They say that men are not great multi-taskers. I have experienced this firsthand in various jobs, although a friend just told me that whether this is innate or learned behavior is being studied.
For example, are girls expected to do more — babysit siblings and help with housework, along with their regular load of homework and school activities — while boys are encouraged to focus more singularly on academics and sports?
With multi-tasking a necessary skill in today’s economy, the gender difference is certainly worth investigating, because if it is learned, it means it can be unlearned (or, even better, not taught to begin with).
At the same time, the best multi-tasker I know is a man. I like to think I’m not bad, but I’ve never seen anyone like my father, Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, IJN Editor and Publisher. In one day he can write, sell, edit, design, write again, proofread, sell again, run errands, catch up with family and friends on the phone, exercise and even find time to read two daily newspapers and work on his Hebrew sefer, Torah book. Not to mention, attend daily morning services. Phew!
An idiom that originated with Cicero, “the exception that proves the rule,” is often misunderstood. I too, like many, used to think it meant that every rule must have an exception. In fact, one must look at this truism backward to understand its meaning: If there is an exception, there must be a rule. Does my father’s exceptional multitasking prove that man are generally not good multi-taskers? I don’t know. All I know is, he’s exceptional.
Happy Father’s Day!
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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