Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This, is personal.

You ever have that day, where you just keep going and going, and then when you finally stop, and an Oreo cookie commercial makes you cry?
I did have a long tedious rant that would have taken you step by step through my day. But even I found that annoying. Ew.
Today wasn't a bad day, per se, just... a long one. One where the best fantasy is a bed and blanket and peace and quiet.
Jackman is super adjusting to being an indoor puppy. Still pees on the floor now and then, but only on linoleum so it's no big deal. He tries, like when he can't quite make it to the pee pad and squats an inch beside it, or can't remember where the pad is, and uses a flyer. That works to.
As far as coaching is going, winding down is not as slow and relaxed as it sounds like. There may be only a week left in Crossfield, and two in Airdrie, but man oh man, the crunch is on.
And for the first time today all my figure skaters made it to Gala practice! We've been working on this since January, and when they all started going off about how frustrating it is I reminded them of their lack of attendance. Little else was said. I understand when some commitments come up, but come on now. Ridiculous.
But maybe it's not so bad. Yesterday coaching pre-hockey, I turned around to see one kid with bulging cheeks, drool forming, pressed mouth, and panicked eyes. In one swift movement we were able to make it off the ice to the garbage can and mask off to spit it all out. He was a little trooper though, and took it all in stride.
When I turned around, the rest of the group had taken a toll on the relay race I had just set up. Breathe, and start over.
So in comparison, coaching today not so bad. I'm sure I should be in bed right now, but this time to pause and reflect is quite nice. Puppy and fiancé both down for the night, so funny TV and glass of wine are just the right prescription for my ailment. Which is basically a case of the 'everyone please go away's.
Good news is I get an extra day at the City View this week, and possibly consistently starting in a few weeks. Yay!
Also, with the invitations sent out, I've been lost looking for a project, so I found some time to start working on the homestudy for my level two coaching. Keeping it going, and moving on up.
I have this insane need to always be doing something to... improve myself? That's not quite the word I'm wanted, but the sleep deprivation is making me to lazy to thesaurus it (or generate a better one myself).
Apparently I always need to be doing something. It was school, then it was passing the last driving test (no more GDL) and now it's coaching level 2. So basically I like tests, and being marked and evaluated.
Maybe that's odd, I would rather not dwell on it at this present time.
Happy note number two: WEDDING! Just three months away and things a starting to really come together. I don't feel like giving away to many details, because when the big day unfolds, the more mystery, the more magical! I received my veil in the mail last week, it's so perfect. Couldn't be more pleased. :)
Happy note three: Mexico in two months. Jason and I are going away for a week to celebrate his friends wedding. I'm stoked. I've never been to Mexico, and I can't wait to go and lay on a beach or beside a pool and care only about sunscreen application for a few days. Mmm, vacation. Not my usual kind of travelling, but I'll take it any day!
So, I think that's all that's going on presently. The dishes keep dirtying themselves when I'm not looking, but that's old news.
I should really go to bed, I didn't realize what time it was and that I missed an hour some where in there. Oops.

G'Night all!

(side note, I'll edit this later)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Girls Rule, Boys Drool

I'm not really sure why there is such a focus on gender lately. I'm not talking female rights and such, but children who are barely aware of what gender means.

More and more, there are books on how to specifically raise, not your child, but your son or daughter.
An article in the Globe and Mail debates whether or not we are creating a gender war.

In this article the main points that caught my attention were those made by two authors, both parents, one a teacher.

The first topic discussed: A Call to Action

'Michael Reist: “We must change our thinking about ‘boy energy’ and see it as something positive to be harnessed ... We will have to change three things in the future to make schools more boy-friendly. We will have to change the environment, the kinds of activities done there, and, most of all, our expectations and attitudes about boy behaviour.”

My View: Up until 20 or so years ago, schooling was very much the same. You sat respectfully, listened intently, and worked hard to do well in your studies. Squirming and acting out was not appropriate or allowed.  Of course when teachers were no longer allowed to use physical punishment (rulers, dunce caps) their ability to control became more challenging. With all the backlash teachers receive these days, it's understandable how you, a teacher, could want a change in the curriculum to make it more 'boy-friendly'. It's not a terrible idea, but why now, after all this time, has it progressed to such a point that you can no longer expect future generations to be able to sit through a class? This is why such things as recess, gym, and extra-curricular activities were brought into school. To give the children an outlet. Also, I would like to point out, that just as many girls are out-spoken and disruptive as are boys, so why would we change it to 'boy-friendly'?
Caitlin Flanagan: “The sexually explicit music, the endless hard-core and even fetish pornography available 24 hours a day on the Internet, the crudeness of so much of the national conversation and the ways technology has made it so that there is almost no such thing as a private experience any more – all of this is hard on everyone, but I would contend that it is most punishing to girls.”'
My View: I do agree that most popular music put out in the last ten years, has become inappropriate, and should be monitored a lot more closely. The lyrics can be too suggestive and outright explicit, and this combined with the musics availability to young impressionable ears, can be damaging. 

Topic number two: Differences
Both views on this topic were very obvious on the difference between boys and girls, so I will not post mine or their views. I do not believe that it would surprise anyone that boys like action (in books, movies and so on) and girls can become more easily attached to things, including material objects.

Topic number three: Role of the Internet

Mr. Reist: “Cyberspace is a visual-spatial world, not a text world. In this post-literate age, more and more people are getting their information from pictures. The typical male brain is spatial and visual. It loves cyberspace, which is a feast of looking and virtual motion. [Meanwhile] boys’ reading and writing scores are declining every year.”
My View: The main thing that irks me on this, is why it's necessary to have a 'post-literate age'? That does not bode well for anyone, female or male. This is a problem I am not sure how to solve. With bad grammar and atrocious spelling becoming acceptable, not only boys, but all school children, seem to even be less aware that spelling and grammar are important. This needs to be dealt with from day one, and continue to be harped on. A certain standard needs to be set in schools, because as of now, that standard is a very blurry relaxed line. If you read an earlier post of mine, you will understand what I mean.
Ms. Flanagan: “Today’s girls leave the hothouse environment of school and peers, retreat to their rooms and, instead of getting a break from the pressure, they re-enter it. The dramas of the day continue, the whispering campaigns and gossip need to be constantly monitored ... the computer has its camera endlessly seeking new images, eager to blast the girl, in her most flattering look, into a zillion screens around the world.”

My View: There's very little to be done about the content of the internet and what girls see, and what they learn is hard to control. What needs to happen, is a technology break, where the child (this is not gender specific issue) can take time to be with themselves and have no influence from outside sources. This is a parents job to enforce, and it should start at a young age. With technology in every part of our lives, it's important to remind children, that life can still go on without a wifi connection. By doing this the child can take a break and really just relax without having to put on any fronts or worry about being judged or what everyone else is worrying about.

Topic number four: A piece of advice?

Mr. Reist: “We have this idea that unless a child is sitting quietly looking at us, he is not listening. This is not the case. Allow fidgeting, doodling and playing – as long as the child can still hear you.”
My View: It's like ticks and twitches that give us our ability to really focus. How many people tap their foot while taking tests, or tap their pen when thinking? But of course, this needs to happen in moderation. I work with children enough to know that this can easily become distracting, to the talker, the child, and other children. There is a time and place, children have shorter attention spans, so don't lecture, get them hands on. My favourite, have their hands on their head or shoulders while you're talking. They're doing something different, yet not moving.
Ms. Flanagan: “Make her bedroom an Internet-free zone ... The constant incursion of the cell phone and instant messaging, the round-the-clock, deeply addictive and anxiety-producing gossip mill of the social networking sites that teens love, are a drain on the energy needed in Girl Land.
My View: I agree.

Toping number five: What about the opposite sex?
Mr. Reist: “We cannot ignore the vast amount of brain research in the past 20 years that has revealed fascinating differences between the male and female brains. At the same time, it must always be remembered that gender is not an either-or, black-and-white reality.”
My View: I'm not surprised that research has supported that there are differences in the male and female brain. Ask a boy and girl the same questions, and even if they come up with the same answer, ask them how they came to that answer. Chances are it will be different. Gender is black-and-white when it comes to the main differences, reproductive organs. Other than that, any differences tend to be related to societal pressure, which can be extremely unnecessary, but at times, important to the survival of the our species.
Ms. Flanagan: “Many parents are afraid that if they raise their daughters differently from their sons, providing more protection and limits for girls than boys, they will shortchange the girl. But the reverse is true. Girl Land is a finite period of emerging identity, one that can feel confusing and frightening. If her parents take care to protect her during this time ... she will be stronger and more confident as a woman.”
My View: What is Girl Land? Something defined by this author I'm guessing. And both children need protection and limits. I would not protect one child any more than the other, or let one get away with something that the other would not. That's unfair, and creates prejudices in a child's minds. 

All in all, I just don't know why this is a big deal. Yes, there has always been differences between male and female, girls used to only wear dresses and skirts and couldn't hold certain jobs. Now we have come a long way and should be proud of the fact that equality is not just a dream. We should not revert to making sure there is an obvious difference between male and female.
There will always be an obvious difference, it's hardwired into us as human beings. The issue here, is that there is really no issue.