Mommies Dearest? #fashion #Vogue #childmodels

What’s up with motherhood lately? Thinking of motherhood returns me to memories of the calming refuge of my own mother whose kiss or hug could keep all things bad at bay. When it came to navigating the dangers of a not so always nice world, I traveled with a lioness by my side, and of that one thing I was certain. Most of the women I know practice the same type of mothering, erring on the side of overprotection. And up until several weeks ago I was confident that most children still enjoy the haven of a similar maternal harbor. That was before I heard news reports indicating that this cultural bastion of safety is on shaky ground.

First came the Today Show segment on a “Would You Rather – Mommy’s Edition” survey with the question “Would you rather add 15 points to your child’s IQ, or would you rather weigh 15 pounds less?” 45% of the mothers polled replied they would rather be thinner than have their child be smarter. This answer lodged in my gut where it wriggled the inherent selfishness of this answer. It also reminded me of child psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, well known for his belief, “Every child needs someone who is crazy about him.” He claimed that knowing you are the center of someone’s world fills you with love you can draw from throughout a lifetime. But what happens to the child who isn’t the center of his or her mother’s world…a mother who cares more about the size of her butt than the size of her child’s brain? My prediction is that child might not feel too secure.

Then came the “Vogue Enfant” coverage on child model Thylane Blondeau featured in French Vogue with her sultry stares and makeup, stilettos, and clothing designed for wearers way beyond her ten years. However, it was the inappropriate come-hither look and provocative pose in two of the layouts that created a media frenzy and drew criticism of her mother. Veronika Loubry, TV host and actress, defended her decision to allow the sexy photos of her child, then stated her desire to protect her daughter from the commotion, and closed down her daughter’s Facebook account.
Does Thylane need protection from her mother’s seeming exploitation?

There’s no denying that the “Me First” mentality has permeated our culture; and based on decisions some mothers are making, it’s altered motherhood. No doubt, some moms would choose being skinnier over being smarter… perhaps they could use an additional 15 IQ points.


Cyber Brother is Watching You! #Internet #privacy

“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

It has been said that your perception is your reality…but what happens when someone else or something creates your perceptions? In his TED video entitled “The Filter Bubble,” online organizer and author Eli Pariser explains how personalized Internet searches are determining our worldviews. According to Pariser there has been an invisible shift in the way the Internet provides information to us. Through sophisticated spyware fifty-seven online signals profile our web behaviors, continuously determining what is allowed and what is denied entrance into our unique “filter bubbles.” At any given time, two people seeking information on the same topic will receive different sets of information based on their Internet profiles. Does this sound like George Orwell’s Big Brother to you? It’s more like Big Brother on steroids, now global and more powerful, with farther-reaching effects on how we are wired and how we operate.

When the information playing field was more level than it is today, writers and editors, depending on their ideological slants, often injected their viewpoints into their writing, thus creating biased accounts of the same story. Informed readers knew journalistic bias existed and learned to recognize it. How does writer’s bias differ from a “filter bubble?” Many Internet users are creating their own profiles that are, in turn, biasing the information provided them. What readers reveal to Internet spyware dictates which answers are provided to their explicit requests, and often this is customized to readers’ likes or desires. Even worse, readers don’t know they are being profiled and are being denied access to information. Customized information not only solidifies our viewpoints, but also denies us exposure to differing points of view and robs us of opportunities to question, reflect upon, reject, and/or integrate them.

When you think of the impact on a nation and its youth, you have a potentially disturbing effect…groups of people solidly entrenched in their own myopic views of the world with increasingly limited exposure to information that stretches their thinking. In early human development where instant gratification is often a stumbling block to success and where the Internet has become the main source of information, social and emotional growth could be seriously interrupted by constant and immediate feedback of what a child wants to hear. Is this what employers are now dealing with in the developmentally delayed Millennial Generation that has a hard time with on the job expectations and criticisms? Is this what is happening to our polarized political parties that seem incapable of nothing more than distrusting and discrediting each other even at the expense of the country’s well-being? Take this syndrome to the global level, and you could have a potent formula for epic disasters.

Perhaps mankind’s most humane characteristic is its ability to hear what another has to say, rationally discuss it, respectfully agree or disagree, and collaborate to overcome differences. If Cyber Brothers like Facebook, Google, and others are depriving us of this opportunity by profiling and filter bubbling us, there is the possibility that we will not be able to successfully communicate and work through differences with each other in the future. Or is the future already here?

Why #Target #Teachers? #education

I call her Target’s tiger teacher; she’s the adorable second grade classroom teacher who exudes an infectious enthusiasm for the upcoming school year while delivering her glittery list of necessary school supplies.

This television teacher is passionate and she’s obviously ready for the fortunate, albeit, imaginary students who will soon be entering her classroom community. Why? Because of her unbridled passion for her work. Yes, the commercial is meant to be funny, but there are so many teachers in the world who share her excitement for the work they do. A positive attitude is one thing, but genuine zeal for your work makes it all but exactly that, work.

Clearly the Target teacher is doing something that gives her joy. Wouldn’t it be nice if students all around the world could spend a year with a teacher who possesses the same fervor? Well, I think many of them do, and that teachers, especially in the states, are getting a bad rap these days.

Zest for teaching is mandatory, and in order for any teacher to do the job well, the person must be in possession of an intense focus on the students and their individual learning styles. In many cases this ardor and interest will be found at the subconscious level rather than the conscious, and more than likely most people will never recognize or acknowledge it for what it is and how imperative it is to being a teacher.

An enthusiastic teacher like the aforementioned tiger teacher is a teacher with a projected plan, an opportunity to manifest a vision, a clear and intended purpose. In other words, a teacher who knows what she wants, and who’s going after it with nothing short of crazed delight.

What happened to the respect that America used to give to its teachers? Why are teachers under such scornful scrutiny and why have they become targets for attack?

In the above Matt Damon video clip the cameraman states that ten percent of teachers fall into the “bad” category, but which profession cannot be held to the same standard? Let’s face it, one does not need to look far to see that other professions can and do far exceed the bad ten percent, just take a look at our Congress.