Friday, May 12, 2017


1.  What are three ideas from the reading that either surprised you or that you want to keep in mind as you get older?

2.  For you or your parents,  how is your life currently structure to not let you "thrive"?  What specifically will you do differently in your life?

3. Contrast these values to the movie and to the values from Kohl's Values Americans Live by.  How do Americans (and Mitch) structure their lives differently?

Checkout this review of the book Thrive. Here is the Thrive website. And you can read an excerpt and also take a happiness test. Try the happiness test - it will measure your satisfaction and make recommendations. Here is link to an interview with the author on the radio. In class, we did this with a partner: 1. Older person: Lookover your Thrive reading. Explain three ways that you would like to live your life that would help you “thrive”. Be specific about what you would do and how that is different from either how you live now or what you thought before the reading. Younger person: Lookover the list of values that make Americans unique (page 17). Review the values from the Kohl reading if necessary. 2. Older person: Share your ways of thriving with a younger partner. Be specific about what you would do and how that is different from either how you live now or what you thought before the reading. Younger partner: Open up to the list of American values (page17) and make a note about what American values will make it difficult for the other person to “thrive.” If you are not sure, ask follow up questions, like “Why do you think this will be hard? Or, “How were you planning to live your life differently before reading this reading?” 3. Switch roles and repeat.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Post 10: American Culture

This post is due next Wednesday May 17, 2017.

For Post 10, please post about American culture.  Using your sociological imagination, you can explain how living in the United States might affect someone.  We especially focused on cultural values.  Then using your sociological mindfulness you can post about how you might be affected by American cultural values and how you might want to make changes or fight against certain values that our culture promotes.  The nothing experiment is also a way to apply the concept to your own experience.

Don't forget to explain the connection of some sources to sociology.  We have looked at Kohl's The Values Americans Live By, Stefan Schirmer's Bemused in America, the video I Am or  Thrive by Dan Buettner.

Remember to write properly.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

God Grew Tired of US, Cultural values & Local Refugees

“Your calling is found where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederich Buechner

Recently I facilitated a sociology conference where we had a keynote speaker discuss refugees. 

James Hardan from the World Relief Fund discussed them for us:

Immigrants choose to leave but refugees are forced.
The road to refugee:
Flee homeland, leave everything behind, find temporary shelter (avg stay is 5 years) sometimes living in forest for extended time
Interview with UNHCR; often involves reliving the events
Wait for acceptance and nation to accept you
US resettles 50-60% of worldwide refugees
If accepted, go wherever you are sent and be prepared to pay back airfare costs!

26 million refugees worldwide.
50-80,000 refugees accepted to US each year

$900 given to each refugee to make it through first 3 months!
IL is 7th largest recipient of refugees

UNHCR – US Dept state – IOM Travel logistics – Resettlement Services

Worldrelief Services:
Initial resettlement
Employment Services
Education Services/ESL
Refugee Counseling Services
Youth Services
Volunteer and Church Relations
Citizenship and immigration Legal Service

Educational factors: ESL and lagging academics

Family and Cultural Dynamics:
Parent child role reversal
Lack of parental involvement in students’ lives
Lack of parental involvement in school
Different parenting styles and discipline

Past and Current Trauma/stress:
Past trauma and identity crisis

IL refugees:
Ethnic Lhotsampa
108,000 people displaced
Imprisoned, abused, denial of human rights

Very different from Bhutanese
Recent refugees, short term
Kids have seen and experienced more turmoil than Bhutanese
Here is a video showing you the life in a refugee camp in South Asia:


I want to examine the refugees for cultural differences, especially cultural values.  Often, we are so surrounded by our own culture that we cannot see that it is a social construction and there are other realities that exist.  So, after watching the movie God Grew Tired of Us and reading The Values Americans Live By written by Kohl, reflect on these questions:

1.  Individually, react to the Kohl reading.  What are some of the values that Kohl mentions that you easily agree Americans have?  What are some specific examples that you can cite from your own life that show these values shaping either you or your parents or another example?


2.  Pick your best example of how these values are at play in The United States or at SHS or in your own life.  Take turns sharing each person’s best example.  Oldest person in the group goes first.  Write down the values that others share and their example:

3.  As a group, identify values that are contradictory to U.S. values from the film God Grew Tired of Us.

4.  Look at the list of values that Americans hold.  Identify American values that might compliment each other.  These are called value clusters.  List them here:

Value Cluster: ­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________________________

Now look for American values that might contradict the other American values.  These are called value contradictions.  List them here:

Value Contradiction: ________________________________________________________________________

5.  Do you think Americans value happiness?  Why? How?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Deviance both positive and negative

Deviance is the repeated or serious violation of society's expectations. What is expected by society varies depending on where you are and when you are there. For example, cell phones used to be unacceptable at any school function just a matter of years ago. Now, I see students wearing cell phones on their waists and they are not perceived as deviant. It should be noted though that deviance doesn't just have to be negative. Check out this story from NPR:
A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.
But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.
He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.
"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.
As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."
The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

What a crazy story. What do you think about that?

Here's another example of a former SHS teacher who quietly and secretly gave money to a homeless man on the CTA and someone else caught it on camera.  He posted it and it went viral.

So this brings me to the idea that deviance doesn't have to be negative; you can violate the norms of society by doing something positive, such as paying for the toll of a stranger, giving away money (even just a dollar) to someone who doesn't ask for it, offering to carry a fellow student's books/bag for no reason, etc... For your next experiment try violating a norm in a positive way. Try an act of positive deviance. How does it make it you feel? How hard was it to do? How did others react to you? Here are some suggestions from the Randomn Acts of Kindness(RAK) Foundation for RAK at school (yes this is a real organization). And here are some suggestions for individuals doing RAK in the community.  And here is a link to 35 pictures of people doing positive acts of deviance.

Here is my favorite story of positive deviance:

If you have some extra time here is a great story about positive deviance and a baseball all-star game: