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Your dictionary definition of:

 

un·car·ing   

adj.

Devoid of concern or sympathy.

uncaring

adj

 

 1: lacking affection or warm feeling; "an uncaring person" [syn: unaffectionate]

 

2: without care or thought for others; "the thoughtless saying of a great princess on being informed that the people had no bread; `Let them eat cake'" [syn: thoughtle, unthinking]

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Can Psychology Help To Understand Criminals? by Andrew Sandon

Psychologists through the years have possessed knowledge on criminal behavior through executing psychological research. Numerous psychologists have embarked on studies but the focus is on four particular studies chosen for deeper analysis. Firstly, Sheldon had a theory of criminal behavior that highlighted the significance of physical appearance. H tried to find a correlation between a persons body build (somatic) and criminal behavior. (Taylor et al., 54)

There are three basic body types, Endomorph who has a pear shaped body with wide hips, a rounded head and a lot of fat on the upper arms and thighs.

A Mesomorph who has a wedge shaped body, wide shoulders and narrow hips, a massive cubical head and heavily muscled shoulders, arms and legs.

Then lastly an Ectomorph who has narrow shoulders and hips, a narrow chest and abdomen, thin arms and legs and a high forehead and receding chin.

Conversely, one of the biggest criticisms of his study was that not any one person is completely 100% one of these body types. Some people are meso endo morph where they would be tall and muscular. He believed that somatotype was linked with a persons temperament so an endomorph would be relaxed, endomorphs tend to be restrained and a Mesomorph energetic and adventures.

Considering this he then came to the conclusion that with the Mesomorph being adventurous this would lead them to participate in criminal activities. His study raises the problematic issue of self-fulfilling prophecy. (Gottfredson, S. D., & Taylor, R. B., 48)

This is where people label people as to what they believe they should be like. For instance as he believes Mesomorph’s are going to be more aggressive, being included in criminal activity then he may be influenced towards portraying them as more criminally natured than they truthfully appear to be.

To test his theory he obtained evidence using studies in which the somatotypes of college students and delinquents were assessed from photographs. Each photograph was rated for Mesomorphy on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 lowest and 7 highest. His findings showed that the delinquents had on average a higher Mesomorphy rating than the college students with a mean score rating of 4.6 compared to 3.8.

These findings therefore support the theory that Mesomorphy is associated with criminal tendencies. He also found that some criminals did not fit the mesomorph somatotype. This would suggest that it is indecisive from this study there is any correlation between the two, meaning that another perspective may have to provide answers in explaining criminal behavior.

Bandura suggests violent behavior is learned and not inherited, supporting the theory of nurture over nature. (Taylor et al., 71) The aim of the study was to see if children would imitate aggressive behavior when given the opportunity after observing role models showing aggressive behavior.

The children were exposed to aggressive behavior in the form of the role model beating up a baby doll. The role model would then leave the room and psychologists observed the children to see what their reaction would be. He was trying to discover if violent behavior could be “copied" and so learned and not inherited which many other psychologists believed.

The results of this study have permitted psychologists to learn much about why violent behavior is carried out. He found that children that had been exposed to violent behavior showed more aggression than children that hadn’t been exposed.

Children who saw the aggressive role model usually showed more imitation of the role model in verbal and physical aggression than those children who hadn’t seen the aggressive role model. These children showed low levels of aggression and were relaxed which shows in this case it appears violent behavior has been learned and copied by being exposed to it.

Yet as ever there are problems. There is a case to argue that this isn’t a true representative of how children would react to real people as his only used dolls meaning the study lacks ecological validity. If Bandura however was to conduct his experiment on real people, ethics would hinder the study, so this goes far to show the difficulty experienced in trying to conduct ethical studies.

Lombroso suggests that criminals were genetically born into criminals and could be distinguished by strong characteristics such as heavy brows, strong jaw lines and lower than average intelligence. He said that murderers had blood shot eyes, strong jaws and curly hair where as sex offenders were claimed to have thick lips and projecting ears.

He tested his theory by studying criminals and there distinguishing features with. However he did not test any non-criminals in order to identify weather it is just criminals that had these features or if they were universal to all people weather they are offenders or not. Also the study was very unethical as it was labeling people in society as being something they may not have been.

For example some one with projecting ears and thick lips would be labeled as a sex offender and so would be treated differently in society. This was just one of many problems with the study so all in all there is very little we can learn from this study as it had so many problems regarding it.

However his study is not to be set aside, as it could have been the trigger in moving the study of criminal behavior away from subjective, moral and philosophical comment and into scientific research opening up more avenues than he closes.

Eysenck like Lonmbroso suggests that criminal behavior arises from particular personality traits, which thus means that he believes criminal behavior is inherent and not nurtured as people are born with particular personality traits.

Originally he put forward that most of the differences between people could be reduced down to just two particular dimensions of personality, these being neuroticism and extraversion. A person with high neuroticism tends to have mood swings and depression where as a person with low neuroticism tends to be laid back and emotionally stable.

A person with high extraversion tends to need a lot of stimulation from the out side environment and a person with a low extraversion tends not to need very much stimulation at all. It is important not to think as these two types as different people but just ways in which people can vary.

To test these traits he devised a number of simple psychometric tests. He proposed that people with a high neuroticism would find it more difficult to learn socially appropriate behavior and so may become criminals. After he had carried out his tests he then introduced another personality trait, psychoticism.

A person that was high in this would be cold, uncaring and aggressive and so there fore would be very likely to become a criminal. As with neuroticism and extraversion he believed this trait was very much genetic and not learned which again supports the nature over nurture argument.

After carrying out his tests he concluded that there was a significant correlation between criminals and their extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism. However many psychologists have argued against this and said the relation ship between offending and extraversion is inconsistent.

His study has come up against many criticisms. One such criticism was it was a very crude way of testing peoples personality trends and many psychologists had doubts as to if it was valid and raised questions as to if he was testing what he though he was testing. On reflection, his theory of criminal behavior hasn’t been useful in describing how certain personalities might become involved in crime and is unfulfilling as a theory of criminal behavior. (Taylor et al., 39)

Every study had its positives and its negatives as a piece of psychological research. Sheldon’s study was very unethical due to labeling people to be murderers and sex offenders by the way they look. This would cause distress and harm to people and so ethical guidelines aren’t being followed. Lombroso also labeled people by distinguishing features such as jaw lines and ears, which would have caused the same harm to subjects.

These studies are also reductionist as they have to isolate areas of psychology to measure the independent variables, meaning they fail to consider other factors involved, say in a cognitive perspective for instance. (Gottfredson, S. D., & Taylor, R. B., 74)

As Bandura’s and Lomboro’s studies were correlational research, it forced restriction where they could not establish a cause and affect, which lead to their being confounding variables. In these four studies each psychologist has his/her views on the nature vs. nurture debate.

Eysenck supported the nature argument, as he believed that people’s personalties made them criminals born with certain personality traits. Sheldon also believed it was nature because people are born with certain body types and so he believed this affect the way they act in criminal situations.

Lombroso also supported this in the same way, as the shape of your skull is very much a thing you are born with and he believed this was what affected someone’s behavior. Bandura supported the nurture argument and upon consideration I perceive this overall as the strongest piece of evidence suggesting that violent behavior is learned and not inherited.

The over-riding problem psychologist’s face when arguing criminal behavior is inherent rather than nurtured is proving what someone is born with and what they have develop through life. It is difficult to distinguish how particular bodies develop and how they could be changed through situations. It is argued that people’s somatotypes change if they become a criminal and the majority of criminals are mesomorph whilst prior to their criminal activity it wasn’t related to body shape.

It can all point down to validity and if psychologists are really testing what they think they are testing. I personally perceive the way forward for society as being through the promotion of more positive role models for people to adhere to. Bandura has shown us how role models can affect behavior so why should it not apply in a more positive direction, which is anti violent.

The labeling of criminals also does little to help their re-entrance into society, and through the publicity and proactive application of rehabilitation criminals can be seen to make more of a life outside and would be less likely to repeat offenses.

Social Deviance Theory is an important explanation in the theory of crime. Without this explanation, it would be impossible to explain a great deal of the factors involved in juvenile delinquency. Social Deviance Theory and Development Theories are the umbrellas under which other theories used to explain juvenile delinquency fall.

Depending on the criminal and the type of crime committed, different theories are used. Social Deviance is acting against the norms of society. Development Theory deals with the manner in which a child develops into adulthood. This includes any insults or trauma, the individual's behavioral response, problems in school, problems in society, etc.

When a child experiences trauma that child may act out. this acting out for attention can easily become delinquent behavior. Developmental Theory is not the only theory that explains crime. Social Deviance Theory is another theory that can explain crime, of which juvenile delinquency is a type.

According to Hoffman, et al, (1997), R. K. Merton had certain psychological theories about crime and criminal behavior. In fact, "Merton recognized that a conceptional framework was needed to better explain social deviance and criminality" (180). Anomie is one kind of social deviance.

Anomie represents social instability. The person's standards and values are broken or non-existent (Hoffman, et al, 1997). It is not surprising that many young people today have broken or non-existent standards. Both parents work, or there is only one parent. Some crime can be explained by developmental theory.

Female delinquency is one that can. According to empirical research, interpersonal problems cause subjective strain or a response of distress. The literature concerning development points to the adolescent period as the time in which this behavior is particularly strong.

Adolescents lack the skills that adults have available, such as coping skills, social supports, and coping resources. Males are not as concerned with interpersonal goals as females are. This points to the evidence that relational or interpersonal problems are more likely to lead to female deviance.

This type of deviance manifests in delinquency (Agnew & Brezina, 1997). Many young people see themselves as mature, however, they are simply not mature enough for their coping mechanisms to have properly developed. This leads to problems.

According to Thoits (1995), sociologists spend a great deal of time attempting to explain the deviant behavior of juvenile delinquency. Their etiological theories have generated extensive research in the areas of anomie theory, conflict theory, control theory, differential association/learning theory, and labeling theory, which are forms of Social Deviance Theory.

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How mad are you?

It's not just psychopaths who suffer from personality disorders - we all have character flaws. But the good news is that once you know what they are, you can turn them to your advantage.

By Jane Feinmann

He's a man with everything going for him. He's bright, good-looking and supremely self-confident. Tipped for corporate stardom, at 38 he already has a high profile in the computer industry and a six-figure salary, as well as a beautiful wife and child, top-of-the-range car and fabulous house.

He's a man with everything going for him. He's bright, good-looking and supremely self-confident. Tipped for corporate stardom, at 38 he already has a high profile in the computer industry and a six-figure salary, as well as a beautiful wife and child, top-of-the-range car and fabulous house.

If Alex sounds too good to be true, that's because he is. As well as being excessively charming and competent, he's also arrogant, deceptive and devious. His dark side shows most clearly in the string of affairs and one-night stands in which he indulges that "seem to have little to do with the sex itself and more to do with his need for control, risk, attention and power".

That's the view of the psychologist who is currently helping Alex to understand the good, the bad and the ugly about his behavior - and specifically to accept and learn to cope with the fact that he has a personality disorder. The diagnosis is chilling, associated in most people's minds with violent psychopaths and "worthless worms... who are existentially dead" (as one media psychologist put it recently) rather than with successful businessmen.

There are 10 major personality disorders, each of which causes problems as a result of what psychiatrists call maladaptive coping - unhealthy responses to emotional demands such as stress, including depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and an inability to maintain relationships. And because a personality disorder is the person's very self, it is widely seen as untreatable by psychiatrists.

But that was in the past. Today, research is showing that treatment in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy allows people with personality disorders to live normally. As a result, the Government's National Institute of Mental Health, in a report titled Personality Disorder: No Longer a Diagnosis of Exclusion, has ordered psychiatric services to treat the condition.

"By helping people to face up to their personalities, they can stop seeing themselves as automatically a bad person and build a life for themselves," says Homerton University Hospital psychiatrist Dr Trevor Turner. "It's about putting a positive spin on what seems like negative characteristics. A leopard may not be able to change his spots but he can get to understand how useful they are in a shady jungle."

More significantly for the 90% of us unlikely to end up at a psychiatric appointment, there is a growing consensus that personality disorder is only a matter of degree. "There's increasing recognition that there is a spectrum of behavior, with personality disorders at one end and 'normal' personality traits at the other," says Gill Graham, a chartered occupational psychologist and principal consultant at Cargyll Consultants, a company that works to increase the effectiveness of people in their working lives. "Behaviors from both ends of the spectrum are present in almost everyone - they just differ in intensity, appropriateness and the extent to which we can control them."

For Stephen Palmer, professor of psychology at City University in London, stress also plays a key factor. "Many people are slightly paranoid but the more pressure you're under at work, the more likely you are to suspect that other people have got it in for you."

Inevitably, as it becomes clear that finding the right fit between our natural abilities and a career that works best for the employer as well as the employee, there's growing corporate interest in personality traits. "Context is crucial," says Graham. After all, being at least a tiny bit histrionic and narcissistic is essential for today's celebrities, while an obsessive-compulsive personality will suit accountancy or engineering.

"Dependent people who are naturally anxious and inhibited can work well in a supportive team environment where there are no surprises, while they would flounder in an environment where they were challenged or had to make tough decisions," says Graham.

Even paranoia can be a bonus, says Turner - if it's being displayed by a GP whose local hospital really is planning to cut services: "It is a positive benefit for the community," he says.

Yet difficult personality traits can't always be pigeon-holed. And personality, just like personality disorder, is now seen as treatable - as long as the person concerned is willing to play ball. "There's such a barrier to seeing yourself as others see you," says Graham, "whether you're a mother being controlling in trying to care for her child or someone who is unreasonably anxious about public speaking, for instance."

Most people with a problem blame others, says Palmer. "It can be difficult to acknowledge that you are the problem and not 'the bastards' who make your life hell at work, home and in the pub," he says.

Palmer is chairman of the British Psychology Society's newly established Special Group in Coaching Psychology. Since its inauguration last December, this group has accumulated 1,750 members to cater for the "massive" demand for coaches with a clinical background. Employers are realising that coaching in the workplace is acceptable in a way that counselling isn't.

But changing a personality trait is painfully slow. "A personality driven by genetics and shaped by experience is not going to change fundamentally," says Graham. "But you can learn and unlearn skills so that your behavior can change. If your personality is indecisive, you can't suddenly become decisive. But you can learn how to make decisions - even how to make them quickly."

High-fliers like Alex frequently have to acknowledge that what makes them a confident risk-taker can also potentially derail them. "There can be a very thin line between being exceptional and being dangerous, which means that high-potential employees are both a bonus and potentially a liability," says Graham.

So Alex is struggling to accept that he disregards others and ignores their needs (traits of an antisocial personality), and that he has inflated ideas of his own importance and craves attention (narcissistic disorder). He has had to come to terms with the fact that what he sees as confidence is frequently perceived as arrogance, and that having exciting sex may be OK, but, says Graham, he needs to be smarter about with whom and where.

"Personality traits are the bread and butter of occupational psychology," she concludes. "It is the combination and intensity and the extent to which they go unacknowledged that causes the problem."

Know your mind

* Paranoid

As a trait: cautious, observant.

As a disorder: suspicious.

Best: where caution and attention is rewarded.

Worst: in jobs that require spontaneity.

* Schizotypal

As a trait: independent, calm, a little bit cunning. As a disorder: manipulative, emotionally cold.

Best: in self-motivating, high-control jobs.

Worst: in jobs that require interpersonal skills.

* Borderline

(One of most common, especially in women).

As a trait: sensitive, volatile, spontaneous and imaginative.

As a disorder: prone to self-harm, changing moods.

Best: in creative, non-rigid environments.

Worst: in threatening situations; the army, police.

* Antisocial

(Most common in young, poorly educated men).

As a trait: adventurous, clever, ready to fight for his cause.

As a disorder: aggressive, lacking conscience.

Best: in exciting, fast-paced environments.

Worst: in jobs or relationships that require caring.

* Narcissistic

As a trait: self-confident.

As a disorder: arrogant, egotistical, greedy, uncaring.

Best: in competitive, entrepreneurial environments.

Worst: in jobs that require following orders.

* Histrionic

As a trait: stylish, fashionable.

As a disorder: demanding, self-centred, vain, superficial.

Best: in Ab Fab-style environments.

Worst: in business-like environments.

* Avoidant

As a trait: reliable, reclusive.

As a disorder: painfully self-conscious, suspicious.

Best: in structured environments where there is a minimum of new experience.

Worst: at public speaking, can be unpredictable.

* Dependent

As a trait: faithful to partner.

As a disorder: weak, insecure.

Best: in secure environments where they can become close to others.

Worst: in challenging environments, singles bars.

* Obsessive compulsive

As a trait: single-minded.

As a disorder: inflexible.

Best: in any ordered environment such as accountancy, admin, police.

Worst: in chaotic environments which lack rules.

Compiled with the help of occupational psychologist Gill Graham and Professor Kate Davidson

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Study Punctures Myth of Uncaring Divorced Dad
By Glenn Sacks
CNSNews.com Commentary
July 01, 2003

Divorced dads often contend that the largest factor precluding them from playing a significant, positive role in their children's lives isn't willful neglect but instead that that they're often prevented from being involved with their kids.

A large body of published research supports this contention, and a new study of children of divorce may help lay to rest the myth of the uncaring divorced dad.

According to this new research, adjusting for income and standard of living, divorced fathers who have been able to remain a part of their children's lives because they have joint custody voluntarily contribute even more to their children's college education than the children's mothers do.

In an article recently published in Family Court Review, Arizona State University researchers William Fabricius, Sanford Braver and Kindra Deneau called legal custody arrangements (joint vs. sole maternal) a "dramatic" and largely causal factor in projecting voluntary financial support.

The researchers noted that "fathers' contributions steadily increased w/the amount of access they had to their children" and that custodial mothers' willingness to allow divorced dads to remain a part of their children's lives during their childhoods plays a crucial role in determining how much voluntary college assistance fathers will provide.

Earlier research by Braver found that divorced dads who have jobs and who can see their kids rarely skip out on their child support obligations and that "parental disenfranchisement" - fathers' feelings that they have been stripped of the right to act as true parents to their children - has a large and harmful effect on child support compliance.

Braver's research simply reflects common sense - parents are far more willing to work and sacrifice to support children whom they can love and be loved by than they are for kids whom they can't see.

However, family courts have been blind to the obvious and while a massive enforcement bureaucracy pursues divorced dads for child support, courts do little to enforce these fathers' access to their children.

According to the Children's Rights Council, a Washington-based advocacy group, more than 5 million children each year have their access to their noncustodial parents interfered with or blocked by custodial parents.

This new research powerfully suggests the need for egalitarian divorce measures such as the presumption of joint legal and physical custody of children after a divorce and the enforcement of visitation orders.

Children need the love, strength and guidance that fathers give. They also need their financial support. Reforms that allow divorced dads to remain a meaningful part of their children's lives will supply both.

Run, Mommy, Run

 

Date: 02/19/03
By Talia Carner
WEnews commentator

 

Protective mothers who defy family court orders may be justified, this author argues. She knows the territory of custody battles well. As a child, the author's parents divorced and she was kidnapped by an uncaring father seeking vengeance.Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's Enews.

 

(WOMENSENEWS)  After two years on the run to save her son from a father she believed was abusing him, Jennifer Siefke was arrested in Montana following a tip to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Web site.

 

After her arrest, Siefke was quoted by Women's Enews as saying: "I just wanted my son to have as many years as possible so that he could have a voice." The older he became, she believed, the better he would be able to tell authorities what he experienced.

 

My heart goes out to Jennifer Siefke and to every one of the 50,000 mothers reportedly on the run in the US each year. Often penniless, fleeing with their children and nothing more than the clothes on their backs, they live in cars, motels and public parks.

 

They're afraid to use credit cards or their Social Security number for fear of being identified and therefore they can't work and earn decent wages. They subsist instead on handouts from strangers. They miss all they have left behind: their towns, families, friends, jobs, homes - and their dignity. I light a candle for each of them, hoping they'll never be found and that their children will not be "saved."

 

When I was 7 years old, my father kidnapped me and kept me hidden for two years. (He did not molest me, but his occasional beatings were particularly harsh.) He deposited me with a foster family and visited every week or two. He neither wanted me nor loved me, but I was an excellent pawn in his divorce battle over money and property matters.

 

When my mother found me in school a year after my disappearance, my father showed up within an hour after being alerted by the principals phone call. I was whisked away to another family.

 

The trauma of being snatched away from my mother never left me. It marked my identity well into adulthood. Yet when writing my novel "Puppet Child," I found myself on the side of the mother kidnapping her child.

 

Having become enmeshed in the turbulent emotional struggles of my protagonist, I came to believe that the kidnapping of a child by the "right" parent is fully justified. Had my mother kidnapped me, I would have gladly spent two years protected from the violent man whom I had come to despise and fear.

 

In fact, after my mother gained custody of me, my father had little interest in seeing me, even though he worked less than 15 minutes away from where my mother and I lived with my loving and devoted stepfather.

 

Paradoxically, abusive fathers are often abetted by family courts in their zeal to control and punish their former spouses and continue abusing their children. Indeed, one of the most prestigious legal organizations in the U.S. has tacitly acknowledged the failure of family courts to provide protection from family violence.

 

The American Law Institute recently released its new guidelines on custody law, which is designed to lay out the framework for the courts to assist parents seeking divorces from violent or sexually abusive partners.

 

These new guidelines will urge courts to screen for child abuse--as well as domestic violence and deny custody or even visitation unless the abuser demonstrates that visitation can be handled in a way that protects the safety of all concerned.

 

This is a good first step, but only that. In the course of researching my novel about a mother's attempts to protect her child from a sexually abusive father, I came across an absurd and painful phenomenon: When a mother makes allegations of sexual abuse, she may lose credibility and hence custody and the child may be transferred to the custody of his or her father.

 

In fact, many custody trials involving sexual allegations are the result of a mother discovering the molestation of her child. As the mother discovers the abuse, she often initiates a divorce. In response, the father puts up a fight for the control his spouse wishes to deny him. The courtroom is one arena where he can deal a final blow to the family he abused by forcing the mother and children apart.

 

And while the changes proposed by the law institute may help a bit, many believe that judges are failing to implement existing laws. In his 2002 book, "Scared To Leave, Afraid To Stay: Paths From Family Violence To Safety," New York attorney Barry Goldstein describes 10 such cases, typical of his 20 years in practice. Judges who suppress evidence of abuse today will ignore the American Law Institute's new guidelines tomorrow.

 

And, rather than seek justice for each child in legal cases mired with complexities, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children works with the FBI and local law enforcement agencies to punish desperate mothers who flee, even those believing that their children have been legally handed to pedophiles.

 

Siefke, who was pictured on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Web site as a fugitive, was one such mother.

 

The indiscriminate "search and rescue" for children whose only protectors are distraught, disenfranchised, dispirited and impoverished women is aided by this and other well-meaning but often misguided organizations convinced that a fallible family court decision supercedes women and children's rights to live free from family violence.

 

Run, mommy, run.

Talia Carner, an advocate for child victims of the legal system, is the author of the just-released novel about family court, "Puppet Child."

Are cell phone users always uncaring?

Should cell phones be banned in restaurants?

by Sarah Trimmer

I've had a rough 70 hour work week at the office pulling together a major project. At 6 P.M. Friday my week from hell officially ends and I'm ecstatic at the prospect of having an evening out with my neglected significant other and look forward to enjoying a meal, conversation, and perhaps a glass of red wine (maybe two) at my favorite restaurant.

Shortly after we are seated and begin to thumb through the menu discussing the week, I hear the most obnoxiously loud rendition of the William Tell Overture over my right shoulder. The owner of this offensive ring clearly cannot hear and does not answer or silence his phone.

Undeterred, the caller makes a second attempt and we're off; again. Shortly thereafter, a man with a booming voice and salesman laugh enters through the double doors in a business suit, and by the sound of it is finishing up his work day via cell phone. He has no clue, or maybe doesn't care how loud his voice projects across the bustling restaurant as he continues his high decibel level conversation. My plans and hopes for a quiet evening have been squashed.

This scenario has become an all too common and annoying occurrence when dining out. Although cell phones in general can be a useful tool, they can also be viewed as a necessary evil that cannot be avoided in our modern, technologically advanced world. I do not deny the argument that cell phones are of paramount importance in an emergency situation and undoubtedly connect people anywhere at any time. However, just as smoking has been eradicated from restaurants in many cities and states, cell phones should be the next to follow suit, as people's talking addiction and lack of common courtesy have spun out of control.

Because cell phones are ubiquitous in nature and have become so engrained in people's identity (and ears), it almost seems as if ownership of such a device gives people a pass to not practice appropriate manners and consideration out and about in public. Namely, choosing to act as a distraction to those wanting a relaxing, engaging, and most importantly quiet cell phone free evening.

From a pragmatic point of view there is not one circumstance or situation when cell phone use at a table should be warranted or acceptable in a seated dining establishment. In the 1980's when cell phones didn't exist my parents went to dinner and left us with a sitter. They left the phone number of the restaurant and instructed our unlucky sitting victim to call in case of an emergency. I don't recall them ever receiving such a call by the sitter.

Fast forward to present day and it's not uncommon to hear phone exchanges between parent and babysitter, where the parent cannot let go and insists on checking in every 30 minutes (at the table) to ensure the kids are not sick, fussy, too hot, too cold, or to make sure their irrational fear of the babysitter locking the children in the closet has not come true.

There probably isn't much wrong with taking a brief 15 second call alerting you that your party is running late, but couldn't those calls just as easily be conducted at the front of the restaurant. Is it really too much to excuse yourself from the table if you must take or make a call?

Also, if you are my neighbor at the adjacent table, I'm not interested in the conversation you are having with your sister about what color to paint the living room, the catch-up gossip about your fathers irritating new wife, or the particularly nasty case of the stomach flu you just got over yesterday. All the while your husband is starring across the table with a look of disgust and contempt. Please leave this discussion at home, as it is grossly inappropriate for the people who cannot help but hear it, and an utterly rude and disrespectful way to treat your company sharing the table with you.

Doctor's offices, hospitals, movie theatres, libraries, and many other businesses have placed a conscientious moratorium on cell phone use while in their establishment. More restaurant owners should implement this practice in their businesses, as they would find most patrons would not be upset with a No Cell Phone Use policy in the dining area. I think many of us would appreciate an evening where the most important conversation we are having is the one with the people sitting across from us.

source site: Helium

Being self-assertive and autonomous

by Pamela Mercier

    The term self-assertive is very misunderstood. Many people take it to mean pushy, bossy and generally uncaring of the feelings of others. In reality it is simply knowing your own worth and not selling yourself short, in relationships or business. When you really know yourself, you know what your goals are and how to get there. Others who lack that knowledge of themselves don't understand why they may fail while you succeed.

    In relationships, being self-assertive will save a person from starting a relationship with someone who is totally unsuitable. Self-aware people will know what they want out of a relationship and are wise to connect only with others who are also very self-aware.

    In business, of couse, being self-assertive with your skills and talents will more than likely attract the attention of the powers that be, furthering your career at a faster pace than one who just is a worker bee.

    A truly self-aware person will not have be loud, brash or pushy. They have a quiet confidence that they exude, automatically attracting attention.

    source site: Helium

    The personal risk of a spiritual journey

    by Judy Merrill

    Like water running down a hill, finding its own path through the way, we are using each and every experience of life to grow in our awareness of life's journey. When the water takes a particular turn around an obstacle it travels on its own way. When there are no obstacles in its way, it rushes on in its own path.

    Our spirituality travels down the route of lessons. Each and every experiences teaches us about ourselves. We can handle these challenges in love or in anger. It is a personal choice of how we handle our own responsibilities.

    When the experiences we have concern other people, we have to consider how they feel in the circumstance without getting caught up in their spiritual journey. Each of us has a personal responsibility to each and every experience of our lives.

    Sometimes we feel we can direct others on their journey. But that is a lesson in confusion for all, when it is actually someone else's responsibility.

    The risk in the spiritual journey is that we will be seen to be cold and uncaring when we leave others to face their own responsibilities. We often lose those thought to be friends when we allow them their consequences of their own actions.

    source site: Helium

    After all, we create our own reality and those in our environment become a part of our dramas and traumas through the interactive conditions of each and every experience. In the law of cause and effect, we set up the causes and must be responsible in the end for the effects that are consequential.

    The American Red Cross