Source: cgordon8527 photo, Creative Commons License CC0 I was at a party when an obviously pregnant woman came up to me, introduced herself and said "I think I may have a potential dog problem and would like to get your advice about it." She continued, "When it became clear that I was going to have a baby we moved from our one-bedroom condominium to a larger two-bedroom condo so that the baby could have its own room. While our old condo did not allow pets our new one does and my husband, Lewis, is really excited about getting a small dog as a pet. He thinks it will be very good for the baby since there seems to be evidence that growing up with a dog helps to improve a child's social development and empathy. "I have other concerns. Although I have no allergic reactions around dogs I do have a mild allergy to pollen and maybe to dust. I believe that there is research which says that a parent with allergic sensitivities is likely to pass on that predisposition to their children. … [Read more...] about Living with a Dog May Protect Your Child from Allergies
Long narrow living room layout
Many preschool and kindergarten teachers have told me that they are extremely upset—some to the point of being ready to resign—by the increased pressure on them to teach academic skills to little children and regularly test them on such skills. They can see firsthand the unhappiness generated, and they suspect that the children would be learning much more useful lessons through playing, exploring, and socializing, as they did in traditional nursery schools and kindergartens. Their suspicions are well validated by research studies. A number of well-controlled studies have compared the effects of academically oriented early education classrooms with those of play-based classrooms (some of which are reviewed here, in an article by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn McLaughlin, and Joan Almon). The results are quite consistent from study to study: Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the … [Read more...] about Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm
For me, it’s been a 30-year career in psycho-oncology and palliative care. The struggle and the central questions have always been the same, however I didn’t always realize it. The struggle has always been: “The struggle of the living against non-being,” as Kierkegard wrote two centuries ago. The questions have always been: How can we live knowing that we are mortal and we die? Is life worth living, knowing that it is finite? How can we live in the face of death? How can a human being with a diagnosis of metastatic incurable cancer and a prognosis of several months manage to not focus on the clock and the nearness of death, but rather live each day (or at least some days) experiencing moments of joy, meaning, and appreciation that they are alive today? These questions raise our awareness of the temporality of life, the nature of time, the relationship of being to time, and the concepts of infinity and finiteness. An esteemed oncologist … [Read more...] about Momentary Living
Source: Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock Of all the words that exist in our language, “should” may be the one that creates the most suffering. Every aspect of our life is affected and infiltrated by it: I “should” be, he/she “should” be, my life “should” be, this moment “should” be… Sometimes we utter our “shoulds” out loud, sometimes we think them consciously, and sometimes they are so subtle as to escape even our own awareness, perhaps presenting as just a background dissatisfaction or despair, something not right with the way it is. At the core is always the same message: This [fill in the blank] “should” be different—should be something other than what it is. Lesley (all names are changed here) wakes up in her apartment in the city every weekend to a raging “should” assault: I “should” be doing something fabulous this weekend, I “should" be … [Read more...] about How to Live in the Real World (Minus One Troubling Word)
People are always drawing my attention to popular sites online which are full of photos of dogs looking guilty and ashamed. These sites, such as dogshaming.com and shameyourpet.com as well as many videos posted on sites like YouTube, frequently have dogs wearing signs which are humorously written "confessions," and the dogs are often surrounded by the remnants of their misbehavior. To the average person there is little doubt that in many of the photos, the dogs look as if they were guilty or ashamed of having eaten something that they shouldn't have or destroyed something or misbehaved in some other manner. The first dog shaming site was started in August 2012 by Pascale Lemire, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia. It remains the most popular of such sites and has received more than 58 million page views and more than 65,000 submissions with photos. Lemire also published a book called Dog Shaming which made its way to the New York Times bestseller list. However, she is not … [Read more...] about Do Dogs Really Feel Shame and Guilt?