Its been some time since I have written anything. I have been through the wringers and hung out to dry and am currently being wrung through again. It seems this a recurring theme in my life but I feel like it is the last time it will happen. (Meanwhile the old washing machine of life scoffs at my arrogance of thinking I got it this time). I do not do puff pieces, everything is real,(from my perspective but that does not mean its an illusion). I have been granted a stay of execution, a second shot(in reality I Lost Count) to make things right. I am in search of my Magnum Opus, a grand statement in which to shock the system into realizing we can not cookie cutter everyone into neat little shapes and expect all to be well. I will not be the first to attempt this nor will I be last for if I am to succeed then I will also most likely create just another form to be molded onto others as most people like their neat little boxes.
TUNE IN, TURN IT UP, SPREAD THE WORD!!!!
Life is not like a box of chocolates. eventually the surprise goes away once you open enough of them. If you view life this way then I surmise you have tunnel vision.
One thing that is for sure in the area of Missouri I live in. Kids are heading off to college on a scholarship named A+ program. They are entering college and taking remedial courses. Now I went to college in 2010 and so I was way out of touch with quadratic formulas and had to take 1 remedial algebra course for no credit. I didn’t understand how so many kids had these A+ scholarships and were in this class with me. I didn’t know what A+ was. Sounds like a smart kid’s scholarship right? Well as it turns out your final high school GPA and grades have little to do getting these scholarships. It is more focused on citizenship it appears then whether or not you have at least a 2.75 GPA.
Now I have seen some of the math they propose teaching our children. Our school is to begin next year. Being a Psych major has helped me understand a little better what is actually going on when kids are learning math. The truth is they are not learning anything. They think that everything has to be memorized and all you need to know is the answer. (This of course is not meant to be blanket statement) Well they give homework that looks identical to the one they just did and the test themselves are identical in form to the home work. Now this does for some I imagine reduce test anxiety but it does not allow them to build their own ways to get things done.
My son is in 7th grade now. I also have 2 daughters, one in 1st the other in 4th. My son is beginning algebra now and I have been working with all of my kids for a long time in solving problems. My first grader can do some multiplication and my son is probably a year and half ahead of his class in math abilities. I give credit to making sure they know how to solve the problems not just remembering the answers. This becomes more evident of the problem in my 4th grader who can memorize like crazy but if I give her something out of order I might as well have given her a Chinese manual to start with. Once the battle is over and I have showed her she already knows the answers she gets all excited and runs right through them.
Now there is not much of a “process” involved in basic arithmetic. When you get into linear equations and have to use quadratic formulas and factoring to solve for x on the other hand, the “process” is far more important than the actual answer itself. The curriculum for at minimum high scholars should be put together by college teachers. Now you would think this is already the case but it turns out that college professors say the majority of kids coming out of high school are not prepared for college level courses. Well what does that mean, not prepared? They cannot formulate how to solve for 3x squared +2x = 1. They cannot put together that math now has a component to it that requires a person to have critical thinking skills and memorization alone will no longer suffice.
So is it crap or good? Unfortunately the jury is out on this matter because it has not been in effect long enough to determine if it will work or not. In my opinion there will probably be a better system of teaching in few more years and then a better one after that. With math I have found that if you can build on what they already know in math (like 10 times a number is that number with a zero added to it) I would bet you would find vast improvements in our nations mathematical abilities
Each state has its own rules and regulations concerning government and education. The truth is Americans are not getting the required normal exposure we once did and this is leading to inevitable despair and callousness as we allow our children to be wholly raised by those that think they know best and parents DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING when it comes to teaching kids. The solution is right in front us. You are going to be the most influential person our children ever meet. How do wish your influence to be received?
While most of us have pretty good cookie cutter definition of what constitutes the difference between good and evil we sometimes fail to recognize that certain acts without intent become inherently evil by those perceiving it. So who gets to define what exactly is evil and what is just perhaps mean? Does teasing and bullying fall into this category? What about high school? Some of the most evilest people I ever remember where during my high school years. Jocks (not all) tended to play a major role in facilitating acts of evil against those who were academic achievers or part of the rebellious crowd of smokers, skateboarders, Goths, and the obvious poor. Always a instigated fight in the locker room before the end of gym class by someone trying to manipulate someone else or someone trying to impress someone else but rarely the instigators themselves. Girls spreading rumors about other girls who may have said high to their man. Maybe to a boy that liked her about another boy who dared to approach her publicly as to teach him to stay in his social class. The popular crowd (often associated with the best dressed and those financially well off) who has such a fear of losing their status that they continually label all others to make sure everyone knows “where they fit in at”.
Fortunately psychology has answers for us in this four year battle royal of hormones, pimples and braces. It is known that the teenage years up until we are in our early twenties are a significant and sensitive time in our lives concerning brain development. The Pre-frontal cortex begins the long task of rewiring the mainframe to increase efficiency and eliminate neural connections no longer needed and create new connections in areas that were previously unused or underused for lack of need. It is believed that this part of the brain is what acts as the executive function in decision making and receives social cues about how we are supposed to act in a given situation. It is where logical thinking occurs and is responsible for regulating drives that are primitive in nature but necessary for survival with the exception of sexual drives. At this time the Hippocampal region which is where hormones and chemical messengers that trigger other hormone release are controlled. Excessive outward emotional expression as well as increased appetites and sexual urges all tie in to individual perception of ones self as well as others. Increased risk taking behavior and more of a desire to be around peers as opposed to the ever oppressing adults that are always messing up their good time. Do you remember when you were a teen? Are you now an adult that has a teenager? Ringing any bells yet?
Sorry to have to bring my next point of contention but consider for a minute two people. The first is in Aurora Colorado where the person went into a Batman movie and killed people who were watching it for no apparent reason. The next is Sandy Hook elementary school where a man walked into a school with guns and killed young children as well as teachers with no apparent motive for doing so. Are we calling these people evil or are calling their acts evil? Can we even separate the act from the person? This is where we as a society need to be very careful in how we label and publicize the horrific acts perpetrated by two random people. My personal opinion is you can not separate the act from the individual. I would venture to guess from media reports that both of these people potentially had some kind of psychiatric disorder. Does this imply temporary insanity? No because the individuals could make clear distinctions between right and wrong however, there is this earlier mentioned process of teenage brain remodeling.
We know that there are markedly different reactions and chemical release and inhibition from people who have been diagnosed with some of these disorders. There also seems to be a sort of disconnect between the frontal lobe and the rest of the brain in some patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. So there is/was a potential for these two individuals to be helped. Unless of coarse they were indeed evil then we need an exorcism perhaps instead of psychiatric care. If they did suffer from a mental health disorder then these can be typically treated with medications that alter the way chemicals interact with neurons such as SSRIs, SNRIs, anti-psychotics, neural modulators and the potential combination of these drugs. If we decide to label these acts as evil then we are saying to people that if you have a disorder then you are evil and this could further impact the stigma associated with having these disorders. and potentially cause the further decline in people seeking out help because they don’t want to be thought of as a potential mass murderer by friends and family. Parents would be less apt to have their children diagnosed for fear of stigmatization in school settings.
So what is evil? In my opinion evil is the person who witnesses an event where a person is being harmed and does nothing. Evil is the deliberate act of causing or causing to happen something that could or does harm another. That person knows what they did and does not have any intention of doing otherwise. Actually taking pleasure in causing another individual harm. Manipulating people who are in positions where they are subordinate to the manipulator. (boss : employee, Doctor:Patient or staff). Even in the before mentioned instances it is theoretically possible that these types of actions could be prevented through chemical manipulation or Cognitive Behavioral therapy.
In short there could be no such thing as evil intended only evil perceived. Maybe those three monkeys were on to something after all. “See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil”.
So college is tough right? At 18 the pressures of parents or the appearance of time remaining can overwhelm the best and brightest. Now add in social obligations of organizational clubs with time commitment requirements and the lure of fun vs. that ten page term paper that hasn’t been started yet and its really a wonder as many people make it out of college with their sanity in tact. I am in my fourth year of being a non-traditional student. I have not worked but just a few months out of these four years. I received my funding through programs like Trade Act and WIA(workforce investment act) as well as traditional Pell grants and scholarships. I will be forty soon and have traveled the country to all most every state in the continental US.
While others were pursuing their academics after high school, I was pursuing the career of a lowly minimum wage factory worker. I dropped out when I was 16 and knew that my old school would not let me back in after attempting to do so once. I was at the factory for five years before I was fired for absenteeism. I was offered my job back immediately after they fired me but I told them to blow it out their A$%. I had recently kind of befriended the owner of local restaurant and I decided I was going to try Bar tending. Thankfully he agreed to give me try and I got the job. This lasted for around three years and after that I tried a hodgepodge of different low skill requirement jobs. Bar tending was by far the funnest job I ever had but the best job was a traveling salesman. It never failed me to find something better than what I already had. I left the great state of Misery (Missouri) and headed with my uncles to various venues across the country until one day in West Palm Beach Florida I was told that after our next venue (state fair) as they would no longer be needing my services as they were tired of traveling. Now what? I was a fish out water in a state with no connections and not enough money to sustain me until got something going. Head back to Misery? I don’t think so.
I talked to another vendor with a booth next to ours who had a pretty good operation going. They were corporate sponsors of the Florida State fair and had four different locations throughout the grounds for maximum exposure. I asked him if they needed help and he said yes they needed another district manager like him who was willing to spend lots of time on the road. I said I am your guy and started working for them the next week. The job lasted three years and the company went out of business. Misery was calling me home like a lost dog who missed his master and the comforts of home but the feeling of freedom and range conflicted with the calls causing hesitation and procrastination.
I was home. There was a desolate place in my heart now as all the things I left to get away from knew I had returned and insisted I make amends and put my comfy slippers back on and stay awhile. After three years of Hodge podge I found something decent but laborious at another factory. Three years later the company went out business. Now during my return I met my lovely wife and she gave me two beautiful daughters and two she already had with her. The idea of hodge podging was not in my thoughts of what now? I held my eyes on a prize that required sacrifices for all in our family. I decided to go to school. 20 years + out and decided my life needs a fresh injection of desire and ambition.
I am now nearing the end of another story in my life. What will happen? Was it all worth it? Will our children have to endure the struggles I did? Should I look at my past as a struggle? Our own personal cemeteries hold more bodies of decaying matter than oldest and largest cemeteries in the world. Some where there exist a bouquet of flowers freshly laid but frozen when found so as to hide some of their glory and if you really wanted to see them you had to share your life before they would show you what lies beyond cemeteries. They serve as a familiar guide but not a pair of slippers to provide security and complacency but a off ramp towards the future. Where do they come from? Why did I not notice as vividly before now? Freud says their are no coincidences and somewhere in the unconscious are the fears and apprehensions of those who choose not seek betterment for fear of harm to the psyche. They are the signs of your mark. Your contribution to society is ever changing and requires constant maintenance . My major accomplishment and mark have yet to be seen or perhaps by some reason my mark is not a single crowning glory or achievement but rather a vast collection of terrible and fantastic things meant to inform the world that all is well on the surface. but you will never know what lies beneath. Every thing you do leaves a mark. Some marks last forever but are not seen. Some marks only last a short time and are forgotten. Some marks cause pain while others inspire. What you put out returns to you in some form. When you leave a mark on someone or something it marks you as well. Did you create a masterpiece, or rather a back alley graffiti that contaminates those who see it? “Long is the rode to success and deep is the mark it leaves. Short is the path to submission and conformity and the mark left is like that of a trail left on the edge of beach “. me 2013
Small Town, Big Feeling
Before I became a Blogger there was always so much to say without an outlet I felt suitable enough to express myself. It was funny how I received a notice on Facebook that a new comment had been made on a public post on our local newspapers Facebook page. It was a personal short story I shared about how when its neither needed nor expected, that there are still people in this world who do nice things for no reason whatsoever. I hope you enjoy it even though It may have a typo. Also if you have something to share, follow the link below and tell your story.