Video: What do Teachers Really Make

Posted in education, Rants with tags , , , , on March 29, 2008 by len20

It’s hard not to admire passionate people.

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I’m still here.

Posted in all about me with tags , on March 6, 2008 by len20

After weeks of not posting, I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m still here. I’ve just taken a little time off from writing due mostly to a lack of inspiration. Unemployment will do that to you.

But I have a new job working for a Christian School system, and I started today so I think feel my muse returning to me.

The following video has nothing to do with the purpose of this blog – kids, education, orphans, Third World issues, Christian perspectives – but I thought it was funny.

Lying Kids: Your Just Like Your Parents!

Posted in education, Parenting with tags , , , , , on February 16, 2008 by len20

Kids learn about sex, drugs, and rock and roll at school, but according to the New York Magazine article, “Learning to Lie,” they learn to lie from their parents.

The article points out that we teach our children to lie in the name of good manners. “Tell your Aunt that you love the hand-knit sweater she sent you for your birthday. Tell her that pea green, pink, and vomit yellow are your favorite colors and you can’t wait to wear it to school.”

They see us lie to a telemarketer on the phone, “I’m sorry Mr. Leonard died yesterday in a horrific logging accident, I’m just robbing his house.”

And they see us lie to smooth over awkward social situations, “Yes, your son was amazing in the 80’s punk adaptation of King Lear. He really nailed the Earl of Kent.”

But don’t worry, you want your kids to lie. It’s a sign of intelligence!

It starts very young. Indeed, bright kids—those who do better on other academic indicators—are able to start lying at 2 or 3. “Lying is related to intelligence,” explains Dr. Victoria Talwar, an assistant professor at Montreal’s McGill University and a leading expert on children’s lying behavior.

Although we think of truthfulness as a young child’s paramount virtue, it turns out that lying is the more advanced skill. A child who is going to lie must recognize the truth, intellectually conceive of an alternate reality, and be able to convincingly sell that new reality to someone else. Therefore, lying demands both advanced cognitive development and social skills that honesty simply doesn’t require. “It’s a developmental milestone,” Talwar has concluded.

As odd as it sounds, the article makes some good points about how to deal with lying. First, accept the fact that most kids lie for various reasons. According to the article, 98%. But then think about how to react to this. Freaking out and threatening to kill them or send them to the Maury Povich Show is not the best response. In fact, escalating punishment may just improve the kid’s lying skills.

Increasing the threat of punishment for lying only makes children hyperaware of the potential personal cost. It distracts children from learning how their lies affect others. In studies, scholars find that kids who live in threat of consistent punishment don’t lie less. Instead, they become better liars, at an earlier age—learning to get caught less often.

The article goes on to talk about teenagers and the trends that carry over into young adulthood. Check it out, it’s worth the read.

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Teachers Who Love Kids

Posted in education with tags , , , on February 9, 2008 by len20

Teachers who love kids more than their own agenda are the best kind of teachers. My kindergarten teacher friend is a great example of someone who takes educating her students very seriously, but not so seriously that she forgets why she loves it so much.

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Stupid Economy Cost Me My Job!

Posted in all about me, God's Kids, Ministry, Orphan Care, Rants with tags , , on February 3, 2008 by len20

RecessionI’ve known for about a month that last Friday, Feb. 1 would be my last day at God’s Kids. Now I’m able to tell everyone publicly. To be honest, I think I was hoping that a big semi truck loaded with cash would miraculously pull up to the God’s Kids offices this month with a bewildered driver saying, “They just told me to drop it off here.”

But the truck didn’t come, and our little ministry for orphaned children is tightening it’s belt to weather this economic storm. We all knew this storm was coming. I even wrote about it in previous posts, But that doesn’t help much. I loved this job, and I’ll mourn losing it for a long time to come.

I think God’s Kids, like a lot of other ministries, is in for a rough patch, but they’ll make it through. So far, the ministry has not reduced funding for the orphanages in the field and they plan to keep it that way.

As to the future of this blog, I will probably begin writing on broader topics having to do with the health of the world’s children. As for me, if anyone needs a place to park a big semi truck loaded with cash, I know just the place.

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Frontline Documentary: Growing Up Online

Posted in Current events, education, family, Media, Parenting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 24, 2008 by len20

If you missed the PBS Frontline documentary “Growing Up Online,” you can watch the entire show on the Frontline website. I think it was very well done.

The reaction to the documentary ranges from accusing the producers of creating another alarmist piece of journalism about the internet age, to complimenting them for embracing the reality that the internet and all that is scary about it is here to stay, and parents and educators need to figure out how to live in that world alongside their kids.

They do a good job of segmenting the various issues of teenagers and the internet:

  • Educating the internet generation
  • Online sexual predators
  • Kids spending too much time online
  • Internet anonymity: trying on new identities
  • Cyberbullying – A very interesting look at a new arena for abuse

“Growing Up Online” argues that the gap between generations (parents and their teenage children) has never been wider. This probably scared me more than anything else. The show features a white suburban family who, by all appearances, have everything going for them. But the relationship between the mother and her teenage son has been strained to a near breaking point. It’s a classic struggle between the parent who wants to protect her kid, and the kid who feels that he’s old enough to have a part of his life be completely private from his parents. After an incident where the mother (head of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization) sends an email to other parents regarding the happenings at a rock concert, the son cuts off all possible interaction (within his control) with his family.

This would kill me. I want to have a relationship with my daughter even when she’s a teenager. I don’t want to have to wait out those years until she grows out of a stage and realizes that I set certain boundaries because I loved her and wanted to protect her.

One of the best things that my mother ever did for me when I was in high school was to tell me (more than once) that if I was ever in a place or a situation that I wanted out of, I could call her; she would come and get me with no questions asked. I didn’t have to tell her a thing. She just wanted to help me get out of there.

Parenting scares me. This documentary points to evidence that it’s not getting any easier from one generation to the next.

The Frontline website has a number of resources, an ongoing discussion, and more information than one can possibly take in.

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Make that $955

Posted in all about me, alternative baby shower, God's Kids with tags , , , on January 21, 2008 by len20

So more gifts have come in for the Alternative Baby Shower.  We’re very close to $1,000!  Thank you all for making this idea so successful!