Especially with the arrival of ChatGPT and other artificially intelligent helpers, if you want to be a durable human, you need to know how you differ from machines.
For starters, you are completely one-of-a-kind, whereas machines can be duplicated endlessly. You’re also a powerhouse of resources, starting with your masterful palette of senses. Sure, that’s the Famous Five, but also intuition, compassion, humor, and muscle memory, to name just a few. Children embody the all-important sense of wonder. (Read more in The Durable Human Manifesto)
Unlike what can be the seesaw of resilient, if you are durable, you are consistently active and effective for as long as possible.
Being a fully expressed “Durable Human” is an ideal. Like playing golf, you never quite reach perfection. But my dad came close.
A Mind of His Own
Consider how he lived just one day we were together in October 2022. He was 98 ¾ years old. It would have been the 75th anniversary of marrying my mom, who had passed away 10 years before.
As he did first thing each morning, my dad read two newspapers. Later, he’d watch the evening news and often recorded other news, information, or entertainment shows to view at his convenience.
Sometimes he was troubled by what he read or saw, but he had a neat trick for staying on the bright side.
Stress in the household was a main reason why many children developed problematic media use during the height of the pandemic. Household screen rules had little effect on media usage, according to new research.
Emily Kroshus had three children under age 6 at the time of the pandemic lockdowns. She remembers how she coped with online work meetings. “I would turn to screens.” And not to co-view and discuss content with her children. “It’s more like: ‘please, can I hypnotize you for an hour?’”
“I’m not proud of that,” the child behavioral researcher recalls. “And I don’t think I’m alone.”
Curiosity prompted Kroshus and her lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute to survey other parents in the fall of 2020. A diverse group of 1,000 American families responded, each with at least one child between the age of 6 and 17.
According to the survey results published in the journal Pediatrics, one in three children displayed “problematic media use,” which Kroshus describes as “the child is unwilling or unable to stop using media.”
About one in three households had rules around media use, such as keeping devices out of the bedroom at night and not bringing screens to meals. But did those rules prevent problematic use of phones, laptops and computers? Continue reading
Robin thought she was “being Super Mom” as she made nice dinners and tidied her midwestern U.S. home, with her toddler son quietly sitting nearby watching made-for-babies TV. She didn’t know that by letting him watch so often, he was developing the newly described condition termed “Virtual Autism.”
Took a While to Realize
For weeks, Robin rationalized the changes she saw, but finally had to admit something was wrong. Her formerly happy, lively 14-month-old had stopped having eye contact, no longer said words, and began to display hand-flapping, spinning and other autistic-like symptoms.
“The big one was,” she recalls, “he had stopped answering to his name.” Continue reading
Spending a few minutes outdoors, chatting, and taking a nap are simple but powerful ways to fight stress, which has surged in the pandemic.
Between 2019 and 2020, stress levels of 8 in 10 adults shot upward, according to a Stress in America Harris Poll sponsored by the American Psychological Association. Family pressures have led to record levels of depression and anxiety among children, reports JAMA Pediatrics.
But neither adults nor kids need to grimace and bear it. There are lab-proven ways to cope.
Short-term versus Chronic Stress
Stress comes in two basics forms: short-term and longer-lasting, or “chronic.”
Short-term stress tends to go away. Like when your alarm goes off in the morning. You’re shocked at first, but once you get up and move on, you forget that initial jolt.
Longer-lasting stress is caused by longer-term life problems, such as financial strife or difficult relationships.
Left unchecked, stress can add up to major health problems. “When experienced over a long period of time, it has been linked with heart disease, diabetes and the spread of cancer, as well as other chronic diseases. And physiological responses can start young,” according to the journal Nature.
Yet, Nature concludes, “some people are remarkably resilient to these and other stressors.”
The X-factor is attitude.