You’re still a few years away from us having to worry about this, but there’s something called Common Core, and apparently, you and I are supposed to loathe it the way vegans across America cringe when they hear the word “Monsanto.”
From what I can understand, in an attempt for America to compete with the rest of the world in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (also referred to as STEM), 45 of 50 of the United States have adopted a teaching system which is intended to help students understand complex problems by picking them apart, rethinking them, and building solutions.
It’s also meant to prepare them for college and work expectations.
In other words, I suppose the theory is that America is too “right-brained.” We need to become more “left-brained” to compete on a global scale.
Maybe we need to start thinking more like computers and less like poets? (That’s my attempt at being sarcastic, by the way.)
I should be very clear to say, I cannot truly be a critic of Common Core, because I am not experiencing it daily, like so many parents are; who I see complain about it on Facebook and Twitter.
Seriously, I can’t scroll through my Facebook feed on any given day without at least seeing one complaint about Common Core.
So from that, I will just assume that you and I both will learn to hate Common Core within the next few years when the time is right.
However, something I will always teach you is to be open-minded. On paper, I love the concept of Common Core.
The question is, “Is it actually more effective?” I don’t know.
It makes a lot of sense to me, though. In school, I never did well in math or science; which ultimately led to me getting an English degree, because by default, it was the one thing I was good at.
Perhaps I could have benefited from Common Core when I was a kid? Maybe it could have taught me to think in a way where I would have actually liked math.
We’ll find out with you.
You know how I am. If I am believe it is ineffective, I’ll let you know.
But as for now, I want to like Common Core. I can’t dislike something I’ve never tried. We’ll give it fair shot.
It’s not like we really have a choice anyway, right?
It’s true. I’m now embarrassed by some of the things I’ve written to you over the years- and I wish I could say I’ll never say something stupid again.
But if I said that, I would be conceited, which would contradict the part about maturing as a parent.
One of the most relevant lessons I’ve been teaching myself is “how not to say things that will end up making me sound judgmental of other parents or to be offensive to them.”
And I tell you- that’s a very tricky lesson to learn.
Ultimately, it’s dang near impossible not to step on someone’s toes.
I’ve discovered that even by talking about the possibility of you being an only child can offend other parents who are unable to have another child.
If I talk about our family’s plant-based lifestyle, it can be perceived that I am trying to convert other people to “unhealthy eating habits which keeps your family from getting the nutrients they need.”
I do try to be as respectful as I can in my interactions with people in real life and social media; the latter of which is much more difficult.
In fact, trying to regularly participate in social media while talking about parenting topics especially can be harder than attempting to get through a Chips Ahoy cookie without eating a chocolate chip.
Therefore, there is now a very relevant Internet meme which features Michael Jackson eating popcorn, stating: “I Just Came Here To Read The Comments.”
It tends to show up in the comments section of controversial blog posts.
Navigating the comments on social media has become almost ridiculous by now. I noticed last week at the bottom of a parenting article on MSN, they now have to offer up a list of “reportable” tags for comments:
There’s now a category for spam, exploitation, profanity/vulgarity/obscenity, copyright infringement, harassment or threat, and even threats of suicide.
With that being said, I try not to offend those in the world of parenting… but these days, it’s not always easy to know who the actual Internet trolls really are.
I just have to tiptoe and tap-dance while being ready to duck and dodge potential tomatoes being hurled my way.
Last week at work, I had a conversation with a co-worker named Matt, who has two small kids.
I was telling him how, the longer I’m a parent, the mellower of a person I am becoming. In other words, stuff is just bothering me less compared to the way it used to.
To my surprise, he agreed- he can also personally relate. We acknowledged that whether it’s gaining more patience, or a greater ability to not allow annoying things to bother us, the journey of being parents has broken us in, for the better.
Over three years ago, when I become a parent, I was a much more out-spoken, polarizing person; especially in regards to the world of social media… especially in relation to politics and religion.
Well, that has definitely gradually changed over the past couple of years.
For example, I no longer care to publically share my political affiliation (or disassociation). I feel that public political conversations divide people; causing them to believe that by putting blind faith into a certain political party, that there’s hope that “the other side” will be converted into an opposing belief system; therefore “getting America back on track.”
I’m so over that. I can’t change people’s political beliefs. Plus, I don’t want to be labeled (and limited) to just one side.
All I can do is hope to change the world through my behavior, which (hopefully) proves the validity of my beliefs in the first place.
Having learned that, I’ve realized that same concept applies to parenting issues which I had previously debated with other parents about.
Like the “cry it out” method, attachment parenting, and circumcision…
I used to be so quick to allow myself to get involved in public online debates over those issues. These days, I strive to not take, or present, the bait.
And really, I haven’t said anything controversial in a while…
Granted, I’m still constantly thinking out of the box, and open-minded to concepts that many people might question.
But now, I’m handling these situations differently than I would have six months or even a year ago:
Has anyone else seen the documentary “911: In Plane Site” on Netflix (will be removed on March 15) or on YouTube in its entirety? If so, will you send me a private message including your thoughts on it? I am asking for a private message response (not a comment) because I am attempting to avoid starting a comments war on my wall, in which I appear as a divisive host or commentator, or am labelled as a conspiracy theorist. I am not seeking controversy; only private answers to help sort out some confusion I’m having. Thanks.
I still like to engage people, and learn from others, but not at the risk of being polarizing. So I’m more discreet and more private about my questions and concerns regarding the world and the people who live in it.
It’s my opinion that the chaotic process of parenthood has forced me to focus on what really matters.
I have gotten to the point where I don’t feel the need to have to explain myself to other people if they find out my point of view and disagree with it. What’s the point in defending your beliefs to someone who is not open-minded to hearing them anyway?
Instead of controversy, I’m seeking the collaboration of ideas with other people.
I seek truth, not simply believing I’m right.
Being a parent has peripherally taught me to focus more on how I can become a better person withthe help of other people; not how I can try to make other people better against their will or conviction.
It’s trained me to not let things bother me like they used to. I don’t know if this necessarily makes sense to other parents, but it’s definitely how I feel.
According to a recent poll here on Parents.com, 81% of parents have spanked their child at least once and 22% do so on a weekly basis.
That amazes me! So many, huh?
In our overly politically correct society, sometimes I feel like we can be expected to believe that the only ones who endorse spanking are the wacko, ultra-conservative religious cult members who are ultimately featured on a creepy episode of NBC’s Dateline.
It doesn’t help that the book To Train Up A Child is currently being linked to fatal child abuse cases; no matter how much the book actually had to do with the abuse.
Therefore, we evidently must leave it to Super Nanny to show us the right way to discipline our children: putting them in “time out.”
I was spanked as a child; like most of us, I assume. (At least 81% of us, right?)
Yet, arguably, I’m a pretty normal guy. I’m not psychologically traumatized nor am I an abusive husband or father.
So I say, spanking is harmless when not excessive. But here’s my question: Is spanking necessary?
Honestly, I don’t know yet: My kid is only 15 months old.
The funny thing is, up until very recently, I was a supporter of spanking. But after several talks about it between my wife and me, I updated my opinion on the issue.
Here’s what I would like to believe:
That if A) I am properly setting practical, not legalistic, behavioral boundaries for my son, B) I am consistently following through with discipline (from “time out” to having privileges taken away) every time he breaks the rules, C) I am clearly and positively communicating with him why he is being punished and D) I am assuring him that no matter what he ever does he can never cause me to love him any less, that it will never come down to the last resort of me having to spank him.
It seems to me that if I do A through D and none of that works, then hitting my child with my hand or a wooden paddle or a belt wouldn’t resolve the issue any better.
But hey, I’ve said before that I have this habit of every 5 years realizing what an idiot I was 5 years ago, so maybe this is just another classic example of me opening my big mouth and being a naive idiot again.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll truly be part of that 19%, the minority that doesn’t spank my child. I definitely plan to be.
No matter how polarized or politically correct our society is on this issue, I think here’s the heart of it: We believe in the importance of disciplining our kids.
Back in April 2010 when my wife was pregnant with our son and I was still “pro-spanking,” someone made a $5 bet with me that I “won’t have it in me” to spank my child when he gets older- that those big watery eyes and that quivering lip would cause me to cave.
I wonder if this means I lose the bet now? It’s not that I don’t have it in me to spank him, because I do. But I think my alternative plan will be just as effective.
After all, we can’t assume that the 19% of the people out there who were “unspanked” as kids are the ones keeping our prisons full, or at least earning 15 minutes of shame on the show Cops.
Does it really make a difference in the end whether a child is spanked, as long as the child is A) loved and B) disciplined?
Despite being 33 minutes long, “180″ reached over one million views in less than its first month on YouTube. The extremely engaging video consists of a Jewish man asking people on the street whether or not they would have killed Adolf Hitler if they had the chance. Then he follows up by asking if they would have killed Hitler’s mother while she was pregnant with him.
Eventually the people are asked to finish the sentence, “It’s okay to kill a baby when…”.
“180″ shares the interesting comparison that over 11 million people (not just Jews, but also homosexuals and children with Downs Syndrome) were killed under Hitler’s direction, while over 53 million babies have been aborted since abortion was made legal in the United States back in 1973.
Back in August, I published my most controversial (and 2nd most popular) Dadabase post to date, entitled “The Half Abortion: Only Keeping One Twin.” Since then, it has received comments on a nearly daily basis. Why? It asks some deep, yet relevant questions.
We all like to think of ourselves as good people; that if there is a Heaven, we will be good enough to make the cut. By asking these deep, difficult, and controversial questions, it makes it easier to decipher the differences between “good” and “evil.” If Hitler is the obvious worst person who ever lived, then who’s with him?
Is it legitimate to compare the Holocaust to legalized abortion in America?
I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this. Of course, it will be pretty hard to take your comment seriously if you haven’t actually watched the entire video. So now I invite you to go deep into some serious stuff here with me today.
In 33 minutes, leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.
*Warning: Video contains some brief, disturbing images.