Thursday, November 13, 2008

Focus On The Family Podcast

Came across this podcast from Focus On The Family and since then been listening to its contents. you can see and listen to the the contents in the widget below:

I have gone through the series of talk on Creative Ideas for Child Discipline. The links can be seen below:

Creative Ideas for Child Discipline 1 Listen

Creative Ideas for Child Discipline 2 Listen

Creative Ideas for Child Discipline 3 Listen

Creative Ideas for Child Discipline 4 Listen

Creative Ideas for Child Discipline 5 Listen

Creative Ideas for Child Discipline 6 Listen

I gained a lot of respect for this feisty lady who have to take care of her children, one of which had been diagnosed as being hyperactivitive. My experience of meeting parents of hyperactive children had always left me wondering how in the world I would survive if I were to have one. They are truly the unsung heroes of our generation. In this series she talked about the creative ideas she had to come up with regarding discipline and that really blew my mind away at the calmness and extent of ideas she produces. It is worth listening folks!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

About Clifford Stoll 3

After viewing the video from the previous post, these are the gems I derived:

  • He described his experience in his school days regarding film strip day where educational films will be screened. One scathing comment he made was that when the film start rolling, the students stop thinking, calling it "edutainment"
  • He commented that learning should not be fun, learning is hard work, it takes discipline, commitment, responsibility, means doing your homework, reading, thinking, discussing problems with teachers. the big payoff is an understanding…the payoff is not the instant gratification…it’s a very delayed gratification that may take years
  • There is no easy or work free way of solving educational problems
  • Information is power vs knowledge is power (using the example of librarian vs politician). He mentioned the huge gaps in the following sequence:
  • When we denigrate one skill and praise another, it says something about where our values are in society
  • By centering your educational system around one particular technological device, you exclude important aspects of education
  • What good is all these glitzy technology to a child who cannot write analytically, who won’t read anything more than 24 lines by 80 columns, whose idea of Mathematics is that I don’t need to know that because we have computers
  • Creativity is the inability to follow somebody else’s rules. When these people come across a wall, instead of following somebody else’s rule for getting around it, they create their own solutions, yet we marginalised them calling them dummies and idiots
Thats quite a mouthful but his video is entertaining in its own way. Weird professor with weird antics but HOWEVER do we listen? As parents in this age of IT should be not heed the warnings and be really skeptical about IT being the solve all and the only thing in the future?

IT is good, but without IT we wont die and putting ourselves solely in the hands of IT leaves us extremely vulnerable to its risks as well as its woes. please do stop and...


Saturday, November 1, 2008

About Clifford Stoll 2

I chanced upon this quote:

Guess who said this, in which year and what was he refering to?

If you were like me, the guess was way off. The quote was by Thomas Edison in 1922 talking about motion picture!!

How interesting...much is said about the ebook replacing physical textbooks. Till today it is still a pipe dream. The idea sound revolutionary, high tech and even visionary but try reading a passage of more than 10 pages from your screen and you will know what I mean. Think at least 10 fold of that and you will realise the impact.

This excerpt is just a short take from what I found from a talk by Clifford Stoll seen below, its a little long but enjoy:


About Clifford Stoll

Been looking at different IT articles and I came across this author called Clifford Stoll. Looking at his background really showed such high tech inclination as his first book entitled "Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage" that talked about how he caught a group of hackers who stole secrets from military computer systems in the US and sold them to the KGB. Since then, he had been considered a computer security expert and given loads of talks to government as well as the corporate world.

Its is interessting that he would follow this up by writing his second and third book called "Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway" and "High-Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don't Belong in the Classroom and Other Reflections by a Computer Contrarian" respectively which warns about the high price of the effects of internet on real human interaction that we will have to pay in future as well as the assumptions of technology and the role of computers in classrooms. I have not personally read his books which, I hope I can lay hands on them sometime soon, the article in Newsweek about him in 1995 was certainly a thought provoking read.

Very interesting that he did such an about face comment about technology. Maybe some things changed as he became a stay at home dad and a teacher of eighth grader. Its worth our while to listen when someone like that think of technology as something which will cost us dearly in the future. Many a times children are guinea pigs to the system set in place in educational institutes. Many things are tried which may reveal some short term results but the long term consequences are never thoroughly researched on. I believe its about time we learn to moderate and not just jump in with such blind faith.


Thats the advice.


Friday, October 10, 2008

An outsider view of Singapore

Read an interesting article today in TODAY newspaper of this letter sent in to the paper. The letter was a response to another letter regarding expat children not settling down in Singapore. A jarring comment by a foreigner regarding the way we parent in ways that over-protect the child.

" it true that they (Singaporean children) no longer venture out to learn and discover things on their own?"

Isn't it true that we do restrict our kids play time to indoor clean safe environment and not the get out and explore kind?

The final knock out punch from their perspective should send us thinking deep and hard:

"The need is, really, to teach our children not to regard material needs as the foundation of one's identity and instead, learn to believe in doing the best that they can in whatever fields they are interested in, without a care of societal expectations."

Very discerning isn't it? If you still are not like me, feeling guilty as charge by the accusations, think along the line of...

if you don't study, next time what are you going to become?
this kind of thing can't earn money, you know?
you study well, we buy you...
how can you not do well in (subject), you not going to be able to find a job

Think again.

We have reduce learning into a quest for future comfort, focusing on the material wealth it will provide and not giving them a chance to develop a love for learning. If they get that, it is an added benefit. The state of the deterioration has come to such a state that I came across a teacher commenting about what a student said to her when she offered to give extra lessons for the students to prepare them for the coming 'O' levels exams. Her class response to her kind, thoughtful and self sacrificing gesture was..."teacher, if we come, you treat us to McDonalds, ok?" The infuriated teacher response was you should give me a treat instead of the other way round.


BEWARE ... materialism will one day eat into the capacity of a child's ability to maximise his potential and rob him of his destiny. Helping them by motivating them through material incentives may not be helping them at all...


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Birth of This Blog

There has been much deliberation before I finally embarked on creating this blog. The first seed of the idea came from several parents that responded to me after talks I gave on cyberwellness: "Where can I go for more information?".

After many of such remarks, an idea of creating a blog mainly to talk about what I feel and see around me regarding parenting in this information technology (IT) age began to birth itself in my head.

Initial thinking was how can I have time to keep this updated as I am less of a disciplined person to be doing this on a regular enough basis. Cheap excuses...many like to hear about it and know more so today I thought, whatever, I start and do what I can. Whoever can benefit from would be a good thing. So here goes.

So whats so special today that I decided to jump into the deep end and throw caution to the wind? Well, this was my first official training and accreditation for any parenting talks under any organisation...I attended umpteen number of talks and now at least I have a little cert to prove it. Ha ha the kids I work with closely...LAME!

Just some thoughts to close off this first posting and of course it would be regarding the fresh from the oven insights from the talk I just attended which over time hopefully would have more as I digest what I heard.

Firstly, parenting is definitely a learnt skill. If we do not constantly learn, we are always in danger of falling back onto a routine that we formulated and before we know it, become irrelevant as our children would have changed in this break neck pace of a society. Now thats food for thought, when was the last time we read anything with the intention of applying them to our parenting? I have very often read some newspaper articles, especially sensationalised ones, and lament over the morality, etc of this generation but hardly go one step further to think about how it should affect my parenting.

The most important style of parenting should be that of a coach/mentor/back-boned/whatever term used for parenting that requires us to treat our kids as someone we guide through life. Yet we are rarely thinking about how we can help them navigate these situations we read about. If we do not formulate an answer to a potential issue, how are we to prepare them to be able to handle it?

Don't be lazy, we need to think through how we get our kids to where we hope they will go by thinking through the process that will bring them there when we are NOT around. Resist the temptations of becoming their motivation cum conscience where they cannot now begin to do the things they ought to be doing without external help. Think what goes into the process because the result we see may be seriously flawed since it is dependant on our presence and more often than not, our nagging.

Bring this principle in application to our internet environment and deduce some applications to your parenting...any brillant suggestions to share anyone?
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