Monday, September 14, 2009

Survival Skills

I'm trying to make a point on my last blog. Stay with me. Most everyone born immediately starts learning the skill of survival. They count on those strangers who they see every day, for their care and treatment. They go through many stages of survival; stages of which most parents are much aware. This early development is defined as in-nate. I'm going to fast forward.

Sooner or later, they further develop the skill of manipulation. They further develop develop the skill of being greedy, two skills from which I would say only changes by degrees. We all develop skills of using each others (manipulation?), a term again that most people do not like to hear. But then, most of us do not like to hear and accept the truth or partial truths. That we use each other for our own survival is in itself, not wrong. But when we use these skills solely for our own benefit, we usually are unhappy and make those who care; care in any way about us, unhappy when in our presence and thoughts. That is, if they don't understand that they are being used in a way negative to their well-being. (examples - Madoff, gang members, women wired with explosives, etc.)

We should and usually do, accept the fact that these social skills are not in themselves bad skills. They are necessary for our development. But when these two skills arrive at the point of being "arrested" at an early peak of development, these "skills" usually cause an adverse affect in their sphere of influence. Examples such as in forming or joining gangs and terror groups, lying, cheating, theft and murder as in today's JS. Murder number 10 this year in an enlightened socially community: new museums, zoos and parks, schools, libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs, Dare, Peoria Promise, 10,000 private sector layoffs or firings, etc.

In the early stages of our life, we tend to migrate to the leadership of those we most depend on, hopefully, families with a mom and dad and close relatives; hopefully, again, that these relatives or caretakers have our best interests in mind. As life progresses we tend to attach ourselves to those others who are most manipulative or who we can manipulate or use for our own purposes, again, not in itself a bad thing.

Fortunately and unfortunately, our life choices are legion. We can, if accepted, run with an "in group" even before first grade. Usually, with the right caring early guidance, we run with the right "in groups". These groups move us in the direction of staying out of bad trouble like being dopers, sexual conquest before we understand its responsibilities, and lack of respect for other peoples property.

The right "in groups" move us to develop social skills such as communicating with the object of continual learning. To communicate without openly expressing our in-nate anger in a violent destructive manner. These groups encourage us to get an education, whether we want to or not. Enough education to at least allow us to pursue careers that support ourselves and the families most will desire to have.

Group influence sometimes turns into the "herd" influence; both good and bad. Choices must be made. If your friends do not respect authorities; parents, schools or legal authority, chances are you will not finish even 8 grades of formal schooling. Then usually unable to find a job because of the lack of development of other necessary skills; ones chances of a troubled life are magnified at least 10 fold.

However, if your friends or peers have the opposite approach to life, ones chances of some type of success are magnified at least 10 fold. So back to Dr. John and his skills deficit column in the JS. We have too many young people growing up with little desire to develop skills beyond manipulative or being manipulated and greed of all degrees and types.

Their are deviations, going from right to wrong or wrong to right or somewhere in between and these reformed people appear before classrooms of kids to tell them why and how they changed; how they have benefited and how they now want to show young people they too should not get in the "wrong groups" but if they do they can recognize the error of their ways and become productive citizens.

It is my belief that most parents and teachers understand how important peer influence is on EVERYBODY. I don't think they know how to best guide those who get in the wrong peer groups. Not so much on influences those with a strong individualism bent, many who have shaped the world we live in. In fact, we need more of them. They develop their own peer group, often different from the two types mentioned above.

The incentives move our lives in the "right" direction are too often not recognized by the kids and many adults, even those adults who mean well. Dr. John says, "the deeper American students go in school the poorer their performance becomes: 75 percent of fourth graders meet proficiency standards in reading and math while only 45 per cent of 11th graders do. On every international comparison American students are at the bottom--except in obesity where the occupy first place".

It is my opinion learning to read should be our NO. 1 PRIORITY, learning history should become NO. 2 PRIORITY, that is while learning basic arithmetic which they will need to know even if selling drugs or working in a fast food restaurant. We should let those most interested in math move ahead not holding them back while others never catch up. Or have any interest in catching up. There are hundreds of other well-paying jobs out there that Dr. John is talking about that require not only some skills beyond in-nate skills, but also, a work ethic, integrity, responsibility, etc., (haven't I been through all these needs before in my blogs?); what part of this equation do our community "leaders" not understand?

No wonder so many of our kids look for shortcuts to prosperity while they are "arrested" mentally. We don't even understand their needs. They don't understand their needs. Yes, finally we are talking about a vocational school in #150 after my 15 years of trying to get 150's attention. And even a vocational school won't work unless you bring "non-school-teacher educated" volunteers who were successful in industry to light a fire in the bellies of those who are not equipped for extensive schooling and drop out of all formal education, including colleges.

Then, again as I said years ago, while fund raising for charitable purposes, to a good Catholic sister, "we can't save them all". Her reply was "Yes, but we can try try." Well, we've been trying. Its past time to admit that you can have years of formal education and still don't know how to make a living. But maybe a work ethic can't be taught. And maybe single or two adult families can't be taught. Or we are going about it wrong which is more likely.

Hundreds of 300 page books have been written by people supposedly a lot smarter than I on the above. They are intellectually smarter than I. But too many things are lacking. Perhaps we could all benefit and be better parents, teachers, mentors and leaders with a little more use of more realistic common sense.

And be a little less "politically correct".

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