Daniel (dfowlkes) Wed 31 Jan 07 11:33
<scribbled by dfowlkes Tue 3 Jul 12 10:14>
"The Best for Your Health!" (rik) Wed 31 Jan 07 12:30
Dude, that's a FEATURE.
Michael Zentner (mz) Wed 31 Jan 07 13:08
That's a good time to get that our of your system though. I found out in college.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 31 Jan 07 16:30
David, your book is aimed at a young male audience. But what about young women? Do you think a 22-year-old female is any more ready for marriage, for parenthood than her male counterpart?
David Hafter (davidhafter) Wed 31 Jan 07 17:42
GB *is* aimed at a young male audience but I hope females will read it as well. As I discuss relationships with the guys, it is young women who make up the second half of that pair (except as with gay guys, as discussed above)and the woman's role is given significant ink. There is plenty in GB for a girl/young woman to ponder, as well as insights into the guys in her life. As to the question at hand, it depends on the woman and what she wants to do with her life as to whether or not she may be ready at 22 to get married and have children. In the chapter, Worthwhile Women, I describe the qualities of a WW and teach guys to look for these (developing) qualities in the girls/women they want to date. If a 22 year old female has or is developing those qualities and has the ability to attract a "man with balls", i.e. a guy with some maturity, integrity and courage, then that is a union I might happily bless. I know much more could be said to answer your question, Cynthia, and I don't mean to dodge it, but I did put an invitation in the book for a woman writer to take on the task of writing the companion book to GB for women, and did so for a reason. For while I feel perfectly competant to help young women with many of their emotional and mental health issues when in my role as therpist, I also recognize that my gender brings limitations; I appreciate the benefits a woman can get from addressing certain issues with a female clinician and under those circumstances, I do not hesitate to refer to female therapists. As a writer, however, I have chosen to focus on the male side of the readiness question. A man should not write the companion book to GB for women. In traditional societies with established rites of passage, women usher girls into womenhood and men usher boys into manhood. GB is my attempt to provide, in book form, some of the mentoring a guy needs to take good care of himself, learn to make good decisions, and learn quickly from his bad ones. There are women writers putting out advice books for girls (not to mention flurries of monthly articles in women's magazines) but I couldn't find any such books for guys. I would really like to see a book take on these growing up issues from the female perspective.
Cogito, Ergo Spero (robertflink) Wed 31 Jan 07 18:23
David, you mentioned cross-cultural acceptance earlier. Do you have any other feedback in this regard including subcultures here in North America. Are there cultures around the world that tend to address a lot of these issues sort of as a matter of course? If so, are they tribal? Perhaps the issues are endemic to more cosmopolitan life (not there aren't benefits)
David Hafter (davidhafter) Wed 31 Jan 07 23:24
The cross-cultural acceptance of my book to which I made reference earlier is from a slim sample, indeed: my illustrator, who is Philipino, and a few African American readers. Hardly a definitive sample. I'm not prepared to give you the academic answer your question deserves, though if there are any anthropologists (or even anthro majors) in the crowd, please chime in. I can say with confidence that the challenge exists of making the successful transition from child to functioning adult for a given culture, for both sexes. Some cultures attend to this challenge better than others and our modern American culture, in my eyes, is not one of the more successful ones. From the start, we do not support parents in raising healthy kids. Despite reliable and replicable research in infant brain development that demonstrates the importance of kids having adequate time with their primary care-giver (usually the mother), American mothers often return to work after six weeks of unpaid leave. Meanwhile, mothers in some European countries have up to a year off and are paid at up to 80%. This is a huge public investment in child development and successful families. During this year, an infant's right brain is laying the groundwork for future affect regulation -- essentially the child's ability to connect with others and take care of him/herself emotionally. I'm not knocking American mothers; not returning to work or taking an unpaid year off is not a viable option for many families. Meanwhile, child care options are expensive and of varying degrees of quality because those jobs don't pay enough to attract educated, career minded-people. We don't respect the people charged with taking care of our kids for us enough to educate them to do the job well and pay them a decent wage. Sports, arts and music programs in schools are falling by the way-side, as well. These are areas where kids of differing temperaments and styles often received excellent mentoring but we choose, as a society, to spend our money elsewhere. (pant, pant...) Okay, I'm soap-boxing here, so I'll try and wind down. Just give me a sec... For those of you who have read the book, I'm repeating myself a bit here so I'll be brief: Our culture values wealth, youth and beauty over all else. They are our modern Holy Trinity. In chasing these tempting but superficial values, we have lost sight of the sorts of values taught to young ones who making the transition to adulthood during rites of passage: courage, honesty, loyalty, integrity -- doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. Kids watch what is going on around them, from lying politicians to hypocracy in their own backyards, and toss those values, when they are trotted out to them, over their shoulders. I have talked extensively to young people today, and I include people in their late twenties and early thirties, who are so jaded and cynical that they think those values I just spouted are, well, quaint, at best. They sound like how the mafia used to talk about "civilians" whom they saw as chumps for working for a living. "Everyone else cheats; why shouldn't I?" We need to get a grip as a culture and take these values seriously or they really will be lost to all but a few. That is why I wrote this book in a "grab 'em by the lapels and shake 'em" style.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Thu 1 Feb 07 07:10
>subculture I live in a heavily LDS area and a lot of the kids get married before they're 20. And certainly 'because it's the only way I could screw' is part of it, part of it is that the families are large and help each other out. I see little boys taking care of their littler brothers all the time. They grow up learning to nurture and to take care of children.
belated response (satyr) Thu 1 Feb 07 10:09
David Hafter (davidhafter) Thu 1 Feb 07 19:15
The culture you describe, Sharon, has the benefit of having more or less extricated itself from the larger American culture and its shallow values mentioned earlier.
David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Fri 2 Feb 07 08:05
I read an essay several years ago that argued (in a nutshell) that the rise of the discipline of mental health (therapy, etc.) was a direct result of the decline of the power of the Church during the Enlightenment -- that the Church had provided all of the answers people needed, and without that external influence they had to stumble around and find them on their own. It certainly seems like in strong religious communities there's more of that sense of place and people tend to have clearer expectations about their future. Not that I want to live in 15th century Europe, myself, or a modern Orthodox Jewish community, for that matter. My open-ended, figure-it-out-yourself life is what I know. That said... You have specific advice on a wide range of subjects, but do you think there are any general principles for how to grow balls without coming away scarred? Or is the scarring what the life lessons actually are?
David Hafter (davidhafter) Fri 2 Feb 07 16:41
I think I am stumbling on the word "scarred"... but not because it is a wrong way to characterize the process of growing balls (maturing, gaining wisdom, finding courage and integrity...) I won't throw out euphamisims (sp?) but will say that the process of growing up pretty much guarantees bumps and bruises. The more parents try to protect their kids from any "bad" experiences/pain etc, the more likely the kids are going to be unprepared for what life inevitably throws at them once the parents are not around. This is the source of the conversation going around about how modern parents often try so hard to soften life's blows in favor of not harming their kid's self-esteem that the kids expect life to be easy and things to be handed to them without significant effort. I have seen young adults dazed and confused that people (bosses, co-workers etc) aren't cheering their every move. This sort of thing is not helpful to a kid.
Cogito, Ergo Spero (robertflink) Fri 2 Feb 07 21:03
>This is the source of the conversation going around about how modern parents often try so hard to soften life's blows in favor of not harming their kid's self-esteem that the kids expect life to be easy and things to be handed to them without significant effort.< This may follow from material prosperity. The government makes attempts to soften lifes blows as well including subsidies big and small. It is ironic that efforts to stabilize end up de-stabilizing. Maintaining effort when little is needed seems to be an individual thing. I can't see being consistent over time as a social phenomenon. If it were, we probably would have a hereditary aristocracy today. BTW, it is remarkable that quite a number of well-off people continue to work very hard even though their children may not.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Sat 3 Feb 07 18:04
> the process of growing up pretty > much guarantees bumps and bruises. The more parents try to protect > their kids from any "bad" experiences/pain etc, the more likely the > kids are going to be unprepared for what life inevitably throws at them Interesting observation, David. It does seem like a lot of modern parents are doing their kids a disservice through overprotectiveness and excessive pampering. When I was halfway through second grade, the public school I attended contacted my parents about moving me up to third grade. My parents asked me if I wanted to skip to third. I thought about it and decided yes, I did. A month or so after shifting to the third grade classroom, I learned that my former classmates in second grade were going on a field trip to a dairy. I thought that was about the coolest thing ever, and I approached my mom. I said I wanted to be with the second graders on the field trip and I wailed and wept and whined that it wasn't FAIR, I wanted to go! She could have gone down to the school and pleaded with them to let me go on the field trip. She could have wheedled and pushed and insisted until the school caved in. But she didn't. Instead, she sympathized with me about wanting to go on the field trip, then reminded me that I'd chosen to move up to third grade. She explained that when we make choices we may encounter drawbacks we hadn't anticipated, but that's the way it is sometimes. I wasn't very happy at the time, but I accepted that I couldn't have it both ways. Now, when I look back on it, I realize my mother taught me a valuable lesson about life. David, can you think of any lessons your parents taught you that helped you "grow balls" as you reach adulthood?
David Hafter (davidhafter) Sun 4 Feb 07 11:48
What comes to mind is the focus on work ethic my parents both emphasized. They were also big on keeping commitments. Both of those qualities are valued by my wife, Pam, and myself and we are trying our best to transfer those values to Noah. Pam likes to joke that I have done more jobs than anyone she has ever known. Well, my sister and I started earning our own money when we were kids, doing jobs for neighbors, starting little businesses etc. I caddied at a local country club at 13 which turned out to be quite the learning experience in terms of exposure to issues of race, culture and how rich guys cheat their friends and business partners. I started regular part-time, after school jobs as soon as I was old enough to be hired and did a variety of jobs as a teenager, from restaurant and fast food work to being on a two man TV repair truck crew. I learned a lot about people as a kid that paved the way for this book. It was instructive to see the grown men doing the same work for a living that I was doing as a teenager. How did these guys get there in their lives, I wondered? It interested me. I became sensitized to social issues (I spent my teen years in Houston). As I got to know these guys, some of them turned out to be highly ethical and full of integrity while others were quite the opposite. It was the exposure to their attitudes and behaviors that gave me the most valuable experience.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 4 Feb 07 12:18
I assume you've read Studs Terkel's Working.
David Hafter (davidhafter) Mon 5 Feb 07 09:47
Yes, I did -- in college.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Mon 5 Feb 07 11:17
Your parents' ethic -- the work ethic and the "keep your commitments" ethic -- is similar to what my parents emphasized, David. These two things seem tied together, too. When a person accepts a job, I was taught that the person is making commitment to give the job his best effort. I've heard people in Human Resources say that youthful job applicants have an entirely different approach than they did even 15 years ago. I'm told that these days, the first questions from young applicants are about what benefits the company offers, how many paid vacation days, how many paid holidays, how much paid sick leave. These are the kinds of questions I used to wonder about but was afraid to ask when I was applying for a job. So in some ways it's heartening that young people are looking out for their own interests. OTOH, I wonder if the emphasis on "what's in it for me?" is another aspect of the lack of responsible values that you're talking about in reference to under-25 guys?
David Hafter (davidhafter) Mon 5 Feb 07 15:32
I think it is. I agree that shopping for good benefits makes sense, but in the staff hiring process(es) that I have been involved in over the years, I have often been surprised by the sense of entitlement I get from young people. Most parents want to do better for their kids than their own parents did for them -- that's natural and I fall into that category, as well. We want our kids to have beeter opportunities in a wide variety of life domains and take pride out of being able to provide them. Meanwhile, even when you work hard not to "spoil" your kids, it can be hard to teach them value of a buck. My parents were born during the depression and carry the lessons (and emotional scars) of their parents who struggled to keep food on the table in those years. I'm glad to have avoided those pressures and happy that Pam and I could give Noah a secure and safe growing up environment. I don't regret not feeling the need to have him go door to door offering to wash windows for money like I did at 11 or 12. We sent Noah to activities instead. That's great and all -- but we still have to get on him to do his chores and while he is a loving and compassionate kid, he knows not need or struggle. How will that serve him in the future? This has become enough of a question in our times that I hear the UC addmissions system now *expects* kids from middle class/privilaged backgrounds to have done some community service work.Applicants end up going down to Mexico on house-building trips with their churches, for example, volunteering in community action programs and the like to fulfill a college addmissions requirement. I can only hope that the experience is meaningful for the yhoung person beyond jumping through the hoop...
David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Mon 5 Feb 07 22:25
It does seem like it'd *have* to have an impact, if only by seeing people in conditions different from the ones they grew up with. I can definitely speak to the difference in what younger job applicants are looking for; a couple of years ago I was flying home and sat next to a guy just out of college who was coming to apply at the company I work for. His main question seemed to be "what's the job I can do there that's the least amount of work?" Anecdotal, but creepy. I hear a lot about the kids who are tweens and young teens right now, though, that they seem to be much more socially conscious and a bit of a change from the current crop of college graduates. Do you see kids like that in your practice?
David Hafter (davidhafter) Tue 6 Feb 07 10:21
I currently lead a team of people who provide mental health services for Medi-Cal eligible kids and families. Many of these kids have extensive trauma histories. Social issues and their consciousness of same tend to be lower on their priority lists. The age group you list, however, matches that of my son and his friends and yes, some of them are socially conscious (Darfur, the war...) Well, folks, it looks like we are down to our last day of this formal time period for this interview. I will continue to check in regularly over the next few weeks and address any comments or questions regarding the book. I want to thank David Gans for getting me in touch with David Adam Edelstein and getting me involved in this process. It is my most sincere hope that this book starts many fruitful conversations on topics which are too often not directly addressed. My older readers (anyone over 25) have said, almost without fail and usually wistfully, "I wish someone had showed this to me when I was younger. I might have made some different choices." When people hear that I have written a book and ask me what it is about, I invariably get the following response, even with them getting only a thumbnail sketch of GB's content:"Hoo boy! I know somebody who really *needs* that book!" Then they go on to tell me a story about their little brother, an in-law or a cousin who has lost himself in a negative or prematurely committed relationship. This is a book that can "just show up" on the bedroom desk of a teenager or even on the family coffee table. It can show up in a college kid's mail with a supoprtive note from someone who loves him. I know the title and some of the salacious sounding chapter titles can be a little off-putting to some people but those are just the things that get a young man to have a look at a self-help book --not their everyday read, you know. Anyway, I don't mean to just come across as a salesman for the book (not that I would mind selling some more copies) but I hope this interview accomplishes spreading the GB word beyond those of us who enjoy having these sorts of conversations with one another. Again, it has been a pleasure and a privilage to spend these two weeks together. I look forward to your questions and comments and hope this has been useful and interesting for you. If you want to extend your comments on the book to another forum, please consider joining my website and making comments after the chapter snippets for each chapter. I set them up to be blog-able -- www.growingballs.com. David Hafter
Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Tue 6 Feb 07 13:37
>So in some ways it's heartening that young people are looking out for their own interests. OTOH, I wonder if the emphasis on "what's in it for me?" is another aspect of the lack of responsible values that you're talking about in reference to under-25 guys?< Part of the difference may be a shift from an opportunity culture to a security culture. To a considerable degree both cultures are products of conditions that ebb and flow without much deliberate human planning. Both cultures also have pluses and minuses. The USA tradition and mythos is strongly opportunity oriented, probably an anomily in human history. As we move toward a security culture, the mixture is uncomfortable if not downright miserable. Europe is more security oriented but has had many years of experimentation and may be closer to "getting it right". Of course, there are others currents at work in all cultures, some of which are amenable to human modification
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 7 Feb 07 09:26
Thanks so much for joining us for the past two weeks, David. It's been a thought-provoking conversation and I wish you (and your target audience!) all the best in getting the message out there. Though our virtual spotlight has turned to another conversation, this one doesn't have to stop. This topic will remain open for further comments indefinitely, so I'm glad to hear you'll stick around a bit longer!
David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Wed 7 Feb 07 14:21
Thanks, David! I've already passed my copy of the book on to parents with a 14 year old son. Let's hope some of it sticks!
David Hafter (davidhafter) Wed 7 Feb 07 22:15
Thanks, y'all. Be seeing you...
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