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Archive for the ‘school kids’ Category

croutons

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notes on tables

Where upon one learns one’s strengths as a parent are apparently not one’s stability and caution. “Things i love my mummy for. I love the way my mummy is crazy and out there”.

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“Students who are told that things are fair implode pretty quickly in middle school as self-doubt hits them,” he said, “and they begin to blame themselves for problems they can’t control.”

Barrett’s personal observation is validated by a newly published study in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development that finds traditionally marginalized youth who grew up believing in the American ideal that hard work and perseverance naturally lead to success show a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behaviors during their middle-school years. The research is considered the first evidence linking preteens’ emotional and behavioral outcomes to their belief in meritocracy, the widely held assertion that individual merit is always rewarded.

“If you’re in an advantaged position in society, believing the system is fair and that everyone could just get ahead if they just tried hard enough doesn’t create any conflict for you … [you] can feel good about how [you] made it,” said Erin Godfrey, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of applied psychology at New York University’s Steinhardt School. But for those marginalized by the system—economically, racially, and ethnically—believing the system is fair puts them in conflict with themselves and can have negative consequences.

If the system is fair, why am I seeing that everybody who has brown skin is in this kind of job? You’re having to think about that … like you’re not as good, or your social group isn’t as good,” Godfrey said. “That’s the piece … that I was trying to really get at [by studying] these kids.”

From “Why the myth of meritocracy hurts kids of color” by Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic. 

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This is a lovely piece by my friend, Monica Dux in The Age

When the sad day arrived my daughter and a friend she’d invited over disappeared into her bedroom, emerging an hour later dressed entirely in black, their outfits expertly cobbled from the dress-ups box, including black gloves and hankies, which they clutched, both their faces tear-streaked from weeping.

The two little mourners set up chairs on the lawn, with Johnny’s open coffin in the middle, and Lily and Sara in their enclosure, perched on the side. My son and his mate watched from the garage roof, not quite part of the proceedings, yet affected by the mood. “My grandmother died recently,” offered my son’s friend, solemnly.

When my daughter asked if anyone wanted to say a few words, her friend gently touched her arm. “It’s only right that you do it,” she said.  My daughter’s eulogy was short. “Here lies Johnny. He lived a short life, but it was a good life. He lives on through his children. Maybe.”  Then my daughter pressed a button on the iPod that she had hidden under her dress, and suddenly there was music. Kate Bush, singing The Man With The Child In His Eyes.

And so Johnny was laid to rest, under the crab-apple tree. The girls lingered over his grave for a time, remembering.  Then it was done. Johnny, the man with the child in his eyes, was gone. Ham and cheese sandwiches were served on the lawn.

Johnny was just an insect, of course, yet I don’t doubt that my daughter’s grief was real.

 

 

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truth

From Hurrah for Gin.

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This is a timely reminder that I could do work/school mornings better…

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From film critic, Matt Zoller Seitz in Roger Ebert.

We watched “Aliens” anyway. It went over well. The biggest challenge was dissuading kids from trying to predict every single thing that was going to happen. This is a generation of talkers. They have to comment on everything. No thought can go unexpressed. Maybe this was true when I was a kid as well (I honestly don’t remember), but rather than endlessly correct them I decided to just roll with it, exercising my slumber party guardian veto power during scenes that I felt pretty sure would enthrall them if they would just shut up for five minutes (I was rarely proved wrong in my guesses). But it was a sharp crowd, and for the most part the movie went over quite well, for an analog-era science fiction spectacular that’s turning 30 next year.

One boy said that Ripley in her hyper sleep chamber looked like Sleeping Beauty. As this was an intentional reference on writer-director James Cameron’s part (there’s a Snow White reference an hour later) this seemed like a promising note on which to begin the screening.  “I like the way this looks,” one said. “It’s futuristic but it’s old school. It’s almost steampunk.” “This is like Team Fortress 2,” another remarked. “Dude, shut up, this was made like 20 years before Team Fortress 2,” said the kid next to him. “This is, like, every science fiction movie ever made,” another said, as Ripley operated the power loader for the first time.

“This movie has so many cliches in it,” a boy said when Colonial Marines disembarked the drop ship and made their way through rainy darkness to enter the alien-infested colony. My son told him, “This movie was made in 1986. It invented all the cliches.” Another of his friends was impressed by the “personal data transmitters” implanted in the colonists—impressed that someone had thought of that back in 1986.

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