Archive for the ‘Hold On To Your Kids’ Category

Focus on the Family and Michael Moore

March 27, 2007

All this is an attempted dialogue. There’s a possibility of dialogue. There is no dialogue. There original article is here. The comments are here. I post this here because I like the connections. The Michael Moore review is on some 666 site, and Focus on the Family says a very similar thing, plus the original article talks of the same phenomenon as Hold On To Your Kids. I like connections.

His is a rather sentimental and weak argument. Teenagers have been teenagers for decades; he does not adduce what, if anything, is different about today’s teenagerdom from yesterday’s teenagerdom.
Dave | Homepage

I’ll push your first claim further, and note that teenagers have been teenagers for centuries, at least.

I think the post was fairly clear in it’s contention that what’s different about today’s teenagers is that they spend much more time with one another, and only one another, and they are taught by less competent individuals.

There are plenty of ways to attack both arguments, but it seems false on the surface to assert that I did not adduce a difference between present and past.
Tony | Homepage | 02.26.07 – 10:25 am |

What derisive, prejudicial and ignorant commentary. Many teens are creative, insightful and have excellent work ethic. Of course, some reflect poorly on each other, but many help each other improve in the hours the spend together.

What you say is sort of like saying all bloggers offer only ridiculous, self-aggrandizing commentary, just because they spend a lot of time reading each other’s blogs.
Mark Barnes | Homepage | 03.04.07 – 9:31 am |

Or like saying that one commenter who has trouble spelling words correctly is proof that all commenters are poor spellers.

I think the qualifiers were clear enough: “a large portion of high-school seniors,” for example. Of course I wasn’t talking about all teenagers, or all teachers, for that matter. The fact that many teenagers are brilliant, and their teachers highly competent, doesn’t refute what I had to say.
Tony | Homepage | 03.05.07 – 12:19 pm |

This author/psychologist gives parents and teachers some advice for dealing with peer orientation. That teenagers prefer to keep company with themselves is having a “devastating impact in today’s society”, according to Neufeld, and parents actually spending time with their kids is his new and innovative solution.

I’m guessing the tone of your post was what the two previous commentors were really on about. I see the same phenomenon but well, there’s this: “But perhaps picking a fight with higher education, in the same post where I pick on high schoolers and their teachers and their parents and the rest of us who let news like this roll off our backs without changing our behavior one bit, is, well, just one fight too many.” It’s a mexican standoff, like that scene (50) in Reservoir Dogs, but you’re blaming the actors in our social drama. Doesn’t blaming the script writers ever cross your mind?

Society is changing, but so has the economy. Why are kids working as much as they do? Why are parents working as much as they do? Why are you “picking on” the little guy? I take for fact our responsibility to ourselves and our children. But by your own understanding (“If you study about ten times harder, and have an ounce of common sense, and work really long hours, then perhaps you can build yourself a plane, and then you can fly. Otherwise, get used to walking.”) citizens are being worked beyond socialization. Is it stupidity or the underclass that’s spreading?
Rodger Levesque| | 03.12.07 – 4:38 am |

Given that real income in the lowest quintile of American households more than doubled in the past half-century, I would say you’re barking up the wrong tree if you want to contend that economic need is the driving force here.

My goal isn’t to pick on the little guy. It is to pick on the big, fat slob of a parent who spends too much time in front of the tube, and not enough time engaging his children in the real work of becoming responsible adults.
Tony | Homepage | 03.12.07 – 4:30 pm |

The real income more than doubled for everyone else as well. But fifty years ago a household would have had one bread winner. Today, that’s not the case. Two people are now working per household.

And sure not every household has two incomes, but not every teenager has no adult contact.

What do you call this? A cultural shift? Can it be called an economic shift? If one earner were to devote himself to the kids, would the household earning then be nearer to what it was fifty years ago? And is that doubled household income going straight to a materialistic lifestyle? I read in the paper often about the average household credit card debt. Was this a problem 50 years ago when households were bringing in half what they do now? How are these real dollars calculated? If the dollars take into account only necessities, is cable included? How about these gas prices? Computers? Cell phones? insurance? Are all these things taken into account?

I’m not going to try to tell you that the fat guy picture you paint doesn’t exist, I’m sure he’s washing down pork rinds with a miller lite watching deal or no deal right now, but the problem of family socialization time has to be more complex than that. You’d know better than I if you can call it an economic shift, but definitely a cultural shift has occurred.

It doesn’t matter which side of the polemical divide your argument falls.

This is from Focus on the Family:

“Dr. Steve Farrar presents a message on how the spiritual virus of affluenza (the pursuit of material success) is sweeping the country and destroying the family. Affluenza causes good people to make unwise choices by distorting their thinking, their judgment, and eventually causes them to sacrifice their children on the altar of success.

He gives three components to success in America. Attaining these three components equals status, and if you have status in America, then your perceived importance goes up. Steve provides tremendous perspective from the Scriptures (1 Timothy 6:6-11) and expresses that contentment is destroyed by comparison.

On Day Two, Steve talks about the God-ordained family and lists the two things that every family needs, presenting God’s ideal plan for the father to be the primary provider and for the mother to be the primary caregiver.

He traces the course of affluenza beginning with the Industrial Revolution, when men were first taken out of the home and into the factories for work, followed by the feminist revolution in the past 25-30 years which has taken women out of the home, and Steve asks who is taking care of the children.

Dr. Dobson closes by assuring listeners that he knows that materialism and greed are not the reason all mothers work, some are working out of need.”

And this is about a Michael Moore documentary:

“Moore first shows us how the mother from the impoverished town of Flynt, Michigan was left without work following the closing of the local GM plant as jobs were given to cheap labor out of country. We then travel with Moore before sunrise on a two hour bus ride to the wealthy suburban mall where the state’s privatized work-for-welfare program sent her (the program, incidentally, was run by defense industry giant Lockheed Martin, who also builds nuclear missiles in Littleton Colorado, site of Columbine High School). We get quick tours of the Dick Clark fifties-theme restaurant and the fudge factory where she performed her minimum wage jobs before bussing home after sunset. Despite the two jobs, the woman still did not have enough to pay her rent. Consequently, she was evicted from her house and taken in by her brother. Soon after, while she was bussing to work, her young child found her brother’s handgun, carried it to school and killed another student.”

I’m not proposing a solution. Tony, you’ve written provocatively on a very real issue. I think it’s more complicated than your presentation, and I’m still wondering, what’s really happening? When I asked if it was stupidity or the underclass that was spreading, I meant is our culture becoming oppressive? The problem has spread well into what was once called the middle class and on into academia. Is all this work, creating poverty of the mind? I think Camus had something to say about this. I guess if there’s a question in here anymore, it’s: Don’t you think you’ve simplified the problem (a problem you had the ability to recognize and examine) a little too much?
Rodger Levesque |  | 03.12.07 – 11:40 pm |

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Chapter 13: Unteachable Students

January 12, 2007

I don’t know if I’m going to read any more of this book anytime soon. This is the pattern I’ve followed for years. I read a chapter that interests me, an introduction or preface, and then put the book down for another. I have a hard time reading books like this. Books that are literally summed up by their title. I am, however, well into Questioning Technology, although I’ve yet to write a word, I am enjoying it. Coincidentally, A Critique of Cynical Reasoning came in the mail yesterday, and from the initial flip-through, it also deals with the events of Paris 1968. Connections like that excite me. Just as an aside, the preface of Questioning Technology is all you really need to read to understand where Feenberg is going with his argument, but I haven’t stopped reading yet, and I’m sure it’s because there’s a depth in Questioning Technology’s argument that just isn’t there in Hold on to your kids. I’m also going to write up a couple chapters from the Education Reader. Another book I don’t think I’ll finish. Maybe I will. I am thinking about something here. I react strongly to certain ideas. I just turn away in frustration. Like in some paper this week sometime, there was a headline, something like How Canadian Are You? Under the headline there were two portraits. I can’t go into any more detail, because I don’t have anymore. The sight of this was enough. It’s an involuntary response. Some sort of thought exists on my part I’m sure, but I don’t bring myself to the point of confronting “How Canadian Are You? Under headline … two portraits.” The same thing happens with books like the Education Reader, that’s the word — confrontation. Maybe I should confront these ideas. I don’t have the time. I mean I’m already about 6 chapters behind in my write-ups here. You see I’m thinking out loud. … … I’ll add another book to the list, another parenting/education book. I think it’s called Kids are worth it. If I find that How Canadian are you? article, maybe I’ll write about that too. I don’t know what I’d write, I’m serious about the frustration. It’s a wordless reaction. Of the same sort I get looking through the Education Reader. Hold on to Your Kids and Kids are Worth it, are a different sort of frustration. If I read a chapter here and there, while reading other more enjoyable books between, I’ll eventually get through them. There’s something there in the struggle to read these books. I’m hoping. I read Kids are worth it over 4 years ago and couldn’t today tell you one thing about the book. That’s not completely true. It is a parenting/teaching book. I mention this because Hold on to your kids is the same genre. As someone who’s been a classroom teacher and who plans on once again teaching in a classroom, I’ve seen that these books make their way, or at least one idea makes its way around teachers lounge. And that’s the idea that parenting and student success are linked. Teaching in the best of situations is never easy. (That teaching is situational says something) But sometimes it is tougher than others, and when it’s real tough, parents aren’t much help. The problem with these parenting/teaching books is that they set the preparation for learning in the home. And when kids fail, the parents have failed.

In Chapter 13: Unteachable Students we read that a “shift in the attachment patterns of our children has had profoundly negative implications for education.” The authors go on,”Until relatively recently teachers were able to ride on the coattails of a strong adult orientation engendered by culture and society.” Now the title of this chapter names a category of student that doesn’t really exist (All children are teachable.), and that’s troublesome. It’s troublesome that our schools do nothing, read that they can do nothing for children so categorized. There are books written for everyone. Whatever you believe you can find validated in print. And here in Chapter 13 of Hold on to your kids teachers can validate their feeling that some kids are unteachable. They can read that they are not totally responsible for the education of children, because parents and all other adults who come in contact with children and shape society are also responsible. The way of thinking, the concepts out of which Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté create concepts are so simple they can’t possibly be mapped onto any reality. There’s a kind of defeated idealism at work here. Maybe I’ll come back to this later.