Its Time to Stop Controlling Kids

th1Leslie Loftus wrote an article over Father’s Day weekend that struck me strongly, and as right. The thing we’re not teaching our kids is judgement, I see it nearly everyday with young guys at work, they always have to have someone’s approval before doing the simplest thing, to the point that they are a supervisor’s nightmare–they literally can’t see work in front of their face. Leslie has some idea why, so read her article.

Gen Xers often joke—on Facebook, naturally—about how much trouble we would have wreaked if our youthful stupid mistakes had gone viral. But what could have mortified us 20 years ago we handled by destroying photos and negatives. Photo burning was a staple of late 90’s bachelorette parties.

Contrast that with the Dropbox porn story coming out of Virginia, in which two boys put a bunch of nude or semi-nude photos of female fellow students on Dropbox and passed around the password. A little flash nudity has been a staple of Truth or Dare games for generations. What’s new is the capture and distribution capability—and the children unprepared for its consequences. Today we have no simple fix to save these girls from crisis or, perhaps, the boys from incarnation.

After one of these events, a chorus begins to ask, “Where were the parents?” But I often wonder about the teens. How could they possibly think these acts were a good idea? Or put another way, for how long do we think parental supervision is the answer?

I don’t ask to assign blame, but to focus on the problem at hand. Controlling the Internet isn’t an option—not legally, not logistically. Sufficient supervision isn’t possible. I have tried every Internet filter variation, including prohibition. They all have exploitable flaws. We will have to teach children to use judgment.

But modern parents don’t like judgment. We like control. Some parents brave culture for their children, clearing all obstacles. Other parents set all the rules and boundaries for their children. In both cases, parents substitute their judgment for their children’s and leave each of them vulnerable to life.

Modern parents don’t like judgment. We like control.Stories of how well children of helicopter parents fare in the adult world are reaching legend. Some homeschoolers get heartache when their carefully pruned broods rebel. Similarly, many Christian denominations are puzzled by the trend of the young leaving the church, with only a fraction returning later and usually to more traditional Catholic or Anglican traditions.

via Its Time to Stop Controlling Kids and Teach Them Judgment.

She’s right but I don’t think she has it thought all the way through. Judgement comes from initiative taken–and consequences paid. You’ll hear many of us of my generation relate how we were told after breakfast (in the summer) “Go out and play, I don’t want to see you till lunch”. Those stories are true. Our parents trusted us not to, not get into trouble, they knew we would, but to figure out how to get back out. They trusted us to show responsibility for ourselves first in small things, like entertaining ourselves. They also knew that we, and they, would pay a price, usually in cuts and scrapes, occasionally in more serious things. About those cuts and scrapes, I can still hear Dad saying, “I didn’t feel a thing.” He wasn’t callous, if I hurt myself, he was all for fixing the hurt but he gave me room, to get a minor scrape or 20. And most importantly, to learn the lesson.

He never did anything that sapped my initiative, either. When I was about four, I managed to jack up an old car that was out behind the house, and take off a tire. He certainly didn’t praise me for it (I do suspect he was a bit proud, but thought it shouldn’t be encouraged), what he did was, at the earliest opportunity, remove the car, before I hurt killed myself. Similarly, since he was mowing 5 acres of yard, being a boy, I wanted to mow, about that same time he came up with a little riding mower, removed the blade, and designed an electric start system for it. Well I still couldn’t mow, but I could pretend, with real tools, and I did. I’ll bet I put 5,000 miles on that ‘tractor’.  And by the time I was ten, I fulfilled my quest, mowing the yard was primarily my responsibility, and you know something it was fun too. I still enjoy mowing, it reminds me of my childhood.

And one final example, like most people living in the country, dad had a shotgun, for all the uses we talk about, except that he wasn’t a hunter, he knew enough to, he just didn’t care for it. Growing up watching westerns, you know how much I wanted to play with that old .410! It was one of very few things forbidden, with serious consequences for violations, another was playing in the road. They were all things that could kill you. But about the time I was seven, on Christmas, there was that Daisy “Red Ryder” in all it’s glory. It came with a very serious lecture on firearms safety, and the promise that there were no second chances for violations. Even at seven, I knew those lectures were reserved for things that had real, life and death, consequences, and acted accordingly. When I was ten, it was followed by a .22, with a more advanced lecture involving the explosion of a watermelon. Lesson learned, to this day, a half century later, I have never had a firearms accident (except for breaking a stock when I fell down an ice hill).

What am I saying here, is simply this: You cannot teach judgement, you can only learn it. I always put it this way

Good judgement comes from experience

Experience come from bad judgement,

preferably others.

Here’s another part of that, I’ve said how I grew up around dad’s work and crews, especially as an early teen. One of the things I saw was this. The company got a report on every fatal accident in a rural electric in the United States, we all read them, and some formed the basis of safety meetings Thusly we learned not what to do but, what not to do, and we were all safer people for it.

And that is how you teach the two things that are lacking in most young people (and it is not their fault, in my opinion). Good judgement and initiative. Leslie’s right but she doesn’t go far enough. All kids have initiative, our challenge as parents and adults is to channel it and not destroy it.

A child needs room to learn, even by failure, even by losing, that’s how one learns to win and to pay the price for either. It’s the parent’s job to control the environment just enough to keep the costs of failure within bounds.

And do understand this, if you are a parent, you are your child’s hero.

Nobody ever died of a skinned knee.

Whittle, Rowe, Common Sense, and Common Core

Mike Rowe had some advice on his Facebook for a guy, a while back. It applies to all of us, and here it is in its entirety.

Saturday Mail Call

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

Parker Hall

Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck -

Mike

PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

PPS Think I should forward this to Claire?

Hat tip to Chicks on the Right

I’ve nothing to add to either one of these, other than “Rock on Bill and Mike”


 

And just to round out the problems, a couple of short excerpts about Common Core

Common Core Illustrates that We Just Don’t Get It

The following came to us courtesy of Townhall.com.   We’ve seen some of this ‘math’ brought home and the process challenges us and confuses us because for the most part we simply learned arithmetic  and when it came time to figure what 15-7 was we learned to do it in our mind—we didn’t even have to take our mittens and socks off.  Apparently, this is how Common Core teaches ‘critical thinking’.

In any event, we hope you can figure out the correct answer after you’ve already done so in your head without the contortions involved in Common Core.

Common Core Math is Ridiculous

Christine Rousselle

10/4/2013 12:00:00 PM – Christine Rousselle

“Quick! What’s 15-7?

From Objective Conservative
And

Title: Common Core Meets Education Reform: What It All Means for Politics, Policy, and the Future of Schooling
Translator / Editor: Frederick M. Hess & Michael Q. McShane
Publish Date: 2014
Publisher / Edition: Teachers College Press

In 2006, resident education policy expert at the D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Rick Hess wrote in his book Common Sense School Reform about a conversation he had with a school leader:

I told him that the first steps in real improvement had little to do with instruction and a lot to do with sensible management… and that no amount of new spending, professional development, or instructional refinement would change that…. These truths went overlooked year after year because reformers kept approaching school improvement as a matter of educational expertise rather than common sense.

Common Sense School Reform draws broadly on the experience of successful education organizations. Hess promotes reforms that drive educators toward constant improvement through management structures that include incentives for good performance and disincentives for poor ones. This is inarguably a “common sense” approach.

From Online Library of Law and Liberty

There you have it: two home Runs and to strike outs. Could be worse I suppose, follow the links and think for yourself, and for your kids as well. You are supposed to be parents, not your child’s best friend.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The (Not so) Thin Blue Line

So, have seen the video from DC yesterday?

Reports say the driver crashed the barricade at the beginning and then led police on a pursuit toward the capitol. Well, OK. But it looks to me as if she didn’t crash that barricade very hard, given that I see little damage to the car. Not as much, in fact as hitting a deer at 20 mi/hr would cause, and the airbags didn’t go off either, which would put the speed at <5 mph.

miriam

Here’s the driver. She was the lady on the right of the picture. She was a 34 year old dental hygienist, with a history of mental issues. The one-year-old child in her backseat was unharmed. That’s all I know. I doubt we’ll ever know much more.

But to tell you the truth, I see little in that video that couldn’t be someone who took a wrong turn in DC, which is a maze of security barricades any more and bumped one of them. And perhaps panicked when no less than half a dozen police officers pointed guns at her. The pursuit didn’t look all that proficient either, by the way. Not that I’m any expert, mind you, it’s not my field. But it did look to me that if one of those officers had sauntered over and talked to her, they might have been able to defuse it, but I could easily be wrong.

At the end of the chase they ran her off the road, and as she was exiting the vehicle (I presume against orders) they shot her dead. As far as I can tell from the reports she wasn’t armed, for whatever that’s worth. I’m inclined to think they could have waited a second or two before firing the volley but, it seems American police don’t do that any more. They seem to be quicker on the trigger than Wyatt Earp on one of his nasty days.

And another thing

Just how many thousands of police are on duty any given day in Washington, I mean, I know there are a bunch of different police departments and all but, that short video showed at least two dozen cruisers. Every time a story like this happens it looks like enough police to shut down the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. Seems to me Washington has some crime that some of these officers could be working on when the aren’t chasing dental hygienists across town.

Nor does it really say anything good to me about our government that this incident shut down the entire capital city for at least an hour, including the Congress, which got to “shelter-in-place” . While I don’t think Congress should be out fighting crime in the street, it seems a bit extreme to shut the whole place down for what was pretty quickly shown to be a fairly minor incident. But that’s just what I think.

On the other hand

This is completely nuts, from Fox News

A police officer who dropped off his daughter at her Phoenix elementary school was asked by the school’s principal not to wear his uniform to the school because other parents were concerned that he was carrying a gun, MyFoxPhoenix.com reported.

Scott Urkov is a police officer for the Coolidge Police Department. The department told him not to comment to media inquiries, but immediately after he received the no-uniform request, he posted on Facebook.

“Nothing like your kids school calling and asking if I could not come to pick up my daughter in uniform cause parents were concerned when their kids came home telling them there was a man at school with a gun, “ he posted. “Are you freaking kidding me?”

A district spokeswoman told the station that “some parents” voiced concern about seeing a fully armed police officer on the school’s campus. The spokeswoman apologized that Urkov perhaps took the discussion the wrong way.

“It was not the intent of the principal to offend him,” the spokeswoman said.

It may or may not have been the intent of the principal to offend him but, he did, and he offended me as well.

Some day we are going to have to figure out that police officers are people, not automatons, they have a very tough job, and mostly (overwhelmingly, really) they do a very good job. Like anything else, we talk about it when they do something wrong, or stupid, and somebody gets hurt. And often, like all of us, they are simply doing what they have been trained to do, if it not the right thing, it’s not their fault but the fault of their leaders, and us.

And speaking of defective training

Yep, it’s that time again, when cops start holstering and unholstering Glocks, and bad things happen.

Let’s see, 1 century of training police to keep their finger on the trigger (on DA/SA revolvers and pistols), plus 1 “trigger-safety” or Save Action™ (meaning, “no safety”) pistol, plus 1 retention holster that expects the user to keep his or her finger in or near the trigger, plus,  one cop who failed to pay attention in safety briefings = about 1200 feet per second you can’t call back.

Coatesville, PA (Valley Township PD): Do I wrestle the suspect, or draw?

The police officer decided the answer was “both,” and learned to her pain and suffering why that is not the “school solution”. The original headline of the story said “Police officer shot,” and now it has been updated to reflect that she shot herself.

Continue reading  Cops and Cauterization

Just another day in law enforcement: Some good, some bad, and some who knows.

 

 

 

The Volokh Conspiracy » The most awesomest judge…

I’ve nothing to add to this.

…must have been the English judge Mr Justice Maule, who used a bigamy case to comment on the embarrassing state of marriage and divorce law in 1845:

Prisoner at the bar, you have been convicted before me of what the law regards as a very grave and serious offence: that of going through the marriage ceremony a second time while your wife was still alive.

You plead in mitigation of your conduct that she was given to dissipation and drunkenness, that she proved herself a curse to your household while she remained mistress of it, and that she had latterly deserted you; but I am not permitted to recognise any such plea. You had entered into a solemn arrangement to take her for better, for worse, and if you infinitely got more of the latter, as you appear to have done, it was your duty patiently to submit.

You say you took another person to become your wife because you were left with several young children who required the care and protection of someone who might act as a substitute for the parent who had deserted them; but the law makes no allowance for bigamists with large families. Had you taken the other female to live with you as a concubine you would never have been interfered with by the law. But your crime consists in having — to use your own language — preferred to make an honest woman of her.

Another of your irrational excuses is that your wife had committed adultery, and so you thought you were relieved from treating her with any further consideration — but you were mistaken. The law in its wisdom points out a means by which you might rid yourself from further association with a woman who had dishonoured you; but you did not think proper to adopt it.

I will tell you what the process is. […]

Continue reading The Volokh Conspiracy » The most awesomest judge….

 

Hard Truths

English: Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh's High...

English: Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh’s High Street with St. Giles High Kirk behind. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Today, I’m not in the mood to mince words, so I’m going to give you a dose of unvarnished truth. I, more and more, have come to the conclusion that much of what we call PC is nothing other than an attempt to obfuscate the truth, so if you want PC, or the easy way out, well, I hate to say it but, you’ve come to the wrong place.

 

We’ve got problems in this country, serious problems, and if we don’t start figuring out what to do about them, the Great Republic will be gone. So buckle your seat belts because increasingly as we try to define the problems, the road is going to get rougher, and soon not everyone will like us.

 

And here’s the first piece of that truth, we are not going to fix it in 2014 or 2016 at the polls, our problems are systemic not electoral. Dan Miller in Panama wrote about them yesterday, I strongly suggest you read his article here.

 

In addition, Jessica’s co-author on her site wrote, shortly after our election an article that has resonated with me since, I believe he is completely correct. That article is here. In truth, I think he expected better of us, so did I.

 

Yesterday I ventured off into the culture wars. Because if we don’t win there, we are not going to win anyplace. My comment stream sums up part of the trouble on that front:

 

0
0
Rate This

the generations behind me not so much. I know engineers in their late twenties and thirties who want a video of how to do things rather than an instruction book.

Pure old-fogeyism.

Youtube videos are an invaluable educational resource and more clearly demonstrate certain technical concepts than any dense manual.

Adapt or die.

I’m glad you posted this at the beginning of the article, as I stopped reading right there.

 

I have no idea if he quit reading or not, and in a way it doesn’t matter. He made my point, if he had kept reading, he would have found that I agree with his comment. I was brought up in a world of ink on paper, 3 maybe 4 TV stations, Top 40 AM radio stations and that was about all of our culture. I suspect many of you reading this could say the same.

But, the generations behind me are different, in truth so are we, I’m on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Linked In, here, and comment on other blogs as well. My co-writer lives in England, I live in Nebraska, and we can work on the same document at the same time, and video chat as well from our local McDonalds. Think about that for a while because it really is a different world.

I couldn’t have dreamed when I was growing up that I would be inspired daily by a British academic or an American lawyer living in Panama or any of the rest of what we take for granted today. The other thing about all of these things is, we have them because of American free market capitalism. We have them because people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and many others had a dream and part of that dream was getting rich.

And that is exactly what we are losing. When we are supporting half of our population and demonizing those that produce the  wealth and spend most of our time talking about how much of it the government can steal, sooner or later the producers are going to say the heck with it.

Something I’ve noticed in the reporting from Greece by the way, maybe you have too. Who is rioting in the streets? As near as I can tell, it’s the public employee unions. Well, I’ve also seen reports that as much as half (or more) of the Greek economy has gone underground. I’d bet that Greek grocers, plumbers and everybody else that produces something of value is doing OK, maybe not great, but OK.

What I think is happening is that they just aren’t cooperating with the government anymore, sort of a form of “going Galt”. All government employees from the President on down are in some ways parasites, they may do something for us better than we could ourselves, but we could do it ourselves, we’ve delegated the job to them.

Think that can’t happen here? You’re a fool, then. You think I couldn’t find a plumber that would replumb my house if I rewired his. They’re called 50¢ dollars. They’re called that because the government takes roughly half of every dollar I make. It happens. Churchill said it best when he said, “Destroy a free market and you’ll create a black market.” I know perfectly well who to call if I want to trade a couple of weeks of my time for a half a cow, butchered and dressed, so does every other tradesman out here. Finding him in New York, or Washington might be a bit more difficult.

What’s that fiscal cliff talk all about? This, it’s about the government and the big banks failing, I have enough skills, and most everyone around me does, that we’ll be fine, maybe not as good as now, but possibly, better. I also have, or friends have, enough equipment to defend ourselves against most threats. If you happen to be in government, think about that. You need us a lot more than we need you. It’s more convenient to have you (and money) around, to a point, but you’re in the final analysis, unnecessary. Are we unnecessary to you? A bit of Kipling might be in order here.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.” 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

I urge you to think carefully about this before you start raising tax rates very far, because if in our judgement we are not getting some semblance of value for what we spend on you, we have other options. Do You?

On a related note, I hear a lot of conservatives whining about the 47% or whatever that makes up the dependent class. Why? They know their Adam Smith perfectly. If you were raised with no moral code, as they were because we took it away from them by paying them to have babies and paid them more if they didn’t have a father, if you were given just enough education to endorse and cash your welfare check, and earned less if you worked. If you were told, “vote for us and you’ll have a good life”, and you did, and do. So what’s our problem with them? They are acting in their rational self-interest, if we want them to act differently, we need to change the paradigm.

So there’s a start in defining some of our problems, add your thoughts.

 

 

London Gin Craze Had Roots in Nascent Consumer Society – Bloomberg

 

I mentioned this article yesterday in comments on a friends blog, and had a couple of requests for the whole article, which I’m glad to supply. I had heard of the London gin craze but knew very little about it, and it is pretty interesting, in several ways. So here is the article from Bloomberg.


Echoes: 9/12

 

%d bloggers like this: