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for more than a quarter century

Category: Rants

  • Raising teens in a digital world

    When it comes to teens’ use of technology, I feel strongly that we should listen to what the experts have to say. Recently I’ve waded into several threads on social media about youth and digital media. One was sparked by the sharing of the tweet shown on the left, which turns out to be not […]

  • Fear and locked doors

    Dear Ms. School District Superintendant I’m writing to express my distaste for the recent board-level changes in school security policy.  I chose to raise my children in this area in large part because I wanted them to grow up in an environment free of pervasive media-drive fear. Not free of risk, of course: none of […]

  • A School of Common Sense

    The comments in response to my post about all-day junior kindergarten got me thinking again about what we could change about our society, our communities, our lifestyles, our institutions and our values to promote Gross Domestic Happiness rather than Gross Domestic Product. As I wrote in my follow-up comment, there’s no simple answer; systemic change […]

  • All-day Junior Kindergarten

    It’s our annual tax deadline today. Which means that I’ve spent much of the last week wretchedly catching up on the accounting, and most of today on the computer trying to drag my way through tax return preparation. And which also means I’ve made some enthusiastic diversions into heated discussions on various message boards for […]

  • The race that is childhood

    Message board copy & paste: “One of the bragging points is ‘My little Johnny doesn’t watch those shows anymore. He’s much too mature for Barney and Dora. He much prefers watching Arthur and Spiderman.’ “ My, everything has got so competitive, hasn’t it? Even child-rearing is a race. It breeds something I call pseudo-maturity — […]

  • Adolescent responsibility

    Somewhere I read that the shift to night-owl-dom in adolescence once had a biological imperative. Young teens in tribal times were the ones who were given spears and left to guard the encampment from enemies and predators by the fire all night long. Now that’s meaningful responsibility — life and death stuff! By contrast today’s […]

  • Adolescence rant

    Copied & pasted from a discussion board where it was being argued that young adults from 18-25 ought to be cut a little slack by the justice system when they do stupid things like engage in credit card fraud — because science has shown that their frontal cortexes are still developing. “There is good reason […]

  • Schools and rules

    A Grade 6 class is expected to read a book of their choice per week at home independently and submit a book report for each. They should read a range of genres. Multiple books from the same series are not acceptable. Non-fiction books are not acceptable. The aim of this home reading program can only […]

  • Two sinks or one?

    When you travel a journey gradually, apart from others, sometimes you don’t appreciate how far you’ve moved beyond what others see as normal, or at least comprehensible. Maybe my quest for simplicity is like that. The following was posted, in all seriousness, on a parent-oriented message board I frequent, on the topic of “should we […]

  • February

    I’ve had just about enough of this month. The rink is soggy. The driveway is soggy. There is dirt on the snow everywhere, and the snow is still piled deep and high. It’s wet and cold and it’s not pretty. Even a Steller’s Jay does little to cheer things up outside. Inside we are bored […]

  • Where have all the raincoats gone?

    Last fall, before our canoe trip, I did my best to scrounge around and find everyone a rain jacket. I came up short. It was early September and we were heading into the cold wet months in our area, but there was nothing on the racks in the stores. They had windbreakers/warmup jackets and polyester […]

  • Swamped by simplicity

    Simplicity is a real catch-word in my life these days, and also in several of the on-line communities I’m part of. This morning I awoke with a cold and ended up feeling particularly grumpy. I was never truly part of a rat-race, discounting the 75-hour weeks I worked as an intern and occasional ER-shift-heavy locums […]

  • Over-packaging rant

    I have this cute wonderful little Sony MiniDisc recorder that can make hi-fi digital stereo recordings with nothing more than the poke of a couple of buttons, but its proprietary NiMH battery finally stopped holding a charge and while I could still use the AC adaptor the device wasn’t half as much use not being […]

  • Common as Dirt

    “After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves. “ […]

  • Small real-life rant

    I heard myself say this after supper this evening, in carefully clipped speech: “You know, there’s no rule that says the oldest female in a family is responsible for all the housekeeping and cooking and has to do everything all the time for everyone, unless someone should deign to do her a rare favour by […]