EppsNet Archive: Kids

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years

12 Feb 2015 /

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. . . .

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. . . .

Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.

But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.

In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it.


EppsNet at the Movies: Treeless Mountain

3 Feb 2015 /

Treeless Mountain

I’m in love with this movie. What is about? Read the IMDB plot summary below. It’s also about hanging on to the past, letting go of the past, and the resilience of the human heart.

You’re not into that kind of thing? Fine, go watch Hot Tub Time Machine. Come on, you’re better than that.

Rating: 5 stars

Treeless Mountain

In Seoul, Korea, two sisters must look after each other when their mother leaves them to search for their estranged father.

Director: So Yong Kim (as So-yong Kim)
Cast: Chae Gil Byung Pedestrian in City, Jung Gil Ja Minoo’s Mom, Shin Hyun Je Bus Driver, Kim Mi Jung Hyun’s Mom

IMDb rating: 7.2 (1,328 votes)


Park Slope Kids’ Names

25 Jan 2015 /

FYI — Park Slope is a neighborhood in northwest Brooklyn, considered one of New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods.


A Short One-Act Play About Time

3 Dec 2014 /

MY KID HOME FROM COLLEGE: That clock says 8:42, that clock says 8:45, your phone says 8:47 and my phone says 8:48. So what time is it?

ME (singing):

Does anybody really know what time it is?
Can anybody really care? (About time)
If so I can’t imagine why (Oh no-oo)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

Did that answer your question?

KID: Not really.

Tags: , ,

Halle Slams Gabriel!

26 Nov 2014 /

Halle Berry

Halle Berry is at least 50 percent white, the girl’s father is white . . . do the math on how white the girl is supposed to look.


National Scholarship Award

13 Aug 2014 /

Alpha Tau Omega

It would be nice if modesty prevented me from mentioning that my kid’s fraternity, the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) chapter at UC Berkeley, was awarded the National Scholarship Award at the ATO National Congress for having the highest GPA of any ATO chapter in the nation.

“Yeah, and we actually have hard classes,” he said.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Breastfeeding Celebrities

8 Aug 2014 /

“In paths untrodden,” as Walt Whitman marvelously put it. “Escaped from the life that exhibits itself . . .” Oh, that’s a plague, the life that exhibits itself, a real plague!

— Saul Bellow, Herzog

Who the heck is Olivia Wilde and why is there a photo all over the Internet of her breastfeeding an infant in a restaurant booth? I mean, not a surreptitious candid photo of her discreetly breastfeeding. A posed photo! In a designer dress!

(I’m not posting or linking to the photo. If you haven’t already seen it, I’m sure you can find it.)

Well it’s a natural function, breastfeeding — right? Yeah, but there are a number of natural functions that need not be performed in public and photographed.

The life that exhibits itself . . . what a plague indeed.


Happy 21st Birthday, Casey

28 Jul 2014 /

On this date 21 years ago — July 28, 1993 — our son Casey was born.

On his first birthday, we took him to Chuck E Cheese. On his 21st birthday, he’s in San Francisco having dinner with his girlfriend so we have to wish him a happy birthday over the phone.

“I remember the day you were born like it was last week,” I say. “I was an integral part of it.”

“Yeah, so was I,” he says.

Right, but he doesn’t remember it like I do. And I don’t want to mention it on his special day, but he didn’t really do anything either. His mom and I did all the work and yet he gets all the glory and recognition. Think about that.

“Happy birthday. I love you.”


Overreaction

23 Jul 2014 /

Missing Teen

Her parents must be pretty strict. They reported her missing just because she wasn’t home by 9?


The Smartest Kids in the World

12 Jul 2014 /

Via Philip Greenspun:

Amanda Ripley identifies the following major problems with American schools:

  • people who are poorly educated are hired as schoolteachers
  • teachers have limited autonomy (partly as a result of their low level of knowledge and ability)
  • schools have multiple missions, only one of which is education, which leads to a loss of focus
  • teachers and administrators dwell on student and family backgrounds so as to build up a catalog of excuses for poor educational outcomes
  • parents are complacent regarding the low expectations set for their children

Raising Our Kids

10 Jul 2014 /


“Not Knowing How to Code is Like Not Knowing a Basic Skill”

20 Jun 2014 /

Now We Can All Feel Good About Ourselves

18 May 2014 /
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl [Sandburg] wrote the homage or essay or ass-kissing-memo or whatever we are calling the Time 100 writings, about Beyonce. Sheryl talks about how Beyonce has changed the music industry. She’s a leader in song and dance and performance. But there’s exactly nothing surprising until Sheryl adds, “Beyonce does all this while being a full-time mother.”

In that little sentence, Sandberg does something very big. Sandberg declares that you can have a full-time job and be a full-time mother.

This is convenient. Because now Sandberg is a full-time mom who spends some days away from the kids signing autographs. And running Facebook. And Beyonce is a full-time mom who spends some days away from her daughter on billion-dollar concert tours. So basically anyone who gave birth is a full-time mom regardless of how much of their time is spent on kids. Now we can all feel good about ourselves regardless of our choices.


Small Obstinacies and a Few Proverbs

18 May 2014 /

They have dragged out their life in stupor and semi-sleep, they have married hastily, they have made children at random. They have met other men in cafes, at weddings and funerals. Sometimes, caught in the tide, they have struggled against it without understanding what was happening to them. All that has happened around them has eluded them; long, obscure shapes, events from afar, brushed by them rapidly and when they turned to look all had vanished. And then, around forty, they christen their small obstinacies and a few proverbs with the name of experience, they begin to simulate slot machines: put a coin in the left hand slot and you get tales wrapped in silver paper, put a coin in the slot on the right and you get precious bits of advice that stick to your teeth like caramels.

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

South Korea Ferry Disaster

24 Apr 2014 /

The stories coming out of this South Korea ferry disaster are wrecking me . . . I say that as someone who normally finds death interesting, especially on a large scale.


Everything I Need to Know About Being a Successful Executive in the 1950s I Learned in Kindergarten

20 Apr 2014 /

In 1957, The New York Times [published] two lists of skills. One was drawn from a corporate personnel manual, the other from a kindergarten report card:

List A: Dependability; Stability; Imagination; Originality; Self-expression; Health and vitality; Ability to plan and control; Cooperation.

List B: Can be depended on; Contributes to the good work of others; Accepts and uses criticism; Thinks critically; Shows initiative; Plans work well; Physical resistance; Self-expression; Creative ability.

A successful executive in 1950s America, in short, was expected to have essentially the same skills as a well-behaved four-year-old. (B is the kindergarten list, by the way.)

Matter

Why Do (Some) Smart Kids Fail?

29 Mar 2014 /
Bored of Education

A woman is telling me about her two sons . . . they’ve grown up to be fine young men, she says. It’s disappointing, of course, that neither of them managed to finish high school but it was really unavoidable because the older boy was much smarter than his peers and so he was always bored and academically unengaged and finally dropped out completely, and the younger boy just imitated whatever the older boy did.

I’ve heard this type of woulda-coulda-shoulda before and I have to admit I’ve never been totally receptive to it: this happened . . . then that happened . . . the kid did such-and-such . . .

It sounds very passive. Parents aren’t supposed to be passive observers. There are intervention points every day. If things aren’t going in the right direction, you do something to take them in a different direction.

Look in any classroom in America . . . you’ll see kids with a range of abilities. Are you telling me that all of the smartest kids are destined to fail because they’re smart? That because they’re smart, they have no option but to get bored and check out and fail?

Lots of smart kids do very well in school . . . they get good grades and test scores and they go to good colleges. What is the difference between those kids and the kids who get bored and check out and fail?

Think about it . . .


Forget About Female Leadership

22 Mar 2014 /

Everyone can shut up about “let’s get more women into leadership positions.” Because they don’t want leadership positions. Or they’d get them. Obviously. Women want to have time for their kids. And leaders – especially top-down leaders – dedicate their lives to their work. There won’t be female leadership and male leadership. There will be people who lead at home and people who lead at work. People will take ownership of outcomes for the areas of life they care most about.


4 Links

20 Mar 2014 /

The Hardest Available Challenge

22 Feb 2014 /

One of my colleagues at work has a son in 6th grade. She’s trying to figure out which math class to put him in for 7th grade.

Yuna Kim

Working backward, we know that “normal” kids take Algebra I in 9th grade, the smarter kids take Algebra I in 8th grade, and the smartest kids take Algebra I in 7th grade. Placement depends on how a kid scores on the math placement test.

My co-worker’s concern is if her kid gets a top score on the placement test and he’s eligible to take Algebra I in 7th grade, does she want him to do that, or to wait till 8th grade?

If he takes Algebra I in 7th grade, that would mean he’d be taking the hardest math classes all through high school. Would it be better from a college admission standpoint to take easier classes and get all A’s, or take the hardest classes and maybe get a B+?

Our kid has already been through the Irvine schools. He’s in college now so I can answer questions like this with the benefit of experience.

“I like to see kids push themselves to take the hardest challenge available,” I said. “Colleges are not impressed with kids who get A’s in easy classes.”

“But what if he takes hard classes and gets a B+?” she asked.

“My advice is, don’t get a B+.”

If your kid takes hard classes in high school and gets B’s in them, he or she may not be able to attend a top university, but it wasn’t their destiny to attend a top university. Your kid is not that kind of a kid.

 

That reminds me . . . Olympic figure skating is on TV this week. Are you watching it? Neither am I, but I’ve heard that some of the skaters actually fall down during their program.

They’re supposed to be the best skaters in the world. Even I could go out there and skate around for a few minutes without falling down. Granted, I couldn’t do any spins or jumps or skate backwards or anything like that.

The point is that to be recognized as the best at something, you can’t just do easy things well. You have to risk doing things that are hard to do. In the skating scenario, it’s not enough to say “I didn’t fall on my ass.” No, you didn’t, but you didn’t even try to do anything hard.

In any endeavor, you won’t impress people of discernment simply by avoiding anything that might give you some difficulty. Step up to the challenge.


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