Posts filed under ‘Parenting’

Free The World of Limiting Stereotypes

Using film as a catalyst for cultural transformation, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential.

From the dynamic team that brought you Miss Representation, the film about the media selling the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders, are bringing you a new film — The Mask You Live In, which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Mask-Infographic1Did you know research shows compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives? They consistently hear de-sensitizing messages like “Be a man!” “Man-up!” and “Boys don’t cry.” Sadly many are buying into a culture that doesn’t value caring, relationships or empathy…qualities our society has “feminized.” But these are not feminine qualities, they’re human ones.

Whether you’re a teacher bringing the films to your classroom, a young person challenging sexist media, or a small business owner changing your company culture, check out the new and engaging resources available at TheRepresentationProject.org.

October 14, 2015 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

The Way Young Women Talk Today Makes Them Appear Weak & Uneducated? Really?

(Reprinted in part from The Guardian – Young Women, Give Up Your Vocal Fry and Reclaim Your Strong Female Voice. By Naomi Wolf.)

The most empowered generation of women ever – today’s twentysomethings in North America and Britain – is being hobbled in some important ways by something as basic as how they use their voices. This demographic of women tends to have a distinctive speech pattern. Many commentators have noticed it, often with dismay. Time magazine devoted a column to the mannerism called vocal fry, noting a study that found that this speech pattern makes young women who use it sound less competent, less trustworthy, less educated and less hireable: “Think Britney Spears and the Kardashians.”

“Vocal fry” is that guttural growl at the back of the throat, as a Valley girl might sound if she had been shouting herself hoarse at a rave all night. The less charitable refer to it privately as painfully nasal, and to young women in conversation sounding like ducks quacking. “Vocal fry” has joined more traditional young-women voice mannerisms such as run-ons, breathiness and the dreaded question marks in sentences (known by linguists as uptalk) to undermine these women’s authority in newly distinctive ways. Slate notes that older men (ie those in power over young women) find it intensely annoying. One study by a “deeply annoyed” professor, found that young women use “uptalk” to seek to hold the floor.

Amy Giddon, director of corporate leadership at Barnard College’s Athena centre for leadership studies in New York, found in original research that “there is a disconnect between women’s confidence in their skills and abilities – which is often high – and their confidence in their ability to navigate the system to achieve the recognition and advancement they feel they deserve. Self-advocacy is a big part of this, and identified by many women in the study as the biggest barrier to their advancement.” In other words, today’s women know they can do great things; what they doubt – reasonably enough – is that they can speak well about those great things.

There's no power in talking with a vocal fry.

When you ask young women themselves what these destructive speech patterns mean to them, you get gender-political insights. “I know I use run-on sentences,” a 21-year-old intern at a university told me. “I do it because I am afraid of being interrupted.” No one has ever taught her techniques to refuse that inevitable interruption. “I am aware that I fill my sentences with question marks,” said a twentysomething who works in a research firm. “We do it when we speak to older people or people we see as authorities. It is to placate them. We don’t do it so much when we are by ourselves.”

What is heartbreaking about the current trend for undermining female voice is that this is the most transformational generation of young women ever. They have absorbed a feminist analysis, and are skilled at seeing intersectionality – the workings of race, class and gender. Unlike previous generations, they aren’t starting from zero. They know that they did not ask to be raped, that they can Slutwalk and Take Back the Night, Kickstarter their business ventures and shoot their own indie films on their phones – and that they deserve equal pay and access.

Which points to the deeper dynamic at play. It is because these young women are so empowered that our culture assigned them a socially appropriate mannerism that is certain to tangle their steps and trivialise their important messages to the world. We should not ask young women to put on fake voices or to alter essential parts of themselves. But in my experience of teaching voice to women for two decades, when a young woman is encouraged to own her power and is given basic skills in claiming her own voice then huge, good changes follow. “When my voice became stronger, people took me more seriously,” says Ally Tubis. “When people feel from your voice that you are confident, they will believe that you are smarter, and that you are better at what you do – even when you are saying the exact same thing.”

July 28, 2015 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Innovation and Our Kids

I went to a workshop called Developing Future Innovators. I went for three reasons: (1) We are innately creative beings and much of our education system has been teaching the creativity right out of our children, (2) our world desperately needs innovators to develop solutions to our mounting global problems, and (3) by teaching our youth to innovate, on a personal level they garner agency and are not victims of circumstance but rather empowered to create a life that works for themselves.

About_PatronSaint_780pxAn innovator is not only someone who envisions, but someone who also creates a better world. Glen Tripp @GalileoLearning is not only an amazing innovator himself, but he is doing remarkable work at helping kids become innovators using a three-pronged approach.

First he works on Mindset — helping kids be visionaries and to believe in possibility, encouraging them to be courageous as they stretch themselves, focusing on being collaborative and appreciative of other’s ideas and expressions, teaching them determination to access perseverance, and guiding them to be reflective to improve themselves and their work.

Next he focuses on Knowledge — what do innovators need to understand? This element teaches kids to research, pick out key concepts and big ideas, use materials and tools as they test their ideas, and to develop empathy as they understand their audience and environment.

Lastly, he works on Process — developing processes to help innovators actually innovate; from identifying goals, to generating ideas, to design and then into the create-test-evaluate-redesign phase.

So how can we as parents and caregivers develop young innovators in our own homes?

  • diy-craft-station-for-kidsBy allocating your child’s time in ways that develop their innovative toolkit. This can include traveling to new places, reading books from far off lands, to what programs they get involved in after-school (remember over-schdueling is a killer of innovation so chose wisely), to my favorite…carving out a space in your home, garage or yard that is dedicated to building and creating. A space filled with paint and markers, hot glue guns and duct tape, cardboard and pizza cutters, recycled materials, even a drill and saw would be good — items and tools that can be used to spark imagination and most of all allow your kids a chance to get dirty!
  • By interacting with our kids in a manner that reinforces the Innovator Mindset. This is not praising their work, this is praising their behavior — compliment their dedication, their courageousness, their collaborative skills, how they turned an idea into a reality. This is not asking default questions, but asking reflective questions — who did you work with today, what was your vision for your project, tell me about it, what is and isn’t working in your design, what part was the most challenging, what part did you like best?
  • By setting an example as an innovator yourself. Do you believe in possibility? Are you learning something new right now? Are you using victim language (I can’t, They never, It’s their fault, It’s not fair) instead of empowering words (I can, It’s my responsibility, I will put forth my best effort)? Kids, as we all know, learn so much from us, what supportive messages can you start sending today?

Lastly, I want to give you a few resources to check out. These are various programs and camps, workshop and projects to get your innovator juices flowing. Check out:

Izzy-BugHotel3MakerShed.com

KiwiCrate.com

Project Lead the Way

Destination Imagination

Tech Challenge

Odyssey of The Mind

iphone-image-2First Lego League

Galileo Camps

Curiosity Hacked

DIY.org

July 22, 2015 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

A Heartfelt Prayer to Mothers Around the World

Parent Connection series. Design composed of graceful profile lines of mother and child as a metaphor on the subject of parenting, motherhood, human connection and familyToday is the day when we pause to give a heartfelt thank you and prayer to the very special women in our lives who gave us the gift of life. Archangel Michael says, “Mothers are truly God’s co-creators and are to be revered.” So thank you moms all over the world for giving of yourselves, for your sacrifice, your guidance, your admiration, and your unconditional love. Your children are forever grateful. May you feel honored by your accomplishments that walk the earth and enjoy being celebrated on this glorious Mother’s Day. Amen.

May 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day, 24 hours dedicated to challenging the unequal payment and treatment of women in the US workforce. Whether in Hollywood, sports, or business women are consistently paid less than men for doing the same work. That’s why leaders across industries are calling for equality on our paycheck and beyond.

Join us this week by sharing the inspiring quotes on our blog and showing your support of equal pay. Together we can challenge systems of injustices so that everyone, regardless of gender, can fulfill their human potential.
Emma-Watson2equal-payBeyonceEqualPay1

April 14, 2015 at 7:37 pm Leave a comment

Like a Girl and One Bold Choice

It was interesting to watch the commercials change during the course of the Super Bowl from empowerment to degradation. However, I am choosing to focus on the positive. Here are a few of my favorites.

#LikeAGirl

#OneBoldChoice

“If you see life in a negative light a lot of things can happen and you can go down the wrong path. But if you can see positivity and sort of blossom into an opportunity to where you wouldn’t even fathom where you can end up.” DeMarcus Ware – pro football player and dad.

February 2, 2015 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

Top 5 Laws That Changed the Lives of Women in 2014

wpi-riverside-blog-photo

The Women’s Foundation of California is an organization working toward a just and equitable California, in which all people and communities, in every region of the state, thrive. As 2014 draws to a close, here are the Foundation’s top five laws they helped pass.

FIVE: Our Women’s Policy Institute fellows helped pass the Healthy Baby Act, which will help over 3,000 pregnant women every year have healthier pregnancies and births. Importantly, it will benefit women facing domestic violence because abuse often starts or escalates during pregnancy.

FOUR: We joined the movement to pass a groundbreaking civil rights law: Now, thousands of women and men who had served their sentences will qualify for food stamps and basic cash assistance. Instead of turning its back to their suffering, our social services system will now help them rebuild their lives.

THREE: Our Women’s Policy Institute fellows helped pass an important law that limits the number of students who are suspended or expelled for the so-called willful defiance. This offense was used disproportionately to discipline and expel minority students.

TWO: We helped pass Proposition 47, which will improve the lives of thousands of women who had been incarcerated for non-violent, low-level offenses. After serving their misdemeanor sentences, the women will be better poised to apply for work and housing and mother their children with dignity and pride.

ONE: The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights went into effect on January 1, 2014. Now 100,000 domestic workers, a majority of them women, will finally start earning overtime pay. Our grant partner Mujeres Unidas y Activas worked for seven years and through two vetoes to pass this bill. We take pride in knowing that our Women’s Policy Institute trained these women and gave them the skills and the resources they needed to make this great victory possible.

Help them keep up the good work and make a gift of any size today. All donations will be pooled together and will go to the same place—toward changing the lives of low-income women in California. They are only $12,000 short of making their 2014 goal, and we have until midnight, December 31st  to help them achieve it. Give what you can today.

December 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

Creating a Counterforce to the World’s Despair

From my mentor, Marianne Williamson. This is my heart…

Gravity exists on many levels, both physical and emotional. There is a force in the universe that literally weighs things down.

silhouette of a peopleIn order to counter gravity in the physical body, we physically exercise to develop strong muscles. Emotionally and spiritually, things work the same way. We nullify the effects of emotional gravity through accumulated repetitions of positive thoughts. Where the world says things like, “This can never happen,” we repeat to ourselves that with God, all things are possible.

Strong physical muscles give us the power to navigate the external world more effectively, while strong spiritual muscles give us the power to navigate the internal world. With physical musculature, we gain the power to move; with internal musculature, we gain the power to sit still, to be nonreactive, to be centered and calm and wise.

There are many meditative practices, from Transcendental Meditation to completing the workbook A Course in Miracles to others that are rooted in traditions like the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist faiths and so forth. What is important to note is that meditation is more than mere deep relaxation. We don’t just feel relaxed after meditation. Brain scans have proven an actual shift in brain-wave patterns. The religious call to a “new mind” is not just a metaphor; it is a call to become our more peaceful, creative and productive self.

Evening PrayerWith the modern world having become so frantic, it is easy to become as frenetic as the world around us. The problem with that, though, is that without calm, there is no wisdom, no impulse control and no real peace of mind. We’re more likely to become emotionally reactive and unclear in our thinking. Without deep peace of mind, we cannot be the people we are capable of being, and we cannot live the lives we are capable of living.

The power of meditation is of little use if only understood intellectually. When this spiritual exercise is built into our everyday, practical lifestyle, it becomes utterly transformative. It’s not enough just to know how important healthy food and exercise are; we must actually eat well and exercise regularly to enjoy the benefits of those habits. So, it’s not enough to just know the power of prayer and/or meditation; we must practice these rituals, through daily devotion.

Praying WomanWe routinely wake up in the morning and take a bath or shower, because we don’t want to take yesterday’s dirt on our body into the new day. Yet unless we pray, meditate, do inspirational readings or some other practice of spiritual alignment in the morning, we take yesterday’s burdens on our mind into the new day. Are body and soul not equally important?

We find excuses for why we’re not doing our spiritual exercise, just like we find excuses for not doing our physical exercise. But, in both cases, once we start doing our exercises, we start to crave their continuance. Often, people say they don’t have the time to meditate; but, in fact, meditation slows time. Time, in the words of Albert Einstein, is “an illusion of consciousness.” Shallow thinking literally speeds up our experience of time, while deep and peaceful thinking slows it down. We inhabit time more effectively when our mind and heart are clear.

Earth connectedSuch a world view is like a mental filter, leading us to experience the world through a lens of love instead of fear. Fear is the thinking that dominates the world, but love is who we really are. Grounding ourselves each day in a deep remembrance of who we really are, we actualize the spiritual power that lies latent within all of us. We were created to love, and in loving we are fulfilling the purpose of our lives. With every thought we think, we either extend love or project fear into the world. Taking a few simple principles and applying them to our daily lives lifts us above the turmoil of the world:

Ask every morning of your God: “Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?”

Before you go into work, into a meeting, into a party or into any situation at all, consciously blast everyone who is going to be there with love. Just as light casts out darkness, so does love cast out fear. You can’t send love to someone and, at the same time, worry about what they will think about you, fear what’s going to happen or succumb to controlling, judgmental or manipulative thoughts. The presence of love literally casts out neurotic, fear-based thoughts.

As you go through the day, anywhere you might be, look at someone’s face and silently say to them, “The love in me salutes the love in you.” I defy you to do this for two minutes each day and not become happier.

No one needs to be reminded today that we are in need of a counterforce to the world’s despair. All the hatred and unnecessary suffering that have gripped our planet are a challenge to our species to evolve and grow—to become who we are capable of being, so we can rise up with greater power and behave with greater wisdom. Depositphotos_5765168_xsWhen any of us does this individually, our lives transform. And when we do it collectively, our planet will transform. Love will not just heal your life or mine. Love will heal the world.

November 22, 2014 at 7:32 pm 1 comment

The Representation Project: Rewrite the Story

Teaching our children Media Literacy Tools is an important cause to me. Studies show that American youth today consume more than eleven hours of media a day, and what they see in that media is an overwhelming norm of objectified or hypersexualized women. This misrepresentation has long-term effects. For example, after reading a beauty magazine for only three minutes, 75% of teenage girls feel depressed, guilty, and shameful. With Miss Representation Curriculum 2.0 – designed to engage and activate young people in new ways – The Representation Project hopes to create a real pattern interruption to change behavior and expand what is possible for young women and girls. Check out their website to find out how you can help be part of the solution. Or click here to donate today and give the gift of media literacy curriculum, discussion guides, and educational tools to students, parents, coaches, caregivers, and mentors.

November 21, 2014 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

Start a Robust Conversation With Your Teen About Healthy Relationships

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October 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

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Shelby L. Phillips

As an intuitive transformational messenger of hope, a communicative wife of 25 years, and an open-hearted mother of two, I take pleasure in telling good news stories, connecting people to the eight dimensions of well-being, and inspiring us to love ourselves and each other because life really is worth celebrating! Find out more about me at ShelbyPhillipsConnects.com

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