On Human Relationships

               A few seasons ago when the Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to make a playoff and title run, they introduced the sports world to the word/ idea UBUNTU. Originating in Africa, the word is meant to describe a philosophy which, according to Wikipedia, is best explained by Bishop Desmond Tutu:

               “One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.”

               This idea, that we are best understood as humans by looking at our relations to one another as opposed to individuals with private/ personal motivations speaks volumes to me. I used to be fascinated with the notion of the “self-made” man/woman. After all, individuality is one of our nation’s most esteemed ideals. The desire to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps is a quintessentially American value, often touted as the highest calling to which anyone can aspire.

               But what of our relationships with each other? What about our roles as brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, lovers, spouses, friends? The reality (IMHO) is that we are not so important as individuals as we believe. Instead, we derive our value, our self-worth and even our true identities from our relationships. As the author, Albert Camus said: “Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future -and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people.”

               Here then, I present a handful of articles, examining human relations of all kinds.

  •  All Joy and No Fun; why parents hate parenting by Jennifer Senior at New York Magazine. What parent hasn’t felt like walking through the front door and never looking back? And yet, most of us don’t do that and in fact, believe that parenting is making our lives more rewarding. So why are we so unhappy in study after study?
  • The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd for Pediatrics Magazine. Simply put, playing games with our children will foster communication and give us an opportunity to teach social skills related to other human relationships.
  • How siblings shape and define and annoy us by Rita Braver for CBS News. Anyone who has a brother or sister will tell you that few relationships in their lives match the intensity (love and hate) of emotions attached to that person. Studies reveal that there are some truths to complaints of, “mom liked you best”.
  • Is infidelity natural? Ask the Apes. By Wendy Shalit on CNN.com. Interesting little article that posits a very good argument against using our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, to determine how and why we (as humans) do certain things.
  • Improving School Culture by Ellen R. Delisio for Education World. Believe it or not, one of the leading indicators for student performance in any school can be assessed by understanding the culture of the school. This article, which includes a link to a “triage” survey, briefly describes the four types of cultures that can be found in most schools. Where is HHS? I’ll let you decide.

Bonus Video:

Hope you find something interesting and thank you for stopping by.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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