Children Are Our Future

There are already 32 states under lockdown orders and more surely to come.


It is good to see the children playing outside (even in smallish groups). 


It’s trying times with schools closed, many parents trying to telework, and the need to take care of the children (especially the younger ones) at the same time. 


We can’t lose sight that the children are our future. 


They are everything in this world. 


Even with the Coronavirus pounding away at our older and more vulnerable populations, we can still thank G-d that not many children have been infected


Even in challenging times, G-d shows His mercy to us. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Make The Right Move To Agile Education

So, unfortunately, our education system in this country is highly troubled


Generally, we teach by strict curriculum forcing children to learn what we consider “the fundamentals”.


But they are anything but that and kids come out not knowing how to do the very basics or survive in life. 


Test scores have not been improving–that’s not the student’s fault, but the education system, which cannot force feed what students minds are rejecting as “old school” and out of touch.


Not only don’t we fish for them, but we don’t even teach them to fish. 


We throw at them esoteric subjects to memorize, spit back, and forget. 


Wash, rinse, repeat. 


We waste years of their life and the productivity and creativity of society. 


Ever really wonder why GDP growth is only around 2% despite all the rapid technology that we are rolling out. 


It is just not drones that we are rolling off the assembly line, but human automatons as well. 


This is where agile education comes into aspect. 


Like with software development, we can gather requirements and build, and then show the customer, and then refine again and again. 


We let the development grow and mature naturally as the code takes shape. 


No more years of development and voila here’s something for you, and with the customer exclaiming loudly, “What the F*** is that!”


So too with education, we need to follow the spirit and train of thought naturally. 


Where we let the students guide the teacher to what their questions are, what they are interested in learning about, where their creative juices take them, and what is relevant. 


Rigidity in the education system leaves our students as dead ends, and not as critical thinkers and innovators.


We have a dearth of leaders we can look up to and a plethora of people that couldn’t survive the Spring without their Visa/Mastercard.  


Ever wonder why so many of our great innovators are college dropouts who built their companies in their garages instead of occupying a seat in a classroom and filling their heads with teacher rhetoric. 


Most people learn by seeing, internalizing, and doing useful things for themselves, not by listening and violently rejecting the irrelevant in their lives. 


Let us release the choking reigns of our education system. 


Teachers should be able to follow the questions and interests and natural evolution of thought and creativity and wonderment with their students. 


The mark of learning is not the answers on a standardized test, but the light bulb of critical thinking and innovation from our progeny. 


Exploration and discovery and skills to be self-sufficient and survive are far more beneficial than what we are giving our children today.


We owe them a better education, but we are not delivering because we are the automatons of yesteryear. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got Skills

I thought this was a very telling sign right off the highway in Washington, D.C. 


“Does your child have life skills?”


And then it lists things like:

“Cooking, budgets, sewing, ironing, time managment, communication, and fun”


The classes are offered by ActualLifeSkills.com.


I took a look online at what a typical 6-week class offered on Sundays for 3-hours at a time and at a cost of $345. 


It even covered things like:

“Handshakes, eye contact, and conversation starters
Voice projection and confidence
Party/guest etiquette, gifts and thank you notes”


And of course, aside from the cooking and budgeting already mentioned, there were more of the foundations such as laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping.


I would suggest adding things like computer basics, child rearing, human relations, home maintenance, car mechanics, hunting, fishing, gardening, first-aid, fitness, and even self-defense. 


Since, we spend so much time teaching book skills, I have often thought why we don’t spend more time teaching these fundamental life skills. 


We are raising a generation of kids that can score 1500+ on the SATs, but they don’t know sh*t about real life and couldn’t survive a week without electricity, Internet, or mom and dad taking care of them. 


Back to basics. 


Back to life skills. 


Back to survival. 


Back to being self-sufficient. 


There is no reason that we can’t add these items to our broken school curriculums. 


You shouldn’t have to go to special classes to learn to live life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Alarming Graffiti Message

I actually stopped to read and photograph this graffiti or should I all it a cry for help.


First of all the “artist” was considerate and put it on paper (that was taped up), and not directly on the street pole.


Second, there are some incredibly thoughtful, alarming, and prayer messages on this in both English (as well as in Asian, and Hebrew languages), such as:


– “Jewish prayer for no rape.”


–  “Abusive bee.” “Bee pose,” “Queen bee,” “Bee wisdom,” and “Bee Sting”


– “Abusive spiritual teachers being arrested”


– “We are angelic”


– “I pray for diversity in the bee colony”


– “I pray for a well taught dog”


– “Goddess may the dog be happy”


– “Hashem [G-d] causes the generations to realize they are one”


– “Temple of the animist”


– “Freedom of religion.”


– “Kosher U.S.A. Government”


– “Thanks MD/DC Service Dog.”


There is more, but I couldn’t make out all of it.


There is a also a drawing of a girl in a sitting position with her knees up and sort of smiling.


What strikes me most in this are the numerous references to some sort of abuse, likely sexual with the references to things like prayer for no rape, abusive bee, bee sting, bee pose, and abusive spiritual teachers being arrested.


I feel very unsettled by this, like someone is in trouble and this is a call for help from the community.


All the identification with religion, spirituality, and G-d make this even more significant in terms of the spiritual questioning and perhaps confusion from it all.


Also, is this person disabled/blind–note the reference to the service dog.


I hope that this person(s) are okay and that if they are in danger and need help: go immediately to your parents, the police, school authorities, or a social worker.


People in the community care, and especially G-d hears your prayers.


Whoever might be hurting you needs to be dealt with by the authorities, and please G-d, you will be alright. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Forcing Kids Backfires Big Time

Kids

Fascinating article in the Sunday New York Times today on how the stress we are putting on our kids is making them sick. 


With testing of High school students showing incredibly alarming rates of mental illness:


– 54% with moderate to severe depression.


– 80%+ with moderate to severe anxiety.


And 94% of college counseling directors “seeing rising numbers of students with severe psychological problems.”


Even pediatricians are reporting 5-, 6-, and 7-year olds coming in for migraines and ulcers!


Another teacher said with all this, “We’re sitting on a ticking time bomb.”


Under the pressure to get into great schools and get a foot in the door in excellent careers and attain high-paying jobs, we are making our kids work longer school days, do more homework, take more Advanced Placement (AP) exams, participate in numerous extracurricular activities, and achieve, achieve, achieve. 


We’ve taken away normal play time–the fun out of life growing up–and the imagination, exploration, and discovery away from kids just being kids. 


The paradox is that “the pressure cooker is hurting, not helping, our kid’s prospect for success.”


Especially for parents who themselves grew up poor or lacking, maybe they are trying to do the “right thing”and give their kids more than they had and a “better life.”


But maybe even the best intentions to mold children to be what we want them to be, or think they should or could be, is misplaced.

 

If only we could all take a little (or BIG) chill pill…you can’t force success–with forcing you get the opposite results.


Back off people–instead of pushing and endless disciplining–how about we listen to the children, guide them, show unconditional love, and be excellent examples–show them integrity, a strong work ethic, along with an appreciation for work-life balance, then perhaps we will get not only the success of the next generation that we all need, but also happier, better adjusted, and healthier children. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Didn’t Do It

Ice Cream Kid
My elderly father retold a funny joke to us yesterday when we visited him at his assisted living home.



It goes like this…



A teacher in school asks the classroom of children, “Who killed Abraham Lincoln?”



One little child in the front of the room meekly raises his hand, and when called on by the teacher answers,”I didn’t do it!”



The teacher is taken aback at the response, and after class calls the child’s father and tell him to come in after school to discuss this. 



After school, the father shows up and sits down with the teacher, and listens to him repeat the story about what happened in class.



The father is visibly annoyed, and when the teacher is done staunchly says, “If my son says he didn’t do it, then he didn’t do it!”



Ah, I suppose one could take this as a sad commentary either generally-speaking on the state of our education system or in particular of this family that is quite clueless–and where it’s clear that the apple does not fall far from the tree. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rally For Israel For Self-Defense


This video is from the Rally For Israel for their Self-Defense in Washington, D.C. today at lunchtime. 



Israel is still trying for a cease-fire, but continues to be under a barrage of missiles from Gaza. 



Thanks to G-d, as well as the support of the United States, the Iron Dome Missile Interceptor is protecting the people of Israel from more than 1,300 indiscriminate missile attacks by terrorists–this is truly miraculous!



Even today, the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza found 20 missiles hidden by Hamas in one of the U.N.’s schools in Gaza–sort of leaves you scratching your head as to what type of schooling these children are unfortunately getting?



The multiple ceasefires by Israel, warning residents before taking military action, and even fixing the electricity to Gaza that Hamas knocked out with a missile they were aiming at Israel–is a wonderful testament to the humanity of the IDF. 



Interestingly enough, at the rally, there were a handful of antagonizers with megaphones behind the stage and podium trying to interrupt the lineup of ambassadors, congressmen/women, and other speakers for Israel’s right to self-defense–sort of telling that they wouldn’t even respect other people’s right to assemble and speak. 



The trillion dollar questions is how you get to peace and security under these circumstances?



(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)