After many years together, I’ve recently discovered that my dear husband (DH) and I have very different ways of recalling events that have happened to us. This isn’t about what we remember (or block out, as the case may be!) but how we recreate those situations in our minds.
DH, who is an artist, remembers as if he were watching a movie. It is completely visual.
I, on the other hand, remember as if I were reading a novel; that is, while I might visualize certain aspects of the story, the narrative is generally descriptive and verbal.
I found this quite fascinating, and it makes me wonder how you, my dear readers and bloggers, remember things. SInce most of you are writers, do you also imagine a story being told to you? Or do you conjure up vivid pictures?
Dreams are quite different, I think, as they seem to always be visual, whether we are involved as characters or as onlookers. Is this true for you? Do share!
The greater one-horned rhinos in India’s Manas National Park — their population once completely decimated by poaching — are making a comeback thanks to joint conservation efforts under the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 initiative.
Today, there are 44 rhinos in Manas NP and a total of around 3,700 greater one-horned rhinos in Asia, up from only 200 at the beginning of the 20th century.
With some of my favorite people about to move out of the neighborhood, I’ve been realizing that friendship is largely situational.
In childhood, we make friends through chance commonalities. We may live on the same street. Go to the same school — where we often become friends with the person who sits next to us because their name starts with the same letter — or play the same sport. Or fidget through the same religious services.
As adults, we might meet because our children know each other. Become friends with our co-workers. Live near each other. Volunteer for the same causes; attend the same church, mosque or synagogue; chat on a trip; or detest a common enemy.
Many connections fade without the proximity that is friendship’s oxygen. And that’s ok: they enriched our lives while we shared common experiences.
But if we’re lucky, a special few survive geographical separation because our deeper interests and affection forge a long-term bond.
So, in honor of all our besties, some wise quotes:
“An old friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a dead body.” Jim Hayes
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.” Mark Twain
“There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.” Sylvia Plath
“Friends give you a shoulder to cry on. But best friends are ready with a shovel to hurt the person who made you cry.” Unknown
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’” A. A. Milne
BALTIMORE, Md. — Taking notes with a plain old pen and paper is becoming more antiquated by the day. However, a new study finds handwriting is actually the superior learning option, beating out both typing and watching videos when it comes to quickly picking up new information. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University report that handwriting is “surprisingly faster and significantly better” for learning certain skills.
“The question out there for parents and educators is why should our kids spend any time doing handwriting,” says senior author Brenda Rapp, a Johns Hopkins professor of cognitive science, in a university release. “Obviously, you’re going to be a better hand-writer if you practice it. But since people are handwriting less then maybe who cares? The real question is: Are there other benefits to handwriting that have to do with reading and spelling and understanding? We find there most definitely are.”
Pen and paper triples learning speed?
A group of 42 participants took part in the study. Researchers taught each person the Arabic alphabet after separating them into three learning groups: pen and paper, typing, and video watching. After all participants had been “introduced” to an Arabic letter via a short video, subjects had to attempt to absorb the new information according to their assigned learning group. The typing group had to find the letter they just saw on a keyboard. The video group saw an on-screen flash of a letter and had to answer if it was the same letter they had just seen. The handwriting group had to copy the letter with pen and paper.
By the time participants across all three groups had finished six “learning sessions,” pretty much everyone was able to recognize the letters. However, the writing group reached this level much faster than the other two groups, after an average of just two learning sessions.
Next, study authors set out to see if any of the groups could “generalize” their new knowledge. In simpler terms, while it’s great that they could identify the Arabic letters they had just learned, could they actually use them to write, spell new words, and recognize unfamiliar words? The writing group excelled in all three of those categories to a much larger degree than either the typing or watching groups.
“The main lesson is that even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there,” explains lead author Robert Wiley, a former Johns Hopkins University Ph.D. student who is now a professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Ultimately, the handwriting group showed far more of the skills necessary for expert adult-level Arabic reading and spelling.
Why do our brains react so well to paper?
As far as why handwriting is a cut above when it comes to learning, study authors believe it is because writing reinforces both visual and aural lessons. More specifically, they say that the very act of writing something down creates a “perceptual-motor experience” that fosters “richer knowledge and fuller, true learning.”
“With writing, you’re getting a stronger representation in your mind that lets you scaffold toward these other types of tasks that don’t in any way involve handwriting,” Wiley adds.
While these findings involved only adults, researchers are confident their work applies to children as well.
“I have three nieces and a nephew right now and my siblings ask me should we get them crayons and pens? I say yes, let them just play with the letters and start writing them and write them all the time,” Wiley concludes.
The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.
For my stepdaughter’s upcoming bachelorette weekend, attendees have been asked to offer a piece of marriage advice. Below are some observations to ponder, serious and otherwise.
“A wedding may require a team of professionals; a marriage only requires two amateurs.”
“It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” ~Rita Rudner
“In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar. They still are.”
“Marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”
“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.” ~Benjamin Franklin”
“Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them.” ~Ogden Nash
“The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.” ~Anne Bancroft
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”
On a less-snarky note, the following is a good checklist for how to get along in any long-term partnership. Condensed here, so click for the full article.
Remember Your Commitment Life is busy and unpredictable. You both signed up to ride together during whatever comes your way. A foundation of love and caring helps you get through the tough times.
Assume the Best of One Another Unless you’re married to a total rotter, your partner probably means the best. Even if they piss you off — and they will — their intentions were likely pure. So, as a general rule, assume you both have each other’s best interests in mind. (Unless proven otherwise.)
Don’t Ever Stop Trying Make the commitment to keep being generous, showing appreciation, and saying thank you more than you probably are. Being taken for granted is never sexy.
Stop Stonewalling This is the act of shutting down during an argument. The person stonewalling stops responding and maintains a calm exterior, which tells their partner that they don’t care at all about what they’re saying. What to do instead? Ask for a break. Then return to the discussion — sooner rather than later — when you’re ready.
Communicate Respectfully Argue and attack the issues at hand without getting defensive, digging up the past and throwing it in the other’s face, dismissing a partner’s experience, or any other caustic habit.
Always Be Flexible Life’s full of surprises, not always pleasant ones. A couple’s ability to ‘go with the flow’ – especially when it’s dramatically different from what they expected – gives them the opportunity to learn new skills and get to know each other in ways they might never have known before.
Curiosity Saves Couples Your partner will likely change over time, so being open to the ways in which he or she changes can allow you to identify the ways you’ve changed as well. Shared curiosity — learning a new skill, hobby, traveling, etc. — creates new opportunities to bond.
Be Willing to Grow and Learn Everyone screws up, says dumb things, gets stuff wrong. It’s all about how people react that defines a relationship. Being willing to admit mistakes, and apologize sincerely, is an important key in creating a deeper bond with your partner.
Stop Invalidating This type of belittling can be incredibly destructive to a relationship, implying that what they’re doing or saying means they must be either crazy, stupid, or some combination of the two. It can happen in a quick, almost casual manner (“That’s ridiculous”), or it can be passive-aggressive, telling a partner how they should react before you even speak (“Don’t freak out, but I have to tell you something…”). Marriages thrive on mutual trust, respect, and security. Without this, the relationship will eventually corrode.
Prioritize Sex and Date Nights When you’re busy, this means putting it on a schedule and sticking to it. Like other self-care activities (e.g., going to the gym) if you don’t block time out in your schedule, it’s not going to happen. Especially if you have young kids.
Get on the Same Page Whether it’s how and what involvement the in-laws will have, how many activities the kids should participate in, or even when/if to have children, having the same priorities builds trust and reduces stress.
Learn How to Move On From Arguments Disagreement is unavoidable in any marriage — as are spats, snipes, and all-out fights. “It’s important to talk about what happened afterward and own your part,” says one marriage and family therapist.
Laugh it Up If you can laugh together, you can survive anything.
Always Be Validating Having your partner listen, appreciate, and understand you speaks to a basic need for connection. It’s okay to disagree, as long as you respect each other.
Stop Obsessing Over Who Wins When couples respect each other, they can accept not being right in favor of maintaining a healthy balance. Successful couples choose their battles, knowing that closeness can sometimes be more satisfying than being right.
Make Time for Self-Care Don’t just take care of your spouse; look after yourself. That means exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough sleep, and making regular doctor and dentist appointments. Investing in yourself and your own well-being shows your partner that you want to be at your best for them.
Pay Attention to the Little Things For couples who have mutual respect, small gestures are second-nature. A simple love note, a slightly longer hug or kiss goodbye can make your partner feel validated and appreciated.
Give One Another Space It’s important to be supportive and engaged with your spouse. But you also can’t hover over them and try and solve all their problems for them. Have enough faith in each other to know when to step back and let them handle something on their own.