How do we teach patience to kids if we refuse to stand in a queue ourselves?

How many times have you faced a situation that you see a large crowd of people and turn around to go away? 

I have it regularly. There were liquidation sales at a golf shop, where I really wanted to have my shopping spree. Guess what, I was not the only one. However, when I saw the line of cars, desperately trying to find a parking spot in the neighborhood, I turned around and went home. Sales will be online somewhere. 

I don’t like waiting. No, let me rephrase – I actually genuinely hate waiting. I never make anyone wait for me, and I get really annoyed if someone or something doesn’t return that favor… But then again, for me, this is not the ”instant gratification” story. Not entirely. At the same time, I can perfectly work on something which will bring results far in the future (or maybe not even at all). This queue intolerance for me is the intolerance toward wasting time on apparently useless actions. 

For me queueing is a waste and good operations management principles are teaching us that waste needs to be eliminated… Now, what about patience? Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes. Does it apply to any patience though? Are there different types of patience? Is patience only about being able and willing to wait? Does patience stop being a virtue if it has no truly valuable goal? Is patience for the sake of patience even healthy? 

Coming back to the question in the title: so what about kids and patience? What is it exactly that we want to teach our kids, and is patience actually the right word for it?

Offline does not exist

We were driving in our car the other day and there was a commercial on the radio saying something about discounts available both online and offline. It was then that our daughter asked: “but, mom, offline doesn’t exist, does it?”…

Yeah… Almost, kiddo, almost.

Aside from putting a large smile on my face, this comment of hers made me wonder about the future.

Are we truly moving to “offline doesn’t exist” kind of story?

Looking at myself: I do 90% (if not 99%) of my purchases online. I largely work remotely. Provided that I live a bit in the middle of nowhere, far away from where I grew up, I mostly communicate with my mom and close friends via Skype, Whatsapp and all the other online communication means. 

Even though I am not a digital native and I am a millennial, not a GenZeer, my online life is at least as large as (if not larger than) the offline one. That’s crazy if I think about it, but it is what it is. 

Our online life matters. Alarmingly more and more compared to the offline one.

It is a normal practice that one checks out what Google “Allmighty” knows about a job candidate, a potential business connection, acquaintance, date, etc. Even those who tend to avoid social networks still leave some digital traces. Of course, for those actually active online, such traces are plenty, very informative and… they better be managed really well (but that is another discussion. I have an online reputation management service, by the way, so reach out if that is of an interest).

Every public comment one makes, every ”like” one presses, every picture, description, engagement, e-ve-ry-thing is there to stay: cached and easily discoverable if needed. Thus, a stupid, thoughtless comment might cost one a job; a provocative picture from student times can lead to some other undesired consequences… In other words, the online can have very tangible effects on the offline. 

But all of that is known and those who care about their image take the online one at least as seriously as the offline one.

The question now is: does the Online still require the Offline at all? Or will offline soon cease to exist?

It is a mad-mad world… of art…

Usually, I write about art for Artlaw.club platform, but there my articles tackle art law or art market-related topics. This time I just want to write a philosophical, “thinking-out-loud” discussion piece. (Besides, with less of an article-straightness and more of a blog-post frivolity.) 

So… Art. 

I guess everyone by now knows of Maurizio Cattelan’s “banana duct-taped to the wall” (a.k.a. “Comedian”).

It triggered David Datuna’s performance “Hungry artist”, countless marketing responses from all over the world, and numerous memes on the Internet. The hype will pass in a while, but as it was with Banksy’s shredding intervention at Sotheby’s auction (“Love is in the bin”), this “artwork” (quotes intentional) will enter art history as “the memory of the year 2019”. Now, this makes me wonder about several things. 

To begin with, does this all mean that the art world is doomed?

Many of the big works that everyone knows about are hype type of works. It is about being provocative, causing some sort of commotion and then fetching big buck for something, which frequently lacks both the looks and the substance. Not that it hasn’t happened before. After all, there has been Manzoni’s “Artist’s shit” in a can, Duchamp’s “Fountain” (upturned urinal), even Warhol’s “Campbell soup” cans. Outrageous? Well, something so “classic” for us nowadays as impressionist works was also once perceived as outrageous. Cubism?… Same story! But then again, cubism is not a duct-taped banana. Neither is (arguably, perhaps, yet looked in the context) even a urinal as an artwork… 

While many modern artworks make me question whether I would ever consider them as such, or whether I would even notice them had there not been a plaque next to them, I am still convinced that “the banana” is not a healthy trend (despite its nutritious qualities). 

What is the point of putting an effort to create something, of putting thought into an art piece, when one can just “hype it out” and get away with it? Yes-yes, I know… Warhol! (“Art is everything one can get away with”) But… seriously?! 

And, of course, Cattelan is known for his “funny, prankster” type of works, as some other artists also are, but… Come on!

In one of my articles for Artlaw.club I made a point that I don’t believe that the art market is in a bubble (mainly for the sake that there is no such thing as the homogenous art market; there are many segments and despite globalization, still a lot of regionality in the market for such a statement. If you care to read in more detail — here is the link to that article — https://artlaw.club/en/artfinance/is-the-art-market-bubbling-or-just-casually-simmering). However, I think, and in fact, I hope that this particular segment — “hype for the hype’s sake” — is in a bubble. Should be.

I am convinced that while the hype is certainly one of the ways how to attract the attention of a large audience unless this attention is then directed to a worthwhile cause, it does no good. Actually, it even does wrong. It is a bit like you have terrorists waving an Islam flag and the masses now associate all Muslims with terrorists. Same thing! If the hype is considered to be art — that downgrades art.

In the end, even worthy artworks will face the danger of being treated with an eyeball-roll and an “oh yeah, that art-thing” kind of an attitude. 

That hurts art. Full-stop.

Another important thing here is, of course, the price. Perhaps, it is even THE main thing in the whole story. That makes me recall Banksy again and his print inscribed with a phrase: “I Can’t Believe You, Morons, Actually Buy This Shit”… People, we are talking $120,000 ($150,000 for the third edition)! To note, that’s the price not even for the “artwork”, it is basically for the certificate of authenticity, signed by Cattelan. I am perfectly aware of the prices routinely being paid in the art market, where many transactions are questionable at best. In the way things are now, it resembles a ridiculous money-throwing game the rich are playing with no added value to anything, but some egos and private bank accounts.

All in all, I just find it a pity that on one hand, as I said, art gets downgraded by such hype things, and on the other, that it is hype for the sake of hype, meaning the lost opportunity to actually bring any message whatsoever.

Now the question to ponder about is: should art be bigger than itself and be used as a vehicle of change, as a way to communicate an important message or support a cause? Or… is art just anything one can get away with?

What do you think?

On the duality of our emotions

You can miss something and not want it back. Paulo Coelho.

I can feel sad that I no longer have the freedom I used to have before kids. And I sometimes do. There are moments when the persistence and intensity of the “missing” are especially high. I used to be afraid of those thoughts; I used to be shaving them off ruthlessly as something I am not supposed to have. Like: hey, girl, how dare you even think about it?! What are you saying: that you wish you have never had them?! No!!! God, no! That’s not what I was saying. I just said that I missed the time when I was a childless free girl. That’s it. Missing that doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids with all my heart and that doesn’t mean I wish they were never born. Which is more, I have never said I even want these times back, have I?…

A human being is a complicated organism, that’s a given. Even such polar emotions as love and hate can be perfectly entangled in an eternal dance. Those are emotions after all. We cannot control them. We can (and in fact, we’d better!) control the expressions of our emotions, however, emotions as such are outside our control. 

Just let them be. 

If emotions are blocked or denied it affects our physical state. For example, suppressed anger will most likely hit you with a headache or another type of ache. 

We are not our emotions, but our emotions are expressions of certain parts of our personality. If we feel a certain emotion, there must have been a trigger, while understanding that trigger and why it affects us can bring us a step closer to understanding who we are. 

I cannot stress it strong enough: it is OK to feel different emotions! Moreover, it is perfectly OK to feel polar emotions about certain subjects, especially if those subjects are complex and multifaceted. Feeling different emotions doesn’t make us good or bad; it makes us alive. 

What is also important to stress is that we frequently misinterpret our emotions. It might sound strange but think about it for a moment. Can you always tell fear from anger? What about disgust from jealousy? That’s a difficult one, you know, as a feeling of disgust on the surface might actually conceal jealousy deep inside. We can be annoyed by someone doing something we secretly want to do, but for this or that reason deny ourselves… Yes, exactly, there are layers! There are numerous layers of emotions…

Thus, the next time you feel the confusing and perhaps even polar emotions about something, don’t suppress them and most importantly, don’t start labeling yourself or shaming yourself. Let emotions be. Try to pause for a moment and just ask yourself why do you think you feel what you feel and what might be hiding underneath. Just consider this to be a good moment to get to know yourself a bit better. 

The trap of rehearsing

Remember that story when you were still a toddler playing in a sandbox in the park, and a bigger kid came over to you and took your toy away? You were so angry and frustrated, and felt helpless… Remember? But are you sure you actually remember this exact moment? Are you convinced that all the details were right? Are you even confident it actually happened in reality and not in your childhood nightmare?

Our memory is horribly unreliable. What is more, we frequently confuse reality and imagination when it comes to something which happened in the past. Memory not rehearsed fades away. On the other hand, memory rehearsed over and over again becomes less of an accurate account of what happened, but rather a story we decided to tell ourselves.

The trap is: it is the story we tell ourselves which is the most powerful.

Any situation which happens affects us not directly, but through the emotions, it causes in us. The curious thing is that the initial emotion as a reaction to a particular situation or event is rather quick and also rapidly disappearing, unless…

Here is an important caveat — unless! Unless we start rehearsing the situation in our heads.

After a very short while it is no longer the fact that causes our emotion, but our interpretation of the fact.

Look, your boss calls you into the office and tells you that the report you made is total crap. You are insulted, you might disagree, but anyway — you feel embarrassed, sad and… (add whatever is applicable) After the incident, you keep on replaying in your head the whole situation, you start inventing dialogues, which never actually took place in reality and you start thinking about yourself as a total failure not able to complete even the simple task. Or… Maybe you just accept the fact that the report is a crap, ask what needs to be improved, brainstorm what else can be done and just get down to fixing the problem. The choice is yours.

The choice to get into the trap of rehearsing and a downward spiral of negative emotions versus focusing on the fact and how to fix the fact.

They say that time heals. It does, but this comes with a small print. Time heals if you don’t fall into the trap of rehearsing. I do have some painful memories, memories of a loss, which still haunts me from time to time. However, luckily I decided relatively early on that details, accusations, “what ifs” and “why oh whys” are not going to change anything. So I moved on. Some years later I don’t remember the details. I know the fact, it is not going anywhere, but the web of storytelling around it is just not the baggage I want to carry.

To draw the line, we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose our reaction. We are not able to choose our emotions, but we can avoid stimulating our emotions by unnecessary rehearsing of (perhaps already partially, or even completely invented) stories.

Self-development, reaching goals and lifestyle balance through the prism of parenthood and immigration

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