over.” Like the proverbial glass that is half full or half empty, it depends on whether you’re filling it up or pouring it out!
At my school we’re still filling up. This apparent defiance of the laws of physics is more than a trick of the mind. Even though the second half of a school year can feel like the Westward slope on which we are hurtling toward June, time passes in unique ways for each time traveler. The external benchmarks describe one kind of time passage, and the second half of a school year is more like two thirds of the year in terms of the learning we can pour in. Better to focus on the upcoming tipping points, to use a popular phrase, which are internal, less predictable, and indicators of more profound growth. The good thing about going downhill isn’t just the speed–it’s the momentum.
Here’s a way of looking at a tipping point. A child enters, say, fifth grade long before they truly become a fifth grader. Fully inhabiting any new grade takes a while. There’s an accretion of fifth graderness required. There are new routines to master, a new teacher and classmates to know, new curriculums and traditions to practice. But those are just the quantifiable parts. A tipping point comes when we move beyond mere format to fully inhabit the new sense of ability, of accomplishment, of our individual capacities and possibilities. It’s tipping from being in fifth grade to being a fifth grader. It has been out there awaiting your arrival.
How do you know you’re at the tipping point? Ask around and answers will abound. “The most obvious way in kindergarten,” writes our teacher, Annie, “is to witness them flying into the classroom in the morning completely independently. Even when they are followed by parents posing as Sherpas, children have hung up their coats, signed in and become engaged in projects and games. They are often followed by adults with wistful expressions, hoping for an extra hug or a goodbye kiss. They might even welcome a modicum of trouble with separation. A token tear or two! A little clinginess to remind them of the good old days when they felt more needed. Parents, apparently, are tipping too! Now their full-fledged kindergarteners own the classroom, anticipate what the day has in store, and can’t wait to get on with it!” Here are the nascent seeds of executive functioning.
Another teacher, Robin, calls the middle of the preschool year “a protein-packed time indeed.” Our youngest students are making “deeper connections and fierce friendships can emerge,” she says. “Children who were playing in solitary or parallel fashion have matured enough and developed enough trust to enter into more collaborative play. The room grows a bit more boisterous, and the children begin to display a wider range of emotion than was evident in the beginning.”
Consider the astounding leap of consciousness embedded in the following preschool accomplishment: “In small group work this week, we introduced the term “vocabulary” and explained it as “words we are learning about,” says teacher Maureen. There’s an epistemological great leap forward here—not just learning words, but learning about words. “The first word added to our vocabulary list was 'describe/describing.' The group defined it as 'to tell things about something or an idea, but not to tell the name of the thing—that would be telling what we call it, not describing it; you need to investigate the thing that you want to describe so you know about it and know what to say.' Another word we have introduced: 'elbow grease', as in, 'You can do it, just give it a little more elbow grease!' This was a spontaneous term used in relation to the pressure needed to erase wipe-off crayon from the white board. It has plenty of other applicable uses.”
Meanwhile, the focus of recess collaboration down in Fort Town has turned from law enforcement to civil engineering. Bridge Edward and Fort Edward are nearing completion by the first and second grade crews. A mighty span of the impending big muddy eddy is being prepared. All that’s required for a nice water fall is ... water. The forecast looks auspicious.
Perhaps we’re accustomed to thinking of tipping points as large-scale phenomena, the moments when a grand new cultural idea, trend, or behavior suddenly overwhelms the status quo. But a tipping point is about subtleties. There are, in fact, many tipping points in a school year. It can be the ‘Aha!’ moment when the concept of multiplication finally clicks, or when words take flight and a poem’s “deep inner meaning” finally makes exquisite sense. Suddenly you can play C on your recorder, and a whole tune falls into place, or the short vowel sound you hear finally corresponds to the letter you’re seeing in the middle of sight words. Just raising your hand in the morning meeting for the first time is a big moment. But these are tipping points within tipping points, and there is a gradual slope leading up to the actual moment of change. Even "The Tipping Point", Malcolm Gladwell’s book that launched our popular awareness of the concept, must have had a few subsidiary tipping points!
Beware: Tipping points arrive spontaneously and without warning. It’s good to be on the look out. We may be halfway “there,” with a couple more halves to go before June (!), but we make more progress in the time allotted if we celebrate those new recorder notes and vowels and consonant blends (“One good word is worth a thousand pictures”) and reports of nature and birthdays in morning meetings. We can’t always see them coming, or recognize that “we’re there” until much later. But we’re destined to be “more than the sum of our parts” if we take delight in the surprising tips ahead, and savor the momentum they bring. It’ll take a little elbow grease to get to June; more wistful Sherpas and protein-packed play. The sixth graders are working on Greek theater. Places everyone—for Act II.
Todd R. Nelson is Head of School at The School in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania. The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.
The baby will be biologically Vergara and fiance Nick Loeb's, and the child's host is said to be a close girlfriend of Vergara's. “A procedure has taken place, and Sofia and Nick will find out in a few weeks if it was successful, if the surrogate is pregnant, and if they will become parents," a source close to Vergara told the Post.
It was not clear if she chose surrogacy because her career at the moment is skyrocketing: a new season of Modern Family is filming, she has a K-Mart fashion line, and is in talks with a number of movie producers for upcoming roles, the Post said.
Vergara is one of a number of celebrities who have chosen to conceive a child through surrogacy, a process still controversial in the US, in which a woman carries a child for another couple.
As Stephanie Hanes wrote for The Christian Science Monitor back in April: "Over the past couple of years, Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban had a baby daughter via surrogate (in January); Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick had twins (June 2009); and Elton John and partner David Furnish had a baby boy (Christmas Day).
The statistics for gestational surrogacy in the US show a wider increase, as well. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Centers for Disease Control report the number of infants born to gestational surrogates increased to 1,400 in 2008 from 738 in 2004. (Some groups involved in surrogacy – both pro and con – say they believe these numbers are low.)
Gestational surrogacy makes up a small percentage of the babies born from other types of intense fertility treatment. According to the CDC, which reviewed data from 441 fertility clinics nationwide, 60,190 infants were born after Assisted Reproductive Technology, the term that describes all treatments that involve handling women’s eggs or embryos, including in vitro fertilization. But it has received some of the most intense criticism.
Some critics have speculated that surrogacy would become the new vanity C-section for the Hollywood set, with women who don’t want to go through the 'inconvenience' of pregnancy and childbirth simply outsourcing those duties to another, usually lower income, woman. Others worry about the ethical implications for the surrogate; still others wonder about the religious implications of the scientific management of childbirth."
Neither the New York Post or Vergara have indicated why Vergera may be choosing surrogacy. She gave birth to her first and only child, a boy. Vergara has always wanted a brother or sister for her 21-year-old son, the Post said, and Loeb has been pushing for a child.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence is a survivor on screen and off, as a child forced to move repeatedly due to bullies and later in Hollywood where even an Oscar got her bullied by fashion critics when she tripped at the finish over her gorgeous gown, landing in a heap on the stairs during her moment of glory.
Lawrence told an interviewer at The Sun, “I changed schools a lot when I was in elementary school because some girls were mean.”
Apparently, before starring in The Hunger games, Lawrence in school played a target for mean girls.
“They were less mean in middle school, because I was doing all right, although this one girl gave me invitations to hand out to her birthday party that I wasn’t invited to,” Lawrence told The Sun. “But that was fine, I just hocked a loogie on them and threw them in the trash can.”
While Shane Koyczan’s anti-bullying video poem "To This Day", highlights how students with different body types, birth marks, and family issues are targets for abuse, Lawrence’s revelation serves to underscore the fact that bullying is less about the victim and more about the tormentor’s issues.
Koyczan recently told the Monitor that he believes in forgiveness of bullies for two reasons: “The very first e-mail I ever got when e-mail first began was from a tormentor of my youth. A long letter asking for forgiveness and detailing every incident and explaining what was going on in his life and how what he was doing to me really had nothing to do with me at all.”
Lawrence, on the other hand chooses to dismiss those who diss. She developed a life motto: “Don’t worry about [them] — that could be a good motto, because you come across people like that throughout your life.”
When you raise kids to be smart, you often end up taking all the tests. That’s what happened last night when I tried to explain daylight saving time (DST) to my youngest son and suddenly found myself in the middle of a heated debate as my teens argued the necessity, effectiveness, linguistics, and the fact that there’s actually no rule or law making it mandatory.
Gone are the days when my first son thought saving daylight meant putting it in a piggy bank to use as a night light and that “Spring ahead; Fall back,” was all about jumping on the furniture for half the year.
Then my son Ian, 17, went on a rant about the futility and arrogance of believing we can control the seasons. FYI: Ian hates to get up in the morning and has a room entirely decorated with dozens of clocks of every size and style with their only common thread being that time has permanently stopped for them – they are all broken. He collects broken clocks as, I think, a protest against being ruled by them.
Quin, 9, with Aspergers has a terrible time cottoning-on to metaphor, analogy, and rhetorical speech so the entire DTS concept is a science-only prospect for him. Explaining to Quin means we forget the cutsie and go straight to Google for history, math, and scientific explanations.
“So the hour isn’t actually ‘lost’ right,” Quin pressed. “The hour’s there, we’re just pretending it’s not the correct time?” We were all forced to agree with this assessment.
Quin read and thought and came back to the raging, argument-filled dining room where his elders were getting all existential on the issues of time and bending reality to social convenience. He held two ringers in the air — the universal grade school symbol for silence — and got not quarter. Finally he resorted to our household favorite from the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, knocking “Shave and a haircut” and waiting for his brothers to give in to the impossible urge to sing “Two bits!”
“Come read what I found on the Internet,” he commanded. Here’s what he found at KidsGeo.com
“During the First World War, Germany instituted a daylight saving program to save power. They ordered everyone to set their clocks ahead by one hour, or one hour ahead of standard Sun time. Doing this made it so that it was light longer into the evening, saving their country energy in the form of electricity. In 1918 the United States began a similar policy. Today, most countries around the world observe Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time usually begins in April and ends in October in the Northern Hemisphere, after which clocks are set back to standard Sun time.”
Quin looked at us with the look of one who has just solved the riddle of the Sphynx. “It was invented to save electricity. So all we need to do is use less during the day and play our Gameboys in the dark at night and Wha-bam! We can skip all this.”
It was about an hour later that he began hinting around that, “Ya know, Mom, there’s such a thing as an Atomic Clock. I really wouldn’t mind having one of those so see what time it is inside an atom.”
As Daffy Duck often said to Porky Pig, “More briefing? I think so.”
On the way to school this morning Quin pointed to the dashboard clock (still unchanged from last year’s Spring ahead) and matter-o-factly said, “Well at least we can stop doing the math on this clock after Sunday.”
I have the feeling that I’m really not going to miss that hour because it’s one less that I have to spend explaining the loopy things adults do to a child who has a mind that’s all logic.
If you were a teacher or a principal of an elementary school facing an unruly student, when would you call in the police?
If an 8-year-old is staging a mega-temper tantrum, what would you do?
That is what school officials were confronted with at the LoveJoy Elementary School in Alton, Ill. when a child in their care began to act out and disrupt the rest of the class.
Eight-year-old Jmyha Rickmon, who is in a special behavior disorder class, threw a tantrum and reports say the girl was "out of control and tearing up two classrooms."
After officials called the Alton police, the girl was placed in handcuffs and taken to the police station and placed in a juvenile detention room to wait for her guardian to pick her up.
The girls’ uncle and guardian Nehemiah Keeton, who has cared for her since she was less than two-weeks-old, and also has two other daughters, arrived to pick up his niece two hours after being called. Keeton said, according to The Telegraph in Alton, Ill., that he had to leave his janitorial job in St. Louis – about 23 miles away – to pick her up.
By the time he arrived, "she had handcuffs on her wrists and legs. She asked to use the restroom several times but was denied. The police officer told her if she didn't stop kicking the seat of the car, he was not going to call me."
Alton school officials and police stand by their decision to place the 8-year-old in handcuffs and under arrest.
Jmyha stayed home from school on Wednesday, the day after the incident, because she was afraid. Keeton told The Telegraph, "I'm not sending her back. If she stays here, at least I know she will be safe. This is unacceptable; she woke up with nightmares." Keeton said he plans to file charges.
Kristie Baumgartner, assistant superintendent at the Alton School District, issued a statement about the incident Wednesday afternoon:
"I cannot comment on any specifics regarding the incident, as we protect the confidentiality of our students, and also will not comment of the Alton Police Department's involvement," her statement read. "In the extremely rare instance that a student demonstrates behaviors that are harmful to (the student) or others, our district procedure is to contact the parent immediately and require that they pick up their child after all school-based interventions have been provided.
"If a parent refuses, we then contact law enforcement for additional intervention, if needed," Baumgartner said. "Our first priority is the safety of students and staff, and this procedure is designed to protect everyone involved."
Keeton told KMOV.com in St. Louis that he had told school officials Tuesday that he was coming to pick up the girl, but said he thought school officials grew impatient and called the police. “I feel like if you can’t handle an 8-year-old without calling the police,” said Keeton, “to put fear in them like my child, you don’t need to work with kids.”
Jersey Shore reality star Snooki loses 42 pounds post-baby through a dedicated program at a $29.99 a month keep-it-real type Jersey gym, and this week she’s celebrated for her new body-image as a bikini-clad cover girl. What she should really be praised for on the covers of publications is choosing to heed her new parenting instincts by transforming herself from party girl to mommy-worthy example of healthy choices and hard work.
This week Snooki is on the cover of US Magazine, and explained her remarkable transformation by telling the Today Show, "When you have a baby, everything changes." It turns out this would be the first, but not the last time this week I find myself agreeing with someone nicknamed for what I always knew as a type of Floridian fish: snook.
I’m going to admit that as a former Jersey Shore girl myself, growing up just outside Asbury Park and later living on Long Beach Island, I was not a fan of the MTV’s old, pre-baby Jersey Shore reality series Nicole “Snooki” Pollizi and her endless summer, raunchy party style.
However, the new, improved fit, lower-drama mama Snooki got me to reevaluate my own lifestyle and how weight gain, poor eating habits, and lack of a fitness routine in my life is sending the wrong message to my kids.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this — I think I want to be more like Snooki, but without the tanning and hair color change. Her glossy, dark, straight hair was the thing I actually liked about the old Snooki.
According to John Cabiedes, manager of New Jersey’s Florham Park Fitness, where Snooki trains with personal coach Anthony Michael of Express Fitness service, “She’s changed completely and it was in only about two months after she started here.”
Cabiedes, who is also a new parent added, “I know where Snooki’s coming from with the lifestyle change too because I have a 4-month-old and I’ve never been so tired in my life! Also, I was a guy who thought nothing in life mattered and now, with a baby, you know everything matters. I see she knows that too.”
Snookie told the Today Show: "I mean I definitely partied for like three people my entire life. I feel like now, you know, I have a family, I have a baby now, and this is just like a new chapter in my life and I love it. I'm just so excited."
I hope the reality star’s change continues to hold through the upcoming “chapters” in her life. When it comes to fitness, I’ve found that with the first and even second baby, moms seem able to “get their body back.” Somehow, after four it seems much easier to get derailed, put you own body last, and set a bad example for your children.
Less than a year ago I was setting the right example, running, doing jiu-jitsu, and working out, until I got struck across both shins by a surfboard that got away from my husband as we were teaching our youngest the joys of wave riding. The board bruised the bones, causing complications that swept me off my feet and sank me deep into the couch potato and comfort food lifestyle.
Then the photos of Snooki and reports of how she’s taken the “GTL” philosophy, “Gym, Tan, Laundry,” to a new level, forcing me to reevaluate the level of effort I’m making to get my own reality show on the road. “GTL” was coined by Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from MTV's Jersey Shore. An example sentence, via the Urban Dictionary: “You gotta GTL every day to make sure you're looking your best bro. If your shirt looks bad it makes the whole product look bad."
While nothing on this earth is ever going to make me want to be like Mike, I do feel motivated by Polizzi’s new situation. Today, thanks to a Snooki reality check, I am getting myself unplugged, going for my first run since June 2012, and I’m taking the kids with me.
According to published reports, Kate Middleton slipped up and nearly said the “D-word” – daughter, – when receiving a teddy bear from a fan at an appearance. If those perfect lips just sank the British ship of state’s most closely guarded secret, a new little princess means Middleton has the opportunity to change the world from gender-typed pink-think princess stereotypes to empowered regal ruler.
Apparently, when handed a teddy bear by a woman in Grimsby, England the Duchess of Cambridge said, “Oh thanks, I’ll save it for me daugh…baby.” To which the woman replied: “You were going to say daughter weren’t you?” The soon-to-be mom was mum from there on out, and now the palace isn’t telling either.
RECOMMENDED: The top 25 celebrity baby names of all time
As the mom of four boys who was told definitively that son No. 2 was going to be a daughter by an ultrasound technician, I’m not holding my breath. Also, I am so grateful for having boys it’s not even funny. Imagine the mega-princess trends that would result from a new royal girl.
If it is to be a princess, we had best brace for the onslaught of worldwide stereotyping getting a social bump for years to come. Every dress the child wears, each pair of shoes, hair style and accessory will become a coveted trend here, there and everywhere as moms of little girls bemoan the loss of any ground gained toward a gender-typing-free world.
Disney will have a field-day with this one if it’s a girl no matter what choices are made for the girl’s education. But I think that this could be the princess to end all princesses, an epic and transformative tale that plays out right before our eyes. She can wear the clothes and attend the traditional balls and still be the one to give princesses power to rule hearts and minds.
When a missing Massachusetts teen was found alive on Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain after going missing while skiing, we learned he did everything right to stay alive, including build a snow cave for survival, all of which he credited to knowledge gained by watching TV survival shows. The revelation can reassure parents that there actually is something valuable on television to engage teens’ critical thinking skills and yet motivate them to be outdoors.
Nicholas Joy, 17, was missing on Sugarloaf for nearly two days, but was found early Tuesday morning by a snowmobiler.
I spoke with Ethan Austin, Carabassett Valley Police’s communications director for Sugarloaf this morning, and he explained that the teen, who skied out of bounds off the Binder trail just after noon on Sunday, built a snow cave late that day when he realized he was lost, a skill he told his rescuers he learned from watching survival shows on TV.
“All credit goes to Nicholas for keeping his wits about him and keeping himself alive using skills from the survival shows he said he likes to watch,” Officer Austin said. “Although he would have done a lot better if he’d worn a hat, remained with a partner [his dad Robert] and kept his cell phone with him.”
As a mom I just about shouted “Amen!” when Austin mentioned the ancient battle of all moms v. son battles, “Wear a hat!”
Austin added that this is not the first time he’s heard that watching TV survival shows has played a major role in the rescue of a skier. “Being involved with the ski industry I keep up with this kind of situation and I have seen a number of times where someone who was found talked about having used tips they learned from a show to get them home safe.”
While some critics argue that watching television survival skill shows may give viewers over confidence of their actual skill levels, thus leading them into danger, I think that if you choose the shows well, and watch with your kids, what you get is motivation.
Our family lived aboard a sailboat with our first two children and moved to land thereafter as weekend warriors who sail, surf, hike, bike and kayak with chess for rainy days. Strike that, we do all the aforementioned in all conditions and have played chess in the rain. My husband organizes a winter Laser sailboat Frostbite Series on Sundays for the community. My sons and I take turns as the race committee year-round, floating on the Elizabeth River in all kinds of conditions.
Yet despite all that, teens will be teens and mine still love long couch potato sessions with Gameboys or TV, sometimes simultaneously. So the boys and I struck a compromise and all four of my sons, ages 9, 14, 17, and 19 and I became devotees of survival shows.
Note: I am not talking about the show "Survivor"which is more about surviving at the expense of others and how it can bring out the worst in people than learning useful skills. For that we turn to The Discovery Channel which actually has a survival site complete with tool, tips, and videos to supplement what they learn on the programs.
We started with Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls, the British adventurer who has a show wherein he’s literally dropped, via plane, boat or chopper with nothing other than the clothes and perhaps parachute on his back.
Watching “Bear” led to other survival shows, with the current favorite of my teen sons being "Dual Survival," also on The Discovery Channel. On this program, people must work together in pairs, often with opposing methods in order to make it through the wild.
Perhaps, given Austin’s reminder to ski with a partner, "Dual Survival" is the better show for them to watch. “Having a partner in a survival situation can make a big difference because you have someone there to check your judgment.” I will add to that by saying that is doubly true if your partner is also your parent.