Thursday, September 17, 2009

So far, so good

I currently have 98% in each of my classes for the items that have been graded. I was especially pleased to find that I received full credit (100 points) for a paper I wrote on gender roles. I had thought it was pretty good, but I am sort of biased. I do know when I write something that I'm totally unhappy with and then am very surprised when I get a good grade on it. My lowest score on a paper is 45 points out of 50, and I totally agree with it. It was NOT one of the better papers I've written. In fact, I knew when I submitted it that it was missing something - I just couldn't put my finger on it.

Now I know... It's missing five points of "quality" work. LOL!

Here is my Understanding Gender Roles paper...

“Gender, the sense of being male, or female, is well established by the time children reach the preschool years” (Feldman, 2009, p. 255). As children get older and mature, gender differences become more pronounced, from the types of play they engage in to the playmates they choose. Societal influences impact not only they types of play boys and girls choose, but also how they are rewarded, referred to, and what is expected of them during play. Boys are typically encouraged to take on more mentally challenging roles, while girls are usually encouraged to be compliant, polite, and to develop their personalities. Parents begin at an early age in the differences in their treatment of their children. Women tend to respond to both boys and girls differently than men, and both respond to girls differently than to boys.

Boys are expected to be rough and tough, while girls are supposed to be more demure, quieter, and prefer more domesticated types of play. Even in preschool-age children, they have very pronounced ideas of how each gender is supposed to act and are less tolerant of variations in their expectations (Feldman, 2009). Although hormone influence can’t be denied in gender development, it’s important to note that there may also be biological differences that exist within the brains of girls and boys. This biological difference may be caused by the differences in experiences between girls and boys. If girls are exposed to watching their mothers in active or athletic roles, and boys are exposed to watching their fathers take a more active role in the running of the house and with the children, then they’ll each grow up with the ideas that these are not necessarily “gender specific” roles and be more inclined to integrate both into their lives (Health Topics FAQs).

As children reach preschool age, they begin to show defined preferential treatment to others in their same gender class. Girls would rather play with other girls and boys would rather play with other boys. According to Freud, children at this age are going from the phallic stage into the Oedipal stage, which occurs around the age of five. Since boys have the fear of retaliation from their fathers because of their “sexual interest” in their mother, they take on more identity of their fathers and attempt to be as similar to them as possible (Feldman, 2009).

Girls, on the other hand, are seen to have developed envy of the male genitalia and, in an attempt to solve the dilemma, they develop stronger bonds with their mother and begin to emulate their activities and actions. Based on the tendency of girls and boys to bond with their same-sex parent, they continue to pass down the gender expectations from one generation to the next.

Many researchers believe that learned gender influence can start at a much younger age than five and even occurs in households with only one parent (Feldman, 2009). In addition, not all gender influences are positive. Because the strongest influences on perceived gender roles are parents, both positive and negative influences have the potential to be passed down. If children grow up in abusive environments, they have the potential of repeating the same activities as adult (Health Topics FAQs).

Even television and movies tend to play into the gender specificity connotation. Many shows portray the victims as female, softer and in need of being rescued. Males, on the other hand, are often portrayed as the hero, or the villain, or some other potentially “strong” individual.

One way to help overcome gender-specific roles and assumptions is to shoot for more androgynous activities – those that cross both sides of the spectrum. By encouraging boys to view typical “female” traits as non-feminine and acceptable, and by encouraging girls to view typical “male” traits as less male-appropriate, then each gender will be more inclined to accept the others on a more individual basis instead of “because he’s a boy” or “because she’s a girl” in their interactions (Feldman, 2009).

Feldman, R. (2009). Social and Personality Development in the Preschool Years. In Development Across the Life Span (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education International.
Health Topics FAQs. (n.d.). Gender roles. Retrieved from

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Father - My Hero

Every little girl (at least the little girls I know) considers her dad to be her hero, in some way or another. I was no different. Although my dad and I didn't always get along and I didn't always agree with his parenting style or his actions, he was still a hero to me. My dad had a rough road to travel and he had obstacles on every path. He started his life with my mom when he was just 18 years old (and she was just barely 19). They would have celebrated 60 years of marriage this year (September 8). I said "would have" because today is the 4th anniversary of his death. They brought seven children into this world and ushered one out far too early in her life. They weathered many heartaches, trials, and tribulations. He was loved, scorned, hated, admired, disrespected, and venerated many times in his life.

My dad was not a “giant” of a man, but when he walked into a room his presence was felt and he made himself known. When he spoke, you listened. When he was mad, he was very mad. But when he was soft and gentle, he was very soft and gentle. Holly Dunn had a hit song with “Daddy’s Hands” several years ago and it was very much something that could be related to my dad…

“Daddy’s hands… were soft and kind when I was crying
Daddy’s hands… were hard as steel when I done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand,
There was always love in Daddy’s hands.”

When he died, it left a void in the lives of everyone. My mom spent 56 years with him and has missed him terribly. There were many times during that timeframe where leaving would have been easier, but they were dedicated to each other and sticking it out was the right thing to do.

Amy and Shaun were both on active duty when he died and although Amy got to come home, Shaun did not. His ship was off the Gulf Coast helping Katrina victims. The Navy has a poem they read at the retirement of personnel and Amy took it and modified it for my dad, who was in the Air Force when he was younger. It’s called The Watch and she read it at his funeral. It was very touching.

The Watch

For years
This airman has stood the watch

While some of us were in our beds at night,
This airman stood the watch

While some of us were in school learning our trade,
This airman stood the watch

Yes…even before some of us were born into this world
This airman stood the watch

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen brewing on the horizon of history
This airman stood the watch

Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family, stand there
Needing his guidance and help
Needing that hand to hold during those hard ties
But he still stood the watch

He stood the watch for years
He stood the watch so that we, our families, and
Our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety,
Each and every night, knowing that an airman stood the watch

Today we are here to say,

“Airman…the watch stands relieved,
Relieved by those you have trained, guided, and lead
Airman, you stand relieved… We have the watch.”

We were fortunate that my dad lived as many years as he did. In the spring of 1987 he had a quadruple bypass, followed by a heart attack in July 1987. If he had not had the bypass he would not have survived the heart attack. The next 18 years were filled with heart problems, stents, a pacemaker, and a couple of heart attacks. Each time he got sick and was near death, he’d bounce right back and come home from the hospital.

So, when he went into the hospital on August 20, 2005 we all expected that he would once again bounce right back and come home. He didn’t. He got progressively weaker and was transferred to a nursing home for “rehab” but we all knew that there was really no way to rehab a worn-out heart and it would be just a matter of time.

The nursing staff went in and spoke to him at 6:15 that morning; when they went back at 6:45 to give him a washcloth for breakfast, he was gone - In a flash, the blink of an eye, a single heartbeat.

Even though you’re as prepared as possible for an event such as this, you’re really not. You just pick up the pieces as best as you can and move forward. He got to see the first great-grandchild born into the family, but there are seven of them now.

He was baptized in February 2005 so my mom has that comfort to lean upon. She will see him again when her time here is also done and that gives her peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Trimspa, Baby!

Wasn’t that Anna Nicole’s line when she started advertising for Trimspa? I thought it was pretty corny until I decided I was going to use it. Now, when something is really spectacular, “it’s Trimspa, baby!”

Speaking of Trimspa, there’s a new forum out there ( and it’s chock full of weight loss tips and motivational stories. Trimspa is now available for purchase online and is supposed to be back in stores later this month or early next. It does not have ephedrine in it so it sounds pretty safe. In fact, I’ve ordered some and it should be here later this week.

Our family reunion is Sept 20 and I had hoped the pills would have gotten here earlier (I ordered them about six weeks ago) so there’d be the “WOW” factor when family member saw me, I’m still about 15 pounds lighter than I was last year at our reunion. I have to admit that I haven’t worked as hard at losing weight this year as I did last year, but I’m ready to get back on the wagon and shed the remaining 30-40 pounds (I’m flexible – if 40 happens, great; if 30 happens, great).

I think the Trimspa will really help me in the mindless snacking that I’ve noticed me doing. I’m not hungry, but when I study or write I want to be snacking on something. Since I’m spending more time on the computer at home (doing school work) I am constantly looking for something I can chew on. Even low-calorie, low-fat stuff can be too much if you overdo it. {sigh} So, enter Trimspa.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School Update

I've survived three weeks of school and I've been much busier than I thought I'd be. I knew I'd be busy but there is a lot of writing, which I'm a bit out of practice with. LOL, I know that sounds funny being a technical writer, but it's a totally different type of writing.

I have gotten 100% on all the papers and discussion questions that have been graded. I've missed one point on one quiz and two points on the second quiz. I'm happy with that. The one point I missed on the first one was something I just didn't know; the other two was because I flip-flopped the answers in a multiple-choice environment. After re-reading the questions and the possible answers, I'm not sure I would have changed my answer. They were close in definition.

This term has three more weeks and I know there is a lot left to do. I believe that I can do it.