Archives for posts with tag: children

Humans, each of us, are information foragers. We want to know anything that catches our attention, and we want it the same way a raccoon wants anything shiny.

Humans are hard-wired to learn, and we are quite eager for it and good at it until we enter a coercive classroom where education and schooling become conflated. When the free will in learning disappears, education becomes a mechanical, often unpleasant process, and we become that “generation of robots” of which Neill warned. The concern is that now we live with a generation of actual robots. To distinguish ourselves from artificial intelligence we need an education model that preserves essential human characteristics like curiosity and ingenuity. The good news is that we don’t need to teach kids to be curious and creative. They already are. We simply need to stop destroying these qualities through coercive schooling practices.

Worth repeating:

The concern is that now we live with a generation of actual robots. To distinguish ourselves from artificial intelligence we need an education model that preserves essential human characteristics like curiosity and ingenuity.

Source: Unschooling: Shifting from Force to Freedom in Education | Cato Unbound

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/10/james-coleman-leonard-sax-and-age-segregation

Anybody else noticed this article since October? Anybody heard of the Coleman Report, low these five decades?

No, well most research that can be called sound shows at least as bad. Doing school the way we do it is bad. It is counterproductive to civil society. It isn’t politics, it is our rearing of children via state-run institution in segregated, isolated groups. Such groups are certainly not safe, but it is from internal danger, not the dangers foisted on us by the whole of nature.

It is said you can’t fix stupid. Yes, you can. The key is limiting shelter from consequences. The system of schools shelters children from external danger and intensifies the internals. It is truly dangerous.

It is inexcusable once we consider government control, authoritarianism, and coercion. We must stop it. Stop schooling the way we do it. It is bad for us all.

Government schools and coercion to participate are the root of our education and societal problems. Outlaw truancy laws. That is the start. While we force children into schools at gunpoint, we cannot hope to fix any of it. It is a certain path to societal suicide.

Add this:

https://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/E/HeadStart_Feb_3_2010.asp

The research is out there. Formal academics before about 8 years old harms many kids. Sure, structured play and organized activities can have benefits, when applied in moderation, but that is not the objective of the reformers.

Mostly, they want more money and more control.

Mostly, they have delivered failure after failure.

When will we recognize that nearly everything the left leaning education establishment and institutions have tried to do for several decades now has been recycled and disguised implementations of all the same. When will we recognize that it is a failure?

First, get rid of all truancy laws. I favor adding “and education” to the First Amendment, right next to “religion”. Would to God our schools were doing only as well as our religious institutions and houses of worship.

We cannot hope to improve education; we cannot hope to improve the foundation of society, until we stop coercing everyone into the same scholastic mold. If we stop that, then we need to back off the offerings, and especially back off the funding.

Money is not a significant part of the problems we have in education. Freedom is, specifically the lack there of. Standards are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Commonality, mimicry, lack of innovation, and conformity are all parts of the problem. Testing is part of the problem, especially when it is coerced.

Coercion is evil. Stop the coercion, and we can begin to rectify the problems of education.

Of course, parents are the key, as Dr. Bauerlein points out in the link at the top.

I recently saw a quote, and now I cannot find to attribute. So, I acknowledge an outside source for the inspiration, but it seems clear to me that where parenting fails, no other effort, especially no government institution, can make up for it. Parents, you are responsible. Take your responsibility and give it full good-faith effort. You know you love your children; just remember to show it.

Voddie Baucham reminds us that we are silly when we send our children to Caesar and expect them to be something more than debauched Romans.

The best and the worst of our legislators are all Caesar. All of them. We cannot trust them with any aspect of our children, especially education.

For the sake of redundancy, it is not about the money!

Truth often hurts, especially for the truth teller.

http://www.acpeds.org/tragic-day-for-americas-children

“Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians in response to the SCOTUS decision today stated, “[T]his is a tragic day for America’s children. The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family. Just as it did in the joint Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children.“”

They reference their court brief:

http://www.acpeds.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Amici-Brief-FINAL.pdf

Which begins:

“The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) is a nonprofit organization of pediatricians and healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children[…]. ACP’s Mission is to enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and wellbeing. To this end, ACP recognizes the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage, as the optimal setting for childhood development, but also pledges its support to all children, regardless of their circumstances. ACP encourages mothers, fathers and families to advance the needs of their children above their own, and is committed to fulfilling its mission by encouraging sound public policy, based upon the best available research, to assist parents and influence society in the endeavor of childrearing.”

Note: “…also pledges its support to all children, regardless of their circumstances. ACP encourages mothers, fathers and families to advance the needs of their children above their own…”

We must all pledge to support all children regardless of their circumstances. We must all put the needs of others, especially the needs of our children, above our own. We must take care to not harm ourselves in serving the needs of others, but it is much more difficult to guard against self-serving, than to over serve. It is much easier (even more natural) to be selfish, than to be considerate of others.

Read the brief and decide for yourself. In the meantime, I’ll quote this, “…the four most recent studies, by Dr. Mark Regnerus, Dr. Douglas Allen and two by Dr. Paul Sullins, report substantial and pertinent negative outcomes for children with same-sex parents.”

At this page, http://www.acpeds.org/same-sex-marriage-not-best-for-children, they say:

“While the debate over the legitimacy of same-sex marriage can be viewed from many perspectives, there should be little debate about the effects it has upon children: Same-sex marriage deliberately deprives the child of a mother or a father, and is therefore harmful. The College has sought to defend the child’s position in this debate from an objective, scientific standpoint. Below you will find convincing evidence of the fundamental value of the married, father-mother family unit to the optimal development of the child.”

They provide lots of information and references.

It seems their efforts are in good faith and are well grounded. Common sense supports their assertions. Of course, common sense doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny, but it usually does. It also seems likely the organization is somewhat biased, but facts are stubborn things, and bias either way tends to fall off under scrutiny. It does appear to be an entirely legitimate and qualified organization, acting in good faith. Judge for yourself.

The sad fact is that science, especially the social sciences, are corrupted by power and politics, also by fame and Facebook-likes. Even scientists want to be liked. When there is political pull to be gained, power and prestige, even the simple accolades of reporters and strangers up for grabs, fallible humans, even hardened scientific researches, fall victim of confirmation bias and self-deception. And as Feynman said, we must not fool ourselves, but it is so easy to do so when someone pats us on the back for it.

The fact that is inarguable, people have elevated the wants of adults above the welfare of children. The SCOTUS continues to codify it.

 

War is hell. We all need reminded. However, it is part of our world, at least for now.

This song speaks to me. Barry is one of the greats.

This phrase, “the worst fear,” struck me, and I had to post a note.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

https://youtu.be/sYA51Ok_rcU

The link above is Barry McGuire. I like it better than the Bob Dylan original, but this is a good video too.

https://youtu.be/gOyWO2K9Crw

I pray that we, as humanity, never fear to bring children into this world.

David Bentley Hart, writing for First Things [in 2012], praises good bad books.

If you take the time to read this, I’m sure you will be glad you did.

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/05/in-praise-of-good-bad-books

For me, the most important book of my childhood was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Of course, I read all of CS Lewis’ fiction multiple times over. I didn’t read enough to have much of a list of good bad books. Still, Hart’s point is valid.

Don’t let the big words fool you; he is just being precise. (And showing off what he’s learned in his copious reading.)

Keep in mind that philistine, as an adjective, indicates disdain, or at least indifference, for culture and norms. He uses it fittingly, at least for nearly all children.

The the article explains Tharks, they are from the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tharks.

Isn’t it nice to be able to right-click something and have a page open with Google results? (At least in Chrome.)

It is an encouraging article, and it encourages us to encourage our children and youths to be avid readers. {I trust you noticed I only used “encourage” once, there. 😉 }

We need programs for gifted children at least as much as we need programs for the challenged. We need specialized accommodation for all with specialized needs outside the first standard deviation.

If we, as a society, owe something specialized to those below average, we owe just as much to those above average.

We need to start by acknowledging that gifted does not mean special, and we need to make sure we don’t use “special” with a special meaning.

We must keep in mind that gifted is only a reasonable label. It helps us identify a group with exceptional characteristics. Further, exceptional does not necessarily mean above average. It can sometimes mean weird, or perhaps simply unusual, out of the ordinary.

The Calgary Herald carried an article written by Marcello Di Cintio about gifted children and some programs and teachers.

http://calgaryherald.com/life/swerve/gifted-children-are-frequently-misunderstood

They need teachers and programs that focus not on the magnificence of their brains, but on the fragility of their hearts. “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” Aldred says. She quotes from Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow,” a poem she teaches her literature students:

…sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

“I can’t teach them anything,” Aldred says. “But I can reteach them their loveliness.”

My eldest teaches third-grade. She pointed me to this article. I always remind her the most important thing she can do is to love the children in her class. She knows. She does. It is frustrating because she isn’t rated on her love. She is rated on tests, and checklists, and various quantifications that may or may not apply to anything except some reformer’s criteria for something measurable, even if it measures nothing relevant to the real world. In public education, children are just numbers, just test results; their teachers are variously derived subsets of the aggregated numbers. Shameful.

The article is about the gifted. My daughter told me about it for that reason, and she expressed thanks for ensuring she had what she needed as gifted.

I’m tying this to everyone.

Everyone needs the same thing. We all need to be recognized as unique and individual. Not one of us actually fits into groups and categories. Sure, we have and need our tribes, our like minds and kindred spirits. We need them desperately. But, at the individual level, we are all exactly that–individual.

Gifted kids, unique kids, need unique things, extra things, and specialized understanding.

We can blame our schools, but I don’t.

I hold myself responsible. Two of my five gifted children were well suited to public school (our local system). The first, only barely. She thanks me, but we could have done better. We should have had her at home. We first noticed when it was almost too late for another. We started homeschooling. It has made a tremendous difference. I cannot say I have regrets, but it would have been better for all had we homeschooled from the start with the eldest. The one who thrived in school would likely still have been even better off had we homeschooled her.

I really want every child homeschooled. It is best. Mother knows best, even if she isn’t technically qualified. We need institutions to help parents educate their own children.

Having said it, reality steps in, and reality generally bites.

We must have alternatives for families that simply cannot homeschool. We need schools. We also need the Federal Government entirely out of it. The Fed should have no say, no funds, not departments, no standards, no goals, no say at all. The standard we hold for state and religion should be exactly the same for state and education.

We also need freedom for every individual. No compulsion. No coercion. No truancy laws.

Children are citizens, not property of the state. Not property at all. Children are to be protected by the law, not used or coerced by the body politic.

While Di Cintio writes well and describes well, it is impractical to explain giftedness and the needs of the gifted. In short, it takes one to know one. (Of course, nearly everyone can tell when he is being taken. While the truly gifted, with exceptional IQ, are difficult to understand, there is no justification for granting them extraordinary rights or power. Plato was wrong if he thought the philosopher-kings could be lifted above corruption by training. Power corrupts. It is an absolute.)

We really owe it to ourselves to figure it out. The story of young-Albert the misfit is widely know. Where would humanity be with Einstein? Some of our greatest minds were problem children.

We need our problem children. Many of them are the great minds that we need to help us move forward and better ourselves. All of them are worthwhile, with their own unique loveliness. All of them.

Our potentially great minds often have particularly fragile hearts.

We need to mind these hearts, but the statement, “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” is a statement true in all circumstances. It is also true that there are some other deeper needs that must be met before learning can happen, like sated hunger and basic security at home.

Schools deal with hunger, but inadequately. School is a poor and inadequate means for addressing hunger. Even more so, schools simply cannot address the needs of the home. There is no hope for improved test-performance in grade schools were most children are from broken homes. And, there is no easy answer to this problem. It must start small, and it will be long, very long relative to the needs of a child today. There is no simple nor grand solution. It is a battle that must be won with love, one heart at a time. I’ll add that I think it is mostly a problem we must address with men, and a boy is the only thing from which God can make a man. One at a time.

My writing here is about giftedness and the worth of every child, not daddies, or the lack of daddies, nor about radicalized feminism and the ill-advised war on masculinity that seems to pervade our society.

We fight for progress at the expense of tradition. That doesn’t work. Progressivism fails every time. Conservatism fails if taken to extreme. So, we must find balance. We must embrace the new while cherishing the old. We must build new institutions while respecting tradition. We must esteem heritage while learning our world as it is today. We must acknowledge that we are all different, and we all have different abilities and different needs. Of course, as I’ve tried to emphasize above, we all have the same basic needs. We are all the same before God. We must accept that one-size does not fit all. We actually need segregation (well, groupings) by innate, self-defining characteristics, such as ability, interest, and temperament. (We must never let ourselves regress to defining anything by externals.)

I know this, solutions do not lie in politics. The government cannot fix any of this. We must have more freedom, not more government. More autonomy, not more regulation. More local solutions, not more standardization.

JOSHUA A. KRISCH, OCT. 13, 2014, writing for the New York Times, here, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/science/haunted-files-the-eugenics-record-office-recreates-a-dark-time-in-a-laboratorys-past.html, describes an exhibit set up to remind us the horrors of eugenics.

It is insightful. I particularly liked the following paragraph.

My comments:

When the Eugenics Record Office opened its doors in 1910, the founding scientists were considered progressives, intent on applying classic genetics to breeding better citizens. Funding poured in from the Rockefeller family and the Carnegie Institution. Charles Davenport, a prolific Harvard biologist, and his colleague, Harry H. Laughlin, led the charge.

First, the founders of eugenics were not “considered” progressives, they WERE the luminaries of all things progressive and liberal minded. The were the very definition of then-modern leftist thinking. They had no compunction regarding compulsory policies and imposing their will on others. The inferiors owed it to the progressive elites. The sacrifice for the betterment of the elite would be taken for granted, but the elite would understand. Those poor inferiors, those experimented on, those forcibly sterilized and worse, were simply the price of progress. The same applies today in climate alarmism and public education. Yes, two so disparate fields are being treated the same by the elite. The elite simply expect us to submit, to comply, to die as the subjects of their experiments.

Note the names in the paragraphs. Could not a paragraph on the Common Core State Standards be written changing a very few words and the names? The Gates Foundation comes to mind. Follow the money. Follow the power, the control. It is the same, and it is just as evil. Yes, CCSS is just as evil as eugenics. Likewise with climate change alarmism, but it is enough different I’ll leave it here.

The entire article can apply point for point, almost word for word, to the experiment we call public education and the contrived experiment of the Common Core State Standards constrictions being applied to it.

CCSS is progressivist. Anyone how supports it is progressivist, liberal, leftist. Interestingly, many political Democrats do not support CCSS. It is too liberal for them. Sadly, too many political Republicans hold out for the CCSS. Who can tell why. My first suspicion is that they are more elitist and more progressive than even most left-leaning elitists.

And this:

“The Eugenics Record Office was built around very systematized ideas that still might be seen as legitimate today,” said Noah Fuller, an artist and co-curator of the exhibit. “At the time, this was widely accepted as legitimate science.”

It was settled science. It is still accepted today as evidenced by the flood that became CCSS. That flood that is being turned back by angry mothers and caring teachers.

Don’t pretend you, we, are too sophisticated to institutionalize such policies today. We did it. We, the hoi polloi, are turning it back and cleansing our society of this sin, but the elites are fighting. Progressivists and liberals are in it for the long game. They will not relent. We must never relinquish our freedoms, our rights, and our responsibilities. It is up to us. Resistance is not futile.

There are truths here, and lessons to be learned regarding immigrants too. Don’t be part of the problem. Those wanting to come here are mostly good and good for us and our society. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Mr. Micklos sat in a wooden chair and thumbed through a few of the files. “This is pretty much exactly what it would’ve looked like,” he said.

He shook his head and added, “Think of all the people whose lives were completely out of their own control.”

This statement applies exactly to millions of our children in our society today! Let it not stand.

In my opinion, unions actively oppose the average person.

I object to unions, but I don’t want to outlaw them. Unions can have their place in a free society, but teachers unions, in fact all unions of people employed by governments, are just wrong.

Bold? Not really. Unions have the sole objective of benefiting the members at the expense of the employer. That is the definition. It is the sole purpose for unions. Unions are the employees banding together to oppose and restrict the employer.

That is a bad model. It is really sad that it is sometimes needful. It is just as sad and just as bad for and employer to exploit employees. A proper model is partnership; it is for the employer to see the employee as a valuable asset in accomplishing the objectives of the work, and the employee should be able to see the employer as the facilitator of his ability to accomplish his livelihood and move forward in self fulfillment.

The reason the union of government employees is wrong is because that sets the union directly opposed to “We the people.” We simply should not have a government that opposes us, nor one that employees workers who oppose us.

This reason is doubled for the teacher. Teachers unions strive to improve the lot of the members at the direct expense of parents and students. That is, not only do the teacher’s unions oppose me in my taxes, and oppose the interests of the state and local community in minimizing the expenses of public education, but they oppose us, parents and children, in that the unions want to subject us to rules and restrictions related to our choices in education, in the conduct of the school, and in our participation in the school and specifically the lives of our children.

This is another place we objectify the children. We forget they are people first. They are not the future. They are the now, just as much as any of us!

Before wanting them to be good students, I want my children to be good people. Teachers can’t really train that. It is my responsibility, and I cannot successfully delegate it.

Anyway, this article posted by FEE.org, http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/a-teachers-union-speaks-power-to-truth, gives a little perspective. I’m always endeavoring to improve my perspective. The article reports how one particular teachers’ union boldly states that educating children is low on the list of priorities for the union.

The article was written by WENDY MCELROY.

I’m sure this won’t sit well with some folks. I’m happy to discuss. I will not edit comments. (I moderate, but I won’t change anything you say if I let it through. As of this writing, I haven’t deleted any comments. I just don’t get many.)

Here are resources for research on Common Core State Standards.

I like that title. “OK” for both okay and Oklahoma. It flabbergasts me how politics makes such strange bedfellows.

The Pioneer Institute (Massachusetts) provides a two-page fact sheet on the background of the Common Core State Standards. Dr. Sandra Stotsky put it together. Recall she was one of five (out of 30) who refused to sign off on the validation report of the CCSS. Wiki has this to say about her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Stotsky.

A group called Truth in American Education has articles by various authors. This link, http://truthinamericaneducation.com/tag/sandra-stotsky/, will pull up information by and about the good doctor.

The TiAE also provides this statement: http://truthinamericaneducation.com/home-schoolprivate-school/ worthy of your consideration. I consider this last paragraph worth repeating:

  • Restricts Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: Perhaps the greatest concern with the establishment of a national standard is the lack of parental choice, control, and involvement in their child’s education. With greater federal control of education, parents lose control and the ability to hold their child’s educators accountable.  National standards will contribute to the federal trend of diminishing parenthood in favor of greater control by centralized federal and state bureaucracies.

Amazing. If you haven’t been there, nothing is more distressing. The CCSS and the overall movement toward nationalized standards and least-common-denominator education makes worker bees, even mindless drones, of our children, and most of us cannot be bothered to notice.

Note that the Pioneer Inst. is in Massachusetts. Note that Massachusetts implemented effective educational reform and standards about 20 year ago. The CCSS are touted as based on what Massachusetts did. Obviously these citizens of that state feel they have been betrayed and let down. CCSS is not nearly as good as what they had.

http://pioneerinstitute.org/schoolhouse/

http://commoncoremovie.com/

There is so much it is difficult to even begin to organize it. There are so many reasons that CCSS is just more of the same failed progressivist policies and educational “reform” that has been going on for decades.

What reforms have not been tried over the last forty or fifty years? Sure, there were small, isolated successes, but mostly our education system grew worse and the results of education stayed about the same, with few ever finding their actual potential, and more and more money thrown at the basics, the reforms, and the research. All for essentially zero gain, with more and more adversarial relations between the education establishment and parents, even between the establishment and teachers.

The Achieve, Inc. organization holds the motto: All students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers and citizenship

Do you think that sounds good? I don’t. I think it is monstrous. Such an attitude holds students in contempt. Such an attitude is totally selfish, totally focused on the utility of individuals in the service of the collective, the collective that benefits those who hold such views. In fact, those who hold such views tend to be pulling the strings and manipulating the collective to their own liking.

First, societally we must change our attitude of thinking of children as future. No, children are now! Children are citizens now, regular people now, ready to contribute now. Sure, we parents have huge responsibilities in leading, teaching, and guiding our little ones, and we must protect them, while balancing the continuing requirement to grant ever-increasing freedom and responsibility (and the consequences). Maturity matters, but after about 12 years of age, character is what determines maturity.

Kids must grow up, but freedom and choice is the road we travel together. Choice is so often touted by those who want to limit choice. Everyone, no matter what age, should have as much choice as possible, short of imminent danger to self or others.

Scott Adams (Dilbert) has taken to renouncing goals and objective-oriented thinking. He is right, and CCSS is all about the goals and objectives. Objectives have the consequence of objectifying those involved in obtaining the objectives. Soldiers are the classic example. Real soldiers, people, in real wars (real hell), are hardly more than the pieces on the board in the game room (or the video screen) because the objective is what counts. We must ensure our children count from conception forward. All the time. Every time. In all circumstances. Every person is a person, just like Horton’s Whoville, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant in the big picture.

A system that will improve our education system would start with repeal of truancy laws. Compulsion is always bad, always immoral.

Such a system wouldn’t have unions, because the teachers and parents are partners, who are both partners with the students. Administration should be just that, and nothing more.

Such a system would keep parents and teachers working together, not adversarially. It won’t be easy. It won’t require more money than we already spend, but it will cause lots of pain to those in power in the education establishment.

I think we can do it. I know we can live with it.

Change starts in the heart, not in the legislature! Read the rest of this entry »

A photographer was working with her camera and trying to help her second-grade daughter with her math homework, which was Common Core aligned. She happened to catch a now famous photo of her daughter’s frustration.

Math, the hard way.

The original photo is here: https://scontent-b-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1.0-9/1902803_714460471932456_838701478_n.jpg

The write-up at this link is worth your time to understand the photo:

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/02/14/photo-the-heartbreaking-face-of-common-core-100613

Another mother, a teacher, expresses her frustration here, http://teachersletterstobillgates.com/2014/03/21/five-hours-of-gates-led-kindergarten-common-core-map-tests-testhearingsnow/, specifically addressing the Gates Foundation and some other contributors to the Common Core State Standards. She addresses five hours of baseline testing for five-year-olds. Her open letter to the Gates Foundation is a bit emotional, but she makes the case that CCSS and the mandatory testing that is being implemented with it are more of a corporate takeover of education, rather than the latest honest effort at reform. Ms. DuFresne sees these testing requirements as child abuse.

Even if you support the Common Core State Standards, you must stand up and ensure excesses as described above are not allowed. These fuzzy math examples may be exceptional, but they are in line with the “think outside the box” attitude built into the implementation efforts. It is also certain that too much is being expected of those under 11 years of age.

The big problem is coercion and externally imposed requirements. Requirements must start with consideration of the child and the parent, individually, case by case. The more steps above the child and parent from whence the imposition is foisted, the more perverse will be the results. Coercion is always immoral. Perhaps CCSS isn’t the root of the problem, but it certainly is exposing problems that it cannot hope to fix.

My daughter, a new third-grade teacher, posted the following post by Mrs. Iseminger.

http://petalsofjoy.org/?p=940

My daughter thought it the most important statement she’d seen in a long time.

I’m sure she appreciated the opening line. It is something I can see her doing exactly. Of course, the main points are what she was sharing.

To the point, Mrs. Iseminger implores us to love the children. She says:

“Students in our schools are broken. They’re broken pieces from broken backgrounds. Eyes hollow, wondering how to glue and stitch themselves back together realizing Elmer’s can’t fix their problems.

“Ask teachers who love their students. Our hearts ache to touch the ripped places in their souls. To help them understand they’re a treasure. To show them they matter. But we don’t always have the tape and the glue and the patch-kits they need.”

It isn’t so much that they schools are broken (they are), but that so many of the children are broken. We focus too much on trying to make good students and good schools for the students while we forget they are just people. We need to help them be the best people they can be, not prepare them to be the Borg drones that provide for us in our old age.

It so happens that if we love, honor, respect, and care for our young ones, they will reciprocate when we are old. At least, they will if we help them learn what is important by demonstrating it, and I ain’t referring to the three Rs.

Mrs. Iseminger says, “Our schools need you to fight for our students. Not with policies and procedures, rules and regulation. No. We need you to fight with love.

Heavy emphasis on love. Not mushy love. Not love that spoils, but tough love that never forgets that we share the same road, the same failings, the same hopes, and mostly the same goals. Love that gives. Love that demands only an honest effort, never something in return. The love Jesus said was the greatest, that we lay down our life for our friend. It has been said that it is not that hard to die for someone, but it is hard to live for someone. Some people do. Some people must, and they meet the challenge admirably.

Mrs. Iseminger continues:

“Common Core. Parcc. NCLB. CLAST. Race to the Top. SAT. ACT. End of Course Exams. Teacher Evaluations. Standards. C2Ready?

Not a single one of these policies or tests or acronyms begin to touch the deepest needs of our schools today because our schools have fragmented students who continue to attempt learning in the midst of destitution and dysfunction.

Our students are in a fight and they need you to fight with them. Fight for them.

It’s not a fight to elevate standards. It’s not a fight to send every American boy and girl to college. It’s not a fight to raise internationally competitive test scores.”

We need to get over our false sense of patriotism. George Bernard Shaw said, patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. But President Calvin Coolidge said, “Patriotism is easy to understand…. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”

If we are stuck on the first, we think we are noble when we assert we have to prepare our children to compete on a global stage. If we find our way into the latter, we realize that kind of preparation and competition isn’t what we want at all. Read the rest of this entry »

It seems to me, culturally, we most suffer from moral idiocy.

We each understand intelligence innately, the same for knowledge, as well as emotion, and especially for morals. IQ, EQ, and MQ? Works for me. 100 is the nominal IQ mean, median, and mode. Anyone far off from that gets called names. Of course, everyone would like to be called the one name, but nobody likes the other.

EQ, well, I haven’t seen standardization on that. I think it is mostly a learned intelligence anyway. We learn emotional skills by growing in loving families, with good, upright friends, and by going through hardship in life with the honest, caring support of these friends and family.

I’d say the same goes for moral intelligence, but that is much less subjective. We know what is right. Read the rest of this entry »

I found an article at American Thinker worth pointing out.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/on_running_from_reality.html

Quoting (Don Sucher):

“Young children often have an aversion to reality. Their ways of running from it are often amusing: the pretend friend, the one that takes their side when things are difficult, and the pretend enemy, the one who takes the blame for their errors and misdeeds.

“Parents traditionally have strived to help their children cope with reality through instruction, emotional support, and abundant love. But today it is increasingly common for parents instead to protect their children from reality as to teach them to effectively deal with it. And such parents typically have come to expect, and receive, support in these efforts from society’s institutions — especially the public schools.”

He goes on to talk about chemical means of avoiding reality, and of misuse of religion. He indicates that it all leads people to abdicate their own responsibility for their own lives. I makes many of us completely dependent upon the government, looking to politicians or other public figures as our “gods.” He says we need people to live up to their personal responsibilities in order to have a free society, and progressivism encourages the opposite of what we need for our free society. I’ll add that progressivism is simply against the human soul. Progressiveness is against all that is good, right, and noble in the individual, in the human soul. (I liken it to Borg. The collective is everything; the individual is nothing.)

It is a good article, but I’m most interested in the part about our societal institutions helping parents who want to shelter their children rather than help the children learn to deal responsibly with reality.

He says precious little. This quote is about all the more he says about the children:

“Too, we see the family structure — once the great bulwark of protection for society’s traditions, and the place where children were taught to face reality as free, independent, adults — under attack.”

It is the “free, independent adults” part that I’m considering. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m barely old enough to remember any of the early days of Peter, Paul, and Mary, but Mom had the Peter, Paul, and Mommy album, and we played it a lot when I was young.

I pretty much know all the songs on it by heart, and it isn’t uncommon for me to sing out a chorus when events prompt a memory of one or another of the songs.

My kids know “It’s Raining,” “Going To The Zoo,” “Boa Constrictor,” “Mockingbird,” and “Puff (The Magic Dragon)” mostly from me singing. I’ve given them bits of “Make-Believe Town” before, but this morning at breakfast, Elizabeth was putting jam on a biscuit and exclaimed that she almost dropped her book in the jam.

I belted out, “He studies in books, where nobody looks, because they’re all covered with jam,” and the kids all said, “Huh?” Well, I managed to complete the verse, and they understood, but Joseph asked more, and so I pulled up Spotify, found the album, and started it playing.

That was neat! Not only was it quite nice to pull up the old memories and good feelings, but it was gratifying as a daddy to see the kids positive reactions, especially Joseph, the most artistic of us.

He started singing along, even to the ones he’d never heard before. It was almost like the “Marvelous Toy,” passing it along.

Does a daddy’s heart good.

I was also struck by the wisdom in those children’s songs.

I encourage all men to remember the advice of the turtle dove, “Court her night, court her day, never give her time to say, “Oh nay.” (That’s  how you win her, and that is how you keep the love strong!)

As a daddy, this one is particularly significant to me:

Tell me why you’re crying, my son
I know you’re frightened, like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.

Refrain:
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
Day is done, Day is done
Day is done, Day is done

Do you ask why I’m sighing, my son?
You shall inherit what mankind has done.
In a world filled with sorrow and woe
If you ask me why this is so, I really don’t know.

(Refrain)

Tell me why you’re smiling my son
Is there a secret you can tell everyone?
Do you know more than men that are wise?
Can you see what we all must disguise
Through your loving eyes?

(Refrain)

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