How To Teach Your Kids To Care About Other People – Caroline Bologna

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As deep-seated divisions, vitriol and disturbing news fill headlines, many people are wondering what happened to the qualities of empathy and kindness in our society.

In the same vein, many parents are wondering how to raise kids who will be a force for love and goodness in the face of bitterness and hate.

HuffPost spoke to psychologists, parents and other experts about how to instill empathy in children.

Talk About Feelings

“The gateway to empathy is emotional literacy,” said Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and the author of numerous parenting books, including UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

A simple way to foster emotional literacy is by promoting face-to-face communication in the age of texting and smartphones. “Digital-driven kids aren’t necessarily learning emotions when they pick emojis,” Borba said. “Make it a rule in your house to always look at the color of the talker’s eyes because it will help your child tune in to the other person.”

Another key aspect is teaching kids to identify their own emotions early on. “Use emotional language with kids. Say things like, ‘I see you’re really frustrated,’ or, ‘I see you’re really mad,’” Laura Dell, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Education, told HuffPost.

“Before children can identify and empathize with other people’s feelings, they need to understand how to process their own feelings,” she continued. “Once they can identify their own emotion, they’re better able to develop those self-regulation skills to control their own emotions ― and then take the next step to understand the emotions of others.”

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Ravi Rao, a pediatric neurosurgeon turned children’s show host, believes parents should teach feelings as much as they teach things like colors and numbers.

“You’ll see parents walking through the park and taking every opportunity to ask, ‘What color is that man’s jacket?’ ‘What color is the bus?’ ‘How many trees are there?’” he explained. “You can also practice emotion by saying things like, ‘Do you see the woman over there? Does she look happy or does she look sad?’”

Rao also recommends playing a “guess what I’m feeling” game at home by making happy or sad faces and asking your children to identify the emotion. “You just get their brains in the habit of noticing the signals on other people’s faces.”

Once kids have a better sense of emotions and how things make them feel, you can ask them about the emotional perspectives of others. “You can ask things like, ‘How do you think it made Tommy feel when you took his toy?’ or, ‘That made Mommy really sad when you hit me,’” said Borba.

Use Media To Your Advantage

Watching TV or reading books together presents another great opportunity to cultivate empathy, according to Madeleine Sherak, a former educator and the author of Superheroes Cluba children’s book about the value of kindness.

“Discuss instances when characters are being kind and empathetic, and similarly, discuss instances when characters are being hurtful and mean,” she suggested. “Discuss how the characters are probably feeling and possible scenarios of how the situations may have been handled differently so as to ensure that all characters are treated kindly.”

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Borba recommends engaging in emotionally charged films and literature like The Wednesday Surprise, Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Set An Example

Parents need to walk the walk and model empathy themselves, noted Rao.

“Kids will pick up on more things than just what you say. You can say, ‘Pay attention to other people’s feelings,’ but if the child doesn’t perceive or witness you paying attention to people’s feelings, it doesn’t necessarily work,” he explained.

Rao emphasized the importance of parents using language to convey their own emotional states by saying things like, “Today, I’m really frustrated,” or, “Today, I’m really disappointed.” They can practice empathy when role-playing with dolls or action figures or other games with kids as well.

It’s also necessary for parents to recognize and respect their children’s emotions, according to Dell.

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For kids to show empathy to us and others, we need to show empathy to them,” she explained. “Of course it’s tough as a parent trying to get multiple kids to put on their clothes and shoes and get out the door to go to school in the morning. But sometimes it makes a difference to take that pause and say, ‘I see it’s making you really sad that we can’t finish watching ‘Curious George’ this morning, but if we finished it, we wouldn’t be able to make it to school on time, and it’s really important to get to school on time.’”

“It doesn’t mean you have to give in to their wants all the time, but to recognize you understand how they feel in a situation,” she added.

Acknowledge Children’s Acts Of Kindness

“Parents are always praising children for what grades they got or how they did on a test. You can also boost their empathy by letting them know it matters to develop a caring mindset,” said Borba, noting that when children do things that are kind and caring, parents can stop for a moment to acknowledge that.

“Say, ‘Oh, that was so kind when you stopped to help that little boy. Did you see how happy it made him?’” explained Borba. “So your child realizes that caring matters, because you’re talking about it. They then begin to see themselves as caring people and their behavior will match it.”

Expose Them To Differences

“Parents have to help their children grow up and thrive in a diverse society through education about and exposure to others who are different, whether culturally, ethnically, religiously, in physical appearance and ability or disability,” Sherak said.

There are many ways to expose your children to the diversity of the world ― like reading books, watching certain movies and TV shows, eating at restaurants with different cuisines, visiting museums, volunteering in your community, and attending events hosted by various religious or ethnic groups.

“It is also important to follow up such visits and activities with open discussions and additional questions and concerns, if any,” said Sherak. “It is also valuable to discuss differences in the context of our children’s own environments and experiences in the family, at school, in their neighborhoods, and in the larger community.”

Parents can urge local schools to promote cross-cultural awareness in their curricula as well, said Rao.

“We also just have to eliminate jokes about race and culture from our homes,” he added. “Maybe back in the day making jokes about race like Archie Bunker seemed acceptable and part of what the family did when they got together on holidays. But that actually undermines empathy if the first thought a child learns about a race or group of people is something derogatory learned from humor. It can be very hard to then overcome that with other positive messages.”

Own Up To Your Mistakes

“If you make a mistake and behave rudely toward someone who messes up at a store checkout, for example, I think you should acknowledge that mistake to kids,” said Dell. After the bad moment, parents can say something like, “Wow I bet she had a lot on her hands. There were a lot of people at the store right then. I should’ve been a little kinder.”

Acknowledging and talking about your own lapses in empathy when your kids are there to witness them makes an impression. “Your child is right there watching, seeing everything,” Dell explained. “Own up to moments you could’ve made better choices to be kinder to the people around you.”

Make Kindness A Family Activity

Families can prioritize kindness with small routines like taking time at dinner every night to ask everyone to share two kind things they did, or writing down simple ways to be caring that they can all discuss together, said Borba. Playing board games is another way to learn to get along with everybody.

Borba also recommended volunteering together as a family or finding ways that your children enjoy giving back.

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If your kid is a sports guru, then helping him do arts and crafts with a less privileged kid might not be the best match, but you can find other opportunities for face-to-face giving that match their interests,” she explained. “Help them realize the life of giving is better than the life of getting.”

Families might also consider writing down their own mission statements, suggested Thomas Lickona, a developmental psychologist and author of How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain.

“[It’s] a set of ‘we’ statements that express the values and virtues you commit to live by ― for example, ‘We show kindness through kind words and kind actions’; ‘We say we’re sorry when we’ve hurt someone’s feelings’; ‘We forgive and make up when we’ve had a fight,’” he explained.

Lickona also recommended holding everyone accountable to the family values at weekly family meetings centered around questions like, “How did we use kind words this week?” and, “What would help us not say unkind things even if we’re upset with somebody?”

“When kids slip into speaking unkindly ― as nearly all sometimes will ― gently ask for a ‘redo,’” he said. “‘What would be a kinder way to say that to your sister?’ Make it clear that you’re asking for a redo not to embarrass them, but to give them a chance to show that they know better. Then thank them for doing so.”

Another piece of advice from Lickona: Just look around.

“Even in today’s abrasive, angry, and often violent culture, there are acts of kindness all around us. We should point these out to our children,” he said. “We should explain how kind words and kind deeds, however small ― holding the door for someone, or saying ‘thank you’ to a person who does us a service ― make a big impact on the quality of our shared lives.”

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How To Keep Writing When Life Throws You A Punch — EVELYN KRIEGER

How do you keep writing when life throws you a punch?

via How To Keep Writing When Life Throws You A Punch — EVELYN KRIEGER

How To Deal With A Difficult Parent – Terry Heick

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You’d heard about this parent from other teachers.

That this parent was a handful. Rude. Combative. Aggressive. Even litigious. In response, you worry, if just a little. You have enough to deal with, and butting heads with an angry parent–especially one angry just because–doesn’t sound like fun. You don’t get paid enough for that hot mess.

So you keep calm and hope to ride the year out. Maybe they won’t call. Maybe they’ll skip parent-teacher conferences. You’ve even considered grading their child a little easier just to avoid the hassle of it all.

We’ve all been there. Nothing can solve this problem, but there are ways to take the edge off so that you can open up the lines of communication and deal with the parent on equal terms so that they’re child has the best chance for success.

12 Ways To Deal With A Difficult Parents

1. Reach out first

Be pre-emptive. Reach out with a positive message to start off on the right foot.

2. Don’t patronize

And when you reach out, be authentic. Don’t pretend to be their best friend, nor should have that “nipping problems in the bud” tone. Don’t worry about “holding your ground” either. Just reach out as an educator to a member of your own community. You’re not selling them anything, and they’re not selling you anything. You’re both dutifully and beautifully involved on either side of a child.

3. See yourself

No matter how important the education of a child is, realize you’re simply a single cog in the life of that family, no more or less important than keeping the lights on, their job security, food and shelter, or any other reality of daily life.

4. Give them something

Not an object–a “handle” of some kind to make sense of the learning process. Something they can make sense of and understand and use when they speak to their child about education. Something less about the game of school and more about learning, curiosity, and personalization.

5. Involve them

Keep your friends close and your…difficult parents…closer. Ask them to take on an authentic role in the classroom. Ask their opinion. Allow them to have a voice or show leadership. Give them a role in what their child learns. The fact that a parent has approaching zero authentic role in the learning process of their children is part of our challenge as educators. Help them find one.

6. Put them in a position to succeed

Just like a student, put the parent in a position to succeed. They may not have had a good experience in school, either as students, with siblings of your student, etc. Give them a reason to believe that you have the best interest of the family at heart–and that includes them.

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7. Don’t judge them, or “handle them.”

Meet them on equal terms. For all of our overly-glorified differences, most people are fundamentally the same. We respond to pain and threats differently, and have unique ethical systems, but it’s easy to place yourself above someone even if you think you’re not doing exactly that.

8 Establish a common ground

An old sales technique. A favorite athletic team–or dislike for a rival team. A personal philosophy. Your own struggle as a person. Something to humanize yourself, and establish the overlap between yourself and the parent.

9. Focus on the work

This is the opposite of teaching and learning, where you focus on the human being (the student). In conferences and communication with parents, you can both see the child and what’s “best for them” very differently, but academic work has a chance to be more objective. Focus on the work and academic performance, and what you and the parent and siblings and other teachers, etc., can do to support the student in their growth.

Even in the midst of difficult conversations, always do your best to steer the focus back on the work, and the child themselves. The former is data/evidence, the latter the reason for the data/evidence.

10. Give them reason to see beyond the grade book

This is partly the problem with letter grades. So reductionist.

It’s easy to look at a grade book and both start and finish the conversation there. If that’s all they see, have a look at your curriculum and instruction, and see if you’ve given them ample opportunity to do otherwise. Talk less about missing work, and more about the promise and possibility of their child. Help them see that the school year is a marathon, not a series of sprints.

11. If all else fails…

If you have to, call for reinforcements, and document everything. Never feel bad about having another teacher in the room with you if you feel like a parent will be aggressive and you’re simply not comfortable with it. Better to depend on solidarity and hope than your own personal strength.

And document everything. Stay on top of grading, feedback, behavior management, missing assignments, your tone, sarcasm, etc. Document every call and email. Save exemplar work. Document differentiation, personalization, and other individual efforts in pursuit of the best interest of the student.

Whatever you do, no matter your analysis of the proximity between apples and trees, don’t hold the difficult parent “against” the child, even subconsciously.

12. Take it personally, then don’t

If you have a “difficult parent,” and in spite of your best efforts it all falls apart, I’d say don’t take it personally but it’s hard not to. So fine–internalize it. Own it. Talk to colleagues (better than a spouse, whose emoptional reserves you may want to save for more pressing issues in education). Cry if you need to. And then let it go.

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Psychology – How I Trained Myself to Worry Better – Haley Goldberg

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We’re in a golden age of tracking: We track our steps, our sleep, our time on Facebook and other sites we deem “productivity killers” (looking at you, Instagram). But one thing we still don’t track or think about much: the amount of time we spend worrying.

It makes sense—it’s not like a wrist tracker or Google Chrome extension could measure or sense the time we spend worrying about the future. But if we had something that could track our worry time? I know I’d probably end each day with the 10,000-step equivalent.

Congrats, you worried for a solid three hours total today!

We spend a lot of time worrying. A 2017 survey of 2,000 millennials showed that the average respondent spent the equivalent of 63 full days a year worried and stressed out. That’s like June and July—all lost to worry.

There are many reasons why we worry, but one of the main reasons is simply because we can. Unlike all other animals on the planet, we have the power to look into the future—with all its uncertainty and fuzziness—and reflect. And that stirs up the worry machine as we try to figure out what’s going to happen and how we’ll react.

It can feel productive, and studies show that we often believe worrying helps prevent negative outcomes or helps us find a better way of doing things.

But here’s the thing: Most of what we worry about never happens. A study from the University of Cincinnati showed that 85 percent of what we worry about never actually happens. And the 15 percent of things that do happen? The study showed we’re typically able to handle it better than expected or it teaches us an important lesson, according to the Huffington Post.


Most of what we worry about never happens.


This paradox of worry—so all-consuming yet unproductive—is summed up best by Mark Twain, who famously said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

Ease the Worry

So, let’s all just stop worrying, OK?

Just kidding—I know firsthand it’s not that easy. I’ve been told to just “stop worrying” for years and, well, it just doesn’t happen like that. And reaching inbox zero with our worries is actually impossible. We’re wired to have some level of worry to protect ourselves—it’s why we look both ways before crossing the street.


I’ve been told to just “stop worrying” for years and, well, it just doesn’t happen like that.


But the constant worrying about things that haven’t happened or things that aren’t even on the menu for the near future? We can take steps to curb overthinking.

Through trial and error, many late-night Google searches of “how to actually stop worrying,” and talking to other worry-inclined people, I’ve found a few techniques that help me ease worry and cut back on those 63 full days of dread.

Before we get into tips, it’s important to recognize that “worry” and “anxiety” are close friends but very different psychological states. Psychology Today offers a great breakdown of the differences. If you feel overwhelmed by your worries or in anxiety territory, it might be time to seek help from a professional. As someone who worries and has anxiety, I can’t recommend therapy enough.

But now, some tips for the casual worrywart:

1. Turn your ‘what if’ into ‘I can.’

Even if we know most of our worries won’t come to fruition, it still can feel hard to let go of our “what if” scenarios. What can help: refocusing from the “what if” to the “I can.” By that I mean, “I can problem solve” or “I can handle it.”

Dwelling on issues isn’t productive—but problem solving is. “Ask yourself what steps you can take to learn from a mistake or avoid a future problem,” Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, explains in Psychology Today. “Ask yourself what you can do about it.”

But some slippery worries don’t come with a solution—they’re so far in the future, we can’t even take steps in the now. In those cases, it’s helpful to release a little control and focus on “I can handle it.”

It’s a method that works for Joymarie Parker, 30, the co-host of the Joblogues podcast and a self-proclaimed worrier. Parker says when she switches from trying to control the future to trusting she can handle whatever comes, it helps her redirect her thoughts.

“When you can release the need for things to happen one way and accept however they happen, you’ll thrive and you’ll survive in that,” Parker says. “I like to think, ‘This can go really well or not so well, but I’m OK with both of those outcomes.’ And a lot of times when we worry it turns out to be nothing or it was manageable. Whatever happens, we always come out of it on the other side.”


“Whatever happens, we always come out of it on the other side.” —Joymarie Parker


2. Set a time to worry.

Setting a designated time to worry can help you cut back on overthinking and recognize how much time you give those might-happen-but-probably-won’t-but-here’s-what-I’d-do-if-it-did thoughts. It’s a great way to ease into cutting back on worrying without forcing yourself to go cold turkey.

“Stewing on problems for long periods of time isn’t productive, but brief reflection can be helpful,” Morin explains.

Morin recommends setting aside 20 minutes of “thinking time” each day. “During this time, let yourself worry, ruminate or mull over whatever you want,” she writes. “Then, when the time is up, move onto something more productive.”

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I’ve found having a confined time to worry makes me prioritize my worries. It helps me weed out the highly irrational (What if I broke my leg tomorrow?) and focus on the worries that I can act on (What if I don’t finish that project by tomorrow?).


I’ve found having a confined time to worry makes me prioritize my worries.


A set time to think also helps me stay “worry-lite” throughout the rest of the day. If a worry pops up outside of my scheduled time, I swipe it aside like a bad push notification and tell myself to “revisit during thinking time.” And when I do get to my thinking time? Half the time I find myself forgetting what nagged at me earlier in the day—another cue it wasn’t important to begin with.

3. Call your worries out.

Like I said earlier, we tend to love tracking our habits and finding ways to optimize our time. But worrying essentially goes against that goal to get more done in less time. Reminding myself of how unproductive it is to worry actually helps me calm it down.

As much as it can feel like worry is motivating me, or it shows that I care about something, I know 99 percent of the time it’s stopping me from actually living my life. When a worry pops up, I like to challenge it with a “Is this useful?” It helps me connect back to the present me—the “me” who actually has things to do and people to see—and it helps me dismiss the worries that don’t serve me.

I’ve accepted that I’ll never “stop worrying”—I’m a proud worry wart for life. But like my Fitbit shows me how much time I spend sitting, noticing my worries helps me see the time I lose to irrational “what ifs.” Now, I’m starting to reclaim that time.

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14 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline

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Sadly, your natural genius and an occasional burst of hard work are not quite enough to guarantee success in this life. Great entrepreneurs all have one additional amazing trait in common: discipline. It takes a lot of consistency and determination to get your great ideas recognized and to convert your hard work into dollars.

It is ironic, then, that self-discipline is often a feature that the brightest people among us lack the most. The problem is that there are so many wonderful things to learn about the world; concentrating on any one project can be a big ask.

Related: Why You Need Discipline to Achieve the Good Life

If you’re concerned that your lack of self-discipline is holding you back from fulfilling your full potential, you can remedy this by trying a range of techniques to sharpen your focus. Visualizing the effects of your work, making lists and thinking about the company you keep are all good ways to get started.

Check out the infographic below for further details on these and other methods of honing your self-discipline. Study it today, and you are sure to see the positive results of your new regime before you know it.

14 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline

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How To Get Over a Breakup, According to Science – Andrew Gregory

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The aftermath of a breakup can be devastating. Most people emerge from it intact, but research has shown that the end of a romantic relationship can lead to insomnia, intrusive thoughts and even reduced immune function. While in the throes of a breakup, even the most motivated people can have a difficult time determining how best to get on with their lives.

Now, in a small new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers tested a variety of cognitive strategies and found one that worked the best for helping people get over a breakup.

The researchers gathered a group of 24 heartbroken people, ages 20-37, who had been in a long-term relationship for an average of 2.5 years. Some had been dumped, while others had ended their relationship, but all were upset about it—and most still loved their exes. In a series of prompts, they were coached using three cognitive strategies intended to help them move on.

The first strategy was to negatively reappraise their ex. The person was asked to mull over the unfavorable aspects of their lover, like a particularly annoying habit. By highlighting the ex’s negative traits, the idea goes, the blow will be softened.

In another prompt, called love reappraisal, people were told to read and believe statements of acceptance, like “It’s ok to love someone I’m not longer with.” Instead of fighting how they feel, they were told to accept their feelings of love as perfectly normal without judgment.

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The third strategy was distraction: to think about positive things unrelated to the ex, like a favorite food. Just as distracting oneself can help reduce cravings, it may also help a person overcome the persistent thoughts that come with a breakup.

A fourth prompt—the control condition—didn’t ask them to think about anything in particular. Next, the researchers showed everyone a photo of their ex—a realistic touch, since these often pop up in real life on social media. They measured the intensity of emotion in response to the photo using electrodes placed on the posterior of the scalp.

The EEG reading of the late positive potential (LPP) is a measure of not only emotion but motivated attention, or to what degree the person is captivated by the photo. In addition, the researchers measured how positive or negative the people felt and how much love they felt for the ex using a scale and questionnaire.

According to the EEG readings, all three strategies significantly decreased people’s emotional response to the photos relative to their responses in the control trials, which didn’t use prompts. However, only people who looked at their lover in a negative light also had a decrease in feelings of love toward their ex. But these people also reported being in a worse mood than when they started—suggesting that these negative thoughts, although helpful for moving on, may be distressing in the short term.

Distraction, on the other hand, made people feel better overall, but had no effect on how much they still loved their ex-partner. “Distraction is a form of avoidance, which has been shown to reduce the recovery from a breakup,” says study co-author Sandra Langeslag, director of the Neurocognition of Emotion and Motivation Lab at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, so the strategy should be used sparingly to boost mood in the short term.

Love reappraisal showed no effect on either love or mood, but still dulled the emotional response to the photo. The authors classify love for another person as a learned motivation, similar to thirst or hunger, that pushes a person toward their partner in thought and in behavior.

That can in turn elicit different emotions based on the situation. When love is reciprocated, one can feel joy, or, in the case of a breakup, persistent love feelings are associated with sadness and difficulty recovering an independent sense of self.

Classifying love as a motivation is controversial in the field; other experts believe that love is an emotion, like anger, or a script, like riding a bike. However, the endurance of love feelings (which last much longer than a typical bout of anger or joy), the complexity of these feelings (both positive and negative) and the intensity of infatuation all signal a motivation, the authors write.

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To get over a breakup, heartbroken people change their way of thinking, which takes time. Just as it can be challenging to fight other motivations like food or drug cravings, “love regulation doesn’t work like an on/off switch,” Langeslag says. “To make a lasting change, you’ll probably have to regulate your love feelings regularly,” because the effects likely wear off after a short time.

Writing a list of as many negative things about your ex as you can think of once a day until you feel better may be effective, she says. Though this exercise tends to make people feel worse, Langeslag says that this effect goes away. Her past research found that negative reappraisal also decreased infatuation and attachment to the ex, so it will make you feel better in the long run, she says.

The findings are particularly relevant in the age of social media, when photos of exes, and the resulting pangs of love, may come up frequently. “All three strategies may make it easier for people to deal with encounters and reminders of the ex-partner in real-life and on social media,” Langeslag says.

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Explore Google’s Sweeping Retrospective on Frida Kahlo’s Life & Legacy

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n 1929, Frida Kahlo sketched a self-portrait onto the back of a painting titled “Portrait of Virginia.” The sketch would inform Kahlo’s “Self Portrait with Airplane,” which broke auction records in 2000 as the most expensive Latin American work and most expensive work by a woman ever sold. But because it is located on the back of a canvas, Kahlo’s original drawing is rarely seen.

Now, however, fans of the iconic Mexican artist can view the sketch for “Self Portrait with Airplane,” along with a host of other rarely seen works and artifacts, from the comfort of their homes. As Veronica Villafañe reports for Forbes, Google Arts & Culture has launched an expansive retrospective of Kahlo’s legacy featuring 800 items from 33 museums located in seven different countries. The collection is titled “Faces of Frida.”

“For years, Google Arts & Culture has been working in partnership with a network of museums and experts from all over the world to bring the many facets of Kahlo’s legacy together in one place,” Lucy Schwartz, program manager of Google Arts & Culture, writes in a blog post. The retrospective, she adds, “is the largest collection of artworks and artifacts related to Frida Kahlo ever compiled.”

“Faces of Frida” includes not only Kahlo’s paintings, but also her letters, personal photographs and unpublished writings. Visitors can peruse the pages of her colorful diary, read her letters to her mother, Matilde Calderón y Gonzalez and browse through photos of Kahlo and her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. One image of Rivera, taken at his studio in 1940, is stamped with bright pink lipstick—a kiss from Kahlo.

Several pieces featured in “Faces of Frida’ were sourced from private collections and have never before been available online, among them “View of New York,” which Kahlo drew while staying at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel in New York in 1932. Another 20 artworks have been captured in gigapixel resolution through Google’s Art Camera, which lets visitors zoom into Kahlo’s work to see her brushstrokes in vivid detail.

Yet another interactive feature takes the form of five Street View tours of sites that were important to Kahlo. Visitors can, for example, virtually explore Mexico City’s famous “Casa Azul” where Kahlo was born, lived and died.

Editorial features offer additional insight into Kahlo’s work and enduring legacy. One essay explores how Kahlo’s work was shaped by her struggles with multiple chronic illnesses. In another piece, three LGBTQ artists explain how they have been influenced by Kahlo’s honest, progressive ideas about gender and sexuality, which often made their way into her paintings.

“Though self-portraits may be how most people first encounter Kahlo, the woman they portray is revered for much more than her art,” Schwartz writes in her blog post. “The complexity of her thinking on feminism and politics, her body and her country, remains fresh. In these contexts, her universally recognizable face takes on many possible interpretations.”

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How Do You Break Up With Someone? You Asked Google – Anouchka Grose

First of all, consult someone who’s messed it up horribly at least a couple of times. They will offer some mature and very wise counsel, not at all tinged with bitterness and regret. They won’t simply spout generic “good advice” about kindness, understanding and listening; they’ve lived.

They will know that, in certain instances, it’s better just to get out and not think about the other person’s feelings; it’s thinking about their damn, stupid feelings the whole time that’s landed you in this decade-long misery-fest. If this is your case, just pack your stuff and do your thinking later. In the end you will both be glad. (See? Very sophisticated.)

If, however, it’s you that’s the scoundrel – you’re having an affair or have just “gone off” someone nice who seems to love you – try not to be too much of a twit about it. It can be really shameful to be on the wrong side of this one, and shame can push you either to be dishonest or to try to redistribute the blame.

Don’t attempt to convince yourself, and especially not your mutual friends, that the other person isn’t exactly a paragon of partnerhood either. Of course they aren’t, nobody is, but that doesn’t mean you have to highlight their flaws in order to make yourself feel better. Then again, there’s no need to make a massive show of self-flagellation. A touch of stoicism will do just fine. Take them out to dinner, take their feelings seriously, and let them shout at you a bit if they want to.

It’s awful to leave someone who doesn’t want to be left, but it can also be awful to stay with them. If you let them go, you will at least be giving them a chance to find someone else who is actually capable of loving them. And when you hear, 20 years later, that they are living in Brooklyn with their partner and child, you will almost cry with happiness.

(At the same time as wondering, self-indulgently, whether their romantic good fortune has made it possible for them to forgive you at least a little bit. Wow, Anouchka, you really can’t let go of the idea of being a “good person”!)

Come to think of it, kindness, understanding and listening might have been quite a good idea, at least if you’re the scoundrel. There’s nothing more stupid than acting out rather than trying to articulate yourself.

It’s got to be kinder to say you’re unhappy than to sleep with some passer-by (whom you then marry). The problem is that, when you start to talk and listen, you often find you can’t help liking, even loving, the other person – and that makes it very difficult to abandon them.

The one advantage of dumb acting out is that it can at least give the abandonee an opportunity to hate you. If you’re absolutely sure that leaving is essential then why spend loads of time trying to make it possible for them to continue to think well of you? This could even be considered a little vain. Attempting to do something horrible to someone in a polite way is inherently problematic. (Just look at the government.)

While there might be a free-floating cultural ideal that tells us to try to be on good terms with everyone at all times, sometimes this just isn’t possible. Of course there’s no need to be nasty for the sake of it, but neurotically trying to be perfect can be time-consuming and messy. Some breakups take years.

There are people who can, apparently, bring about the ideal disunion, but if everyone expects to do the same they might find themselves having a lot of very long, sad and frustrating conversations when they could have been out enjoying the sunshine. But, then again, sunshine gives you cancer and serious dialogue can make you more humane and insightful.

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It’s hard to feel good about ending a long-term relationship, even when it’s ultimately for the best. Not only are you choosing to throw yourself into the void, but you are also chucking someone else in involuntarily. Whether they are an angel, a devil, or even just an ordinary human being, you might feel dreadful about what you’re about to do to them. That’s not a sign that you’re making a bad choice, it’s just a register of the fact that you do still care about them. So that’s nice.

On a more practical note, if you’re married to someone who does properly terrible things, consider divorcing on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour rather than waiting two years and calling it irretrievable breakdown. (But do bear in mind that it’s probably unwise to be too idealistic about divorce courts; #freetiniowens.)

It’s so common for these things to be lost to history; the perp wants to go about their life as usual, find another hostage ASAP, and pretend none of it ever happened. Or if it did, it was just as much your fault as theirs. This sort of whitewashing can leave you with a disconcerting feeling of unreality. Possessing a legal document that acknowledges what actually went on might help.

Having said that, if you’ve stayed in a long-term relationship with someone who’s demonstrably bad news you’ve probably lost your mental coordinates enough to find it difficult to fight for justice or recognition. If so, re-read the first paragraph, pack, and don’t forget to throw cress seeds on their sofa on the way out (or seek other good revenge advice on Mumsnet). It’s more important to be out than to be “right”.

As you can see, this is all very considered and impartial. Sometimes it’s them, sometimes it’s you (but don’t ever actually say: “It’s not you, it’s me”, obvs). And now I think it’s time for me to finally get round to doing that thinking.

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Dig A Well Before You Are Thirsty or You Might Just Be Left Treading Water

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I like to live in the moment and enjoy smelling the roses. I try to find the positives in life. Why not? It can lead to a good health outcome as a result. Well, there is some data that supports that notion. Not entirely sold on it, however. But I do personally believe it.  It’s like that song Live in the Moment by Portugal The Man notes:

“Ooh la la la la la
Let’s live in the moment
Come back Sunday morning
A lie, oh well
When you’re gone; Goodbye, so long, farewell

Actually, I am not too sure that those lyrics mean. Why do songwriters have to be so mysterious with their meanings? I suppose I understand a tad bit from my own poetry writing experience. Many times my meaning is only known to myself and I enjoy seeing how others treat my words like a blank canvas and add their own meaning to them. But, speaking of words let me get back to living in the moment. I like it. I enjoy it.

But I understand that we also need to anticipate future needs, desires and expectations. And, I am struck by how so many people do not do so.  Many will justify their lack of future preparedness by noting that they believe in living in the moment but that is just not an excuse. You have to anticipate being hungry at night and have a somewhat stocked fridge. Well, of course, if you live in New York City you can always run out and find something open.   But you get my point.

I came across this quote, and book title by Bestselling author Harvey Mackay,  “Dig a well before you are thirsty” and was struck by how true and real it was. If you love hiking and the immediacy of it, you still anticipate being thirsty and bring a canteen, water bottle or, if you are like me, a soda.   You are not likely to assume that someone else will supply you with water to quench your thirst or that there will be drinking stations along the way.

I did see an episode recently of the soon-to-be-cancelled Life Sentence wherein a main character was going hiking and completely didn’t anticipate needing water. He was completely a live-in-the-moment guy who was trying to impress a girl. He was also a guy who was basically treading water in life who had put much of his life on hold or rather hadn’t moved forward very far in life. I am not too sure that is completely adaptive.

The book by Harvey Mackay was about networking in the business world. But, the principle holds true for life overall. It does amaze me how people often do not think through the consequences of their actions or inactions. So, let’s do Carpe Diem and dig wells. That would be a full, maximized life.

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Top 5 TED-Ed Lessons On Creativity – Ellen Ullman

“Do schools kill creativity?” asks Sir Ken Robinson in the most-viewed TED Talk of all time (more than 51 million!). In the video, Robinson challenges schools to promote and inspire creativity, but it’s difficult to know where to start, and some teachers aren’t sure if it’s possible.

“I don’t think creativity can be taught,” says Rayna Freedman, a fifth-grade teacher at Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, Massachusetts. “It’s an experience that inspires students to think beyond their potential and see things differently. It’s about giving them tools and choice to complete tasks and let them fly.”

Other educators disagree.

“Everyone is creative in their own way,” says Nicholas Provenzano, makerspace director at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan and blogger at The Nerdy Teacher. “Too many people view creativity as a connection to the arts. The idea that creative students are the ones that can draw or effectively use glitter glue is nuts. Some students are super creative when it comes to solving problems or creating games during recess. Some are amazing storytellers.”

Doug Johnson, a former classroom teacher who now serves as technology director for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Schools in Minnesota, agrees: “One of the biggest myths is that creativity only belongs in the arts. We may think of creativity as a nice extra, but a lot of us have to be creative on a daily basis.”

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Johnson asks: “Do I want a creative dentist? I’d rather have someone who follows best practices and isn’t experimenting on my mouth, but I do want a creative problem solver who will use nontraditional methods when the traditional ones don’t work.”

How to inspire creativity

Johnson recommends several things teachers can do to encourage creativity, such as asking for multiple possible answers to questions or giving points for “design” on assignments, in his blog post “Myths of creativity” and in his book Teaching Outside the Lines: Developing Creativity in Every Learner.

For Provenzano, creativity is about giving students a time and place to be creative. “I am always an advocate of teachers modeling what they want to see from their students,” he says. “Teachers cannot give students multiple-choice tests and worksheets all year and then wonder why their students are not more creative.”

If you’re looking for more ideas and resources, here are the 5 most popular TED-Ed Lessons on teaching and assessing creativity.

1. The power of creative constraints
Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or … does it? if you’re like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why? Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

2. Why should you listen to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons?”
Light, bright, and cheerful, “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi is some of the most familiar of all early 18th-century music, featured in numerous films and television commercials. But what is its significance, and why does it sound that way? Betsy Schwarm uncovers the underlying narrative of this musical masterpiece.

3. Music and math: The genius of Beethoven
How is it that Beethoven, who is celebrated as one of the most significant composers of all time, wrote many of his most beloved songs while going deaf? The answer lies in the math behind his music. Natalya St. Clair employs the “Moonlight Sonata” to illustrate the way Beethoven was able to convey emotion and creativity using the certainty of mathematics.

4. How playing an instrument benefits your brain
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

5. Can robots be creative?
People have been grappling with the question of artificial creativity— alongside the question of artificial intelligence—for over 170 years. For instance, could we program machines to create high-quality original music? And if we do, is it the machine or the programmer that exhibits creativity? Gil Weinberg investigates this creative conundrum

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