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Posts Tagged ‘mistakes’

So, a couple of days ago some good friends, Nick and Laura stopped by to see the baby.  They visited for a while.  Nick brought over a couple of cigars (I am very glad that he did not believe that this was a gift reserved for boy babies.  Good on ya Nick!) and a 4-pack of Guinness.  Laura brought something, I don’t know what it was, I was too focused on the stogies and beer.  I know it was pink and I am sure Violet will wear whatever it was at some point.  Anyhoo, after oohing and ahing over Violet we went out to lunch together and had some nice conversations.  The main subject of one of our conversations was prompted by Laura who asked us if we plan to vaccinate Violet and our overall opinion on the subject.  That particular conversation has led me to write this post.  However, before I do, I want to talk about something else: Is there anything more of a couple activity than visiting someone’s baby?  Seriously, unless you are married, no guy chooses to go see someone else’s baby that they are not related to.  And even then you are only going to go if it is very very convenient.

So, it got me thinking: What activities signify that you are in a serious, most likely to get married relationship?  Nick and Laura, the first part of this post is dedicated to you.

A la Jeff Foxworthy:

If you are a guy and you attend an event that has anything to do with babies, i.e., new baby, christening, baby shower, bar mitzvah, or bris … You might be in a serious relationship.

If you are at a wedding, and you are with someone and you are NOT wondering which bridesmaid or groomsmen you might be able to get with that night …  You might be in a serious relationship.

If you have to set your alarm to get your girlfriend or boyfriend to the airport on time … You might be in a serious relationship.

If the boys or girls say “Let’s hit the town tonight” and your response is “Sure, but let me clear it with my partner first.” … You might be in a serious relationship.

If a HOT guy or girl walks by, and you do NOT notice (more for guys), you sir, are whipped, and … You might be in a serious relationship.

OK, now back to our regularly scheduled program.  So, we were talking about vaccinations and how there is a population of people who believe that vaccinations have led to more harm than good in their children.  And it got me thinking about the human need to understand the cause of something.  We need to know why something happened.  We especially need to know why bad things happen.  Let me give you a few scenarios to illustrate this point.

If you take your car to the mechanic for an oil change and on your drive home from the mechanic your car breaks down, or you hear a knock, or something is clearly wrong, who are you going to blame?

If you are in perfect health, not a hint of sickness, and you take a trip to the hospital, and within an hour you are as sick as a dog, where did you pick up the bug?

And finally, if you have your child vaccinated, and within 24 hours of the shot your child appears different to you or is later diagnosed with autism what is to blame?

Please do not get me wrong, I have the utmost respect and love for parents raising children that have conditions that are not considered typical or are difficult to manage.  My oldest son has seen his fair share of professionals to diagnose and assist us with his development.  The point of this post is simple, although we need to know the cause, the cause is not always clear, and the “obvious” cause may only be obvious to us because of coincidence and our strong human desire to know the cause of an unfortunate event in our life.

We all address potential coincidences differently.  For example, I believe in prayer.  If I pray for someone to get better and they are miraculously healed, I will thank God.  However, if you do not believe in God, you will thank modern medicine or call it a coincidence.  For even I know that not all my prayers receive miraculous results, so it can be difficult to know coincidence versus Divine Intervention.  If the outcome is good, divine intervention, if the outcome is bad, other explanations are needed.  One must be careful, because you can not have it both ways.

In general, humans have major problems with randomness and mistakes.  We hate randomness because we need to know why things happen and we will go to great lengths to connect A to B.  We also hate mistakes, or more specifically, we hate accidents.  Why?  Because we need to blame someone or something.  If it is an accident, than it is no one’s fault, and we hate that.  Living in a no-fault culture is detrimental to health and well-being.  Everyone and everything makes mistakes.

A while back I went to the ATM to withdrawal 20 bucks.  The machine deducted 20 dollars from my account, but money did not come out.  This has happened once in my life.  Luckily, these machines have cameras, and I wrote a letter to the bank and the 20 dollars was placed back in my account.  So you see, even machines make mistakes.

I would hate to be a doctor for this very reason.  Doctors are humans, but they are expected to be perfect.  How can a doctor be perfect? Yet they are expected to be, especially if it is your child.  When something goes wrong during surgery, we need to blame someone.  Keep in mind, neglect is different from mistake.  If doctor is proven to be negligent, I get that, but I do not understand how someone can lose their job over a mistake.  But if it were my kid, God forbid, I would definitely need someone or something to blame.  I get it.  This is why I understand why so many have blamed vaccines for autism.  It also did not help that a now defunked scientific article was written about the time parents were looking for reasons for their child’s autism.

Approximately 10 out of 10,000 babies have autism, a relatively low percentage.  What is the likelihood that most if not all of them were caused by vaccinations?  But it can give a parent a reason, and that is important.

Let me leave with you one final example.  This is an example of how our minds work and our brain will literally create an image with meaning that may not exist.  In 1976, the following picture was taken on the surface of Mars.

A shape that is about two miles long near a region of Mars called Cydonia.

There was a huge uproar from the public regarding the meaning of this incredible “finding” and the evidence of life on Mars.  To put the situation to rest, NASA took pictures of the exact same site again in 2001.  This time with the benefit of better technology.

The picture on the right was taken in 2001. Do you still see a face?

Pictures were taken from http://www.msss.com/

We often see things that are not there.  Our brain is excellent at creating reason for everything.  I think a great movie to watch is The Invention of Lying (http://the-invention-of-lying.warnerbros.com/).  It will give you something to think about regarding beliefs.  Keep in mind, I recommend this movie as a believer in God.  Nonetheless, we all want to know why things happen, but unfortunately sometimes things just happen.  I don’t think everything is random, as matter of fact I think most things are not, but I do believe random plays a part in my life.  I know I certainly make mistakes and sometimes accidents occur where there is no one to blame.  You may like this post or not, you may agree or not, but one thing is for sure, I wrote it (Cause and Effect).

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Why is hair being disgusting so dependent on its context?  It is the same hair isn’t?  Fingers through someone’s hair, OK.  Finding hair in your soup, not OK. I’m just saying …

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So, for some bizarre reason I have had several conversations in the last few days regarding opinions on how to raise children.  I got into one “argument” with a woman at church because I said I did not think that allowing my son to watch a movie with violence was going to turn him into a serial killer.  This is also a hot topic between Leah and I as she is very very anti-violence.  She would argue that she is not over the top, and perhaps she isn’t, but she and I are definitely at different ends of the spectrum.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my son is 10 years old and he does have restrictions.  For example, he is not allowed to watch  Batman: The Dark Knight, which is probably a good indicator movie for where I draw the line for him.  On the other hand, I have no problem with him watching Iron Man 1 or 2, any of the X-Men movies, although after watching X-Men 3 he said “I think that was a little too violent.”  Which means he is probably able to discern among levels of violence (more of an influence of Leah, than me).  And isn’t that the ultimate goal?  Is our goal as parents to shield our children from “evil” or teach them how to discern and make intelligent choices?  I do NOT want to raise our children in a bubble.

I know parents that do not allow guns of any kind/type in their house.  The kids make guns from sticks found in the yard.  I know parents that do not allow their kids to watch movies or TV with any kind of violence.  The kids see these movies at their friend’s house and can’t wait to see more, and the more violent the better.  I know parents that do not allow their kids to watch TV or movies (except parent selected) at all.  You should see these kids when they are someplace with a television.  They are mesmerized.  They literally look like someone gave them crack cocaine.  I am not saying that their should not be rules or boundaries, quite the contrary, but I do believe that the tighter the box, the wilder they will be when released from parental chains, like a chained animal released for the first time.  The most important question in my mind is how to raise a child that when confronted with bad, will make the right choice?

Practice.  Kids need choices.  I have no idea who you are as a parent, but if your children do not have choices, then when they are released on their own, they will have no idea what to choose when confronted with horrible options, or they will be so depended on your guidance that they will never leave the house.

Kids need to be allowed to make mistakes.  How else do we learn?  Think of your biggest lessons in your life.  I almost guarantee they are from your past mistakes.  This is a tough one for me, because I want him to NOT make the same mistakes I made.  Don’t we all want this?  But why?  If our past mistakes made us who we are today, if we learned valuable lessons from our own mistakes, why would we want to deny this for our children?  With choices comes mistakes, from mistakes come learning and from learning comes independence.

Kids need to be parented.  I have worked with youth for a long time now, and this is the biggest problem I see with kids today, absentee parents.  Absentee parenting occurs regardless whether the one parent or two parents are in the picture.  As a matter fact, I see it more common in homes in which both parents are working.  The nice thing about raising your kids in a bubble is it releases you from parenting.  If you are not around, the bubble is a requirement.  Of course, if you are not around, then the bubble walls are easy to break.  The bottom line, I think it is more important to talk to your kids about the things they see and experience in the world: Parenting.  Talking to my son about his experiences is an area I wish to improve the most in my own life.

Finally, I want to share a parenting issue that I have found to be amazingly true and annoying.  And even if you do not have children, but hope one day to have children, consider this a warning.  The issues that your children face, the issues that will bother you the most, and the issues that will make you the angriest and the most frustrated, are the issues you face yourself.  Nothing will make you more angry than when your child does or experiences something that is a direct reflection of your own flaws.  I hate this and I am actively working to improve this aspect of my parenting life.

So, strive to raise independent children.  You want them to be OK without you.  And remember, they are NOT you.  Let them make mistakes, and their mistakes are not always yours even though it may feel like it sometimes.  Besides, if they don’t may make mistakes, they won’t learn nuthin’.

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All babies are cute.  You look at any animal and you will find that babies are cute.  I teach my students this fact of nature.  It is important that babies are cute because they often do things that make you want to kill them, but you see their sweet smile and it steadies your hand.  And just like in the animal kingdom, by the time babies stop being cute, they are too big to kill.  I’m just sayin …

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