You are here

Newsletter Vol. # 18 That's how I see it!

Hello and welcome to this week's newsletter

What you'll find in this weeks newsletter: What's going on in our society, are we falling apart? Are marriages better or worse than they were in our parent's time? Want to live longer, then walk; weight and who it is feeling it; Golf is the answer, who cares what the question; be careful what You ask a Georgia grandmother; Reader Response to an article I previously wrote on obesity.

What's Going On?

What is going on? Stress, harder (hours at work), drugs and alcohol on the rise, families falling apart (divorce and separation in over half of those married), obesity almost out of control, people not wanting to work-second and third generations on welfare, neighborhoods under siege, governments near bankruptcy, half the population on antidepressants and sleep products, and children not being allowed to be out of the sight of their parents for fear of them being harmed. I repeat just what is going on in this society of ours. What is driving these negative behaviors?

Lots have been written already about why things have fallen so far apart gotten so out of control. I guess I can add my two cents and you can agree, disagree or delete.

I believe there have been significant changes in society since my youth-50+ years ago. I believe these changes are the result of three major losses. One is our loss of a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives, which used to be sustained by a connectedness to family, friends, community, and for many to God. The other two losses are a change in the relationship we have with nature and our lack of commitment to our fellow human beings.

I do find "lack of purpose" to play a significant role in the increase in depression in our population. The average person feels they are seen by the workplace as a commodity to be used and discarded. Except for a few specialized careers, there is a little pride, sense of accomplishment or feeling that they have made a contribution to society through their work.

Mobility has helped break down the family-family members go where the work is even if it is thousands of miles away and they live without family and friend support. I read recently where the kinds of houses they are building today, "single family homes", are leading to isolation and estrangement from neighbours and a loss in community involvement.

Parenting is very different with both parents are working and a day care is in charge of the child's early learning and bonding experiences. I believe some children grow up being "bonded" to television rather than to their parents.

It seems to me there is no "old" way still in practice. We no longer live in communities like the ones many of us grew up in. Where I grew up, if the streetlights were on or the whistle had blown (mother from the back porch) and I wasn't at home within five minutes, I heard about it from whatever neighbors were out on the street. There were times when I resented their involvement but it was just part of what the "community did to help raise a child". There was no fear that harm would come to me being out on the streets as I had all these pseudo-parents looking out for me. I would be at the rink on Saturday from 8 am until lunchtime and from then until supper and nobody checking on me. I was safe and had many people looking out for me. This has all changed! Today children are not allowed out of sight of their adult/parents. Play dates are arranged and organized to calm the fears of both children and parents-nobody wants to end up on the 6 o'clock news.
(More on what this is doing to our children in a future newsletter)

For now, how do you see this issue?

Marriage-Better or Worse!

I do a lot of work with couples and I am occasionally asked, "Are marriages better today than they were in our parents time?" My reply, "Better/worse-in what way are you thinking when you ask this question? My non-answer is generally "yes!" than "both" (better and worse). The literature indicates the average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yesteryear in both satisfaction and divorce rate. However, the best marriages today are stronger (satisfaction and divorce rate) than a couple of decades ago.

What the literature tells us and I suppose it's only common sense, is that we can have a high quality marriage today but only if we invest a great deal of time and energy in that relationship. I remember reading a study a number of years ago, I can't remember the source but it was about positive and negative comments made in a relationship. Apparently a relationship is seen as a negative one if the quality of positive to negative comments is one positive one negative. It isn't until there are three-four positive comments to every negative comment that relationship is seen as a positive/worthwhile/doable relationship. So, this isn't brain surgery, we do need to spend a great deal of time and energy in relationship with our partner if that relationship is to be seen as positive one and sustainable. I don't think in North America we make the time for our relationships. We are too busy working-both partners, and raising our children in a dangerous world (?) with too few family supports.

Walk and Live Longer

If you take a walk for an hour every day, even every other day, you're much less likely to die an early death from cancer or heart attack than people who never exercise.

That's the conclusion of a study of over 13,000 men and women who were followed for an average of eight years by Steven Blair at the Institute For Aerobic Research in Dallas, Texas. The men and women were divided into five cardiovascular-fitness levels ranging from least fit to most fit. The least fit were sedentary but healthy. The most fit were also healthy and committed to regular physical exercise. During those eight years, 240 men and 43 women died.

Among the sedentary women, the death rate was twice that of those women in the second level, who exercised moderately. For man, the rate of death was more than 2.5 times higher for sedentary men as compared with moderate exercisers.

People who were more highly fit were dying at still lower rates. But the biggest difference in death rates was between the sedentary and the moderate exercisers. The researchers concluded that even moderate exercise, like walking, might help people reduce their risk of death. It may also reduce the likelihood that they will die from heart disease or cancer.


Half of all white adolescent girls think they are overweight when, in fact their weight is normal, according to a recent National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey. Black children of both sexes and white boys were much less likely to have such misperceptions. It's a myth that obese children are not concerned with losing weight: 90% of obese kids in the survey knew they were overweight and wanted to shed pounds. Unfortunately, few kids have access to comprehensive weight-loss programs, which should include family counselling, plus education about diet and exercise.


... A non-violent game played violently from within.

... An easy game, it's just hard to play.

... Like art; it's impossible to perfect.

... A puzzle without an answer.

Lawyers should never ask a Georgia grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his ... first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?' She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defence attorney? She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him. The defence attorney nearly died.

The judge asked both counsellors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, if either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair.

Reader Response

In a previous newsletter, I wrote an article on obesity, an article fraught with simplicity. I knew I would get a reaction and I did! Obesity is a very complex issue and anyone who tries to simplify it will catch the ire of those more knowledgeable of this topic.

Some of my readers responded with an agreement to my adequately thought out comments on the topic of obesity. And some strongly felt that the information I presented was far too simplistic and inadequate for such a complex issue.

I would like to share with you some of my reader's extremely valid points on obesity:

Did you know that there are lots of people who never exercise and have terrible eating habits who are not overweight?
Did you know that there are lots of people who exercise and eat good healthy food and are not slim?
You can't assume that every person who is obese doesn't exercise or eat right

I (reader) work with clients who struggle with weight gain caused from meds and I see their struggles every day, I see their depression because they can't fit their clothes and their only 22 years old. I hear their parents say she used to be a size 6 until she got sick.

Today's obesity problem is huge, it's complex, it's in epidemic proportions and it starts at home. There are no easy answers. However, I would suggest people start with an open mind, be willing to listen to people who are overweight. How about you write up a survey specifically for women, and get some useful feedback asking about their eating habits, their eating disorders, and their struggles at the grocery checkout, the peer pressure their kids steal from other kids who only bring processed food to school for lunch. You may get some valuable information to write a new book. Id be the first to buy it! Have a good night Dr. Dan.


A lot of people are overweight because of medication side effects i.e. anti-psychotics and a lot of people are overweight because they are genetically pre-disposed to be overweight.
And as for those people who are overweight for typical reasons: overeating, lack of exercise etc., there is usually a psychological reason why these people use food to soothe their pain. It's not about not knowing how to eat/exercise, it's about trying to deal with life

For a lot of people, life has not dealt them a good hand. People are trying to find a way to manage, to find some happiness in their life, to be able to afford to get through to next payday. When you are unable to work for medical reasons and you receive a mere $700 a month for food and shelter from EI, or WCB has cut you off, or EI says you've reached your allowable limit of coverage and cuts you off, or your health plan decides you aren't actually ill or you have a mental illness or a disability, how is a person supposed to be able to eat nutritious foods like fruit vegetables and lean meats.
These people can barely afford to eat! They live on cheap high carb foods. It isn't their fault that soft drinks are cheaper than milk and parts of the province where food is brought in by train and the price of groceries skyrockets. How does a family feed themselves properly when the price of housing is so high and takes up most of their financial allotment?


People need to be more open-minded and less prejudiced towards people who are over-weight. It's not always as simple as liking cheeseburgers, fries and a milkshake for dinner.... Something I've never had in my life because I am overweight and always have been. Quite often women who are overweight watch what they eat more so than the person is overweight-because it is a real struggle in this materialistic world to have a good self-esteem when every magazine cover shows a mini-sized model.
                                                                      Food for thought Dr. Dan.

Lets hope the temperature can be a little more moderate in the days ahead, our lunch boxes filled with yummy (and healthy) stuff and our loved ones safe without us smothering them.