Assault is legally defined as an "act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful or offensive contact. It consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat.
According to the "Report on Physical Punishment in the United States: What Research Tells Us About Its Effects on Children," done by Phoenix Children's Hospital in 2008, about 29 percent of Americans are opposed to parents using physical punishment; 71 percent approve.
It's a perplexing statistic. Shirley Pearson of Mattapoisett is the vice president of Family Nonviolence Inc., of Fairhaven. She's a retired school psychologist who points out that corporal punishment is allowed in the schools in 26 of the United States. It's allowed in homes in all 50 states.
It defies logic: Why is a child who strikes another child punished by blows from an adult?
We are persuaded by the arguments of Family Nonviolence Inc. that say the preferred course is to teach children to solve problems without violence, teach high school students that parenting can work without corporal punishment and teach parents that — regardless of how they were raised — they can discipline their children with methods other than spanking.
We are convinced that children raised this way will be more likely to be peacemakers in a world that assaults and batters us all far too much.
A neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Richard Davidson made a commitment to the Dalai Lama in 1992 to help get meditation and compassion onto the scientific map by studying the way they affect the brain. At that time, a word like compassion would not appear in the index of a respectable textbook. Now, there are results that make it a serious subject of inquiry. He said we live at a very propitious time in the history of science for the following reasons:
1. Neuroplasticity, the concept that the brain is an organ built to change in response to experience, is now widely accepted.
2. Epigenetics is causing a revolution in nuclear biology. Gene regulation — when genes are or are not expressed — can be affected by the environment, including training. There are extraordinary new methods to look at epigenetic changes. (Wikipedia on Epigenetics: the study of heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence).
3. Neurally inspired behavioral interventions are proving to be the best ways to change the brain in specific and localized ways. Compared to them, drugs are blunt instruments.
4. Scientists are putting the brain back into biomedicine, studying the pathway back to the mind. We can study the way psycho-social factors affect the brain, and thus the mind.
The morning of day twelve of the Occupy Wall Street protest, a few people are waving signs and shouting slogans. Mostly, though, everyone is just hanging out. They take naps, play board games, and pick up books from the haphazardly organized library that occupies a bench on the side of Zuccotti Park...
On my visit to the library this morning, I was supplied with a full history of the institution by its appointed caretaker, Betsy Fagin.
Betsy said that she had seen people passing around “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life,” by Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of The Center for Nonviolent Communication...
In Martin Lindstrom's new book, Brandwashed, he devotes a standalone chapter to some of the main drivers that ignite our desire to buy, from sex, to nostalgia, to yes, our very human desire for freshness, and how marketers ruthlessly take advantage of our very human susceptibilities. He may have explored each one of these drivers alone, yet in real life, they blend and blur into one another. And what do they all have in common? F-E-A-R.
Last month I celebrated my birthday by taking a week-long trip to the beach. Besides the beautiful sunsets, white sand beaches, and general state of relaxation, the trip was made special by a visit from two good friends and their young children. Our dear friends from Washington D.C. are allies in the child rearing experience. Before my family moved to New Orleans two years ago, we spent long afternoons and weekends with each other, comparing notes about being parents. So it was no surprise that one night my friends and I were sitting on the balcony talking about my birthday wish. I paused, recalling the wish that I had made when I blew out my birthday candles. Now I’ll break the rule of “not telling anyone your wish” and admit that mine was for a year of good health for my children, my husband, and me.
When I said my wish out loud, it felt lackluster, commonsensical, and very abstract. Then my friends and I proceeded to have a discussion about wishes and desires that become goals, and I began to wonder whether more concrete goals get put on hold in specific phases of life, like parenthood. Are certain goals marginalized because they feel unrealistic or incongruent with being a parent? Are they viewed as desirable but not feasible? Are parents lured into an abstract way of thinking about goals that are futuristic and elusive? Or are there other parents that are so focused on the concrete that the abstract is neglected?
Goals for parents can take the shape of child-centered goals (I want my child to sleep through the night) or parent-centered personal goals that do not involve the child (I want to speak Spanish). Perhaps the greatest opportunity for flourishing, as parents, is to ensure that there is a healthy balance between the two.
Bullying is increasingly seen as a problem in the United States, and some research has started to prove that its consequences are real.
Most adults can probably remember being bullied in school, and there is a tendency to think of it as a rite of passage or simply as a part of life that kids have to get used to. After all, we got through it OK, perhaps with the advice of “standing up” to the bully, or simply by enduring it until it went away...
Coming face to face with emotion behind office conflict...
Restorative justice has found favour in the workplace, writes Kelly Burke.
Bullying, violence, greed, sexual harassment and revelations of infidelity are all in a day's work for Jack Manning, the fictional workplace negotiator played by Matthew Newton in the Michael Rymer film Face to Face.
But, according to the man on whom the character is based, the film is a strikingly accurate portrayal of a day at the office - invariably somebody else's office.
John McDonald has been working as a facilitator in the field of restorative justice for almost two decades and, along with colleague David Moore, inspired David Williamson over lunch one day in the late 1990s to write a play based on the work they did.
TED Talks Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax works with people at the last stage of life (in hospice and on death row). She shares what she's learned about compassion in the face of death and dying, and a deep insight into the nature of empathy.
We are deluged with data, but is more data and more rapidly acquired data actually contributing to higher quality decisions? For example does more data help entrepreneur owner-managers drive enterprise value for stakeholders? Or are we failing to understand how to strategically allocate resources in our markets because we are misinterpreting the information? One of the most frequent errors we observe owner-managers, and probably many others, making is the failure to distinguish Risk from Uncertainty.
There is extensive literature on Risk and Uncertainty. The difference between them is clear and simple to evaluate.
With Risk, the actual outcome of a decision may be unknown, but the distribution of the probabilities of alternative outcomes is measurable. Decision-making clarity is achieved by assessing the most likely outcomes for each alternative: Probability multiplied by likely outcome = expected value.
In the domain of Uncertainty, this is not true, because in Uncertainty (by definition), each situation one encounters is in effect immeasurable. It is fresh or unique. There is no reliable platform to support traditional strategic risk analysis. Each scenario becomes exposed to guesswork and conjecture, which only promotes argument and confusion. Owner-managers and CEOs, who have long preached against “surprise” as the worst outcome of any management effort, now find themselves living with it.
In the data rich world we live in today, choice is abundant. Yet empirical research has shown that frequently, in the anxiety of too many choices, we feel overwhelmed. Often what we “know” is based on only a modest level of understanding. Paralyzed by the complexity of decisions they have to make, some people attempt to solve this conundrum by seeking out even more data. The result is an overabundance of unconnected facts with no way to see the alternatives clearly.
Nonetheless, despite uncertainty, we have to act. Most of us don’t work in laboratories where we can stop the experiment at will. We have to deduce answers on the fly from the data at hand, limited though it may be. The vast majority of all of our decisions are (and will always be) made on imperfect or incomplete information. Some believe that more information will provide a more clear view of the future, and hence improve their decision making. The reality is that additional information in the domain of Uncertainty often clouds the decision-making process.
This is the Age of the Entrepreneur. We recognize that thinking about these issues requires an uncommon degree of honesty. But life, like markets, surely offers the highest benefits to those who can calculate and take on Risk, where appropriate, and otherwise accept the existence of Uncertainty. So if you truly understand the difference, you will recognize which domain you are in, and thus what set of tools you can best employ.
Empathy makes casting moral judgments upon others more complicated and more difficult, because seeing something of our reality in them gives them a context — a "story" like our own, which frames their choices and actions with complexities that bleed over into our stories and those of others.
It has just come to my attention that on July 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution about happiness. Unlike many matters that concern the UN, this resolution was unanimously supported.
Among the ideas set forth in the resolution are the following, thoroughly consistent with recent theorizing and research in positive psychology:
1. The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental and universal human goal.
2. The gross domestic product of a nation does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of its citizens.
3. Nations should develop measures of happiness and well-being and use them to guide their national policies...
The salient discovery is that certain things leaders do—specifically, exhibit empathy and become attuned to others’ moods—literally affect both their own brain chemistry and that of their followers. Indeed, researchers have found that the leader-follower dynamic is not a case of two (or more) independent brains reacting consciously or unconsciously to each other. Rather, the individual minds become, in a sense, fused into a single system. We believe that great leaders are those whose behavior powerfully leverages the system of brain interconnectedness...
We all have extra things to either throw out, donate to Goodwill, or give away to a friend. An extra tennis racket, that scuba gear you thought you'd use. Some of it is junk, but some of it might be worth selling. Right now, you can place these items on Craigslist to make a few bucks for yourself.
KarmaGoat would rather you sell things on its site, and have the money go to a charitable cause....
In an op-ed piece in The New York Times the other day, columnist David Brooks debunked the current "age of empathy" craze -- or at least the claims that empathy makes a significant difference in how we behave toward one another. Though most of us (not all) experience feelings of compassion toward others, Brooks acknowledges, "The problem comes when we try to turn feelings into action...It's not clear it actually motivates you to take moral action...It doesn't seem to help much when that action comes at personal cost." Brooks cites a recent review of the scientific research by philosopher Jesse Prinz, who concluded that "These studies suggest that empathy is not a major player when it comes to moral motivation." Brooks concurs and echoes the naysayers who have called empathy a "fragile flower" that can easily be crushed by self-concern. Brooks gives more weight to "a sense of duty" that is dictated by social, moral, religious, or military codes. He concludes that "empathy is a sideshow." We need, instead, to debate, reform, enact and "revere" our ethical codes.
Well, it's not quite that simple. The truth may lie in a more complex, and subtle, middle-ground. In the first place, you'll note that the philosopher quoted by Brooks said only that the studies he reviewed "suggest" that empathy is a minor factor. That's a classic "weasel word" for a finding that is far less than conclusive. In fact, there are other studies that suggest the opposite - that empathy is a significant causal factor in our social and moral behavior. A more nuanced interpretation is that empathy is necessary but may not be sufficient. There are many other factors influencing our social behavior as well.
SANTA CRUZ —This term at the University of California-Santa Cruz, a brand new theme was created for a floor in one of the residence halls that focuses on training in nonviolent communication. The 24 students in the program are all living on one floor in the Ohlone House at College Ten, which has a social justice theme.
“The training is about trying to understand, from other people’s perspective, where they are coming from,” King said. “It’s learning to get what motivates other people, to get that we are all coming from a place where we are trying to meet some vital human need.”
"We’re in the midst of something here, and now is a time to act, and to let the power of our grief not just unite us, not just invite us to reflect, but to move forward together, and to cross those lines that we so often use to divide."
Psychological scientist Christopher Moyer, and a group of colleagues at the University of Wisconsin -- Stout, designed a brain study to see if there might be at least some benefit after a very brief period of meditation training.
...The scientists recruited a group of volunteers, ranging in age from 18 to 73, all interested but inexperienced at meditation practice. The volunteers completed an emotional inventory before starting the study, and they also closed their eyes and tried to meditate for 18 minutes on their own. All they were told was to focus on their breathing, and if thoughts intruded, to re-focus their attention on their breathing. During this trial, they were hooked up to an EEG, which measured their baseline brain activity.
The participants had volunteered in exchange for training by experienced instructors, and half were immediately enrolled in such training. The others were wait-listed; they received training later on, but served as controls for the brain study. In the actual study, the meditation trainees were offered nine 30-minute sessions over five weeks, each session consisting of a short lesson and 5 to 20 minutes of "sitting." After the five weeks, all of the volunteers -- trainees and controls -- repeated the 18-minute meditation trial, again hooked up to the EEG...
...As reported online in the journal Psychological Science, the trainees ended up averaging fewer than seven sessions, and meditated at home just a couple times a week -- so they only got about six hours of training and practice in all over the five weeks. That comes to minutes a day, not hours. But even with this very modest commitment of time, the novices showed a significant shift in brain activity from their right to their left frontal hemispheres over the course of the study. Such brain asymmetry is associated with a shift to more positive emotional processing. In short, the promised benefits of meditation may be much more accessible than previously thought.
A study based on a survey of thousands of people from 123 countries reveals the universal needs that make us happy...
The study's methodical investigation of both day-to-day positive and negative feelings and overall life evaluation uncovered novel nuances as well. As it turns out, the needs that are most linked with everyday satisfaction are interpersonal ones, such as love and respect. Our troubles, conversely, relate most to lack of esteem, lack of freedom, and lack of nourishment. Only when we look back on the quality of our lives thus far do basic needs become significant indicators for well-being...
"Maslow got right that there are universal human needs beyond the physiological needs that everyone recognizes," Ed Diener says. "But it turns out people are inherently social. We are called the social animal now."
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