Monthly Archives: June 2013

Not seeing the beauty in ourselves that is obvious to others

A few years ago,  a friend gave me a really lovely compliment.  My response was to downplay it, and she asked me if I thought she was just saying it or that she really meant it.  It was so different from how I viewed myself that even though I knew she was totally sincere, I was visibly uncomfortable with her statement.

Last year, I was talking to her about my experience with someone who couldn’t see the amazing and beautiful person she was; she felt ugly and it didn’t matter how many people told her otherwise.  While we were talking, my friend asked me, “Do you remember what I once told you?”  We’ve had a lot of long and deep talks but I immediately knew she was talking about the compliment she gave me, the one that I was visibly uncomfortable with because it didn’t match how I saw myself.

When I saw the following short video clip, I thought of this conversation with my friend.  I thought about how we women are so hard on ourselves, how we don’t allow ourselves to see our true beauty, external or internal – it may be blatantly obvious to those around us but we too often don’t see it.

In this video, a police forensic artist does two sketches of the same woman- one as she describes herself, one as others describe her.

Avivah

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth – a great title for a great book

 

I have some homeschooling related questions that I’d like to answer, one of which is, how do I propose to help my children integrate socially in this culture if they aren’t going to be in school?  It’s a good question and I’ll address it in a different post!  Right now I’ll share about a related point – the perceived importance of a child having a lot of friends and of being popular.

My feeling about this is that being popular is highly overrated and doesn’t correlate well to future success in life.  I was delighted to recently read the delightfully titled, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth – Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School – by Alexandra Robbins.  Ms. Robbins is a researcher who interviewed high school students and teachers all over the US and shares the results of her extensive research with readers.

What is Quirk Theory?  “Many of the differences that cause a student to be excluded in school are the identical traits or real-world skills that others will value, love, respect, or find compelling about that person in adulthood and outside of the school setting.”

In this book, she tracks seven different students who are all struggling with the social situation they are locked into at school (the loner, the gamer, the new girl, the popular girl, the nerd, the weirdo, the geek).  She writes about the dynamic of groupthink, in which the actions and thoughts of students are pressed into socially acceptable molds. Not only does this affect students, but there’s something about the school atmosphere in which the teachers are also affected by these values.

Unfortunately, popular people are often not nice people, a concept in the book that I was discussing with the older kids at dinner last night.  Read this book if you want to understand this more, but in short, popular people build themselves up by pushing others down. So they become popular not because of their wonderful personalities that shine through and attract people, but because they are powerful and know how to manipulate the social dynamics in their favor.  They need to keep others down to keep their power.  As soon as I started talking about this, ds14 (who is popular and also nice to people – a number of mothers in the US commented to me about how unusual this combination of qualities was) exclaimed, “I know!  There’s this kid I know who’s really popular,  but no one really likes him.  I wonder sometimes if he has any friends because when he wasn’t around, all the kids talked badly about him.”

She writes about how important it is for society to have people who are creative, free thinkers, willing to stand for what they believe in and more – all qualities that are suppressed and cause people to be marginalized in high school.

As a parent of a daughter who will be homeschooled for eighth grade next year, I’ve done a lot of thinking about high school for her – what are the benefits and what are the disadvantages.  This book isn’t about homeschooling at all, but after reading it, I thought to myself that she makes a very, very strong case for homeschooling your children in high school, allowing them to bypass the pettiness of the social scene and have a healthier and more accurate self-image, while being able to spend their time doing things that are meaningful to them.

Whether you have kids who are in high school or not, homeschooling or not, this book is a very engaging and entertaining read.  I was happy to have stumbled onto as part of my ebook library selection, which allowed me to read it on my Kindle.

Avivah

Eleven months – some Yirmiyahu cuteness to share

It’s impossible for me to tell you how much happiness Yirmiyahu has brought to our family since he was born eleven months ago, or to figure out how so much love and light can shine out of one little body.  All of his siblings love holding and playing with him, from the oldest to the youngest.  Here are some pictures in honor of his eleven month birthday (that’s just an excuse to show him off, you know :)).

Yirmi snacking on tissue

Fun to play with, good to taste!

 

Our family summer 2013 007

My Mommy said she wishes I would enjoy eating the food she gives me as much as I liked this!  
Once Yirmiyahu learned to sit us, ds7 decided it was time to teach him to play ball

Once Yirmiyahu learned to sit us, ds7 decided it was time to teach him to play ball

Yirmi, happy with ds14
Yirmi, chilling with ds14
Super flexible - who knew how fun feet could be??

I’m super flexible- who knew how fun feet could be??

 

At ds5's birthday party at kindergarten - having fun watching the action

At ds5’s birthday party at kindergarten – having fun watching the action

On the way home from the party with ds4

On the way home from the party with ds4

 

 

I didn't get a goody bag like ds4 but I'm happy anyway.

I didn’t get a goody bag like ds4 but I’m happy anyway.

Ds7 reading to Yirmiyahu

Ds7 reading to Yirmiyahu

Yirmi getting involved in story

Yirmi getting involved in story

"Hmm, this is interesting."

“Hmm, this is interesting.”

"I love when Eliyahu reads to me!"

“I love when my big brother reads to me!”

Avivah

October Baby – movie review

I rarely watch movies, and when I do they’re usually edutainment type films about nutrition or something like that.

I was recently reading something – can’t remember what – and it referenced Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor whose true life story had been turned into a movie.  The small bit of information I read triggered my interest and I searched until I found a free online version of the move, called October Baby.

Here it is: October Baby

I enjoyed this movie in a number of ways.  As a parent, I appreciated the interpersonal challenges between the parents and their 19 year old daughter whom they had adopted as an infant (as a result of a failed abortion).  Parents are always trying to find a balance between appropriate intervention and intrusiveness, being being caring and involved and being overly protective, and this was one interpersonal dynamic in the film that was explored.

The producers managed to portray a very heavy and sensitive topic, that of her prebirth experience and adoption in a balanced way; there was intensity but there was also humor.  What I found most fascinating, though, was the personal struggle of the young girl.  She was born with a number of health challenges related to the abortion but since she wasn’t told about it, never knew why she had so many issues.  She also had a deep self-loathing and feeling that she should be dead, also a result of the abortion.  The day before Yirmiyahu was born I wrote a post about cell memory, about how the thoughts and feelings of a mother during pregnancy become part of who the child is.  This is seen very dramatically in this situation.

The movie is on the long side, about an hour and forty five minutes, but it was moving, powerful and thought provoking in a number of ways.

If you watch this, please let me know what you think!

Avivah