Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tiger Mothers, Scientology, Second Chances, and Lionel Logue

1. I reread my friend's Tiger Mother editorial in an Aussie parenting website. I loved it before, but now I have a better understanding of it, because I actually went to look at the original Tiger Mother editorial.  I got the link from this editorial (written by a Chinese woman) which heavily criticizes the Tiger Mother method.   

I'm not a tiger mom.  I'm thankful for that. I agree with the Tiger Mom in that we need to push our children sometimes, because never doing so demonstrates that we have no faith in their abilities.    But there's a difference between gentle encouraging parenting and cruel disrespectful controlling parenting.

Amy Chua boasts that her children are not allowed to choose their own extracurricular activities.    They can't be in a school play.  They must be number one in every school subject (except gym and drama), and they're not allowed to play any instrument except for the violin and piano. They're also not allowed to have a social life.

I think that's sad. And it's SO the opposite of my parenting philosophy.  

2. Read John's post on the flood levy.  He's like me in that he thinks people should stop whining about it.  

3. Started listening to an ABC podcast that my friend sent to me. I think it's about dreams, and creativity. Or maybe not.  It seems to be more about classical literature.

4. Read article about the Lord Mayer of Melbourne (Robert Doyle) attending a Scientology event.    Of course this has attracted controversy.   The Mayor says, People shouldn't draw any commentary from my attendance other than that this was a personal invitation from a friend which has been accepted.   Would it be kosher if Doyle attended a Catholic event, even though so many children have been abused by the church?  How about an Islamic event?  Is it okay to participate in anything Islamic after the way Salman Rushdie was treated?  

Nick Xenophon says The fact is that he's the lord mayor of the City of Melbourne and his presence will be seen as a seal of approval for an organisation that has caused so much harm to so many.   Okay. That's fine.   I just hope that Xenophon also raises an equal amount of fuss when people attend events of other religions that have caused people harm. Has Scientology really caused more harm than the other popular religions?  

5. Read Nick Xenophon's 2009 speech about Scientology.  He says, There is the public face of the organisation founded in 1953 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, which claims to offer guidance and support to its followers, and there is the private face of the organisation, which abuses its followers, viciously targets its critics and seems largely driven by paranoia.   Driven by paranoia?   Couldn't we say the same for the churches that push the idea if you don't believe in their God, you're going to burn forever in hell?  What religion DOESN'T have stories of abused and disgruntled followers?

The one thing that I don't think most other religions are guilty of is the bit about targeting it's critics.   Scientology is a little creepy in that area. I'll admit that. Although haven't Muslims been guilty of the same stuff? How about the dutch film director who was assassinated after making a movie critical of Islam?    

Xenophon does a good job of making the Scientology church look really bad.  He has me somewhat convinced.   I'm just not sure whether other religions are that much better.  

6. Read editorial in The Australian about the tiger mom thing.   Tim Soutphommasane says, There may be method in Chua's madness, but it is a cold and unedifying logic. The tiger mother unleashed is really a tyrant who enslaves a child to her own ambitions.

Yeah.  That's one of the things I hate about it.   I'm okay with parents gently pushing their children if they're pushing the child towards the child's OWN ambitions.   I think it's disgusting when a parent pushes THEIR ambitions on the child. I mean a little bit of it is probably natural and unavoidable.   All parents do it on a subtle level.  But to do it in such an overt and nasty way? And then to make money off of encouraging other parents to do the same? Yuck.  

7. Felt a bit sad about not being at The King's Speech thing today, but not that sad. I think I'm going to look for some Aussie biographies at the library.  That will cheer me up.  Then we might try the Geocache thing.  

8. Searched for the Geocache.   It was right near our house.  We made the mistake of driving.   I don't know what we were thinking.  It took us a long time to find it though, despite it being labeled as an easy and child friendly quest.  The reason?  We mistook the prize (cache) for litter.   It was a little film canister.  We didn't take the prize inside....a little sticker. I left an Australian coin. I brought a bunch of stuff (treasures), because I didn't know what to expect.  A coin was the only thing that would fit.

9. Had a bad time at the library.  I don't know.  I was in one of those moods.  No book sounded interesting to me, and I was weary of trying anything new.   First, I tried finding an Australian biography.   I couldn't find anything.  I looked at the new fiction stuff.   Nothing excited me there.  I looked at teen books, then kid books, then back to teen books, then back to kid books again.  I picked things up, thought about getting them, and then put them down.  I saw a collection of short stories co-edited by Justine Larbalastier; Zombies vs. Unicorns.   I decided against getting it, because I don't usually like short stories.  

I almost left with nothing.   Then I decided to try a young adult book called City of Glass.   It's part of a series, and I like book series.  Plus, the front cover had a recommendation by Stephanie Meyer.  I like her stuff, so I thought maybe this book would be okay.  When I got home I gave the book a closer look, and saw that it was part 3 of the series. Crap.  Oh well.  I guess I'll still read it. It won't be the first time I've read a series out of order.   

10. While eating ice-cream, I told Tim how I regret not doing The King's Speech thing.   He told me not to regret it.  It's good advice, but it didn't make me feel better.  But what DO you say when someone regrets something?  I'm not quite sure.

11. Totally embarrassed myself by writing to The King's Speech people.  They're still advertising on Facebook, so I'm wondering if they haven't found enough people yet.   I told them I regret saying no, and I might be available.  I felt like a total loser. Yet I also felt like a total winner, because it was very brave of me to write that email.  Okay. Yeah.  I'm just trying to make myself feel better.

12. Received phone call from The King's Speech people.  They are SO incredibly nice. I have lost my regrets.   Now I'm just a bit nervous.    I wish I had my own Lionel Logue with me.   I don't usually stutter, but my mind goes blank sometimes.  I tend to forget things.   

13. Decided I should refresh my memory about The King's Speech by watching trailers and stuff like that.    And maybe I'll read about Lionel Logue.   I like reading about Logue.   I'd read about the king, but British royalty totally confuses me.    I've tried learning some of the stuff, and I just get lost. I DO know that the king in the movie is the father of Queen Elizabeth.   I got that down.

14. While watching the trailer for The King's Speech, I thought about how it deals with class divisions.  I guess that's a big theme in the movie.   Royalty vs. the commoners. Lionel Logue is very Aussie in his tendency to ignore and challenge these divisions.  I like that, and maybe that's one of the things that attracted me to Australia in the first place. I remember reading that there's less hierarchy.    People are more likely to be on a first name basis.  It's more casual. 

15. Remembered that The King's Speech is a VERY suspenseful film at times.   That's the thing about story-telling.  You don't need rape, murder, and zombies in a story to make it suspenseful.  Sometimes everyday life things can have you biting your nails.  Yeah, so some of the scenes towards the end had me really on edge.  Why? Go see the movie, and you'll find out. 

16.  Was just thinking that I'm trying to dig into my brain for intelligent responses to why I love this movie so much.   But it might end up that they just want me to shout out some adjectives.   Marvelous!  Fantastic!  Amazing!   Awesome!   Brilliant!  Inspiring!   What else is there?  How about I say It's the type of movie where you don't want to go and pee because you would hate to miss anything.

Did I go and pee?   I can't remember.  

17.  Started watching a video where a man with a stammer talks about The King's Speech.   He said Colin Firth did an excellent job portraying someone who has that condition.  That's good.   Firth should be proud. Tim gave a lot of kudos to Firth.  I liked him, but was much more impressed with Geoffrey Rush's performance.  And NOT just because he's Australian.

Back to the video....the guy says that these days stammers are believed to be caused by a neurological issue in the brain, and not by a difficult childhood.   I'll have to read more about that.   I am thinking that perhaps it goes along with the popular desire to put no fault on the parent.  It's ALL genetic, not environmental.   Mom and Dad did nothing wrong.   Blah, blah, blah.    My guess (without reading) is that like all problems, people have a genetic/biological disposition, and certain things in the environment (usually the parents) trigger it.     

The thing is...NO parents are perfect.   And guess what imperfect parenting creates?   Imperfect children.   I'd like to believe all of Jack's problems can be blame on genetics.   But I'm sure my parenting plays a part in some of it.   I'm sure my parents would like to believe they are totally not to blame for my problems.  But it is simply NOT true.  I'm not a perfect parent. I didn't have perfect parents.  My parents didn't have perfect parents.  Jack won't be a perfect parent. It's just part of life.

18.  Watched more of the video about stammering.   Okay.  The guy makes sense to me here.  He says that there was a study....a not too ethical study....where they purposely treated children badly so they'd stutter.  None of the non-stuttering children developed a stammer, but they did end up with psychological problems.   So there you have the nature part of the puzzle.

BUT the guy doesn't leave it at nature.  He talks about how reactions towards a stammer....like constantly correcting a child, could make them more nervous. And that could make the stammer worse. 

19.  Looked at this parenting website.  It has advice on what to do if your child stutters/stammers.   I guess stuttering is the American term, and stammering is the British one.  Australians probably use stammering as well?   The only piece of advice that surprises me is the one that says not too tell you child to slow down when they talk, or to ask them to repeat themselves.  I do that with Jack.  He talks so fast sometimes I can't understand him.   

Jack does stutter a little bit, when he's very nervous or excited.   I honestly never really took much notice of it.  Tim mentioned if after we saw the movie.    I know.   This makes me sound like a very neglectful and ignorant parent.  To my defense though....his stuttering is not at all close to the degree of stuttering in the movie.   And more importantly, Jack doesn't seem bothered or self-conscious about it.   I might stutter a bit when I talk?  I'm not sure.  I think I get stuck more on words than letters.  Jack's probably the same way.  Does that still count as stuttering?   

20. Watched video narrated by Mark Logue;  Lionel Logue's grandson.  Logue has a lovely accent.   Oh.  You know what.  Maybe I can transfer my crush on Lionel Logue to Mark Logue.    I really need to get this guy's book.   You know maybe THAT'S why I couldn't find a book at the library.  Maybe I just wanted the Logue book, and nothing else would satisfy me.  I think I'm going to order it soon.    

21. Watched a clip from The King's Speech.  It's a great part of the movie.   But not a big deal because the movie has a LOT of great parts.      It's like in Poltergeist when Dr. Lesh tells Tangina Barrons that they believe the closet is the heart of the house.  And Tangina says, This house has many hearts.  We could say The King's Speech has many hearts too, but not in the scary kidnap-your-kid-through-the-TV kind of way.   Nor does it make you peel off your face in the bathroom.  It MIGHT make your clown doll attack you, but I'm not exactly sure.   

Anyway....

The particular clip of The King's Speech though deals with what I mentioned above....class divisions, and the Aussie way of being on a first name basis with people.    It also deals with smoking issues; some classic lines there.  

22. Watched Jimmy Barnes and INXS doing The Lost Boys song.  So Awesome. If I was a lesbian, Jimmy Barnes would turn me straight. Or I would at least go the bisexual route.

23. Read interview with Mark Logue.  The interviewer says, the film shows the Logue and the king working as equals.   Was their relationship very informal?    I didn't get that impression.   Or maybe?   But it was a struggle for Logue to get to that point.    In the film, the king seemed very resistant to a relationship of equality.   That made it more interesting though.   It wouldn't be the same if the King stepped into Logue's office and said.  Hi!  You can call me Bertie!

Logue describes it well.   He uses the term, breaking barriers of etiquette.   Logue (at least the movie version) wanted to break down those barriers, and the king clinged to them.   


24Found blog post about Lionel Logue and Spiritualism. It's from an Australian Spiritualist Church blog. 

It says that some have labeled Logue as The Quack that saved the king.  The word quack has such negative connotations.  But is it possible that they CAN do some good....despite their lack of accepted credentials. 

25. Found another blog post about Lionel Logue and Spiritualism.  Logue was so in love with his wife.  He missed her so much, and he wanted to contact her from the beyond. I think that's incredibly romantic. 

Logue visited a medium, and the story of the experience is pretty compelling....at least I think so.

I think Lionel Logue is my favorite Australian right now.   

26. Tried to push my novel on an Australian looking for things to read.  I'm terrible.  And desperate.