Violence – A Family Tradition: Robbyn Peters Bennett at TEDxBellingham

 

One major problem parents always face everywhere is spanking.

As a repressive, and oftentimes ‘last resort’ method, to constrain children from committing their misdeeds, spanking, or other forms of physical punishment, have often been utilized to ‘straighten up’ them. Nevertheless, as scientific research has advanced, new reports have suggested that despite the benefits these violent methods bring to solve children’s problems, so are the drawbacks: these children become more aggressive, more emotionally provoked, and develop higher tendencies to solve problems primarily through violence, all as by-products of such upbringing.

Robbyn Peters Bennett, a psychotherapist, educator, and child advocate, shares her thoughts on TEDxBellingham on what it takes to develop a wise upbringing to children, all without the necessity to always resort to violence.

Her solutions are radical, but at the same time, uneasy. Listen to her talk to know more why.

The death of a family, and an American dream

brooklyn murder

 

 

One of the United States’ rarest tragedies took place today, precisely in Brooklyn, New York City.

A wife, a child, and three little toddlers: their lives, far before their real success was achieved, ended up abruptly under their mentally unstable cousin’s brutal cleavage-knife attacks. The whole family, one among thousand others hailing from towns, villages, and other settlements surrounding Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, China, which have contributed to new waves of immigration throughout the country in search of the very essence of the American dream, perished, leaving the only surviving member, the husband, and also the father of four, in a deep state of limbo.

Two special reports from The New York Times provide detailed coverage about the family, the murder, and the dismal state of many among the Chinese migrants toiling hard throughout the country, all for the sake of the dream themselves.

First article (The Death of a Family, and an American Dream)

Excerpt:

Mr. Zhuo, 41, was one such worker. His cousin, Mindong Chen, 25, was another. Their divergent paths — one on the way up, the other now charged with murder — lay bare the reality of life in this Chinese community: crushing burdens and relentless poverty, permanent for all but a few.

Mr. Chen’s troubles were there for all to see in his postings on Qzone, a Chinese social media service. “Why is the pressure now so great?” he wrote. “The path has been so difficult.”

Little has been told beyond the Chinese press about the people who died and about Mr. Zhuo, the father left behind, and Mr. Chen, the cousin. He is awaiting a hearing on whether he is mentally competent to stand trial for murder. 

Second article (Before Carnage, Frantic Warnings of Relative’s Odd Behavior)

Excerpt:

The killings tore through the family like a fire: sudden and complete. The five murders in the three-room home on 57th Street, where the children and their parents enjoyed a seemingly ordinary life, the police said, stood out for their brutality and magnitude.

It was “not something that has been seen before in recent memory,” said John J. McCarthy, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.

Chief Banks said the scene was one that was seared into memory. He called the crime an “unspeakable act” visited upon a “normal family.” 

The meaning of life, as explained in doing laundry

Washerwoman

 

 

Collect the clothes, collect the shirts, collect the underpants, get them to the washing machine, dry them, iron them neatly, and fold them in your wardrobes, and this is what most of us (but quite a few bizarre exceptions may apply in this world) will end up doing for the rest of our lifetime.

Or take it to a broader scope. Imagine a scenario like these. Wake up, take a bath, grab a breakfast, chase a bus, get to work, 9 to 5, go back home, take another bath, have a dinner, complete your assignments, and go to sleep, or what have you, probably on weekends you are either going to focus solely on your family or on your own solitude, and again, this is also what most of us (unless you are going to be artists) will end up doing for the rest of our lifetime. Until we age, or perhaps until we get our coffins done.

Stop! One moment, probably driven by your existentialist mind-questioning riddles, you start, at one point, to feel a complete irrelevance, a striking absence of meaning manifested in life itself: what sounds utterly absurd, either that I continue with such mundane, inside-my-box, well-arranged pre-programmed life, or that I commence abruptly ending my daily life rituals, and adopt something most will never do?

Maybe at one point you start envisioning that you should get someone else to complete all your tasks, or to imagine that a scientist somewhere create a robot (say, a real-life Doraemon) that grants all your wishes and does all your jobs while you go on and enjoy your day, or even that you wish something else – whoever that being is – to finish what you have yet completed. But, as time goes by, you recognize the absurdity in your thoughts yourself, and as it goes deeper, deeper than Freudian icebergs, you also start to feel, again, the tastelessness of life, this time on a more abyssal level. You find yourself barely reconciled to the fact that all of us, no more than mundane creatures struggling to survive in such cold and indifferent universe, willingly or not, have been entitled to all these ‘obligations’: we can’t always get it completely done. That you once believe you could really solve all the world’s problems, but you won’t. That you think the world, one day, will end up in a happily-ever-after, merry-going state, but that is only what your mind wishes for. That you believe universe itself has been fine-tuned for life, but that is only what we personally conjure. Slowly, you are reconciled to the fact, that you can’t find the peace outside; it all must be sought inside.

Heather Havrilevsky wants to explain, beyond the mundane task of dirty laundry, literally and figuratively, the philosophy of life itself. Read the full article on Aeon Magazine.

Excerpt:

Of course, back when you were single and untroubled by laundry, were you actually progressing steadily toward greatness? No. You were trying to decide whether to order the pastrami or the roast beef for lunch, or you were getting your hair highlighted while flipping impatiently through a heavy fashion magazine, or you were neurotically reviewing your drunken conversation with a guy you met the night before for clues as to whether or not he was interested.

But this is the strange gift that laundry brings to our lives. Its sheer mass, its magnitude, its ceaselessness make us aspire to greatness, even as such aspirations become less and less possible. When faced with such awesome power, we want to rise up, to harness the best within ourselves, to create something inspiring and wise! Why, then, must we spray stain remover on this little white smock instead? Why must our brilliant thoughts lie fallow, as we gather armfuls of laundry from hampers? One thing stands between you and the enviable career, the lasting legacy that you so richly deserve: dirty laundry.

Dirty laundry also prevents you from communing intimately with your spouse. Surely you’d be uncorking a nice bottle of red, pouring it into glasses, and having a gentle and rambling talk about your day, if not for the numbing, impenetrable nothingness of piles of clean laundry, those folded stacks crowding you on your own bed, rendering impulsive affectionate gestures or intimate touches an impossibility.