Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pediatricians should talk with parents about guns and their children.

From Science Daily on 01/28/19 -

Paradoxically, as overall firearm ownership decreased in U.S. households with young children from 1976 to 2016, the proportion of these families who owned handguns increased. This shift in firearm preferences over decades from mostly rifles to mostly handguns coincided with increasing firearm-mortality rates in young children, researchers report Jan. 28, 2019, in Pediatrics.

"Almost 5 million children live in homes where at least one firearm is stored loaded and unlocked," Kavita Parikh, M.D., a pediatric hospitalist at Children's National Health System, and co-authors write in an invited commentary. "This study is a loud and compelling call to action for all pediatricians to start open discussions around firearm ownership with all families and share data on the significant risks associated with unsafe storage. It is an even louder call to firearm manufacturers to step up and innovate, test and design smart handguns, inoperable by young children, to prevent unintentional injury," Dr. Parikh and colleagues continue.
The Children's commentators point to the "extremely dangerous" combination of "the small curious hands of a young child" and "the easily accessible and operable, loaded handgun" and suggest that pediatricians who counsel families about safely storing weapons tailor messaging to the weapon type and the family's reason for owning a firearm.
For more click here.

Editor's note:
  • There are more than 393 million guns in circulation in the United States — approximately 120.5 guns for every 100 people.
  • 1.7 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns - 1 out of 3 homes with kids have guns.
  • In 2015, 2,824 children (age 0 to 19 years) died by gunshot and an additional 13,723 were injured.
  • For more click here.

Dads Who Change Diapers in Public Get Help From New York Law

From Governing on 01/07/19

Change is coming to men's restrooms in New York -- and it's going to be a big help to fathers all over the state.
A new law requires all new or renovated buildings in New York that have bathrooms used by the public to make changing tables available to both men and women.
The rule, which passed in April 2018 but didn't go into effect until the new year, applies to restaurants, stores and movie theaters as well as state facilities such as parks and offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
For more click here.
Editor's note:
Another law which influences social change in enhancing the equality of the sexes. This law influences changes in norms and attitudes in a positive direction.

Monday, January 28, 2019

MBH index - People killed by police in U.S.

  • Number of people killed by police in the United States in 2015 = 995
  • Number of people killed by police in the United States in 2016 = 963
  • Number of people killed by police in the United States in 2017 = 987
  • Number of people killed by police in the United States in 2018 = 998
For more click here.

Books - The Square and The Tower by Niall Ferguson

Two organizing ideas about how society is organized can be described as hierarchies and networks. Both have existed throughout human history. 

Understanding social organization is important because the structures and dynamics of the ways of organizing social life at a marcosystemic level influence behavior at the microsystemic level.

Most of the macrosystemic organizing structures and dynamics are unconscious and as such, people don't understand why they think what they think, why they feel what they feel, and why they do what they do. The individual and the micro systems the individual is partipating in are influenced by higher level forces and dynamics. Knowing what they are is the source of social power.

Niall Ferguson does a good job tracing the operation of hierarchies and networks over the human history. Significant changes in human society were advanced with the printing press, transportation systems, and especially the internet in the last 25 years.

Ferguson points out that the democratization of society which the internet promises has been replaced by the manipulation of huge oligapolies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. As we have seen in our last election in the U.S. in 2016, and with the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the manipulation of these communication mediums for the purpose of propogandizing populations is undermining the ability of citizens to rationally decide policy options for their governance.

The use of these communication systems to advance special interests which may run counter to the welfare of societies is a huge new threat in our modern age.

It is easy to manipulate people who don't know they are being manipulated. Raising the consciousnesses of the targets of these propoganda efforts is important to restore integrity to democratic processes.

Understanding the structure of the society within which one participants is a major contributor to healthy functioning.

The Square and The Tower is a book with important ideas. It earns a 5 out of 5 on the MBH book rating scale.

Federal Judge blocks Trump administration new rule letting employer health insurance deny birth control coverage

From Governing on 01/15/19
A federal judge in Philadelphia on Monday barred the Trump administration from implementing new rules that would let almost any employer deny female employees coverage for birth control by citing religious or moral objections.
U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone found that the new regulations would make it more difficult for thousands of women to obtain no-cost contraception currently mandated under the Affordable Care Act and inflict an undue burden on states who would step in to pick up the tab.
For more click here.
Editor's note:
The ability to control and manage one's fertility is a significant factor in quality of life decisions which affect not only individuals but couples, families, communities, and the world.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

What is Bowen's idea of "differentiation?"

This is the first of several articles about major concepts in Murray Bowen's family systems theory.

Bowenian Family Systems theory has been a major cognitive map or model which informs my psychotherapy practice. It assists me in thinking and understanding my client's situations and I often share Bowen's ideas with my clients in the hope that understanding Bowenian concepts will be helpful to them in enhancing their self knowledge and in being purposeful and intentional in their interactions with others.

The topic of this article is on "differentiation."

Differentiation is simply "self knowledge," one of the major components of what is called "Emotional Intelligence."

How well do you understand what makes you tick? People who understand what makes them tick are described in collogquial terms as "having their shit together." Some people "have their shit together" and some people don't. Of perhaps a better way to think about this is "To what extent do I and other people have their shit together?"

This idea of self knowledge is based on Socrates statement that "an unexaminded life is not worth living." To what extent do you or others live an examined life? In psychology this capacity for examining one's own functioning is called "reflective functioning."

When the idea of differentiation is applied to our every day functioning, it makes one consider whether one's behavior is "reactive" or "responsive." Reactive means that your buttons get pushed and you just engage in a knee jerk response with no thought or impulse control. Responsive means that you are able to resist impulsively reacting, step back, get yourself and the situation into perspective, and then decide how to proceed in a purposeful and deliberate way.

The goal in life is to always be responsive and never be reactive. Jesus, Buddha, and other enlightened masters were always responsive 100% of the time. They were enlightened, self realized, self actualized human beings. Few of us become "masters."  If a person can be responsive 80% of the time and reactive only 20% of the time, they have become very mature, semi - awakened human beings.

The idea of differentiation can be useful in assessing marital, family, and organizational functioning because the level of differentiation of the individual has significant consequences for marriages, families, and organizations. These idea will be shared in the next article.

To be continued

Movies - On the Basis Of Sex

On The Basis of Sex is a movie about Ruth Bader Ginsberg's early life and career establishing her expertise in  advocating for women's rights in the U.S. in the later half of the twentieth century.

It is a five out of five on the MBH movie scale and is highly recommended.

Editor's note:
This is not only a biographical story about RBG but a good example of how social change is made in an intentional and deliberate way.

The norms, attitudes, beliefs, practices of a society are highly influenced in a democracy by the "rule of law." The impact of the changes in women's rights in a patriarchal society made by Ruth Bader Ginsberg's and others efforts are enormous. What is taken for granted today and "just the way things are" has not always been the case, and the recipients in todays society of the changes made by those who came before us deserve recognition, acknowledgement, and support.

This movie is informative on multiple levels and inspirational. It filled me with gratitude for the work that has been done to improve the lives of people in our society by what are called in Unitarian Universalism, "Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love."