December 24, 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the first performance of one of the best-loved Christmas carols in the world, Silent Night. Composed in difficult times, the story behind its creation was lost to the world for many years, and it is only recently that we have recognized its true source. Though born in a very different era, its message of peace is as needed in today’s trying times as it was 200 years ago. The chapel in Salzburg, Austria where "Silent Night" was first performed Source: Wikimedia Commons The Napoleonic Wars, which raged in Europe during the first two decades of the 1800s, had left the Austrian city of Salzburg – the birthplace of Mozart – in sorry shape. For decades, trade in salt (“salz” in German) had provided steady revenue, but conflict caused borders to shift and disrupted the local economy. Many people lost their livelihoods, and families struggled just to keep a roof overhead and put food on … [Read more...] about A 200-Year-Old, Much-Needed Message of Peace
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Ammentorp Photography/Shutterstock It was just after 4 P.M. when a group of teenagers took the stage. Rumor has it the boys were so anxious about playing in front of their neighbors, they downed a few beers before launching their set. This may explain why several songs into the performance, their lead singer forgot his lyrics, struggled to improvise, and somehow mangled, “Come little darlin’, come and go with me,” into, “Down, down, down, down to the penitentiary.” Most of the audience was oblivious to the flub. But not everyone. One listener was watching intently, impressed by the band’s antics. His name was Paul McCartney—and he’d just had his first glimpse of John Lennon. Half a century later, Lennon and McCartney’s eventual collaboration is credited with launching a new era in music history—one in which it became acceptable to combine genres, play a sitar alongside a violin, and use technology as an instrument. We know the … [Read more...] about Why Working Together Doesn’t Always Work
Do you have a student in your school or classroom that struggles to connect with his peers? Is your own child frequently on the receiving end of cruelty at the hands of classmates or “friends?” We know that young people who lack social support are particularly vulnerable to being bullied. What can we do then, as professionals and as parents, to teach our kids the skills they need to make positive friendships and maintain nurturing peer relationships? This article present five strategies for adults to bear in mind and pass on to kids as the school year begins. 1. First & Foremost: It’s Not a Character Flaw For many school-aged kids, the ability to make new friends comes as naturally as breathing. For others, however, connecting with peers is a source of stress each and every day. Many adults assume that there must be something wrong with kids who struggle socially. This deficit-model can be a damaging mindset that puts extra pressure on a young person who is … [Read more...] about Do You Know a Child Who Struggles to Make Friends?
“The greatest human quality is kindness. It costs people nothing, and I don’t know why people are so miserly about being kind.” —Aung San Suu Kyi, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, quoted in The Washington Post, September 19, 2012 As two or three guests picked apart the phrase “0 to Elf” and one teen laconically estimated her holiday spirit at a lowly 4, I was startled to realize that my own 2014 holiday spirits were actually quite high. Maybe not all the way to “Elf,” but still much higher than a mere 4. I didn’t bother to share this revelation with the group, in part because there seemed to be no way to get a word in edgewise. But I also wanted to examine my discovery in private so as to ascertain the origins of my festive mood, which frankly was at odds with my somewhat melancholy, somewhat cynical everyday nature. Having taken the requisite time to think it over, I have now concluded that I especially … [Read more...] about Holding on to the Holiday Spirit
Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock Do you believe that introverts would be happier if they could only become more extraverted? Are there unmistakable benefits associated with extraversion involved in being outgoing, sociable, cheerful, and likely to relate well to others? Are these the qualities that introverts secretly wished they possessed? Perhaps you tend toward the introverted yourself and prefer to retreat to the background. Whether it’s a social gathering, a work event, or a volunteer meeting, you’re just as happy to let other people shine their lights while you stay in the shadows. However, your partner or best friends keep urging you to become more outgoing. They insist that you’d have more fun and be more successful socially if you, as the song goes, “put on a happy face.” It’s not that you’re unhappy, but your quiet behavior leads them to think you are. You wish they’d refer to the song lyrics … [Read more...] about Can Becoming an Extravert Make an Introvert Happier?