Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Move to the Dining Room

'Hey kids, the kitchen is messy. Let's move to the dining room!'

This neither cleans the kitchen nor improves the cooking conditions in the dining room.

What do I teach my children when I simply turn my back on the mess?

And who's going to deal with the kitchen - or the dining room for that matter, when it gets messy?

These are the thoughts that keep running through my head as yet another round of blogs and articles delivers the now tiresome rant about moving to the 'burbs for better schools. This time, the particulars hit close to home as some dear friends of mine are in the mix of folks who walked that walk and are now talking that talk.

I'll start with this: I love them, I love their babies and I begrudge no one their choices. I'm not certain I'm right any more than I am that they're wrong. We're all doing the best we can under the circumstances.

But, man, that is not the way I'd handle it. It's not how I'm handling it. I don't want to keep changing my kids' circumstances every time they get difficult. I want them to learn how to maneuver and manage in trying situations and get happy and have success in the thick of it.

I want them to recognize gang mentality when they look at how Wall Street operatives function within the framework of a society that both empowers and punishes them. It's the same crap; the guys in New York just have better outfits.

I want my kids to feel o.k. sitting on a train with homeless people and fancy-suit-wearing people and people with accents. Those people walk our streets, and vote in our elections and share our resources.

I want my children to see their systems and elected officials fail and then I want them to see the swell of people trying to recuperate and fix those problems. I want them to fix those problems.

I'm a hands-on learner. I love to read, but I much prefer touching things and trying them out for myself. I'm o.k. with getting dirty. Maybe that's why I'm so accepting of all the mess around my school system. I think my kids are learning tons from it and I don't want to trade that for whatever I might gain anywhere else.

What do folks think they're winning when their child attends a school with better scores than mine? What's the contest? I went to private schools with lots of great kids, some of whom never left the grocery store job they got in high school. Did they lose? What if they're happy? Still losers? 

And, I mean, look out at the world and our history - did Mother Theresa change the world because her reading comprehension scores were through the roof? (Answer is C. "NO")  JFK was living one of the most privileged lives ever lived. Didn't do him a lick of good in the back seat of that car. Kim Khardashian is a "success" by some standards. What exactly are we striving for?

The whole thing is arbitrary and based on an appeal to the lowest common denominator. So, by my choices, I call BS.

One of my kids got a perfect score on one of those standardized tests once. Perfect. She came home floating. I was so proud of her. Then I told her it was her turn to clean the kitchen.


  1. Completely wonderful in every way. Thank you!

  2. This really made me feel better after getting pretty uptight after that Reader article. Thank you.

  3. Thanks, Carmen, for always keepin' it real. :)

  4. Just what I needed after reading the article in the Reader. Thanks!