Friday, April 25, 2008

Second-grade Worries

I have to brag on my daughter a little bit. Closing out her year in second grade, she has significantly surpassed her reading goals and is starting to devour words at a prolific rate. This morning was no different.

As I was in the kitchen downing my morning regimen of medication, my young daughter was making her lunch in preparation for school when she offered, “Dada. I’m not going to have heart disease.”

“Really,” I say. “Why not?”

“Because I eat Cheerios and it says right here, (pointing to the box that was still on the table) ‘Proven to reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.’”

Next step ... Med school.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Are Educated

Talk to anyone who knows about global education and they will tell you that the US is lagging behind other progressive countries. It’s not that we are dumber than the rest of the world … well, yeah, maybe it is. I would say, however, that our smartest and most gifted are just as smart and gifted as everyone else’s smartest and most gifted, but we have fewer smarts and giftedness to go around. Call it what you will, we just don’t put a premium on education in this country.

Working in higher education, however, you like to think that most people have a general grasp of basic core knowledge. After all, everyone you deal with has a minimum of a high school diploma and has managed to score moderately well on the college entrance exams. Yet oustide these hallowed walls of higher learning there are still those who lack basic fundamental skills … such as simple, single-digit addition.

Case in point: My brother-in-law and I, along with a few other guys, have taken over the Optimist Club Softball program that gives girls ages 5-16 the chance to play summer league softball. The program was in shambles and was about to fold so he and I, mostly he, joined the Optimist Club with the express intent of taking over the program. So far, things have run pretty smoothly. We will have four leagues for girls ages 5-7, 8-10, 11-13 and 14-16. Take special note of those age divisions: 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, and 14-16.

We are currently in the process of registering for the upcoming 2008 season which takes place in June. Girls register for leagues according to their age on Dec. 31, 2007. This is plainly stated on all material that has been sent out concerning registration.

Yesterday I received a question via email concerning registration. The email read, “If my child is 6yrs old and her birthday is in August, will she be put in the 5-7 yrs old catagory [sic] or bumped up to the 8-10 yrs old catagory [sic]?”

And we wonder why all the good jobs are going overseas.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

We've come a long way

In the ongoing saga of realizing ones mortality and the rate at which each individual ages, I must say that I had yet another revelation. This revelation being that one should take things at a more moderate pace once one is no longer immortal.

I’m not real sure what happened, but it involved an incessant stubbornness toward pushing oneself and the unrelenting, sadism of the modern-day treadmill. Needless to say, my left leg feels like it is going to detach at the hip and walking may no longer be an optional mode of transportation. But before you call me old, why don’t you get on a treadmill and push out 2 ½ miles in 30 minutes or less. It's not record pace, but it's pretty good for someone who is not used to doing that sort of thing.

Anyway, for the real reason of today’s post, I thought you might enjoy reading excerpts from the 1950-51 student handbooks at our small, faith-based university. In the pre-Cleaver era of homemaking and social norms, our fine, pioneering institution published separate handbooks for men and women. Needless to say, the women’s handbook was twice as long and dealt much more with personal appearance and behavior. The men’s handbook had smaller words and more pictures.

Under the heading “Wayland women and their dates,” the first paragraphs read, “Residents of dormitories must be properly introduced to their escort and their escort introduced to the (dorm) Counselor before dating. Each new escort must be introduced to the Counselor. Escorts will call for the residents at the dormitory. There will be no meeting elsewhere.” A few paragraphs later, “When cars are used for dating they are to be used only as transportation to and from the points of destination.”

There is no heading in the men’s handbook about, “Wayland men and their dates.”

And how about “Wayland women and the Lord’s day?”

“Worship in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day will help fortify, strengthen, and give wisdom to meet the challenge of each week. Residents will faithfully attend the church of their choice. Wayland women are appropriately attired for church attendance when they wear their ‘best dress’ or suit, with hose, gloves and hat. They are on their best behavior when they refrain from chewing gum, from unnecessary chatter, and when they contribute, individually, in every way to the worshipful atmosphere within the Lord’s House.”

Nothin’ about going to church in the men’s handbook.

“Wayland women and their dress”

“Residents are expected to dress modestly and neatly at all times, and appropriately for all occasions. Shorts are not allowed at any time inside or outside the dormitories. … Slacks and blue jeans are worn only on certain occasions and then by special permission of the Dean of Students. … Residents will not leave the dormitory with their hair rolled up. … Be alert to the styles of the moment as long as they are those becoming a Christian young woman. Watch your color combinations. Dress with taste and originality.”

You guessed it, nothing in the men’s book about how to dress.

Then we have the “Personal pointers for Wayland women.” I have just chosen some to give you an idea of what is included.
11. Be attractive! Cleanliness, good posture, appropriate dress and refinement are all a part of good grooming. (We all like our women to be well groomed.)
12. Refinement has no place for the boisterous and uncouth, or the blasé. (Can't stand those blase and uncouth chicks.)
13. Chew gum in private only. (But smoke, drink and prostitute yourself in public)
15. Familiarity shows lack of proper discretion and is out of place on Wayland campus. (I'm not real sure what they mean by this ... and I'm kind of afraid to ask.)

And, of course, there are no personal pointers in the men’s handbook.

But, I guess that’s not too bad for a school that in its formative years boasted in its promotional literature that “the town has no nightclubs and no negroes.”

Who says change is bad?