Sunday, April 28, 2013

Censorship Double Standards

On April 15th the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA), unveiled the top ten most frequently challenged books list of 2012.

The list is headed by Captain Underpants Series by author Dav Pilkey. “The series revolves around two fourth graders, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, and Captain Underpants; an aptly named superhero from one of George & Harold's comic books, that accidentally becomes real when George and Harold hypnotizes their grouchy mean principal, Mr. Krupp” (wikipedia).
The reason given for the censorship is “Offensive language, unsuited for age group.”  These works are subject to complaints from parents, educators and other members of the public
In my view, the book does not deserve to be banned. It is a book that entertains children of that age group with humor and to whom they can identify and relate.
Nor do I consider Its language offensive in any particular way. My 11 year old enjoyed them when he was younger, and encouraged him to read.

The author told Huffington Post: “I don't see these books as encouraging disrespect for authority. Perhaps they demonstrate the value of questioning authority," Pilkey said. "Some of the authority figures in the Captain Underpants books are villains. They are bullies and they do vicious things."
"It's pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou." Pilkey said in a statement.

And rightly so, the works of Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer have been repeatedly banned.
Mark Twain said to his editor on the Concord Public Library banning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885: “Apparently, the Concord library has condemned Huck as ‘trash and only suitable for the slums.’ This will sell us another twenty-five thousand copies for sure!”

You may wonder Why consider this censorship as a double standard and hypocrisy?

Number One: The list of censored books, as I indicated is headed by Captain Underpants  Series by Dav Pilkey.
But on number four is the book Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E.L. James. The given reasons for this censorship were: “Offensive language, sexually explicit”.
I think this was to be expected and seems reasonable that they decided to remove this title from the Public Libraries and Schools.
I do not believe in any kind censorship, but everyone has different standards, values ​​and principles. For me, a discussion on the topic with logical argumentation will be more positive than a ban. The parents are the ones that should make that decision concerning their own children.
Another different thing is to have Captain Underpants Series and Fifty Shades of Grey in the same list, specially when Captain Underpants is the number one of the list; is ridiculous!

Number Two: In February of this year the City of Chicago passed a legislation endorsing sex education for kindergarten. Chicago has the third-largest public school system in the country, with 431,000 students.
The reasons given by advocates and supporters is that it will help lower child abuse rates if children are educated about sexuality, another, is that “by implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.” Said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of the Chicago Public School System in a statement.
Those educators who censor the “offensive language” of Captain Underpants are supporting sexual education for Kindergarten students! Absurd and ridiculous!

Here is a clear example of today’s society double standards and lack of consistency. How they will not expect to lose credibility in the Institutions and decision makers if in one hand they censor the language of a children's book recommended for children aged 7-10 years, but in the other they are urging sexual education for children 5 and 6 years old?

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors. I apologized but English is not my native language. If  you wish to leave any feedback please comment or email me

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Story of Mr. T

I know this man who is in late his forties. He is a successful and ambitious entrepreneur. He has worked hard to reach his goals, you can say that he has successfully reached the peak of his career. However, his personal and emotional life are far from being successful. Much of this is due to the fact that he has an obsessive relationship with his company and those who work for him.

Mr. T devotes himself to his business and his subordinates. He has reached the point in which he lives the lives of those who work for him and seek to have the last word in everything, even in personal matters. He takes their problems as his own and that ends up hurting and damaging his relationships with people who are not within the circle of his Company. Needless to say that has had countless affairs with his employees (did I mention that 95% of his employees are women?). He aims to change them, make them a success as he does with his business. He only seems to feel complete when these people act and do things as he wishes. As this rarely happens and if it happens, it does not last forever. He ends up feeling frustrated. He is completely devoted to them, how is it that they do not match up to his devotion? How can these people can’t correspond in the same way? He feels betrayed, misunderstood.

It seems that his ego feels complete only when another person validates him. Those who get to know him have the impression that he is an egomaniac, in fact, he is.
He is an individual who should have a healthy ego, since he is successful and hard worker. Unfortunately he’s not, because his Ego depends on others to feel validated.

This is not the typical case of a "workaholic" whose life is devoted to work and he lives for the sake of work, for ambition, power, money, success but do not care for those around him. On the contrary, this is the case of a lonely man that at his age has never been married, has no kids and constantly fails in his personal relationships but seeks ownership of his employees as well as his Company.  
He has managed to succeed in his Company for the commitment he has given. The problem is not his dedication nor his commitment to his Company but the fact of he has no life other than his Company and his employees. He feels ownership over their lives, he dictates the dress code (often, he goes shopping with them to sanction their way of dress, and has sent Company memos in this regard), he criticizes how they talk, to whom they talk, to whom they befriend at the office etc. He obviously feels betrayed when they do not meet his own expectations.

At work he is a demanding boss, but ends up making half of their job because he cannot lose control. What he needs is a "loyal employee" who says "yes" to everything he says and asks; in order to feel validated. Nor is a relationship between "friends". Is a contractual relationship where one party hires another to perform a service and the other receives remuneration.

There are people who fail to adequately develop their individuality, because they tend to merge with others, this is a clear example.

Another example would be the of mother who is completely devoted to her children and their lives. When her children grow up and everyone leaves she feels betrayed by them. They are "bad kids" they have forgotten their mother! Instead of repaying their mother in adulthood, they follow their own path. This mother has lost the purpose of her life.

These individuals are not the typical "martyrs" who give everything without expecting anything in return. They give because they expect to receive a similar delivery. They pretend to be recognized, acknowledged and thanked and if this doesn’t happen they feel denied, misunderstood and betrayed.

They feel satisfied as they see those to whom they have merge happy. They have merged their emotive and emotional lives to those who validated them. To others who complete them.

We can only be happy and achieve healthy relationships with others when we feel well with ourselves. Our ego, feel pleased with itself. Loneliness is not a bad thing. It’s necessary to discover ourselves, to accept, value and love who we truly are (all flaws included). It is not healthy when our happiness depends on others, because we will always feel betrayed and unappreciated.

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors. I apologized but English is not my native language. If  you wish to leave any feedback please comment or email me

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mighty Vanity!

I recently discovered that vanity is associated with a psychological disorder. The name given to this pathology is Body Dysmorphic Disorder BDD, originally known as Dysmorphophobia. 
How about that?
Of course, this is Vanity taken to extremes.  This is an unusual concern for some physical imperfection or an obsession over your appearance and body image.

Recently there was a scandal in Hollywood because the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, said when asked, “...I won’t do Botox again because I looked crazy. I looked like Joan Rivers”
Obviously, Joan Rivers responded to Paltrow’s statements, with the sarcasm that identifies her.

In this particular case I have to side with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, in my opinion Mrs. Rivers has gone too far with the use of Botox and plastic surgeries. Her once beautiful face looks strange.
Sometimes the fear of wrinkles and specially aging make us lose the perspective of the aesthetic. All these people who abuse Botox and cosmetic surgeries end up having look alike faces that have lost their human characteristics. That doesn’t exempt Mrs. Rivers to be one of the finest entertainment journalists and a woman we shall respect and admire. Today's blog is not aimed to discuss Hollywood or celebrity gossip, but to analyze the vanity.

Personally, I consider vanity as something good and positive, as long as it is not carried to extremes. However, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines vanity as "something that is vain, empty or useless" and defines the word vain as “something of no real value: idle, worthless”, etc., the connotation of its meaning is anything but positive.

Is it negative to be vain? I think not, I think we should be proud of our physical, intellectual and spiritual qualities. Vanity is always associated with something physical, but I know people very vain by their intellectual or moral qualities. Many religions condemn physical vanity but favor and praise moral vanity.

Vanity, not taken to pathological extremes, is something that must be an important part of  each individual. In my case, my share of vanity is fed with shoes and books! There is nothing that makes me happier than a new pair of shoes (beautiful, fashionable and comfortable), as well as to increase my book collection. I Love Books! I live surrounded by them. Recently I discovered that buying special editions feeds my vanity and ego and therefore my self-esteem. I have become an snobbish book collector!

I would like to leave you with this amazing video from Dove that beautifully exemplifies my feelings towards vanity and the need to be a little vain.
Dove evidence that “only 4% of women around the world considered themselves beautiful”.

Most women (and I am sure men do too) have an incorrect perception of themselves, in contrast to how others perceive them. Obviously, having a wrong perception of itself is a source of anxiety and low self esteem.
A little vanity does not harm anyone. 

To learn more about Dove Real Beauty Sketches click here  and you can watch the video in the box below.

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors. I apologized but English is not my native language. If  you wish to leave any feedback please comment or email me

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Children as a Reflection of the Self we yearn to Be

I am strongly against parents that use their small children as instruments to achieve the goals that for them were unreachable.

The majority of kids nowadays are a reflection of their parents ego. I must make clear that I am a mother of an 11 year old boy and I worked selling and distributing toys, therefore I know what I’m talking about.

Since my son was born I was exposed to the insane competition of parents against parents that use their children as trophies of their ego’s.
Is your child in early learning classes? When and where will he start kindergarten? Have you enlisted him in extracurricular activities? Does he know how to swim? Does he go to soccer, Karate, Aikido? Art, Music? What school or college are you going to send him to? etc., the list is endless, and endless are the suggestions from good intentioned parents that recommends you infinite lists of places and people to keep your children occupied.

I ask myself, is this necessary? Isn't it the job of a child to play and learn by playing?

I remember clearly as if it was yesterday, a day near christmas where I found myself in my shop talking with a customer. An enthusiast mother who was waiting for us to finish wrapping the gifts she had bought for her 6 year old daughter. The mother was young, modern; a hard working executive at a local Bank. She said to me, “its a shame that kids get all these toys for christmas and don't even play with them”.
Violating the rule that the client is always right, I asked her what was her young daughter schedule in an average weekday. The mother proudly answered “She goes to school from 7: 30 AM to 2:00 PM then she goes to ballet, on Tuesdays and Thursdays she additionally goes to piano lessons. Fridays she goes to Art and regularly there is a birthday party from a kid in her class. When she gets back home she does her homework, and she goes to bed around 8:30 PM. Saturdays she goes to swimming classes in the morning, and comes with us to social events. Sundays we go to the movies or we go out to eat with family or friends.” I ventured to asked her  “At what time does she play?” The poor mother was surprised with my question as if I had asked her a blasphemy. That mother, that a few minutes ago had complained that kids don't play anymore! At what time does she want her daughter to play with such a schedule? The girl is 6 years old!
Let's be realistic! At that age, very few the kids have developed a natural talent for something  and there are fewer that wish to spend 3 hours practicing every afternoon, and even more hours when they are close to recitals, which anyways cost the parents a fortune.

And those beautiful toys they got for Christmas ended up stored in a storage room along with their childhood dreams and fantasies.

I am almost sure that the mother and father of that little girl have made of her a trophy before their families and friends and feel proud that the poor girl doesn’t have a minute alone to find her true call. Probably that mother wanted to be a professional ballerina and the father wanted to play Football in the Major League or maybe go the Olympics
Or simply, they want their daughter to be something perfect they can show off.

What would have been of Albert Einstein if he would have had that tight schedule? Or Newton
without having the leisure of passing consecutive days just observing? What would have been of this globalized world if the great minds of the past wouldn't have the idle hours to be by themselves and have enough moments of “boredom” to imagine their great inventions?

Don’t ruin the opportunities of our children to excel in this world by snatching away their creativity and imagination. Lets not take away their childhood, let them play with their toys, because they learn by playing. The best toy for a kid is the box in which the toy comes in, it is there where they have infinite possibilities of discovering.

These competitive parents are only creating children who will have absolute codependency and will be afraid to be alone. Most likely, when they grow up they will end in addictive relationships because they never learned to be alone and appreciate a moment of solitude, a moment with themselves, they never learned what they want. The mere idea of being alone will be terrifying!
As a professionals they will lack the creative skills and will be contempt with the mediocrity. They’ll feel secure being told what to do and how to do it. They have always been told what to do and have learn to live a planified life.

Lets stop feeding our egos with our children and give them an opportunity to discover who they are and what they want. We should support them when they make their own choices; do not impose on them our unsatisfied wishes or forced them to live the lives we would have wished to live.

If we want our kids to become someone in the future, let them Be.

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors. I apologized but English is not my native language. If  you wish to leave any feedback please comment or email me