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Monthly Archives: April 2012

The tale of two moms……..

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I watch Piers Morgan’s show on CNN infrequently.  Yesterday, however, I was watching the last regular season game of the Chicago Bulls (and what a season it has beenJ) and I flipped over to CNN during the breaks thus catching two interviews that I want to mull over.  The first was an interview with a young man named Zach Wahls, who by the way is just a couple of years older than my own son.  This wonderful young man was clearly raised by loving and giving parents who have produced a son to be proud of (and by all accounts a daughter to be proud of as well).  The reason that his story is of note is that the parents are same sex parents, moms in this case.  http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/04/27/pm-zach-wahls-2-moms.cnn

  About six months ago I was out for dinner with some female friends when a little girl, a couple of tables away, came running over to say hello to one of my friends.  Turns out she is lives next door to my friend.  She’s about 7 years old, cute as can be and incredibly charming and very intelligent and was completely comfortable hanging out with a bunch of “moms” from the neighborhood.   Her parents came over a little while later and joined us as we finished dinner and really added to the fun of the evening. We hit it off and they have become new friends that I see occasionally around the neighborhood and would like to see more of.  Dad works in the same kind of business that I am in so we have that in common as well.

 Why you wonder am I going on about this?  My new friends who are clearly amazing parents and a loving and committed couple are two dads.  So what does this tell us?…….it tells us to get over preconceived notions of what the “right” definition is of a “married” couple and preconceived notions of who should be parents. Zach Wahls’ parents define the sanctity and purpose of marriage….not people who get “married” and then disgrace the sanctity of that institution by dragging it through the mud (think Kardashians as one example). 

 So let’s all take a deep breath and admire couples who are doing an amazing job raising our legacy….regardless of whether those parents are two-sex, same-sex or single parents.  Can we try that please?

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Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day………

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Today, April 26th, 2012, is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.  In 1993 Ms. Foundation started “Take Our Daughters to Work Day”.  The company I work for was one of the inaugural firms to have a structured program that was aimed at achieving the vision of the event:  To allow girls to gain a view into the workplace at all levels and in all occupations and to give them the confidence to realize their potential.  Equally importantly it was a vehicle strategically created to put pressure on a male dominated upper management to see visually that the next generation of workforce and leaders would look quite different than the last. 

 My daughters were young but they are pioneers in that they were members of that class of 1993……in fact, given that I was one of the very few women at my career level with children in our office they ended up being filmed and subsequently on the local news!! Very exciting and in a completely spontaneous interview my younger daughter was so enthusiastic about the great fun she was having at the office….My older daughter when asked by the reporter if she wanted to grow up and work at Mommy’s company responded very firmly…:”No way!”….which of course, with the background burst of laughter from my colleagues, made for a hilarious news report on TV that evening.

 The fact remains that this movement became amazingly viral and spread around many parts of the world.  Ten years later, in 2003, after much debate, the program was expanded to boys….by then we had a son so I thought that was fair…….but really the purpose and focus of the day has therefore changed.  Today this day is a reflection and opportunity for boys and girls to view the workplace and hopefully see role models who will encourage them to work together and respect and value the contributions each make for not only themselves and the good of the workplace but also the contribution to the communities they live and work.

 Oh, and my older daughter……she now works for the company…funny how life works.  The wonderful thing is that there are many of my colleagues who still remember that little girl and think is quite special that she found her way to us…..

White, Black, Hispanic……..??

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There is lots of passion at the moment about race, equality/inequality, the change in demographics in America and what this nation will look like in the decades to come.

The categorization used for this discussion is “White, Black, Hispanic”……hang on…White and Black?…last time I checked they were colors not ethnic groups.  That is so wrong and takes away from a meaningful discussion….at least in my humble opinion.

  If we are doing colors let’s do White, Black, Brown and maybe some shades in between?  Or let’s be sensible and lift up the covers and have some more detailed and therefore more meaningful discussions that take into account the true diversity in this country……oh and let’s not forget the ever increasing Asian population which is completely ignored at the moment in this dialogue……….

“D” to pass……….

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We all know that our nation’s public school systems need to be improved.  It is a fact that the U.S lags behind many countries in both the level of our education and certainly in math and science which are the cornerstones to innovation, development and growth. With immigration to the U.S. from student visas and beyond severely impacted the effect of this slide in our nation’s stature is that much more at risk.

 Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, this hasn’t really been a big discussion point in the current school yard bickering of the election season.  You know what, I take that back….the term “school yard” is actually an insult to youngsters who are actually much more sensible than the “adults” and their advisors currently in the thick of things leading up to the election.  Getting very jaded, I know, but I’m not in the minority in feeling that way.

 Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  So what does a sensible person do when education standards are slipping and completely insufficient to attain excellence?  You could (a) set higher standards to improve or (b) lower standards so that you can achieve higher graduation percentages and therefore better measurement statistics……….uumm I did say “what would a SENSIBLE person do……

 Surprisingly option (b) seems to be the trend of preference.  California just reversed its standards to state that students can graduate high school with a “D” average…..are you kidding me? They apparently did this because they were afraid that too many kids would fail high school or drop out…….you know what, here’s the absolute and irrefutable fact:

YOU HAVE YO HAVE A REASON TO IMPROVE.  Failure is a great reason to set in motions actions to improve.  If you manipulate the system to make things look rosy we will never fix the problem.  Now that is common sense……………

The “War on Women”…..or is it just “War ON!”…….

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Yes, the Obama/Romney war is officially on and it’s going to be entertaining if nothing else.  And if they want the conversation to be about women…..I’m all for that.  Better to be a topic of conversation than hidden behind a curtain.

 But let’s get real here.  First of all, “freedom of speech” rules supreme…..or at least we think it still does.  For the President and his advisers  to get involved and push for the person who made the comment about Ann Romney to apologize is both offensive and threatening and a misuse of power (Hilary Rosen is a democratic consultant), for the RNC to do the same is plain stupid.  Even stupider? Why is the President apologizing to Ann Romney?  Did he personally say something offensive?  No, so why must he feel like he has to “apologize”?  Can’t we let a debate happen about anything these days???  Everything doesn’t have to be polite and warm and fuzzy……ooh and wait are the President and Romney going to apologize to each other as nasty insults and character assassinations are thrown by each of them over the next many months until Election Day…..wow, that’s going to be awesome!!!

 Back to the matter at hand:  The gist of the comment had nothing to do with stay at home mothers.  Raising children is not a job it is a gift and a privilege……it takes time and is a labor of love like no other.  The comment really stemmed from Romney idiotically using his wife as a shield with comments like…”I hear from Ann that women are concerned about the economy”, and so on and so on.   Why should he be “hearing from Ann”…..can’t he speak to women himself?  Ann Romney hasn’t “worked a day in her life” in terms of actually being out in the workplace.  She stayed home with her children because their family situation allowed her to……….what a gift and blessing that is.  That doesn’t mean she isn’t smart….of course she is.  I know so many women who are fortunate enough to “afford” to stay home or the family makes choices to decide for mom (or dad in more and more cases) to stay home.  There are others who work and raise children with paid help and there are yet others who HAVE to work to put the bare necessities on the table and a multitude of other scenarios in between.  That is the broader conversation that NEEDS to be had as well as the overarching discussion of the advancement of both women and diverse groups and fair pay and opportunities.

 So stop tweeting, talking, whining, apologizing and let’s get on with it……and Mr. Romney, get out there and actually have some conversations with women….I know that it is easier to talk to people who look like you across the table but get over it, please.  We don’t bite….promise.

Newscasters and the stories they tell…….

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Mike Wallace passed away over the weekend.  Most of us know him because of 60 Minutes but he was a legend.   There were several in that era and they are all gone at this point.  The Media business is such a celebrity business these days…..but somehow 60 Minutes endures, and that is a testament to Mike Wallace and team but also to the legacy that the current 60 Minutes team continues to live by and also to CBS.  In a time slot on Sunday early evening where there are many competing priorities for the population at large, the fact that people are drawn to the stories told, the issues raised and the almost complete unbiased reporting, lack of fawning over celebrities and the hard-nosed but fair and attention capturing reporting is stunning in this age of social media sound bites and over stimulation.   What draws me is the story telling and the fact that I always learn something new or have a deeper understanding of something that previously was a surface scratch.

I hope, therefore, that THE legacy of Mike Wallace will be a re-focus of our media household names to report with integrity, courage and impartiality.

The Race question…..how far we have come….or not….

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There is a saying…”out of the mouths of babes” (which for this purpose includes teenagers and young adults).  The Treyvon Martin tragedy has sparked passions and polarizations in our country.  It was almost like people were waiting for an excuse to ignite the flame. However,  that is not the topic of this posting though, other than to say that all the grand standing, self-serving opportunists should remember that someone’s child was killed that night.

 For all the progress we think we have made in race relations we have such a long way to go.  But you know what?  Adults should let the kids take over this one and shut up and stand back.   In every generation, I guarantee that if young people were asked the question about race the answer would be and continues to be the majority of youngsters would rather see all as equal, race doesn’t matter, they don’t see a problem with inter-racial relationships and so on.  Then somewhere along the line these young people become adults and a good majority either change that view or outwardly appear to change that view to be accepted in whatever social environment they have to function, succeed and be accepted in.

 What happens along the way…….?  What makes people who as youngsters practiced the golden rule become parents who suddenly have issues when their children want to marry someone of a different race (or rather color).  This not just a white-black issue……it is across the board and some of the most narrow minded are quite frankly Southeast Asians.  Am I generalizing…..yes, a bit.  But I am doing so to make a point.   So, let us listen to the younger generation on this one……and “grownups”…..just shut up, just this once.