EppsNet Archive: Kids

Thomas Jefferson Explains Family Separations

 

My fellow Americans — The reason families are separated at the border is that the United States, like many countries, has laws governing border crossings by non-residents. When an adult is apprehended crossing our border illegally, they go into the criminal justice system and are placed in a detention center. Keep in mind that an American citizen apprehended in the commission of a crime is not processed any differently. If you are placed in a detention center, I assure you that your children will not be in there with you. A note on rhetoric: A strong line of argument should not require violent metaphors and manufactured hysteria — families “ripped apart,” children “torn from their mother’s arms” — to be persuasive. Read the Declaration of Independence, for example. Read more →

Separation of Families Considered Harmful?

 

Here’s a photo showing two girls in a “cage” watching a World Cup match, amongst dozens of other kids who are for some reason wrapped in foil. I’ve seen this photo and others widely circulated online recently as evidence of the Trumpenfuhrer’s crimes against humanity. But guess what? The photos were taken in 2014, when some other guy was president. Many people have a single standard for evaluating political activity: Is it being carried out by Team Red or Team Blue. Nothing is good or bad on its own merits. I don’t remember anyone on Team Blue being outraged about kids in “cages” in 2014, but in 2018 it’s a humanitarian crisis has to be denounced mercilessly, even if the evidence has to be faked. I haven’t heard anyone propose a viable alternative to separating parents and children at the border. I’m not sure Team Blue wants to find a… Read more →

Philip Roth, 1933-2018

 

The final question assigned to the class was “What is life?” Merry’s answer was something her father and mother chuckled over together that night. According to Merry, while the other students labored busily away with their phony deep thoughts, she — after an hour of thinking at her desk — wrote a single, unplatitudinous declarative sentence: “Life is just a short period of time in which you are alive.” “You know,” said the Swede, “it’s smarter then it sounds. She’s a kid — how has she figured out that life is short? She is somethin’, our precocious daughter. This girl is going to Harvard.” But once again the teacher didn’t agree, and she wrote beside Merry’s answer, “Is that all?” Yes, the Swede thought now, that is all. Thank God, that is all; even that is unendurable. — American Pastoral RIP Philip Roth Read more →

Alfie Evans, 2016-2018

 

Thank god this could never happen here in the US . . . at least until Bernie Sanders is inaugurated. RIP Alfie Evans We're heartbroken, say the parents of 23-month-old Alfie Evans, as they announce that the toddler died overnight https://t.co/HuaJV9UFIE — BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 28, 2018 Read more →

If You Act Like an Idiot, I’ll Kill You

 

When my son was growing up, I found a lot of opportunities to point to someone else’s kid and say, “You see what he just did? Don’t do that.” When I saw a kid acting like an idiot, I assumed the parents were idiots . . . the kid either learned it from the parents or the parents allowed it to happen. So if my kid were to act like an idiot, I assume other people would think I’m an idiot. A friend of mine recently shared some advice he got from his dad growing up. I’ve paraphrased it as the title of this post. Of course killing your own children is going too far, but in a figurative sense, I believe this is good advice and I endorse it . . . Read more →

Empowerment and Accountability for 5-Year-Olds

 

This is a real thing I just read: I tasked my 5-year-old with cleaning up the blocks from the floor, after he was done playing. A few times, he did not do it, and I ended up doing it for him. Later on, I realized that when I did it for him I was not empowering him to do the task and be accountable for it. This situation can be easily improved by exhibiting Empowerment and Accountability. For a 5-year-old? You’re overthinking it. Even with adults, “empowerment” and “accountability” are overused: I’m empowering you to complete this task. I’m not giving any of the resources you need but I’m empowering you. And as with the 5-year-old, when he doesn’t pick up the blocks despite being “empowered,” you’ll soon realize there’s no “accountability” without consent. Read more →

Some Links on Effective Communication

 

Busting myths on gender differences in the brain (Article) Nora Caplan-Bricker, “The Idea of a ‘Male Brain’ and a ‘Female Brain’ Is Likely a Myth,” Slate, November 2, 2015. Challenges and strategies for creating safe communication spaces at work (Article) James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely?,” Harvard Business Review, vol. 94, no. 1 (January/February 2016): p. 80-87. Communication comes in all shapes and sizes (Video) Nancy Lublin, “Texting That Saves Lives,” TEDvideo, 5:24, February 2012. Do men and women communicate differently? (Article) Deborah Cameron, “What Language Barrier?,” The Guardian, October 1, 2007. Find out the meaning behind emojis (Website) “Emojipedia.” Game-changing communication developments (Article) Amber Leigh Turner, “5 Trends Disrupting Communication,” TNW News. How the medium of communications can change what we say (Article) “Tweets From Mobile Devices Are More Likely to Be Egocentric,” International Communications Association press release, October 1, 2015. Leaders can change their power… Read more →

Theological Question

 

I hear people say that bad things happen to kids in schools because God isn’t allowed in schools. Why do bad things happen to kids in churches? Read more →

To the Daughter I Never Had

 

Take control of your own impulses, conflicts and disappointments. Don’t forfeit your freedom and independence in exchange for intrusion into and adjudication of your private life and penalizing of men who did something you didn’t like. Also: Dress appropriately. Maintain some mystique and intrigue. Don’t feel like you have to link up with another person until you’ve got some idea about what you want from life. Love, Dad Read more →

Those They Leave Behind

 

My son’s moving this weekend from an overpriced San Francisco apartment to a different overpriced San Francisco apartment. His roommates in the current apartment are a friend he’s known since high school and a young woman who answered an ad to replace the original roommate, a college friend who moved out six months ago. The new roommates are the same high school friend plus two college classmates. My wife was talking to the boy last night on speaker phone . . . she was dismayed that the current female roommate wasn’t included in the move. “We gave her a lot of notice so she’s already found another spot,” the boy said. “She’s hard to live with. She’s kind of a slob. In six months, she didn’t take the trash out one time.” I said to my wife, but loud enough for him to hear, “He never took the trash out… Read more →

Making it Through High School Alive

 

Baltimore schools spend a staggering $16,000 per student – the fourth-highest rate in the nation – and still an investigation by Fox45’s Project Baltimore revealed that at six city schools, not one student scored proficient on the statewide tests for English and math. At West Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High, one of five high schools and one middle school where not one student scored a four or a five on the state test, only one out of 185 students who took the test last year scored a three, while 165 students scored a one, the lowest possible score. — Zero Hedge The schools are: Booker T. Washington Middle School Frederick Douglass High School Achievement Academy at Harbor City New Era Academy Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High New Hope Academy It looks like if you live in Baltimore, you want to avoid sending your child to a school whose name… Read more →

We’re Dreamers Too

 

There are lots of people who went to school, worked hard, provided for our families, raised our kids, tried to do the right things . . . no one lionizes us but we’re dreamers too . . . Read more →

Some Things You Never Get Used To

 

Our whole family has been seeing the same doctor for about 15 years. I had an appointment with her today and she was a nervous wreck. She told me she’s flying to Houston tonight with her son, who’s starting college at Rice University. I’ve already had a child move away for college so she asked, “How did you handle this? I feel like I have a rock on my chest.” “Well, it’s a challenge when you love someone so much and they leave. Maybe prescribe yourself some Xanax.” “What do you do at the end? How do the parents leave? Does everyone just hug and say goodbye?” “You probably have to follow your heart on that. My goal was not to cry in front of the boy and I did accomplish that. I hugged him, I said ‘I love you, I’m proud of you,’ he walked into the dorm and… Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: X Hours of Homework

 

School is back in session and I’m listening to one of my colleagues say that his son started junior high school this year and had 6 hours of homework last night. It’s a way of bragging: My kid’s school is more academically oriented than your kid’s school. Maybe your kid is just slow. Maybe other people’s kids are finishing the homework in an hour. Or maybe your kid finished his homework 6 hours after he said he was starting his homework because he worked for an hour and spent 5 hours surfing the net for pornography. It doesn’t make sense to say the school assigned X hours of homework . . . Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

 

Acquisitive yuppies who, instead of holding their infant, wear the child in a harness on their chest, thus keeping their hands free for grabbing more stuff . . . Read more →

Amber Alerts

 

I got an Amber Alert on my phone last night. The same Amber Alert is posted today on those lighted freeway billboards. How did we decide that child abduction is the one activity that merits a notification to the entire country? In this case, the woman in the photo, Kandice Johnson, stole a car at gunpoint with a 16-year-old boy in the back seat. I’m going to feel ridiculously bad if this ends poorly, but for a 16-year-old boy, being kidnapped by a femme fatale like Kandice Johnson is maybe not the worst way to spend a few hours of your life . . . Read more →

Great Moments in Socialized Medicine: Charlie Gard

 

If I’m understanding this correctly, socialized medicine really does mean that the government decides if you will live or die, and if your children will be allowed to live or die. I’m glad to see that the current president of the United States is not on board with the idea of a government being able to decide on the life or death of a baby, and to deny the parents of the baby the ability to counter that decree. If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017 This is a good reminder — since there are people who think that “single payer,” i.e., socialized medicine, i.e., the government runs the healthcare system, would be a good thing to have in the United States — that the government,… Read more →

Why Are Black Americans Against School Choice?

 

Most or all of the people booing Betsy DeVos know little or nothing about her except that they’re expected to dislike her for reasons that they may know are related to her views on public schools and school choice. But why are black Americans against school choice? I don’t want to overgeneralize — my son went to public schools and got a good education — but it’s all on the kids and their families to make it happen. Without school choice, public schools don’t have the right incentives. People running public schools aren’t paid by customers who voluntarily send their kids to those schools and who could choose to send their kids to another school if they wanted to. Public schools are paid for by taxing citizens who may or may not have kids in the schools and regardless of how well the schools actually perform. The funding is independent… Read more →

Parenting Blunders Ranked

 

In other pit bull news, our neighbors across the street, who have a 5-year-old son, just brought home a 1-year-old pit bull from the animal shelter. This is a terrible idea because they don’t know the background of the dog, what is its history with people, adults, children, with other dogs, etc. Of course that’s true of rescue dogs of any breed, but the worst-case scenarios with most breeds don’t include maiming or killing a family member, probably your 5-year-old. Even the most poorly socialized pug, golden retriever, chihuahua, etc., is not going to kill anyone. By the way, I think pit bulls are great dogs but they need to be socialized and trained. I wouldn’t get one from an animal shelter because I don’t know the background of the dog. As parenting blunders go, this is not quite up there with letting your child fall into a gorilla enclosure,… Read more →

How to Tell If You’re Too Busy

 

A colleague shared this on Slack: It’s a slide from a presentation given by somebody somewhere . . . it’s hard to read but the gist of it is: In the past, I’ve worked every holiday, on my birthday, my spouse’s birthday, and even on the day my son was born. I asked the guy who shared it, “How do the birthdays fit in there? I don’t even remember when my spouse’s birthday is, but I certainly didn’t work on the day my son was born.” “I think he meant on the nights of the birthdays,” was the reply. “Was he working on the night his son was conceived? I bet he was. He seems like a very busy guy.” Read more →

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