Friday, June 03, 2016

Food Allergies and Children

Recent news stories on Food Bullying brings into focus the issue of children with food allergies and how they interact with other children in social situations.  In the past few years schools have set special tables aside to create a safe place in the lunch room for children with food allergies.  Food Bullying though, brings about the question of, in setting these places aside for kids with food allergies are we also isolating those same children and thereby creating a sect of pariahs that now carry the stigma that attracts bullying?

Food allergies are a serious condition to have.  Especially severe allergies that can cause death.  Therefore it is very easy to empathize with parents that wish to create a safer environment for their allergic children.  Is there, however, a better way to make these children safer without actually quarantining them from the rest of society?

Perhaps education could have been the key here?  Parents of allergic children, educate their children on how to avoid their allergens.  Parents of non-allergic children educate their offspring of the existence of people with food allergies and how they can have life-threatening reactions.  Schools educate children of the existence of food allergies, how to avoid food allergens, and how not to spread food allergens around the table or lunchroom.

The downfall of relying on Education, is that it takes time to see the true effects.  Because these effects are not immediately noticeable, society, namely the people that strongly desire the effect, are not satisfied that anything is happening.  This then leads them to push for the more gratifying solution of creating the safe tables.  While the safe tables make the parents feel better, these same parents may not realize the full extent of what this does to their children. 

When we draw attention to children with food allergies, the other children know that something is different about them, but may not understand what.  Unless someone specifically educates the non-allergic children about what exactly is going on, all they know is that these “allergic kids” have to sit at a separate table.  This leaves the door wide open for questions, bullying, and testing.  Yes, testing.  Curious children learn by testing boundaries, and through trial and error.  If they don’t know what happens when an allergic child touches their allergen, they’re going to try to test it to see for themselves.  

Whereas, if the food allergic children were allowed to continue to interact as normal, and sit among their peers, their medical condition may not ever come to the attention of the kids around them, thereby eliminating the stigma that would attract bullying.  If the allergic children are well aware of their condition, know what they are allergic to, and understand how to refuse offers of food from other kids, this lowers the risk of alerting other children to something amiss. 

While the instant gratification of having the allergic children sit at a safe table makes the parents breathe a sigh of relief, in essence, they are creating a worse situation for their children by drawing all the attention in their direction.  Attention, is not always a good thing. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Transgender Bathrooms/Dressing Rooms

Everyone in this country has the right to practice what religion they wish, and to believe in what values they choose to.  Therefore, the discussion of transgenders being able to use their respective facilities of choice should be not be an issue of religion or beliefs, but one of security. 

The reason there is an issue of security, is due to the fact that there is no easy, immediate method of determining whether a person is truly a transgender versus a person simply dressed up as the opposite sex.  A transgender person identifies with the gender they are emulating.  This means they believe they ARE that gender, it is not just a pretense.  Unfortunately, you can’t determine this by just looking at a person.  This means that a man, who is not transgender, could dress up as a woman and enter the women’s facilities without a second glance because there is no way to determine that he is indeed NOT a transgender person.  Once inside, he can harass other women, intimidate them, and even sexually assault them.  Likewise, a woman, who is not transgender, could dress up as a man and enter the men’s facilities and do similar harm to the men. 


Since we cannot determine person’s intent through simple observation, perhaps the best solution is to create a third facility.  A unisex facility that is open to all genders and transgenders.  This provides a non-gender biased area for all transgenders, as well as providing the choice to people who are comfortable with the possibility of having someone of the opposite gender, or transgender,  using the same facility at the same time.  Those who are not comfortable with this idea can continue to use the original gender-biased facilities.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Triond Articles

Prejudism and Racism: Revisited

With the grand historical event of voting in a black man into the Presidency of America, the issue of color rises afresh in the news and media.

You see instances of both ends of the spectrum. One end uses it as an excuse or reason to place certain people of color in certain positions of power, regardless of the qualifications of others whom may not be of the same color. The other end sees it as a showing of true American spirit where any person, no matter what their race, can achieve the highest of goals which in turn, denounces the pleadings and protestations of minority races who somehow declare that they are entitled to certain retributions for deeds done to their ancestors...simply because they are related to those ancestors.

America is indeed a land of opportunity, for any person, of any gender, race, religion or lifestyle. Why people still try to declare one race above any other baffles me. Here we are in a glorious country where everyone is to be treated equal and fairly, and yet, people continue to insist on being treated in such ways that make things unfair. Our society is grossly lopsided in perspective. We see injustice and make great leaps to right the wrongs. But in doing so we create new wrongs and injustices. With all the flailing about trying to fix things so everyone is happy, we have left our society, our politics and our economy in tatters.

We have to realize we can't make everyone happy at the same time, but we can make a majority happy. Therefore it is time to choose the "right" people to please. For far too long we have been catering to all who cry foul, even if those people are of an illegal status. With this complacency we have then allowed our country to become overrun with illelal immigrants. Now their numbers throng so high that we are loathe to ignore their pleas. It is our fault in the first place that their numbers were allowed to grow so swiftly beneath our noses. We should have realized long ago that there is a loophole in the law that deems a child born in the US is automatically a US citizen. There should have been a stipulation that applies that law only to those parents whom are in the process of becoming a US citizen themselves. Why should a law of the US citizens apply to a person who is of an illegal status? It is like giving freedom to a criminal guilty of vicious and horrible crimes. This is in no way implying that illegal immigrants are vicious criminals, it is merely a comparison of metaphorical capacities.

We should certainly not condone mistreatment of illegal immigrants, nor do should we think them beneath any legal US citizen as far as being human and deserving HUMAN rights. It is just that they should not be given US citizen rights, including access to welfare, health insurance, and voting privileges. Unless they prove that they are in the process of becoming a LEGAL US citizen - only then should they be given those rights.

Monday, June 02, 2008

When Wealthy, Don't Live Wealthy

If in your lifetime, you happen to become wealthy, take care not to LIVE wealthy, as it is far too inconsiderate to society as well as yourself.

If you watch the shows about the rich and famous, you will see lavish decor, spacious accomodations, beautiful gourmet foods - and absolutely ridiculous prices.

If you are a middle-classer (or lower) then you have learned to budget, to price compare, and to NOT buy what you don't need, and most of all - to buy where it is the cheapest for the best quality.

Just because you become wealthy, does not mean you have to start living lavishly. Instead, keep your habits the same and follow these guidelines:

If you enjoy your job - continue to work. Maybe cut your hours back if possible. Having a job sets an example for your children. You don't want them to get the idea that they may not have to work to live. If you don't like your job - create one out of home. There are lots of out of home possiblities. Now that you have the money to invest in one, choose one, or make your own. Everyone has dreams of doing something - follow it - whether it be writing a book, investing in real estate, making things and selling them or running a charity.

Upgrade your car, a new car is always nice to have, there's less maintenance costs, better gas mileage and of course it just looks nice too. Get a new work car - but keep it small and economical. After all, it's just for going back and forth to work. No need to get a Lexus or Jaguar just because you can afford it. Unless of course, they are getting the best gas mileage or least amount of maintenance - or other economical reason.

Get a family vehicle (assuming you have a family). A new car for the family is nice, for the same reasons as the work car, but also because you can now get a roomier vehicle. One that fits the family comfortably and has room for cargo. Again no need to go luxury brand, unless it's the most economical overall.

As for kids, if they are of driving age, make them earn their car. Don't just buy whatever they want. Make them work for half the amount of the car, and match what they earn. Then buy a used car for their first vehicle. Because the first car is going to get beat up - even if your child is not a drag racer or wild driver. The probability that something will happen in their first couple years of driving is pretty high - they are inexperienced. After a couple years with a good driving record, then consider assisting them in purchasing a new car. Of course, they'll need a steady job to foot the payments. You don't want your kids to become spoiled and not learn the difficulties of real living. So it is best to teach them while they are still under your roof (and under your protection) so that if they falter, you can be there to support them while they build themselves back up.

Upgrade your house - but keep it within normal upper middle-class limits. Make it roomy for the family, but don't have countless extraneous rooms. A large yard is nice - so a nice ranch or plantation type property where you have lots of land may fall in to order. Of course if your dreams are to own a property where you can run a bed and breakfast, or a private artistic or vacation retreat, then go ahead and get a place with lots of rooms or guest houses.

Create an emergency account - and put a substantial amount in it. This money will be used only for emergencies - such as car repairs, house repairs, appliance repairs or replacements. If you continue to have an income, put in a little every month to always ensure money is in that account.

Create accounts for the kids. Savings/Trust funds to be released to them when they are mature enough (note MATURE enough, not the same as OLD enough. Go by maturity and responsibility level, not age). College funds should be kept separate.

Put a substantial amount in a high yielding savings account. And try not to touch it! This way your money continues to earn MORE money over the years.

Well, everyone wants to travel - but don't go crazy - maybe make a vacation account that will be used 1-3 times every year to go on a nice vacation. Pick a new place every time and eventually you will see the world!

Buy a vacation home - if you have one place you enjoy a lot for a relaxing getaway - buy a place there. It doesn't have to be as big as your regular home - it's just for vacations. Remember your roots - maybe just get a nice vacation trailer in a quiet campground resort. There is nothing wrong with staying in a comfortable and clean trailer with all the utilities.

Avoid the wealthy. Wealthy people will pressure you into buying wealthy and behaving wealthy. The cheap things in life are not good enough for them, they will push you to buy expensive brands, expensive food, and expensive clothes. We all know that is not necessary. A $30 dress from Walmart is just as good as a $1000 dress from some famous designer. Think about what you do with it - you wear it. Do you want to wear $1000 and fret about getting it stained or ripped thereby wasting all that money? Or would you rather feel free and comfortable sitting around in a nice looking $30 dress that isn't such a big deal if it gets accidentally stained or torn. It's alright to splurge now and then - but remember to keep it real!

No need to join Country Clubs or other wealthy clubs of exclusivity. There are plenty of golf courses that you don't have to belong to the club to play.

All in all, keep your lifestyle the same. It will be more enjoyable that way. You can live life peacefully and most of all - comfortably. Because you are wealthy you don't fret about money and bills. But still set an example for your kids with your work (in or out of home). Because life doesn't always treat you right, and they should learn that early. They shouldn't grow up flaunting their wealth. Instead, let them grow up with the other middle-class kids and learn about the realities of life and society. Life will be better for them that way.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Golden Compass; Freedom of Speech and Religion

I find it highly unfortunate that there is such a controversy going on about this movie. I have not seen it yet, nor have I read the books. But based on the information I have gleaned from the internet the story is thus:

The Golden Compass is a movie based on the first book of a series written by an atheist, Philip Pullman. He is very open about his beliefs and does not hide the fact that his series is about killing God. I can see how this is clearly upsetting to Christians and other believers of God. I also understand that Christians believe it is their duty to spread the Word of God and think they must speak out against these things. However....where to start?

Let's approach Freedom of Religion first.

It must be taken into consideration that we live in a world of free will where all have the natural right to believe and voice what they want to. God himself gave us that free will. He does not force us to believe in Him, but rather gives us the opportunity to do so. Yes, Christians are told to go out and spread His Word, however this should not be construed as to force Christianity upon all. Every human has their own free will, therefore they all must be allowed to choose their own path. The Christian duty is to spread the Word...that is fine, voice your beliefs out loud, in this you do your duty of spreading the Word. However do not force others to only believe what you believe for this then becomes oppression. By speaking or writing your beliefs openly, you provide the information necessary for someone to make their own decision on whether to choose the path of God. Therefore you have offered the opportunity to believe in God to others...as you should. It is then up to the individual to decide for themselves whether or not to believe in God. This also means that if someone chooses NOT to believe in God, even after we have offered the Word, then we must respect that decision. Just as we ALSO must respect that they have the right to voice their beliefs too. After all, how can someone make a proper decision without knowing both sides first?

Freedom of Speech
This goes hand in hand with Freedom of Religion. We, as humans with free will, also have the right to voice what we think or believe, no matter what those thoughts or beliefs may be. And this right applies to EVERYONE. So even though one opinion may be supported by the vast majority, and that majority is very loud...we must respect the minority's right to voice their opinions as well. We should not suppress the minority simply because it is against the majority's view. To do so is also oppression.

America's Freedoms
For those of you who bring up the point that America was built on belief in God, remember this: the founding fathers came to America to be free from oppression of religion. This then means that we should not oppress others in their beliefs. America was built on the eclectic cultures of many different parts of the world, so how can we pinpoint only 1 as the true belief?

To Each His Own
Each individual who sees this movie will come out of it with their own opinion or view. We should all enter with the idea not to judge the movie for it's author's beliefs, but to judge it simply as another fantasy adventure movie. For in all essence, that is all it is. A viewer who goes into this movie not knowing any of the background or controversy, shall come out of it as having seen another special effect filled fantasy adventure flick. Just as any who went to see Narnia without knowing its allusion to Christianity, would also come out of it as seeing another cool film. (I myself, having read the Narnia series as a child, did not even know of the correlation until the movie came out and I heard all the hubbub).

Also realize that the more controversy you create, the more likely people are going to go see it just to see what all the hype is about. Whereas if we simply allowed the movie to pass along like all the other films, everyone would just view it as a plain old movie. Then those who are knowledgable about the background can choose to voice their opinions and beliefs to their children, family and social circles, whether those views be for or against the film.

Just the let the film be a film.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Intelligence and Knowledge

All too often we automatically assume that people who work the really grimy and disgusting jobs such as the sewers, garbage, janitorial and etc., are less intelligent than ourselves. This is a gross case of bad judgement. We should not look down upon those who work the jobs that we would never touch. And we should not assume that they are any less intelligent then ourselves. Without knowing them personally, we do not know what their reasons are for being in those careers.

Even if they do not have the schooling we have had, thereby making them less academically knowledgeable, we should never declare them less intelligent. Academic knowledge is not the only way to measure intelligence. Intelligence is not how much information you have absorbed from textbooks or school, but rather how well you are able to gather information from life and the world around you. It is also the ability to use this information to benefit yourself and/or others.

As well, a person who may not speak as eloquently or fluently as the average person, should not be automatically labelled as dumb. Their brain could be working furiously even if their mouth doesn't work properly.

We all know the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover." and it's ever so true. Never judge someone until you get to know them. You would be amazed at the insights you can get from the people you'd never expect them from.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When in Power, Beware of Trust and Loyalty

If you ever find yourself in a position of power, be very wary of whom you trust. All too often in stories where kings, queens, sultans or other rulers meet their downfall...it is because they put all their trust into one loyal advisor.

Loyalty is wonderful and when you can find one person who is ultimately loyal to you, it seems like a grand thing. But unfortunately, power corrupts, and even the most loyal person can become selfish or led astray to walk the wrong paths. Imagine you are the the king's most trusted advisor. This in essence, is really the most powerful position! For if you have the ear of the king, and he ultimately does what you advise him to do...just think of the possibilities! Oh sure, it starts out innocently enough, with just small favors and tokens. But being human, emotions run rampant at times and rash decisions are made. If you have the access to do powerful things (via the king) very bad things could start happening, and all in the name of the king, or country, or people while in the truth they are in the name of your own selfish desires. And once you start down that hill, it's very hard to stop!

Imagine then that you are the king. If you put all your trust into one person, they can be feeding you anything they want you to believe. If you do not have other perspectives, opinions, or go out and see for yourself, you have no way of proving or disproving anything your advisor tells you. Of course, the relationship doesn't start that way. Oh no, in the beginning it'll be pure and true. Your advisor is loyal to you and cares about you and the country. But then as you entrust him with more and more, he begins to realize the true power he holds and starts to use it for his own purposes. He then becomes blinded to his true purpose and feeds his own desires eventually to the point where he believes his own wants are for the good of the people.

How then do you avoid such an inevitable downfall? In the world of humans it is dependent upon the people around you, and the situations.

One idea is, have at least 3 advisors. 1 whom you know if loyal only to you, 1 whom is strongly loyal to the country, and 1 who wants only what is good for the people. It may also be beneficial if they don't get along with each other. In this way, you should be able to receive information, opinions and perspectives from 3 different angles. And there is less chance that they would conspire with each other to control you. As well, you could have each one keeping an eye on the other. This could work and it could also cause discord and havoc within your information team, so it would have to be expertly executed, the people well-chosen.

So, if you are the king, don't set all your trust in one place ("don't put all your eggs in one basket")

And if you happen to be the advisor to the king, don't let him place all his trust in you, for that is just as dangerous as if you were the king.