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Welcome to our internet site. It is our aim to:

  • Offer resources for education of and learning science, technology, design, and math through investigation
  • Promote evidence-based educational techniques and learning areas for excellence in class, colleges, and communities
  • Establish deep, long-term partnerships with certain local schools to produce measurable improvements in student achievement

education-innovation

 Education and Leadership

Leadership authority for educative improvement prevails in academic platforms and in the communities they are serving. In general we can say that educational leadership programs prepare students to perform well in leadership roles in educational organizations and schools at community, district, state, and national levels. The requirements for efficient, successful and reliable professional techniques in education are becoming increasingly complex. The education curriculum should in general address these complex elements by offering a strong fundamental understanding of multiple perspectives in a multicultural environment. 

Leadership and Community

Leadership students must first learn how to critically analyze the conceptual, organizational, political, social, managerial, interpersonal, and technical identities and dimensions of top-notch schools.  A good example is the University of Washington. Additionally, they must learn to identify and critically evaluate the social and educational support organizations that are very important to maximize the educative possibilities for young people who grow up in urban communities. Leadership and education students must engage with other schools and community businesses and organizations to directly influence the organization’s performance and learning experiences, the health of the school, community and business, and public service agency activities.

Innovative Education

educationPerks of Healthcare Postgraduate work Healthcare ongoing education and learning, besides making it possible for maintenance of proficiency, allows ability enhancement without having to dedicate a lot of time. Besides, you also have the versatility in deciding on the program or curriculum that captures your interest; or what you believe is most essential to your existing experience.

Keep our website as one of your favorites and come back often. The website provides a unique selection of medical care courses, from nursing and medical invoicing to radiology dental care. Besides minimizing time you also get reasonably priced and highly interactive medical course credit ratings. The focused is on credentials and is “to take sometimes tough course material and dispense it in a varied, easy to keep fashion. Expertise and practices in the education  domain develop continually.

According to industry professionals Mike Jameson,  Kim J. Chames and Lindsey Carlson, about 50 percent of the know-how acquired in education college becomes obsolete in 5 years. As a result of this, education in healthcare proceeding has become imperative for physicians, medical specialists, nurses and dental experts. As a matter of fact, people’s wellbeing and lives typically depend upon these specialists so they have to keep abreast with the innovations. Having  a portfolio of  websites that follow new development in education is helpful. For example about all thing about GED/Hisec developments I check regularly EducateTheUSA website, everything about a high school equivalency diploma  in my region there. (more…)

Who chooses online learning?

Online university programs have proved to be very beneficial to suit business professionals so they can meet their work and domestic obligations at all times. Now they won’t have to bother anymore with trying to find time for universities courses to obtain a degree. But there are several points to consider when trying to find the right online university program, here is why.

Convenience

Convenience is one reason online courses are helpful to a lot of working professionals. Nonetheless, this is not something you should underestimate. Classes will be tough and you will have to devote a lot of time to your study. This implies you will need to work harder to make sure you don’t produce lesser quality of work. You should bear in mind that target dates are necessary, even if you could do the program work at your very own pace. This is why you should discipline yourself so you don’t end up with everything at the end. If you would like to see the most affordable MBA programs in America, go to: The Cheapest MBA Programs in the USA.

Read the Syllabus

To make certain you know exactly what to expect, you should read through the syllabus several times during the program. This will keep you focused so you know what is required. Every teacher will have several target dates and requirements. You need to stay in close contact with your teachers consistently, because this allows them to learn more about you.

Be Careful What You State

It is necessary to watch exactly what you point out throughout an online program classroom as lecturers and all the other pupils aren’t always able to see your face. Some things could seem harsher than what you indicated or they might take what you say or write out of its context. But having said that, taking an on-line program offers you lots of opportunities.

Many people are interested in gaining a masters, degree. Unfortunately, the business schools with the most significant advertising budget plan, do not always provide the best education and learning options. As a matter of fact some universities do not always make the best choice between employing the best teachers and investing more on advertising and marketing. This could mean that schools that are trendy and spend fortunes on advertising may be doing this at the expenditure of acquiring great teachers.

If you’re searching for a great online academic degree, and particularly if you’re trying to find good masters’ degree, it’s a good idea to begin looking at universities that have a superb reputation in the off-line world. You’re a lot better off choosing from institutions that have a strong physical visibility and have actually been around for a long time. Start-up colleges that have only been around for a few years are far more most likely to have inadequate management or reputation that could harm your degree than institutions that have been around for many decades and offer a terrific scholastic integrity, alumni with an interest in the school’s success, and good connections in many higher locations. Fortunately we have seen a tremendous increase of online programs offered bu highly reputed brick-and-mortar universities over the past decades.

A few of the leading universities in the nation promote online degrees or require a minimum of on-campus presence  to complete a Masters level program. Columbia College now provides several online Masters programs. Stanford University offers online programs for professional advancement that are geared towards employees who wish to develop their academic education.

Among the leading universities for an on-line masters degree is Harvard College.

Harvard online business school provides a number of degree programs where virtually all course work could be finished online. Most of these programs do call for some kind of physical residency on the Harvard campus and the specific requirements differ by program. Sometimes the residency requirement is as little as eight weeks.

One of the advantages of engaging in the Harvard online programs is that you are acquiring a degree from a well-known institution that has been around for a long time. Although you may experience some other Harvard graduates that look down on the online degrees, it will place you in a much better position compared to a degree from a college like Capella College or the College of Phoenix. Harvard’s credibility for sturdy academics will certainly benefit you throughout your job.

The Lie in Unlimited

Many motivational speakers and writers like to inspire their followers with unlimited hope. Phrases like – unlimited power, unlimited potential, and life without limits come to mind.

Trying to motivate people by telling them there is no limit to what they can do might have the greatest intentions, but it’s misleading.

limits

We DO have limits. To say we don’t is literally a lie.

Your body has limits. If you’re a runner or workout, if you’ve ever been sick, or if you’ve ever been to a funeral then you know this.

Your time is limited. If you’ve ever tried to schedule too many tasks in a day then you know this. Even an extraordinary achiever like Steve Jobs knew this:  “Your time is limited so don’t waste it…”

There are also limits to your talents, skills, and achievements. So much of what we do and  accomplish depends on what we’re interested in + who and what we expose ourselves to and are influenced by + how much time we have. There are limits to all of those things in a lifetime.

I think the real meaning behind the word ‘unlimited’ when it’s used in motivation is to stop people from setting limits in advance.

For example, if I say I can only accomplish X then I’ll only accomplish X (or less). But, if I don’t set a limit to what I can accomplish, then I’ll just keep trying to stretch my potential.

My actual potential is unknown. Not unlimited.

The point is to keep the cap off so you have the freedom to grow into the unknown. Unknown means always experimenting, stretching, and allowing. Unlimited is seductive. It means you always could’ve done more. You should be more.

But, the word ‘unknown’ sounds scary. “Freedom to grow into the unknown” doesn’t sound motivating. It’s more truthful than ‘unlimited power’ but the truth might not sell books or insanely priced motivational seminars in Fiji. Because most people want hope, not uncertainty.

Even if it’s a lie.

Using Apps to Document Change

People give too much credit to the power of their thoughts. There’s even a whole book entitled “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”.  I’ve intentionally changed thoughts countless times. It didn’t change anything.

Whatever is going on in my head is useless if reality doesn’t change. Life changes for me when: thoughts lead to action –> action creates change –> and change influences BELIEF. Changing your thoughts won’t help much if you don’t believe them. And it takes many small actions over time to get from thinking to believing. It’s not instant gratification. Real change takes time.

I would never chalk it all up to a change of thought.

change

Six years ago, when I was 165 lbs, every daily change I made to lose weight was boring. It wasn’t motivating or inspiring. And it required very little thinking and a lot of doing. And I lost 65 lbs in 5 months and continued to stay in shape since then. My reality changed when I saw results. Literally.

THEN my beliefs changed. THEN I felt motivated. Not before. If someone asked me what thoughts did I change to inspire myself to lose weight, I would find that very insulting. Thoughts? I could tell you the many actions I took despite negative thoughts and self-doubt in my head. People assume if you did something, then surely you must be one of those motivated positive thinkers. But, accomplishments are the result of being mobile, not motivated.

Using apps can be helpful.

Recently, I’ve been using OhLife as a reminder to make small daily changes towards bigger goals. OhLife is free. Once you sign up, they’ll email you every day and ask you: How did your day go? When you reply, it records your journal entry for the day.

If the Label Bothers You, Focus on the Person

Occasionally, I’ll read or hear someone say “there’s no proof ADHD is real.”

There will always be a little controversy with the ADHD diagnosis and it’s validity. But, when you try to create controversy over a label, you miss the point.

There’s a person behind the label.

Hopefully, there’s no debate about people being real. Does anyone have the right to validate what a real person is experiencing?

If the label bothers you, focus on the person instead – their behavior and qualities, their struggles and strengths. Those things are real with or without the label.

No matter what anyone is labeled with, we all just want to understand ourselves better so we can succeed in life. That’s all a person with ADHD wants and that’s what being properly diagnosed helps them do. There’s nothing controversial about that.

There’s an epidemic of people who are passion-deficit, sense-of-humor-deficit, and empathy-deficit. Or people who watch too many hours of reality TV shows. And yet, there’s no controversy surrounding their condition. I guess ADHDers are more fascinating and worth debating about. SO fascinating that, surely, we must be faking it.

“There’s no proof ADHD is real” is a selfish debate.

It isn’t helping anyone. It creates zero solutions and spreads intolerance.

Debate about what’s the best way for a person to manage and succeed with ADHD. That’s a topic worth discussing. At least the intent is focused on helping the person behind the label.

People can create controversy over labels all they want.

But, that will never be as productive as trying to understand a PERSON.

(and that logic goes beyond the topic of ADHD)

Ways to Learn Empathy Even if You Can’t Relate

Empathy comes more natural when you’ve been through hard times because that makes it easier to relate. But, I wouldn’t wish challenges, suffering, or loss on anyone for the sheer purpose of teaching them a lesson in empathy. So, here are a few ways to learn empathy without having to walk in anyone shoes…

empathy

1.  Stop trying to fix everything. JUST listening is one of the simplest ways to be empathetic. Unless you have a magic gold hammer. Then always use the magic gold hammer. But, seriously, depending on the circumstance, most people appreciate having their feelings acknowledged, even if you can’t  fix anything.

2.  Make eye contact. “They wouldn’t say that to my face” is a popular expression for a reason. We’re more likely to be considerate of someone’s feelings if we speak face to face. Even if you don’t understand what someone is experiencing, it’s hard to not empathize with concern, worry, sadness, exhaustion, or pain in someone’s eyes. A phone call is a decent substitute. A voice can also reveal a lot about how someone is feeling.

3. Ask questions.  If you can’t relate to someone, be curious and ask questions because making false assumptions is a good way to bypass empathy. And I’ve done it plenty. It sounds like this: He has it easy. She doesn’t need my help. He’s ignoring me on purpose. There’s nothing I could say that would make a difference. Unless you have a rational reason for believing those assumptions are true, then ask questions instead. ‘Are you OK?’ ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ ‘How have things been going for you?‘ work well.

4.  Read biographies, memoirs, and personal blogs. If you can’t experience something first hand, then reading about it can be a real eye opener. Especially if the story is written in a compelling way. I read Mortality by Christopher Hitchens and Bright-sided by Barbara Ehrenreich when my father was ill with cancer and it deepened my empathy for him. You could also ask someone to tell you some of their life story. Ask about specific experiences like their childhood or college days or something more personal if you feel comfortable. Exchanging stories teaches empathy.

5.  Be useful. The most empathetic people I know are also the most helpful. The type of people who gladly lend a hand, help you move, offer to wash the dishes, help out with the kids, share their knowledge, offer helpful feedback, ect. etc. I think helping out is how we learn to understand each other.

6.  Stop telling people to “cheer up”. Or smile, it’s not that bad… get over it… it could always be worse… and other clichés that are dismissive to someone’s pain. Refer to #1 instead.

7.  Have empathy for yourself. You’re more likely to be empathetic if you’re proactive about caring for your own well-being. If I’m going through a hard time, the most important person I need empathy from is myself. For example, self-empathy can be as simple as making sure you rest when you’re sick. It’s the people who brag about how they went to work even though they had pneumonia that have a hard time with empathy. If you don’t care enough about yourself to rest when you’re ill, then of course, you won’t empathize when someone says they need to rest.

Take care of you, or you’ll be resentful a lot more often than empathetic.

Telling isn’t Always Tattling – How Speaking Up Empowers Children

Telling isn’t always the trademark of a troublemaker. Sometimes it’s just a kid’s way of saying “I have no idea how to handle this”. Ignoring or reprimanding the act of telling just makes learning social skills and relationship building that much harder.

We know kids need a teacher for math and reading. Well, social skills are one of the most valuable skills we can learn and too often kids are left to figure it out for themselves. Because they’ve been silenced with “don’t tell” which translates into ”Don’t bring me your problems. Don’t speak up.”

It’s like an early indoctrination into conformity. I’ve been the parent who tells their kid to not tattle and go work it out. But, then I’ll notice their friend won’t do their part to work anything out. Instead they’ll manipulate their way out of trouble by telling my kid, “Well you can’t tell. That’s tattling.” Too many kids care more about staying out of trouble than working things out.

Eventually, as kids get older, they might reason, “Well, I can’t tell, and I can’t work it out with the source, so I’ll find friends who will listen to me.” And what does that eventually look like?

Perhaps, the adult who gossips was once a kid who was looking for friends who will listen. Perhaps, the employee who complains about deserving a raise instead of just telling their employer is the same. If they learned to speak up instead of “don’t tell”, then maybe they’d make change happen.

What I’ve learned about resorting to “Don’t tell. Work it out yourself” is that it allows me to get the easy job of staying out of it while my kid slowly develops into a promising pushover. We want kids to learn how to resolve problems on their own, but do they really understand which problem needs solving? Because it seems like the problem many are focusing on is - how can I stay out of trouble? 

The pushover has learned to stay out of trouble through silence. The bully has learned to stay out of trouble by using the social faux pas of tattling to his advantage. One way out of these toxic behaviors is to stop the blame game. Because blame seems to lead to the fear reflex. And all kids fear getting into trouble.

I wish we could take the focus off of the trouble, the punishment, and the tattle-tale label and focus on teaching the rewards found in meaningful relationships. Rewards that come as a result of learning self-respect, empathy, forgiveness, and honest communication – things I’m still learning as an adult. Things I wish I had a better understanding of a long time ago.

When I was a kid, I just wanted to stay out of trouble. Punishment was scary. The fear reflex was like a survival method in my mind.  But, survival isn’t the same as LIVING. A life lived involves facing challenges and finding meaning and understanding in the process, not the result. The association kids make between telling and trouble-making seems to lead to fear-based decision making. In which case, the only thing they’re finding meaning in is avoiding a certain consequence. Maybe an association between telling and learning needs to be established instead. Because if I’m willing to help my kid sound out a word when he’s stuck reading, then I should be willing to help him work through a social problem as well without brushing him off as a tattle-tale. I know all kids need to learn independent problem-solving, but they’ll feel even more empowered if they also learn how to speak up and get support if they need it.

Putting Compassion into Cancer Awareness

For 14 months, I lived with someone who was dying from cancer. My father. I was with him nearly every single day of his illness until his last day. Witnessing the dying process up close and personal for a little over a year has changed me. I imagine it’s an experience that would change anyone. It, especially, changed my perception on the meaning of compassion. And I’m going to share with you how exactly. But, first I want you to think about:

What Does Cancer Awareness Mean to You?

Cancer awareness campaigns are everywhere. There are countless products, fundraisers, and marathons marketed to promote a cancer-related cause.

But, what, exactly, are we being made aware of?

No amount of cancer awareness marketing, ribbons, races, t-shirts, wristbands, and the like could have made me aware of the harsh reality that I experienced watching someone I love suffer from this awful disease. If anything, the marketing and the products related to cancer awareness seemed to undermine what a cancer patient and their family actually goes through.

inspiration

Cancer isn’t Pretty

All the pretty cancer awareness merchandise began to lose their meaning once I became personally affected by cancer. The day I received that phone call on November 2, 2011 and heard the words, “he has 6-9 months.”

After the initial panic attack, and several weeks of uncontrollable anxiety, reality began to set it for me.

I remember, at one point, researching these cancer awareness campaigns. I even thought about getting involved in raising money for a cure. But I couldn’t get into it. It didn’t appeal to me and I wondered why.

Why wouldn’t I care about a cure?

But, that wasn’t it. It’s not that I didn’t care.

And it didn’t take long for me to understand my feelings.

Living with someone who has cancer makes you realize something:

This person doesn’t need me to put on a pair of running shoes and “race for a cure”. This person needs me to be here.

While people are off racing for a cure, a cancer patient may be lying in bed, hoping someone will race to their bedside, or to the phone. They need the presence and support of family and friends for what, often times, represents the last witness to their life.

What We Are Typically Made Aware of

Cancer awareness campaigns will make you aware that cancer exists (obviously). You will learn about statistics and more statistics, and what medical advances have been made in treating it or finding a cure and how we can donate money towards more research.

All good things to be made aware of.

Unfortunately, the chances of a CURRENT terminal cancer patient actually benefiting from FUTURE medical advances and cures are slim.

Supporting cancer research is supporting hope for the FUTURE.

And it’s a wonderful hope for those future cancer patients. But, many current cancer patients won’t be here in the future. They’re here for a short time. That’s reality.

A harsh reality that isn’t fun to talk about.

It doesn’t sound positive or optimistic or hopeful.

But we can’t dismiss the reality of current cancer patients because we are so busy looking towards the future with optimism.

And I know society will always be more interested in talking about a hope and a cure, and in sharing a positive affirmation. But how do we know what people really need if we’re only interested in re-framing their story to something more positive?

The Type of Cancer Awareness That Goes Viral

I, recently, watched a video of a cancer patient dancing in the doctor’s office and lip syncing to “What Doesn’t Kill You (Makes You Stronger)” by Kelly Clarkson.

The young lady in the video seems like an awesome person.

Her energy and attitude is inspiring.

But, when we, repeatedly, expose ourselves to this good and inspiring side, then how do we learn compassion?

Compassion happens when you’re aware how someone is STRUGGLING, when you are aware that someone is in PAIN, when you get a REAL look at what someone is going through.

It is through that awareness that compassion is born.

“Our brokenheartedness at the injustices we witness is what gives us compassion. So when we rush past these messy and uncomfortable moments, we take away the experiences that teach us mercy.”

-Jeff Goins, Wrecked

In REALITY, chemotherapy doesn’t make you stronger.
It makes you weaker. It’s poison.

My father wouldn’t have had a fraction of the energy required to attempt the performance in that video.

But, nobody wants to hear that. The image of an optimistic cancer patient dancing and  singing is what people want to see. This is ALWAYS going to be the type of “cancer awareness” that gets shared across the interwebs to the point of going viral.

No matter what devastating thing anyone is going through, society expects you to remain positive and to keep your struggles to yourself.

A Different Kind of Hope

I didn’t write this to be dark, cynical, or gloomy.

I wrote it because I AM hopeful.

I’m hopeful that we can learn how to better show empathy, not just feel it.

Real empathy occurs as a result of acknowledging uncomfortable or painful situations – not dismissing them because it sounds “too negative”.

I’ve observed (even in myself) that avoiding uncomfortable or painful situations is commonplace these days because we’re constantly being told to “do whatever makes you happy”. I don’t know about you, but facing pain doesn’t feel good or make me feel ‘happy’, but it’s necessary if you want to learn empathy.

There’s always some motivational guru somewhere trying to make us look on the bright side – AWAY from the negativity and the pain. People are so busy promoting positivity, they forget that real life isn’t always positive. Accepting that reality is what will help you learn empathy.

Learn to tone down the HYPER-optimism

“Positive thinking seems to be mandatory in the breast cancer world, to the point that unhappiness requires a kind of apology.”

-Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-sided

Since the first day I learned of my father’s illness, I realized quickly that people were more interested in telling me how I should feel, or how to look at it in some positive way than listening. And some were afraid to hear about it at all.

So, I stopped talking about it.

I’d rather say nothing than act delusional by sugar-coating reality.

The first step to learning compassion is to tone down the HYPER-optimism.

The key word here is HYPER. As in too much of a good thing.

Thanks to all the motivational quotes being shared online, it’s gotten to the point where many are so determined to stay positive that they don’t know how to act around someone who is having a bad day. They don’t know how to treat a friend who might be dealing with a challenge or a REAL tragedy.

The first thing many do when hearing about someone’s bad situation is quickly try to turn their lemons into lemonade. I rarely hear the phrase “I’m sorry to hear that” or “I understand how you feel” anymore.

People are more likely to say “it could always be worse” which is a trite cliché that does absolutely nothing to make right now any better. It does, however, successfully dismiss what someone is going through.

Why wait until it’s worse before you start showing someone compassion? How bad do things have to be before you’re willing to empathize with another human being? When did compassion become so discriminating?

Here’s what you have to understand about compassion:

To acknowledge – not dismiss – pain and suffering is REQUIRED in order to show compassion. If you find yourself constantly dismissing pain – whether it be yours or that of others around you – if you find yourself using a positive quote to make everything bad sound better, it’s possible you will NEVER learn compassion.

To understand why, you have to take a look at what it means to have compassion and empathy.

Compassion and Empathy explained:

Compassion and empathy are essential human qualities that allow one to feel, understand, and respond to the suffering of others.

A component of compassion, empathy is the recognition and understanding of the other’s suffering.

Empathy requires an openness to receiving and holding the other’s experience without reservation or judgment.

Empathy is passive but absolutely attentive.

It involves entering into and staying present in the painful experience of the other without moving away from that experience by trying to change it.

-taken from deathrefrenence.com

How a motivational quote can weaken your compassion and empathy capabilities

Here are a few random quotes that if taken too literally will weaken your ability to show compassion. When reading them, picture yourself or someone you love with stage 4 cancer:

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.”

-Byron Katie

“Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.”

-Anthony Robbins

“There are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make you stronger.”

- Eric Bates

Alone, these quotes are fine and helpful if applied in the appropriate context. You could use the quotes above to turn a daily challenge into an opportunity.

But, if you apply a positive quote to everything, it could alternatively make you view something like cancer – which is far more serious than just a “challenge” as something light. As something that is actually good (!) or can be overcome if you have the right attitude about it - Which is delusional.

For far too many people, cancer is a death sentence.

All the positive quotes in the world won’t change that reality and to treat people like it would,  is condescending, insulting, and displays a real LACK of compassion.

We have got to learn when to shut off the optimism, put our personal philosophies aside,  and just listen. Feel. Be there. Support. Empathize.

Learning Compassion

I am far from the perfect person to be teaching compassion.

While I do feel compassion for others, I don’t always know how to show it. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming, at times. To feel so much for someone, much less demonstrate my feelings in a meaningful way.

So I’m not pointing fingers at anyone who isn’t doing enough.

I have not done enough.

This experience has made me aware of how hard compassion can be to demonstrate. How helpless we can feel when we encounter a person who is facing a predicament as tragic as a terminal illness.

It can feel paralyzing because there is little we can do that will make the situation better.

I remember the last week my father was alive at the hospice center he had pain that was almost impossible to control. The nurses were in tears because all their efforts to control the pain wasn’t working.

At that point, I wanted to stay away.
I didn’t want to be there and watch him suffer.
I realized that this compassion thing isn’t easy.

Why compassion is hard

“Compassion comes from the root words “to suffer with,” and for that reason many people actually fear it.”

-Deepak Chopra

What’s hard about compassion and being there for someone in this kind of situation is that it’s hard to put your feelings of discomfort aside and just be there. Because it IS uncomfortable to witness someone suffer or even just hear about it.

I truly believe that when some people aren’t there for you or aren’t showing enough concern it is NOT necessarily that they don’t care. Sometimes it’s that they can’t separate their own emotional response from the situation. It’s like watching someone bleeding and not doing anything about it because the sight of blood is too much for YOU to handle and so you do nothing for THEM.

That doesn’t mean it’s OK to do nothing.

I think we all need to learn to put ourselves in the shoes of the person who is hurting.

If we can do that, we realize quickly that somebody sure better put their feelings of discomfort aside and do something. Because the worst thing is looking back and wishing you did more but you didn’t because it was too uncomfortable.

People will always do the comfortable thing

The hardest part about losing my father was that it was very lonely. It still is. I dealt with most of my grieving alone. And even if I did try to reach out to others, it seemed like nobody really understood what a hard time I was going through.

Most of my sympathy came in the digital form.

Digital Communication Can Quickly Cheapen a Tragedy

I had lost my father. The hardest losses are that of a spouse, a child, and a parent or sibling. So, all the virtual hugs, the sad emoticons, the ‘sorry for your loss’ text messages… they all seemed empty. Though, I knew the intentions were good.

Showing empathy isn’t easy, so I’m not judging. But, I think we’re going to have to teach this generation of digital communicators which circumstances merit a real phone call or a real action, and not a text message or a DISlike on Facebook.

And we’re going to have to learn what type of actions constitute support because re-posting a meme or Facebook status that says “share this to show your support for those affected by cancer!” doesn’t actually do much to support a cancer patient.

But, I understand.

I know, in our hearts, we all want to do something, so if someone asks us to share a post, then why not? It seems like that’s better than nothing, and I know how paralyzed one can feel when trying to be sympathetic.

Which is why a shift of awareness is in order.

Putting Compassion into Cancer Awareness

While researchers are working on cures and making us aware of their funding needs, we could be asking ourselves – what are the patients and their families going through and what do they need right NOW? Now when there is no cure? Are we making people aware that?

Cancer awareness shouldn’t only be about raising money for a cure.

It should also be about teaching compassion.

About learning how to support those affected by cancer – both the patient and their family. It’s a first priority.

Learning compassion comes first. Even before finding a cure.

Because compassion makes a difference RIGHT NOW in the lives of CURRENT cancer patients and their families.

It is also a main part of the driving force that motivates people to support cancer research, anyway. The more compassion you feel for the human beings affected by cancer, the more likely you are to support cancer research.

Compassion wins the day in ways that people don’t talk about enough.

And I believe we don’t talk about it enough because we’re distracted by all the pretty cancer awareness merchandise. We’re distracted by the fundraisers and marathons and talk about cures that do not yet exist that steal the cancer awareness spotlight.

To me, it’s all marketing. It’s treated like a business and it can be dehumanizing when inanimate objects and events steal the attention away from real live patients.

I remember reading a t-shirt that said:  “I wear purple for my dad” and while I could empathize with the sentiment, I couldn’t understand how a certain color t-shirt would do anything FOR my dad.

And, then I started looking at it differently.

All this merchandise…. it isn’t really for the patient, is it?

It’s for the families and friends of patients.

We wear these colors and ribbons for our own comfort. Because we want to honor our loved ones by any means possible. And that’s OK.

If it were just about donating money for research, then we would write our checks directly to those organizations instead of purchasing a souvenir.

There’s value in honoring a person with what you buy or wear. But, if you really want to support a person, and not just a cause, you have to be there. You have to learn compassion.

Because cancer affects PEOPLE.

Behind every inanimate, lifeless ribbon…
there is or was a person with a pulse and possibly an entire family and circle of friends affected by their battle.

To put compassion into cancer awareness we’re going to have to stop creating all these distractions that take us away from the real work that needs to be done.

The work of caring, supporting, empathizing, and being there.

A work that requires NO amount of ribbons, or motivational quotes, but, rather, it requires us to look outside of ourselves long enough to take action and DO something that matters.

Pieces of a Bigger Reality

Social media isn’t a distraction. It connects us to each other. It gives us a voice, a platform, and enhances our lives. For me, it only becomes a bad thing when I forget that I am not my facebook. I am not my blog. Or my twitter. And so on. Those are small extensions of me. A snapshot. A lens. And through each lens you can decide if you want to see, know, and connect with me more.

digital reality

I usually get this.

But, I have moments where that line becomes blurred.
I forget these snapshots are just pieces of a bigger reality.

When I posted on facebook that my dad passed away, that post was a tiny piece of my reality. No, it was less than that. A facebook post is a grain of sand on a vast beach that is our lives. The reality of what I was going through couldn’t be put into words in a post and no amount of sad face emoticons and virtual hugs could comfort me. Though, they were appreciated.

I think when you go through hard times, your relationships get put into perspective. You realize who is just looking in through a lens and who is a part of your bigger reality. Everyone serves their purpose. And I do believe we need people in our lives who are both close and distant.

The point is to know that who you are runs deeper than anything you could ever post and any virtual interaction you can engage in. To not get too attached to this small piece, especially when only few are willing to cross that line with you into your bigger reality.

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