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Posts Tagged ‘NYTimes’

When I was in my twenty’s, I worked at a residential treatment center for juvenile delinquents. It was  one of the few programs at the time that housed both boys and girls, ages 12-18. Most just dealt with boys since “girls are just too much trouble.”  Having had counseling training and work experience with the Juvenile Court system during college,  I thought I knew what I would be facing. Wrong.

My years there taught me more about parenting than I ever would have realized. I went in thinking I would be helping a bunch of rebellious kids who had succumbed to peer pressure and gotten into trouble despite the best efforts of their parents. Naive? You bet!  The more parents I met, the more I realized that 95% of what later turned into delinquent behavior by the child, started with inappropriate, absentee or even abusive parenting. And it was not necessarily based on economic, cultural or other what was deemed “typical” demographics.

What started me on this train of thought today? I read Nicholas Kristof’s NYTimes Op-Ed column, “Girls on our Streets” of yesterday. I’m used to his descriptions of overseas prostitution, of trafficking in girls usually between the ages of 12-14, but this column discusses young girl prostitutes in the United States. Even social services call them “throw-aways”, young girls whose parents see “no good” in them or who can’t handle the behavior patterns developed as a result of the girl’s low-self esteem. Low-self esteem developed because of serious parenting issues. See a vicious cycle here?

My first instinct upon reading Kristof’s column was to jump, yet again, on the bandwagon for more resources, guidance, counseling, teaching, etc., etc., for those who are parents in trouble as well as for the child.  While I still believe in that, I decided instead I wanted to actually do a complete turn-about and celebrate parents who are great, who are taking wonderful care of their children, who are making a positive difference.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, when I learned of a delightful opportunity to create an easy online video award for the mother you want to honor as “Mother of the Year”, I couldn’t resist passing it along. From MomsRising’s Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner:

*See your name in lights on a prime time online newscast in this funny, inspirational and, yes, customizable video: http://news.cnnbcvideo.com/index2.html

You can also make this online video feature a friend, your mom, and anyone you know who could use a little lift for the hard work she does just being a mom every day.

TRY IT! It’s fun, and the mom who receives it will love it. And then maybe we can look at putting mom power behind those who could benefit from learning what it takes to be a loving parent. For their child.

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Exploring this old/new world of social media, I’m finding numerous points of view around the pros and cons of a newish tool like twitter. Maureen Dowd of the NYTimes wrote of an interview she had with the inventors of Twitter, one of them Biz Stone.  I found myself chuckling at her attempt to belittle this new medium and loving Biz’s answers, the last in particular when she asks,

ME: I would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account. Is there anything you can say to change my mind?

BIZ: Well, when you do find yourself in that position, you’re gonna want Twitter. You might want to type out the message “Help.”

I learned of a new Twitter application (apparently there are thousands), Tweetmeme which shows you at any given time, which are the most popular tweets. Low and behold there was a tweet with a link to a response to Dowds NYTime article, from Bldg/Blog, an architectural based blogger who wrote, “In defense of how the other half writes, in defense of twitter.” So within a matter of hours of Dowd’s article, there was a full blown response from an unexpected audience (architects), that is making it’s way around the world via Tweetmeme.  Hmmm.. makes you get a sense of the power behind the tweet.

A tweeter (@real1) listed interesting links to news tweets that give news before it makes the headlines, including @cnnbrk, and @breakingnews. I like @fastcompany, @anncurry, @nytimeskristoff, and @greenbizdaily. As to other types of tweets, yes, I’m now following @oprah like millions of other people and also enjoy @aauw and @punditmom for information impacting women and girls; @cynthiadamour and @pinnovation for association leaders; @pattyhankins for great photography info; and @mashable for social media info. And these are just from being on twitter for a very short time.  There are thousands of twitterers  now and more to come, keeping up with them all is the real question.

Even in the short time I’ve been tweeting (@christytj) or following news or personal tweets, I find access to information I’m interested in but didn’t have to search for has multiplied exponentially. And that’s a good thing.

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