Homework Organization For Students (And Their Parents)

I spend a lot of time at my seminars and workshops, on the phone and via email discussing the subject of homework organization. Actually, I spend a lot of time listening to parents complain that their children’s homework disorganization is driving everybody crazy!

Many students have such a hard time getting it together that by the time they finally sit down to do their homework, they are exhausted. No wonder they don’t want to do it! Getting organized will help alleviate exhaustion, bad attitudes, procrastination and rebelliousness.

Homework organization just makes life easier for everyone.

These are the homework organization tips that I use as a student, teacher and parent. Print this list and read it with your children. Then, post it on the fridge and refer to it often so that everybody (parents, kids, babysitters, grandparents) will be on the same organized page.

At School:

  • Write down every, single homework assignment in one place. I strongly recommend using a bound or wire notebook- definitely NOT a loose leaf binder. I don’t care how careful you are, pages will fall out, and then what? You won’t know what to do nor when to do it! A plain notebook is fine, but a datebook or calendar is the best. Some schools even provide these to students. Use it.
  • Write down homework assignments as you get them. This is mostly for older students that change classes and teachers, but it is a good habit for everyone. If the teacher says, “Oh, tonight I want you to read Chapter 4,” write that down in your notebook.
  • Write down every, single due date for a project or paper- even if you have a handout or syllabus. Handouts disappear (I think they hang out with loose socks), but you will still know what to do and when to do it if you have everything written down in your homework notebook.
  • Keep ALL of the day’s homework assignments together in one place. Don’t have a special place or page for math, another for writing, etc. You want to see everything in one spot.
  • Check your homework notebook Three (3) Times A Day: Before you leave school (or each class), double check to make certain that you have everything (books, paper, materials, etc.) that you will need later.

At Home:

  • Before you start doing your homework, look at your notebook and make sure that you are doing the right assignment, the right page, etc.
  • Before you put everything away, take one more quick look. Did you do everything? Good!
  • Make a decision about where you will put your completed homework: into a binder pocket, a special homework folder, etc. You may decide to have a color-coded folder for each class. If you choose to use folders, I strongly recommend using 3-hole punched folders and keeping them together in a 3-ring binder. Whatever you choose, stick to it! Don’t put your homework in your a binder today, a folder tomorrow… And, never, ever fold your homework into a book or throw it loose into your backpack! Shudder!
  • Use your Magic Homework Box. You do have one, don’t you? The Magic Homework Box is a box with all of the homework supplies and materials a student needs on a regular basis. These supplies only come out of the Magic Homework Box during homework time, so you always have what you need. Now, that’s magic!
  • Clean up as soon as you are finished with your homework. Now, not later! Put completed pages in your homework folder, then put the folder and homework notebook in your backpack. Not only will mornings will be less crazy, you won’t have to sit in class knowing that you did your homework and forgot it at home (doh!). Don’t forget to put away the dictionary and any other books you may have used.
  • Remember to put everything back into your Magic Homework Box. In my house, homework is not “done” until everything is cleaned up and put away.
  • Keep your backpack organized. Throw away all of those candy wrappers and random pieces of paper. Keep one area or pocket filled with a few items (pencils, a sharpener, maybe a calculator) so that you can do your homework anywhere- maybe even before you get home! Remove any graded test, project, report or paper that your teacher has taken the time to return to you. Why? You might need it to study for a test, for a portfolio or for a project. You can throw everything away at the end of the semester or the school year, but until then put each item in its own subject file, but NOT in the homework folder. Remember, homework folders are ONLY for completed homework that is ready to be turned in!
  • Don’t give up! They say it takes 21 days to form a good habit. If you forget to do something on this list, don’t stop trying. Hey, maybe if you remember to write down all of your homework or clean up for 21 days in a row, your mom or dad will do something extra nice for you! (Parents, that was a hint!)

A Note to Parents about Homework Organization

Please remember that your job is to give your children organizational tools and show them how to use them. Your job is NOT to organize your child’s homework! So, in the beginning, you might check your son’s homework notebook to make sure that he is writing down all of his assignments in one place, but you would never dream of calling the teacher and checking. You might watch as your daughter copies the science project due dates into her homework notebook; you will not do it for her.

Yes, I know that it is hard to let go- I’ve been there! But, we want our children to be organized and independent learners, right?

You can do it!

(For more information about recommended homework organization products and The Magic Homework Box, please see site information below.)

An Introduction To Birth Control

The dictionary defines birth control as “a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant.” Birth control has become imperative in today’s world, due to the global rise in population, need for family planning and also to safeguard oneself from unwanted pregnancy.

There are various methods of birth control that one can adopt, including the withdrawal method, or coitus interruptus; barrier methods like condom, diaphragm, cervical cap or contraceptive sponge; chemical methods like contraceptive pills, contraceptive patch, or the progesterone-only pill (POP); intrauterine methods; fertility awareness methods and more. Other than the preventive methods, one can also adopt abortion methods like surgical abortions, chemical abortions and herbal abortifacients to end unwanted pregnancies. Some permanent birth control solutions are surgical sterilization, which includes tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.

Although there are many alternate methods of birth control available in the market, the most commonly used methods are contraceptive pills and condoms. Contraceptive pills or oral contraceptives consist of a pill with doses of synthetic hormones like progestin or estrogen, taken orally by a woman to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive pills are considered to be a reliable mode of preventing pregnancy, but can sometimes also result in certain side effects like obesity, headaches or depression in some women. Condoms were traditionally manufactured for men but now are available for female users. Condoms serve a dual function, as they not only help in avoiding pregnancy but also prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.

In Canada and the US, contraceptive patches are also fast gaining popularity. A woman applies contraceptive patches on her skin for a week, and they release synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. They act in the same manner as contraceptive pills. Contraceptive patches in Canada and US are sold under the brand name Ortho Evra, and are sold only by prescription.

With the advances in science and technology, we might witness new innovations in birth control methods; however, in order to choose the right mode of birth control one must consult one’s doctor.

9 Fun Speech Class Activities

Speech classes are a lot more fun when everyone gets involved with special activities! Try some of these ideas to warm up your next class:

  1. Impromptu speaking. Give students various topics for them to speak on without any preparation. The topics should be relatively easy at first, such as “What is your favorite movie and why?” or “If you could only eat one food for a month, what would that be?”
  2. Lost on a deserted Island game. Present the scenario: Following a ship wreck, the entire class has been stranded on a deserted island. Each person is allowed to bring one object to the island. Have each student describe what that object would be and why. (You can extend this into a team-building activity by breaking into teams and have each team figure out how to creatively combine their items to increase survival).
  3. Tongue Twisters competition. Have two people come up at a time and take turns repeating a tongue twister. “unique New York” “Red Leather, yellow leather.” Faster, and faster. When someone messes up, they sit down and a challenger comes up. Someone can keep score with the class roster.
  4. Dramatic alphabet or numbers. Students can “lecture” the class by reciting the alphabet or counting to 30, but with gestures, drama and eye contact. A, BCD! E, F, G… , H? I, JKL-M… , etc.. You could emphasize the eye contact by adding this activity: the speaker is to make and hold eye contact for at least 3 seconds per person. All the students raise their hands. When the speaker initiates eye contact with someone, that person mentally counts to 3 and then lowers his or her hand, letting the speaker know that the 3 seconds is up. The speaker can then move onto someone else. You could even make it a competition.
  5. Dramatic reading. You, of course, could pick an intriguing passage, or you could do something like having them read definitions outloud, just to make it silly by being dramatic.
  6. Transitions exercise. Pass out 3 slips of paper to each of the students-and have some categories written on the board. (Places, People around the school, Foods, TV shows). Ask that each student pick 3 of the categories and write a word that falls into that category. Then collect the slips in a container. Each student goes up to the front of the room in turn and picks a slip and starts talking about whatever is on that slip. Then, after a little bit of time, you pick another slip for the student and say, “OK, Amanda, your next topic is… ” and then the student’s job is to transition from the one topic to the next. It’s OK for the audience to help. It’s OK to offer another topic if the student is stuck. Using “apples” and “New York City” as examples, transitions can be phrases such as: Now that I’ve told you about the health benefits of apples, let me tell you about the health benefits of living in New York City. Finally, let me tell you how New York came to be called the Big Apple.
  7. On the other hand. Have 2 students come up. Ask one student to speak “for” a topic and then the other person to speak “against” the same topic.
  8. One word story. Line up 7-10 students in front (actually it’s better if they stand in a circle) and have them tell a non-rehearsed, non-thought out story one word at a time, cycling to the beginning until the story comes to a somewhat logical conclusion. The key is that each person can only say one word at time and this includes the boring words like “and” and “the.” You could start the story by saying something like, “One.” (The logical thing to come next would be “day,” but it certainly could be something else).
  9. Sell a product. Have odd objects for students to “sell” to their classmates. You can introduce the FAB format and ask them to use it. F=Features, A=Advantages, B=Benefits. The focus should be on the benefits. Toilet paper, anyone?

Add a few fun activities and see the interest level soar in your class!

How to Calculate Window Tint Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

Window tinting films are measured in visible light transmission levels (or VLT). This means that when we discuss a particular film, be it for fitting to a car or any other application, we normally refer to it with it’s VLT value. VLT is measured in percentage ( % ), so if you hear about a tint product being referred to as a percentage, it is the VLT that defines that percentage value.

For example, a tinting film referred to as Charcoal 5% is a charcoal coloured tint with a VLT of 5% and likewise a film referred to as green 50% is a green coloured tint film with a VLT of 50%. But what does the number actually mean?

Well, in simple terms the VLT value is the percentage of visible light that will be allowed to travel through the window tinting film from the exterior face side of the film to the interior side. This means that a 5% film will only allow 5% light travel through and a 70% film will allow 70% light to travel. In effect, this means that lower VLT films will appear darker. For instance, it is normally 5% tints that we will see on limousines for privacy.

So, fitting a 5% tint to a window will allow 5% light to travel through the glass from outside to inside, right? NO! Because we need to take into consideration the actual VLT of the window before the tint is even installed. There is no such thing as a piece of glass, no matter how clear it appears, with a VLT of 100%. This is because glass naturally filters out a little bit of visible light.

Lets look at car window tinting as this is one area where we speak of VLT often due to the fact that many countries have laws in place limiting how dark car windows should be tinted. Most modern cars come from factory with windows reading a VLT somewhere between 72% and 78%, depending on manufacturer, model and country. Say, our example car’s windows read at 72% and we add a 50% window tinting film, what is the new and final VLT of our car’s windows after installation?

The sum is very simple: V1 x V2 = V3 (Where V1 is the original VLT of the glass before tinting, V2 is the VLT of the window tinting film and V3 is the final VLT value of the glass with tint film applied).

Our car’s windows original VLT = 72% and the tint = 50 %, thus V1 = 72 and V2 = 50

The sum is 72 x 0.50 giving us 36, which we will express as a percentage. So a window with an original VLT of 72% will then have a VLT of 36% after application of a 50% film.

Cold Sores and Staff Infection

Cold sores are a result of infection with the herpes simplex 1 virus. This is a viral infection that once you have contracted stays in your system for life. The only treatments available are antiviral management, because there is no cure.

A person who suffers from atopic dermatitis should be extremely cautious around anyone with a cold sore. Atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema, is rashes and irritations on the skin caused by any number of environmental allergies. This condition causes very itchy dry patches of skin that can break open and are prone to secondary infection from scratching. Studies have shown that patients with eczema are more likely to carry stash on their skin than those who do not.

The herpes simplex virus can spread rapidly in a person with atomic dermatitis. This can cause an infection known as eczema herpetic. It can spread over the whole body or remain localized in areas of active eczema outbreak. This situation should be monitored very carefully by a medical professional.

Herpes virus is very contagious and the spreading capability increases in the person who has eczema. The virus can spread over the whole body very quickly leaving you open to secondary infections and especially staph. As noted above the eczema carrier is also more apt to have the staph already present on their skin, thus when scratching sores or rashes, the staph can penetrate and make a bad situation even worse.

If you have eczema and been exposed to the herpes simplex virus, it is important that you see your doctor immediately. They may want to start you on an antiviral medication sooner rather than later to ward off a potential outbreak.

Signs that you may be getting a herpiticum outbreak will include blisters, sores within the areas of eczema. These tiny blisters will soon pop and spread the virus at an alarming rate. There is a chance of fatality if not treated properly. You may feel tired or feverish and notice some swelling in the area of the rash.

It is important to note even if you are not overly concerned for yourself, you should be concerned for your family and coworkers. The virus is very contagious and should be treated immediately. Besides early treatment can lessen the severity and duration of your outbreak.

In very severe cases, your doctor may prescribe a bleach bath to kill the bacteria. However, this should never be undertaken without a doctor’s advice as the wrong dilution can cause severe problems. Phototherapy and laser therapy are also alternative therapies that your doctor or dermatologist may consider.

The main thing to remember is prevention is better than cure, use good hand washing practices and keep yourself healthy. When you are run down your immune system becomes compromised and less able to fight off infection and the herpes particles.

Your Life GPS

Lately I’ve been hearing from many people that their spirit guides have left them. This is not true. They haven’t left. They’re just getting out of the way so you can learn how to move forward under your own power.

After 12/21/2012 your spirit guides began stepping back in order to allow you to fulfill your destiny – that of taking your power back. This process involves learning how to utilize your own innate wisdom instead of relying on your spirit guides, angels, and other people and beings to whom you have given your authority in the past.

It’s much like watching a small child learn how to walk. Initially the child is supported and guided by an adult. At some point the adult lets go of the child’s hands in order to allow them to learn how to walk on their own and travel in the direction of their choice.

So it is with your spirit guides. They’re letting you know that it’s time for you to walk your life path using your own knowledge and wisdom, and choosing your own direction.

Oh, they’re still around in case you really need them for guidance. But remember, they’re spirit guides, not directors. They now serve in a different capacity. Rather than being your commanders and issuing orders to you, they’re now serving as your advisors.

Much like the GPS system you use in your car, your spirit guides are now acting as your Life GPS, ready to give you directions to a destination should you ask. However you have the power to choose if you want to follow their suggested route, take another route, or even if you want to use your Life GPS or not.

Just as the highest and best purpose of a GPS is to advise you as to the best route to take to your desired destination, it’s still only advice. You have the power of choice as to whether you want to follow that advise. You are now empowered to choose how you want to get to your destination. You have the power to choose a new and different destination at any time. YOU are now in command of your life.

Although a GPS is handy, it’s not infallible. Often it can lead you to an incorrect address. Likewise, spirit guides can give you advice that isn’t correct or accurate.

With a GPS your location is sent to a satellite and then bounced back to the GPS in your car, where it’s displayed on maps stored within the GPS. There may be distortions in the   transmission  of the data. Additionally, the data within the GPS may be outdated or incorrect.

Similarly, your Life GPS  transmissions  may be corrupted. After all, your spirit guides are transmitting through other dimensions and realities. Most of them have never been human, so they can only advise you from their perspective, which may be lacking in current and correct data.

Only you know the correct directions for you to make as you travel on your life path. Use your spirit guides as your Life GPS and remember… it’s advice, not orders.

Thomas Nagel And His Article On Death

Thomas Nagel begins his collection of essays with a most intriguing discussion about death. Death being one of the most obviously important subjects of contemplation, Nagel takes an interesting approach as he tries to define the truth as to whether death is, or is not, a harm for that individual. Nagel does a brilliant job in attacking this issue from all sides and viewpoints, and it only makes sense that he does it this way in order to make his own observations more credible.

He begins by looking at the very common views of death that are held by most people in the world, and tells us that he will talk of death as the “unequivocal and permanent end to our existence” and look directly at the nature of death itself (1). The first view that Nagel decides to discuss is the view that death is bad for us because it deprives us of more life. Most people are in the view that life is good; even though some experiences in life can be bad, and sometimes tragic, the nature of life itself is a very positive state. Nagel also adds that when the experiences of life are put aside, this state is still positive, and not simply “neutral” (2).

Nagel goes further to point out some important observations about the value of life. Mere “organic survival” cannot be said to be a component of value (2). Nagel gives the example of death and being in a coma before dying. Both of these situations would be equally bad situations. Another observation is that “like most goods” the value can become greater with time (2).

Looking now at what is bad about death instead of what is good about life, Nagel presents some obvious thoughts regarding this point. Life is good because we have the conscious ability to experience and appreciate all that life has to offer. So death is bad because it deprives us of these experiences, not because the actual state of death is bad for us.

The next point that Nagel makes is that there are certain indications that show how people do not object to death simply because it “involves long periods of nonexistence” (3). It is said that people would not look at the temporary “suspension” of life as a terrible misfortune, because the fact that it is temporary tells us that this will ultimately bring the state back to that of conscious life. Also, we do not look at the state being before we are born as a misfortune, or deprivation of life, because that life has not yet begun and, (as Nagel states later), he refutes the possible argument that the person could have been born earlier and had more life, with the fact that if that person was born substantially earlier, he would cease to be that person, but instead someone else entirely.

Nagel discusses next three problems. The first is a view that there are no evils that are not rooted in a person consciously “minding” those evils. Nagel puts this view in to easier terms by saying that this is the same as saying “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” (4). There are several examples that can illustrate this theory. People who think this way would say that it is not a harm for a person to be ridiculed behind his back, if he doesn’t know about it. If he doesn’t experience the evil, it is not bad for him. Nagel thinks this view is wrong. The natural discovery here is that it is bad to be betrayed, this is what makes the whole situation unfortunate; not because the discovery of this betrayal makes us unhappy.

The second problem is that which has to do with who the subject of harm caused by death is, and when exactly this occurs. Harm can be experienced by a person before death, nothing can be experienced after death, so when is death itself experienced as a harm? The third problem deals with posthumous and prenatal existence.

Contemplating the good or bad aspects of death, Nagel observes that we must look at the possible circumstances surrounding a death, and the pertinent history of the person who dies. This is important because we miss a lot that is important to the argument if what we take into consideration is exclusively the state of the person at the moment of death. Nagel gives an example of a very intelligent man sustaining an injury that causes him to regress to the mental capacity of an infant. His needs can be fulfilled like those of an infant and be kept happy as long as simple needs are met. His family and friends would look at this as a terrible misfortune, even though the man himself is not aware of his loss. This situation is unfortunate because of the deprivation of what might have been had he not been injured in this way. He could have gone on to accomplish great things for the world and his family, and live out his life through old age as an accomplished and acclaimed individual. This would have lead him to great happiness, but it can be observed that this same man in a state of mental capacity to match that of a child is also happy, but Nagel agrees that what happened to this man is a tragedy because of the terrible loss of the life the intelligent man could have led. This situation can relate to death in this way of thinking about deprivation. Death is bad because it robs you of what could have been.

After making these observations, Nagel states that “This case should convince us that it is arbitrary to restrict the goods and evils that can befall a man to non-relational properties ascribable to him at particular times” (6). There are endless circumstances and happenings going on that affect a person’s fortune or misfortune. Many of these never coincide directly to the person’s life. We must consider that there is no way to pinpoint the exact position of a misfortune in a person’s life, nor a way to define the origin. People have dreams and goals in life that may or may not be fulfilled. There is no way to find all of the circumstances and possibilities that go into whether or not these hopes and dreams are eventually fulfilled, but Nagel tells us that we must simply accept that “If death is an evil, it must be accounted for in these terms, and the impossibility of locating it within life should not trouble us” (7).

There are some who view the time before birth and the time after death as the same. We exist in neither, though Nagel argues that there is a difference. This whole essay has expressed exactly his view that though we do not exist in either case, death deprives us of time that we could have been living our lives.

Nagel makes an interesting observation about whether we can assign as a misfortune an event or aspect of life which is normal to all humans in general. We all know that we all will die and that the maximum amount of life is somewhere around 100 years. So is it still plausible to say this is a misfortune? He also gives the example of moles, which are blind. It is not a misfortune for a mole to be blind because they are all blind, and they will never know sight and be able to appreciate it. But Nagel also presents the example of a situation in which everyone goes through six months of pain and anguish before dying. Everyone knows that this is going to happen, but does that make the event any less of an event to dread and fear?

We are brought into this world and brought up with aspects of our lives that we appreciate. The deprivation of these things that we learn to appreciate is a misfortune, because we have learned to live with these privileges. It is unfathomable for a human being to grasp the concept of a finite life, in the truest meaning of understanding. We do not think of our lives right now as a set out plan or a finite sequence of events. We do not live day to day thinking of what we should do according to how much time we have left. Our lives are essentially an open-ended sequence of good and bad circumstances and possibilities. Death is the abrupt interruption of this sequence that we cannot help but be in the mindset will never end. This is how death is a deprivation, and ultimately, a bad thing for a person.

In conclusion, Nagel offers a good argument in his essay on death about death itself being a harm. Whether a person believes in the immortal life or not, it must still be considered that dying deprives you of the goods and experiences of life. This view seems unavoidable. A person who dies at age 92 has lived a full life to the best of his ability and has experienced more than someone who dies at age 32. The person dying at age 32 had many things that he wished to accomplish and experience in his life, and since the event of death has taken away all possibility of any of these goals coming to pass, and undermines all the work that he has put forth up to that point in pursuit of his goals, death is a terrible tragedy for him.

Work Cited

Nagel, Thomas. Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1979.

HPV Information

One great thing about the information age is the amount of free information that exists out there. There are a lot of great things to be had out there and if you are a smart person, you can simply find it with ease. For instance, if you are looking online there is a myriad of information regarding diseases that you used to not know about. Of course I’m talking about sexually transmitted diseases, which are interesting to note and are increasing in irregularity. These modern times do not fair well for transmittable disease, because the more we travel and the more we throw caution out the window, the more we raise our chances of getting infected. If you are looking for good HPV Information, you are in luck. There is a long line of websites out there that have information about this.

Rewind time a little bit and you can really figure out that things used to be worse than they are now. You used to have to wait a long time to get any information about your disease. Not only that, before the computer age, you didn’t have early detection for a lot of things, and the death toll for cancer rose to astronomical levels. Not just in America, we’re talking worldwide, and if you wanted to learn more about diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases, you had to venture to school and take a lot of different classes. Now we are lucky and we can find information like HPV Information, with the greatest of ease. There is a lot of ease in gathering information, but it’s not as simple as you’d like to think.

There are a lot of different things that you need to know in life, and one of the must know things has to be HPV Information. Education is key to understanding what is out there and what can harm you. You wouldn’t risk your life by jumping out of a building or a plane, without at least having a parachute, and that is what education gives you in regards to sexually transmitted diseases. Education can lead to protection and if you are going to survive the onslaught of bacteria that is going to hit you while you are partying it up, you are going to need a good head on your shoulders and a smart wit.

HPV Information is readily available if you search for it online. In recent years, there has been a lot of attention in regards to this and many other diseases that you might see out there. You need to protect yourself and your partner. You need to be smart, and you need to protect yourself in any cases. If you have not been careful, then see a doctor fast, and enjoy the greater fruits of love that is available. HPV Information is not hard to find, it is easily found online and in many different areas. Even if you don’t see symptoms, you should at least know what is going on around you, which is the smart thing to do.

In-Dependence – Some Thoughts on Meta Relationships

You are not independent. You are “in-dependence.” Independence is an illusion; it does not exist, anywhere. As an individual, as a society, as a nation, we like to view ourselves are independent. Especially in the United States which was founded on the principle of independence. But, think about it, what are you not dependent upon? Who are you not dependent upon? Dependence is not a bad thing; it has earned a bad rap due to issues of “co-dependence” which refers to a dysfunctional relationship between two or more people. We like to think of independence as freedom. But, freedom is a mental concept that has become distorted to mean no responsibilities, which is a fallacy. Freedom has more to do with our capacity to make choices and decisions for which there are consequences to which we are bound. The natural world, of which we are a part, is a complex web of dependence. We use our freedom to make choices and decisions within the confines of our dependence upon the natural world, which does include Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which we are integrally dependent upon the natural world and other people.

If we consider some of our basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing, we readily see that without the soil, the rain, the sun and a conducive atmosphere, we would have no food. And, you will certainly agree that we are dependent upon food! Shelter too is based on utilizing natural resources: wood mainly, which comes from trees, which grows in soil, which needs sunlight and rain…and a conducive atmosphere. Clothing comes from natural fibers such as cotton and silk. Or, it is made from synthetic materials which are petroleum based and again part of the natural world’s resources.

One of our more basic needs is physical safety, security and protection. These needs too are dependent upon the resources of our natural environment. Whether it is a fortress built of stone, a spear of wood, a sword of metal, a gun, a cannon, a bomb….they are all built from materials outside of our individual existence, meaning we cannot simply materialize these things from within ourselves. We can imagine tools such as these, and so many others, from within ourselves…but, we cannot materialize them without the aid of natural resources. It has been suggested that “home sapien”, the knowing animal, ought to be renamed “homo faber” the fabricating animal. All of the tools and technology which surrounds us today is a fabrication utilizing the materials available to us…and without which, we would have nothing. We are dependent!

Higher needs have to do with social interaction…belongingness and connection to others. The complex division of labor in society requires that we interact with others; systems of exchange are devised of which money is only one. We are not so much dependent upon money as we are dependent upon exchange. We could not exist in society alone as a solitary individual. We are dependent upon others, and they upon us. The complexity of our dependence can be mind boggling. Just having food to buy at the market, or gas to buy for the car, involves a vast array of people doing varying different jobs. As you sit at your computer reading this article, you are reaping the benefits of your dependence upon a system of manufacturing, production and distribution of goods that dwarfs individual efforts. We are dependent upon the collective activities of society. And, in today’s world of globalization, we are fast becoming aware of our dependence upon the global marketplace, of which we are all a part.

Beyond our needs for belonging and connection with others, we have needs for knowledge. And, here again, we are dependent upon others…specifically, the mind of others, the mind of humanity, if you will. In that regard, we are dependent upon our ancestors, our history…our collective history. Knowledge grows, expands and becomes increasingly complex. We become dependent upon systems of data as well as the storage and   transmission  of that data. No one person can do this alone. And, in fact, any one person, you for example, is really composed of millions of component parts all intricately connected and dependent upon each other. The cells and organs of the body, the nervous system and it’s subsidiary systems of circulation, respiration, digestion, elimination, immunity….Where is there any independence?

We need a Declaration of Dependence. We need an awareness of systems and how they interact for it is within systems that we exist and it is within systems where dependence is an absolutely necessary functionality. We need a recognition and acknowledgment of Complexity. Complexity Theory states that “Complex Systems is a new approach to science that studies how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment.” (Wikipedia).

As an individual, we interact within systems; and the way we do that is through communication. Communication is a means of relationship and exchange, it is a means of understanding and knowledge. In a system of dependence, communication is critically important for without accurate and effective communication we would not be able to function. Our body is a striking example of complex communication in action. Just the mere act of walking requires sophisticated communication between cells, nerves, ligaments and muscles ranging from the tips of our toes to our eyes. Without that communication, we would easily and quickly fumble. Communication is THE critical ingredient in healthy dependence.

So, the next time you hear somebody expounding their independence, think about the complex systems upon which they are dependent to even vocalize their illusory perception and belief of their own independence. In fact, when you hear yourself falling into this trap…catch yourself and recall the truth: we are all in-dependence.

The “Worthy” Poor VS The “Unworthy” Poor

In American Society, we have divided the poor into two classes, the “worthy” poor and the “unworthy” poor. The “worthy” poor are those we feel are worth being on state/federal aid and do not complain about assisting. The “unworthy” poor are those are receive aid as well but for some reason society feels they could take care of themselves and not depend on the aid.

Society feels that those in the “unworthy” class are capable of providing for themselves financially. The reason being that most of the people who fall into this class are younger then the people who fall into the “worthy” class. Many who fall into the “worthy class” are the elderly who are beyond working age, and find it hard to support their selves without some form of a fixed income.

Although the majority of the “worthy” class is made up of the elderly, there are certain situations where the “worthy” class also includes some of a younger generation. Many of those come from the deeply impoverished corners of the United States Society. Many don’t have a chance of surviving and living a better life then they are being given unless the someone, whether it be the government or a small organization, step up and find some way to show them the way to improve themselves.

There are a few such organizations and federal programs in place already, but there are not nearly enough to tackle the large need that we have for the issue. Many people feel that even though they fall into the “worthy” category, they are still not worth wasting time, resources, and money on to educate towards a better life. Many look down on those who need aid regardless of the situation and feel the same about them. They think that they are children, and as they grow they will learn and they will make something better of themselves. Unfortunately, this is not true. As they grow up in a poverished lifestyle they will learn from what they are surrounded with. They will grow up and realize it isn’t so bad to be where they are, because they have not had anyone show them that there is a different way in life.

As American’s, we are a large extended family. Everyone is supposed to look out for their family and protect them. I do not know why no one is protecting the children of these “unworthy” groups and showing them the way to better themselves and enrich their lives. It is going to take more then giving their family a few hundred dollars a month in food stamps and other aid to teach these children how to succeed in life. It is going to take educating them. Not only do these children need to be shown the way, but their parents/parent as well need to be educated on how to enrich not only their lives but their children’s lives as well. It is a two step process, and it is time as a society we step up and start making it a reality instead of a vision. With a little hard work I honestly believe that poverty in the US could be helped dramatically by just a few nice neighbors holding out their hands and showing that they are willing to assist.