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Cheryl Strayed on pain, letting go, and self-help for Donald Trump.

Cheryl Strayed didn’t start out to be a self-help writer.

In 2012, she was poised to be best known as the author of the forthcoming memoir "Wild", a book that sparked the return of Oprah's famed Book Club and would ultimately be turned into an Academy Award nominated film starring Reese Witherspoon.


Cheryl and Reese at the 2014 Golden Globes. Photo by Steve Granitz/Getty Images.

But one month before the book's release, the writer revealed herself to not just be a woman who had traveled the Pacific Crest Trail and written about it but also the anonymous columnist behind the wildly popular online advice column Dear Sugar. She would now forever be known as more than just a talented author. She was the woman who had helped thousands of strangers deal with some of the most intimate problems in their lives with unflinching honesty, humor, and compassion.

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

Shortly thereafter, a selection of those columns — her responses to letters about everything from grief, marriage, and incest to addiction, money, and sex — were compiled in the the New York Times best-selling "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar," a book I've read so much the cover is hanging on by a thread. New York magazine called "Tiny Beautiful Things," "the self-help book women can't stop giving to each other" and it's now the basis for an upcoming HBO series of the same name.

Whether she planned to be or not, Cheryl Strayed has become an incisive, literary life advice guru with a cult-like following. And I am a proud member.

When she agreed to an interview, I was eager to talk to her about her new book "Brave Enough," a collection of her most beloved quotes. I had no idea we would somehow end up talking about everything from her relationship with her father and forgiveness, to finding an authentic voice, and even (brace yourself) thinking differently about Donald Trump.

But that's what happens when you talk to a woman whose main job is to study life, think about its lessons, and then share them. And so she did.

"OK, Erica. Do not act like a fan."

This is what I told myself as I prepared to call Cheryl for our interview.

"Don't babble on and on about how much her books have inspired you, and don't tell her how many of her quotes you've memorized."

Once I had sufficiently ticked through the list of don'ts in my head, I cleared my throat, got into professional interviewer mode, and dialed her number.

"Hi, this is Cheryl."

"Hi-Cheryl-it's-Erica-from-Upworthy-thanks-for-talking-to-me-today-I'm-such-a-fangirl."

Welp. So much for keeping it cool.

Thankfully, Strayed was incredibly warm and approachable, radiating humility. I wanted to know how someone so humble felt confident giving life advice to thousands of people.

On what it means to be human:

I asked whether she ever suffered from self-doubt and how she, someone not trained as a therapist or a counselor or a life coach, came to feel "qualified" to teach people important life lessons based on her own experiences.

"We get great and terrible advice from all sources all the time," she answered. "From your best friend who said something really important to you one time that really altered your way of thinking and the next conversation can say something that is idiotic and doesn’t make sense. We get advice from strangers, books, our parents, friends … all sources. I'm simply one source.

I never said that people need to do what I think they should do. I very seldom focus on instruction. I don’t feel that my main role is to say do this or do that. My main role is to help illuminate the question that they’re asking by exploring various avenues of seeking the answer.

It's about asking 'What does it mean to be human?' And in particular “What does it mean to be human in this situation? In this struggle?'"

I almost missed what she said next because I was so stuck on the phrase "What does it mean to be human?" It seemed to encapsulate all of the questions that we humans ask ourselves every day (How should we behave? How should we respond? What should we think? What should we feel?) in seven words.

I feel like she could make anything sound good, meaningful. But it also made me wonder how she, or anyone for that matter, knows what the right takeaway or lesson is. What is the best decision to make at any given moment in a complex situation or in a complex life if anything can be made to sound inspirational or "right"?

She paused and thought on that for awhile.

"Right before you called me, I was on a walk with my husband. I was grappling with a negative interaction I had with an acquaintance and feeling really annoyed and angry. But then there was also this other feeling of compassion for this person because I know [what she did] totally isn’t about me. That what she said is completely about her own sense of need and sorrow and fear. And so I have two experiences of the same interaction.

One of the great struggles of my life is which one do I land on? Do I land on the one that’s like 'F--k you bitch'? Or should I land on the one that’s like 'I understand that you’re suffering so I will let it go.'

Now that seems like a small thing but apply it to a big thing — my father being a terrible father, for example. Do I stay with rage, sorrow, and absence and suffering, or do I land on forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, and moving forward? We always have that choice."

I agreed. But I also believe that we teach people how to treat us. I worry that if we offer nothing but "niceness"in response to mistreatment or cruelty, we're in some ways letting them off the hook. And if we do that, will they ever learn the lesson? Without me even asking, she had an answer for that.

"What other people go through is not up to us. What we're going through is up to us. I'm not talking about denial," she assured me. "You still have to carry the story with you when you choose forgiveness, but the decision you’re making is to carry it with you forward into whatever beauty awaits. The deal of life is that life is always going to be full of suffering and joy. And I think when you focus on the suffering, you forget how much joy there really is. Always. There’s always joy. It’s always available to us, even in the darkest days."

Even in the darkest days.

The darkest days. That phrase stuck out to me because it drew my mind not only to personal life struggles but to all the hatred and violence and oppression and fear that permeates our current social and political landscape. Mass shootings, Islamophobia, police brutality... And really. Is there any other way to describe Donald Trump's candidacy other than the phrase "dark days"?

I asked her if the themes her quotes touch on, which are so often focused on people's personal lives, could apply to those big societal issues too.

"Yes," she said. And she picked our favorite cartoon villain political candidate to illustrate how.

Him. Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images.

On Donald Trump and the big things:

"We forget that Donald Trump — the guy saying all that awful stuff — that’s one human and that awful stuff rises from his heart. And the only way to change the world in the grand scale is to change the hearts and minds of individuals.

So what if this guy really took a deep look at his own wounds? He’s an example of someone who has decided to stay in rage, just like I was talking about earlier. So for him, a couple of people of the Muslim faith shoot up a center and [that behavior] now applies to people of that faith. He’s decided to tell a story that is about hate and ugliness and rage.

What if he were the kind of person who could make that tiny switch I was just talking about in my life, where you say 'am I going to stay in rage or am I going to go to that other place?' I don’t think Trump has ever made that leap probably in anything in his life. So it begins as a tiny thing. I don’t know him. I don’t know what happened to him in his life. But I know that probably all along the way he chose to tell an ugly, small, rage-filled story about himself and the people around him. And then it’s like a stone you throw in the water that resonates outward and beyond. And now it's on a massive scale. That’s why it’s so dangerous to give people power, to elect someone who doesn’t have a consciousness that is steeped in compassion and love and light."

I sighed. She was right. I'm not evolved enough yet to think about Donald Trump's wounds, but I made a mental note to revisit the idea post-election.

I was about to move the conversation forward, but something in my question about what some would call the "bigger" social issues had triggered her. She jumped back in.

"Also, I hate this idea that the culturally significant stories are about 'the big things.' Women are always up against that idea — that our stories are small or unimportant.

I think writing the truth about one life is a big thing. For four years there hasn’t been one day that a whole bunch of people haven’t told me 'your book changed my life.' And when you change someone’s life, you change the world. To believe in that change that we can make in our own lives is what leads to the cultural change in our world."

That sentiment echoes the late Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs who famously said, "To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/spiritual leap and become more 'human' human beings. In order to change/transform the world, they must change/transform themselves." I shared this with Cheryl.

"Yes! Yes!" she said.

Then she thought about it for a second and said that there was a myth she wanted to dispel.

"Transforming the self can easily be construed as this incredibly narcissistic activity."

I knew exactly what she meant. The me, me, me, navel-gazing, optimize-your-life culture around being your "best self" is everywhere. And it can be pretty insufferable.

"This idea that the most important thing is whatever it is YOU need, what YOU want, because you are developing your mind and your body and whatever. That’s bullshit. That’s not what transforming yourself is.

It isn’t about having the perfect ass and a world that never blows your head open and challenges you and transforms you. It's about engagement, questioning your motivations and beliefs, your biases, and it’s about struggle. And this is the kind of self-help that I’m signing up for and that I hope to contribute to.

It’s a grittier, messier way of looking at transformation. Not just sitting in a bathtub with candles burning, but that’s where you end. It’s not the journey. The journey is a lot rougher than that. It’s about being disrupted from your complacency."

On real self-help:

But that grittiness and messiness isn't what most of us think about when we hear the term "self-help." We often think of positive affirmations and "five steps to a better life," quick fixes. As writer who's a bit insecure about the fact that my own first book will likely land on the self-help shelf also, I desperately wanted to know: Is she comfortable being lumped into that category? How does someone who grew up obsessing over "the great writers" and began her career in fiction and literary nonfiction feel about her work being stuck with the label of a genre that is so often mocked?

"Not only did I never intend to be a self-help writer," she said, "I still don’t really think of myself in that way — probably because I have the same recoil that so many people do when we hear 'self-help.'

"I think when we think of self-help negatively we’re thinking of a book that simplifies and glosses over the complexity of the real, gritty problems of life that we all have. And instead of saying 'OK let’s get down in the muck and face these things,' it sort of makes silly metaphors out of things that are deep and important and big."

I nodded in agreement. She hit the nail on the head.

"Have you ever seen that famous SNL skit with the guy who goes 'I’m OK, and you’re OK?'" she asked.

I chuckled and told her that I had but didn't admit that, at my age, I'd only ever seen a 20-second clip of it on YouTube. But I knew what she was getting at.

“That’s what we think self-help is,” she continued. "A kind of anti-intellectualism."

"And I think that’s really unfair to the genre. Because so many books, my own included, that are lumped into that genre are aspiring to do the exact opposite of that glossing over: embrace our intellects and our rational thinking when it comes to figuring out our challenges and struggles, the relationships we have with others, and the complexity of the relationship that we have with our own past, our own selves, our own lives.

So I think that what people see when they are reading my words is somebody who is willing to not turn away from that complexity.”

Ultimately, she believes that [her] readers experience work in the same way, no matter what the publisher-assigned genre: viscerally and emotionally. And they judge it simply on whether it changes their lives.

Photo by Amy Graves/Getty Images.

On authenticity:

She's a writer who isn't afraid to talk about life's complexity. That's important. But the truth is that her popularity and resonance isn't just because of what she says. It's also about how she says it.

With quotes like this...

“But the reality is we often become our kindest, most ethical selves only by seeing what it feels like to be a selfish jackass first.”

...and this...

"You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all."

...and one of her most famous...

"So write. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker."

it's easy to see why Cheryl is known for communicating ideas in a way that is somehow equally compassionate and unmerciful, gentle and brash. And her words are both literary in their beauty but incredibly simple at the same time. It's hard to tell what has mattered matter more in her ability to connect with readers: her writing style or her big personality. So I ask her.

“It’s both,” she replied confidently. "My voice, writing style, and personality are all one and the same."

She explained: "When you’re a young writer you’re always in search of your voice, and for a long time I thought that meant conforming my voice to the great writers I love. 'I’m going to try to sound like Faulkner or Alice Munro or Toni Morrison.' But what I loved in the work of the writers that I love most is that they’re relaxing and actually speaking with their own voice on the page. And the closer I could get to doing that, the better writer I become.

Voice and authority: It’s all about speaking out of your authentic knowledge."

And she wants to make sure that her authentic knowledge is accessible to everyone.

"I’ve always hoped that what complicates my work is the thinking behind it, not the language that I use to convey ideas. I’ve always wanted my work to be accessible to people of all backgrounds, regardless of their education. I love that you don’t have to be hyper-literate to read my books. You can be, but you don't have to be."

As an example of what she called her "approachability in public persona, on the page, and in actual life," she shared a moving memory:

"At one of my readings in Santa Cruz, this woman came up to me. She was a Mexican immigrant; she was a maid at a hotel. She told me that she had been cleaning a room and someone had left a copy behind of 'Wild.' Instead of just turning it in like they usually do, she started reading it and ended up reading the whole book. At my reading, she wept and said that she’d never read a book before.

And I've heard that many times. So I’m not interested in this idea of the writer as the exalted figure who's above any other person in the world."

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images.

On her favorite quote:

Later on in our conversation, as we discussed "Brave Enough," I realized she probably wouldn't have judged me for knowing so many of them by heart. The attachment that readers have had to her words is exactly what inspired the book in the first place.

"My publisher said 'all the people on the Internet keep posting your quotes everywhere — we should collect them.' The premise wasn’t 'I’m so wise.' It was crowdsourced! I believe that the power of art is connection. It’s people taking a writer's work and making it theirs. And that’s what people have done with these quotes, and so I looked to them for what should be in the book. I love the idea that a sentence I wrote told them something that they needed to know or hold in their heart.”

I wanted to end my discussion with Cheryl by finding out which pithy line from the collection was her personal favorite, the one that she holds closest in her heart.

As it turns out, it's the one that isn't technically hers. It is her late mother's quote. Her mother is a central figure in her work, and her too-sudden, too-soon death at age 45 not only shattered Cheryl's world but also sparked the life-changing journey of "Wild." When she mentioned her now, her words practically beamed, dripping with audibly noticeable adoration.

"Put yourself in the way of beauty."

"That is something that my mother told me to do. It took me years to really understand what that meant and to learn how to do it. My mom would say, 'It doesn’t matter how miserable you are, how hard any particular day is, you can always choose to put yourself in the way of beauty. There’s always a sunrise and there’s always a sunset. And it's up to you whether you want to be there for it or not. When it’s hardest is when you need to do it the most.'

And so I trust that. It's been a guiding light."

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3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

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A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

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O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

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1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

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O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

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O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

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5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.




Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Hospice nurses reveal people's biggest regrets before death

Death and dying isn't a pleasant subject to talk about, though there's likely not one living person who has not been touched by death in some way. But the finality of death makes people wonder if people have any regrets from their life that they wish they could do over.

Author, Matthew Kelly decided to ask hospice nurses what they've heard patients reveal regretting before they died. The list was fairly long but also heartbreakingly simple. Many people spend their entire lives trying to figure out how to make more money in order to feel financially secure enough to vacation regularly or even retire.

Of course there would be some regrets around working too much, but that regret only made the list once. There are 23 other regrets people seemed to share and we'll get into them below.


One of the first ones on the list is, "I wish I had more courage to just be my self." Oof. That stings a bit. People spend so much time trying to make sure they're well liked by others that it seems that some people forget to focus on just being themselves. People may hide their true selves for a multitude of reasons such as safety or fear of abandonment depending on what part of their identity they were hiding.

Another common regret is, "I wish I had taken more risks." Risks can be hard when you have other people depending on you for survival. It makes sense that some people might look back on their life and think of all the risks they didn't take, whether it be due to anxiety or security.

Listen to the whole list below:

So many regrets on the list are things that people can start doing now. Like wishing to love more or taking better care of themselves. It's never too late to start caring for yourself or being outwardly more loving. In fact, nothing on the list is overly complex. They're all heartbreakingly simple things that people have the ability to do before their time comes.

Maybe this list will inspire others to make a few tweaks in their life to work towards doing these things while they still can. Maybe it will cause people to realize they're already well on their way to not having any of the regrets listed. Either way, it's serves as a reminder to live life in the best way that you can while still being true to yourself.

Teresa Kaye Newman thinks that Boomer parents were right about a few things.


Teresa Kaye Newman, a teacher about to have a son, knows a lot about how to deal with children. So she created a list of 11 things she agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

Newman believes she has credibility on the issue because she has 13 years of experience dealing with “hundreds and hundreds” of other people’s kids and has seen what happens when her so-called “Boomer” parenting principles aren’t implemented.

Of course, Newman is using some broad stereotypes in calling for a return to Boomer parenting ideas when many Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z parents share the same values. But, as someone who deals with children every day, she has the right to point out that today’s kids are entitled and spend too much time staring at screens.


Here are the 11 things that Newman agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

11 Things I agree with boomer parents on raising children

@teresakayenewman

11 Things I agree with boomer parents on raising children, as a #teacher and soon to be mom.

1. No iPads

“All I’m going to say is my kid has a whole world to explore and none of that has to do with being stuck in front of a tablet.”

2. No smartphone until high school

“Kids that are younger than that age do not know internet safety to a point where I feel comfortable letting them have free reign of the internet.”

3. Teaching the value of education

“What I’m going to teach them is [education] has nothing to do with how much money you’re making or how successful you’ll be professionally. But you will still value it, nonetheless. You will go with it as far as you possibly can, and then once you’re done with it, you can do whatever you want.”

4. Respect your teachers and treat them well

“This may be biased because I am a teacher, but everyone who has gone through a professional degree program and has put in the time and is there, giving you the quality education, deserves some type of attention and deserves to be treated well.”

5. Be kind to elderly folks

“If they’re on public transportation and they’re sitting down and there’s an old lady standing next to them and there are no other seats available, my child will know to stand up and give that lady his seat.”


6. Yes ma’am

Newman will teach her kid to use the terms sir and ma’am when speaking to adults. “It does not matter your age or status in society, as long as they are respecting their pronouns, that’s how we’re gonna be talking to other people.”

7. Greetings and gratitude

“Simple greetings and simple terms of gratitude are just not being taught like they used to. I think it’s really sad.”

8. Consequences for poor behavior

“If they’re neglecting their schoolwork and not doing what they’re supposed to do, they get their technology taken away. … Simple things like this are pretty common sense and I’m not sure why they’re not being done anymore.”

9. Respect adult conversations and spaces

“They don’t get to interrupt 2 adults speaking to each other. They don’t get to come and butt in at an inappropriate time when 2 people are talking to each other."

10. Clean your mess

“My child is going to put as much work in the house as we are regardless of whether he’s paying rent out of his own pocket or not. That’s because when my son becomes an adult, I want him to be a partner or a spouse or a roommate that someone is proud to have around.”

11. Bedtime

“I don’t care how old my kid is as long as he is living under my roof as a minor; he’s gonna have some sort of bedtime. But this staying up until 3 or 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning or pulling all-nighters like kids are used to … is absolutely not normal. And I’m not going to have a kid that’s staying up that late and then not waking up the next day.”


This article originally appeared on 12.20.23


Gen X invented the mix tape and we have the playlists to prove it.

Gen X is famous for being forgotten in most discussions of generations, which is hilarious because Gen X is totally awesome. Everybody says so (when they remember we exist).

Seriously, though, if you need proof that Gen X is fabulous, look no further than our playlists. The generation born between the mid-60s and the early 80s might just have the most varied and eclectic of all musical tastes. Our hippie/classic rocker parents passed down their 60s and 70s tunes, then we got the 80s in all its power ballad glory, then a brief 50s music revival during the 80s, then the rise of hip-hop, rap and grunge in the 90s.

A Gen X mom shared a video demonstrating the wide range of music she listens to ,and it's 100% familiar to those of us in our 40s and 50s.


As Word up with Jen points out, Gen X was "born in the 70s, raised in the 80s and partied in the 90s," cementing every decade's jams in our memory, from Anne Murray to Snoop Dog. Watch:

@wordup_withjen

Ya never know what you’re gonna get 🤷‍♀️ #genx #70sbaby #raisedinthe80s #partiedinthe90s #carjams

The comments confirm that Gen X really does have the bead on everyone's beats.

"I’m glad I’m not the only polyjamorous gen x out there."

"So I’m not the only one with a playlist that looks like it belongs to some with multiple personalities? This is a relief."

"Gen X is the only generation that covered so many genres of music AND decades of music. Don't give me the aux unless ur ready for a lesson in music."

"SO true!! You may get Metallica, you may get NWA, you may get Donny Osmond,you may get Duran Duran…who knows? 😂👏"

"I can relate 100%! It's not just one genre or decade. If you knew songs by NWA, Dre, Snoop, you also knew country songs by Shania, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and metal songs from Metallica to Pantera and so on. Even if you had a specific genre of music like me (90's hip hop/rap/pop) you also knew Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns n Roses by the very first riff and rocked the hell out of it lol. Love Gen X life!"

"I think Gen X hit the jackpot culturally. Signed, a Millennial."

Naturally, every individual has their own musical tastes, and people from other generations can certainly appreciate different music genres. But Gen X really has had the biggest exposure to a mix of musical styles during our formative. years. Our ingrained musical knowledge would make us excellent "Humm…ble" competitors, and we can sing along with pretty much anything pre-Y2K. (Some of us got Mom Brain in the 2000s that ruined us for memorizing lyrics to newer songs, but we can sing "Hotel California," "Sister Christian" and "Baby Got Back" in our sleep.)

The funniest thing about this is that the younger generations only know "playlists" as digital collections. Never will they know the hours of work that went into creating the "playlist" known as the mixed tape. Especially a mixed tape from the radio, where you curse the DJ for talking through the entire intro of the song. Even making mixed CDs took a lot of effort compared to few clicks it takes today to piece together a playlist.

Gen X may have its issues—all that angst didn't come out of nowhere—but when it comes to music, we are the unbeatable generation.

Former Secret Service Special agent Evy Poumpouras speaks at a Ted Talk.


In a revealing interview with Steven Bartlett on his “Dairy of a CEO” podcast, former Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras shared how to get people to do what you want them to do.

The key, according to Poumpouras, is to understand what motivates them. Once you know the psychological framework behind what makes them tick, you can persuade them to behave as you like.

Poumpouras is the co-host of Bravo TV’s “Spy Games” competition series and author of “Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, Live Fearlessly.” She served in the Secret Service’s Presidential Protective Division for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and protected George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.


Poumpouras says that to get a “good read” on someone, it’s essential to listen.

Former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras shares how to get someone to do what you want

@steven

Former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras shares how to get someone to do what you want 👀 #podcast #podcastclips #stevenbartlett #diaryofaceo #specialagent #secretservice #security #evypoumpouras

The biggest mistake people make is they talk a lot,” Poumpouras said in the video clip. “Steven, if I'm doing all the talking and you're doing all the listening, you're learning everything about me. You're learning about what I care about, my values, my belief systems, getting a good read on me and I'm learning nothing about you.”

The former Secret Service Agent says that you should listen to determine the subject's motivational mindset. Are they motivated by money, sex, admiration, status, freedom, relationships, or safety?

“Everybody's motivated by something different. But I have to hear you and pay attention to you to understand what that is. Everybody's purpose is different,” she continued. “If you give people enough space, they will reveal themselves to you.”

It’s also a wonderful tactic because your subject will have no idea they are part of a manipulation because they are the ones doing the talking. It’s nearly impossible to give yourself away when you’re sitting in silence.

Understanding what motivates people is essential when protecting the safety of the nation’s most important assets and dealing with shady, dangerous people. However, it can also benefit the layperson by giving us a framework to understand people better. Knowing what motivates someone is very important, whether you’re on a date, in a business deal, or in a leadership role at work.

It’s also very important when raising children or training an animal.

Understanding your personal motivators is also essential for making the best choices in life. It helps us determine which actions will be genuinely beneficial. It’s also a great way to ensure that we are involved with people, organizations, and activities for the right reasons.

Productivity consultant Ashley Janssen says the key to understanding your motives is knowing your values.

"When you know what you value, you can identify how an activity or goal will support and foster those values," Janssen writes. "When you decide to try something, consider whether it’s what you think you should want to do or what someone else has said you should do. Those conditions are often not enough to sustain a behavior or activity. It’s hard to keep moving forward on something that you don’t really care about or are not invested in."