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Know the educational side of social networking sites

Saturday, June 21st, 2008
by Sue

Those hooked to social networking sites like Orkut, MySpace and Facebook, do not just kill their time online, but learn a range of new things, says a new University of Minnesota study, which has detailed the educational benefits of such websites.Orkut

Countering all the previous findings, this first-of-its kind study has also highlighted that low-income students are in many ways just as technologically savvy as their well-off counterparts.

The study was carried out for six months on students of thirteen urban high schools in the Midwest, between ages 16 to 18, belonging to families whose incomes were at or below the county median income (at or below 25,000 dollars) and who were taking part in an after school program, Admission Possible, aimed at improving college access for low-income youth.

It was found that 94 percent of the students participating in the study used the Internet, 8MySpace2 percent go online at home and 77 percent had a profile on a social networking site.

On being asked what they learn from using social networking sites, the students listed technology skills as the top lesson, followed by creativity, being open to new or diverse views and communication skills.

Other than the surveyed students, a follow-up, randomly selected subset were asked questions about their Internet activity as they navigated MySpace.

“What we found was that students using social networking sites are actually practicing the kinds of 21st century skills we want them to develop to be successful today,” saidFacebook Christine Greenhow, a learning technologies researcher in the university’s College of Education and Human Development and principal investigator of the study.

She added: “Students are developing a positive attitude towards using technology systems, editing and customizing content and thinking about online design and layout. They’re also sharing creative original work like poetry and film and practicing safe and responsible use of information and technology. The Web sites offer tremendous educational potential.”

Refrain from these common mistakes in relationship

Friday, June 20th, 2008

RelatiopnshipsPeople often wonder what the most important aspect of a relationship is. Is it compatibility? Having things in common, the same religious or political beliefs? What about honesty or getting along; never fighting? No, being able to talk is the key; communication, because, as long as you can talk and respect each other’s views, then you have a healthy relationship.

So, when trying to communicate with your partner, what are some things to avoid? Well,Talking and Yelling one common mistake people make is the manner in which they talk to their partner. Unless you are attending a college class, you probably do not like to be lectured. Well, your partner is the same way. So if you have a problem with some aspect of the relationship, don’t sit down with them and just lecture or yell at them. Communication is a two-way street. Talk to them, and then listen to them.

Next is honesty. If there is something about your partner that is bothering you, or someHonesty aspects of the relationship that you feel needs to be worked on - say so. Nothing hurts a couple more than one person holding something inside and letting it fester there. It will only serve to poison your feelings, and sour the relationship. Sometimes, this can be very difficult. If your partner is opposed to having children, and you really want them, this can lead to a break up. Yet, far better you separate than remain together and both end up unhappy. Or, on the other hand, by talking about something, you may find that they share your views, and the matter can easily be agreed to. Finally, there is the option of compromise. Maybe you can’t work things out to perfection. But, if you are both truly dedicated to the relationship, you should be willing to find common ground.

One very ordinary mistake people make when trying to talk about something is not doing just that. They start out talking about an important issue and then get side-tracked. This often happens when one of you brings up something that is painful for the other to dealHealthy Relations with; you will change the subject in order to defend yourself. As tempting as this may be, don’t do it. Keep your focus on the matter at hand.

It is said that our lives are very full these days. Work, family, hobbies etc. fill up our time and make a simple conversation something you almost have to do online via instant messaging! This can lead to another common mistake for a couple: either putting a conversation off or trying to do it in the midst of the chaos of their lives. Talking means doing just that! So, the two of you find a nice comfortable place to do it, and eliminate distractions. Also, don’t wait until the last minute right before bed to try and have a heavy-duty serious chat. That is the time to discuss a sexual fantasy, not whether or not you should buy a new car!

This may sound odd, but sometimes you need to make a date to talk to your partner. These days, we schedule so much in our lives, why not a time to talk? And, it doesn’t have to be a very complex matter. Something as simple as deciding that every Sunday morning the two of you go out to breakfast can do it. A nice local diner, the Sunday paper, and some privacy. You eat, chat, read, and then discuss anything that is truly important. A relationship is like anything else in this world; it has to be worked on, fed, and nurtured if it is to grow and live and develop into something lasting.

Healthy Relations

Living with a mission

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Mission StatementCompanies use mission statements to let people know why they are in existence. Their mission statement could contain information about who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Although corporate mission statements vary greatly, each serves as a guide for the company, its employees, and the general public. But how many of us have personal mission statements? Informal research suggests that few people use detailed written mission statements in their own lives. Sure, most people have some idea where they are going and what they hope to accomplish in life but few have actually written a formal mission statement. What are the benefits of having a written personal mission statement? First, it’s easier to define the actions and goals that will help you achieve your vision. It serves as a roadmap to get you where you want to go. A mission statement allows you to measure your current reality and your progress toward your ideal life. It also allows you to evaluate your values and incorporate them into your daily life.

A mission statement is simply a statement of what guides you, what inspires you, or what you want to accomplish in your life. There are many different ways to approach writing a personal mission statement, but an effective statement can be written in four simple steps. First, list one to three values or principles that you live by and why these are important to you. If you have more than three values on your list, order them by importance to you and select the top three. Next, list the things that bring you happiness, inspire, and satisfy you. This would include the things you do best and most enjoy doing. Then list the things you’ve always wanted to do or the legacy that you would like to leave. These three lists will be combined and used to write your personal mission statement.

An effective mission statement will be simple, clear and brief (between 2-5 sentences). There are many different ways to combine these three lists into a personal mission statement. The first method is to use your own words and combine each of your three lists into a meaningful statement. The second method is to use a template and fill in the blanks with your answers from the above exercises. There are many templates available online that can guide you to crafting a mission statement. Here are a few of my favorite templates:

I value [1-3 values] because [why these are important to you]. I will [what you will do to live by these values].

To live each day with [1-3 values or principles], so that [what living these values will give you]. I will do this by [specific behaviors].

To treasure above all else [most important things to you] by [what you can do to live priorities].

As you write your personal mission statement, remember to keep it simple, clear and brief. Be sure to state everything in the present tense and keep it positive. If there are any negative statements, restate or redirect them to positive statements. Make your personal mission statement part of your everyday life – keep it handy and review it frequently as you schedule your daily or weekly activities. You will find that your mission statement may continue to change and evolve as you do. Revisit it often and make any necessary changes. And finally, keep in mind that you will get what you focus on. The more effort and focus you give to living your mission statement, the more results you will see in your life.


Sincere thanks to ‘Difficult People’ because…

Friday, June 20th, 2008

1. They help us settle with parts of ourselves we’ve avoided facing. Coming into conflict with people often forces us to draw on resources we’ve forgotten, and perhaps even refused to acknowledge, that we have. For instance, I remember a few opposing lawyers whom I couldn’t stand dealing with. I felt they were rude and overly aggressive, but my deeper problem with them was how often I had to say “no” when I interacted with them.

2. They remind us how much we’ve grown over time. Recalling a difficult interaction we had with someone a long time ago can remind us how far our development has come today. For example, I used to harbor a grudge against a woman who ended her intimate relationship with me many years ago. I believed she did it in a demeaning way and I felt angry at her.

Today, however, when I think about the conversation where she broke up with me, I actually feel peaceful and empowered. I see how personally I took the things she said, and how painfully afraid I was of living without her, and I know I wouldn’t react in those ways to the breakup if it happened today. I’m a stronger and more self-sufficient person now, and although I enjoy intimate relationships I don’t need them to feel like a complete human being.

The memory of my last conversation with her serves as a progress report showing how much I’ve matured since then. I’m grateful to her because, if she’d never been in my life, I wouldn’t have such a clear indicator today of how far I’ve come.

3. They help us admire ourselves for overcoming obstacles. Difficult people help improve our ability to handle challenges, and when we deal with those challenges effectively we gain self-respect. I had a professor in college, for instance, who was known to be particularly harsh in his grading. I probably spent more nights studying into the early morning for his tests than I did for the other courses I took combined. I defied my own expectations by acing the class.

Today, I fondly look back on this man’s course, and my dealings with him, as examples of how tough and persistent I can be. I’m grateful to him for helping me respect and admire myself.

4. They help us make important life decisions. People who, in our view, “give us a hard time” often help motivate us to change our circumstances in positive and fulfilling ways. For instance, I know a number of people who changed their careers, at least in part, because they got tired of dealing with what they saw as their overly demanding and critical superiors. They might not have the career satisfaction they have today if their old bosses hadn’t been as tough to deal with.

5. They help us see our opportunities to grow. Uncomfortable interactions with people can make us aware of places where we don’t fully love or accept ourselves, and where we could stand to develop more appreciation and compassion for who we are. One example stands out from a job I had when I was just out of college. A woman in the office, who seemed consistently stressed and angry, used to call me “what’s-your-name” when demanding I do things for her. I’d feel very distressed when she called me that, and I’d experience a burning sensation in my chest and upper back.

A few years later, as I reflected on this memory, it occurred to me that I got so upset when she talked to me that way because I had such an aching need to be acknowledged by others. I needed people to constantly tell me I was important and praise my accomplishments, and thus when this woman treated me like I was nobody I felt terribly anxious.

When I had this realization, I started taking up practices to dissolve this need—to develop a sense of wholeness even without constant acknowledgment from others. I wouldn’t have the peace I have today if this woman—whose name I, ironically, don’t remember—hadn’t been there to show me where I didn’t fully accept myself and needed others’ approval to feel complete. And I can genuinely say I’m thankful she came into my life.

ABC of most difficult thing… Self forgiveness

Thursday, June 19th, 2008
by Sck

We’ve been taught from a young age to forgive others. But no one ever guides us through the wisdom and healing that self forgiveness can bring. This article stresses the importance of self forgiveness for health, success and spiritual growth.“Tell your sister you forgive her, go on…” my parents would say to me. And with much resistance, I would comply.

“Fine, I forgive you.”

This is a typical story about how we learn to forgive. In our society, forgiveness is just words, words meant to smooth the surface of a well of emotions so that life can go onSelf forgiveness without confronting real issues and feelings. It gives us an avenue to hide those unacceptable thoughts that are brewing in our minds. And it teaches us several things:

Anger is wrong.

You are not supposed to talk about how you feel.

You must hide your emotions.

You are expected to lie about your feelings.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean anything.

Most of us grew up really believing that forgiveness is just a word, that you say it just to get along and avoid confrontation. Even though we forgive people on the surface, we hold anger, resentment and hurt on the inside, and we replay old events like videotapes in our minds.

Forgiveness of self goes against many beliefs that you may have picked up as a child. Some of these may be:

Serve others before serving yourself.

Putting yourself first is selfish and egotistical.

I’m a bad boy/bad girl.

I’m a burden.

Forgiving means giving up.

Take a moment and clear your head. On a scale of 1 – 10, ten being high, how much do Self forgivenessyou love yourself? How much do you deserve to be loved? Most people will rate themselves as less than a 10 on both counts. Imagine, as you walk down the street, most of the people that you run into don’t love themselves.

Is that the way you want to live your life? Punishing yourself? Not liking who you are, or feeling that you don’t deserve? Many people develop health issues because of hidden feelings of self punishment and feeling like they don’t deserve. The subconscious mind holds and protects your belief system. Your beliefs create your thoughts, your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings create your responses.

If you believe that you are bad and must be punished, your subconscious mind will create the situations for that to manifest. Maybe you will get into an accident, maybe people will betray you, or maybe you will get sick. All these are just symptoms of an inner belief that is not serving you. In fact it is hurting you.

Now, for some this may sound a bit out there. You may be thinking “I have an inner mind that’s trying to hurt me?” It’s not what it seems. The subconscious mind forms your inner programming when you are a child – it’s job is to take in all the information and insert it somewhere in your belief system so that you are “fully programmed” by 7 or 8 years old. This part of your mind does not discern between positive or negative, it just absorbs information from your parents, your teachers, pastor, friends, even TV. That, in turn, becomes your program, running in the background.

If your programming says that you are bad, or need to be punished, can you see that this might cause you to be resistant to forgiving yourself? Take a moment to write down what some of your beliefs might be – the ones that might not be serving you.

Starting the forgiveness process:Self forgiveness

You have done things to hurt yourself and others.

So has everyone else in the world.

Realize that you have always, unconsciously, run off your inner programming.

So has everyone else in the world.

Based on that programming, you have always done the best you could.

So has everyone else in the world.

Every baby born in this life deserves to be loved.

You deserve to be loved.

You have punished yourself long enough – even prisoners go free after serving their time.

Definition of Forgiveness:

Forgiveness is more than just a word, it is a feeling, an emotion much like love.

Forgiveness does not mean to forget.

Forgiveness does not excuse what was done, things may still have to be put right.

Forgiveness does not give permission to hurt someone else or myself again.

Forgiveness does not mean I have to tell anybody.

Forgiveness is a sign of strength and courage.

Forgiveness allows me to regain my control and personal power.

Forgiveness means I no longer allow myself to think negatively about myself or an event.

Forgiveness dissolves blame.

Forgiveness heals all hurts and illness, nourishes hungers, strengthens weaknesses.

Forgiveness neutralizes feelings and emotions.

Forgiveness sets me free.

Forgiveness is the greatest healer – it clears the debris of your past so that your body, mind and spirit can be balanced. Anger, resentment and hurt all create huge imbalances that manifest as blocks in your life, health, relationships, success and more. Shame, guilt and fear are released though this process.

Then close your eyes…imagine, or pretend if you must, that you can feel this feeling. Let your life pass before your eyes – all the things you did to others, all that you have done to yourself. Forgive yourself for everything you can – maybe you can do it all at once, maybe you can’t. Maybe you need to forgive yourself for one thing a day, the important thing is to start. Find one thing that you can forgive yourself for, and choose to do it.

Separate yourself from the things you did – you are not those things. You caused them to happen, either involuntarily or on purpose. But that is not who you are. It is what you have done. Who you are is underneath all the things you have done, it’s underneath all the pain you have caused, for yourself and for others. Those things are just results. Step back and imagine looking at your life from a distance. Would a stranger condemn you forever for what you have done? Would God not forgive you? Ask yourself for forgiveness, then grant it. You have the power.

Forgiveness is a choice. Here you are at the crossroads of your life. Do you want things to continue on as they have in the past? Or are you ready for things to change? Forgiving yourself is the first step to miracles. Are you ready?

Self forgiveness

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