Reboot People Skills

RebootImage this, before texting came along, people had a difficult time communicating face-to-face.  Now even the shyest person can ask out someone if they have the right digits and a cellphone.

Robert Boldton, Ph.D in his book People Skills writes that ineffective communication causes an interpersonal gap that is experienced in all facets of life and in all sectors of society.

Texting and the constant need to be hooked into a wifi-socialization notification ping pong match is not helping  to close this interpersonal gap Boldton describes. And his book is copyrighted in 1979.

Most people are not good at active listening.  Active listening is difficult.  We all do this – not listen intently enough to actually understand what another person is saying.

We might pretend to listen.  But we likely let our minds wander.  It might be what to do for lunch, that the person smells like garlic, or we pretend merely to listen until there is a pause and we can start to talk about what we want to say in words and gestures.

And if you are more intent on waiting for the next notification ping to sound or vibrate, then how intent can you ever really be?  The tenderness and intimacy is lost.

160 characters

160Do you ever wonder why a text message is limited to 160 characters?  I did.  And I found more rules for different digital social medias and more questions as I began to search.

How do you count 16 characters?  A letter, space or punctuation is a “character”. If you type “enter”

that is one line break and a “character.” The new paragraph generates two “characters.”

Snapchat’s limit is 80 characters. Twitter’s is 140. The other 20 characters on twitter are for the user’s unique address.

Who is the father of all this?  Friedhelm Hillebrand

It is interesting to read.   Can you remember when we paid 20 cents for each text with an overage charge?  I sure can when cellphones first entered my cell phone parenting.


You can get a count of your posts characters here.

the Good Dope Days

We all need to be reminded from time to time that if you are not part of the future then get out of the way.

I heard a grandmother talk about how she hated that her grandchildren did not communicate with her unless made to do so by their parents.  The grandmother wanted to turn back time to the good dope days where children were mindful.

The parents did their best to teach their children to be respectful of their elders and made the children call the grandparents once a week.  But making someone do something against their will breeds resentment.

And those weekly Sunday night phone calls were an awful experience for all.

The parents had to herd up the children, dial the phone and stand guard as the children took a turn saying “hello Grandma” and then cringe as they responded to their grandmother with “yes” “no” “I don’t know” with a teenage hint of resentment enunciated with each reply.

For a long time the grandmother resisted reflecting on her role in this situation.  Maybe it was pride or perhaps it was fear of becoming old and outdated that kept her so stubborn.

Then one day she was given a smartphone with a one month contract.   She was told like it or not a major part of her grandchildren’s lives is digital socialization.  And one of their major occupations is caring for, and socializing on a smartphone.

She was taught how to text and she dropped the stubborn negative thoughts of her grandchildren and began to communicate with them in this new form.

The grandchildren loved the 160 character messages from their grandmother.  And no longer a chore assigned by their parents, they developed a digitally meaningful and gratifying relationship.

What was most rewarding, the parents no longer needed to force the children to call their grandmother, they spontaneously called her.

If she was able to reflect on the problem the grandmother might have seen her grandchildren are living a world apart from her good dope days. And what the grandmother needed was knowledge of the rules and techniques needed to communicate with these digitized grandchildren in their LED world.

Dr. Maxie C. Maultsby Jr.

You and Your Emotions picture

Dr. Maxie C, Maultsby, Jr., M.D.  passed away Sunday August 28, 2016.

His daughter Evelyn Maultsby Bynum wrote on Facebook – “A great man died on Sunday. He was my father, Dr, Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr. A leader in the field of medicine, selected to be inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for the American Psychiatric Association as a Distinguished Life Fellow, selected as a Magnificent Professor by the Howard University College of Medicine…those are just a two of his massive list of honors and accolades. For those of you sports enthusiasts, in the 1970’s when the University of Madison-Wisconsin football team asked him to help improve their athletes’ performance, he became the first Psychiatrist to ever use Emotive Imagery within the sports field. This is a technique he created with Dr. Albert Ellis, another world renowned Psychiatrist. The football team went on to have a successful season and this method is now commonly used world wide in sports psychology and other areas of therapy. Additonally, those of you who’ve ever worked with a therapist have probably experience the use of Rational Behavior Therapy (RBT)– a psychiatric therapeutic approach now commonly used around the world by Psychiatrists, Psychologists and therapists. Finally, the success of this approach led him to be the first Psychiatrist to ever receive $1 Million to develop an approach for how RBT could be used to treat those individuals overtaken with alcoholism. This grant resulted in many things, key of which was his well known book titled “A Million Dollars for Your Hangover”…now titled “Stay Sober, Stay Straight”. Through my fathers books, lectures, and medical articles, his practices are used around the world…his influence is wide and deep. He will be missed by many…especially by me.”

took the following from the editorial review on Amazon.  Dr. Maxie C. Maultsby Jr. is a most unusual psychiatrist; he is a normal people psychiatrist. That means he is a fully trained, board certified psychiatrist, but by choice he works mainly with normal but excessively unhappy or unsuccessful people. Yet, because they are normal, i.e. possess brains that are free of significant malfunctions, Dr. Maultsby’s patients and readers of his books want and are mentally capable of achieving as much personal success, plus emotional and spiritual satisfaction, for which they are willing to work.


Normal people’s psychiatrists practice the Cognitive-Behavioral psychotherapy and counseling. Dr. Maultsby has had 30 plus years of clinical experience in professional training, research and clinical practice using this treatment method. He completed training in both child and adult psychiatry. He now is a Medical College Professor at Howard University and the author of the only comprehensive, short-term Cognitive-Behavioral psychotherapy and counseling method, called Rational Behavior Therapy, which produces long-term results. Rational Behavior Therapy, Dr. Maultsby’s book by the same name, clearly demonstrates this now well established medical fact: “Much, if not most, anxiety and the other negative human emotions in normal people are unsuspectedly and therefore naively created by those entirely sane, intelligent people themselves”.

His well know research and effective training and treatment methods have made Dr. Maultsby an internationally recognized expert on scientific, yet practical concepts and techniques of healthy human conflict resolution. His self-help books are used by mental health professionals in every area of personal and inter personal conflict resolutions as well as for corporate management development and change management. Larry Wilson’s popular best seller: Play to Win, is admittedly based in large part on Dr. Maultsby’s work on the scientific principles and habits of normal people. Dr. Maultsby is truly the quintessential international expert on efficiently effective personal and organizational development and self-management.


Self help Books 50 of the Best

Feeling Good – by David D. Burns is number 1 on this list.  Never heard of it until recently.  And with the subject of advice to modify moods to a more positive outlook on life in mind, I put in an order to purchase a paperback copy.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”  Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.  You can find more quotes here.

I also ordered the fourth book on the list and am excited to read it even though it was created under a sad premise – The last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch rode around his neighborhood on a bicycle talking to a friend on a cell-phone headset.  This was done 53 times and became the source for the book.

The real Last Lecture is on Youtube.  It is something to view as one waits for the book to arrive.

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

For more on Randy, visit:

Learn how to support the Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge, visit:…


Blu “Bold Like Us”‘


It is part of life to replace a cellphone.  Blu is an inexpensive option with an Android OS in most of its phones and the wonderful Window OS in fewer and fewer models. Blu is a sturdy, designed in the USA mobile phone that is built in China.

I remember reading a Bloomberg article – China vs. the U.S.  by Harold L. Sirkin. Since this is a company founded by and predominately of Hispanic origin, Blu might consider building phones in the U.S. or Mexico.  Nothing against Canada, but BLU mobile devices are present throughout Latin America, Central America, the United States, and all of the Caribbean countries. In regions such as Central America, 50% of mobile phones for sale are BLU devices. This would strengthen the economy of one of our two closest neighbors.

Multitasking is not possible and there is a loss of attending to the person in the presence of a texter.  Check out this link on the issue.

Some information comes thanks to this link.  And this link is a good read about mobile phones.


Digital Parenting

I’m an Occupational Therapist.  I became one after graduating from the OT program at the University of North Dakota December of 1988.  I became a parent in October 1992.  Cell phones entered my life and made my parenting digital in June of 2006.

First it was flip phones and finding a cheap texting plan.  Then it was dealing with paying for overages of texts, then came unlimited texting.  Then Smartphones entered the field and social networks and notifications.  Now digital parenting is a major part of parenting.  Not only in the United States but around the world.

160 characters per message is a challenge to parenting that will not go away. We can thank Friedhelm Hillebrand for the length of text and twitter messages.  There is a wonderful site specific to cell phones and family life. This link will take you there.

Digital parenting is not the problem.  How we cope with cellphones and incorporate them into our parenting is the problem to address.

It is not an easy thing to raise a child today.   Virgina Satir agrees.

Parents teach in the toughest school in the word: The School for Making People. You are the board of education, the principal, theclassroom teacher, and the janitor, all rolled into two. . . . There are few schools to train you for your job, and there is no general agreement on the curriculum. . . . You are on duty, or at least on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for at least 18 years for each child you have. Besides that, you have to contend with an administration that has two leaders or bosses, whichever the case may be. - Virginia Satir