Source: Michael Jung / Shutterstock Can people really go from rags to riches? While Horatio Alger's classic stories of poor boys overcoming terrible poverty to rise to great success later in life are legendary, we tend to be more cynical about whether this can happen in real life. Despite the enduring belief in the classic "American success story", the general belief tends to be that having rich parents guarantees success later in life while children of poor parents tend to stay poor no matter what they do. But is that necessarily true? While socioeconomic status (SES) does seem to have a powerful influence on the kind of success people attain later in life, other traits such as intelligence and personality can often be important as well. Children with the right qualities can do very well for themselves no matter how disadvantaged their backgrounds might be. For that matter, even children of parents who are financially … [Read more...] about What Does It Take to Succeed in Life?
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“…he not busy being born is busy dying.” – Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Source: Bob Dylan quotes The great American novelist, Philip Roth, died at the age of 85 in May of this year, in Manhattan, where he had a home. While death visits with and without an invitation, my work as a psychiatrist and a physician has taught me that the choice to retire (or not) can shape our fate. I consider the lives of three people in offering one moral from Mr. Roth’s life and retirement: Roth, my father, and myself. The moral, as Bob Dylan so crisply captured, is that if we let go of purpose, that propulsive life force, that the void can usher in our death. After he wrote 31 books in 50 years, and had become the most accomplished fiction writer alive, Roth announced, in 2012, his decision to retire from writing. “As far as he knows, [Roth said], the only other writer to retire when he still had something on his fastball, so to speak, was E.M. Forster, who stopped writing … [Read more...] about Living, Dying and the Moral of Phillip Roth’s Life
This guest blog is from therapist and author Kim Parker, LCSW, who recently published East Meets West: Parenting from the Best of Both Worlds. Source: Pixabay free image Asian Americans make up 5.8 percent of the total American population. On January 28th this year, many Asian Americans will be celebrating Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year by those of Chinese descent. With that in mind, let us reflect on what it means to be Asian or American. For those of us living in America from Asian ancestry, this question will dog us at some time or another. We are technically and practically both. It is difficult to choose one over the other. And yet, when we think of what it means to be Asian or American, we have to break down these social constructs into their finer elements. What does it mean to be Asian, besides the obvious of coming from Asian parents or an Asian country? Does American equate to whiter, richer, stronger, better, cooler, more … [Read more...] about To Be Asian or to Be American
Source: Pixabay In one of my college classes, I used to ask the students to write down the names of three people who were their “heroes” and then to reflect on why they had chosen those particular people. Only some of the respondents were able to come up with three names for their list. Many included only people from their families, perhaps a mother or father or older sibling. Sometimes, they identified a loved one who was dealing forthrightly with a severe mental or physical challenge. As one might expect, the lists had many “public” figures, names the rest of us, or at least the members of their generation, would recognize. Of these, sports stars, actors, and musicians were predominant. Significantly, important politicians, business executives, or military figures rarely appeared. Instead, people listed leaders of social movements, non-establishment figures like Martin Luther King Jr. or Cesar Chavez. Pointedly, the students … [Read more...] about The Decline of the American Hero
Source: CCO / Pexels Before I got married, I was enthralled every time I heard a couple refer to their other half as their “husband” or “wife.” The way the words so effortlessly slipped out of their mouths, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to say. Like “thanks” or “sure.” As someone who faced the prospect of never getting married (i.e., read my past posts here, here, and here), I have found one of the unexpected delights of married life (all two weeks of it) is being called “my wife” or referring to “my husband.” So far, the primary audience to our newlywed status has been limited to airline and rental customer service reps who were troubleshooting our delayed—then ultimately canceled—flights. “But my husband and I are on our honeymoon…” I pleaded with the airline rep on the phone, assuming that this fact would somehow curry favor with her, and in turn, she … [Read more...] about So You Want to Get Married?