Gender Bias

In one of my classes last semester we had a chapter on gender bias (gb). The purpose of discussing or learning about the topic is to create an awareness and change the behavior if necessary. I readily admit I do have some biases but I’m always willing to look at them and reevaluate my stance. Just for clarification, gb is when you have a prejudice or unreasonable expectations of one gender. One example I used was if there are heavy objects to move and if there were an equal number of women and men present, I expect the men to move the objects. That expectation is the bias. I also expect my sons to hold doors open for females. I remember having a conversation with my daughter about unloading groceries from the car. The three boys were proving their strength by taking the heaviest items out and saying, “look at me; I’m strong!” The honey girl got upset because I told her not to lift the heavy items to allow her brother to get those things. She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t prove her strength. I said, “boys need to prove they are strong and valiant.” She didn’t quite get it but she acquiesced. I didn’t think my biases were too extreme.
Fast forward to last week. Honey girl has become the resident mender of all bruises as well as the daily temperature taker for the little boys. Long story shortened, one had a fever last week now they insist on having their temperature taken daily in the morning and at night. My immediate and natural response was to call her the nurse. The teenager decided to grace us with his presence one day while the nurse was bandaging a knee. He asked the question, why can’t I pretend to be a doctor to get some practice for my veterinarian office I plan to have one day. Hit the rewind button. He immediately identified himself as a doctor. I identified her as a nurse. My biases were coming out in the pretend titles I was giving. Now, for the record she is just as smart and studious as her older brother. It wasn’t a matter of capability it was my unknown bias. It never occurred to me to refer to her as a doctor.
The other night I was reading the second chapter of Exodus out loud to the children. We came upon the verse about throwing all the baby boys into the river. I asked the question why the boys? My thought as to keep them from creating additional children or families later in life. They would end up with a generation of girls who would either marry Egyptians or never marry. The teenager said they killed the boys to keep them from growing up and creating a powerful army and taking over. Now I’m not sure if that is classified as bias or different views but my thought went to creating families and his to strength and valor.
Are all biases the same whether intentional or not? I’m asking myself what areas am I passing my gender biases on to my kids and how much of it is innate? The stud has made it perfectly clear that pink and baking are for girls. He wants no part of either. He will come and assist in the kitchen if I give direct orders. He will drink out of a pink cup if that’s all I’m offering on his sister’s birthday but it is under protest. I didn’t teach him that. He has drawn his own conclusion even after seeing his dad and older brothers baking and not hearing them complaining about the one day of pink.
Gender bias, what are yours? What if anything are you doing to change them or at least acknowledge them?

Life isn’t fair, is it?

For a few months, the stud would remind us all that, “life isn’t fair.” I must admit I was concerned when he started kindergarten that I would get a note from the teacher telling us he told her and the students that, “life isn’t fair.” One day the two youngest were playing basketball with an imaginary ball and goal. The stud had the “ball” and the little dude was guarding him. Stud kept dribbling and wouldn’t shoot the ball. Little dude got frustrated and said, “that’s not fair, you need to shoot the ball so I can rebound it.” Stud muffin stopped dribbling, looked at me, and said, “life isn’t fair is it momma?” My response was and still is, “no baby, life isn’t fair.”
I love the school my children attend. The are at a local charter school. Charter schools are free schools but not governed by the local school district. One of the many things I love about the school is Business Day. The students who are in second thru fifth grade are encouraged to participate. They develop a business plan, rent a space, fill out a form that explains their business, competition, how they will market their business, who their customers are and how much they will charge for their product or services. Over the last two and a half years we have seen some pretty amazing and some not so amazing businesses. I help my children decide what to sell. We have determined the best customers are the kindergarteners, they will buy anything that is sweet, a sticker or a tattoo. The money they use is money earned from their jobs and good deeds throughout the semester. Yes, every student is assigned a job at the beginning of the year. They have a payday folder where they keep up with debits and credits. They pay the teacher for rule infractions.
Mid year, some parents complained to the president of the PTA and the headmaster about how unfair the business day was because some parents were obviously assisting their children and some were spending lots of money on material and supplies. They were basically crying out, “that’s not fair!” Hello!!! Life isn’t fair. Ultimately the rules were changed and now all student are supposed to make their wares by themselves and not spend any more than $10 for the supplies.
My personal opinion is you are sending the wrong message to your children. Life really isn’t fair or equal and everybody is not a winner. Let that soak in for a moment.
Everybody doesn’t get into the college of their choice. Everybody won’t marry Denzel, Taylor, Brad, Oprah, Justin, Demi, Chris, Jada or Selena. Everybody won’t buy a house and even if they do, they may not have the biggest house in the neighborhood. Have you seen the statistics for the number of college athletes who will actually play professional sports? Everybody can’t get into our school because there is a waiting list. When a job is posted in my department, we receive hundreds of resumes. Only one person gets the job. Life isn’t fair!
The sooner we understand this and begin teaching this to our children, the sooner they can wrap their heads around competition, doing your best and encouraging your friends. I understand the parents were saying the school should level the playing field this providing their child with a better opportunity to succeed. Well, is that fair? Should the playing field be leveled? Should all the children have the same opportunities? I thought the point of the whole exercise was to teach the children about small businesses and how to run your own company. In the real world of business, lots of people start companies but not all of them are successful. Some people do have financial backing and others do not. Some have great marketing teams and other do not.
At what point do we accept the life isn’t fair but chose to live our best lives anyway?

Ice Breaker- Labeling

I recently facilitated a workshop for my team. After reading a blog, my sincerest apologies in advance for not remembering which blog I saw the attached video, I incorporated the video into and Ice Breaker. If I figure it out, I will post the credits.
Why don’t you play along as I describe what I did.
You will need a bottle or cup of water.
Take a label or marker and write one word on the bottle or label. Attach the label to the water bottle or cup.
Watch the video…

My question to my team after watching the video is would you drink the water you just labeled? Most of the team said they would.
Then we had a series of questions and comments. One person asked whether or not a tattoo would have the same effects on us as a label would on a bottle of water. Something to think about.

Your circle of influence

I attended a meeting for an organization I recently joined. The speaker of the evening was providing insight on how to develop your network (networth) The presenter, Debbie, made some very compelling points. One of those was about the people in your network. Those are people you come into contact with that you are able to influence or that are able to influence you. She had the attendees to fill out a list of people in our lives and put them into two categories, brown or green. Brown represents negative, non-life giving, stagnant, Debbie downer type of people. Green represents life giving, positive, hopeful, moving forward type of people. Then she went on to challenge us to have more green people in our lives and to determine whether or not the brown people could become green or if they are forever browns. If there are forever browns they needed to get weeded out of our lives. (I’m summarizing not quoting) I’m glad to say I have more green in my life than brown.
Give it a try. Write down the names of your friends, colleagues and close acquaintances and categorize them as either brown or green. Well, the process should start with you. Are you brown or green? We don’t want to make any assumptions. Then categorize your circle of influence. We all have a bad day and bad things that happen to us. But do you or the people in your life live in the land of sad, angry, pitiful, spiteful, hurting and whoa is me? If you live there, it’s time to move. If you are visiting, you’ve probably worn out your welcome and need to go back to your happy place.
She did not say abandon your brown list. But take some time to determine whether or not you can help them develop some green. From me to you, don’t allow them to pull you into the dark side. If you are not already fully functioning as a green person, avoid the browns until you are in a better place. A pity party is not the social event of the year. It’s more like quicksand. (side note, where does one find quicksand other than movies?)
Time to go forth and cultivate some positive relationships.

Popularity

I was reading a blog one day about how to make your blog popular. One of the things on the list was coming up with a top ten or top five list of things to do nor not do. Apparently we humans like short lists of things. I decided right then and there to make my lists about funny things that no one is searching in Google for but it might give you a laugh or smile when you happen upon it on my blog. Check back frequently or infrequently to see what’s coming up next.

How to become a certified slacker

If you follow these steps you will be well on your way to becoming a certified slacker. First let’s define slacker. According to me, a slacker is a person who doesn’t get much done during the day but no one seems to notice.

I am offering steps to get you towards the certification, not the certification itself. As a true slacker you don’t want everybody to know so you would not leave a trail such as a certification to give proof to those that may suspect your status.

1.) Attend as many meetings as you can, take down lots of “notes” and look extremely engaged and interested in the topic
2.) Show up for work on time and stay late sometimes. During actual work hours surf the net, pay your bills online, update your blog and any other internet related activity that requires typing and intensely looking at your screen.
3.) Get a screen protector or arrange your desk in such a way that passerbyers (I know it’s a questionable word) can’t see your screen.
4.) If you are high enough on the flow chart to have an office, close your door and come out every hour looking frustrated and sighing loudly. Of course what you are actually doing is surfing the net, texting and talking on the phone.
5.) Go to work early, schedule a meeting with a friend you are in cahoots with, (go to the movies, grocery shopping, take a nap or just hang with that friend) then come back to work and stay late.
6.) Always be available for questions. This passes the time and you appear helpful as well as engaged.
7.) Walk around your office talking to people. Don’t spend too much time with one person or else people will complain that you are keeping others from being productive.
8.) Don’t volunteer for any projects unless you are the coordinator then delegate, delegate, delegate.
9.) Don’t take the credit for other people’s ideas. This makes people angry. The goal here is to be stay on everybody’s good side. You want to have lots of allies not enemies.
10.) Always look busy!