It Takes Six Positives To Counteract One Negative


The ideal praise-to-criticism ratio, according to the Harvard Business Review, is 6:1.

“Which is more effective in improving team performance: using positive feedback to let people know when they’re doing well, or offering constructive comments to help them when they’re off track?

New research suggests that this is a trick question. The answer, as one might intuitively expect, is that both are important. But the real question is — in what proportion?”

The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 (that is, nearly six positive comments for every negative one).

This is good info to have under your belt, especially as a mom.  And I don’t just mean for your kids…I mean for you.

The numerous things moms do are countless, as we have all seen on the lists detailing the many hats we wear.  Cooker, Baker, Teacher, Counselor, Leader, Disciplinarian, Referee…

And I love them all!  I am certainly not the type to sit at a desk with contentment in my bonnet, so to speak.

What isn’t helpful is negative comments, either from other people or from me.  Because I take my roles very seriously and have put a lot of thought and deliberate effort into them.  So sideline comments about my house, or passive aggressive comments about my cooking, or even remarks about the people in my home will just become a slow churning wheel in my brain.

“What did they mean by this…”  “What did I do…”  “I thought it went well, but…”

and sometimes, “I can’t believe they said that about me.”

Ladies, it is hard enough being a woman.  It’s even harder when the women around us, especially our friends,  are the source of our turmoil.

So how do you put on your adult hat and get over the passive aggressive comments?

6:1 ratio.  Take the time to find 6 things you know for a fact you do well, and write them down.  Post it on the fridge and remind yourself that you are doing fine.

I know…my kids are getting a great education.

I know…my children are happy.

I know…my husband loves me more than life.

I know…my house doesn’t have to be a museum, and it is fine.

I know…my cooking skillz are awesome.

I know…I am a good friend to the friends I have.

Helpful criticism is one thing…I am certainly not one to turn that away.  I think self-improvement is foundational to my station.  But passive aggressive comments are not helpful criticism.  They are hurtful, and they can fester if I don’t do something about them quickly.

And if you are up for the task, you can also make a list of 6 nice things about the other person…but I might need another cup of tea before I get to that one just yet.

Teacher Appreciation Day Is Coming Up…Yay?

I just heard that Teacher Appreciation Day is coming up!


Except that I homeschool, so unless I plan something…I don’t get a parade.

Part of me wants a parade, though.  Why wouldn’t I?  I spend 5-6 hours a day teaching multiple grades, I spend inumerous hours planning lessons and researching curriculum.  Other teachers get a whole week of Teacher Appreciation.  I should get something, right?

Nah. And I’ll tell you why.

It is the subject of worship.

As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, adoration, which is known as latria in classical theology, is the worship and homage that is rightly offered to God alone. It is the manifestation of submission, and acknowledgement of dependence, appropriately shown towards the excellence of an uncreated divine person and to his absolute Lordship. It is the worship of the Creator that God alone deserves. Although we see in English a broader usage of the word “adoration” which may not refer to a form of worship exclusive to God—for example, when a husband says that he “adores his wife”—in general it can be maintained that adoration is the best English denotation for the worship of latria.”

Worship is something that God deserves.  The word “deserves” is the key point here: as the Creator, God sufficiently deserves worship for what He has provided and created for us.  Nature, water, the beauty of the oceans, plants for sustenance, and grace…just to name a few off the top of my head.  Worship is deservedly for God.

Veneration, known as dulia in classical theology, is the honor and reverence appropriately due to the excellence of a created person. Excellence exhibited by created beings likewise deserves recognition and honor. We see a general example of veneration in events like the awarding of academic awards for excellence in school, or the awarding of olympic medals for excellence in sports. There is nothing contrary to the proper adoration of God when we offer the appropriate honor and recognition that created persons deserve based on achievement in excellence.”

So, is the Teacher Appreciation week a worship or veneration?

I know it seems like I would say worship, because it is the contrary thing to say…but I think that by giving teachers a card once a year to say “thank you” is in the realm of veneration.  I do believe it goes a bit over the line into worship when people start having rallies in the auditorium or devoting an entire week to worshiping teachers.

But all in all, it’s not my company, and I don’t have an auditorium or am part of a Union, so who cares. 😉

I am teaching my kids and they are up to par with their grade level, and they are all happy and we’re doing great!

Go me!

So, Teacher Appreciation Day: Party of Us!


Top 5 Novellas for Platypus Women



1. “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad

This book is deep.  You can’t read this book just on face value; it will either show you something unreal, or it will show you nothing at all.  It depends on how you go into it.  I thought it was an amazing story that goes straight to the back of the mind.  The river goes through civilization, past primal cultures and ends with a man isolated from his previous life in the jungle.  And he preferred to stay.  Why?

This is a thinking book I believe every Platypus should read.


2. Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”

Kate Chopin wrote these amazing novellas during the cusp of last century.  She was interesting because of how she wrote about women.  Previously to the 20th century, women in literature who dabbled in sin were killed.  Slowly during the late 1800s and early 1900s, women were not being killed in literature.  This is pretty significant, and it is a reflection of a changing society during this time.

“The Awakening” is a story of a Platypus in her time.  Strong, yet vulnerable.  Loving, yet skeptical.  Fragile, yet still independent.  This is a quiet book.  You will just sit and breathe after finishing this one.  It will always be one of my favorites.


3. Edith Wharton, “Summer”

There will always be a special place in my heart for “Summer.”

Edith Wharton was born into New England elite in the late 1800s-early 1900s.  Even after writing amazing novels, which I have always enjoyed, She never felt like she fit in with her peers, and after her husband squandered her own inheritance on his mistress, she left for France.  There she began to redefine herself.  And that is where she wrote “Summer.”


4. “Frankenstein” Wolstonecraft

Frankenstein is for the mother.

Hear me out.

Imagine a woman who longs to have children, to raise a family and to be a mother.  Now imagine that every child she had died within the first year.  Bear that in mind when you read “Frankenstein,” the story of the man who could create life, only to have it destroy him.

This is a chilling story of a mother’s grief, and definitely for the darker Platypus.


5. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

You should just read this.  I was beside myself for a month after finishing “Ender’s Game.”

It just captures so much of the mental turmoil and isolation that can befall us at times.

My favorite was actually “Ender’s Shadow,” but you must read “Ender’s Game” first.


We have reached dessert wines…a very lovely section to reach.

The reviews are going to be a little brief, since I don’t have the money to buy all the different types, and I am not sure my liver would survive, either.  That being said, there are a few you should REALLY know about!

Sherry – 

The thing with sherry is it is very dry, pretty sweet, a sucker punch of flavors, but it is a brazen dessert wine.  It apologizes to no one.
The unfortunate thing about sherry is that I am not a *big* fan of most sherry.  
I am a HUGE fan of cream sherry.  This is just straight up “chick drink” material.  It is very sweet, thick, creamy, smooth and lovely to drink.  I love nothing more than a little glass of Bristol Cream Sherry in the evening.
According to Wine Spectator: “

Cream Sherry doesn’t have any dairy in it, but it is sweet and dark, in the oloroso style. How did it get its name? The story goes that a woman attending a Sherry tasting in the late 1800s sampled a variety of traditional Sherry, which was nicknamed “Bristol’s Milk” (named after the British port of Bristol, where Sherry was routinely shipped). After tasting the new, sweeter, more unctuous (and as-yet-unnamed) Sherry, she declared, “If that is milk, then this is cream,” and the nickname stuck. Because of its style, cream Sherry is recommended as an after-dinner drink, served over ice or perhaps on the side with a cup of coffee.”

The rest of the sherrys available are only interesting (to me) because Scotch/Whiskey uses sherry casks to age their spirits, so when you get to appreciating certain scotches you can say, “oh yes, it has a definite sherry note to it.”  

        Types of Sherry: (according to wikipedia)

  • Fino (‘fine’ in Spanish) is the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of Sherry. The wine is aged in barrels under a cap of flor yeast to prevent contact with the air.
  • Manzanilla is an especially light variety of Fino Sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
  • Manzanilla Pasada is a Manzanilla that has undergone extended aging or has been partially oxidised, giving a richer, nuttier flavour.
  • Amontillado is a variety of Sherry that is first aged under flor but which is then exposed to oxygen, producing a sherry that is darker than a Fino but lighter than an Oloroso. Naturally dry, they are sometimes sold lightly to medium sweetened but these can no longer be labelled as Amontillado.[12]
  • Oloroso (‘scented’ in Spanish) is a variety of Sherry aged oxidatively for a longer time than a Fino or Amontillado, producing a darker and richer wine. With alcohol levels between 18 and 20%, Olorosos are the most alcoholic Sherries.[13] Like Amontillado, naturally dry, they are often also sold in sweetened versions called Cream Sherry. As with Amontillado “Sweet Oloroso”, “Rich Oloroso” and “Oloroso Dulce” are prohibited terms.[14]
  • Palo Cortado is a variety of Sherry that is initially aged like an Amontillado, typically for three or four years, but which subsequently develops a character closer to an Oloroso. This either happens by accident when the flor dies, or commonly the flor is killed by fortification or filtration.
  • Jerez Dulce (Sweet Sherries) are made either by fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez (PX) or Moscatel grapes, which produces an intensely sweet dark brown or black wine, or by blending sweeter wines or grape must with a drier variety.
  • Cream is a common type of sweet Sherry made by blending different wines, such as Oloroso sweetened with PX.