Tag Archives: parenting

Times are Tough, Even for Fairies!

28 Aug

According to a recent poll the average amount The Tooth Fairy leaves American children per tooth is $3.19…and that’s down 24 cents from last year! And that’s 2 years in a row now that the Tooth fairy has had to make cutbacks! Yow! You know that times are tough when even fairies are in a down market!

Which means that instead of collecting 74 bucks for their baby teeth, American kids born today can only expect 64 measly dollars between now and their adult teeth arriving. There goes the college fund!…If your planning on sending your kids to clown college that is.

Interestingly enough this poll is usually conducted by Delta Dental but recently Visa has also been conducting an annual survey to see how much money that fairy leaves under a child’s pillow for a lost baby tooth.

That can only mean one thing! Soon your children will be accepting plastic as a means of payment for those baby teeth! So get ready you cheapskate parents, um… I mean fairies. College is expensive you know. So at 20 primary teeth per baby, I figure about 8 thousand dollars a tooth oughta do it…

How to Succeed Without Really Trying?

16 Aug

Up, up and away! Over the past 50 years American students have increasingly grown confident not only socially but also about their own writing and intellect skills and their confidence in leadership ability

 

The American Freshman Survey, has been asking college students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966.

And since that time there has been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence. In fact, Over 70% of all students now taking the survey view themselves as above average academically…Which of course, if you are an academic, you know is a mathematic impossibility!

Researchers now call this aberration “ambition inflation”. Which is an actual condition that students suffer from…good grief! It seems that their increased ambitions accompany increasingly unrealistic expectations….and incredible tuition fees I might add…causing parents to suffer from income deflation…and causing colleges and universities and banks to…well, rejoice!

But I digress because researchers have also found a disconnect between student’s opinions of themselves and their actual abilities. For example, while students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing, their test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts. So all of our students’ recent poor test scores that have caused consternation throughout the free world (The USA) haven’t affected how our students feel about themselves. Parents…Isn’t that good news?

And get this…Also on the decline is the amount of time students spend studying, with little more than a third of students saying they study for six or more hours a week compared to almost half of all students claiming the same in the late 1980s. But even though students are studying less, the number that said they had a high drive to succeed rose sharply!

So how is that possible???

Well, a separate study has shown that there has also been a 30 per cent increase towards narcissism in students since 1979. And that our culture here in America before the millennium, used to encourage modesty and humility but now here in the 21st century tends to promote bragging about yourself, as the way to go. So while today’s students tend to feel good about themselves and like to brag about it, the end result has shown a corresponding increase in anxiety and depression in America’s students since those 1970s.

And why is that? Well, researchers say that when an unrealistic number of young people think that they are above average and going to achieve great things, and then a much more realistic number don’t, because, well, let’s face it…most people really are average. And when reality finally sets in, depression isn’t far behind…not to mention those hefty student loans with interest due!

So is there a lesson to be learned here? Yes! And the lesson is: Despite the idea that we can achieve anything if we believe we can, there’s very little evidence that it actually works in the real world. Educational Research still shows that when it comes to academic success nothing works like being humble and unpretentious while employing self-control and hard work!… Who knew?

But if you are a parent and you are worried that today’s kids are too darn full of themselves don’t despair because the American Freshman Survey also revealed that along with having an inflated sense of their own abilities and talents today’s students also describe themselves as being less individualistic, less co-operative, less understanding of others and finally, less spiritual than students in the past! Which in my mind makes this one of the most unsettling surveys to come along in a while, especially if you are a parent.

However if you are a College or University official then this survey all but predicts smooth sailing ahead for a future of expanding enrollments and overflowing coffers. Which is ironic because it has been the colleges and universities of our country that have decried the poor skills of incoming freshmen so vociferously that it has drastically changed the way in which we test, evaluate, and rate today’s students. Back in the old days colleges and universities would simply not have accepted poor performing students into their hallowed halls…but that was back before education was all about making money…

Now while inflated egos, narcissistic attitudes and ambition inflation coupled with mass enrollment, high interest student loans, and tuition inflation may lead to dashed dreams, crushing debt and a life living in your parents house…it just might also be an insidious, and one hell of… an excellent business strategy.

Home On the Range

6 Mar

danielle meitiv

Have you heard of Free Range parenting? And I’m talking about human parents, not chicken parents. Apparently everything old is new again because as I read this story I couldn’t help but thinking that this was a story about parenting in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s…you know, before the whirlybirds landed and took our old parents away and replaced them with the newer helicopter variety.

Anyway, In Maryland a couple who allowed their children to walk around their neighborhood unsupervised are now facing a child neglect ruling in their home county. Following a two-month investigation, Montgomery County Child Protective services found Danielle and Alexander Meitiv responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect… which means that their case will remain on file with the state for the next five years.

Authorities launched the investigation, after two police officers spotted the Meitiv children, a 10-year-old boy and his and 6-year-old sister, walking home from a park about a mile from where they live. The officers brought the children back to their house, where they confronted their father who was shocked to see his children being escorted home by 3 police officers…but he shouldn’t have been because this was his children’s second offense! A few months before, someone had phoned in an anonymous tip to Child Protective Services when they had observed the two youngsters playing alone at a different park a few blocks from their home.

This is why the Meitivs are known as “free range” parents (couldn’t we think of another name…please?) because they allow their children to “run off and play” as opposed to the so-called “helicopter parents,” who are known for hovering over every aspect of their child’s life (including play) in an effort to keep them safe.

Now in case you are wondering, an unsubstantiated neglect ruling typically comes when Child Protective Services gathers some evidence that suggests child neglect, but not enough information to support a more concrete conclusion. The Meitivs said they wouldn’t let their children walk around the neighborhood if they didn’t feel the children were capable of handling the responsibility. And they let their children regularly walk home from their bus stop, to the library, and to nearby parks, all of which are less than a mile from their home.

But in all fairness, they’re only the children’s parents…and do we really trust any parents these days…or any adults for that matter? Just a few months ago a 12 year old child was walking around a park in Cleveland, Ohio, pretending to shoot people with a toy gun. Remember that? And when the police found him they didn’t round him up and bring him back to his parents. They shot him! When I was a kid my friends and I would run around our neighborhood with toy guns all of the time, pretending we were our dads during WWII shooting Nazis… And no one went looking for us unless it was night time and we hadn’t returned to base all day. Boy, I guess were we lucky that nobody shot back at us with real guns or captured us and took us back to their leader.

So perhaps, as many of today’s parents might suggest, the Meitivs should consider themselves lucky that their children were returned to them safe and sound… but now what are “free range” parents to do?… on a range that is no longer as free as it once was, back in a day when the deer and the antelope played along with everyone else…and discouraging words or neighbors were seldom heard?

If they don’t comply and keep their children supervised at all times, the Meitiv’s worry that should their children roam free again…and be turned in again… they’ll all, parents and children, be in bigger trouble. Because now, not only is it unsafe for children to go out into the world unsupervised but also for the parents as well! Which I guess, sadly begs the even more important question:

What’s on TV?

.

March —- !

1 Mar

Happy March!

Are Spring hopes… eternal? I sure hope so because here on the east coast of the United States it has been one very cold and snowy winter. I used to remember having these kinds of winters every winter when I was little, back in the early sixties. We used to skate on the pond in the back yard (well, not me, only those who could skate) and it was frozen all winter long. And we would take our sleds down the street to the golf course and sled down the big snow covered hills until it was dark outside. And whether it was frozen pond skating or golf course hill sledding it was always jam packed with kids!

There were kids outside…everywhere…and not a parent in sight! Back in those days parents never came out of their houses unless they were headed for the car or the lawn needed to be cut…at least that’s the way it seemed to us kids. They never took any interest in the kid’s world, unless of course we broke something…which inevitably we always did…but then we ran!

Anyway, Spring meant seeing the ground again and running around without our boots. What freedom after months of heavy feet and walking around like you were in a diver’s suit on the bottom of the ocean.

Ahhhhh Spring! I hope we have a real one this year (like we just had a real winter) and it doesn’t just shoot straight up to 100 degrees by next Wednesday! (which these days it seems is always possible)

As for the title of this blog. Riddle me this:

Which day of the year is the only day of the year that is also a command? (English teachers should get this one easy)

#10: The Top Ten Rules That Children Learn in School That May Handicap Their Future: #10

25 Nov

If you’re a parent or adult or teacher or perhaps all three. then you have probably already realized what it is that will wear kids out, and their chance for a bright and happy future,  faster than just simply growing older, just like it has most probably worn you out. The rules! And the fact that in adulthood where kids are going and where you’ve been, there are no rules.

The 10th rule that children learn in school that may handicap their future…

10.     Equality is for everyone. In the adult world there is no such word. There is always something that puts you ahead or sets you behind someone else. Equality is like the Unicorn. Have you ever seen it?

What the older adult realizes that children are just not yet aware of is that entering the adult world is like taking a journey into schizophrenia. There is no way that one can, or will ever be prepared for it.

Today, if a child were to draw target symbols over the faces of students in his or her yearbook that he did not like or wanted to see eliminated, that child would be recommended for the child study team and evaluated and possibly suspended from school and at the very least receive anger management training or counseling of one form or another. Once an adult, that same child has a potential career waiting for him or her in politics (Sarah Palin does this on her website). Guns are without a doubt a certain ticket to expulsion in schools but in the adult world at least half of the country will vehemently defend your right to own and even conceal that same weapon while you go about your daily business. And it is usually those same mandatory gun rights enthusiasts who are most likely to be against mandatory healthcare for everyone. In the adult world they are called conservatives but in the child’s world any teacher who would be in favor of letting you fight without sending you to the nurse afterwards would be considered a very liberal teacher indeed. Many adults love to remind children that freedom isn’t free and I would agree with those adults. Freedom is very expensive especially since war costs and defense budgets have grown to astronomical proportions yet many of those same adults who espouse increased defense spending are also the ones who are most likely to despise taxes and other government programs that promote and support and maintain freedom…like our public schools!

Every child in school has learned that freedom’s cost isn’t just in the fighting and in the dieing. It’s in the planning and the building and the maintaining and the schooling and the nurturing too. And it is very expensive. What’s wrong with paying for what you want and need? That’s another rule that children are taught by adults in schools. Be responsible. Take responsibility for your deeds and actions and own up to your mistakes. Pay your debts.

When children become adults they’re going to be expecting rules.  How they deal with their disappointments, and at what age they will have to, when they find a grown-up world without rules will be the measure by which their own happiness will be determined.

If we want to fix the problems that we are facing in our public schools and within our communities we adults are going to have to start (and remain) living by the rules that we teach our children. We need to start listening to our own lectures with the attention and seriousness that we demand from our children when we tell them to sit still and listen to us. We need to plan the lessons that we are teaching to our children in our homes every day and we need to stick to those plans and follow them through to completion with patience and diligence, kindness and love.

 I’m hopeful that we can be successful and I am positive that one sure way to start making these necessary and important changes in our lives is by remembering to make contact with our loved ones each and every day, look one another square in the eyes, adult and child alike, then reach out and together support and modernize and improve our public schools…and then continue the lessons into and throughout adulthood!

#8: The Top Ten Rules That Children Learn in School That May Handicap Their Future: #8

23 Nov

If you’re a parent or adult or teacher or perhaps all three. then you have probably already realized what it is that will wear kids out, and their chance for a bright and happy future,  faster than just simply growing older, just like it has most probably worn you out. The rules! And the fact that in adulthood where kids are going and where you’ve been, there are no rules.

The 8th rule that children learn in school that may handicap their future…

8.      Winning isn’t everything. It’s how you play the game. If you have ever watched children play then you know that the idea of cheating in order to win is something that occurs to them almost faster than you can say, “Play ball!” and so children will hear this phrase from adults on an almost non stop basis but in the adult world winning means you are a winner, period. If you are going to worry about how you play the game, then see rules # 5 and #7.

Rule #9?…To be continued…

The Great American…Loan

18 May

 

People in the United States owe a lot of money on credit cards. In fact we owe about 700 billion dollars in credit card debt. The only thing we’ve borrowed more money for is home mortgages… but home mortgages aside, who owes more than adults when it comes to borrowing money?

It’s school kids! And although technically they are school adults, if you have 1 or 2 or more of them in your home they are still kids to you…but still, the number one debtor in the United States today are young adults who have taken out loans from the federal government to finance their college education.

Student loan debt has gone over 1 trillion dollars…as in 1 followed by 9 zeros, and the federal government has just forecast a record 51 billion dollar profit this year from student loan borrowers. That’s more than the earnings of the nation’s most profitable companies.

Who knew? Did you?

But the good news? In July the 3.4% interest rate that students are paying on borrowed money now will jump to 6.8% …unless of course Congress passes the “Student Loan Affordability Act” which is proposed legislation that would keep existing interest rates… on some student loans… for the neediest households, fixed at 3.4 percent. However, The bill does nothing for existing student debtors….and besides who doesn’t smell a filibuster in the air?

The Department of Education…that much maligned government entity that oversees our crumbling school system and that also gave us the “No Child Left Behind Act”, has generated almost 120 billion dollars in profit over the last five years from student loans which ironically enough, is the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis.

And get this… Apparently officials in Washington are now worried that perhaps overly indebted student borrowers will be unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement…and become, you know…productive American citizens.

What is it that we expected would be the rewards of plunging our children into massive debt? Talk about not leaving a child behind?! What about leaving adults behind?!…before they even get started!

And for some reason these adult/children/student borrowers are also finding themselves unable to refinance their loans even if they graduate from college and secure well-paying jobs, even though  most other borrowers are able to refinance debt at quite low rates. And why is that?

Because these loans have become so profitable to lenders thanks to the Bankruptcy Reform bill of 2005 when both federal and private student loans became non-dischargeable during bankruptcy. This has turned student loans into credit risk free loans for the lender. (with a debtor who literally has a lifetime to repay it) The loans are just too good for any respectable financial institution to give up…as any gambler could tell you,  they’re a sure thing!

Getting a higher education is a wonderful achievement but once again with the help of our nation’s love affair with capitalism, we’ve turned a good thing into a profitable thing and that profitable thing into a must thing…and with ever escalating college costs happily jumping on the bandwagon, (because if you can’t afford this much it’s just as easy to not afford that much!)…this thing is spiraling out of control.

Our children are literally taking loans out on the American Dream, which is being dangled in front of them like a candied carrot on a stick, with money they do not have and may not ever have… and in what may be the most sinister twist of fate…all of their government loan filing and debt approval makes them perfect candidates for…

credit card approval once they’ve graduated.

J.R.Goldrich

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