On the power of just being there, when a child is in distress… and childrearing is not just for parents.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/04/new-research-on-disciplining-children-will-make-you-better-parent-and-spouse/

I’m really fed up with all these parenting experts. Everybody yammering away, demanding that you fix your kids. Other people who aren’t parents can also help!

It is said that “it takes a village to raise a child”, and this has become an enervated cliché. Judith Rich Harris, in her book The Nurture Assumption, contends that children are raised by their peers, not their parents. You only have to look at how little time kids spend with mum and dad these days to realise that school and friends must have a significant influence as well.

Notice this word ‘parenting’. It’s a thing parents do, therefore! If we call it parenting we are embedding the idea that parents are the only people who can do it, or should do it. You are a parent, it’s your job! You are not a parent, it’s not your business! This is nonsensical and counterfactual. It ignores the potential involvement of all the other significant adults in the child’s life.

People like older brothers and sisters, and grandparents, and teachers and family friends, and as we shall see in a moment, playworkers.

Can we stop calling it parenting? I have developed a conceptual aversion to nouns being turned into verbs. Let’s call it childrearing. Not a thing reserved for biological parents. Which is just as well, because if yours are absent you can’t be parented, can you?

Childrearing. Who can do it, who does do it?

Jane Jacobs, in The Death And Life Of Great American Cities, describes how all the others that children meet as they make their way on the streets make a contribution to the socialisation of the child. Imagine a spoilt brat, who is given everything they need by doting parents. Now imagine this brat throwing a wobbly in the corner shop. A learning experience for them, yes? Tantrums don’t work on strangers. Through these everyday interactions with people who aren’t parents, children learn to get on with others. It’s socialisation, something that just happens, not something that parents can command and control like managerial managers at work.

But those adults can’t be expected to be supportive when a child is having a meltdown in their shop. Though they may care about the child, because humans do, their main focus is not the child it’s their customers and their shop.

Everybody has an agenda, except one, because they aren’t trying to educate or control or whatever: playworkers.

It’s unfortunately true that some playworkers have been channeled into becoming childcare workers, and thus an agenda had crept in. I’m not taking about them.

I’m talking about those playworkers who are still free to facilitiate {deleted: ‘allow’ replaced with ‘facilitate’} children to play freely. A vanishing breed.

The article I’m pointing you to is pretty witless. It’s based on the assumption that everything is down to the hovering parent to fix. It’s like every neurotic parent has Fix You by those mawkish poshboys Coldplay on repeat all day. Over-parenting is part of the problem, it’s not the solution. But buried in this tiger-mom piffle is an important insight, drawn from some fascinating brain scan research:

Because neurons wire and rewire themselves very rapidly when we are young, Siegle’s results, supported by numerous follow-up studies, suggest that an adult, by establishing a connection with a child at a moment of stress or conflict, can actually stimulate development in the parts of the child’s brain that control emotional regulation.

Translate that into the playwork context and you have a fundamentally under-appreciated contribution that playworkers can make in the lives of the children they work with.

Unlike parents and other authority figures, playworkers are expert in what Gordon Sturrock has called ‘witnessing’, the simple act of being there, being on hand, non-judgementally.

And this research validates the importance of this playwork role.

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NB:

I’m not that happy with this piece. I’m not convinced that I’ve got my point across. I’d appreciate any comments from readers and friends that will help me improve it.

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some sage advice on choosing your ISP and an astute commentary on business stategy

https://community.plus.net/t5/Plusnet-Feedback/Why-I-have-left-Plusnet/m-p/1389353

Really worth reading the whole thing, here’s why:

“When I joined Plusnet they /snip\ enjoyed steady growth through word of mouth and the referrals system.  When they were bought by BT the whole approach changed.

It is now apparent that the over-riding aim of Plusnet’s management is to gain customers which is why /snip\ The /snip\ result has been a lot of users who bitterly regret coming to Plusnet have suffered the consequences of the poor support and leave again at the first opportunity. /snip\ The changed approach has also had other consequences:

  • It has changed the type of users /snip\ who want the cheapest deal and still expect first class support; they will show no loyalty at all and will leave again as soon as they are out of contract and a better offer is available./snip\
  • Developers are continually engaged preparing for new campaigns and small tweaks that could make improvements for existing users never rise to the top of the development stack.

What Plusnet don’t seem to realise is that just gaining new users isn’t the only way to increase the total user base – keeping your existing users happy is just as important. Plusnet’s churn rate is probably as high if not higher than any other ISP’s.

/snip\ Instead we’ve seen support so overwhelmed /snip\ They tried to blame it on “their suppliers” but it was strange that I saw no other ISP indicated they were having such problems. That was the final straw!

 

Go read it. And switch!

 

I heart Taylor Swift

This ought to be a piece in Saturday’s Grauniad magazine, written by Howard Jacobson, who always comes across as slightly creepy, like the Latin master at a girls school. He’s like the evil twin of Michael Rosen, who would be the English master, loved by all the girls, who would suspect he is gay, which he isn’t, but they like to think so, so that they can hug him and squeal when they get their A level results, without having to worry about the whole creepy uncle thing.

All of which is, fairly obviously, me talking about me.

I am so not allowed to like Taylor Swift.

In order to like her, you have to be a thirteen-year old girl (I know that’s wrong, more like eight-year old), or the mother of a thirteen-year old girl (hopefully not the creepy kind that wang on about being mistaken for sisters, in a botox-sad way), or flamboyantly, Julian Clary on steroidsedly, GAY. Smithers off of the Simpsons has a Taylor Swift shrine, obvs.

Fathers of eight-year old princesses HAVE to like Taylor Swift, so that doesn’t count. If they actually DO like Taylor, they have to redouble their efforts to project that ‘I’m only doing this because that’s how much I love my daughter, how dare you think otherwise, you bastard’ thing.

Loved that that Ariane Grande concert (no, me neither, not until, you know) had lots of dads hanging around waiting for their teenage daughters who were simply screaming the whole evening, I imagine. I can picture the dads, in their casual wear, Clarkson jeans and new but unfashionable trainers, lots of Man U shirts, ugh, in some sort of roped-off area, rolling their eyes at each other, checking their phones. (Yes, there was a bomb, I’m not talking about that.)

There’s a thread here. (Please tell me who I’ve missed out.)

Madonna soon became annoying.

Kylie was typecast as the absinthe fairy in Moulin Rouge. (BTW, has Baz Luhrman done Midsummer Night’s Dream? If not, why the fuck not?)

Gaga grew up and started singing properly. She is a proper singer now, sang with Tony Bennett: that’s proper.

Katy Perry, I’m sorry, Katy who?

And now…

I heart TS.

(Not for the music: it’s pleasant enough pop fluff, quite inventive in it’s way. More the videos. I’m realising that the pop song isn’t the artform anymore: it’s the video. I never watch bloody videos unless somebody tells me to, somebody being some pundit, not a real person or even a friend on Facepuke. I hate being made to watch video pieces online, ‘vlogs’ FFS, that could just as easily be articles, I won’t sit through them. I can read twenty times faster than the pace of some dick orating his or her exquisitely mannered vid (No offence Eddie Nuttall, I know you understand).

Clever, sophisticated, expensive, witty videos, like seeing the brain of a snarky thirteen year old girl materialising briefly on your telly.

 

Here’s a piece about her latest vid, (yes I did find it coz there was a link on the page of that thing about the mum and her weasel). Now I’m off to actually watch the vid, whilst listening to Ahmad Jamal charmingly eviscerate Secret Love, my dad’s favourite song when sung by the toothsome Kathy Kirby, in 1962. You should check him out, he’s what Taylor Swift would sound like if she were a 1950s jazz pianist.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/08/28/taylor-swift-knows-youve-been-making-fun-of-her-heres-how-her-new-video-responds/?tid=pm_lifestyle_pop&utm_term=.b28f7e5672b6

 

 

“Your daughter is willful and determined. I wish all children — especially girls — were allowed to roam free. May she never change.”

From the Washington Post, via Facebook
~

Dear strangers, please stop telling me my active daughter might get hurt

 November 1, 2016
supergirl
Here’s the link, read that first, appreciate its goodness, then come back here for my half-baked.
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/11/01/dear-strangers-please-stop-telling-me-my-daughter-is-in-danger/?utm_term=.a75a1f3a2730
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These half-baked musings are lifted directly from Facebook, I’m making no attempt to disguise that. I’m also assuming that my lovely friends won’t mind…
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Comments
Arthur Battram
Arthur Battram How did you find this, Penny Wilson? One of your colonial chums, I bet.
That mum is you. Mother Of The UberWeasel.
The author is a doppelganger personality of you.
Now we need to know if the supergirl (probably a model photographed for the article, shame) becomes WHATSHEISDESTINEDTOBE. So we’ll just have to wait.
What’s interesting about this is Penny Wilson. You are a mum. And your motherness is always present in your playwork. I can’t think of another playworker who has their motherness so clearly woven into their playwork. Contention: most women playworkers are doing older sister, or older brother, even the ones that are mums?

 · Reply · 12 mins · Edited

Manage

Arthur Battram
Arthur Battram Actually, Eddie Nuttall, that piece you did here on FB about taking Jesse on a Felix daytrip, *that* was evidence of burgeoning fatherness in your playwork.
My playwork was just older brother stuff. 

I have no understanding of what older playworkers are like.

(I mean the ones that keep doing playwork, not the ones like me that move into training, or [shudder] management.)
I used to see playwork as a ‘young person’s game’.
Some male playworkers just carry on with the older brother schtick until it becomes embarrassing. Not ’embarrassing dad’ embarrassing: that’s the point, they aren’t channeling any fatherness.
You’ll all know one.
Even the ones that are dads don’t bring their dadness to work.

I find all this fascinating.

I’m surely in a minority.

Listening: kids are really really good at it, and managers are mainly awful at it…

The first word of Miles Davis’ autobiography is LISTEN. He described jazz as being about “freedom and space to hear things”

I often declare that I will write a book called “Everything I Learnt About Management I Learnt From Playworking.” A bit like a preschool version of Mark McCormack’s  “Things they don’t teach you at Springfield Elementary”. (But I digress,and I’m also in danger of revealing my punchline.)

🎶 You can’t improvise if you don’t listen.

🏭 You can’t manage if you don’t listen. 

🗽You can’t lead if you don’t listen. 

Here are somebody else’s wise words about listening: please listen…

“They are always listening. Not just to the words we say to them, but those we say in their presence to others. That is their real learning environment. When we managers take that seriously, that’s when our people begin to make us better managers, the kind who think about the words they say and the tones we use with the people in our lives. They make us work to become the managers we’ve always wanted to be, if only because that’s the sort of person we want them to be.

“Our staff don’t learn anything from obedience other than how to command and control, a dubious education at best. They learn everything else by listening (and watching, of course). Real learning requires processing, repetition, time, and experience to fully comprehend. It takes place on their schedule, not yours, which is why it can seem as if they are not listening. But they are: know it, and strive to be the manager you want them to be. That’s the real work of management.”

Read more here:

https://goo.gl/bNNIOq

Old management whine in VUCA bottles…

http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/lead/strategy/vuca-leadership-why-you-need-it-and-how-to-develop-it

Paradigm shift/leadingedge/bluesky/fad cycle/ same old same old.Yada

Yada

Yada yada.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemsley_Fraser

Buy our stuff.

Yada Yada

And…

I’m sure they are lovely people doing lovely things, andnotbut™, I’m afraid I have to say: old management whine in VUCA bottles…

 

 

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