San Francisco: Top 5 Things To Do.

A guide to the top 5 things to do in the romantic city of San Francisco.

1. The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an incredible sight. Declared a Wonder of the Modern World, The Bridge alone sees over 10 million visitors a year – and it’s easy to see why – it’s truly magnificent, whichever angle you look at it.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco, and spans 1.6 kilometres. A good view of the Bridge can be found from multiple vantage points – one of them being from Alcatraz Island – next on the ‘must-see’ list.

WEBSITE: goldengate.org

2. Alcatraz Island & Penitentiary Tour

Alcatraz Island is roughly 2.5 kilometres from the shores of San Francisco. You can get there by boat, with multiple companies sending tourists over every day from the docks.

The Golden Gate Bridge can be seen both by boat and on the island – and if you manage to secure a night-tour of the penitentiary, you can watch the sunset over the Bridge.

Alcatraz holds many secrets and tales of daring escape attempts, having held many famous prisoners, including Al Capone. Walking through its walls and cells is slightly eerie, especially as night falls, however the interactive audio set you are given is incredibly fact-heavy and walks you through at your own pace.

It’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in the area – the history of such a place is definitely very interesting to learn about.

WEBSITE: alcatrazisland.com

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/370843350540032955/?lp=true

3. Fisherman’s Wharf

The Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see while in San Francisco. There’s plenty to see and do, from shopping at the local market stalls, learning about the history of the area or getting some of the freshest seafood in the city.

Fisherman’s Wharf is close to public transport, the city and has plenty of car-parking. You can hire bikes, visit the old-school arcade or simply wonder along the waterfront. It’s close to the Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum.

WEBSITE: fishermanswharf.org

4. Lombard Street

Known as the ‘crookedest street’ in the world, Lombard Street has steep hills and curving corners that pass by some amazing Victorian Manors. The street is truly iconic and has amazing views.

Lombard Street attracts a large number of visitors every year, and provides a free, but very photogenic place to visit. It’s not far from the Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, so if you’re in the area, you may as well check Lombard Street out!

WEBSITE: tripadvisor.com

5. Cable Cars

The Cable Cars in San Francisco are the last manually operated Cable Cars in the world. There are only 3 left in the city, and are a delight to hop on.

You get some excellent views from the Cars, and all in all, it’s a (cheap) and fun experience. They run every 10 minutes or so, and can take you from Union Square to Nob Hill.

For the best views, don’t forget to choose the side of the car that will be closest facing to the bay!

WEBSITE: stftodo.com

10 Reasons To Try Dragon Boating

As one of the most popular up-and-coming sports in the world, here are 10 good reasons to try Dragon Boat Racing today!

First of all… What is Dragon Boating?

Dragon Boat Racing is a water-sport spanning thousands of years, originating from the Pearl River Delta region of China’s Guangdong Province. It is one of the most up-and-coming sports in the world, with over 50 million participants worldwide.

Modern Dragon Boat Racing began as an international sport in Hong Kong in 1976 (for more information, click here).

Source: https://shenzhen.blog/dragon-boat-festival-a-traditional-chinese-festival/
Source: Shenzhen Blog

Dragon Boat Racing consists of crews of 10 or 20 paddlers in a boat (+ Sweep/ Steerer and Drummer). The boats are typically made of carbon-fibre, fibreglass and other lightweight materials.

So how does it work?

Dragon Boat Racing involves each crew member paddling in synchronization/ as part of a team, against other Dragon Boat teams (or against time) from a start line to a finish line.

Race lengths vary, with the most popular being 200m, 500m and 2km.

According to the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), there are currently 72 countries/ territories with memberships to the IDBF – and many more with a known interest.

Although you may have seen some teams sporting wooden paddles, Dragon Boat paddles are generally made of Carbon Fibre and their dimensions are carefully considered and controlled to comply with IDBF standards.

A paddler’s technique, height and power will determine the exact length and weight of the paddle.

You will notice the stamp/ decal on the top of the blade in the image – noting that the paddle complies with IDBF standards.

Paddles that are not compliant are not able to be used in official Dragon Boat Racing.

Source: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SPORT-Approved-Carbon-Dragon-Paddle/dp/B01E8DLU26
Source: amazon.com

Modern Dragon Boat Racing is organised at the international level by the IDBF, which is the governing body for the sport.

Dragon Boat Racing at the State, National and International level is very competitive and many paddlers train all year round and go through rigorous training programs, camps and try-outs to be capable of competing at a high level.

The Australian Dragon Boat Team is the Auroras – and their fitness benchmarks are outlined here.

Source: http://www.lureofthedragons.org/form-and-function.html#
Source: Lure of the Dragon

Above is a diagram of the typical set-up of a Dragon Boat Crew. Below is a quick description of each of these positions and what their purpose is:

STEERSMAN/ SWEEP:

The sweep is arguably the most important person on the boat.

They are responsible for the safety of the entire crew, and need to be in command 100% of the time.

The sweep needs to be able to understand wind and race conditions, as well as the capabilities of their crew, in order to keep the boat moving forward correctly.

Source: http://archive.boston.com/sports/blogs/bigshots/2009/06/dragon_boat_racing.html
Source: boston.com

BACK/ TURBO:

The back two/ four paddlers should be strong and able to keep up with the front ‘strokes’.

MIDDLE/ ENGINE ROOM:

The middle section of the boat is usually reserved for the strong, heavier paddlers to help balance the boat but still keep it above water with powerful strokes.

STROKES:

The front paddlers, also know as ‘strokes’ set the pace for the rest of the crew to follow.

These paddlers should have long, strong techniques, setting the visual example for the entire crew.

Source: https://www.thrill.com.au/dragon-boating-corporate-events-training-water-activities/
Source: thrill.com
Source: https://www.lovedbylaura.com/2015/06/bills-restaurant-cambridge.html
Source: Loved by Laura

DRUMMER:

The drummer position is usually reserved for someone lightweight (so the boat isn’t front heavy).

Drummers beat the drum in time to the strokes’ paddling, and calls out encouragement to the team – it might seem underrated, but it is extremely important in race conditions.

So why should you try it?

There are many great reasons to try and love Dragon Boating – but here are my personal TOP 10 reasons to give it a go:

NUMBER ONE:

STRENGTH AND FITNESS

Yes, this is an obvious benefit to any sport. However to be good at Dragon Boating, it requires a certain level of endurance, aerobic fitness, as well as strength.

It’s a whole body workout – your legs are the anchor while the muscles in your arms, shoulders and back are used to cut through the water.

Source: http://archive.boston.com/sports/blogs/bigshots/2009/06/dragon_boat_racing.html
Source: boston,com

You have to really lean forward to get the correct technique, which means you are also working your core at the same time, too!

Most clubs train several times a week, which means you can really choose what you get out of the sport. Whether you’re looking for a more social activity, or you have a competitive streak, this sport is excellent for either end of the spectrum.

NUMBER TWO:

TRADITION

Dragon Boat Racing is a sport that originated thousands of years ago. It is believed to have origins tracing back 2,500 years. In Chinese tradition, the Dragon symbolizes:

  • Power
  • Excellence
  • Courage
  • Boldness
  • Heroism
  • Perseverance
  • Nobility
  • Dignity

On race days, the boats are fitted with the proper Dragon Head and Tail. A traditional ceremony called ‘Awaking the Dragon’ is carried out, where a Taoist Priest dots the eyes of the dragon, thus ending its ‘slumber’.

The Chinese celebrate each year with a ‘Dragon Boat Festival’ which is one of their oldest and most grandiose festivals. It’s also known as the Duanwu Festival and occurs near the summer solstice (late May, early June). You can find more information here. Adelaide Dragon Boat Clubs also race at the OzAsia/ Moon Lantern Festival.

NUMBER THREE:

MEETING NEW PEOPLE:

Dragon Boat Racing is a sport that incorporates a wide variety of people of all ages, races and genders, from all walks of life. This makes it an amazingly social sport to be a part of.

Whether you plan to try Dragon Boat Racing competitively or socially, one thing is assured: you will make some amazing friends.

Source: http://www.dragonboatsa.com/auroras/
Source: Dragon Boat SA

The atmosphere both on and off the water is perfect for getting to know the people in your club, and everyone helps everyone else.

NUMBER FOUR:

Source: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/dragon_boating/dragon_boating_personnel.htm
Source: Tutorials Point

MASTERING A NEW SKILL-SET

Learning to paddle is always interesting – and each club has their own slightly different paddling technique – but for most, it is a very new kind of skill to learn.

Not only do you need to learn how to paddle – you need to learn the commands as well. It’s a sport that is incredibly demanding, both physically and mentally, but once you start to master it, very satisfying!

NUMBER FIVE:

THE SCENERY & BEING ON THE WATER

Where there are boats, there are (hopefully) bodies of water. And generally speaking, the places you paddle are quite beautiful!

Whether you’re paddling at a marina, on a river, a lake or the ocean, there is usually a lot to look at. So, while you may be paddling your butt off, you can still appreciate the scenery around you.

Early mornings are fresh and a perfect way to start your day, and afternoon training is rewarded with some incredibly beautiful sunsets. And the occasional pelican, fish, seagull or duck as well!

NUMBER SIX:

CAMARADERIE/ BEING PART OF A TEAM

Dragon Boat Racing is team sport, and to have any hope of making the boat go forward, you must work together.

The loyalty and team spirit you find while Dragon Boat Racing is something you won’t find anywhere else.

You’ll find out very quickly that ‘team’ takes on a very important meaning, especially while you’re on the water.

Rain, hail or shine (quite literally), training is a lot easier when you know you can trust the people around you. And rest assured, there’s nothing quite like paddling on a lake, hail and rain bucketing down, and laughing with the people next to you.

You will spend a lot of time on and off the water with the people around you, so having a mutual trust and friendship is imperative. Over time, you’ll notice that the people you paddle with will begin to become family.

NUMBER SEVEN:

TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES

Dragon Boat Racing can take you to some interesting places! Not only can you compete nationally, but if you make the national team, you could find yourself on the other side of the world.

The Dragon Boat World Championships take place all over the globe, from Hong Kong and Thailand, to Hungary and France. With a bit of competitive spirit and determination, this sport can take you to anywhere imaginable, all while making international friends along the way!

Source: https://www.timeout.com/hong-kong/things-to-do/10-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-the-dragon-boat-festival
Source: timeout.com

NUMBER EIGHT:

FREEING YOUR MIND

One of my favourite things about Dragon Boat Racing is that while you are on the water, there’s absolutely no time to think about anything other than paddling.

You are completely focused on your technique, what the commands being called out are, and keeping in time with the strokes (front two paddlers).

This sport is truly amazing for your all round well-being – body, mind, soul and spirit.

For someone like me, where day-to-day life can sometimes feel out of control, Dragon Boat Racing is the perfect opportunity to let all the worry and stress drift (quite literally) away.

NUMBER NINE:

DISCIPLINE

Discipline. There’s nothing quite like it.

You don’t know what this means until your sweep is screaming at an ear-splitting decibel for a ‘Power 20’ and all you can do is push your hardest and hope you aren’t going to have a heart attack.

Linking in with camaraderie, you and your team-mates rely on being disciplined to execute everything you’re told, in perfect synchronization, in order to bring the boat up and forward. And when it works, it works.

NUMBER TEN:

RACES!

Dragon Boat Racing = Races.

Lots and lots of races! Whether you see yourself as a competitive person or not, racing against other clubs is a lot of fun. It really brings everything together – camaraderie, discipline, team work, tradition, strength and fitness and everything you’ve learned along the way.

Giving one hundred percent, as a team unit, is truly a sight to see, and something to experience.

Race days are also a great way to mingle with people with other teams, watch other age-groups, enjoy some good old-fashioned team spirit and perhaps a beer or three after it’s all said and done.

So what are you waiting for?!

Summer is rapidly approaching (for my Australian friends, at least), and what better way to get fit and enjoy the water and sun? So what are you waiting for? Head down to your local club and give it a go!

FIND YOUR CLOSEST CLUB HERE:

For my South Australian Friends: click here

*Or come down and try with us at the Black Sea Dragons – formerly known as the Adelaide Sea Dragons and Black Dragons (new website coming soon!)


For my Interstate Friends: click here


For my Overseas Friends: click here


If you enjoyed this article, find more at:

Working With Young People: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned.

It’s been about 5 months since I started my journey as a Support Worker, but I really wanted to write about some of the things I’ve learned along the way, and how it has helped me become better at my job.

Mid-way through this year, I decided to change the trajectory of my life by switching into a career supporting young people who are under the Guardianship of the Minister (in State care). This is something I have always wanted to do, and I had the qualifications to do it – but never took the leap into the field – preferring stable, (boring) but reliable full-time employment instead.

Working with young people has always appealed to me, given my own background and experiences, which involved drugs, neglect, homelessness, transience and custody disputes between parents. But even though I have had those experiences in the past, each day is entirely different, and nothing can fully prepare you for the wide range of things you hear, experience and see while on shift.*

Assorted-color Alphabet

It’s been about 5 months since I started my journey as a Support Worker, but I really wanted to write about some of the things I’ve learned along the way, and how it has helped me become better at my job.

* Obviously, client confidentiality is of utmost importance when it comes to working with young people, so there will be no mention of names or specific locations etc. in this post.

Keep An Open Mind.


Top View Of Assorted Colored Stones in Wooden Containers

Sometimes people forget that young people in care are just like everyone else their age.

They have dreams, fears, failures and successes, just like you and me – all of which should be nurtured and celebrated.

One of the most valuable things I learned in my training was this:

Change the word attention to connection.

If a young person is exhibiting ‘attention seeking’ behaviours, try seeing those behaviours as ‘connection seeking’ instead.

Young people don’t always know how to express their feelings and fears, or ask for help and encouragement when they desperately need it – and sometimes this can seem like they’re being ‘attention seeking’ or being ‘naughty’ or ‘disruptive’.

Next time you notice a young person exhibiting some interesting behaviours, ask yourself: ‘is this young person seeking connection?’ rather than writing them off as being annoying or naughty, and chances are, you’ll get a better response.

Educate Your Friends & Family.


One of the saddest and most frustrating things I’ve encountered since becoming a Support Worker is the negative reaction of my peers when I tell them I work with young people in care.

There is an automatic stigma associated with these children, which sticks to them like glue, no matter how hard they try to get it off, and society’s attitude doesn’t help.

It is something worth highlighting, because these children are just that – children. People automatically stick their noses up, have an opinion or see these children as criminals before they consider giving them a chance to prove them wrong.

Young people end up in care for a variety of reasons, and it is never their fault. Some of them have parents who are unfit to care for them due to addiction, neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Neon Signage

Some are orphaned and have no other family. Some end up in foster care, but are given back when their behaviour deteriorates due to their trauma. Some have intellectual disabilities that their parents don’t want to deal with. Some are refugees. There are hundreds of reasons children end up in care.

Oftentimes, people look at children in care as lesser than other children. But for me, I look to these children for inspiration. Their resilience is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. These young people have suffered adversity and still try their very best, each day – whatever that may look like. And it’s worth remembering and acknowledging.

Expect The Unexpected.


Photography of Green and Red Fire Works Display

If you think you’ve seen everything, you haven’t.

Each shift I work is entirely different. One day I’ll be looking after a toddler, the next day I might be looking after a teenager, or a house full of siblings. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s to never go into a shift with any expectation about how it’s going to go.

I’ve had to clean walls covered in drawings. I’ve wiped poop from walls and hands. I’ve had to follow a kid around in a mini-van trying to convince them to get back in the car after they ran off. I’ve had to call the police, clean wet bed-sheets and listen to music that has so many swear words my brain ends up hurting.

But even more importantly, there are bright, shining, heart-warming moments that I never expected.

I got to be the person to take a child to their first day of school. I’ve had open and honest conversations with young people that have helped me grow as a person. I got taught how to make cold rolls (I always wanted to learn!), I’ve danced around the room with children and teenagers and high-fived toddlers when they realise they haven’t wet the bed.

I’ve seen milestones, birthdays, sad days and happy days, and I’ve seen firsthand just how wonderful, bright and resilient these young people can be.

Never assume you know it all. We truly know nothing. All we can do is expect the unexpected.

Don’t Underestimate Young People.


Silhouette Photo of Man Throw Paper Plane

Many people underestimate young people – even those not in care. But young people aren’t stupid. They’ll know if you’re talking about them – because it happens every day of their life.

They know when you’re being genuine – because they’ve had so many different carers before you.

Young people are in care for a variety of different reasons, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they can tell who has their best interests at heart and who doesn’t.

The young people that I work with also know all of the things they’re allowed and not allowed to do – and sometimes they use this to their advantage – especially if you’re new.

This isn’t something to worry about, generally – most of the things the young people try to get away with, we’ve all tried as a kid. They’ll try and push their bed-times, get extra dessert or negotiate their curfews – all normal kid-type things to do.

The bottom line is that children and young people, no matter who they are or where they live, will test limits and push boundaries. It’s completely normal and to be expected. This is all part of growing up and seeing who sticks around – even when we make mistake or play up.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes.


Putting yourself in the shoes of a vulnerable young person can sometimes be hard, especially if you were lucky enough to have had a relatively ‘normal’ or ‘safe’ upbringing.

I find that the best way for me to truly empathise with the young people I work with is to ask myself:

‘Given the circumstances, what would I have done at their age?’

Now this might be difficult if you don’t know the full story. In which case, ask yourself:

‘Do I know enough about this young person to be judging their behaviour?’

Either way, it is helpful to remember these questions when dealing with behaviour that might seem risky, aggressive or otherwise upsetting behaviour.

For example:

Person in Blue Jeans And White Sneakers Standing On Metal Railings

If you had been forced to live off of scraps for most of your life and didn’t know when your next meal would be, wouldn’t you, as a young person, hoard food or steal it where you could, so you felt safe and knew you wouldn’t starve?

If you had grown up in a house where drugs and alcohol were normalized, wouldn’t you, as a young person in a new living environment, have trouble understanding what is safe and what isn’t?

If you, as a young person, had been physically beaten or emotionally abused when you had arguments with your family, want to run away every time you have an argument with someone, so you don’t get hurt?

These may be confronting scenarios, but they are incredibly real.

There is almost always a reason behind why someone does something – even as we mature into adults. We need to be able to see some situations from the perspective of the young people in order to connect with them and find ways to help them.

For more content, see below:

Editor’s Note: NOVEMBER.

Christmas is HOW FAR away?!

Excuse me, but where has 2019 gone?!

It feels like only yesterday we were welcoming in 2019 with fireworks in the sky and drinks in our hands… And now we have to start thinking about putting the Christmas tree back up!

They say time flies when you’re having fun… but I think time just flies in general these days – even the days I spend in bed depression-napping seem to be over so quick I can barely remember when I had a shower last.

It’s always this time of year that I start to get both anxious, but also more relaxed.

Yes I know that doesn’t make sense. On the one hand, there are bills to think about, the cost of holiday-time (presents, parties and putting up with undesirable family reunions). And on the other hand, November always promises nice weather (in Australia at least), beers by the beach and longer days, with prettier sunsets.

Green Christmas Tree With String Lights
Photo Of Pineapple Wearing Black Aviator Style Sunglasses And Party Hat

‘Tis The Season…

This year, I’ve decided to cut back on all the novelty crap that comes along with the Christmas Season.

Yes, I’ll still put a Christmas tree up. Yes, I’ll probably dress my sausage dogs in Elf outfits. And yes, I probably will still gain 5 kilograms on Christmas Day from binge eating prawns, cherries, ham and chocolate coins from my siblings’ stockings.

But what I won’t be doing is bothering with the things that don’t contribute to my mental health or happiness.

I’m talking about things like putting up with toxic family members. Or buying unnecessary plastic crap to fill stockings and make the pile under my Christmas tree look bigger or better than someone else’s.

Or wasting money on presents that get opened and forgotten about the same day.

I’ve decided to make a small list of things I want to make happen this Christmas, to truly get back to what Christmas used to mean to me:

  • Don’t Blow The Budget
  • Stop Competing With The Jones’
  • Be Environmentally Aware
  • Appreciate Moments

1. Don’t Blow The Budget…

There have been so many past years where I have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on presents for people.

What I have noticed over the past few years though, is that the list of people never gets shorter, only bigger.

And people’s expectations never get lower, only higher.

Two Gray-and-green Christmas-themed Gift Boxes

So this year, as I start planning my list of people who I want to gift a present to, I’ve decided to:

  • Make some of the presents myself;
  • Cull the list – some people could probably just get a well-written card, and;
  • Stick to my list – no ‘extra’ presents

Maybe that seems a little ‘un-Christmas-y’ to some, but for those who know me, know that I always go out of my way to make everyone’s Christmas amazing. I spend extra on presents. I fill stockings that I bought for siblings I shouldn’t have to look after (but obviously do). I do the whole song and dance.

But the last few years of doing this has left me with a feeling of being unfulfilled, broke and just downright exhausted.

Woman Taking Photo Of Christmas Tree

2. Stop Competing With The Jones’…

Just because someone has it ‘better’ than you doesn’t mean what you have isn’t perfect as it is.

In this age of social-media and instant gratification, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of Christmas time.

We don’t need new decorations every year. We don’t need to tell everyone how much we’ve spent on each child or loved one. We don’t need to compete with anyone, in actuality.

Christmas is a time of love, understanding, peace and coming together with people we care about.

Who the hell cares if Sally down the road bought her daughter an iPhone? Who cares if the neighbour up the street has ‘outdone themselves’ this year with the decorations.

I certainly don’t anymore. I just appreciate the fact I have people I can share my life with.

Sometimes we need to remember that there are so many people worse-off than us. People who don’t have family to spend Christmas with. Single mothers who can’t afford to buy their kids the latest gadgets. We need to appreciate what we have.

3. Be Environmentally Aware…

As the future looms ever closer, my household is more aware than ever of the Climate Crisis on hand.

So this year, we’re planning on reducing, reusing and recycling where we can.

That means things like: using paper wrapping. Not buying cracker that contain little plastic toys. Composting leftovers. Gifting things that help the environment, such as plants, eco-friendly bath-bombs, and not buying plastic and tinsel decorations where we can.

There are so many ways to help the environment – but sometimes it takes a conscious choice.

Photo of Landfill
Round Gold-colored Analog Watch With Pink Strap

4. Appreciate Moments…

That’s what Christmas is all about, right? Spending time with loved ones? Catching up. Taking a break.

The other day, I drove my sister (who I look after) to IKEA to buy a new mirror and clothes rack, because we had moved house. Then I spent a good chunk of time sitting on her bedroom floor helping her build them. I love helping her. I love her. And I love building IKEA furniture.

But after we’d put it all together, and helped her hang her clothes, she did something that I loved so much, that I went away and cried (don’t tell her that though).

She came up to me, gave me a hug, and said: ‘Thank-you, I couldn’t have done this without your help.’

And maybe I’m a cry-baby, but that moment was so amazing. It was so nice to be appreciated for a small gesture. And that’s what I want my Christmas this year to be all about.

The small things. The moments that make you tear up a little. The warm, fuzzy feelings that make Christmas feel like you’re 7 again, when you woke up in the morning and Santa drank the beer you left out for him and his reindeer left a half-eaten carrot on the dining room table.

I’m sure I will talk to lots of you beforehand, but I hope you guys have a wonderful November in the lead up to Christmas! And for my American friends, I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving and get to spend time with your loved ones – because that’s what this time of year is all about.

Until next time! x

Top Talks (#7): Why Teens Confess to Crimes They Didn’t Commit – Lindsay Taylor

Welcome to week seven of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week seven of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!

I apologize that this is a week late – I’ll be uploading two this week to catch up.

So…

WHO IS LINDSAY MALLOY?

Dr. Lindsay Malloy is an Associate Professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa (Canada).

Lindsay has a PhD in Psychology and Social Behaviour at the University of California, and has devoted her career to investigating the Youth Justice System and Vulnerable Youth.

Lindsay is also a columnist for ‘Behavioural Science’, where she has written about false confessions given by teenagers, with a co-author (Andrea Arndorfer).

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fiu/30913572962

Why Teens Confess to Crimes They Didn’t Commit – Lindsay Taylor

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’.

This TED Talk was incredibly interesting to me. I have always had a keen interest in false confessions (yes, I watched ‘The Confession Tapes‘ and ‘Making a Murderer‘) as well as also having a personal interest in wrongful convictions, which stemmed from my time in Law School (more on that in a later article – but see Dr. Bob Moles’ page, ‘Networked Knowledge‘, if you are interested in the meantime).

Innocent people can often end up spending the rest of their lives in prison, or face death row in some countries, all because of evidence (such as a false confession) that isn’t used or interpreted correctly. False confessions are a huge issue, as well as testimony from ‘experts in the field’ who are biased to the state and also unreliable witness testimony.

Question Mark Illustration

WHY WOULD SOMEONE CONFESS TO SOMETHING THEY DIDN’T DO?

It sounds almost ridiculous to think of ourselves admitting to a crime we didn’t commit. But as Dr. Lindsay points out, in over 25% of overturned wrongful convictions, false confessions occurred.

False confessions are even more prevalent among juveniles/young people. In one study, Dr. Lindsay says that only 8% of adults confessed to something they hadn’t done, but 42% of juveniles had admitted to it. That’s a staggering number.

Juveniles are far more susceptible to influence, such as accusation or interrogation. Adult and juvenile brains are not alike, with juveniles still developing areas of the brain associated with self-control, decision making and sensitivity to reward vs risk – among a plethora of other things. This can influence the way they react to police interrogation – which is another problem area when it comes to teens falsely confessing.

‘THEY GOT INTO MY HEAD’

The above statement is what Brendan Dassey, from ‘Making a Murderer’ said after finally speaking with his Mother after a four hour interrogation (who knows what the outcome would have been if he had spoken to her first).

Brendan Dassey was 16 years old, accused of being present in a murder, and with an IQ of 70, putting him in the range of intellectual disability.

Hotrod Die-cast Model on Board

In many countries, police are allowed to interrogate juveniles in exactly the same way as adults. However, juveniles often don’t know their rights and police often fail to mention certain things, like the fact they are allowed an attorney or adult in the room while being questioned.

Interrogation in and of itself, is incredibly grueling, In some cases, interrogations can last hours – some lasting 12 hours or more. For anyone (not just juveniles), this can sometimes be enough to exhaust and confuse someone to the point where they agree or admit to something just so the ordeal is ‘over’. Dr. Lindsay puts it this way:

‘… we’ve decided that juveniles cannot be trusted with things like voting, buying cigarettes, attending an R-rated movie or driving, but they can make the judgment call to waive their Miranda Rights… in some states… without consulting any adult first.’

Interrogation strategies that work on adults can often be dangerous when used on developing, impressionable and socially susceptible juveniles. Being lied to, yelled at or told things will be ‘okay’ of they confess, are all part of standard interrogation.

As a parent and as a researcher, I think we can do better. I think we can take steps to prevent another Brendan Dassey, while still getting the crucial information that we need from children and teens to solve crimes.

Dr. Lindsay Malloy

5 Reasons To Practice Empathy

Why is empathy important, and what function does it serve in everyday life?

 

Being empathetic is often associated with being soft and sensitive, rather than a trait of an intuitive powerhouse. But being able to listen and truly understand the people around you is a sensational skill to have.

Regardless of what scenario you are in, whether it be work, at home, in a relationship or part of a friend group, empathy is an incredibly important part of being a good leader, a good partner and a good friend.

So why is empathy important, and what function does it serve in everyday life?

 

 

NUMBER ONE:

Connection.

Empathy is crucial in connecting with people at a higher level. Being aware of the people around you and how they think and feel can help you understand what they need, what motivates them and what they care about.

If you don’t know what makes someone tick, it’s almost impossible to be able to connect with them in a meaningful way. But more than that, being able to truly appreciate and empathise with someone’s feelings can really help and encourage people to feel that they can open up to you and talk to you about things.

 

 

NUMBER TWO:

Perspective.

Being able to understand and empathise with people can really help you look beyond yourself and see the bigger picture. Suddenly it’s not about ‘me’ but about ‘we’. Yes, some people are naturally more empathetic than others, but that’s not to say you can’t stop, look and listen to the people around you.

 

 

NUMBER THREE:

Respect.

If you’re empathetic, not only will you have more respect and appreciation for the people around you, but you will notice you will get the same in return. People are more likely to hold you in a higher regard and be loyal to you if they know you would do the same thing for them.

 

 

NUMBER FOUR:

Spirituality.

Not everyone is religious, but everyone believes in something. And usually it follows that being a good person will attract a sense of achievement and spiritual peace. Whether you believe in Karma or God or Reincarnation, the theme is generally: ‘what goes around, comes around’.

Being at peace with yourself and your actions is more powerful than you think, and can bring an abundance of positive energy into your life.

 

 

NUMBER FIVE:

Appreciation.

When you open your eyes to the people around you, you start to appreciate a lot more in life. Things aren’t always as bad as you think they are, and a lot of people have it worse. Not only does being empathetic and having genuine connections help you in your relationships, it can help your mood, too.

When you practice empathy, you’re practicing seeing the world from someone else’s perspective, or ‘stepping into someone else’s shoes’, so to speak. It’s hard not to appreciate things when someone may have it harder than you. And not only that, you begin to appreciate the small things in life too; like a random act of kindness, a ‘good-morning’ text, someone thinking to grab you a coffee, or even just a smile from a stranger.

 

Empathy is a beautiful, powerful action to practice, and is something incredibly important to maintaining relationships throughout your personal, professional and spiritual journey.

 

Remember:

  1. Connection
  2. Perspective
  3. Respect
  4. Spirituality
  5. Appreciation

 

 

 

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