Monday, June 29, 2015

It's official I LOVE PIXAR movies. INSIDE OUT is pure genius!

When I work with people on their relationships with dating, romance, family, friends and work relationships I always come back to the basics. What we are thinking and how we make decisions in our own best interest is essential to being successful.

Now I advise you to go see the movie Inside OUt! This movie is not just a children's movie, it is for adults too! It is a must see. This movie let's us see into our own perspective and those of the people around us. Children can get an inside view of what is going on with their parents and parents with children. Transfer this to your friends, co-workers and extended family. The ability to get past our defense mechanisms and to portray brain chemistry in such a easy to understand format is awesome. Click here to see the trailer only watch the first one then wait for the second one! What a treat! TREAT yourself and those you love to the movie of they year!

Dr. Mary Kay Keller
TEDxTallahassee 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Father's Day! How important are dads in the lives of children?

Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there, the known and the unrecognized fathers! There are obvious fathers and then there are men who are mentoring other fatherless children, men who desired to be fathers and did not have that reality come true for them, fathers who never got a change to be a father to a child born to a single mother, uncles and grandfathers who lived dual roles in the lives of children.   I have been privileged to study fathers and when I say this, it was an honor to have the men who participated in my original parent study open up to me candidly. I am forever grateful to have had that opportunity. The first of three articles is going to print and will be published by the end of the summer. I look forward to submitting the other three. This is just the beginning as I move forward seeking funding to continue this research near my home in Gadsden County Florida. I desire to continue this work on a larger scale. I am also grateful to researchers who have gone before, such as Andrea Doucet whose work she published in a groundbreaking book titled, "Do Men Mother?" While the title of the book offends some the content of the book her writings of over 20 years of research gathering men's stories in her qualitative studies is illuminating. I read it slowly absorbing all the nuances of the patterns she has illuminated. Most recently, what I read was that yes, fathers engage differently with their children than mothers. While we as moms seek to nurture and protect it is the fathers, the men in our children's lives who support them in stretching themselves to find their boundaries in their risk taking activities. Further supporting that children benefit greatly from both feminine and a masculine perspectives.

My TEDxTalk is about research I conducted at Florida State University. I will give a brief overview, as the many benefits that fathers and their perceptions of the benefits to their babies, were discussed in detail on the National Fatherhood (click here) blogI taught fathers infant massage and then gathered data through video taping, interviews and diaries fathers kept while massaging their infants throughout the study. What I learned while writing up the research and from fathers outside of the research who spoke with me about the topic was as valuable as the actual research.Watch the video for illuminating details.

Positive child outcomes establish the critical need for both female and male role models in a child's life. As a society, when we treat men like they are outsiders and the babies as exclusively the mothers' domain, then, we do children and fathers a disservice. Considering how they were deprived of fathering play as children (dolls were off limits) and deprived of dual custody, based upon gender rather than merit, it most certainly has been the child that suffered. Fathers who participate in child care classes spend more quality time with their babies and report feeling confident and competent in their role as a father. Both competency and confidence are scientific indicators of long term involvement in the lives of their children.  After publishing articles on this research I wrote the first of many books to come and published it on Amazon, "Hassle Free Bedtime," that includes information from my research and the research of others to support fathers in their journey of acquiring new skills. 

Caution on "our parental rights."

Children have a need to be protected from exposure to violence. Neither gender has a right to expose a child to neglect or violence or sexual exploitation as children require a higher standard of responsibility because they are developing and vulnerable. Any parent who claims a right to raise a child or be in the life of the child and who has exposed a child to violence or sexual exploitation has a higher responsibility to seek treatment before expecting access to their child. Children are not our property, they are a gift to be nurtured and loved. It is through this process that we become better human beings.  

TEDxTallahassee 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Women be more than what you think people see!

One of the first responses to this amazing TED talk was someone saying how she should not support "unhealthy" bodies. Of course it was an anonymous posting. What people don't realize is thin was not valued until the mid 1960s when Twiggy was pranced around by the modeling world. Even thin women are not happy with their bodies. As far as unhealthy bodies, I am now considered overweight. I was not as a child nor as a woman, nor as a woman after 4 full term births. My weight gain was after being prescribed medication without being warned of the side effect of excessive weight gain.

What I have discovered is how superficial society really is! I suspected this when I was young and attractive by the worlds' standards, people referred to me as a "looker," "quite a catch," "a hottie," etc. Now what's sad is I had no idea. I didn't know I looked good because I grew up during those years of Twiggy parading down the modeling ramps. I had a curvy figure even at 110 or 115 pounds. When I looked in the mirror, my body never hit the mark, especially after birthing my children.

I think I am more of a catch now. I am educated, notable intelligent, and I LOVE my body. My body takes me on bike rides. I was commuting from my house to FSU when I was teaching. It is 10 miles from my door to FSU College of Human Sciences one way. I would then do errands bringing my ride to no less than 30 miles in a day. My health? Well my doctor can't believe my resting heart rate, my cholesterol count is lower than people younger than me and my sugar levels are the same as they were when I was 18. The reason I am posting this is I am just tired of a male based society determining what women need to look like or wear or say. I don't require outside approval from others. I never did turn and ask my husband does this make my butt look big? Should I wear this, etc.?

When I dated I often felt justified resentment when I realized my date was more into my looks than he cared about what was going on in my head. One man asked me to go for a walk on a break from the ballet performance we were attending. Said he needed to stretch his legs. We walked and talked and quite frankly the temperature had dropped. I was freezing and he was clueless. When we got back he turns to me and says, " I have a confession. I just wanted to show you off!" I think he thought I would take it as a compliment. I just walked a city block freezing for this man to treat me like I was some sort of an arm charm? Seriously. No second date. He had no idea that I was carrying a nearly 4.0 in my undergrad Psych program or that I had just finished the second field research project by my junior year or that I had completed an internship in the NICU specializing with parents whose baby was terminal, or that I had completed my coursework under the direction of the honors program. He didn't ask and I didn't get much of a chance to get a word in between his talking. Lessons learned, 1. Set much higher standards for dating. Don't say yes again until I see signs they see my insides as well as my outsides and count it valuable. 2. Notice when men keep the conversation a two way street and run from the ones that don't. Yes, I know I might be waiting awhile! It is okay, I am fine waiting. My worst day of being alone has beat my best day of being with someone who doesn't love me inside out! Being alone allows me the freedom to just BE!

Dr. Mary Kay Keller
TEDxTallahassee 2015
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Monday, May 25, 2015

TEDxTallahassee 2015 TED Talk about First Time Fathers' Experiences!

This is a TEDxTalk presented April 10, 2015. I am honored to have a prestigious venue to present what first time fathers shared with me in my qualitative research project I have a dream!

Please visit my YouTube Channel for updates and other presentations!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Avatar was a fantasy movie, or was it?

I resisted seeing Avatar when it came out in the theatres. I don't resonate to science fiction or anime movies so I really didn't think I would like to see it. Furthermore violence upsets me. So I let it go and listened as people spoke highly of the movie. It was only when I saw a documentary on how the file was made that my interest was piqued. When I saw how many computers and how James Cameron was deeply involved in the oversight of the production and development I was further curious. I felt like I was reading about a genius. Eventually I bought the movie and downloaded it to my Zune. On a plane trip across the country to Oregon I pulled out the Zune and watched the movie. I have no idea what the person next to me thought as I laughed and cried watching the movie. I was very moved by the perspective of our limited human communication being expanded. That we are only coming to understand that there is communication within and between species is due to our limited belief systems.

Research has now shown us that how we treat animals and how we teach our children to treat animals is an indication of our level of emotional compassion (empathy) or lack of it. Indeed Dr. Frank Ascione of Utah State University has a extensively published on the correlation of animal cruelty and the connection between child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, elder abuse (sociopath and narcissism behaviors). To translate this, people who abuse animals lack the ability to empathize. Many child advocates, such as, Andrew Vachss have come to understand this correlation and support the safety of animals as well as children. Bringing advocates from all domains such as domestic violence, Barry Goldstein supports the empathic awareness that we are all indeed connected, humans are only once of the many species on planet earth.

In this revealing TEDx talk by a 13 year old boy we are privileged to see through the eyes of one so young that indeed children do hold many lessons from which we adults can learn. Enjoy this TEDx Talk by Kaden Salem.

Do you treat all living things as your equal, with dignity and respect? Is your dog like a sibling to you, or just a pet? This talk explores the relationship of humans with animals. Dolphins, wolves, and ants are used as real-world examples.

Kaden is a 7th grader at Ecker Hill Middle School in Park City, Utah. He shares his ideas on the equality of animals and the impact of his "sister" on his life.
There is a very high correlation between how humans treat animals and how we treat human beings. Just because he goes to the level of insects does not make him wrong. Remember 50 years ago humans were so ignorant we did not know that dolphins and whales communicated with each other. When we discovered it humans acted as if they had discovered something new forgetting that these creatures had ALWAYS had the ability to communicate with each other. This young man is very aware and I would say forward thinking however I don't believe he is thinking in the future and is very grounded in the present. Children have a connection with life that we often train right out of them with adult superiority. Children are not inferior they are equal developing human beings with much to contribute to the world if we listen with an open mind and heart. Great job Kaden Salem!