26 October 2013

Open Letter Regarding Faculty of Human Ecology

The following is a letter that a colleague and friend of mine wrote regarding the status of the Faculty of Human Ecology at the University Manitoba.

Please take a moment to read an open letter to: President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, Dr. David Barnard, Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, Dr. Joanne Keselman, esteemed members of the University of Manitoba Senate, Dean of Human Ecology, Dr. Gustaaf Sevenhuysen, Ms. Marcie Marcuza, CBC Radio host Information Radio, Ms. Marilyn Mackie, CBC Radio host Radio Noon, Honorable Members of the Manitoba Legislature: Mr. James Allum (Minister of Education and Advanced Learning), Ms. Theresa Oswald (Minister of Jobs and the Economy), Ms. Kerri Irvine-Ross (Minister of Family Services and the Status of Women), friends and supporters of Human Ecology/Home Economics;

My name is Christie Crow, and I am a graduate of the FACULTY of Human Ecology, I graduated in 2009 with an Integrated Degree from the Faculties of Human Ecology and Education. I am a teacher of Foods and Nutrition for grades 7-11. Every day, I count myself fortunate that I get to do what I love to do. I have the opportunity to talk to and teach my students about food, the benefits of healthy cooking and eating and quite simply, how to cook. My love of and passion for food, of cooking, and of nutrition doesn’t stop at the 27 faces in my classroom, nor is it limited to the students who are registered in my classes. The students who do take my classes talk about it in the hallways, they talk about the new technique or new ingredient or about grocery shopping or about how much Ms. Crow HATES energy drinks and what’s in them, they take that same information home and talk about it there AND in many cases take an active role in cooking at home.

With the rise in a variety of health concerns (a list that grows every year) that stem from poor nutritional habits, convenience foods, or a simple lack of cooking and nutritional literacy. The skills that my students leave my classroom with are skills that will AND DO last a lifetime because they are LIFE skills. In an era when so many of YOU are concerned about the longevity and health of the next generation, their ability to look after their own health and that of their families’ wellbeing, it seems counter-intuitive to dismantle a Faculty that focuses on life-long learning for individuals, families, and communities. Whose graduates are professionals in the fields of Human Nutritional Sciences, Family Social Sciences, Textile Sciences and of Interdisciplinary Health Studies.

While I teach Foods and Nutrition, I call on my Family Social Sciences and Textile Sciences background weekly, if not on a daily basis. I am good at what I do because of where I come from. I come from a faculty centred on, and which prides itself in, interdisciplinary teaching and learning. I come from a faculty that focuses on a wholistic approach to learning and prevention, that teaches us to see the strengths in others and to help build on those. I come from a faculty that always taught us to not only look at the big picture but to examine all the pieces of the puzzle, how they fit and work together, and how we can help make the whole stronger. I come from a faculty that preached community, but who more importantly, practiced it on a daily basis. If you dismantle the faculty, if you break apart its many facets, you not only take away the strength of our whole faculty but you will lose the strength found in each of its parts. You will devalue the history of our professional practice, you will devalue its current dynamic practice, you will devalue MY profession and my calling. You will eliminate jobs, because at the very base level of this argument who is going to hire anyone from a Faculty that was dismantled for value of its scrap, with a degree that the President of that same University didn’t value enough to even consult those that hold it.

I do what I do everyday, because of where I come from, I COULD NOT DO what I do everyday without my foundation of Human Ecology. The heart and soul of what I DO and who I AM is centred in Human Ecology, MY heart and soul is centred in Human Ecology. It defines my job, my career, it has helped define me AND my values, my approach to teaching and my approach to life. It would be a tragedy and a terrible loss to the University of Manitoba (as a founding faculty) as well as to the province of Manitoba if the Faculty of Human Ecology was lost, it would also be a great personal tragedy to the many professionals who proudly call themselves graduates of the Faculty of Human Ecology who are spread across this province, this country, and around the globe using the skills and knowledge that we learned and earned from the Faculty of Human Ecology.

I am asking you, friends and family, if you value what I (or another Home Economist) do for you , as a colleague, as a professional, as ME, SHARE and LIKE this letter, forward it on to listening ears. I am asking you Minister of Education and of Higher Learning, take a look at what is about to happen at the University of Manitoba without meaningful and public consultation with alumni or stakeholders, I am asking you, members of the media, you need to ask questions because the leadership at the University of Manitoba isn’t answering ours.


Christie Crow, B.H.Ec, B. Ed
Graduate 2009
Faculty of Human Ecology and Education
University of Manitoba

25 October 2013

Creating a bond as a step-parent

Being a step-parent is hard. Children are conditioned from a young age that step-parents are cruel and mean, thanks Disney. So when you become one, the odds are already stacked against you. And add to it that there has been no bond or attachment made between you and your step-children as there is typically with children you gave birth to, so parenting step-children can be very difficult.

Plus, let’s be honest, if you have your own biological kids, the only reason why they are still living is because you deeply love them and have bonded with them. If anyone else’s children were crawling into your bed and kicking you throughout the night, their existence may be very short.

With step-children, there isn’t that same connection. Therefore, you have probably taken other measures to protect them from you on stressful days. Don’t get me wrong, a bond can be formed with step-children that can be strong.

Often step-children have different interest and likes than their step-parents, which can make it hard for step-parents to engage in an activity with the child. However, children are usually interested in new activities and may be willing to engage with you on an activity.

Think of it like parallel play, not doing something together, but side by side. Doing something you like beside someone can be the start of a bond, as you are associating or conditioning yourself with a positive feeling around that step-child.

To do this, make an exhaustive list of things that you like doing, from arts and crafts, to sports, to walking, and so on. After you have completed your list, select an activity or two that you can do parallel, again emphasis on the parallel, with your step-child for 5-15 minutes a week. Start small. This task can be daunting and overwhelming. Do this for a couple of weeks, and then add 5-10 minutes each week.

Again it’s parallel play, but over time it may morph into something else, such as doing something together. Allow it to grow.

A bond will not instantly be formed. If you are a mom, you developed a bond with your biological children for nine months while they grew inside of you, and then you have been with them since. For men you had the time since your child was born to love them and watch them grow. It has been years of bonding to your biological children. So it can be expected that it may take just as long for you to form a bond with a step-child.

Being a step-parent is a challenging role, but you can do it, one day at a time, for a few minutes a week.

24 October 2013

Pill to help forget terrible memories?

I must admit this is fascinating research that researchers at MIT have honed in on Tet1, as it appears that gene is the door to terrible memories, and that maybe one day a pill (with therapy) could block that memory. But I am not sure how healthy it is to have memories blocked out of our mind by medication. I think it is different if the brain has blocked out memories as a way to cope.

A therapy that I have found useful for dealing with traumatic memories, and decreasing their potency is EMDR.

23 October 2013

MAHE Town Hall Meeting on UManitoba Faculty Restructuring

The Manitoba Association of Home Economists will be holding a free Town Hall forum regarding the proposed academic restructuring by the University of Manitoba that will impact the existence of the Faculty of Human Ecology. Everyone is welcome!!


Wine & Cheese Reception to follow

Date: 25 October, 2013 (Friday)
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Caboto Centre (1055 Wilkes Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Cost: FREE
Registration: To RSVP online, please click here OR contact Amy Yonda  at amyyonda@gmail.com or (204) 918-4464. (Due date of registration; 22 October, 2013)

To view MAHE's complete position: please click here!
To view HESO's complete position, please click here!

19 October 2013

Home Economics and its Importance to Students

Whether you call it, home economics: human ecology, or family studies, or consumer sciences, or home economics; this post on the University of Michigan makes some great points about the value of this area of study to students’ future. I would agree with this, as it is preventative in its approach and teaches skills that are important to life.

11 October 2013

Sincerely Express Gratitude this Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again, where we gather with family and friends and think of all the things we are grateful for in our life. We might sit down around a table and share a meal, or do an activity together, but most of all we just enjoy our time together regardless of what we are doing.

One of the ways Thanksgiving came to existence was in the 1800’s as a way to be grateful and celebrate the year’s harvest. It morphed into celebrating or reflecting on a special event in one’s life; to now where we take time to enjoy the season and company, and are grateful for what we have in life.

However, expressing gratitude is difficult to do in our fast paced world. We are often too busy or don’t know what to say when it comes to gratitude. We hope that a little thumbs up, ‘thanks’, or emoticon will be enough to express our appreciation.

So when was the last time you actually expressed gratitude? I mean truly and genuinely expressed gratitude to someone? We often go through our day saying ‘thanks’, which is great, but when was the last time you shared your true, even vulnerable, feelings of gratitude towards someone? It may have been some time for some of us.

How about we express some gratitude, and let’s do it, NOW.

I want you to think of someone who is important to you, someone you are the most grateful for or who inspired you the most. And let’s thank them for their contribution to your life.

Grab a pen and paper, or a stylus and tablet, and begin writing a letter or note to this person about how much you appreciate them. Make it as long or short as you want, but most importantly take your time doing it.

When you are done writing consider sharing it with them, and to make the experience really vulnerable and intimate, give them a call and read it to them. If that isn’t an option, send it in an email or post it. If the person has passed, read it aloud, and consider bringing it to their burial site.

I can almost guarantee with certainty, that even though the experience may be awkward and uncomfortable at first, that afterward, you will feel true gratitude and feel happier. Because, do you want to know the cool side effect about expressing gratitude? It turns out, according to research on Positive Psychology in 2005, and a short experiment done online, that expressing gratitude increases your own happiness, almost immediately.

So pick up the phone and be vulnerable, and give that friend or family member a call, and take time this Thanksgiving to truly express gratitude.

Why are we making parenting harder?

Maybe more the expectations of parenting. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

I blame pinterest. That’s why I love pinterest fails, those are real life situations.

But let this mom share her five ways that we are making parenting harder.

09 October 2013

Want your child to eat their lunch at school?

Let them help make it. It seems that children who help make their lunches are more likely to enjoy their lunch.

I have tried this at home and observed that when my child helps or has input on what goes into the lunch box, there is more eaten items than none. So if this has been a struggle. Try letting your child help.

05 October 2013

What is Divorce? Sesame Street

Sesame Street has created a new webpage called “Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce” to provide children who are experiencing divorce with tools. Here is one of the video clips from the page: