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Archive for April, 2007

Has anyone has bypassed this route on your road to parenting?  Let me familiarize you with my current Highway to Hell. It is located in the city of Math, still don’t know it?  Try exit Algebra II Honors.  There exists a land of polynomials, with a few exponents and radicals with stupid algebraic expressions on their faces, all debating the quadratic function of life. 

The Princess is an excellent student, A’s in Civics, Bible and English II Honors, however she is failing Algebra II Honors.  We have been battling traffic on this highway for the past four months and have now found ourselves at the Ninth Circle of Math Hell.  She has declared she now hates Math, loved it in the previous ten years, but nope, this year she just doesn’t relate to the concept. 

There are many possible explanations to her struggle this year.  The teacher, the less than interesting subject matter, The Princess lack of effort and discipline to use available resources, the school system structure, etc.  We have instilled the importance of learning and education to two completely different children.  The Prince is an intellectually oriented young man and The Princess a socially oriented young lady.  They possess identical senses of humor and opposite styles of learning information, he learns for the love of learning and she learns what she loves.

Unfortunately, educational systems in American today are geared not to individual learning methods, but a focus on the grade versus actually instructing the student in an intelligent and engaging manner.  A manner that results in the student actually comprehending the subject versus suffering total defeat.  Our local school system seems content to inspire learning through daily routine that is cycled adnausem to be repeated on a paper exam.  Conventional teaching methods seem to hinder both the challenged, and the gifted in acquiring an appetite for knowledge.  

We were provided these tips for The Princess success in Algebra II Honors class from the teacher, who refuses to make eye contact when speaking to you, I have added my thoughts for additional insight.

  • Review homework each night: Okay, I can look at the homework, but I have long since lost the ability to interpret quadratic functions.
  • Make certain they get 10 hours of sleep each night: What planet do you live on?
  • Reinforce math through everyday life:  Okay, as soon as I can think of a way to work in Euclid’s axiom into our daily routine I will get right on that one.
  • I am always here to help:  It is not helpful to call my daughter a ditsy blonde, it is also not helpful to treat her with disdain when you discover she is receiving tutoring from one of your co-workers.
  • Test re-takes are always available if she does not do well on the initial test:  Did anyone else get do-overs in High School because they did not perform well on the first test? (Refer to previous comment on pressure to produce a grade)

The Princess has, under duress from the The Royal Parents, surrendered.  Her response:  “Mom, really, when will I use this in the real world?”  As much as I would like to say, you are right dear daughter, we all know there are hoops you must jump through in our educational system to arrive at the the end of the course.  This term she has failed to even apply a minimal effort to improving her understanding of the subject.  The King and I have resorted to what I like to call catalyst agents, The Princess declares they are certainly going to end her social life, I disagree, I could resort to these methods.  Pain sometimes motivates change, I would settle for a concerted attempt. 

Anyone know how I could get Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting to help tutor?  That would provide incentive.

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This past weekend I attended a baby shower in our church fellowship hall, I had forgotten my camera and returned to the parking lot to retrieve it from the car.  Out of the corner of my eye I say a young girl, 12 years old push her mother in to the side of their family van and followed up with a blow to her mother’s stomach.  She the proceeded to scream “I told you I am ready to leave!”

My brain had a mini-stroke, did I just see a clip from Tweens Gone Wild?  The attack of tween continued, all the while the mother was consoling the child, begging her to listen to reason and yes, they would go to the mall for her new shoes in a few minutes.

I am not particularly a fan of corporal punishment, but remember spare the rod spoil the child?  My children are sixteen and twenty-three, I can count the spankings they had on one hand, all before the age of 10 as I remember.  By the grace and mercy of God this was not my child.  I surely would have resorted to smack-down in the church parking lot, grounds for some sort of religious retribution from the church elders I am certain. 

A couple of tips:

  • It is okay to say NO to your children
  • The earth does not revolve around your children
  • It is your responsibility to discipline your children
  • Teach consequences for actions
  • Extend and expect respect

I am not Mother of the Year material.  The Princess has seen anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes, when she crosses a line sometimes I yell.  Making certain she knows where she stands and I love her in spite of her behavior.  Sometimes I practice imprisonment; I have the nerve to ask where she is going, with whom and what time she will be home.  Sometimes I say NO, knowing that she will hate me for that moment.  Sometimes I say or do nothing, letting her reap the consequences of her actions, even when doing so breaks my heart.  The Princess will at various times allude to slavery practices when forced to do her chores.  But I do all these things, why?  Because I am her parent and advocate, I am not her friend.  Contrary to all the contemporary parenting experts, I long for a world where mothers and fathers return to parenting.

CONSIDER:

It might sound a paradoxical thing to say –for surely never has a generation of children occupied more sheer hours of parental time –but the truth is that we neglected you. We allowed you a charade of trivial freedoms in order to avoid making those impositions on you that are in the end both the training ground and proving ground for true independence. We pronounced you strong when you were still weak in order to avoid the struggles with you that would have fed your true strength. We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been givenMidge Decter

 

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Monday, right before lunch:  Breaking News Alert on the TV.  Similar to a moment I endured on September 11th not so many years ago, I literally froze and held my breath.  What is happening in our society?  Already, those with selfish agendas are lining up for the finger pointing parades.  Who do we blame?

  • Gun control
  • VA Tech University Security
  • Police Emergency Response
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Media & Popular Culture
  • Immigration Burdens
  • The Gunman’s Family, Friends, Roommates

My opinion, society is our major contributor to these tragedies.  Commonplace in our reality today are many expressions of violence; rage, desperation, insanity, desire for personal gain, discrimination or more simply, ignorance.  Prejudice for those who are different, contempt for unexplainable reasons and a blind eye to those who are suffering are pervasive in our mainstream culture.

Violence permeates our minds and hearts.  Following the incident at VA Tech, our moral outrage peaks until time and other facets of life distract our thoughts.  The effects of violence are constructive only in that the consequences determine our agenda, retroactively.

Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

Martin Luther King, 1964

Expressions of sympathy pour out to the survivors of violent attacks, while words of gratitude are silently murmured that it was not our loved one.  As the parent of one graduate student and one college bound teen, it was by the grace of God it was not UNC-Chapel Hill.  We all pray “someone” will address these atrocities.  Who will be that “someone?”  Our collective lack of humanity is creating an environment where these incidents occur faster than we can lock away, rehabilitate or execute the violent offenders. 

Do I believe that our society prompted Cho Seung-Hui to inflict this devastation?  Probably not.  There will be much speculation on what prompted this attack; mental illness, evil, environment, personal choice, abuse, genetics or character flaws.  Let us all take pause and make a positive impact on our individual communities, accepting responsibility for our actions, embrace our differences, discover our compassion, humanity and respect for others may assist us in becoming that “someone.”  Just my two cents.

At the end of the day, Where is The Love?

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One may consider that a ludicrous title for a post, but I have my reasons, stay with me.  The Princess and I ventured four hours to coastal North Carolina in search of the much coveted prom dress that is like no other.  For those with teenage daughters that have yet to endure this past-time, I warn you it is not for the faint of heart.  Be certain to review your Seven Deadly Sins before embarking on your trip.  For your reference, I submit the following:

SLOTH:  Two weeks before prom The Princess advises that she has finally decided, she will definitely attend the gala.

PRIDE:  The feeling of arrogance you will have when she slides in to the two hundredth dress that makes her look like a princess.

ENVY:  Refer to pride with a twist.  You have long since passed the size the light of your life just effortlessly zipped up.

GREED:  Observations made of other teenagers in the dressing room who do not even blink when their mothers inform them the dress they have fell in love with is a mere $856. 

LUST:  Why you must explain to The Princess that it may be a bit inappropriate to show up to prom with a dress laced up to your pelvic bone.

WRATH:  What the shop attendant encounters from The Queen when she says “if you ask my opinion, the halter dress with laces is entirely age appropriate”.  She went on to include that The Princess would most definitely be able to shake her hooters and bounce the junk in her trunk!  Note: The Queen responds “do you have children”?  No, enough said.

GLUTTONY:  Remind The Princess when she wants that 1/2lb of fudge that perhaps she might choose the frozen yogurt.  In a totally loving way, you highlight that currently she must exhale all the breath from her body in order to continue to fit in to the form fitting sequin gown that you just purchased.

A few more tips:

  • When The King makes light of your harrowing four day retail experience that was most definitely not retail therapy, tell him:

THIS IS HER PROM DATE

THIS IS HER PROM DATE

  • After The King receives treatment in the Coronary Care Unit, give him reason to live by informing him the photo of the date was fib and the entire prom experience only set him back $131.00.

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BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID

Conversation overheard On The Ponderosa this weekend:

The Princess expressed for the twenty hundredth time her heart felt desire to bore a hole in her abdomen (okay, so she called it a belly button ring).  Semantics!  To support her plea she informed The Royal parents that she has done a wealth of research and found the best place in town.  The fine establishment is purportedly inspected by the Health Department on a regular basis, has a small fee, has performed said procedure a zillion times and really, all her friends go there.

Finally, her last supporting evidence or lack there of:  Not once, prepare yourselves…have they ever performed a hysterectomy on a girl.  After nearly wetting myself with laughter, I picked myself up off the floor and asked The Princess was she having the procedure done by a local OB/GYN?

In a very serious tone, The Princess explained to me, “Mom, don’t you know if they make a mistake while piercing your belly button you will not be able to have children”.  Let me introduce myself, I am The Queen and my IQ dropped about 50 points two years before The Princess turned 16.

Obviously, I explained to The Princess the small flaw in her understanding of the belly button piercing procedure.  No, dear one, it will not interfere with you ability to reproduce.  However, to be on the safe side and protect my future grandchildren, you will not be partaking in this piercing.

Because The Princess is an eternal optimist she said, “well they also have the best tattoo artist in a 200 mile radius”.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

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With a few minutes to go before Forensic Files aired, I switched to the Court TV channel and encountered the last few minutes of Hollywood Heat.  Following completion of a prison sentence, Jody “Babydol” Gibson (no I did not spell that wrong) has released a tell-all book detailing her life as madam of the California Dreamin prostitution ring.  A literary work, and I use that term liberally, addressing the contents of her little black book which claims to ensnare Tinseltown’s elite, high-level politicians and Wall Street power brokers. 

The Interview Highlights – Stupidity Reaches New Highs:

Banfield:  Why write your book now?

Gibson:  Well, I had to do 3 years of parole when released from prison and that was not the most opportune time.

Banfield:  Why are you naming names?

Gibson:  To expose the political agenda which would explain why I was sent to maximum security prison.

Banfield:  Your book addresses services provided?

Gibson:  Yes, I charged up from $3,000 to $15,000 for services.  I only hired former adult film stars and former playboy playmates to provide them better working environments, with higher classes of people for better wages.

I could not make this up! 

Apparently, she was incarcerated not due to her disregard for the law but a governmental conspiracy.  This incarceration subsequently delayed her revealing book, as one cannot pen a manuscript while on parole.  Last, but not least, she touts the benefits of her prostitution ring as versus being, say, a porn star or playboy centerfold.

As a Human Resource Manager, I eagerly await her future seminars where she details the development of her strategy for effective recruitment, motivation and retention of the workforce.  Training was most certainly not an issue considering the talent and her source of new hires.  Perhaps, we have the wrong concept; instead of improved health insurance benefits, pension plans and vacation pay, we should be touting the advantages of pay for sex scenarios.

There is only one small difference between her reign as Madam Sasha with the California Dreamin prostitution ring and her life as an author.  Now she is capitalizing on prostitution legally.

Are you kidding me?  IDIOCRACY!

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