Being Spoiled Is Not Necessarily A Bad Thing

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New School Kids: Jordan and Jackson

Twelve years ago I witnessed four students gang up on a professor. The professor was an Asian female of slight build and the students were not outsized, but were so direct in their questioning, that the professor slowly backed up and literally ended up in a corner. It was at that point that I came to her rescue by interrupting the conversation with a casual question, which defused the situation and allowed the professor to escape.

At the time, I did not recognize that I was observing a shift in what I call the “respect paradigm”. Today’s youth are exponentially smarter and quicker than adults were 30 years ago, and they know it. They know it the first time they show us how to do something on an electronic device. More importantly, they inately understand that their “smartness” extends beyond electronics.

They are not easily cowed. They do not accept the “because I told you so.” They do not “respect their elders”. In fact, to the old school generation (OSG), their beliefs and actions border on disrespect. But we need to ask ourselves if this is bad. I’ve seen kids who were so cowed by adults until they lacked self confidence or self esteem, which not only effects their future, but the future of our country.

Let me clarify that I am primarily speaking about kids who have grown up in middle America and in mixed race environments. Those kids raised by “soccer moms” and “helicopter parents.”Those who are expected to excel. The “I am a winner” attitude builds expectations and confidence in our children.

When they enter college, we are faced with students who have high expectations and will not back down. When they get a grade of “B”, they will absolutely question it. Their response usually starts with “I’ve never gotten a B before” or “I always get A’s” or “this B will affect my GPA.”

New School Kids: Willow and Jaden Smith

We have created these kids and now have to deal with the outcome. They “talk back.” They don’t back down. They know they are smarter than the adults and therefore, have different perspectives, expectations, and responses.

Phelps, Gabby Douglas, Willow and Jaden Smith, and many of the kids in the mid to top tier universities have what Patti Labelle calls a “New Attitude”. This new crop of kids are our Olympians. They’re the best because they know they’re the best… and isn’t that what we want?

Stay tuned.

Life Is A Book: Make It Meaningful

After reviewing a conversation with a 20-something, I realized what I should have said. She has a 6-month internship and is enjoying life after college doing all the things you would expect… happy hours, drinking, followed by happy hours followed by nightclubs and more drinking… repeat.

I should have asked her how she wants her life-book to read at the end of 6 months. Does she want it to say she spent countless hours at happy hours and nightclubs or does she want it to say she explored all possibilities until she was exhausted. That she biked, jogged, took a walk through the history of our country by visiting all the museums, swung through the trees on ropes, volunteered, visited all the jazz/orchestral/rap concerts in town. That she drank fully from the cornucopia of things that Washington DC has to offer.

For that is the way we should consider our lives…. that we are writing our story. Every day we write another page. Imagine that you are reading your story from yesterday or last week. Would it be interesting? Would it be filled with life or ordinariness (if that is a word)? Was it the same old, same old? But, more importantly, is that how you want your book to read?

Then after “reading” your story from last week, you get to decide how you want today’s chapter to read. Because, remember…. this is your life and you get to write it.

Stay tuned.

Obamacare: From Top Doc to Bottom

Two years ago, I found a dermatologist who did all the right things (i.e., took time with me, explained what was going on, had her staff follow-up, etc). She was on staff at Georgetown University and she was listed as a top doctor by Washingtonian Magazine. A month ago, I called for another appointment and was told she had left her private practice to join with other doctors in a new multi-doctor practice. As a student of business, I understood the economics of that, and was on my way to learning about the ramifications of that decision.

Upon arriving for my visit at her new office/practice, the first thing I noticed was the antiseptic appearance of the waiting room, but again I understand the economics, and the important thing is the doctor’s care and caring.

As I waited, I saw a notice on the TV screen that if I waited more than 15 minutes, then I should notify the attendant. Not wanting to be a nudge, I waited for 30 minutes before notifying the front desk attendant. After doing some checking, she let me know that the doctor was running late… DUH!!

FROM MIFFED TO DISTURBED….. Okay, I understand that things happen to cause a doctor to run behind, but after waiting over an hour before being taken into the exam room, I was a little miffed. Then as Paul Harvey would say came “the rest of the story”. Apparently, the records from her private practice did not transfer to the new practice, therefore, I was expected to begin again and provide my entire medical history including the procedures that she had previously performed on me. Now I’ve moved from miffed to disturbed.

FROM DISTURBED TO UPSET…. After voicing my displeasure to the nurse, I provided my medical history. Then came an intern to ask all the same questions that the nurse had just asked and recorded on the chart that she was looking at!  This was followed by her request to examine me. I asked if the doctor was going to do the same exam, and she said yes. At this point, my emotional elevator moved up from disturbed to upset.

STALLING TACTICS…. It was clear that the nurse and intern were record keeping, learning, and stalling. It was clear that no one cared about me or appreciated that my time is valuable too. Okay, my billing rate may not be as high, but I figured that calculating the driving time, parking fee, and my average hourly consulting rate, this visit was costing me $300.

EXIT STAGE LEFT… It was clear that somewhere along the line, the economics of her medical practice became more important than patient care. I sincerely hope this is not a bellwether of Obamacare.

It was at this point, an hour and a half after my arrival, that I decided it was time to find another doctor, and I left.

Life goes on.

In Transition

Rainy days are made for reading, so while my hyper husband is busy piddling in the barn, I decided to settle down with my Kindle, but wait.. someone might call or I might want to text so I need my Android. Plus, if I get the urge to write (as I am now) then I need my laptop. In another hour, I’ll need to get up and get power cords for each…Ugh!! So here I sit surrounded by  all my eDevices. Wish Jobs was still around, because I’m sure he’d be working on a solution to this.

As soon as someone can figure out how to provide one multipurpose device but charge for three, a solution will hit the market.

Life goes on…

Top Doc: My Vote For Best Medical Professional

He greeted me as if I were a friend. He stood leaning against the counter and asked me how I was doing. No chart .. just eye contact. Wow… what a pleasant experience. Previous visits to various doctors usually involved a doctor with his/her eyes down and focused on what had been written in the chart 5 minutes ago by the nurse. Then the next  five minutes involved reviewing the information that the nurse just took…AGH!!!

This visit felt more like talking with a person who cared. He listened. Made brief comments. Asked clarifying questions. Nodded as I spoke, and waited for me to finish. After the examination, he made detailed comments and prescribed.

Now I know why (Dr. Rothman) was listed by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the top GYN’s in the Washington DC area. If not for him, my illness may not have been diagnosed, treated, and cured. Wish I had found him sooner.

Stay tuned.

Adventure of a Lifetime

We were on our way back home from a bike ride, when my 10-year-old Grandson had taken the lead and went past our turn. We could have turned around and gone the way we knew or we could try a different path. We decided on the different path… and our adventure began.

First, I thought I knew how to cut through and get back on the bike path, but soon realized we were nowhere near the path and were in fact getting farther and farther away. We rode, talked, rested, and rode some more. On one hill, he told me he was tired and embarrassed to admit it. Then I reminded him that he never had to be embarrassed with G’Ma.

At one point we considered retracing our steps to the bike path, but it had gotten too dark (thank goodness G’Dad had put lights on our bikes). Unbeknownst to G’son, I had briefly considered calling G’Dad to come and get us, but even though it was late, dark, and we were tired, we were also enjoying the time together and the adventure of it all.

Our path took us along a quiet industrial, tree-lined street with wide sidewalks,  and a few UPS workers ending their day. We peddled up hills and coasted down all the while chatting away about mostly nothing, but how perfect the weather was.. and basking in our time together.  We don’t usually get much one-on-one time, so like our morning wake-up ritual, this was another  bonding opportunity.

We came into an area with small shops and a ubiquitous McDonalds, but chose a Dunkin Donuts for a rest, and doughnuts. The lady was about to close, but was kind and let us stay while she cleaned up.  Jordan and I talked, drank our sodas and prepared to get back out on our bikes. When we came out of the shop, we were faced with a steep hill and my tough little guy said “it’s okay Granma, we’ll just ride until we get tired and then we’ll walk.”

At one point along the way, we ran out of sidewalk and had to ride about 50 feet in the street across a bridge.  He said he was scared and I realized that as he became a “man”,  he wouldn’t be able to say that. He would have to hide his fears and tears so he could be a “man.” I assured  him I would make sure he was safe, and after we crossed, we laughed and laughed as we rode/coasted down another hill.

The last leg of our trip was across a pedestrian bridge over a highway and he said that was “really cool.”

When we arrived at home, we were both exhausted  and exhilarated. We had an adventure of a lifetime, that we will always remember.

Sometimes taking a wrong turn is the right thing to do.

Things Are Scary When You’re Small

Just ended a glorious week with two of our 10-year old grandkids…one boy and one girl. We figured we’d put them in a computer camp so we’d only have to entertain them in the evenings, and what a great idea that was!

I had been forewarned that the grandson wakes slowly, so I had the opportunity to gently wake him by calling his name, gently stroking his arms and legs, and kissing his cheeks. Then we’d play this game that he was still sleep until I gently tickled his stomach and watched him smile. All things I never did with my own kids, because I was too busy. What a shame.

The week with them was a reminder of how special, fragile (emotionally and physically), energetic, open, and impressionable kids are. It also reminded me of things from my childhood. So when G’son said the blinking alarm light in the hallway was scary, I taped it over with a piece of paper. When they asked to leave the light on in the bathroom because they didn’t like it dark when sleeping, I did. I could have told them they need to grow up and stop being scared, or I could acknowledge that things are scary when we are small.

An exhausting but incredible and unforgettable week!