There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you – Maya Angelou

Archive for April, 2014

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Which One Is True? Both? Neither? Here is my take on it.

Which One Is True?  Both?  Neither?  Here is my take on it.

Our Educational System Through Time:

There was a time when our educational system in America was valued. No matter how small a town was there always seemed to be a school, or a parent that taught their child at home. Teachers and a good education were valued and respected. The Three R’s were considered basic necessities. Not so much these days. And I think this is the real problem.

Over time we have dumbed our education down to the point that students are bored, and we have tied teachers’ hands by having stupid things in place like “no child left behind,” and teaching to state tests, not to mention discontinuing basic educational classes that gave children a chance to express themselves and burn off some energy like art, music and gym. It is no wonder we have a multitude of children in this country with ADD and ADHD! Half these kids are probably bored to death in school and cannot focus because their creativity and activity outlets have been stamped out and may not be ADHD at all.

When my child brought home an “A” paper in the 2nd grade that had atrocious spelling and punctuation errors, I questioned the teacher about it. Her response was that it was more important for the children to get their feelings on the paper than it was to correct their spelling and punctuation. It was important to build their self-confidence and not hurt their feelings. I was livid! And so went my child’s education.

Do you know they have stopped teaching handwriting in school now?!  I have always known that was a bad idea! And I was proven right when I saw 1st hand the result of this at my job the other night when I sat next to a young gal who continually handed me every letter written in by someone because she could not read the handwriting! GRRRRR! I was doing her job as well as mine, and I hardly think that is fair. If she cannot do the job required, then what is she doing there? Reading handwriting is a requirement of that job even though it is not an official requirement. But God-forbid if we should discriminate against someone on their lack of education!

My partner is an instructor of English at the college level and has been teaching for about 26 years. Do you know that she actually gets phone calls from college student parents wondering why their student “got” the grade they did?! Why wasn’t it an A? Well, there are two problems she faces: First, these students often know nothing about basic English, reading or writing skills; second, these students fail to show up for repeated classes and/or fail to turn in their homework. And yet, these students and their parents expect to be handed an A just by virtue of the fact that they are registered for and paying for these classes.

Other countries are far smarter than we are because they still value an education. Teachers are still respected. And in some places, teachers are actually given a fair salary! Our society as a rule cares about the standard of education, the parents care, the teachers care and the students have to care, because everyone else does too! Many Amercians are complaining that foreigners are taking our jobs, but has anyone ever stopped to think about why? (We won’t get into corporate greed sending all the unskilled and low paying jobs overseas.) Well, our white collar jobs require an education, and foreigners are being brought in to do our jobs because we can’t and they can! So, if you don’t like it, then get smart! Because this is a world economy now, and that is not going to change. Highly skilled jobs are still going to be needed no matter where we are in this world, and the people who have the education are going to go where the money is.

So, even though we may have blamed the the student and now blame the teacher, what we really need to do is look at ourselves and our overall societal attitude towards education. If the student doesn’t care, it is because no one around him does either. Social apathy. If the teachers fail, it is because of restricting laws and rules that prevent them from failing students who did not make the grade, or even preventing them from doing any real teaching because state laws mandate that X-number of students must pass the state test in order to get funding, so education halts before state tests come up so teachers can teach to the test!

And what about the parents? How many parents are sitting down with their kids every night to do homework with them? How many parents answer questions for their kids, or help their kids manage their time, or hire tutors for kids who are stuggling, or even volunteer at the school? Now, before all you parents get upset with me… I know that society does not support you either. I know many of you are out there working jobs and simply do not have the luxury of volunteering at the school or hiring a tutor because you are struggling financially and are too tired by the time you get home to do anything else. So, when do we get a society that supports us parents and our need to help our kids, too? Why are we working so hard and not rewarding parents, students and educators for quality education?

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Moving On – Or So I Thought

First a little background history: I used to have a friend, whom I will refer to as Ms. M. (Melodramatic, Manic and Manipulative are words you can fill in there).  I have known her for a couple of years. At first she was a good friend.  Yes, she did have her issues, but don’t we all?  We used to do things together and go for walks together and have great conversations. Yep, those were the good old days…

But then last summer things began to change.  She decided to stop taking her meds. I understand her reasonings, because the side effects were causing her bouts of great depression.  Maybe it was because she never took her meds regularly anyway and the constant flux of taking them and then not taking them caused this.  I don’t know.  She decided to stop cold turkey instead of weaning herself off them.  And she decided on a vitamin therapy plan. Hey, nothing wrong with that idea, as long as you actually stick to it, but just like her meds she was inconsistent. Anyway, she became obnoxious, loud, vulgar, and suddenly she started hanging out with the bad boys and sleeping around – which was totally against her religion – and suddenly did not have time for me.  When I called I was frequently interrupted by another incoming phone call that she just had to take.  I would wait on hold for several minutes before I finally hung up or she would say she would call me back and never would.  I eventually stopped calling her.  I figured she would call me when she had time for me.

The problem with that logic was that she did indeed call me – but weeks would go by without me hearing from her then I would hear from her several times in one week, because she needed a favor.  I gave her multiple rides and was always promised gas money and never given any.  She would totally trash her apartment and then ask me to help her clean it up at some last minute occassion like friends coming over for dinner, some inspection, or such thing.  She even started lying to me and getting me there under false pretenses to get me to help her clean.  It was crazy!

At first I gave in to her demands, hoping that she would get her act together and things would get back to normal.  But her demands became more and more frequent and still there was no sign of friendship, except a gift at Christmas.  That gave me hope.  But then she threw rocks through a couple of windows of a car, that belonged to a friend of hers, when she became beligerant with him and he and his family kicked her out of the house.  She called me to tell me about it.  She laughed about it and there was nothing apologetic in her at all about it.  This is when I became afraid of her.  What if I refused to help her?  What if I ended my friendship with her?  Would she also vandalize my car?  I was genuinely worried.  I dreaded her phone calls and tried to ignore them, but she was extremely patient and would call me multiple times in a day until I finally answered the phone. I started trying to lay boundaries and I tried to give excuses, but she never got the message and now her needs were always an emergency and it put me in a bad place: like she had her 6 year old daughter out late with her and they needed a ride home, or she had a concussion and needed to go to the hospital.  What kind of friend would I be if I said no?

She actually peed in my car – TWICE – and laughed and laughed and laughed about it.  Never once did she apologize or offer to pay for a professional cleaning.  I was extremely upset by her lack of care about this. Friends just don’t do this.  I was always taught that if you damage someone else’s property you were responsible for paying for it. Period. I would have been happy with a sincere apology. I got none of it.

Anyway, a time finally came when I got the courage to actually say no to her – TWICE!  The second time she sent me a text message: “Were not frds anymore dont ever call me again.” I practically did a happy dance.  I shouted hooray!  I was done!  I could move on!  I was free!  Except for one small detail…As was par for the course, she left a bunch of crap in my car.  There was going to come a time when she would want it back.  I held onto it for a week as a courtesy, but did not hear from her.  Then I took it to a place that has programs that we go to and dropped it off there, letting the director know that it belonged to Ms. M. and would he make sure she got it next time she showed up? He agreed.  Two more weeks went by, and I was sailing!

But then came yesterday. She called me three times and left voicemails.  She said she wanted her stuff back.  I texted her back and told her where she could pick it up.  I thought that was the end.  Nope.  She texed me again and again that night.  It wasn’t about wanting her stuff back.  She wanted ME back!  I forwarded her text message to me about not being friends anymore and she texted me back 3 or 4 more times!  So, I finally decided to say what I have been wanting to say to her for months.

Well, this morning I awoke to 3 more text messages.  She wasn’t getting the message. Then she called me several more times throughout the afternoon.  I did not pick up.  Again I forwarded back her message of not being friends and finally she sent me a text that said “I hate you!”  I laughed!  There was a time in my life that something like that would have really stung, but in this case, I was done!

So, why is it that she can’t seem to understand that we ARE done?  Why does she feel the need to keep pursuing this?  When she texted me some weeks ago and ended our friendship I was ready to move on.  She isn’t.  How do I get her to “get it?” Do I still worry that she will vandalize my property?  You bet I do! I can only hope that if she comes near me or my property someone else is there to witness it.

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