Posted by: sailingspirit | April 11, 2011

Saving You Strife: College Tips pt.6

#6  Stages of Intimacy and Controlling personal information.  In their mega-connected world, it frequently seems everyone is equal to everyone else, and those nifty little logos oversimplify relationships to mere lines and nodes.  The world looks safer when drawn like a flow chart.  But what bad people can do with information you put out there is astounding.  Have you heard about the Craig’s List Killer?  When you go talk to cops, ask about this topic.  Ask lawyers, bank representatives, and computer experts, too.  Spend time Googling people you know and make a chart of how much you find.  It’s really eye-opening!  Talk about password and passcode variation, security questions, privacy policy enforcement, what is legally required and what is not, what people get away with just because it’s so common no one questions it.  Explain how in order to get a job, rent an apartment or buy a house, buy a car, get a loan, get a passport, etc. much of their information is searched (driving records, credit history, Facebook posts, etc.).   Most don’t have a clue that what they do/post has serious ramifications down the line.  Practice that critical thinking!  In addition to transactions, documentary and electronic relationships, talk about face-to-face relationships.  Facebook networks are NOT reflective of reality!  It is very important to teach your kids about proper relationship development.  Using a bullseye analogy there are multiple stages between acquaintance and spouse (the latter the only one allowed to chare the center dot), and what is appropriate interaction at each stage does matter.  So many people today (of all ages) assume that if you share a personal secret, the listener is automatically obligated to keep it.  Loyalty is an endangered species!  People will not consider themselves obligated to you for anything unless they perceive a substantial benefit, because loyalty/obligation is a chosen sacrifice.  A desire to fit in, lonliness, a desire to stand out, wishing to speed-up the process, and other things lead to people sharing way more than they ought way sooner than they ought.  Quality relationships take time to build.  Putting in extra effort or trying to rack up the hours in some marathon-versation does not change or circumvent the time requirement.  Character can only be discerned as a pattern of behavior over time.  Behavior, not words!  And true character is revealed under pressure.  So because of all this, it’s important to explain the beauty of those “old-fashioned” values.  I fiercely defied them for years; now I look back on my former self as such a big dope.  I now treasure the conservatism of yesteryear as a gift.  The quality of my life is drastically improved; how much less stress there is when we’ve eliminated the potential for problems!  So teach them things like going out in groups, even group dating, up through age 20.  Because there really is no advantage to rushing things.  If they go on a private date, they should always meet and stay in a public place.  The girl should arrive and depart with other friends.  On one of these threads we talked about appropriate dress; I think the best examples for sophisticated, attractive, active and savvy women are the old movies from the 40’s and early 50’s.  Spend time looking through magazines and catalogues together, talking about which are good choices and which are poor, and why.  Play the game where you try to guess what a person does for a living or where she is going based on her appearance.  What messages do we communicate via our clothing choices?  DVR and watch a marathon of “What Not to Wear” or “How Do I Look?” so they hear it from other experts besides their parents.   Train their minds not just their tastes.  If your own wardrobe needs help in this regard, change yours, too, as an example of taking charge.  Knowing what God says about our temples, our worth and how that translates into personal presentation is very important.  If at all possible, enroll your kids in programs that will build healthy body image long before they leave for college.  They need to appreciate what their bodies can do, not just how they look.  Studying Near-Eastern cultural dance arts (a.k.a. Bellydance) was the best thing that happened to me in this regard.  I’m astounded by what these living machines are capable of, and can’t get too skinny or I’ll lose my shimmy!

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