Tag Archives: The Golden Rule Around the World

Annual freshman college survey: I’m so vain I thought the world revolved around me

6 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: For the past several years, the Higher Education Research Institute has published the Annual Freshman Survey:

Each year, hundreds of two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities administer the CIRP Freshman Survey (TFS) to hundreds of thousands of entering students during orientation or registration.

The survey covers a wide range of student characteristics: parental income and education, ethnicity, and other demographic items; financial aid; secondary school achievement and activities; educational and career plans; and values, attitudes, beliefs, and self-concept.

Published annually in “The American Freshman,” the results from these surveys continue to provide a comprehensive portrait of the changing character of entering students and American society at large. http://www.heri.ucla.edu/cirpoverview.php

The Daily Mail has a fascinating article about the results of this survey.

In How college students think they are more special than EVER: Study reveals rocketing sense of entitlement on U.S. campuses, the Daily Mail reports:

Books aside, if you asked a college freshman today who the Greatest Generation is, they might respond by pointing in a mirror.

Young people’s unprecedented level of self-infatuation was revealed in a new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966.

Roughly 9 million young people have taken the survey over the last 47 years.

Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues compiled the data and found that over the last four decades there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.

But in appraising the traits that are considered less individualistic – co-operativeness, understanding others, and spirituality – the numbers either stayed at slightly decreased over the same period.

Researchers also found a disconnect between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability.

While students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing abilities, objective test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts.

Also on the decline is the amount of time spent studying, with little more than a third of students saying they study for six or more hours a week compared to almost half of all students claiming the same in the late 1980s.

Though they may work less, the number that said they had a drive to succeed rose sharply.

These young egotists can grow up to be depressed adults.

A 2006 study found that students suffer from ‘ambition inflation’ as their increased ambitions accompany increasingly unrealistic expectations.

‘Since the 1960s and 1970s, when those expectations started to grow, there’s been an increase in anxiety and depression,’ Twenge said. ‘There’s going to be a lot more people who don’t reach their goals.’

Twenge is the author of a separate study showing a 30 per cent increase towards narcissism in students since 1979.

Karyl McBride, Ph.D. describes narcissism in a Psychology Today article.

In The Legacy of Distorted Love: Recognizing, understanding and overcoming the debilitating impact of maternal narcissism, McBride describes the traits of narcissists.

The following is adapted from the nine narcissistic traits listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)

Am I Narcissistically Impaired?

Do I exaggerate my accomplishments and say I have done things I have not done? Do I act more important than others?

Am I unrealistic about my thoughts and desires regarding love, beauty, success, and intelligence? Do I seek power in these things?

Do I believe that I am so special and unique that only the best institutions and the highest academic professionals could possibly understand me?

Do I need to be admired all the time to the point of excess?

Do I have a sense of entitlement and expect to be treated differently and with more status than others?

Do I exploit others to get what I want or need?

Do I lack empathy and therefore never see what others are feeling or needing? Can I put myself in other people’s shoes? Can I show empathy?

Am I jealous and competitive with others or unreasonably, without logic, think that others are jealous of me?

Am I a haughty person who acts arrogant and “better than” with my friends, colleagues, and family?

And I add one more to this list:

Am I capable of authentic love, meaning I can give unconditional love to my children?

One interesting factor is this: If you are taking this test, worrying about your own parenting and asking accountability questions…you are not likely a narcissist! Breathe deeply again! Go to Yoga, pass Go, Collect a bunch of hugs!

See, Narcissistic Personality Quiz http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm

Moi wrote about narcissistic children in You call your kid prince or princess, society calls them ‘brat’:

Here is today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Urban Dictionary defines brat:

1.A really annoying person.
2.A person that is spoiled rotten.
3.An annoying child that wants something that no one will get for him/her. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=brat

Most folks have had the experience of shopping in a store like Target and observing a child acting out or screaming at the top of his or her lungs. Another chance for observation of family interaction is dining out at a restaurant when children may act out. Without knowing the history, it is difficult to assess the root cause. Still, an observation of how the parent(s) deal with the tantrum is instructive about who is in control and where the power resides in a family. It appears that in many families the parents are reluctant to be parents and to teach their children appropriate behavior, boundaries, and manners….

The basis of manners and boundaries is simply the “Golden Rule.”

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World

At its simplest, it’s really just “being kind.” Caring about other people. That means putting that kindness into action and treating people with compassion. It means trying to understand people’s beliefs and needs. It means not harming others and actively working to eliminate harm….
What concrete steps can people take to start to put the Rule into practice?

Practically, there are steps that institutions and individuals can take to make a difference.

Institutionally, there are anti-discrimination and accommodation policies you can put into place to ensure that employees aren’t unduly thwarted in their ability to practice their religions. Educational institutions can make sure that teachers are properly trained to create inclusive, multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms. And hospitals can work proactively with patients who may not want treatment that conflicts with their religion.

There are also things we can all do on the individual level. We can notice people who are not from our own group – people who have different practices or beliefs – and be interested in them. We can be curious about who they are and what their lives are like, without applying stereotypes. We can ask questions with curiosity and respect and truly listen to and digest the answers. And we can be willing to share about ourselves, our own beliefs and our own experiences.

Finally, we can work together, whether in workplaces, schools, community groups or governments to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are
involved in decision-making. By making all voices heard – and really listening to each of those voices – we can solve many of the problems we face together.

And when we do that, we’ll get to the gold.

Some form of the “Golden Rule” is found in most religious traditions.

Children are not mature and adults can not expect the same level of maturity that most adults are presumed to have.Parents are not their child’s friend and have to provide guidance, direction, and boundaries. http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/you-call-your-kid-prince-or-princess-society-calls-them-brat/

In the final analysis, for many children raised by narcissistic parents , it is not about you or US, but it is about ME. You will harvest what you plant.

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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Harassment, bullying, and free expression guidelines for public schools

22 May

Parents and students should familiarize themselves themselves with their school’s code of conduct or ethics policy. Adam Cohen has an interesting case study at Time. In Can Schools Punish Students for Posting Racy Photos Online? Cohen reports:

Two Indiana girls — one 16, one 15 — took racy photos of themselves at a slumber party and posted them online. When their high school found out, it suspended the girls from participating in a certain amount of their extracurricular activities. Can the school legally do that?

A federal district court in Fort Wayne, Ind., recently ruled that it cannot — because the punishment violated the girls’ First Amendment rights. The legal question of what rights students have to post provocative material on the Internet, and what rights schools have to restrict such postings, is still unsettled. But the Indiana decision is the second important ruling in recent months to strike a blow for students’ online speech rights.

In other words people have a right to be idiots. The question is do you want to be identified for posterity as terminally stupid?

Nirvi Shah is reporting in the Education Week article, Groups Urge Balance Between Censoring, Stopping Bullies:

Parts of the guidelines are bolstered by several unrelated court rulings. In a 2011 ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, for instance, a judge wrote that the phrase “Be Happy, Not Gay” on a student’s T-shirt was not derogatory or demeaning to other students. Students wore the shirts on the Day of Truth, a response to the national Day of Silence. The latter, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, based in New York City, is intended to bring attention to anti-lesbian, -gay, -bisexual, and -transgender name-calling, bullying, and harassment in schools.

In this Illinois case, two students had sued their school district after they were prevented from wearing the shirts at school….

Students may have a right to say what they’re saying, but etiquette in a pluralist society sometimes means you can’t say everything you want to say when you want to,” he added. “The approaches we’ve outlined will work to diffuse controversy.”

One notable exception to the list of groups endorsing the guidelines was GLSEN. Executive Director Eliza Byard said she appreciated the guidelines’ intent, and the distinction made between a simple statement of belief versus bullying and harassment.

However, she said, given the political climate, her organization feared misuse of the document, so they didn’t endorse it.

She referenced several states’ proposals to ban the discussion of homosexuality in school, or “Don’t Say Gay” bills, as they have been dubbed, including one in TennesseeRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader that died earlier this month and another effort still alive in Missouri….

Spelling It Out

The guidelines note that “students should be able to attend school without being—or even reasonably feeling—threatened by others. School officials should be mindful that abusive peer conduct may deny students full access to an education, even when it is not on a basis prohibited by law.”

They also say that there is no gray area when it comes to suppressing any kind of physical assault, unwanted touching, or violence.

But in general, unless a student exercising his or her right to free speech or expression is creating a substantial disruption of the school environment, it should not be squelched.

That criterion was established more than 40 years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Tinker decision over whether students could wear black arm bands in protest of the Vietnam conflict.

For example, the guidelines say the presence of a Confederate flag, clothing expressing a stance on abortion, or something that provides a viewpoint about homosexuality aren’t inherently bullying or harassment. Exceptions in which schools may intervene include speech that promotes the use of illegal drugs, speech considered lewd or vulgar, and school-sponsored speech, such as what’s printed in a school-run newspaper, Ms. Trainor said. When schools do face a situation in which students’ speech is disruptive, the guidelines suggest asking the students to stop what they’re doing rather than immediately punishing the students.

The guidance left the question of off-campus speech fairly untouched, noting a mixed collection of court rulings and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to take up such cases earlier this year.

We are responsible for protecting students and teachers from online harassment, but in doing so, we may trigger a lawsuit from a student claiming that his or her free speech has been impinged upon,” said Sasha Pudelski, the government affairs manager for the AASA. “As a result, the line between what is appropriate punishment and what is appropriate speech continues to remain blurred. In the meantime, school districts could be at risk for litigation when they attempt to punish students for online, off-campus speech.”

While there is a gray area, it may not be as murky as some think, said Justin Patchin, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center.

The standard is the same: whether the expression results in a substantial disruption at school…..

Lawsuits are often triggered when schools attempt to quell the speech and punish the posters severely, such as by expulsion or suspension, or when schools fail to intervene at all, including simply having a conversation with parents of the student who posted the offending material.


Here is some information about the guidelines:

Harassment, Bullying and Free Expression:

Guidelines for Free and Safe Public Schools

Produced by:

American Jewish Committee


Religious Freedom Education Project/First Amendment Center


Endorsed by:

American Association of School Administrators




Center for Religion and Public Affairs, Wake Forest University Divinity



Christian Educators Association International


Christian Legal Society


Hindu American Foundation


Islamic Networks Group and its Affiliates


Islamic Society of North America


Muslim Public Affairs Council


National Association of Evangelicals


National Association of State Boards of Education


National Council for the Social Studies


National School Boards Association


Religion Action Center of Reform Judaism


Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America



This is a general statement from the guidelines:

Where Should Schools Draw a Line?

The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that students have the right under the First Amendment to express religious, social and political views in public schools, even on subjects as controversial as the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War while that war was still ongoing, unless the school can demonstrate or reasonably forecast that the expression will cause a substantial disruption of the school environment or violate the legal rights of others (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, 1969).5 Most litigation has focused on the disruption prong of the test – what the Supreme Court meant by intruding on the legal rights of others is uncertain.

School officials may lawfully prohibit speech, upon a showing that the expression either causes an actual disturbance to the school’s educational program – or makes it reasonably foreseeable that the expression would cause such a disturbance.6 In reviewing the content of student expression, school officials should apply the following

5 More detailed summaries of Tinker and subsequent cases can be found at


6 The Supreme Court has recognized that public schools may in some circumstances restrict speech that is school-sponsored, lewd or vulgar, or related to illegal drug use.

safeguards and guidelines:

· Generally, the offensiveness of the content alone, without a showing that the speech is, or is likely to be, substantially disruptive, is not a basis for silencing speech. Fully-protected speech is often offensive to someone. Of course, grade level and developmental stage matter.

· When faced with disruptive or harassing student speech which conveys an idea, absent exceptional circumstances or a previously published specific rule, school officials should generally ask the students to discontinue the speech rather than immediately imposing discipline. At the same time, school officials have an

affirmative duty to prevent anti-harassment and anti-bullying rules from being used as a “heckler’s veto” of unpopular speech.

· Narrowly tailored bans on speech determined to cause, or likely to cause, substantial disruption should, absent exceptional circumstances, be viewpoint neutral.

· Student expression of ideas occurring outside of school should be subject to school action only, if at all, upon a clear showing of disruption, or likely disruption to the school, or a violation of the rights of school administrators and officials, teachers and other school employees, or students.

Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988); Bethel v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1987);

Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007).

The authority of school officials to discipline students for off-campus speech, and the liability for doing so, is currently in dispute in the state and lower federal

courts. It is likely that, at some point, further legal guidance will come from the Supreme Court.

· Regardless of how the First Amendment issues about out-of school speech are ultimately resolved, schools should consider incorporating proactive measures as part of their response, apart from discipline and suppression of speech. For example, schools could monitor the locations within the school where the students

involved in incidents of off-campus bullying or harassment may interact; publicize statements that the school will not tolerate in school harassment; incorporate harassment awareness education into the curriculum and professional development programs; and engage parents and community groups. If adopted, such programs

should be designed with sensitivity to a wide range of community views.

· True threats of physical harm or targeted, continuing harassment may be the basis for disciplinary action, while speech intended to convey a student’s viewpoint or ideas on social, religious, political, or cultural issues (among others) may not be the basis for disciplinary action absent a showing of substantial disruption (or likely disruption) or a violation of another student’s legal rights. Schools should teach students that, as a general matter, there is no right to be free of speech one does not like, whether in school or elsewhere.

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World At the core of all bullying is a failure to recognize another’s humanity and a basic lack of respect for life. At the core of the demand for personal expression and failure to tolerate opinions which are not like one’s own is a self-centeredness which can destroy the very society it claims to want to protect.

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