If you could take a year off from school/work, what would you do?

DSCF5409

There is one thing I would do: move to Samut Songkhram province, where I spent a year and a half working as a volunteer once-a-week English teacher at Bangkhonthiinai School, and give my full-time effort to that 50-student school.  That way, I could change the lives of those students, whose homes are shacks amidst banana and coconut plantations and whose families live in near-poverty.   

I just answered this Featured Question; you can answer it too!

What do you think is the biggest mistake that people tend to make in relationships?

During the course of all relationships, people make one of two mistakes:

Mistake #1: Being too focused on yourself and not focused enough on the other person.  The tough thing about relationships is that you are no longer the center of the universe.  You have to find a way to share that spotlight with another person.  For many people, it is difficult to remember that and so you subconsciously (or not so subconsciously) keep the spotlight trained on yourself, to the neglect of your partner.  No matter how understanding the other person is, or how much they are too focused on you instead of themselves (see Mistake #2, below), it will eventually sow the seeds of conflict that, if not weeded out, will choke the relationship’s growth.

Mistake #2: Being too focused on the other person and not focused enough on yourself.  This is the situation where people end up in abusive or co-dependent relationships.  For any number of reasons (“I don’t deserve love”, “He’s so good to me”, “He’s so great in bed”, “That’s my role in my culture”) some people put up with an unbelievable amount of crap in a relationship, being subservient to the wishes and desires of their partner, tolerating unacceptable behavior and feeling meek and miserable about it.  No matter how great that other person is or how fearful you are that if you leave, you’ll be alone, people need to stand up for their rights in a relationship, for their dignity and equality.

There may be some people who manage to make both mistakes in a single relationship, but I think generally they are more likely to be inclined to one or the other mistake.  They good news: we can correct the mistakes we make and even if we have to do so several times before learning our lesson, we can learn the lesson and go on to a much healthier and happier relationship.

I just answered this Featured Question; you can answer it too!

How do you feel about adoption of children by same sex couples?

I’m going to cave in and actually answer a featured question.  Can you believe it?

The featured question isn’t really the right one to begin with.  The first question you need to answer – the question behind the question – is, “How do you feel about the adoption of children by loving, capable parents?”

I think most of us would support it.

There are tens or hundreds of thousands of children out there who desperately need loving, capable parents who will give them the care and support they need to reach their full potential in life.

If you support adoption of children by loving, capable parents, then why would you let untold numbers of orphans go unadopted, stuck in the foster care system, instead of tapping into same-sex couples as a source of great parents?

Is “one mommy and one daddy” the best type of parenting model?  Given the 50% divorce rate of different-sex couples, the patterns of adultery, sexual discrimination, and spousal abuse, I can’t see that being a different-sex couple is necessarily a good qualification for being an adoptive parent.

Tawn and I have talked many times about the possibility of raising children.  Without a doubt, we would be much better parents than untold numbers of jacked-up parents we read about in the papers every day, or parents that teachers like my sister tell me about.

I just answered this Featured Question, you can answer it too!