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School: 1958 vs. 2009

Scenario:
Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1958: Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2008: School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counsellors called in for traumatized students and teachers

Scenario:
Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1958: Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2008: Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario:
Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.

1958: Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2008: Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1958: Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2008: Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1958: Mark shares aspirin with principal out on the smoking dock.

2008: Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario:
Pedro fails high school English.

1958: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2008: Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that knowing English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1958: Ants die.

2008: BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1958: In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2008: Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

{ 79 comments… add one }

  • kiar January 6, 2009, 6:36 pm

    Holy crap. Our society sucks!

  • Michelle D January 6, 2009, 8:31 pm

    Wow, we’ve changed so much in 51 years… This is a little (intentionally) humorous, but also very scary.

  • nanacarol January 6, 2009, 8:47 pm

    Oh sooooo true!!! How can we change things or will things only get worse?

  • Naismith January 7, 2009, 10:15 am

    Of course, that kinder and gentler “1958” version was only experienced by middle-class white people.

    Those of color never did have it so nice.

  • Ray January 7, 2009, 12:18 pm

    Excellent point, Naismith.

    Also, I really don’t like some of the scenarios from 1958 that are presented as ok in this post – and I also don’t like the exaggerated extremes from 2009 that are presented as typical. It’s easy to condemn anyone or anything or any time period when only caricatures are presented.

  • jennycherie January 7, 2009, 1:21 pm

    Posted By: RayIt’s easy to condemn anyone or anything or any time period when only caricatures are presented.

    excellent point! I think we can get the point of these types of comparisons while realizing they are not wholly true. The whole ritalin = zombies thing always gets my knickers in a twist.

  • Amy E January 7, 2009, 1:42 pm

    Posted By: jennycherieThe whole ritalin = zombies thing always gets my knickers in a twist.

    Same here. I think that’s why I’ve refrained from commenting on this in the first place. I’m not quite sure what to say.

  • facethemusic January 7, 2009, 4:56 pm

    O please Naismith– give the “I have to be the one to bring up something contrary” thing a break, will ya? Maybe one day you’ll actually join a conversation here for some other reason. Have you ever posted anything here that wasn’t a statement of disagreement? I’m thinking a comment search might be interesting.
    For Pete’s sake, what in the WORLD did any of the post have anything to do with being “white”?
    And frankly Ray, I’m disappointed that you patted her back on that one.
    Yes, schools were segregated. Yes, it was racist. But what does that have ANYTHING to do with this post? What’s with the “people of color wouldn’t have it so nice” comment in regard to this particular post???
    Are you saying that in 1958, if Johnny and Mark in the fistfight scenario were black, they WOULDN’T have just shaken hands afterwards? They wouldn’t have ended up buddies? Are you saying that even in 1958 the police and swat would have shown up at the “black school” over a fist fight? That the FBI would have been called? That the kids would have been hauled off to jail over a fist fight in an all black school? Because that’s absolutely not true.
    Do you think that a student of “color” who wasn’t being still ior was being disruptive in class wouldn’t have been sent to the office? And wouldn’t have been given a paddling? Are you saying they’d have been hauled off to some psych ward or something? Sent to jail? Beaten with a baseball bat? Burned at the stake?
    I mean, come on! Black kids got sent to the office just like white kids did.
    Are you suggesting that if a “black” Billy in 1958 had broken his neighbor’s car window and given a spanking, that Child Protective Services would have charged in and arrested the father for child abuse? That the kid would have been put in foster care?
    Let’s do a poll on that one. I challenge everyone on the list to email all their black friends or family and ask them if they or any of their parents or grandparents who were kids in 1958 were put in foster care because they broke a neighbor’s window (assuming that black kids accidently break windows just as often as white kids do). And remember, back then, their neighbors would most likely have been black, too.
    It’s absolutely ridiculous to make ANY of these little scenarios a black/white issue.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 7, 2009, 5:38 pm

    FWIW, I don’t think any of the scenarios were “presented as ok.” They were presented as contrasts. But I think it’s worth discussing whether the 2008 scenarios are gross exaggerations.

  • kiar January 7, 2009, 5:40 pm

    Why don’t you take a gun onto school property and find out just how much of an exaggeration it is…

  • nanacarol January 7, 2009, 5:52 pm

    Wow, didn’t think this would get alot of people uptight but I have to say that yes in 2008 some of those scenarios are correct. In Oct. a gal in the Ward has a child with Autism(sp). Many of the kids in the class like to tease him and he lost it one day. He was tackled by 3 teachers and the principle and held down for quite a while till his Mental Health person was dispatched from 2 miles away to take him away. The Menatal Health person really lands into the teacher and principle for holding him down. He gets sent off to Oakland to a Mental Hospital for a month. New meds now, shakes and rocks worse and basically a zombie. Did the kids who teased him get into trouble—-NOOOOOOOOO the sick kid did!!!!!!!! Does this make sense. NOOOOOO!!!! What needed to happen was some cruel kids punished and the sick kid given a special aid to shield him. The mom had been asking for it for over a year. Finally has one now. This is a reality of 2008! If Terrayn had been just taken to the office for a cool down all would have been well. But no, he is taken to a mental hospital for a month and new restrictions put on mom and dad who are already stressed because of an Austic child. Where is the fairness?

  • Alison Moore Smith January 7, 2009, 6:01 pm

    So true, kiar. “Zero tolerance” policies are all over the country. We probably don’t need to even address the fact that weapons (even pocket knives among early elementary kids) have brought about lawsuits and had kids expelled. That’s common knowledge.

    One of the trends that I have found laughable (you all probably know how much I think of general psychological trends of late) is the calling in of counselors for this, that, and everything. Forget math and science for a week. We all need to sit around and emote every time something untowards occurs in the world.

    The second scenario is one I have seen, with the exception of SWAT.

    We can debate the zombie aspect of Ritalin, but I don’t think any of us would disagree that what used to be well in the scope of normal, wiggly kid behavior is now very often “diagnosed” as ADD and/or ADHD. And there are benefits to schools that have special ed kids–at least in some states.

    I was never whipped with a belt (or anything else). I was spanked. But I know lots of kids who had worse corporal punishment than a slap on the backside. The kids across the street from me were basically ignored until they did something dangerous or serious and then they got a whipping (with dad’s belt). I heard lots of stories from older folks about getting “whooped.” When my mom was a kid, if you got caught chewing gum at school, they put the gum on your nose and lit it with a match. And, isn’t it Little House on the Prairie that is full of school stories and punishment?

    It simply is TRUE that many/most of those tactics are considered abuse today.

    Next scenario, “Zero Tolerance” for drugs is an absolute reality. And, yes, kids have been expelled for having OTC pain killers and Midol.

    I know Prop 227 (calling for English only instruction in CA schools) brought on calls of racist from all over.

    I have known of people locally who have been charged for illegal fireworks. Never seen the FBI called about it though.

    And, lastly, what about the sexual predator issue? Sorry, but I don’t think this is much of a stretch either. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch at all. A teacher in SLC is now on leave and on trial for “molesting” a girl–who happens to have accused three separate teachers of sexual abuse in the past couple of years. There is no physical evidence, the girl is known by students as a predator, and the TEACHER asked to have her removed form class weeks earlier BECAUSE she was publicly coming on to him. Yet he’s still on trial and he’s suspsended…and she’s in school.

  • jennycherie January 7, 2009, 6:52 pm

    Posted By: kiarWhy don’t you take a gun onto school property and find out just how much of an exaggeration it is…

    Actually – my son got into loads of trouble for a making a rude drawing (which, frankly, was such a poor drawing he had to explain it to me before I could tell what it was and why it was a problem) which was considered a violation of the Safe Schools Act.

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithWe can debate the zombie aspect of Ritalin, but I don’t think any of us would disagree that what used to be well in the scope of normal, wiggly kid behavior is now very often “diagnosed” as ADD and/or ADHD. And there are benefits to schools that have special ed kids–at least in some states.

    While I agree there could be many kids mis-diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, that idea itself is often exaggerated. I do believe that the wiggly behavior has increased simply because of a decrease in recess and other physical activity. There ARE benefits to schools that have special ed kids but only when their disability is such that requires extra services (hence, the extra funding). The large majority of students with ADD/ADHD do not need an IEP or 504 plan and so the schools receive nothing.

    As far as Ritalin and zombies – Ritalin is a stimulant. It doesn’t make anyone a zombie. It increases the production of brain chemicals that are lacking in some people. It is also rarely used now as there are much better medications available. The ritalin=zombie thing is a myth. Kids who are zombies have bigger issues than ADD/ADHD and are often on multiple medications.

  • jennycherie January 7, 2009, 6:57 pm

    Posted By: facethemusicIt’s absolutely ridiculous to make ANY of these little scenarios a black/white issue.

    okay, I’m whispering so I don’t start a fight –

    ˇAmen!

  • jennycherie January 7, 2009, 6:59 pm

    Posted By: Amy EI think that’s why I’ve refrained from commenting on this in the first place. I’m not quite sure what to say.

    thanks, Amy. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut! I tried – but it’s one of those issues I really struggle with. As if there is not enough harsh judgment already towards children with ADD/ADHD and their families. . . I hate to see those types of misconceptions continued.

  • facethemusic January 7, 2009, 8:04 pm

    my son got into loads of trouble for a making a rude drawing which, frankly, was such a poor drawing he had to explain it to me before I could tell what it was and why it was a problem

    I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time, but that sentence totally cracked me up.

  • facethemusic January 7, 2009, 8:07 pm

    …errghh…. it drives me CRAZY! :devil:

  • Ray January 7, 2009, 8:13 pm

    Face, the post drew an obvious line from the glory days of good old 1958 to the terrible state of education and life in 2009. It is perfectly valid, imo, to mention the fact that 1958 was absolutely horrendous for a large percentage of the kids in schools that year (the black kids who couldn’t attend segregated schools). For many in that population, 2009 is light years better than 1958 was. All Naismith did was mention it; she didn’t go into a tirade about it or even argue about the points of the list specifically. She simply mentioned it – and I simply agreed that it was a valid point, given the central message of the post.

    In this case, I really don’t care much if I agree or not with most of what she posts here. I agreed with this comment.

  • Amy E January 7, 2009, 8:19 pm

    You’re welcome. It’s just too close to home for me because I live with it every day. :) (Not me, but my husband has it and some of my children are showing signs.) The whole issue about ADHD is much more nuanced and it’s difficult for many to get past the stereotype. Thanks for opening your mouth.

  • Ray January 7, 2009, 8:43 pm

    OK, here is my point-by-point reaction to the post itself (my honest, real, gut reaction without softening it at all) – with the understanding that I just don’t like polarizing hyperbole:
    —————————————————————————–
    Scenario:
    Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

    I don’t want guns at school – except, perhaps, high schools in extreme rural areas where breaking down on the way to school truly could be dangerous as a result of wilderness location. If it’s a choice between most students taking a gun to school and students who do so getting arrested for breaking a law, I’ll take making it illegal to have guns at school. (I agree, the trauma counselors do as much damage as they do good.)

    Scenario:
    Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

    I’ve never heard of the FBI called into a fistfight situation, and I’ve never heard of students getting arrested for one fistfight. Perhaps it has happened a few times hear and there, but I would rather have rules enforced against fighting at school – and have a repeat offender expelled. (I agree that rules expelling anyone involved in a fistfight are examples of lazy administrators copping out.)

    Scenario:
    Jeffrey won ?t be still in class, disrupts other students.

    Any principal who paddles my kid for not being able to sit still better get ready, because I’m coming after him. Also, anyone who says that a “good paddling” will cure someone with real ADHD or any number of issues that could cause a student to disrupt other students is just as dangerous as someone who prescribes Ritalin too often. Beating a kid with a high functioning disability into submission should be criminal, not praised as a sign of the good old days. Furthermore, no student can be given Ritalin without parental consent. End of story for my kids.

    Scenario:
    Billy breaks a window in his neighbor ?s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

    Billy often ends up taking it out on his own kids (and often his wife) by using his own belt whenever he gets mad. Yeah, beating a kid with a belt is a wonderful thing, and we need to beat our own kids more. That will solve our kids’ issues and make them successful in life.

    Scenario:
    Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

    Every school is required to have medicine available to provide for any student who needs it, with the condition that the medicine is brought by a parent with an official statement that they understand what medicine is being provided and that they give permission for the student to take it. How is allowing students to walk around school with pills better than the current policy?

    Scenario:
    Pedro fails high school English.

    I agree with the need for summer school. I have never heard of a class action lawsuit against a school when such an option is available.

    Scenario:
    Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

    Johnny graduates to blowing up other things. Again, reality is smack dab in the middle of the scenarios presented.

    Scenario:
    Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

    Teachers all over the country still hug elementary school students who fall and scrape their knees without getting charged as sexual predators. No teacher of whom I am aware is facing three years in jail for hugging a student who has been hurt. The idea that someone would serve time for that is beyond reasonable.

    Those are my unabridged reactions to the post. I just don’t like hyperbole that is used to paint with a broad brush and criticize caricatures. It happens still to us as Mormons far too much for me to accept it when it happens to others. All in all, I’d rather live in 2009 than 1958 – and it’s really not even close. Therefore, I just don’t agree with the implicit message of the post. I just don’t think 1958 was the wonderful heaven and 2009 is the horrible h*** that the post paints.

  • facethemusic January 7, 2009, 10:23 pm

    It is perfectly valid, imo, to mention the fact that 1958 was absolutely horrendous for a large percentage of the kids in schools that year

    Not in THEIR schools it wasn’t. It was bad if they were trying to go to WHITE schools.
    But things in THEIR schools weren’t “absolutely horrendous”. And none of the post was ABOUT any of that, now was it?

    And as a person who worked in an inner city high school for 3 years, I can tell you that it isn’t too different for a white person going to an inner city school NOW, in 2009. And I’m not just talking about student on student. But nothing in the post was about THAT either.

    The post was comparing the reaction to average problems of any school in 1958, to the reaction of those SAME problems today (even if they might be exaggerated) — and the reactions in BOTH times, are the same whether “Billy” is black or white. The ONLY difference would be if the “fight” was between a black person and a white person, or if a black person broke a white person’s window, etc. Then yes, racism would likely have made a difference in how it was handled, especially in certain parts of the country. But the POST had absoluetey nothing to do with any of that.

    Maybe I should have brought up how “kids with disabilities wouldn’t have had it so nice”
    Or how “mormon kids wouldn’t have had it so nice”
    or how “Jewish kids wouldn’t have had it so nice”

    Gee, what other mistreated group can we possibly come up with?

    The truth is, within their schools, black kids would have had very simlar experiences as the white kids.

  • Ray January 7, 2009, 10:36 pm

    The truth is, within their schools, black kids would have had very similar experiences as the white kids.

    Educationally and culturally, they wouldn’t have, but I concede that wasn’t the point of the post – so I will drop it.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 8, 2009, 1:21 am

    I realize that Ritalin is a stimulant, but the term can be misleading to the layman. There are many reports of Ritalin users feeling “foggy” and “in a daze” on the drug. Dr. Peter Breggin says included the following in a list of side effects: drowsiness, confusion, lack of sleep, unhappiness, depression, over-sensitivity, decreased social interest, zombie-like mannerisms, impaired mental abilities. Those aren’t things most non-medical people think of when they hear “stimulant.”

    On the opposing side, phenobarbital works as a reliable sedative in adults, but is rarely used for children as it tends to excite them.

    Over 10% of US kids are labeled ADD/ADHD and over 5 million are being medicated for it. Of course, pretty much everything is a “disease” or “condition” these days. (Read that, “It’s not your fault. You are just sick.”)

    There are many cases of school officials and teachers pressuring parents to get their kids medicated. At least one NY school district said they’d put a child in special ed if he wasn’t give Ritalin. In the UK a number of schools threatened expulsion to kids whose parents refused to give their kids Ritalin.

    FWIW, I have a child who was extensively tested and diagnosed as extreme ADD. I don’t come by my opinions lightly.

  • facethemusic January 8, 2009, 6:12 am

    Educationally and culturally they wouldn’t have, but I concede that wasn’t the point of the post – so I will drop it.

    We could go around on THAT one too, Ray.
    Let’s just say that they were better educated THEN, then they are NOW.

  • jennycherie January 8, 2009, 7:33 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithDr. Peter Breggin says included the following in a list of side effects: drowsiness, confusion, lack of sleep, unhappiness, depression, over-sensitivity, decreased social interest, zombie-like mannerisms, impaired mental abilities.

    I would not consider him a reliable source–he’s extremely biased. He is promoting his own agenda instead of giving a balanced picture of pros and cons for available treatments. If you do a search for symptoms of stimulant medications, you see nothing about zombie-like mannerisms. The common side effects are:

    · Loss of Appetite
    · Headache
    · Stomach upset or nausea
    · Weight Loss
    · Difficulty Sleeping

    On the other hand, “zombie-like” behavior CAN be a SYMPTOM of the inattentive-type of ADD.

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smith I don’t come by my opinions lightly.

    likewise :wink:

  • shanant January 8, 2009, 11:15 am

    My mom whose taught as a 6th grade teacher and would have been a student in 6th grade in 1955( so pretty close to 1958) talked to me once about what her 6th grade class was like when she was a kid. Her mother was the teacher and they had about 40 students in the class. The class was quiet and on task almost all the time. (One of the reasons we were having this discussion was because my 5th grader was in a class of 37 kids at the time and it was a nightmare.)

    A main difference she pointed out was at that age if there were disruptive kids they would be in school now(2009) but were not in school then (1955), they just did not attend. She even remembered some of the kids since they were her age who would be in a classroom now but were not then.

    She also said in 1955 if the child was having problems at school the parents faulted the child and took responsibility on themselves and the child to fix the problem (or if they could not fix the problem then the child just quit school). In the present many parents blame the school now with no responsibility on themselves or their children. These created problems for the entire class. both ways create different problems for individuals and the schools.

  • Amy E January 8, 2009, 12:04 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithThere are many reports of Ritalin users feeling “foggy” and “in a daze” on the drug.

    I know this is just my experience. (I can’t remember the word right now for what it means when it’s just personal observation and not scientifically based…anyway.) My husband’s friend was diagnosed with ADD when he was a child and used Ritalin. He felt that it decreased his thinking and creativity and has never went on any other medication based on that experience. My husband was also recently diagnosed with ADHD and in his search for the right combination of medication, he tried the generic form of Ritalin and I think “foggy” was one of the terms he used for it. He’s using something else.

    That being said, everyone’s body chemistry is different, so what might work well for one may not work for others. My concern with children and ADD is that medication is often the first thing tried instead of trying to pinpoint the actual problem. There are many things that can mimic the symptoms of ADD and just to medicate first might mask other problems.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 8, 2009, 2:37 pm

    Everybody has an agenda. I appreciate both sides. And Breggin is far from the only doctor who has problems with Ritalin/ADD/ADHD issues.

    shanant, important points. The general, over-all lack of responsible adult behavior is a huge contributor to school and other societal problems.

    “Anecdotal” is the word, Amy. I have also personally known over a half-dozen kids (obviously not statistically significant) who have experienced the same thing you describe: fogginess, lethargy, etc.

    My concerns about medicating are similar to yours. It’s EASIER to medicate than to do many other things. I don’t object to medications when actually needed, but I do think ADD/ADHD are excessively diagnosed and the drug is used as a quick fix and/or in isolation.

    I just don’t think that 5 million + kids in our country really need to medicated to make it though the day.

    Ritalin useageWhen given for attention deficit disorder, this drug should be an integral part of a total treatment program that includes psychological, educational, and social measures.

    How often is this drug NOT given ALONG WITH these prescribed actions? Popping a pill is easy. Psychological, educational, and social measure, not so easy.

    Frankly, I think ADD is just one of many issues in our culture that follow the same pattern. Don’t solve the problem, label it and medicate it.

    I just watched a video for an exercise program I’m thinking of purchasing (I told ya’ll I was considering an intense workout schedule). One guy said he was diagnosed with “post-traumatic stress disorder” (from military experience) and had let his life fall apart and turned into a fat slob. Within 90 days of starting the program, he was “cured.”

    Similarly, I have a sweet friend who has been diagnosed with PTSD. (Her event was when her husband was arrested in an internet solicitation sting.) She has been undergoing therapy for years, has spent months lying in bed (with multiple little kids), has learned all sorts of reasons for her trauma in counseling, has had multiple meds. She is still “recovering.”

    When I was a kid, PTSD would have been called, “I had a really bad experience and it caused a lot of stress and anxiety and I’m going to have to work really hard to overcome the pain and to refocus on good things.” I’m not sure that we are served by the current trends in psychiatry. The people I know who have overcome these situations have done what the first guy did: find meaning in life and good things to do and get to work.

    Similarly, I do think that most “ADD/ADHD” kids would be better served by being physically healthy (nutrition, sleep, etc.), being taught how to focus, how to control impulses, appropriate outlets for physical urges, socially acceptable responses, etc. AND by being given some reasonable accommodation for different learning styles and needs.

  • TheWallruss January 9, 2009, 5:25 am

    The fact that this discussion has taken the ugly caustic turn it has is quit the statement on the society we are now living in today.

    Top of the day to all.

    Wally ;)

  • facethemusic January 9, 2009, 5:57 am

    Good point Wallruss, because people never had hearty disagreements or even got upset with each other in the olden days. :tooth:

  • Alison Moore Smith January 9, 2009, 8:58 am

    ” ?ugly caustic turn”??? I think you have a big smudge on your bifocals Wally.

  • facethemusic January 9, 2009, 1:47 pm

    Interesting study released– top story on AOL

    http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2009/17src.h28.html

    And I so “proud” to report that Missouri was rated the 10th worst state for education in the country, with a 72.4 out of 100 score. No big surprise. I WAS surprised though to see that Utah wasn’t too far behind with a 73.2.

    Not sure exactly WHO is responsible for coming up with the scoring system– and I’m not too sure I’d trust who ever did it, anyway. For example– one of the things they graded schools on was spending. But WHAT were they grading? If by their standard, a good grade in spending is relative to the AMOUNT allocated per student, rather than WHAT the money is spent ON, then I wouldn’t trust much of the study. DC for example was rated as number one for the WORST schools, yet I know from another study several months ago that it spends more per student than almost any other school system.
    Another suspicious measurement was how many of a districts teachers are qualified to teach English as a second language, and whether or not the school system required all their teachers to be able to do so.
    Still– I thought the study was interesting considering our conversation here.

  • Ray January 9, 2009, 3:35 pm

    Relevant excerpts from the article face linked (Thanks, face.):

    With English-language learners as the special focus of this year ?s report . . .

    (So everything is filtered through that lens in the ranking.)

    This year ?s state survey did not seek data on the teaching profession, or on standards, assessments, and accountability.

    (Wow. That limits its lessons significantly.)

    the states this year receive individual letter grades in three areas . . . capturing key facets of education spanning stages from childhood to adulthood, policies related to transitions and alignment, and school funding and finance equity.

    (Classic, ambiguous edu-speak)

    Among these indicators, upon which the states are graded, are family income, parental education and employment, high school graduation rates, and adult educational attainment, employment status, and annual income.

    (“States with rich, highly-educated, employed parents are the best states.”)

    only three states New York, Rhode Island, and Texas require a college-preparatory curriculum as a condition of high school graduation.

    (Why should that be a condition of graduation? Elitism – plain and simple.)

    In the area of school funding, this year ?s report analyzes school spending patterns and how equitably that funding is distributed among districts within each state.

    (Equitably HOW? Exactly equal, or more for poorer counties, or what?)

    only three Arizona, Florida, and New York require that all prospective teachers show they are competent to teach such students.

    (Sounds reasonable, since those states serve huge ELL populations. Texas and California perhaps should have similar rules, but there are large sections in those states without huge ELL populations.)

  • Ray January 9, 2009, 3:43 pm

    Oh, and Utah has the lowest per-student spending in the nation, largely because it has the highest student/non-student ratio in the nation and a low end average income. That has been the case for a long time. Utah spends 40% of what Vermont does per student – since Vermont has a very low student/non-student ratio and a high average income.

    Utah spends a higher percent of its overall revenue on education than any other state – or did last time I checked. Of course, that doesn’t count in these studies.

  • Amy E January 9, 2009, 4:01 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smith“Anecdotal” is the word, Amy.

    Thanks, Alison. :smile:

  • Naismith January 10, 2009, 11:08 am

    For Pete’s sake, what in the WORLD did any of the post have anything to do with being “white”?

    I honestly believe that the kinder and gentler world portrayed in the 1958 version was only experienced by well-to-do white people. I wasn’t in school in 1958, but I started in 1960 and do remember how it was. White kids could get away with all kinds of things that black kids could not. I appreciate that this post was about the differences between the two years, but I would posit that the magnitude of difference between 1958 and 2009 would be greater for well-to-do whites than for blacks, because black people never had such positive experience at baseline.

    I don’t agree that all black children went to all-black schools and were treated exactly the same as their white counterparts. Keep in mind that many “black” schools had white administrators, since in some places blacks were not considered smart enough to be principals of their own schools, and many of those white administrators had a seige mentality–more likely to assume the worst and call in the cops. But also, segregation was not universal. In many cities–Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh–a substantial percentage of kids went to Catholic schools rather than public schools, and those may have never been segregated. And in lots of rural areas in “blue” states, the schools were not segregated, either.

    Let’s do a poll on that one. I challenge everyone on the list to email all their black friends or family and ask them if they or any of their parents or grandparents who were kids in 1958 were put in foster care because they broke a neighbor’s window (assuming that black kids accidently break windows just as often as white kids do).

    Any “poll” we did would be a collection of anecdotes, because it wouldn’t have a representative sample. There are zillions of scientifically conducted studies that do demonstrate blacks and hispanics are more likely to face harsher penalties than whites for the same crime, more likely to be expelled from school, less likely to be identified as gifted, and so on.

    When my eldest son was in high school, a bunch of the youth in the ward broke into the neighborhood municipal swimming pool at 2 a.m. and went skinny dipping. They were all dragged to the police station, and their parents were called, but no charges were filed. It’s kind of funny to think about now, because two are MDs, several are teachers, most are dads, all became Eagle scouts. It was great that, like the 1958 version, they were able to get on with their lives and not have to live with harsh consequence from that mistake.

    I don’t believe for a minute that they would have been treated as lightly if their skin was darker and the pool in question was on the other side of town, and the research seems to back that up.

    I told that story to a black woman in our ward, when I explained why I was willing to get up early once a week to take her to visit her son in the county jail where we was held for some months before being shipped to prison. If we went early, I could drop her by her job as a hotel maid. The busses did not work out for her to make it to the prison and to her job, which she couldn’t afford to lose. One of those mornings happened to be Christmas morning, but our kids could wait for a while to open their presents.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 10, 2009, 11:44 am

    I think you make good points, Naismith, but I really don’t see this contrast as 1950s=good 2000s=bad. Maybe that’s what you all see, but I really don’t. I think there were problems (racially and otherwise) in the 1950s and other decades as well. I don’t, for example, think allowing fistfights as school is a good idea–nor in thinking that it’s entertaining to watch someone beat bloody. But I do find that on many issues we’ve gone to ridiculous extremes to combat them. And that extreme is sometimes too restrictive and sometimes too lenient. But the contrast is interesting to me.

  • Ray January 10, 2009, 3:14 pm

    But I do find that on many issues we’ve gone to ridiculous extremes to combat them. And that extreme is sometimes too restrictive and sometimes too lenient. But the contrast is interesting to me.

    I agree with that completely.

  • facethemusic January 11, 2009, 8:27 am

    I honestly believe that the kinder and gentler world portrayed in the 1958 version was only experienced by well-to-do white people

    Then you must believe that it was only well-to-do white people who were “kinder and gentler” to their own, and that black people were NOT “kinder and gentler” to their own. (And I guess poor white kids were hauled off to jail for getting in a fist fight, too) Most black students went to black schools and had mostly black teachers.
    HONESTLY, Naismith– how many black friends did you have as a kid? Did you live in a mostly white neighborhood? Go to nearly all white schools? How many black friends do you have NOW? How often do you have conversations about all this stuff WITH black people?
    Even though we moved around alot, I spent most of my elementary days in the south– Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina– on military bases where the schools I went to, off and on the base, and the housing developments were a pretty even blend of ethnicities. In high school I was in Texas. Now, I’m living smack in the middle of a mostly black community and worked for 3 years in 87% black high school. Several of my coworkers were black– and believe me, during a lunch break in a highschool cafeteria, you talk alot about the differences of the schools now, and how they were before.
    2 of my black coworkers went to school here in Kansas City, one in St. Louis and Mae was in rural. Mississippi. She’s 59 now, went to segregated schools, and her mother’s house didn’t have electricity until Mae was 22. That’s how out in the boondocks they were.
    Every Monday night we have a single brother from our ward over for dinner and FHE– he happens to be black. He’s in his early fifties and grew up in Atlanta. He’s a very quiet and shy man. But if you can get him talking about himself and his past, then it really opens him up. We’ve heard all about his past, his parents, his schooling, his periods of homelessness, etc.
    He was IN school in the late 50’s and into the 60’s. Right when all this was coming to a head.
    He has very FOND memories of school, nothing bad happening UNTIL people really started pushing for integration The laws had already been passed, but the schools were still segregated– and remember, we’re talking about Atlanta, Georgia.
    But I’ve heard first hand how things were for blacks back then, since the 3rd grade when I’d go over to my friend Keisha’s house and her father and grandmother would talk about how things were over dinner.
    One of my mother’s good friends in Georgia was Jessie Washington– mother of one of the two black families in our ward. I heard stories from her.
    Sure– all their personal experiences would be anecdotal, but from everything I understand from people in my childhood, to adult friends I have now, their experiences are a very fair representation of the black community as a whole.
    Even though they were given less opportunities, less pay, etc. their lives were happy within the context of their communities. They had good and bad school experiences, just like any white student– favorite teachers, the “mean” teacher, getting into fist fights, etc. But the FBI wasn’t called just because they got into fist fights anymore than the FBI would be called at a white school over a fistfight. And most black kids went to all black schools, where the vast majority of their teachers were black, (and previous to the Civil Rights movement they were nearly ALWAYS black) who received significantly less pay than their white counterparts in the white schools. But even though they received less pay, less funding, and had poorer teaching materials, they still performed well and got a decent education. Their schools were places of LEARNING and GROWTH even though the roof might have been falling apart. They LEANED on the churches and the schools for community spirit and caring. (Now the schools are integrated, the roof is falling apart and they’re hardly learning a thing)
    The PROBLEMS came when they’d try to go into a “white” part of town, or if some white thugs decided to drive through THEIR neighborhoods to stir things up and harass people. And I’m sure that just like any white kid, they accidently broke out a neighbors’ windows playing baseball too close to the house. But their neighbors (who most likely would have been black also) probably weren’t anymore likely to sue or call the police than a white person would. The parents work it out and make the kid earn the money to fix the window. White OR Black. Typical “Leave it to Beaver” methodology.
    All the things mentioned in the original post are markers of a TIME in society, not markers of RACE. They’re markers of how the values and morays over how to handle problems, have changed.
    I don’t have any of the experiences of my friends written down of course– but just a very quick search under segregated schools pulled these up– and I think it shows exactly what I was talking about:

    From the Baltimore Sun
    The small wooden building that once housed Queenstown Elementary School contains a paradox.

    Built in the era of racial segregation, it was a place where black children received a second-rate education. Its teachers were paid less than white teachers, and its pupils learned from worn books discarded by white children.

    But former pupils have surprisingly fond memories of the northern Anne Arundel County school, which they say was a place of warmth and caring - and a focal point for the black community. Some contend that they had a better school experience than later generations who attended racially integrated schools.”

    And this from from the Februrary 15th Star-Ledger in New Jersey– black history month:

    “South Jersey’s opposition to school integration wasn’t simply a matter of recalcitrant or racist school districts and officials. Many black parents at the time preferred their children be taught by black teachers in separate schools.

    “Much of the black support for school segregation came from Southern migrants who were more accustomed to segregation and were particularly fearful of mistreatment of their children by white teachers in mixed schools,” Douglas said. “This isn’t just a story of black folks wanting integrated schools and white folks not. It’s a complex story.”

    “It was de facto segregation,” said Harris, a retired Kean University math professor. “We did not meet white students or white teachers until high school.

    Both articles point out that black students were completely segregated and taught by black teachers. Parents were even afraid of the idea of having their children taught by white teachers. (And understandably so.)

  • Alison Moore Smith January 11, 2009, 10:01 am

    I was talking to Sam this morning about this issue. He read a syndicated column a few months ago (he thinks in the Deseret News) that discussed this very issue. I’m trying to locate the particular column so I can link to it, but the gist of it was that statistically blacks were much better off in many areas (graduation rates, family stability, business ownership, etc.) in the 1950’s than they were afterward when so many social programs encouraged the breakdown of their supportive culture.

    If I can find the column that references the studies, I will let you know.

    George Will’s column today also popped out in light of this discussion: Litigious society hurting country. Seriously, read it. Here’s just a quip to get you started:

    Called to a Florida school that could not cope, police led the disorderly student away in handcuffs, all 40 pounds of her 5-year-old self. In a Solomonic compromise, schools in Broward County, Fla., banned running at recess.

    After ten years in Palm Beach County (which borders on Broward County)–which happens to be (or was) the most litigious state in the country–I saw this kind of idiocy ALL THE TIME. Please don’t tell me these are exaggerations. They happened on a REGULAR basis.

  • RoAnn January 12, 2009, 7:31 am

    I loved this guest post, and emailed the link to all my extended family. I thought it was hilarious.

    Then I went to the discussion, and discovered that it was being ripped apart as though it were a serious pronouncement on the subject.
    Where is everyone’s sense of humor?
    So the post was full of exaggeration, both for conditions in 1958 and 2008. That’s one of the ways humor works.
    And good humor, like this post, can help us to thoughtfully reconsider some of the “wisdom of the day” (as well as that of the past) that may not really be so wise.
    This post prompted me to think about some of the good things about the past, as well as some of the bad things that I’m glad are no longer tolerated.
    And I ruefully contemplated how a desire to make things better and safer for children now often has unintended detrimental consequences.
    I don’t think the guest author wants a return to school paddling or parental belt-beating. Nor do I think he/she thinks that the use drugs and therapy is always wrong.
    I think the author meant to use exaggeration to show us where the slippery slide of some current trends might lead, so we could question whether that is really where we want our school society to go.

  • facethemusic January 12, 2009, 7:36 am

    Well stated, RoAnn!!
    And welcome to the group!!!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 12, 2009, 7:37 am

    :cheer: Brava, RoAnn.

    Nice to see you again!

  • facethemusic January 12, 2009, 9:19 am

    Every Monday night we have a single brother from our ward over for dinner and FHE– he happens to be black. He’s in his early fifties and grew up in Atlanta. He’s a very quiet and shy man. But if you can get him talking about himself and his past, then it really opens him up. We’ve heard all about his past, his parents, his schooling, his periods of homelessness, etc.
    He was IN school in the late 50’s and into the 60’s. Right when all this was coming to a head.
    He has very FOND memories of school, nothing bad happening UNTIL people really started pushing for integration The laws had already been passed, but the schools were still segregated– and remember, we’re talking about Atlanta, Georgia.

    Yesterday on the way to church, I told him about this conversation, and asked him what he thought about it. (He lives right around the corner and doesn’t have a car, so we pick him up for church, activities, etc)
    He said that life for him as a child, was EXACTLY the way the original post stated it.
    He said that back then, people worked things out themselves, now they call the police.
    When I told him that a woman said that it wasn’t that way for blacks, but only well to do white people, he said “Is she black?” I said “No. Well, I don’t think so– I didn’t ask.” And he said “If she’s not black she doesn’t know.”
    So I specifically asked him to tell me again about his school experiences. He said that his elementary school was all black, with black teachers. He loved his school and teachers and has only good memories. I asked him about fights in the school and he said “of course, there was a fight once or twice a week after school in the playground, or on the sidewalk going home.” So I asked him about fights DURING school. He said there was every now and then, but that usually they were after school. When I asked him if the police came and arrested anyone for fighting at school, he said “No. They called your momma and you got a whooping. ” Then he said the police hardly ever went in the black neighborhoods, even if you called for help. They came if they were looking for somebody and every now and then just to scare them and let them know “we’re watching you”. But if there was an emergency and you called the police, they might not come at all. They’re not coming just because a child’s fighting at the school.
    Then I asked him if anyone would have been arrested for spanking their kid when they broke a car window and he laughed. He said “The children would be be raising themselves if they arrested the parents for whooping their child. I don’t know one black momma or daddy who DIDN’T whoop their kids when they were bad. That’s what kept us straight.”
    Now we can debate all day on whether or not spanking keeps kids on the straight and narrow– but he actually LAUGHED at the idea of black parents being arrested for spanking their kids.

    When I asked him about high school, he said that that’s when they were starting to integrate, and that’s when he had his first white teachers. BUT alot of the white families moved, because they didn’t want their kids in school with the black kids. I said “That must have really hurt and made you angry.” He said “Not really. The ones that moved were the ones that were the most racist. I think that’s why we never had very many problems when we were mixed.”
    That caught my attention.
    I said, “What do you mean? They didn’t harass you, use racial slurs, or try to pick fights?”
    He said it happened every now and then, but he didn’t think those kind of things happened any more often than they happen now. THEN he said, “but it seems there’s more fights and problems in schools now then there EVER was when I was in school.”
    So then I asked him why HE thought that a white person would think that his childhood or school experiences would have been “absolutely horrendous” or that he would have been arrested for getting in a fist-fight at school, or that his parents would have been arrested for spanking him. He said that white people learn about the cross burnings, the bricks in their windows, being arrested for something they didn’t do, and so they think that their life must have been horrible. But he said that most black people didn’t have those things happen to them. They heard about it, though. He said he remembers twice when some “stupid white kids” drove through their neighborhood and threw eggs at their houses– then he said , “but I had friends who did that and they were black.” So I asked him if he thought he had the same kind of childhood as a white kid– he said YES. They just didn’t have as much money as the white kids did, and he couldn’t eat in the same restuarant. . But then he said he was “going to school and playing kick the can in the street, and playing ball with my friends, just like any child.” He said that they were just like any other neighhborhood, — as long as you stayed where you were suppose to be, everything was fine.
    Now surely, it shouldn’t have ever been that way. Blacks were treated as 2nd class citizens–if even that. But to purport that the kinder and gentler ways of the 50’s were only experienced by whites is completely false. The problems of segregation/integration aside, the black community had joy and happiness WITHIN their communities. THey had happy families, strong churches and schools, too– they were the CENTER of their community, regardless of whether or not they had the newest textbooks and higher paid white teachers.

  • nanacarol January 12, 2009, 9:40 am

    The other thing that is false about this topic is that only rich people had it well. My parents were no more rich than the man in the moon. But we had the good life!!! My dad worked hard, sometimes two jobs to put food on the table for us. but we had clothes, food, christmas, vacations of camping going to Idaho every year to see my grandparents. When I was in school I was paddled, didn’t effect me. I did have a very bad forth grade teacher that did everything in her power to degrade me-but another story for another topic. My brothers and I played “army” around the block, playing war did not turn my brothers and me into killing machines, my brothers were eagle scouts, all served missions and married in the temple. We had blacks in our town. They lived on the other side of town. My dad worked full the National Guard full time and the armory was right in the middle of that side of town. My brothers and I could go out and play on the lawn there, even had kids who came and played with us. No problems. the blacks really respected my dad and having the armory in their neck of the woods. We all went to High School together and no problems. But since it was Calif. I don’t think there was the segregation problems of the south. However, there was one area of differance in our life. It was the migratant workers and families who were the problem. They had attitudes!!!! That is who teased us, were mean to us etc. For a long time I had a hard time with hispanic people.
    So the good ole days were just that-good ole days! I am just grateful with had them and wish for them back.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 12, 2009, 11:19 am

    Some great input, gals. Thanks.

    Sometimes I think I should have been an young adult in the 40’s (without the war). That seems such a good fit to me in many ways. I was in a movie once (as a a ballroom dancer in the first date scene of George and Olive Osmond) and was dressed and hairdoed up in 40’s style. Oh, I totally loved that.

    But I’m sure I would have been MORE frustrated about race and women’s issues than I am now. And since I love technology, I’d hate to have never really known about it. But who misses what they can’t even imagine?

    Although I know no time period is without its flaws, I think it would be unimaginably nice to raise kids in an era when the GENERAL culture agreed on fairly similar value set.

  • nanacarol January 12, 2009, 10:42 pm

    Amen to that last statement Alison!

  • spande2 January 13, 2009, 9:13 am

    Alison: Race issues, yes, absolutely. Women’s issues, hmmmm, I think to a large degree they are what you make them. Sure there was (is?) the “glass ceiling”. But, while my Gramma was raising her kids in the 40’s and 50’s, she cut corners on groceries and saved money to travel all over the world. While she was saving money she would try to learn the language of whichever country it was this time. I don’t know where she didn’t go. I do know that she went to Europe (East and West), Scandanavia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, some of those multiple times. She often went with friends or children, because Grampa had to stay and work. :) But he went with her a lot, too. She was sometimes criticized for the way she did things, but she always just smiled and did whatever she pleased. Her motto was: “If you would not be criticized: say nothing; do nothing; be nothing.”

    As far as the difference between the 50’s and now: My mom says that when she was in high school even the “bad boys” were genteel around the “good girls”. They would not smoke, curse, use crude language or humor or drink in her presence. It’s not quite like that now, is it?

  • davidson January 13, 2009, 9:18 am

    Her motto was: “If you would not be criticized: say nothing; do nothing; be nothing.”

    That’s so true, Spande. Thanks for sharing it.

  • facethemusic January 13, 2009, 2:49 pm


    If you would not be criticized: say nothing; do nothing; be nothing.”

    Brilliant!!!!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 13, 2009, 3:13 pm

    Kristen, I love your grandmother’s motto. I’ve heard that before and probably should cross-stitch a sampler for my wall. Cross-stitch is actually a craft I can do!

    Women’s issues, hmmmm, I think to a large degree they are what you make them.

    I sincerely disagree. That makes it seem as if the limitations were really all in one’s head.

    Women only got the vote 5 years before my mother was born. That’s not imagination or lack of fortitude, it’s a legal way of disallowing half the country from having a substantive voice in elections.

    Those ideas dictating what women could and could not do–completely devoid of consideration of actual ABILITY–were so pervasive. In education, in hiring situations, in financial dealings (like getting a bank account or credit card or mortgage), in career choices. Even my sister (born in 1960) was told by her high school math teacher that teaching her calculus was a “waste of time” because she was just going to “go home and make babies.” That guy would be on his ear today.

    We’ve benefitted so much from the removal of inappropriate stereotypes that I don’t think we can even comprehend. I think sexism still exists, but it’s at a manageable level now in most venues, IMO. And since it’s generally deemed socially inappropriate (at least when it’s directed at women :confused:), it’s exponentially easier to correct problems in most situations.

    I struggle with gender issues in the church today, but can’t imagine what I would have thought back in a day when women couldn’t say any prayers at all and weren’t allowed to speak in Sacrament Meeting or General Conference EVER. (I still remember both of those, but was young enough that I didn’t think much about it.)

    It’s not just a gender or even racial thing to me. It’s a fairness issue. Fairness is something that, in general, resonates very strongly with me. I don’t mind losing. But cheating just makes me crazy.

  • spande2 January 13, 2009, 8:04 pm

    I think my Grampa was very forward thinking. He used to tell me that an education is never wasted on a woman. “When you educate a woman, you educate a generation.”

    You’re right about the vote. But you and I both would have been out there agitating for it, wouldn’t we? I just think that instead of getting our knickers in a twist (as JC said earlier) we should try to improve things as much as possible and then make the best of it. Complaining about things only makes my blood pressure go up. :) And, to paraphrase the “Princess Bride”: “LIfe is [unfair], Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

  • facethemusic January 13, 2009, 9:28 pm

    And, to paraphrase the “Princess Bride”: “LIfe is [unfair], Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

    Any quote from The Princess Bride is the tops in my book!

  • Oregonian January 13, 2009, 10:27 pm

    im still trying to figure out how this turned into talk about racism

  • kiar January 14, 2009, 8:57 am

    One word: Naismith

  • facethemusic January 14, 2009, 6:32 pm

    And I bit out of frustration. So you can blame me, too.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 14, 2009, 10:07 pm

    Hey all, I appreciate varied input here. Much more interesting than just a homogenous bunch of nodders. I don’t mind disagreement, but let’s not pile on. :smile:

  • kiar January 15, 2009, 9:34 am

    Well, there is a way to have a disagreement without completly thrashing someone for their point of view. I have yet to see a positive comment, or uplifting remark from that particular person. I get that we all have our days, as it were, but come on, all she ever does is attack.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 15, 2009, 12:16 pm

    Hmmm. I was accused of the very thing on a homeschool list just last night. But I didn’t attack anyone, I simply posted an opinion about a news item.

    If you look at what Naismith wrote, I don’t think it can reasonably be called an attack. It was only two sentences. She didn’t even disagree with the post at large, just pointed out that, in her opinion, the decade she felt was shown as nicer only applied to the majority.

    While I don’t necessarily agree that the 50’s were shown as positive, nor do I agree that non-whites didn’t have some benefits in that decade–I don’t think her expression can fairly be deemed an attack.

    I understand that when someone tends only to post a contrary viewpoint, it can seem like an attack. I understand that because **I** am one who often stays out of issues (in various venues) UNLESS I feel something is problematic, so I get accused of this frequently. But I think we need to step back when someone posts disagreement and really analyze whether an attack is being made or just a disagreement, analysis, discussion, etc. I think the former is a problem. Not the latter.

  • Michelle D January 15, 2009, 7:01 pm

    FWIW, this entire thread I have seen Naismith’s comment as “just a disagreement, analysis, discussion, etc” rather than a deliberate attack. My personal opinion is that on this particular thread Tracy’s vehement reaction to Naismith’s comment was more of an attack than Naismith’s comment – but even that wasn’t really an attack. I agree and disagree with various statements made here by every commenter, at some time or another on a variety of topics and threads, but I appreciate the various voices that cause me to think and sometimes reconsider my own point of view.

    Play nice, children. :smile: :wink:

  • davidson January 16, 2009, 10:46 am

    I keep thinking about what President Hinckley said and wondering how it fits into this idea of analysis and discussion. He said that there is no such thing as “constructive criticism.” He said all criticism is destructive in some way. Maybe it is all in the wording, and the feelings behind the words. Feelings behind the words can be so misunderstood, particularly in a forum like this, as we’ve all noticed from time to time. Perhaps there is a difference between “critical thinking”–careful, analytical thinking, with an undergirding desire to help, and “critical thinking”–accusatory, derogatory, competitive thinking. I have noticed, Alison, that you’ve made a real effort lately to make positive comments, not just to point out the problematic areas in discussions, at least at this website, and particularly with me. That makes all the difference, and I thank you for it. To me, that is our Christian obligation, to temper disagreement with respect and kindness. “Love one another” is an overriding commandment, a higher law than “be thou right in every thing.” I still believe that “nobody cares how much you know until he knows how much you care.” I am a lot more apt to take correction from a person if I believe that person is concerned with my well-being, rather than feeling the person disapproves of me, disagrees with my point of view, and doesn’t care how his words might effect me. We all FEEL, much as we try to pretend that we don’t. It would be wonderful if we could be entirely objective, separate ourselves from our emotions–but we can’t. Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be wonderful. Being entirely objective would mean being entirely robotic, devoid of the passions we inherited from divine parentage. And certainly, passions are to be controlled–but not eliminated. I think we need to deal with each other as feeling human beings.

    The problem lies, I think, in acknowledging that we ourselves have feelings, but forgetting that the feelings of others are just as strong, just as valid as our own. A good question to ask, before we speak or write, might be, “How will others perceive what I have to say?” And if we find that we don’t really care how our words will be perceived, the next question might well be, “Why DON’T I care? What do I need to do differently to maintain my status as a Christian?” It is a covenanted obligation, to care about other people. And as one who has had difficulty caring at times, I can testify that if we pray for help in that respect, we can receive it. I am thankful for that, that He can make a lot more out of my heart than I can, but only if I allow Him.

    We had an orange pop explosion in the living room yesterday. The kids tried to clean it up, but I noticed just now that there was still pop on the wall–and on my pearl-colored statue of the Christus. A few seconds ago, I took a cloth and wiped the wall and the statue clean, and as I did, I wiped the Savior’s feet. It brought to mind His washing: of His friends’ feet, but more importantly and more instructively to me, of His enemy’s feet. If only we could be like Him! and keep the “willing to wash” attitude toward people in our hearts. Perhaps it would temper what we say and write.

  • Ray January 16, 2009, 11:44 am

    Fwiw, I don’t always succeed, but I try hard to edit my comments before submitting them. I look for a few things, particularly how I would react if the words were said by someone else to me and if the words say what I am trying to say. Often, I end up making corrections to soften or clarify my comment, and sometimes I end up reading the comment at least three or four times. Almost every time I don’t follow this pattern, I end up regretting it afterward – either because I see stupid spelling or grammatical mistakes or, more seriously, because I actually regret saying what I said.

    Even in this case, I have read the entire comment twice – and I will go back and read it one more time when I finish typing this paragraph (after changing “sentence” to “paragraph” in order to add two more sentences). :smile: I recommend this approach HIGHLY, even if a conversation is progressing so quickly that you are afraid your comment will be overlooked or obsolete because of the editing you do. It’s ALWAYS better, imo, to get it right more slowly than get it wrong more quickly – and have your mistake be read by more people because you rushed.

  • davidson January 16, 2009, 12:57 pm

    “I look for a few things, particularly how I would react if the words were said by someone else to me and if the words say what I am trying to say. Often, I end up making corrections to soften or clarify my comment. . . .”

    “It’s ALWAYS better, imo, to get it right more slowly than get it wrong more quickly . . . .”

    Wise words, Ray–worthy of embroidery. If only I could embroider. :smile: Thank you for your comments.

  • davidson January 16, 2009, 12:59 pm

    I told you about embroidery, didn’t I? A woman in my ward told me, “Oh, ANYBODY can learn to embroider.” After trying to help me a few times, she said, “Well, MOST people can learn how to embroider.” :bigsmile:

  • facethemusic January 16, 2009, 3:20 pm

    My personal opinion is that on this particular thread Tracy’s vehement reaction to Naismith’s comment was more of an attack than Naismith’s comment

    And I humbly admit that this is true. All she did was make a comment, and I jumped on her for it.

    But, with the hundreds of times we have differences of opinion around here (which I totally and completely appreciate) which even get a little passionate sometimes, I think everyone here knows that I don’t have a problem with a different opinion or viewpoint. I ENJOY having those discussions. I’m perfectly capable of having very thorough, respectful and effective conversations with people with whom I disagree– it happens all the time.

    I do have a problem however, with people who seem to just like to “stir the pot” for the mere sake of “stirring the pot”.

    It’s like starting a thread about what I’m making for Easter dinner, and a few other people join in and say what they’re making for Easter Dinner, then someone drops in with something like
    “Enjoy your fancy white man dinner while millions of people around the world are starving to death.”

    That’s ONLY being said to be contrary and contentious. Are there millions of people around the world who are starving to death? Probably so. But that doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re talking about, and it isn’t only white people who have fancy dinners on Easter.

    Those kinds of comments really push my buttons. And because Naismith has made a habit out of posting here only when she disagrees with something, to say something contrary, and/or to “stir the pot” with that kind of comment, I reacted with rather intense frustration.

    My bad.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 16, 2009, 4:37 pm

    Posted By: facethemusic“Enjoy your fancy white man dinner while millions of people around the world are starving to death.”

    OK, so that made me laugh…out loud.

    I just want to interject one thing. As I said, I KNOW (from personal experience, just today!) that sometimes those who post out of no where to “stir the pot” can be irritating. But–and I SWEAR this is true–you might be wrong to assume that she is “stirring the post for the mere sake of stirring the pot.” That’s ascribing motive and, honest, it’s REALLY HARD to accurately ascribe motive–unless you live in someone else’s brain.

    I have rarely ever ever ever posted a contrary position with the PURPOSE of causing trouble or getting a rise out of people. I can’t remember EVER doing it–but I’m leaving that option open should someone remember me doing so. When I raise a contrarian point of view, it is REALLY because I think the point is at least mildly important or at least worth considering or maybe just a bit interesting.

    Now think back to MY posts and tell me honestly that I have never bugged the heck out of you. I bet you can’t. But I honestly don’t TRY to just stick pins in people.

    And, in case you’re reading Naismith, I swear that someday we are going to meet in person and you’re going to give me a huge hug. Even if I have to put you in a half-nelson to get it out of you. :surprised::wink:

  • facethemusic January 16, 2009, 10:28 pm

    But–and I SWEAR this is true–you might be wrong to assume that she is “stirring the post for the mere sake of stirring the pot. That’s ascribing motive and, honest, it’s REALLY HARD to accurately ascribe motive–unless you live in someone else’s brain.

    Of course. And, I admit I might be wrong. I just don’t think I am. :tooth:
    I’m not pulling my “thought” out of thin air– I’m basing it on a pattern of behavior.
    I grew up with a lawyer for a father and a psychiatric nurse for a mother– I can’t help but notice these things. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. :)

    When I raise a contrarian point of view, it is REALLY because I think the point is at least mildly important or at least worth considering or maybe just a bit interesting.

    Of course! We all do that– myself included. I don’t have a problem with opposing points of view to mine, I give opposing points of view myself.
    But Alison, if you only ever had contrary things to say, and especially if those things really didn’t even have anything to do with what we were talking about, and/or it seemed like you were just trying to do a drive-by comment bombing, it would be a different story. You don’t ONLY make posts with a contrarian point of view. You don’t seemingly avoid any conversation where you might have something agreeable to say, and ONLY make posts where you can argue a point.
    I remember Ray once saying something about someone’s posts seeming to mostly be dropping hit and run bombs that were negative about the church, negative about America, negative about whites, or something along those lines. Again, similar to my fake “Easter dinner” drive by comment above.
    Here’s my point– how many threads are JUST on the first page of the discussions list? 15? 20?
    I don’t know– I haven’t counted. And how many pages of discussions are there?
    With ALL those discussions, if all your posts were negative or contrary or “stir the pot” comments, then that means you’d HAVE to be reading through all the discussions (or at least their titles and maybe the first few posts) and purposely ignoring or brushing off anything that was strictly meant to be uplifting and inspirational, anything that’s just for fun, anything that’s good news, anything that’s a really good and thought-provoking doctrinal discussion (like the Resurrection one going on now) but rather, are LOOKING for a discussion where you can post something controversial or contrary. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you say, “Hey, I really enjoyed your article” when you read something you liked. Or why wouldn’t you speak up to express your agreement with something– at least once in awhile?
    With all the good conversations, doctrinal discussions, uplifting articles and fun we have around here, someone who only drops in to make negative or opposing comments would have to enjoy or get some kind of a thrill from having something contrary to say to stir people up.
    There’s my little psychoanalysis for the day. I charge half price on Wednesdays– so if anyone’s interested give me a buzz. :tooth:

  • Ray January 17, 2009, 11:22 am

    if anyone’s interested give me a buzz.

    Not being much of a drinker, I have no idea what gives you a buzz.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 17, 2009, 2:04 pm

    I’m not pulling my “thought” out of thin air– I’m basing it on apatternof behavior.

    I understand that, but I don’t think patterns of behavior are good indicators of MOTIVE. I don’t object to pointing out behavior that you find problematic, but assigning a motive for the behavior is something I don’t think any of us are good at.

    But Alison, if you only ever had contrary things to say, and especially if those things really didn’t even have anything to do with what we were talking about, and/or it seemed like you were just trying to do a drive-by comment bombing, it would be a different story. You don’t ONLY make posts with a contrarian point of view. You don’t seemingly avoid any conversation where you might have something agreeable to say, and ONLY make posts where you can argue a point.

    I don’t HERE. Some places I do. On some homeschool lists, for example. I’m not really in need of discussing curriculum or methods or socialization or how to teach math or any of that anymore. Did that for a number of years, but have mostly settled that stuff now. I scan lots of lists, but on some lists just about the only time I pop in with anything to say is to counter something that I think is wrong or that, in some way is misleading or problematic for others reading.

    It really is just the same thing Naismith seems to do here. And I do NOT do it to “stir the pot” or to get attention or to seem like a know-it-all or any other nefarious reason. I ONLY do it (sheesh, it’s not often pleasant and doesn’t make me popular!) because it seems that there is a point that has been missed or a side of the story under-represented or an idea worth considering. I don’t think homeschoolers are stupid, but I do think there are SOME particular areas OF homeschooling that I’ve researched, studies, written, talked/thought about more than others and that in those areas I might have some insight that might change the way they look at something and BENEFIT them.

    TJEd and unschooling are probably the best examples of that. I think both are very unsound educational philosophies and, because of that, I think they hurt families. And because they also have religious-like followers, the impact is greater. Truthfully, both methods have some good ideas, but I almost never address those. I don’t need to. The FOLLOWERS do. But when a problematic part of the methodology comes up, I will almost always point out a problem or contrary angle.

    Tracy, I think the fact that most often we AGREE also means that I bother you less than others (at least that’s my impression!). But it doesn’t change the nature of what I do.

    Yes, I do understand the frustration with the “hit and run” idea. If I drop a bomb, I stay there for the duration. (Sometimes to my detriment!) But the only thing I might ask is that if Naismith feels the need to speak out, that she continue to stay in the discussion as we discuss differences and that she show when points of agreement are reached as well. But she’s welcome here either way.

  • partone January 18, 2009, 12:14 am

    I feel like if you don’t like attacks, you don’t do them. You can’t just attack people because you think they attack you.

  • Amy E January 18, 2009, 11:03 pm

    Alison, you mentioned earlier in the thread that you had a child that was extensively tested and diagnosed with ADD. If I can ask, was it for inattentive or hyperactive ADD and how (if at all) have you had to modify your homeschooling to teach that child? My children are all still pretty young, but I’m already seeing signs with a couple of my children that this will probably be an issue for them.

  • Naismith January 19, 2009, 6:16 am

    I would really like to discuss the issues and not get into these petty personal attacks and pseudopsychoanalysis. But since my MOTIVATIONS have been questioned, I feel I have to respond.

    I see the world as a lot like the story of the blind men and the elephant. I enjoy reading blogs because of the new perspectives I gain, and I sometimes share a different insight I might have. In this way, the view of the elephant becomes more complete for all of us.

    Most of my comments are not contradicting or negating but adding a different perspective. The original post might be describing a wall, and I might point out that I see a fan. I accept that the wall and fan co-exist, but by considering both of them, we all have a fuller picture of the elephant.

    there is a way to have a disagreement without completly thrashing someone for their point of view.

    Hmmn, how should I have made this point less thrashfully? I didn’t even disagree with the original post, I just didn’t think the 1958 version applied to many minority people. This is not a wacko, totally-out-out-of-the-mainstream perspective, there have been several popular books written on the subject in recent years, including “The Way Things Never Were: The Truth About the Good Old Days” by Norman H. Finkelstein, which is written for a juvenile audience and covers both the 1950s and 1960s and includes many studies and documentation from that time.

    It’s also amazing to me that my brief comment or the subsequent clarification would be viewed as “an attack” since I only shared my viewpoint, and never used the second person “you.” The Easter dinner example is written in imperative mood, with an implied “you” as the subject of the sentence, which is what makes it so harsh. If I had accused you of anything, I could see the attack angle…but I was only presenting my viewpoint, which is different not opposing.

    I have yet to see a positive comment, or uplifting remark from that particular person.

    First, I didn’t realize that upliftment was a goal of this blog, and only such comments were acceptable. Second, it isn’t true that I only say negative stuff. In a discussion a while back on “Cancer Sucks,” I made a comment that could be regarded as positive. But my motivation was the same: to offer a different perspective. I wrote from the point of view of a researcher; the positivism was coincidental. Had another researcher already made the point, I would not have commented. Third, I would like to think that every reader would judge each comment on its merits, without considering who wrote it. Of course I could create a new identity tomorrow by registering with a different email, but do you really want to encourage that?

    With ALL those discussions, if all your posts were negative or contrary or “stir the pot” comments,

    My posts are not all negative or contrary. They add another point of view. Only in a black-and white world, where there is only one correct answer could a different point of view be termed “contrary.” If someone wants to see only the spear, fine, but some of us want to know that the snake and tree also exist.

    And I think of “stir the pot” comments as hyperbolic, for effect, but I genuinely believe what I write.

    then that means you’d HAVE to be reading through all the discussions (or at least their titles and maybe the first few posts) and purposely ignoring or brushing off anything that was strictly meant to be uplifting and inspirational,

    Not true in the least. I don’t ignore such things, I just don’t comment if I don’t have something to add. If a point has already been made, why would I waste everyone’s time by repeating it?

    Otherwise, why wouldn’t you say, “Hey, I really enjoyed your article” when you read something you liked. Or why wouldn’t you speak up to express your agreement with something– at least once in awhile?

    Because we all have different styles of communicating. If that works for you, fine, but why would you expect everyone else in the universe to communicate the same way? I have a friend who responds to folks going through a hard time by giving them advice. He might say, “If you really care, why wouldn’t you give advice?” Never mind that the recipients of his advice are not always thrilled. But that is how he sees things, and he thinks my approach of listening sympathetically is just “doing nothing.”

    More specifically, I believe in the golden rule: doing unto others as you want to be treated. I don’t want positive feedback for my writing, so I don’t give it to others. Why not? Many professional writers and bloggers find that they reach a point of wanting to please their readers rather than listen to their little voice inside. I went through a dark time with that as a newspaper columnist, and I wouldn’t want to contribute to anyone else having that temptation.

    With all the good conversations, doctrinal discussions, uplifting articles and fun we have around here, someone who only drops in to make negative or opposing comments would have to enjoy or get some kind of a thrill from having something contrary to say to stir people up.

    A thrill? Not hardly. I get a small sense of satisfaction from listening and acting on what my inner little voice says, and being able to provide others with a fuller picture of what the elephant looks like.

    With all the good conversations, doctrinal discussions, uplifting articles and fun, why wouldn’t you just ignore anything that you don’t like? Especially when it is only two sentences, that seems easy enough to do.

    Since some here want to engage in psychoanalysis, so why don’t we add these questions to the list: Why do some people have to complain about people who are not like them, making the person an issue rather than the comment itself? Why are some people so unsure about what they think that they need the approbation of others, rather than relying on their little voice inside? (Hint: check out some textbooks on Social Comparison Theory.) Why are some people so narrow-minded that they see things as only negative or positive, rather than wanting to see the entire elephant out there?

    Of my own volition, I would never raise those questions, but if psychoanalysis is an acceptable topic here, those items should be on the agenda as well.

    I don’t know what you self-proclaimed Christian women are hoping to accomplish with your bullying and put-downs. Do you want me to cry and feel bad? Do you want me to go away? Does it allow you to feel more righteous? Do you want me to become more like you?

    Do you really think that the world would be a better place if the only flavor of ice cream was vanilla?

  • davidson January 20, 2009, 12:57 am

    Well, maybe vanilla with cherries. And vanilla with Oreo cookie bits. And vanilla with caramel swirl. And vanilla with. . .dill pickles.

    WE aren’t insisting that YOU change. We are recognizing that CHRIST INVITES US ALL to change. The gospel is all about change. We don’t want you to become more like us; He, however, wants us to become more like HIM. Is the ultimate goal to come to know an elephant, or to come to know Christ? As we try to become more like Christ, we will become more like each other in crucial ways, while maintaining our individual and less important differences. The Savior didn’t announce His differences from His Father and fight to maintain them; He constantly sought to express His similarities with His Father, to bend His will to His Father’s will, to declare their unity in purpose and thought. Disciples seek to be homogenous. It seems to me that the Savior isn’t interested in exploring every facet of truth just for the sake of exploration; He offers us truth that we can use in seeking exaltation, and He expects us to use it. Nothing wrong with acknowledging that there are negative aspects to our mortality, but I have seen that He encourages us to move on, accentuate the positive, dwell on the useful, keep hope in our hearts, and lift with the truths we have. How often did He invite us all to “be of good cheer?” To “be not afraid?” To “love one another?” If we are not trying to be more cheerful, less fearful, and more loving, we are not like Him in crucial ways. It will not work to merely say, “I am what I am” and expect His approbation.

    You speak of psychoanalysis as if it were a bad thing. Isn’t analysis the reason we came? To learn by our own experience the difference between good and evil, inspect ourselves and even the actions of others, and find the discipline to choose good? To accept, in the first place, that good and evil exist? Is it possible that you are willing to analyze everything but your own heart? What is it about truthful self-evaluation, after majority input from others, that makes you so uncomfortable? Afraid you might see something that needs to change? Well, join the crowd, sister; we are all in that boat. We ALL need to change. If we are wise, we will do as the German poet Goethe said: “Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.” It wasn’t meant to be a solo journey.

    Hint: before you rely on the “little voice inside,” check your sources. Satan’s voice can be small, too, and sometimes very difficult to differentiate from the still, small voice of the Spirit. Ask yourself: which small voice would encourage me to offer input that is constantly viewed as offensive and annoying to others? Agitating? Critical? Lacking in peace and hope? It might make me a better newspaper columnist, but could it ever make me a better Christian?

    And by the way, drop the smokescreen accusation about our self-righteousness. You only use it when you want to disappear behind it. Of course we want to be righteous, and we want to encourage others to be righteous! It isn’t, however, a competition, and your saying it is doesn’t make it so. We are all in this thing together. We all learn line upon line. We all have an obligation to offer our strengths and accept help for our weaknesses–and to be as hope-filled about it as we know how to be. It’s why we weren’t sent to separate earths to work out our probation.

    You are as welcome here as you want to be. The welcome is offered.

  • kiar January 20, 2009, 1:18 am

    I so love you, Serena!

  • davidson January 20, 2009, 10:43 am

    And I love you, Kiar. And I actually love Naismith. I feel sad that she is so bitter and separatist. I think there is good in her, and she is afraid to let it out. My guess is that she has been severely wounded at some time, and she is afraid to allow anyone near her heart. I keep hoping that we can be kind and welcoming to her, and her heart will change, but maybe it is just too damaged for now.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 20, 2009, 12:23 pm

    Amy, she was diagnosed ADD, not ADHD. Privately, please (this is her life to discuss publicly or not, if you know what I mean) she also suffered severely from clinical depression and severe social anxiety. Now that she has almost completely (miraculously! praise God!) overcome the latter two, she actually does exhibit some symptoms of the H factor! But it’s nothing that you call a clinical issue. She’s just always been a kinesthetic, lively person in her heart. But she has worked (and is still working) very hard to learn to focus and concentrate in spite of her lifelong (seriously!) struggle with it.

    As for homeschooling, I don’t really have some big plan for dealing with such things. I just work day to day with my kids to see how they feel and what they respond to. This girl is extremely good at math and science and not so good with spelling and grammar (as oppose to another child who is a multi-spelling bee champ, accomplished writer, etc.). It’s so interesting to see the vast differences. She also likes (sometimes needs) to visual things, to do things, to touch things, to work with things. So I just try to accommodate whatever it is that gets the info in her brain.

    We still use mostly the same core stuff for all the kids, but just modify the timeframe, the approach, whatever works.

    Another thing is that I really don’t believe in ADD/ADHD. At least as it tends to be described. I think hardly anything deserves the label disease, disorder, syndrome, etc. At least not as we so easily use those labels today. Everyone is different. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. There are probably nearly as many BENEFITS to the ADD/ADHD as their are problems, if we could just see them and take advantage of them. And I firmly believe that when these issues cause problems, we just learn to overcome them, like we do with everything else. That is one huge advantage of homeschooling.

    BTW, I am convinced, on a spiritual level, that our homeschooling journey was really for this particular child.

    There are some great books on the subject that maybe you haven’t seen. Mine are all packed, but I remember one “The Myth of ADD” or something similar. I like to get info from lots of sides on these issues.

    I know that’s kind of nebulous, but I hope it helps a little.

  • facethemusic January 20, 2009, 8:08 pm

    then that means you’d HAVE to be reading through all the discussions (or at least their titles and maybe the first few posts) and purposely ignoring or brushing off anything that was strictly meant to be uplifting and inspirational,

    Not true in the least. I don’t ignore such things, I just don’t comment if I don’t have something to add. If a point has already been made, why would I waste everyone’s time by repeating it?

    Do you honestly believe that having something positive to say is a ‘waste of time’ just because someone else might have already said something postive??

    I believe in the golden rule: doing unto others as you want to be treated. I don’t want positive feedback for my writing, so I don’t give it to others…

    So you DON’T want positive feedback, and won’t give it out either…
    So by default then, doesn’t that mean that you only comment to say something negative/critical/opposing or contrary?
    Am I going crazy, or is that NOT exactly what I said from the beginning?

    If you’re on the internet, purusing through articles, but will ONLY say something if you disagree or have an opposing opinion… then if you have any desire at all to join a conversation, wouldn’t you have to be looking for a conversation where you could express an opposing opinion?

    Look– I’m really NOT against opposing voices… This isn’t an attempt to get you to be “more like me”, to get you to cry, to bully you or to get you to go away. I’m not asking you to agree to everything and have the same point of view.
    Everyone here can tell you that we’ve had long conversations, sometimes even very passionate ones where we were disagreeing back and forth the whole time– each explaining our own viewpoints and why we see things the way we do. And in the end will STILL didn’t agree. And that’s FINE. The point isn’t to get everyone to agree with you– but rather to express our own thoughts and feelings, to really dig into a subject and discuss it from it’s various perspectives. I REALLY DON’T have a problem with opposing views. I ENJOY the back and forth of a good discussion where people have different viewpoints and opinions.
    But as I stated earlier, if I start a “What are you having for easter dinner” thread, and I say I’m having ham with potatoes, green beans and apple pie and you drop in with a “Have a great time eating your fancy white man dinner while people around the world are starving to death” kind of comment– THEN I have a problem. You might truly be concerned about world hunger, but in a simple conversation about Easter dinner, the comment is inflammatory and meant to “stir the pot”. And your orignal comment in this thread was THAT kind of comment.
    The thread was about the differences in the way problems in school were handled “then” and how they’re handled “now”, and you came back with comments about “well to do white people” and how people of color wouldn’t have had it so nice.
    And since your comments are always negative/contrary etc… it really rubbed me wrong and I responded directly from my frustration. I realize I’ve been a little rough on you– and I apologize.
    So let me be more clear–I don’t want you to go away. I don’t want you to agree with me.
    I don’t want everything to be “vanilla”.
    I don’t own the site– I’m just someone who drops in almost everyday and participates. But as far as I know, other than rules of “decency” –there aren’t any “rules” here about how often one should visit the site, how many comments you should make, and whether or not they should be positive or negative and how many responses in each category one should give. You can post comments that are only negative or somehow in disagreement.
    I guess I’m just saying that for me personally, I would REALLY LIKE IT if you would
    more fully participate in our conversations, rather than dropping in JUST to disagree and leave–only coming back to see how people responded to your comment. I’m not asking you to read through or comment on every single thread. But it would be nice to have you around to do more than disagree all the time.

    And I promise you, having something nice and/or agreeable to say is NEVER a waste of time.
    :tooth:

  • Amy E January 21, 2009, 2:49 pm

    Thank you, Alison. It’s nice to know that you don’t have a separate big plan for dealing with those things and just work day to day on it with each child. I have times where I keep thinking I need a major plan, but then I realize it would take too long to plan and there’s regular life to live anyway. I also like that you use the same core stuff and modify the presentation based on the child’s needs. I think we’re on the same page in that you also like to focus on each child and work with them based on their strengths and weaknesses. That was why I asked.

    I can understand why you wouldn’t believe in ADD/ADHD. I probably wouldn’t either if I hadn’t known my husband, who has struggled with it all his life. He didn’t know why he had his particular challenges until I started researching ADD and things fell into place for him. His diagnosis and treatment have been a real blessing for him and our family. Still, I agree with you that many differences are labeled as diseases and disorders and many children given the label ADD have other issues that are ignored.

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithBTW, I am convinced, on a spiritual level, that our homeschooling journey was really for this particular child.

    Isn’t it interesting how that works? We started homeschooling because we didn’t want our children to get bored in school like their dad did and rather to enjoy learning without getting bogged down in all the busy work. I really think my oldest would do fine, maybe even well, in public school, but my experiences with teaching her have helped me see how better to teach my next two children, which are the ones that are showing more signs of having the same challenges as their dad, if that makes sense. I know that Heavenly Father wants me to teach them all at home, at least for now, and that is a comfort to me, especially when I get overwhelmed, because I know He will help me.

    I have read “The Myth of ADD” and I got some good ideas from it or maybe another book from the same author. I can’t remember off-hand. I also like to read from a variety of sources about these types of things, which is why I’ve also read about sleep disorders, nutrition, and temperaments. :smile: I’m still trying to figure it all out with my little ones, so thanks again for sharing your experience with me. I’m really glad that your daughter is improving well and yes, her situation is between you and me.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 21, 2009, 4:46 pm

    :smile:

    Just to be clear, when I say I “don’t believe” in it, it’s like I “don’t believe” in depression. I know they are diagnosable, symptomatic issues, I just don’t believe what the APA seems to believe about all these things. In a nutshell “this is how we are and so…this is how we are.”

    **Once all other avenues were addressed** medication for her depression was a GODSEND. Not because “she just is depressed and so needs meds” but because she was at a point when all the other avenues couldn’t reach their effect because of her feelings. The meds gave her a handhold to get out of the dark pit she was in. It was a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. Once she had that, she was able to move forward–by choice–and then continued progressing to the point of being able to get off the meds. Not that that is ALWAYS the appropriate outcome, but glad it was for her.

    I KNOW ADD exists as a list of symptoms that some people deal with. In addition to this child, I have another child who mildly exhibits this stuff and, actually, multiple nieces and nephews on both sides–from mild to bizarrely severe. But, just as with most depressions, OCD, obesity, etc., I look at this as more of a behavioral/habitual kind of problem.

    So what if you get distracted easily? Everyone has something to deal with. The real question is how do we (a) help you learn to focus better, (b) learn to accomplish what you need/want to without focusing like others, and/or (c) a combination of those things.

    One of the funny things I’ve noticed about all the ADD/ADHD people I personally know is that they actually have the ability to hyperfocus on things they are interested in. How can someone who is “unable” to focus, sit and play Age of Empires for four hours straight? They aren’t wandering off into the closet accidentally in the middle of the game. Why not? To me it suggests more of the boredom you mention in your husband than an inability to focus.

    There’s another book…hmmm..something like “The Gift of ADD” or something? Have you read that one?

    In other words, I hate labels, but like to focus on making sure my kids are healthy, have skills and develop talents, find things they love to do, make good friends, get educated, and WORK ON overcoming things that cause problems in their lives. I have a big mouth, a constant hankering for chocolate, and bad sleep habits. Those get in the way of my potential, too. Struggling to focus on things that don’t inherently intrigue us is just a problem, in my mind, not a condition that we are stuck with. And I believe it can be overcome, enough, at least.

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