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Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids: Carlette Mack

Taken from Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids by Wendy S. Grolnick, Ph.D., and Kathy Seal, published by Prometheus Books.

Contributed by Julia Maher of Los Angeles. Read by Carlette Mack: "This reading appeals to me because in my everyday life, I work to repair struggling relationships between parents and children. This reading examines the importance of the parental relationship, encouraging unconditional love and the personal development of values in both the parent and child." Carlette, Director of Program Services for Covenant House Alaska, has lived in Anchorage for 24 years. She is very passionate about youth issues and dedicated to providing a voice for youth, especially those that are homeless and at-risk. Carlette is on the Board of Directors at the YWCA and an avid bowler.

In the book Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids, Dr. Wendy Grolnick and Kathy Seal examine what it takes to stay connected with your kids.

"Autonomy is the feeling of initiating an action.

When people feel a sense of autonomy, the feeling that what they do derives from them, they're happier. And they perform better, because the enjoyment motivates them to study or practice more, building up their skills.
Some theorists recoil from the idea of autonomy because they connect it to the American archetype of the "rugged individualist." They understand autonomous people as egocentric and separate, rather than being warmly related to their parents, family, and friends.

But that's not my definition. Quite the opposite: autonomy promotes intimacy. It helps you and your child fulfill your basic human need for connection. At first it may seem paradoxical, but promoting a child's feeling of choice and freedom draws you closer."

Conflicting Landscapes: Father Michael Oleksa

Taken from Conflicting Landscapes: American Schooling/Alaska Natives by Clifton Bates and Michael J. Oleksa, published by The Kuskokwim Corporation.

Contributed and read by the Rev. Dr. Michael James Oleksa, who was invited to the Alutiiq village of Old Harbor in 1970. He began researching Native Alaskan history there in 1977, and completed his doctoral dissertation in this field, receiving his Th. D. at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1988. Father Michael's four-part PBS Television series, Communicating Across Cultures, has been widely acclaimed. He currently serves St. Alexis Orthodox church in Anchorage where he resides with his Yup'ik wife, Xenia, and their son Michael.

In Conflicting Landscapes, Clif Bates and I look at education and Alaska Native students.

"Of course we have some success stories. We do have Alaskan Native college graduates. We do have articulate, inspiring Native leaders, ... men and women in various professions around the state. But for every success we have twice as many tragic failures. For every graduate we have two or three drop outs. For every college alumnus we have five times more deaths, accidents, and suicides. For every star we have a dozen black holes.

I have buried too many victims of both suicide and accidents. I have shared the grief and the trauma, the anger and the sadness of elders and parents who have watched as their children drift off into lives of addiction, crime, sickness, suffering and death. And I am convinced that the seedbed out of which these destructive behaviors emerge is the school. Our schools are killing our kids."

The Book of Qualities: Sherri Douglas

Taken from The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler, published by Turquoise Mountain Publications.

Read by Sherri Douglas: "The full moon often stimulates a sense of urgency." Originally from the Land of Lincoln, Sherri is a 25-year resident of Anchorage, where she lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Rosie. She spends her days working with youth in the Anchorage Public Library and her nights mostly reading. Sherri would like you to look at Charity Navigator.

In The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler, 74 human attributes are described with a story. In this one, Urgency is the main character:

"Urgency has the beard of a Hebrew prophet and the eyes of a medieval alchemist. He reads history books in the middle of the night. He stands behind me when I am at the typewriter. He is brilliant, and his thoughts leap across great startling distances, but he expects me to go back and fill in the missing pieces. He is impatient with my tendency to avoid strenuous exercise.

Urgency hates to be late. He runs up the stairs racing the escalator. He works for a messenger service on weekends. He is always on the lookout for allies. If Urgency thinks you may be able to help him, he will sit you down and ask for your life story. First, he wants to find out what motivates you, and then, he listens for what fascinates you."

Ability Development from Age Zero: Chris Zafren

Taken from Ability Development from Age Zero by Shinichi Suzuki, published by Ability Development Associates, Inc.

Contributed and read by Chris Tower Zafren: "Through my daughter's eight years of violin instruction using the Suzuki method and my own attempts to rediscover playing the instrument after a forty-year hiatus, I have come to appreciate music in new ways." Chris has called Anchorage home for over fifty years. After retiring from her Anchorage School District school psychology position, she has had more time for exercising with friends, playing the violin and painting watercolors. Her main passion and delight, however, is raising her amazing daughter with her husband, Ken. She is the president of the Suzuki Association of Southcentral Alaska and is active with the Alaska Watercolor Society.

In Ability Development from Age Zero, Shinichi Suzuki describes meeting Pablo Casals, who said, "Music is not just sound. Maybe music will save the world." Suzuki responded with this comment:

'"Maybe music will save the world. That is, if we work for that purpose. ... There are people who think that art exists for its own sake, but I do not think so. Art exists for the human species. I think that all of the people who love art, those who teach art, and all of you, should burn with the obligation to save the world. It is necessary to be concerned about the importance of educating a really beautiful human spirit."
Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.'

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money: Gunnar Knapp

Excerpted from The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes, published in 1936.

Contributed and read by Gunnar Knapp. Gunnar considers himself lucky to be part of a wonderful family who tolerates his attempts to pursue far more interests than he has time for, including singing, cross-country skiing, and all kinds of learning. He is also a Professor of Economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), where he studies the Alaska fishing industry. Gunnar enjoys listening to radio stations on the internet in various foreign languages at: www.listenlive.eu.

Why do economic theories matter? Here is what the great British economist, John Maynard Keynes, wrote in 1936.

"[T]he ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood.

Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back... [S]oon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."