Ramblings of an overworked ENTJ

Truth be told, I have always had the reputation of a hot head who is neither lacking in opinions nor shy with sharing those opinions. However as I grow older, I have come to understand that being brazen rashness that may have by mistaken for bravado and may be even admired in your twenties is not cute when you are in your 30’s. As I begin to explore the idea that may be there is a different way to view and process things rather than just the usual I think I am right so therefore I am right.
During the pass decade I have grown so much and gotten so much more than I have ever hoped or planned or even dreamed of. But in order to understand my journey may be it’s important to understand my history up to this point.
I am the fifth girl in a family of 8 and growing up I was sort of a conundrum in the sense that even though I was clearly an extrovert and mostly outspoken and outgoing, I spent most of my child hood as a bookworm. Spending hours in our family library which is really an overstatement. It really was a small room may be 4 x 6 m with a small dingy window and poor ventilation with a collection of books that my dad a journalist had collected over the years. It was in the tiny room that my family and I affectionately called “small room” that I was introduced to Dicken’s flair, Bronte’s eloquence and Twain’s story telling abilities. It was my chance to escape into a world of possibilities and I lived an enchanted life.
It was a kind of escape and as I began to delve in the literature I felt liberated of sorts. It was at this time that I realized that I did not have to live solely on the basis of my experience but I could begin to draw from the experiences of others. I began to entertain the idea that there is more to life and to the world that just what I had seen or experienced. Also it did not hurt at all that my father was such a great story teller who had spent the majority of his working life travelling for his job.
Advertisements

Gossip

gossip

As with kids we thought, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t talk at all”. I think some adults need to be reminded about this fact occasionally.

I recognize  that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friendfamily member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

Empathy versus Sympathy

sympathy

Although these words are often used interchangeably but I would like to explain the differences between these two words. Sympathy is defined as “feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune”. This is a noble feeling to express to let someone know that you feel bad for the things that they have experienced or are currently experiencing. Being sympathetic to people who are less fortunate than you are, or even from a different socioeconomic background can enrich your life in ways you can’t imagine.

sympathy1

Empathy on the other hand is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.

I like to define empathy as “sympathy plus an act which attempts to alleviate the cause of pain”. Empathy moves you to action it is an emotion which will haunt. It will intrude your thoughts at the most inopportune moments. It forces you to match your compassion with and action. It is indeed a more noble feeling compared to sympathy. Here is a list of my favorite quotes about empathy.

The challenge of course with empathy is the fact empathy comes with a cost. It will demand something of you and it may force you to reexamine your view on certain topics. I believe that one of the most valuable things I could ever do as a mother is to raise compassionate children. This is one of my goals in life and part of my strategy to achieve this goal is to spend more time with my children. Secondly, I have made a resolve to teach my children how to care about people from different cultures and different backgrounds and part of that strategy is to learn more about different cultures together as a family.

At the center of any discussion about empathy, sympathy or compassion is the old biblical adage which is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

I recognize  that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

You don’t go to school to learn

you-do-go-to-school-to-learn

Every year I have the pleasure of talking with dozens of young people who have the great misconception that they go to school to learn. I love watching the shocked look on their faces as they realize for the first time that they have been misusing their time in school. I love this quote by Myles Munroe which states “when purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable”.

purpose

Therefore, I spent some time researching the purpose of school. The word school derives from greek word σχολή (scholē), originally meaning “leisure” and also “that in which leisure is employed”. However it was changed later on to mean “a group to whom lectures were given”

In order to understand the purpose of school I had to understand the history of formal education.

Prior to the advent of agriculture children spent their time learning by exploring their environments and learning their craft by watching their parents or other family members. In general if you were the child of a blacksmith, you became a blacksmith unless you had a rich uncle or in-law who had a separate training then you could transition into another field by becoming their apprentice.

By most accounts formal education came about as a result of religious bodies wanting to ensure that the next generation were converts who could read and understand their dogma.

As such, the fight for a universal system of education was led by emerging protestant religions. 

This coupled with the fact with the industrial revolution, countries needed able bodied workers to help them quickly become industrialized and move out of the dark ages. In order to do so they needed a way to formally train lay people so that they could join the working class with the basic skills necessary to meet the minimum work requirements.

Children were mandated to go to school as such in order to become “good laborers” and “good converts”.

In order to do so, education systems were designed to squash the willfulness and playfulness of children in order to make them good laborers and good converts. As such a good student is one who suppresses his or her urge to play and explore and dutifully carried out the orders of their teachers. By that same token a good convert is one who suppresses their urge to question and explore but one who dutifully obeys the tenets of the religious group.

Dr. Peter Gray gives a good summary of the history of the education system on his blog. He reports that, employers in industry saw schooling as a way to create better workers. To them, the most crucial lessons were punctuality, following directions, tolerance for long hours of tedious work, and a minimal ability to read and write. From their point of view the duller the subjects taught in schools the better because it prepares for the drudgery of the workforce.

-Who needs Art and Music in schools? It can’t help you flip a burger any faster can it? 

who-needs-art

My point therefore is; School is not were you go to learn, it is where you go to be tested!

The 12 years of grade school can be summarized in one sentence “Do you have a high school diploma?” You may have been the best student for 11 grades but if you do not complete high school or get your diploma, in the eyes of the state it is as if you never went. Every job you apply for comes with a list of minimum requirements,  in every position in every field.

My conclusion therefore is you go to school so you can leave school with an attestation of minimum requirement certificates. My primary school education in the British system can be summarized to 2 days. The day I sat for the First School Leaving Certificate exam and the day I took the Common Entrance exam.No one cared that I had been at the top of my class for 13 terms in a row or the fact that I was reading Chaucer at age 9, it was irrelevant.  My time in grade school (College in the British system)was summarized to 2 events; when I took the GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels (which I failed by the way). My time in college (University in the British system) can be summarized in one day; the day I sat for my NCLEX exam, no one cared whether I only had 75 questions or if I had to take all 225 questions all that matters is whether or not I passed and met the minimum requirements. Medical school can be summarized to 3 events: STEP 1, STEP 2 and STEP 3…you guessed it those are the 3 tests you have to take to become licensed as a physician in the US.

I leave you with a quote by Albert himself: Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

einstein-education

Where then does learning take place? Stay tuned for part 2 of this article…..

As you set the rhythm for your day/week, I recognize  that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

TRANSLATION

translation

Languages are a beautiful thing. I have always been  intrigued by languages and the cultures they unfold. I was so passionate about languages that at age 18 I set a goal to be fluent in 5 languages by age 25. Well… things did not go according to plan. I just turned 33 and I am only fluent in 2 languages (English and French). I can barely understand 3rd grade Spanish with a few scattered medical terms. I have a vocabulary of 50 Italian words and I definitely am not fluent in Arabic which was also one of the languages I had planned to learn. I was feeling pretty sad about not meeting my language goals until I remembered that I spoke Pidgin and Franc-Anglais really fluently  bringing my grand total to a whopping 4!

However, I remembered my upbringing and I could hear my teachers from the British system of education say, “Pidgin is not a language, it is a dialect”. At that point I started researching the differences between a language and a dialect.

Oxford dictionary defines a LANGUAGE as:

The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. A system of communication used by a particular country or community.

Whereas a DIALECT is defined as:

A particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

It seems in the colonial era, the ‘powers that be’ decided that the countries being annexed were not “civilized” enough to have a language system and therefore these languages were dubbed “dialects” and this erroneous label has been wrongly promulgated though the years.

What most people don’t know is Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian were once considered dialects of Latin.

Meet Durante degli Alighieri also known as Dante

dante

He was a major Italian poet who was very controversial because he decided to publish his works in Italian which was a language mostly spoken by commoners. During Dante’s era, most literary works were written in Latin which was accessible to only educated audiences. Dante defended the use of modern day vernacular in literature thereby setting a precedent that other writers soon followed. As such, Dante has been credited in playing a critical role in establishing the national language of Italy.

Now let’s focus on one of my favorite languages, Pidgin which comes second only to Franc-Anglais. PIDGIN is the lingua franca for English speaking West African countries. Check out this recent article by BBC who started an initiate to create a service in Pidgin. They are just now recognizing what we have always known, pidgin is an awesome LANGUAGE!!! It is estimated that over 200 million speak Western African Pidgin English between (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.

Learning about this Dante and his controversial  prompted me to start a project that I had been putting off months. I have always wanted to translate classic text in literature and science into Pidgin. Imagine listening to the “To be or not to be” speech in Pidgin. I can only imagine it sounding like an Osuofia scene by Nkem Owoh (for those of you not familiar with the name, this is a Nollywood actor). If I could describe Pidgin in one word, I would call it “juicy”. It rolls off the tongue with such ease that once you learn it, you cannot unlearn it.

My goal is to create a body of work that can be of value to some groups that may be marginalized because they may not understand English or French well enough to understand the text to its full extent. I am very excited to start this project and here is list of potential works to be translated into pidgin.

  • The old man and the medal – Ferdinand Oyono
  • Dedication – Wole Soyinka
  • Okwonko’s speech (Things fall apart) – Chinua Achebe
  • To be or not to be (Hamlet) – Shakespeare
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion – Sir Isaac Newton
  •  Marc Antony’s soliloquy (Julius Caesar) – Shakespeare
  • The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe  etc, etc, etc….

I am open to suggestions for new works. I am excited to get started. Of course I am open to submissions of original works in pidgin as a guest author.

I leave you with a quote by Robert Frost: “Poetry is what gets lost in translation”

I recognize we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

translation1

FWP #1: I can’t find a good dog walker!!!

first-world-problems

Dog walker ad.png

Okay dog walking is a booming business in the First World apparently some people value it so much they spend a fortune trying to provide care for their dogs. Check out this article about a doctor who quit her job to become a dog sitter. I just wish she could have made the decision a decade sooner so that one of the hundreds of students rejected from the medical school admission service could have had her position and would be contributing to help alleviate the physician shortage in the US.

In contrast, one of the most prominent problems in developing countries is Malaria. Malaria has had a cure for decades but still it affects an estimated 300-600 million people each year. It is the largest killer of children killing one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day.

malaria-kills

Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. In summary, developing countries have 99 problems and a dog walker is not one of them.

99-problems-dog-walker

So where do we go from here?  Thoughts anyone? Now is not a time to tremble in the face of adversity, it is the time to get your voices heard.

I recognize we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!