I have missed writing the answers to the wonderful questions from Sparks from a Combustible Mind. I am still healing from the defibrillator surgery, with the pain getting a little better. The nurse assures me that in a couple of weeks, all will be good again. Thanks for your prayers!
Here are this weeks questions and answers.
Do you think there is such a thing as a ‘gendered’ brain?
As a sociologist, I taught a class called Gender and Society. It was my sincere hope to get students to discontinue believing that men and women naturally think differently, particularly as any time there are constructed categories of difference, one is viewed as superior and one is seen as inferior.
I wanted them to understand that nature (biology) and nurture (environment) together play roles in how we see the world and understand our place in it. But, also to note that males and females are socialized, meaning taught through various ways, to think differently on many topics, from early days. For instance, when a little boy is told to stop crying like a girl, particularly when he is in pain, he comes to see the behaviors allowed to girls as dangerous for him to display. Yet, God gave us all the ability to cry, for releasing stress and for good mental health.
What is the silliest fear you have?
I don’t believe that any fear is silly. Fears are created out of experiences, most likely bad ones. I fear raised voices, even when they are not raised against me. But, I equate raised voices with the possibility of physical pain, so I try to never raise my voice at anyone, and I skedaddle when I hear people start to shout at each other.
When I asked my students their worst fears, I was amazed at the numbers of students who said failing to live up to their parents’ and other people’s expectations, or simply failing. Those fears may motivate them to be their best, but also may result in mental illness. So, fears are real in how they impact our behaviors. But, I also believe that we have to overcome the fears that we can, and those that we can’t, we must just accept. I worked to overcome my fear of heights, flying all over the world and riding gondolas to the top of the French Alps, but I will not go in the ocean trying to overcome my fear of drowning. I stay close to the shore. I respect the power of water.
Out of your family members, who are you closest to?
My youngest daughter, Wanda. I adopted her and her three siblings when I was 21 years old, when my sister, their mother died unexpectedly at age 23. I talk to Wanda every Sunday, even when I travel. In Italy, I found that I could not call her, but I texted her to try to call me. Until she heard from me, she was frantic. So, no matter where I am in the world, I make sure to speak to her at least once a week. Of course, she is the main child trying to get Douglas and me to move back to Atlanta, so that she can keep me close to her. I have to remind her that I am only age 67, not yet decrepit or helpless.
What is something you’ll NEVER do again?
I will never let someone else’s ideas about another person be my standard for thinking positively or negatively about someone. I have learned to get to know people for myself. You just can’t depend on the prejudices of others as the basis for how you perceive other people whom we may think of as different from ourselves.
If you’d like, please share a photo or a comment about something good that’s happened recently! Thanks!
Say hello to Ace, my eighth great-grandchild, and the third great-grandson! He was born while we were in Italy, so I cannot wait to hold him and give him a kiss! Welcome to the world, Ace. Great-Granny Gina will do everything in her power to make your life as good as possible. May God’s plan for your life be fulfilled in great ways!
If you thought you loved your children, boy are you in for a treat! We love our grandchildren and great-grandchildren even more! They think that you are the cat’s meow, and you get to give them back at the end of the day, when they are so full of sugar and so hyper that sweet poetic justice rules the day! Life goes on!