30 November 2010

Choosing Wiser Student Debt

“If you were to put $5,000 on a credit card, were to have (an) 18.9 per cent interest rate and paid the minimum payment every month, the total cost of borrowing would be $13,068.42 paid over 28 years,” - Christi Quinn.
One of my colleagues and University friends was featured in the University of Winnipeg paper called The Uniter.

I include the above quote for emphasis.  I have met several students who were not willing to use Government Student Aid (because it will take forever to pay off) but were completely willing to use credit cards, as companies almost throw credit cards to students.  What some students don't realize is that they end up paying a lot more for much longer using a credit card.

Read the article here.  Read more about the Credit Counselling Society here.

27 November 2010

Cricket & Life: Six Runs, Taking the Higher Road of Being Selfless

Scoring six runs requires the batsman to time his shot, so that he can loft the ball over the fielders and over the boundary rope.  I have never scored a six in my short cricket career, this is why scoring a six in life, I believe is the most difficult task, and that is being nice to others, being selfless, and using anger less.

It’s so easy to take shots at individuals and to speak about them negatively behind their backs.  It is so much easier to get angry about something negative, than it is to react in a positive way.  It’s so easy to put ones own needs before everyone else’s.  This is why we need to take the high road, and be nice to others.

24 November 2010

Keeping Children Safe From Pornography

Pornography Warning Label: “Contents highly addictive. Extremely corrosive to the soul materials enclosed. Be prepared to have your mind twisted, your views of life ravaged, and your spirit shrunk. Be prepared that after an initial rush, you will experience feelings of depression, loneliness, despair and guilt. However, with repeated exposures over time, you can numb those feelings – and enter into almost total amnesia about who you really are and about the truth itself.” – Wendy Watson

Read the rest of the column at the Battleford's News Optimist.

23 November 2010

Research Idea: Sharing a Bedroom as a Child & Relational Stability

I have been bouncing this idea off of a couple of people, and I have noticed it has created great discussion.

The hypothesis is simply that the more one has shared their room while growing up, the more likely they will be to have a stable adult relationships.  The thinking behind this is, when married or cohabiting you have to share intimate space, like your bedroom, bathroom, closet and so on.  The same is true if you share a bedroom with a sibling, you are sharing intimate space with a person who one will have to negotiate with to get sleep, to have time alone in the room, etc.

However, after some thought and discussion with friends, there are some factors to consider:

  • At what ages is there more of a positive relationship between sharing a bedroom and relational stability?
  • Are there any ages where there is a negative relationship? Such as, if one never shared there room until 15, would this prove to be a shock and therefore influence latter bedroom sharing.
  • Does sharing a room lead to different forms of relationships, instead of traditional marriage, like cohabiting, never settling down, etc.? Since one shared a room throughout childhood and adolescents would they be more likely to reject sharing a room.
  • Or the vice versa, does not sharing a room lead to different forms of relationships besides traditional marriage.
  • In the case of many immigrant families, does sharing a room with parents play a role.  Or how about when parents cuddle their infant and toddler to sleep, does this have an impact as well?
I am sure this list could go on, and it has gone on in many of my conversations.  Nonetheless, this is another one of my questions that I have had, that I would love to do research on, one day.

20 November 2010

Featured in the Ontario Home Economics Association Newsletter

I had a colleague forward the Autumn 2010 Ontario Home Economics/Human Ecologists Association Newsletter to me.  She asked me to look for something familiar.

I found a reference to my blog! It was cited as a source to read Mary Carver's article on Shop Smart for Safe Food.

Thanks for the recognition as a relevant source!

Beating the Holiday Blues

"The “Perfect” Holiday Season: This time of year, I frequently hear people lament the up and coming holiday season. Stress and anxiety appear commonplace. The concerns often include the financial burden, the materialism, the bombardment of advertisements, and the resulting pressure from our children to make their wishes come true. Frequently, there is also anxiety around family get-togethers, due to unresolved conflicts & hurts, or old wounds or patterns that re-surface. At times, the expectations are so high, that they are impossible to meet; the perfect day, meal, gift, etc. For families that have a member that struggles with addictions, there is often the stress of increased alcohol abuse or concern about drinking and driving."

Read the entire article by Neta Friesen here at the Manitoba Association of Marriage & Family Therapists website.

19 November 2010

Texting, Sex, Drugs & Alcohol

A couple weeks ago at an American Public Health Association convention, Scott Frank presented his findings on studied high school students and their cell phone usage and their behaviours. His results found a relationship between hyper-texting and high-risk behaviours, such as drinking and drugs.


Read the entire article here at the News Optimist.

We Are All Part of the Solution: Human/Social Ecological Model

Statistics Canada released a study early last month that highlighted the strength of the feminist movement.  In 2006, for every 100 women with a university education there were 84 men with the same level of education.  Compared to 1981, when there was 157 men with equal education to 100 women. That’s remarkable!


Read the entire article here on the News Optimist website.  Published in print on November 12.

16 November 2010

Sexual Abuse: Myths & Warning Signs

I am going to address a topic that often doesn’t want to be discussed amongst parents.  That topic is sexual abuse.  I don’t want to flower over the seriousness of this, nor do I want parents to live in fear. I will walk the tight rope of balancing those feelings.

To start I am going to talk about four myths that are prevalent, followed by recommendations and warning signs.


Read the entire post at Notes on Parenting or Essential Fathers.

14 November 2010

Cricket & Life: Four Runs, Get Higher Education

To score four runs, the batsman typically hits the ball along the ground to the boundary.  By hitting the ball along the ground, it prevents an attempt for a fields man to catch a lofted ball.  This kind of shot also needs to be timed, and played with power, as well as placement to get the ball past fielders.

The same is true that we need to use our time to get educated, which means we placed into a certain work field, and given power to get passed the boundaries that hold us down.

Make Changes to Your "To-Do" List

I am someone who makes to-do lists daily.  So this video was of great interest to me. Looks like I need to make changes to my to-do list.

To read Julie Hanks complete post, please go here.

13 November 2010

Violence Against Women: Vulnerable Populations

Violence Against Women: Vulnerable Populations
is a book of collected researches by Douglas Brownridge. He looks at women in vulnerable positions that put them at risk for intimate partner violence, better known as domestic abuse or violence.

These vulnerable populations researched by Brownridge are as follows:

  1. Cohabiting Women
  2. Women in Post-Separation
  3. Women in Stepfamilies
  4. Women who Rent
  5. Rural Women
  6. Aboriginal Women
  7. Immigrant Women
  8. Women with Disabilities
It's an interesting read for anyone who works with women, especially in one of these vulnerable populations.

I remember once I was working with a female client who was mentally ill (suffering from extreme bouts of depression), Aboriginal, living in a rural community (a reservation), who just got over a relationship and just moved into their new boyfriends apartment (implying a rental home); and I got concerned for her wellbeing because I remembered these categories being outlined by Brownridge as vulnerable situations for women. The client and I proceeded to implement safety plans into her network so that, despite her vulnerability, she could feel safe.

Now of course, with any kind of risk factors, they are indicators, they do not guarantee that domestic violence is happening.  A women could be married for 30 years, living in an owned urban house and she could be experiencing violence, despite not being in a vulnerable population.  The same could be said about my previous client, despite the vulnerable position she was in, and without my assistance, she may have been in a violent free relationship.  Everyone's system is different.  No two people are alike, despite the similarity in scenarios.

You can check out the book here, or learn about Douglas Brownridge here.

11 November 2010

Research Idea: Veterans Perspective On WWII Video Games

On this Remembrance Day (Veterans Day for the American followers), I had a thought come across my mind as I was thinking about those who sacrificed their time, and for many, their lives.  I wonder what their thought on today's video games would be, specifically those related to wars that veterans have lived and fought in.

Here we are decades later, using video games to simulate warfare from decades ago as a form of entertainment.  I would love to know what the veterans of war think of that.  To add to that, I would like to know the opinion and perspective of the soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq as well.

My hypothesis is as follows.

  • I think some veterans grimace at the thought of these video games.  
  • I think some veterans would be so heart broken to see their worst nightmares become so entertaining to those they sacrificed so much for.  
  • I do believe a minority of veterans wouldn't be offended at all.  
  • Of those currently serving, due to generational differences, I think some would get caught up in playing these video games as an escape reality from their daily lives of normalcy.  
  • I think some currently serving would also have no change in use of, or opinion of such video games.  
  • Finally, I do think some currently serving soldiers would halt playing such games when they got home.  

These are my hypotheses. I would love to test my thinking.  There may be other outcomes and reactions that I am not even thinking of.  This may just become a thesis as I pursue a masters.

Texting, Sex & Drugs: A Correlation, Not Causation

I have seen a lot of media hype around a recent study that found a relationship between receiving a lot of texts to using drugs, having sex, and other risky behaviours.

I must point out, due to the media's habit to "sell" stories instead of reporting them, that this is a correlation, not a cause!  Correlation meaning that when texting is scored high, so is something like drinking.  When texting decreases so does drinking.  A causation means that texting causes drinking, or drinking causes texting.  This study did not show causation.

What I feel is more likely the case is that there is an outlying factor, parenting.  I feel that a lack of parental supervision is more likely to be the "cause" of the relationship between texting and risky behaviours.  If parents supervised their kids cell-phone usage, such as no texting at night or during meals, they may have other rules that would help curb risky behaviours.

So please, don't think that because your child texts, that they are having sex or doing drugs.  Just make sure you are implementing rules about texting in your home.


As I was writing this, someone I admire as a MFT wrote a much more sophisticated post about this study. I recommend you read what Ben Caldwell has to say about the study for a more in-depth look at correlations, and causations.

08 November 2010

Cricket & Life: Three Runs, Surrounding Yourself with Appropriate Friends and Media

Scoring three runs not only requires communication and reading the play, it requires great placement of the ball between the fielders in the field. We too need to surround ourselves with good materials and people.

02 November 2010

What to do with all that candy

Hallowe’en has officially come and gone.  You have taken the effort to get your children all dressed up to go and get candy (whether on Saturday or Sunday night).  Now you have a collection of candies, too much to consume at any sitting, or during any one week.  So what should you do?


Read the entire post on Essential Fathers or Notes on Parenting.

01 November 2010

Cricket & Life: Two Runs, Read Good Books

Two runs require the two batsmen to communicate with each other as they read the placement of the ball.  Timing is also essential.  In the same way, it is just as essential that we take time out of our day to read wholesome books.

We could spend our Halloween money elsewhere: a challenge to current thinking

Now that Halloween has past, I can now state just how much I dislike Halloween.  It is a ‘holiday’ that really makes no sense to me.

The process itself is logically puzzling.  Think about it.  We dress up our children, and ourselves, in clothing that would not be acceptable any other day of the year.  We then let them outside of the house in these radical pieces of clothing. But, we don’t just let them outside, we parade them door to door to ask complete strangers, while wearing these weird outfits, for candy! Than these strangers agree to give your child candy.  This would never happen any other day.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Plus, did you know that the average Canadian Halloween participant spends $60 on Halloween?  It is assumed that about $20-$40 of that is spent on candy alone.  Right on par with about how much Americans spend on Halloween.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, right?  It seems like money well spent.  Well it adds up to over $7 Billion spent on Halloween in North America.

Let’s assume that that money was spent elsewhere.  Let’s assume, for easy math, that in a city of a million people, just one out of ten people donated that $20 for candy to a local homeless shelter. They are strangers who are always dressed inappropriately for the weather, but we rarely give anything to them when they ask.  So 100,000 people donate $20, which equals $2 Million!  That’s a lot of money that could go back into our community, and do some good for our community.

Two million dollars! That homeless shelter will have thought they won the lottery.  Especially when you think of when that shelter does a 12-hour radio-thon for fundraising, and all they get is about $50,000.

It’s ironic I think that we are willing to spend $20-$40 on materials to give to strange dressed people on Halloween, but we cringe at the idea of giving $20 to strangers at a homeless shelter.


Nov 3 Note:
-I do admit this thought can be applied to other holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Valentines (except that these holidays we tend to give things to people we know).  Plus to other things like eating out, movie rentals, and so on.  The main point to be taken away from this is: that it can simple to shave back money on some of our extravagant holiday budgets and potentially put that money to 'better' use.