Archive for Life SKills

The Hunger Games – allegory — p. 3

By | January 23, 2014 | 0 Comments
Real Life Skills or Career Learning?
This is the third post in my series about lessons we can learn from Hunger Games.  Stay tuned for more posts.  The next one is : 4) the separation within and between regions, cultures and communities
Of course, we are cheering for Katniss to win the competition and her potential is telegraphed early on.  To me, one of the most rewarding aspects of her victory is that she learned her skills and wile in the school of hard knocks, as opposed to the “career” tributes who have been trained to compete in the Hunger Games.  I think the ability to learn life skills as a matter of living rather than as lessons or experiences bought is important.  Likewise, I think the ability to enjoy and embrace the work that is self-sufficiency is key.  I think early steps to learning this is simple work around the house.  I don’t think we can underestimate what we learn through mundane work. [1]  1104deer1_t300
   This was underscored for me recently during the very small snow storm in DC.  A friend posted to Facebook and was looking for someone to shovel a path to her door and to dig her car out.  I suggested that she set her daughters to do it.  She told me that her daughters were spoiled (but sweet) and did not do work.  I maintain, that if you set two kids outside with a challenge (and promise of hot cocoa) that they would not see the effort as work, but as a physical challenge.  My father used to pull my toe to get me out of bed to help with shoveling the driveway on snow days in northern PA, where I grew up.  To this day, I truly enjoy shoveling snow.  I generally do it for our own house and our neighbors in the row where we live.   Recently I have even volunteer’s for our city’s snow deployment team — where I am assigned a house to shovel out.  I am sure that I have that perspective because I was engaged in this work from an early age.  To me, for a kid, digging a car out of two inches of snow is not work, it is project management and problem solving and developing a strong sense of self. It is an early introduction to the satisfaction of hard work.

[1] See Leornard Sax’s book Boy’s Adrift where he discusses boy’s lack of engagement in school is because they are so disconnected from nature and the hands on mechanics of how the physical world works, so they are less interested in learning about it in school when they can’t apply it to anything in their world.

The Hunger Games – allegory for our world? (part 1)

By | January 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
I have been wanting to have a conversation with my friend Oscar who is 12 and quite a Hunger Games fan, but he is quite busy with life these days – so alas, I have to take my questions and observations out on the blog.
Over my winter break I read The Hunger Games and watched the movie.  For the record, as usual, the book is much better and more dimensional than the movie. I thought the story was so interesting and provides such a great commentary on American Society today.  My next few blog posts are going to be based on lessons from Hunger Games – I hope you enjoy.  This week’s is about—1) reality TV and its hold on the US.
Upcoming posts will be:  2) the story as a metaphor for personal challenge and lot that we have in life ; 3) the distinction between common sense learned from applied learning and that which comes from “training;”  4) the separation within and between regions, cultures and communities


Katniss Everdeen and The Duck Dynasty—flip sides of the same coin?
What is the difference between the corporate selling of TV programs and The Hunger Games?  On reality TV individuals compete against each other in inane settings, or show their supposed day-to-day lives which are highly contrived and hyperbolic examples of their “beliefs” or ambitions.  As if the programs are not ridiculous enough, they can become fodder for political or social movements.  Katniss
The Hunger Games, which we are to believe are a fantasy world, have the same reality TV element and are a government-sponsored enterprise, to commemorate an uprising in the country. In Hunger Games, tributes are rewarded by commercial sponsors for actions and behaviors that garner greater viewer engagement. What are we telling 14 year olds when they are rewarded for kissing people?  The more they kiss the more rewards they get?  Ick.  And likewise, where genuine feeling and nice gestures (Rue’s funeral scene) are condemned and even personally dangerous?  How do we feel about the fact that subverting authority for the wellbeing of those you care for may garner retribution?  Obviously the story is fiction, but I see it as an allegory that bears discussion for the millions of young people who have watched it.  Likewise, it bears reflection for all of us who might be drawn into any reality TV series where we look at the commercial messages behind them and consider what is motivating the competition