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IS SANTA STEALING THE LIMELIGHT?

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The history of Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas dates all the way back to possibly 280 A.D.   If you were good ("Christ-like", angelic) you received a gift from Saint Nicholas, while the bad little kids had to face Krampus and the possibility of being taken in a sack to the black forest.   That was the story I grew up with.   When we moved to the States, Krampus had thankfully dissipated.   I think he was held at the border by  homeland security. The real Saint Nicholas, a benevolent person who helped children and went around giving selflessly and generously to the poor and needy is a far cry from the man we know today as Santa Claus. The man in the red suit with a big tummy and a white beard pasted on, that hangs out mostly in the malls and has little kids sitting in his lap gets all the credit.   Little people called elves make the gifts we find under the tree on Christmas day (the ones retailers hope we will buy lots of).   It all started this year as my family began a conver

VOTE WITH YOUR POCKETBOOK

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Thursday afternoon I was strolling through downtown St. Petersburg with a friend.   It was a beautiful, warm, breezy, Spring day.   The city was humming with activities and pedestrian's conversations.   A rally was being held in the park.   Waitresses and waiters were hustling along the sidewalk's many restaurants keeping customers fed and happy.   As my friend and I approached the street corner, we were greeted by two young college students.   They asked, if we could make a $20 monthly donation to help their cause.   They proceeded with a well rehearsed and articulate five minute speech, which lacked not in fervor or conviction.   A ll I could focus on, was the recent bombardment of dozens of requests for donations from every organization I have ever signed up with.   My involvement in these various organizations emerged from my desire to support causes I felt important and valuable to common concerns.   I also wanted to be further informed and aware of important

BOOKS FOR YOUR PARENTING JOURNEY

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Recently I have been asked by some parents, as to what books on parenting I recommend reading.   Since then, I’ve been thinking about it. Rather than just give a list of books, and there is quite an extensive list of parenting books and parenting experts ( just check out the section at Barnes and Nobles) I wanted to share that there is no right book that can make us the perfect parent.  I read most of them and I still find parenting, both the most challenging and most rewarding experience in my life. Growing together, building a relationship is a journey that will be different for each family.   That is why I agree with Brene Brown that there is no such thing as “a parenting expert”.   M y first recommendation is Brene Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting”.   You can get it on audio.   I got mine from my local library and I listened to it while cleaning, doing laundry and cooking.   It's not always easy to find quiet time with a book, so that worked out great for

RACISM AS IT STANDS

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Racial tension between people of different background, heritage, religion, social status etc. is not a new thing to civilization.   Racism probably dates back to the origins of Western civilization, if not even earlier.   “Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into distinct groups that are different due to their social behavior and their innate capacities as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior.” (wikipedia) To really understand the underlying logic that propels one person to treat another as less than, we must first understand how we have all come to possess some level of perceived inferiority, which took root early on in our childhood.  As we compared ourselves or more likely were being compared to others, in cert

DOES OUR SOCIETY CONDONE EXCESS POWER, GREED AND CORRUPTION?

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One of my favorite movie lines is from Spider Man, when the grandfather, as he is dying on the sidewalk from an attack during a break in, tells young Spider Man: “With great power comes great responsibility!”   The entire scene is an antitheses, pointing out how young Spiderman was greatly wronged and would have any number of reasons for revenge and destruction.   The difference is, Spider Man was not seeking great power, he was sort of bitten by it. He ends up choosing to use his power for the greater good.    In most cases, however, power is intentionally sought by individuals who believe that they are only worthwhile when they have power; preferably unlimited power over others.   At some point, these individuals felt overpowered and concluded that being in the position of power is the preferred place to be.   T o some degree, we all openly or secretly admire those who have achieved great wealth and are in a position of power.   Our society calls these individuals s

WHEN MISBEHAVIOR BECOMES THE NORM

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Back in the day, when I was involved in running the Adlerian elementary and middle school, I would produce several performances throughout the year.   During the rehearsals leading up to the show, we would always have a few kids who felt discouraged about one thing or another and it would manifest itself in the way they behaved.   All discouragement is, in part, due to feelings of inadequacy, which arise from our belief that we have to earn our worth and our place in this world.   Those same kids would start to act out, not their assigned part, but rather by creating a disturbance back stage, undermining other's efforts and putting their own agenda above the interest of the group.   The way I approached the problem was to avoid getting into it with them and also by not giving them the airtime or an audience.   I asked them to leave the stage, until such time as they were able to participate in a helpful manner. When they returned, (and they always did) we all welcomed

LET AMERICA BE AMERICA: "INDIVISIBLE WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL"

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In the lead up to the United States of America’s  I ndependence Day, I am reflecting on where this country once was and where it is now.   The journey so many have taken to come here, for opportunity, religious freedom, safety etc.   Seeing the Statue of Liberty and what they believed it represented.   Each time I see a sign, shirt or bumper sticker saying “Make America Great Again”   I find myself wondering how did we come to be so fearful.    As Adler points out in his   theory of Individual Psychology,   “all psychological compensation states that the stronger the feeling of inferiority, the higher the goal for personal power. “   Our fear of not being enough, not having enough (in a land of plenty) not trusting, not feeling safe, whatever our fear, we seem to be operating from that very fear.   We can only find our courage if we face whatever fear has a hold on us and often it comes down to the one core fear of not being worthy.   When we act in ways that are degradin