WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

March 13, 2016

What WordFood are we feeding our daughters?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 6:49 pm

Having never been a parent, nor ever wanting to be one, the issue of how to raise kids doesn’t usually concern me. However, a couple of recent posts on Facebook got me thinking. One was linked to a New York Times article which pointed out how parents tend to baby their girls and warn them of danger rather than encourage them to be brave. The other was about helicopter parents, who, as George Carlin used to point out, would sue the school of their kid’s foot feel asleep from “just standing around.”

Both pointed to behaviors I find troubling, in part because we are at a point where we need strong women, and strong kids in general. The habit of parents to over coddle and warn kids of imminent danger teaches fear and insecurity. This has far more to do with Mommy and Daddy than the kid. Those of us who grew up on farms with a host of dangers to deal with paid the occasional price for an accident. Being a Baby Boomer, I didn’t wear helmets for any sports, and I got my share of bumps. However, as with any child, that’s part of the price we pay to learn what not to do. With girls in particular, the constant shriek of terror from Mommy every time her adventurous daughter decides to try something new is precisely the wrong message. While I’m not saying that you should let your kid climb the ladder to the roof, why not climb it WITH her and teach her how?

When I left the Army in 1976, I was treated to the beginning of a movie Renaissance with the May opening that year of “Aliens” with Sigourney Weaver. The Lieutenant Ripley character has been my point of reference ever since. A no prisoners, smart, savvy, competent woman who deals with fear, depression, has mothering instincts and shows love, and still takes on the nastiest creature in the Universe. The message that I got out of the movie was that one doesn’t forfeit our womanhood by being brave. If anything, by not learning to be courageous, we teach our girls to be timid, apologetic, fearful and ridiculous.

By ridiculous, I point to every single time I hear some nitwit scream because she sees a roach, a snake, a wasp, a spider, or any creepy crawly. It’s an embarrassment to me personally and it’s an embarrassment to all women in general. It’s not cute to be afraid, the NYT author said, and I totally agree. Life is full of dangers, whether a poisonous snake or an abuser. Without learning courage, our daughters become easy victims.

I would invite all parents who have daughters to start watching your language. Are you feeding your kids fear? Are you teaching timidity? My veteran buddy Grace Tiscareno-Sato has a blind daughter who is an overachiever and she takes school and sports and just about all the world can hand her. Grace has fed her a steady diet of support and encouragement. She has her daughter’s back, rather than trying to protect her. As a result, her daughter is gutsy and brave and against all odds, incredibly self assured.

Watch that you don’t project your own fears onto your kids. Encourage. Challenge. Have their backs. Put a bandaid on the boo boo or a cast on that broken arm. Let the kids learn. Otherwise we cripple them with fear.

August 9, 2013

JunkFood We Feed Ourselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 5:01 pm

The other morning at 5 am, dressed in a neon bright pair of Lycra gym pants, mountain hiking boots and high socks, a weighted vest and bright pink shirt and a ball cap, I set out to do my 6.5 mile walk along the major roads near my house. Now this is to accomplish several things: break in my hiking boots, break in my feet to long hikes, build my endurance, and generally challenge my strength. Why? As mentioned earlier in this space, I have a forty mile hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in November, and to do that well, you have to train for it. The best way to train for long hikes is to, well, hike. Since I’ll be carrying a 20-lb day pack, I don a weighted vest, the same one I wear to build leg strength out at Red Rocks when I climb the stairs.

So as the sun eased into the cloudy sky and I walked the sidewalk along the broad thoroughfares near my house, I bid good morning to fellow walkers, runners and cyclists. One man jerked his dog away from me when I spoke kindly to it. Two elderly women gave me the hairy eyeball when I cheerily bid them a good day.

At 6:12, I made out the sound of a siren. A female cop was waving me over, so I pulled out my earbuds and walked to her vehicle. She got out and as she approached, she started laughing. ” We got a call about a dangerous person in a bulletproof vest wandering the neighborhood,” she said. “Yah,” I said, “Some terrorist, in bright neon pants walking along all the major streets in full sight,” I chuckled.

Then I thought, how many people, terrified by overwrought police procedurals and Hollywood blockbusters, are aiming their double aughts at me from their kitchens without thinking? More than I want to know. So mid morning I was at the station with my vest, meeting the cops and giving them my ID. They are going to contact me first if there’s another fearful call, and give me fair warning about my neighbors, not the other way around. And I also just bought a bright orange safety vest.

The world changed for us after 9-11, but we also allow ourselves to be fed junk food through the programs we watch and radio we hear. Whether we are radicals or Republicans or regular Reggie, we take a diet of information that feeds our fears. If we believe we are in imminent danger, which most of us most assuredly are not, especially in my bucolic little Colorado neighborhood, then we’re likely to act out of unreasonable alarm. We don’t ask intelligent questions, like what operative would be wearing eye-searing colors and be on the major roads, or attack a calm little neighborhood when higher value targets are far more important, like the airport? Nobody thinks. We just react, out of fear. In my mind, this is how the terrorist has already won the war.

I’ve told this story to friends, who have shared both the laugh and the realization that this is the world we now live in. But everyone has a choice. What we feed ourselves, the pap that is on the talk radio shows, the overblown, overstated, out-of-proportion sensationalism that is presented as “facts” that have caused the average American to not trust his neighbor. I continue to believe in the intrinsic good of my neighbors and my country. But I shudder to think about how many of them have guns, and would have used them on me out of irrational panic yesterday morning.

Roosevelt said it years ago: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” That is even more true today than during the Second World War. It’s important to consider what Junk WordFood you’re feeding yourself. If that diet is causing you to stockpile guns, fear your neighbors, hate your government, call the cops on an athlete in training or lock yourself inside, well. I’d seriously consider the cost to my psyche, my love of country, and my well-being, and shut down the source. And reclaim the happiness that is my birthright.

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