In this 296th and final blog entry of the year, I have wishes for all of you, outlined in a familiar fashion:
First, I hope that all of you grow in your knowledge of God and His Word, the Bible; and that your desires and zeal are ever-more in keeping with His will.
Next, I hope that your knowledge of mathematics, and of all academic knowledge of value, and your desire to learn and to grow in wisdom, increase in the coming year.
I also hope that you become more positively involved in the politics and activities of your community, being the "salt and light" spoken of in Matthew 5.
May God bless you all in 2009.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
In this 296th and final blog entry of the year, I have wishes for all of you, outlined in a familiar fashion:
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
According to this foxnews.com article, approximately 2.5 trillion text messages were sent from cell phones worldwide in 2008. A little division shows that this is nearly 400 text messages in one year, for every living person on the earth...or more than one text message per living human per day, all year long.
Are you doing your part? I am not. Neither is my wife, nor my children. Even though the six of us should have combined for about 2300 of the earth's text messages last year, we sent...zero. We share one cell phone, and although it can send text messages, I do not use this feature.
And I am personally wondering: How much money did the phone companies collect for all those messages this year?
So who is sending them? If we assume, somewhat liberally, that only 2 billion of earth's 6.4-or-so billion population has cell phones and use them for texting, that amounts to 1250 text messages, per year, per texting cell phone.
But even that is generous; many of those cell phone users, like myself, send few or no text messages. So let's say 1 billion are "active" text messagers. They would have to account for 2500 text messages per phone per year....about 7 text messages per day.
And then the Law of Averages arrives and reminds us that some of these will be "above" the average of 2500 per year and others will be "below" this level. There must be some who are easily exceeding 5000 text messages per year, a rate of about 14 per day.
If you find that you are consistently sending out so many text messages, do yourself a favor: Cut back. Perhaps your calling plan makes them inexpensive, and perhaps some of them serve a useful purpose (announcing your location or telling someone what you are looking at just now probably don't fit the definition of "useful" here); but surely, if you are at a "thousands-a-year" level, you are wasting your time...and possibly the time of others.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Let us get to the point: What, exactly, are the qualifications to be a United States Senator?
According to the U.S. Constitution, a senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen for at least nine years, and live in the state the senator represents. So, according to that august document, she is qualified to serve in the United States Senate.
There are other important factors, however, that speak to the qualifications of an individual for government/legislative service. Let us consider some of these:
- Integrity. A legislator should be an honest person both in personal and public dealings.
- Understanding of place. A legislator should recognize the parameters and limitations of the office. He or she should strive to work within those parameters while...
- A spirit of service. A legislator must realize that he/she serves the people whom he/she represents. A legislator must not treat the position as one with which to benefit self (See: Blagojevich, Rod). Within the parameters of the office, service to constituents should be strong and prompt.
- Philosophy and worldview. A legislator should demonstrate a philosophy and worldview that is compatible with the United States Constitution and the legislator's state constitution. In general, a legislator should view government as a necessary evil, to be kept minimal in size while able to perform its essential duties.
- Knowledge of government. A legislator must educate himself concerning the mechanisms, history, and current affairs of government.
- Ability to cooperate. A legislator is one of many; it behooves each to learn to deal with both allies and opponents.
- Ability to raise money, or the ability and desire to spend one's own money.
- Political connections.
- Name recognition.
- Favor from people in high places.
- She meets the Constitutional requirements.
- She meets the list of other so-called qualifications.
- I have my questions, though, about the first list. Is she truly dedicated to the service of the people of New York (this would be a good question to ask re: the resigning N.Y. senator)? Will she strive to stay within the parameters of constitutional government, or seek to continue its expansion into areas never intended by the Constitution? As a democrat, is her philosophy and worldview consistent with the Constitution? How well will she work with members of both parties to do constructive political work?
And just for the record, Gov. Paterson, if you want to nominate me to take Hillary's place, I will move to N.Y. in a heartbeat.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
So says Simeon when he beheld the Savior of the world in the arms of His parents in the temple. I know that a song exists that begins with these words (but I could not find it today):
Luke 2:30: "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation..."
Mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
My heart has been cleansed by thy grace...
It really is a great song (please feel free to let me know if you have a source for these lyrics). But it got me to thinking if there were any hymns with this idea for a title.
Again, not that I could find. But I was reminded of this classic verse from a famous hymn:
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Let us remember Who we are "looking at": The King and Creator, the One Who was both the babe in the manger and the Savior on the cross.
Monday, December 22, 2008
The tension between divine sovereignty and human choice is one of the great paradoxical realities of human existence.
This quote by Spurgeon, which I found in a book I am reading, does a great job of making this paradox more palatable to the human mind...by using an example from mathematics. Those who have studied non-Euclidean geometry will find this most interesting.
"If...I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is foreordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring." (quoted in Twelve Ordinary Men, by John MacArthur, from The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, 4 vols., 1:177)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
These words were first published by one James Montgomery on Christmas Eve of 1816. As with many hymns, there are more original stanzas to the lyrics than are contained in most hymnals. An additional verse was written in 1855 by Isaac Gregory Smith.
Notice the refrain: "Come and worship...Christ, the newborn King." This is at the heart of Christmas: That Christ, the King of the Universe, was born in a lowly manger—but He was born to be worshiped. Not merely admired, nor respected, nor eulogized—He is to be worshiped. The angels do it; the saints in heaven do it; do we?
Let us worship Him this Christmas season.
Angels from the Realms of Glory
Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.
Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.
Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.
Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:
All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.
Note: In place of the verse “Sinners, wrung with true repentance…” some hymnals use the following, written in 1855 by Isaac Gregory Smith:
Lord of Heaven, we adore Thee,
God the Father, God the Son,
God the Spirit, One in glory,
On the same eternal throne.
Lord of Heaven, Three in One.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
If you are a Bible scholar, or learned the little song in Sunday School years ago, you know that he was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He may in fact be the most obscure disciple, as the only times he is mentioned in Scripture are in the four lists of disciples found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts.
Reading MacArthur's Twelve Ordinary Men, I came across this series of quotes concerning James the son of Alphaeus:
"If he ever wrote anything, it is lost to history. If he ever asked Jesus any questions or did anything to stand out from the group, Scripture does not record it. He never attained any degree of fame or notoriety. He was not the kind of person who stands out. He was utterly obscure. He even had a common name.The moral? God can use even the quietest, most obscure, diminutive people to do mighty works for Himself. If you have ever felt that you do not "have what it takes" to do the Lord's service, remember that all of the disciples were ordinary men, and some of them even easy-to-overlook ordinary men. And God used them mightily!
"...His lack of prominence is even reflected in his nickname. In Mark 15:40 he is referred to as 'James the Less.'
"...Eternity will reveal the names and the testimonies of these, like James the Less, whom this world barely remembers and knows nothing about.
"...In any case, we can be certain that he became a powerful preacher like the others. He surely performed 'the signs of an apostle...in signs and wonders and mighty deeds' (2 Corinthians 12:12). And his name will be inscribed on one of the gates of the heavenly city." (pp. 170-173)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A few days ago, some foolish "reporter" threw his shoes at President Bush during the president's visit to Baghdad. In his culture, this is a sign of contempt.
The man is now in custody, as he should be. He should be put through the justice system of the country and punished consistent with its legal codes. This will serve as a positive sign to his people that the government is capable of dealing with those who break the law in a fair and just manner.
Meanwhile, far-left elements in our country and many in the Arab world are hailing this moron as a hero. One Egyptian man has even offered his daughter in marriage to her (and the daughter reportedly looks forward to this). They see him as bold and courageous.
The irony is this: If he had done the same thing under Saddam Hussein—and keep in mind what man is most responsible for the downfall of his regime—he would now be dead...unless, of course, Saddam wasn't through torturing him yet. (Note: It wouldn't be the same sort of thing called "torture" at Guantanamo; this would be "real torture" that our president and vice-president would never approve.)
The irony continues: President Bush—the man who is most responsible for this moron's freedom—shows no anger at him. The man who provided the freedom is assailed by the man who benefited from the freedom; the assailant receives praise while the provider is, at best, ignored—and at worst, mocked.
Our president is a class act. Even if you disagree with his policies, please admit that truth.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Several years ago, I contemplated throwing my hat into the ring to run for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Then I realized I was only 29 and had no money or name recognition, so I scrapped that idea. Some former first lady ended up winning the seat; like me, she did not live in New York when she made her decision.
But now she doesn't want it anymore, and is resigning to take a cabinet position under the fellow that, last I checked, she couldn't stand. Politics make strange...um, maybe I should skip that...
However, I have heard that Gov. Paterson has narrowed down the field of replacements to twelve. I would like to suggest a thirteenth: ME. Back in 1999, I authored an open letter which included, in part, my qualifications for the seat. Here is a part of that letter:
"I am a New Yorker by birth; I spent one full year of my life as a citizen of that great city (my first year, by the way); I love upstate NY as well; I used to own an "I [heart] New York" T-shirt; and I have always been a fan of the greatest baseball team of all time-the New York Yankees. I feel that as a conservative Christian republican, I have a lot to offer the people of New York: integrity, character, direction, and a huge affinity for bona fide New York bagels. I can appeal to the Catholics (with a name like Matesevac, certainly); I can appeal to the Jews (see previous bagel comment combined with my knowledge of OT feasts); I can appeal to the diehard sports fans (see previous Yankees comment) .... I really AM a New Yorker; I really AM a Yankees fan; and I really do love a good bagel."
Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that the governor of New York will almost certainly nominate a democrat, which irritates me, as this shows a closed mind, discrimination, and unspeakable political bias. I was born in New York!
In the event that he changes his mind, I am available for the job at a moment's notice.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The website cyberhymnal.org lists over 400 Christmas hymns (and there's another category for "epiphany"). I only know a fraction of them, including this one, for which we have a great recording from SMS in Greenville, SC.
It is wise for us to meditate upon the fact that this baby was "the Savior" and the "King of Glory." He is a "Stranger" to the world—so we should introduce them to Him! The wonder that God would come to earth, born as a baby in the humblest of circumstances, should elicit praise from our mouths.
Gentle Mary Laid Her Child
Gentle Mary laid her Child lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the undefiled, to the world a Stranger:
Such a Babe in such a place, can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race who have found His favor.
Angels sang about His birth; wise men sought and found Him;
Heaven’s star shone brightly forth, glory all around Him:
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight, heard the angels singing;
All the plains were lit that night, all the hills were ringing.
Gentle Mary laid her Child lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled, but no more a stranger:
Son of God, of humble birth, beautiful the story;
Praise His Name in all the earth, hail the King of glory!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Just heard on Rush Limbaugh, as he was discussing the media and political pile-on surrounding the governor of Illinois:
"I believe that Rod Blagojevich is entitled to at least the same due process as the detainees at Guantanamo Bay."
The record should show that Gov. Blogojevich is innocent until proven guilty—no matter how easy it may be to prove. The media and many Illinois politicians are already treating the man is a criminal to be removed from office. Let him have his due process...quickly, of course.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Always have been. And it's not just because their world-class choir can do a world class job with the Hallelujah Chorus. You can play that in the background while you read the rest of this entry. The video is great, too.
It came to my attention that a few weeks ago, BJU made a "Statement About Race at Bob Jones University." The university, like most southern colleges, was segregationist and did not enroll African-American students prior to 1971; it did not remove its ban on interracial dating until 2000. As a student there between those two dates, I was fully aware that antagonism and racism at a personal level was directly in violation of school rules and policies, and was virtually nonexistent on the campus. These were not major issues during my time there.
The statement (see link above) is an absolutely classy, yet humble, apology. Their policies, long since corrected, were wrong; now they have come clean about the matter. I hope this settles this issue once and for all in the eyes of everyone.
My biggest disappointment on this matter was the class-less way that a small percentage of alumni and "friends" of the University demanded this. There were vitriolic internet postings and rude demands from some, devoid of the Christian love and brotherhood that we should show to a brother whom we believe is in the wrong. I would expect that there will be some in the world, without connection to BJU, who would express such attitudes—indeed, for some, even this statement will not suffice. I trust now that all alumni and friends of the University will support this statement and support the University with their prayers and encouragement.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Much has been made of the supposed "torture" of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and other foreign locations. I sincerely doubt any "true" torture has been taking place, although I found it highly amusing when I read these two articles (here and here) which described the musical selections that these detainees are forced to listen to for long spans of time. According to a British source, here are some of the most commonly used songs: • "Enter Sandman," Metallica. • "Bodies," Drowning Pool. • "Shoot to Thrill," AC/DC. • "Hell's Bells," AC/DC. • "I Love You," from the "Barney and Friends" children's TV show. • "Born in the USA," Bruce Springsteen. • "Babylon," David Gray. • "White America," Eminem. • "Sesame Street," theme song from the children's TV show. Other bands and artists whose music has been frequently played at U.S. detention sites: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Don McLean, Lil' Kim, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tupac Shakur. The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA's "Dark Prison" in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more. "There was loud music, (Eminem's) 'Slim Shady' and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over," he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. "The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds." Not all of the music is hard rock. Christopher Cerf, who wrote music for "Sesame Street," said he was horrified to learn songs from the children's TV show were used in interrogations. "I wouldn't want my music to be a party to that," he told AP. Bob Singleton, whose song "I Love You" is beloved by legions of preschool Barney fans, wrote in a newspaper opinion column that any music can become unbearable if played loudly for long stretches. "It's absolutely ludicrous," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "A song that was designed to make little children feel safe and loved was somehow going to threaten the mental state of adults and drive them to the emotional breaking point?" Some musicians, however, say they're proud that their music is used in interrogations. Those include bassist Stevie Benton, whose group Drowning Pool has performed in Iraq and recorded one of the interrogators' favorites, "Bodies." "People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down," he told Spin magazine. "I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that." He said he was locked in an overcooled 9-foot-by-9-foot cell that had a speaker with a metal grate over it. Two large speakers stood in the hallway outside. The music was almost constant, mostly hard rock, he said. "There was a lot of Nine Inch Nails, including 'March of the Pigs,"' he said. "I couldn't tell you how many times I heard Queen's 'We Will Rock You."'
Here are some quotes regarding the efficacy of these tactics:
For those of us who find rock music to be morally offensive in general, and even for those who don't, there are a lot of insights to be had here....
• "Enter Sandman," Metallica.
• "Bodies," Drowning Pool.
• "Shoot to Thrill," AC/DC.
• "Hell's Bells," AC/DC.
• "I Love You," from the "Barney and Friends" children's TV show.
• "Born in the USA," Bruce Springsteen.
• "Babylon," David Gray.
• "White America," Eminem.
• "Sesame Street," theme song from the children's TV show.
Other bands and artists whose music has been frequently played at U.S. detention sites: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Don McLean, Lil' Kim, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tupac Shakur.So is this torture?? I guess it depends on your definition of torture. But if your goal is to force enemies of our country to cough up information that will contribute to the safety of our citizens, then I have no problem with blasting Springsteen at them. Or Barney.
The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA's "Dark Prison" in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more.
"There was loud music, (Eminem's) 'Slim Shady' and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over," he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. "The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds."
Not all of the music is hard rock. Christopher Cerf, who wrote music for "Sesame Street," said he was horrified to learn songs from the children's TV show were used in interrogations.
"I wouldn't want my music to be a party to that," he told AP.
Bob Singleton, whose song "I Love You" is beloved by legions of preschool Barney fans, wrote in a newspaper opinion column that any music can become unbearable if played loudly for long stretches.
"It's absolutely ludicrous," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "A song that was designed to make little children feel safe and loved was somehow going to threaten the mental state of adults and drive them to the emotional breaking point?"
Some musicians, however, say they're proud that their music is used in interrogations. Those include bassist Stevie Benton, whose group Drowning Pool has performed in Iraq and recorded one of the interrogators' favorites, "Bodies."
"People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down," he told Spin magazine. "I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that."
He said he was locked in an overcooled 9-foot-by-9-foot cell that had a speaker with a metal grate over it. Two large speakers stood in the hallway outside. The music was almost constant, mostly hard rock, he said.
"There was a lot of Nine Inch Nails, including 'March of the Pigs,"' he said. "I couldn't tell you how many times I heard Queen's 'We Will Rock You."'
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Question: The car companies might get $15 billion, but only if they submit to all sorts of conditions and the authority of a car czar...so why isn't there a "bank czar?" Or a "mortgage backer czar?" Or an "insurance company czar?" Aren't these groups getting a whole lot more than $15 billion?
Does anybody know?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
We sang this hymn in church this morning and I particularly struck by the words
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only designMost of us when singing this hymn tend to remember that our faith is secure or that God protects us. And these are true. In the midst of the hymn, we see (on multiple occasions) that God may not put us in favorable circumstances—but he is still our faithful foundation and he will still protect us and meet our needs.
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
It is well to remember that circumstances we perceive as negative and undesirable may be (and generally are) God's avenues for us to grow and become purer in His eyes....and that He is there to help us through them. The words of this hymn emphasize this.
How Firm A Foundation
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Four years ago when I bought my current home, my wife and I went through this experience known as "closing," where we signed approximately 570 pieces of paper, that, in short, obligated us to pay back the mortgage money we borrowed and to take care of the home and otherwise meet reasonable obligations during that period of repayment.
And if we wanted to borrow the money, we had to sign the papers. So we did.
To this day (and for many more yet to come) we must abide by the conditions set forth in those documents. We are, in essence, servants of the Wells Fargo bank.
God willing, the day will come when we completely pay off our mortgage. At that time, we are free from the "bondage" of the mortgage company. We can quit buying homeowners' insurance. We can stop sending them money on the first of each month. We can burn the place down, if we so choose. We can freely sell it to another person. (Of course, we will be good stewards of the home we now own, for that is our moral obligation to God.)
Now let's consider the situation in Washington D.C., where the Big Three automakers are seeking billions of dollars in "help." In truth, it would be a violation of conservative principles to just "give" them money (and just imagine how much every other company in the country would want some money, too). But should they be loaned money?
Two observations come to mind here. First, they claim they cannot borrow money through ordinary channels right now. Perhaps that is so...but is it so because their assets are currently collateral for other loans? Surely their vast manufacturing facilities and property holdings around the country and world would secure loans?
Second, do they really need to become "servants" to the U.S. Government, which, as it is about to be taken over by democrats, will be something of a nightmare of a "master" to companies like the Big Three...a master which will dictate to them that they must do things which will either run them into the ground financially or put them at a huge competitive disadvantage?
Are they really that desparate? Is it really that bad? If so, I should fear for the economy.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Yesterday, Grand Rapids Public Schools announced that there will be no F's on report cards this trimester: If a student did not pass a class, he will be awarded an "H." It's called the "Success Only Option," and of the 20,930 classes taken by students throughout four high schools, 2,364 of them will be assigned a grade of "H" when report cards come out this week.
None of the four high schools in the district is meeting the federal standards. Lots of their students drop out (about 25%)...typically the ones who get the F's. The idea here, presumably, is that the students will realize that they still have the opportunity to take the class again, or take it online or in some other format (such as summer sessions), so that they can still have the opportunity to pass. The administrator of the district was quoted as saying something along the lines of "Failure is something that all of us experience..., but why do we want to visit that [failure] on 14-, 15-, and 16-year-old children?"
Students will have one term to retake the class, and then the grade could change to an F. An "H" was referred to as a "delayed failing grade."
Teachers, naturally, are not pleased. They realize that these same immature "14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds" also frequently fail to have the maturity to meet deadlines, deal with stress, and reach expectations. Giving them a perceived "out" will make the teacher's job even more difficult (and in a district like GRPS, it's difficult enough—and that doesn't even count their labor union issues) when one of those same immature kids tells them, "Who cares? I'm not going to fail your class! You can't fail me! So what if I have to take it again later?"
Parents should not be pleased, either. As a teacher, I firmly believe that the largest part of high school failing grades and dropouts have their roots in parents who, over time, have not put an emphasis on education and who have not taught their children by their lives, actions, and words that education and graduation are of high importance. Parents who do those things generally have kids who pass and graduate, so why should they be worried? Because their children's teachers are going to have a more difficult task dealing with the immaturity of the other students, thereby shriveling up the time they can give to teaching!
Those who have not been involved in public education (as adults, not students) often are oblivious to how much disruption the more immature students are capable of inflicting. To empower and embolden them by saying "Don't worry, you won't get an F" is going to be like waving red in front of bulls. Classroom decorum will suffer.
But most of all, this terrible idea isn't going to accomplish its goal of getting more students to graduate. To graduate, you still have to pass the required courses. An "H" isn't a passing grade; it is not adequate to get the credit. At best, it will stall the dropout from dropping out. Consider these two students:
- Student A, after two years, has 7 credits and 3 F's.
- Student B, after two years, has 7 credits and 3 H's.
The cold, hard truth is that children must recognize the consequences of life. They must learn, through lessons small or large, that failure to meet their responsibilities reaps failure in some area of life. Ideally, they will learn this before high school in things less substantial. The immature student might actually benefit from the kick-in-the-pants that an "F" brings, when he finally realizes that consequences are real, serious, and sometimes life-long. Isn't that a good thing?
Monday, December 1, 2008
This extremely interesting article tells us how the Detroit Lions are doing something right: Their rookies are required to attend a five-hour course in personal etiquette, run by a professional in that field.
Young men whose lives have centered on football and who have recently come into huge piles of money are generally not those whom you would expect to see modeling the manners of the genteel. They are taught about the use of the "n-word" (i.e., don't), table etiquette, how to shake hands, what wines are appropriate with what meats, and that jeans that hang off your rear end do not present the kind of image they should be conveying to the world. And more.
There is a very worthwhile video that accompanies the story at that web page. I encourage you to watch it.
It would be great watching, too, for a lot of teens I know today...especially the young men, but also the young women who are making their acquaintance.