May 29

Generation Me: College Students Lack Empathy

In an age where people are more connected than ever, through twitter, Facebook, email, cell phones, etc., it’s a bit disheartening to learn that a recent study revealed that college students are lacking in empathy compared to students just 30 years ago, with the largest drop in empathy occurring within the last 10 years. These findings are based on a review of 72 studies of 14,000 students between 1979 and 2009.

As disappointing as this news is, I don’t find it all that surprising. College kids today are just a reflection of the times they are growing up in and self-focus seems to be the norm these days. Just take a good look at the majority of the most successful people in our country. Those at the top, the rich and powerful, are the ones who are able to set aside concern for the welfare of people and do whatever it takes to make that almighty dollar. Empathy has no place in a world where the focus is on wanting more, getting more, and having more.

Social networks may be making it easier for us to stay in touch with friends and family, but are they really helping us to connect or are they simply another form of vanity? Another way of telling the world to “look at me.” When we post a tweet on twitter or update our Facebook pages, are we really thinking about the people we’re talking to? Are we really connecting with them, understanding how they feel, what they think, who they are? Do we even care or are we too busy with our own lives? When we read about someone else having problems or a painful time in their lives, do we stop and connect with that, feel their pain and reach out, or do we think to ourselves “awww, that’s too bad” and then move on to the next post, barely feeling anything at all?

Take this empathy quiz and find out how empathetic you are. You might be surprised with the results.

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May 15

What’s So Special About Facebook?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  In this photo ill...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Really. I’m asking for an explanation because I don’t get it. I signed up for a facebook account once, about a year ago. I logged into it twice, maybe three times, and then never went back. I don’t even know if the account is still there.

I know so many people whose whole lives seem to revolve around it and when I tell them I’m not on facebook, they give me this horrified look, as if some three headed monster has suddenly sprouted out of my head. “How can you not be on facebook?” But, honestly, I don’t miss facebook at all and I don’t feel that my social life is stunted without it. I still communicate regularly with the people who matter in my life. I’m still able to share pictures and important events. When I want to know what’s going on with someone, I pick up the phone and call them or send a more personal email, instead of posting messages for everyone to see.

I’m able to do all that and not worry about security issues or privacy issues. I don’t have to worry about whether or not THEY are protecting my personal information the way they are supposed to. I don’t worry about whether or not they are selling my data to anyone willing to pay for it for marketing purposes. I don’t worry about adding “friends” who may end up not being friends after all. All these things may be minor issues blown out of proportion by the media. But then again, maybe they aren’t. Either way, it doesn’t really matter much to me.

What I’m wonder is… should it? I’m interested in hearing what YOU think.

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May 12

Overtime Can Give You A Heart Attack

Have you heard about the latest British medical study, which found that working overtime increases the risk of heart disease by 60 percent? People who work 10 hours or more a day are more likely to to develop heart disease and/or have a heart attack than people who work only 7 hours a day.

I’m not surprised by this study one bit. I have long believed that it’s wrong for employers to expect their employees to behave like robots, focusing on their job to the exclusion of their families and personal lives. US employers are the worst and US employees have some of the longest work days combined with the least amount of annual vacation time of just about any other major country.

I’m a firm believer in a balanced life. I love my job, but I love my personal life just as much. When I’m at work, I give it 100% of my best effort, but when the day is done, I go home and leave my job behind and I refuse, except in cases of absolute emergency, to allow my job to bleed over into my private life. Some employers might view this as a negative; I view it as a definite benefit. It keeps me from burning out and allows me to return to work each day refreshed and ready to go.

Thanks to this interesting study, I now know it’s good for my heart, too.

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May 10

Betty White on SNL

I’ve never been much of a fan of Saturday Night Live but when I heard about Betty White‘s recent appearance as host of SNL, I had to go and watch it for myself. I’ve been a big fan of Betty White since her Golden Girl days and I admit I still watch Golden Girls reruns several times a week. No matter how many times I’ve seen each and every episode, her Rose character still cracks me up with that goofy personality. I’m glad to see that, at 88 years old, Betty White is still as funny and entertaining as ever. She’s a joy to watch and more than capable of cracking me up.

Watch it on Hulu!

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Ven's Rating: ★★★★★ 

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May 9

The Value of Mom

According to Salary.com, if moms were actually paid for everything they do, a stay-at-home mom would earn approximately $118,000 per year and a working mom would earn approximately $72,000 a year in addition to the salary from her career. While those salary estimates are impressive, I don’t think they come even close to measuring the value of a mom.

The value of a mom comes from so much more than the cooking, cleaning, and other tasks she does day in and day out. The true value of mom comes from things that can’t possibly be measured in tangible ways. Things like love, support and the sense of identity we get from out mothers. Whether you spend your life trying to be like mom or trying not to be like mom, your mom and her influence on your life effects who you are and everything you do. Even the absence of a mother figure in your life will have an impact on who you are.

Throughout my life I’ve had many ups and downs with my mom. We have very different personalities and often disagree on things. In spite of it all, my mom is a very important person in my life. When I have exciting news to share, she’s the first person I call. When life deals me a painful blow, it’s my mom’s shoulder I cry on. I may not always like my mom’s advice and many times I don’t take it, but I can’t imagine making an important decision without at least hearing it first. She’s a stable force in my life. I can always count on her to be there and I know she’ll do anything for me. She may not always like me or the things I do, but I know without a doubt she LOVES me, absolutely and unconditionally. She’s my mom and I love her.

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day, today and every day.

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