Tag Archives: io9

If We Want to Change the World, We’ve Got to be Better Parents

Note: I’ve been away from writing here for the past 6 weeks or so. My writing will continue to be less frequent than it used to be, but my plan is to at least write something once a week. Hopefully, it can be more frequent than that, but we’ll see how things go. I chose this post’s topic to return to writing because, as fate would have it, I’ve recently become a dad!

As some of you know, I like to use my favourites on twitter to accumulate things I want to write about or read. As I haven’t been writing very much in the last little while, the list of my favourites that I want to write about has grown — quite a bit. There were two tweets that I’d been saving to write about because I knew that it would fit perfectly with my return to writing. Both were about parental leave.

As you can see from the map above, the United States is the only western country that doesn’t have paid maternal leave. Of course, you’ll find that many companies offer paid maternal leave for people in the US as a way to stay “competitive,” but this isn’t something that’s required by law. This is a travesty. Unequivocally. Nothing is more important for a child’s growth than having their mother near in the early stages of life. Nutrition is tantamount to the survival of the child, but so is tender loving care.

Europe, in particular some of the Nordic countries, really understand this:

Swedish parents now receive a total of 480 days of leave per child, 390 days of which is paid at 80 per cent of salary (up to a maximum of $162 a day).

Quite frankly, the necessity for maternal leave is so obvious that one shouldn’t even need to argue for it. Instead, the debate should be about how long maternity leave should be.

While the US continues to shirk its responsibility to mothers, there’s an interesting argument that offering (more) paternity leave would help to close the gender gap. It’s certainly a compelling argument and the study in Quebec lends credence to the idea, but I think this is another one of those “no-brainer” kind of policies. Of course there should be paternity leave. Of course fathers should be there for their young infants and the new mothers. There is so much work required in the early stages of an infant’s life that I can’t imagine a mother trying to do this all by herself. And as history would tell us, they’re not meant to.

Only recently has our society shifted in a way that it’s become the “norm” for mothers to stay at home by themselves and tend to the children. As a new father, I’m embarrassed by this. If we want to do right by our families, our countries, our societies, and the world, we’ve got to take more time to spend shaping our young ones who will inherit the world.

Quick Thoughts on Will Smith’s “After Earth”

Have you seen Will Smith’s new sci-fi flick, After Earth? The box office indicates that you probably haven’t as it came in 3rd this weekend with just under $30 million domestically. If you happen to read movie reviews online, you’ll know that there’s almost been what looks like a one-upmanship contest to see who can give a more scathing review of After Earth. One of the most striking reviews is the attempts to connect Will Smith to Scientology. I may be wrong, but from what I’ve heard of Will Smith on the subject of spirituality, these claims seem to be a bit far-fetched.

I had the chance to see the movie over the last couple of days and let me tell you… I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as the reviews would have you believe. In fact, there was a pretty good post about the movie from io9 that serves as an FAQ/review with spoilers. As I’ve gone back and read some of the reviews, there certainly seem to be some valid points. Although, I wouldn’t consider myself a film critic by any stretch of the imagination nor a film expert. While I’ve seen many movies, I don’t know what to look for the same way that someone who’s studied film would.

This may be a bit out of left field, but I wonder if the reaction to the movie has more to do with the philosophy it espouses than the “poor acting.” I remember Cloud Atlas wasn’t received with open arms, but there were some folks who did still give it positive reviews. There was certainly a philosophical bent to Cloud Atlas, though different from the one in After Earth.

The philosophy from After Earth reminded me a lot of what you might find if you read some of Byron Katie’s writings. In fact, the mini-monologue that Will’s character gives to Jaden’s character seemed like it might be something that Katie could have said herself!