Friday, February 13, 2015

Thoughts on love at Valentines Day from a favorite former GPS speaker Dr Christine Carter

Three Risky Ways to Fall Deeply in Love

Love comes from action, not waiting to be adored.
Love feels magical and biological--something that just happens to us, something beyond our control. Research shows, however, that love is better thought of as behavioral--or even transactional. Yes, hormones play a role, but much more important is how we act with with the object of our affection. We do certain things, and those actions foster the emotions we associate with being in love. According to researcher Barbara Fredrickson, author of Love 2.0, we create our feelings of love, day after day. Or we don't create them, and love fades.

So what actions lead to love? Here are three in honor of Valentine's Day, all based on fostering vulnerability. Before you run for the woods, hear me out. Yes, vulnerability can be uncomfortable because it involves, by definition, emotional exposure, uncertainty, and risk. But vulnerability allows trust and intimacy to develop and deepen, creating strong feelings of connection and love.

Action #1: Take a risk together.
Researchers think we tend to unconsciously conflate the high-arousal induced by doing something risky with the high-arousal of intense attraction--the two states feel similar. This creates a similar biochemistry and physiology as when we are first falling in love. This Valentine's Day, go straight for that adrenaline rush by doing something risky. Venture to an unknown place that feels a little daunting. Visit a karaoke bar, and actually sing. Try a new sport, one where you risk feeling silly or uncoordinated.

Action #2: Get naked...emotionally.
What can you reveal to your partner that he or she doesn't already know about you? Ask your date intimate questions to which you aren't sure you know the answer. We come to like people more when we engage in escalating, gradual back-and-forth "personal self-disclosure."

Researchers have long been able to create profound feelings of being in love through self-disclosure (even between strangers!). Check out the 36 questions that Arthur Aron and his colleagues used to do this in the lab. And don't forget: How you respond when your partner is making him or herself vulnerable is also important. (Hint: turn off your phone and pay attention.)

Action #3: Gaze into each other's eyes.
Directly, for four full minutes. Set a timer. Don't talk. Breathe. Relax.

This technique has been widely cited as a part of the experiment by Arthur Aron and pals--though I haven't been able to find reference to it in a published study. Still, this seems like a very solid tactic for creating feelings of intimacy and love.

Stanford researcher Fred Luskin has people do this in his workshops, and it definitely creates big feelings of vulnerability. (Which is good, remember. The exposure is terrifying, but that is what we are after here.)

Take Action: Choose one or more of the three actions above to do with your Valentine and then make a plan for making it happen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ron Lieber at GPS event on February 4, 2015

Ron Lieber is on a financial mission. He wants parents to understand that teaching their children about money management is a way of giving their children the tools that will help them achieve happy, productive and successful lives.

            The Personal Finance columnist for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and author of the new book The Opposite of Spoiled, Lieber gave a thought-provoking presentation to parents on the evening of February 4th at Glenbard South as part of the Glenbard Parent Series.

            “Spoiled is what happens to kids. They are not born that way” says Lieber. Teaching kids about “financial literacy” makes use of essential character traits namely: prudence, curiosity, grit, generosity, modesty and perseverance.

            To train kids in financial literacy Lieber suggests that parents start by using allowance as a tool. Three categories kids should become familiar with are saving, spending and giving. Within the spending category parents need to teach their children the difference between “need” and “want.”

            Lieber suggests that parents determine a “threshold line” when determining need versus want, that amount they are willing to pay for an item. If kids want to spend above that threshold then they should be responsible for paying the difference.

            Household chores should not be a contingent of a child’s allowance. Lieber believes that kids need to understand that every family member has a duty to help maintain their home.  He also thinks it is a good idea to show your kids your household’s monthly expenses. This gives them a real sense as to how much it takes to care for a family.

            Generosity comes to children naturally at a very early age.  Having kids help determine the charities that parents give to can be very instructive and is a concrete demonstration of gratitude that kids can more easily grasp.

            Research shows that decisions about money are mostly driven by emotions not hard information. In a sense, discussions about money with your kids are discussions about their emotions. One of the most valuable lessons imparted is that of delayed gratification and teaching your children financial literacy will foster more self-reliant kids.

Suzanne Burdett is a Glenbard parent and a freelance writer

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Glenbard Parent Naazish YarKhan shares an excellent
NPR podcast on the things that shape us

In "How to Become Batman," Alix and Lulu examine the surprising effect that our expectations can have on the people around us.  If we can get parents, teachers and kids to listen to this, and have a discussion, this could be the most inspiring lesson they will ever get. "How to Become Batman," impacts the way we parent, teach, the way we deal with the sick & disadvantaged, the shape our own lives can take.