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Author Topic: A Father's Question  (Read 14295 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: September 12, 2007, 12:26:47 AM »

Woof All:

My son has just started third grade and amongst the paperwork provided is a Parent-Student handbook.  Amongst the many areas for rules and regulations are:

Racial/Ethnic Sensitivity
Controlled Substances
Weapons
Sexual Harassment

Most of these rules are quite sensible, but some have overtones of PC Nannyism. (In other areas such as Playground Rules, the Nanny State is on a full rampage)

The reason I am posting here concerns the page "Student Behavior/Discipline Procedures".  In relevant part it reads as follows:

"Although positive reinforcement and modeling are our primary tools regarding student behavior, there are times when students need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. , , ,
"Students will usually be warned , , , on the first offense.  Warnings will not be given regarding fighting, theft, destruction of property, and defiance.  On these offenses a consequence will normally be issued on the first offense and will progress on succeeding offenses.
", , ,
"IN SITUATIONS THAT INVOLVE FIGHTING-- ALL STUDENTS WHO PARTICIPATE MAY RECEIVE CONSEQUENCES NO MATTER WHO STARTED IT. Self-defense is not an excuse to engage in a fight.  Students who feel compelled to fight due to harassment by another student must report the situation to one of the school's authorities.  The situation will then be mediated in a civilized manner.  PARENTS MUST NOT ENCOURAGE THEIR CHILDREN TO FIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES.  This teaches children that when a problem cannot be resolved, it is OK to use physical force rather than reason, debate, discussion, mediation, etc. NO FORM OF FIGHTING WILL BE TOLERATED AT BERYL HEIGHTS FOR ANY REASON.
"Students many be recommended for expulsion from school to the governing board for continuation of offenses listed above and WILL BE RECOMMENDED FOR EXPULSION for possession of weapons or replica of weapons or narcotics or any controlled substance on the first offense.
", , , , A district policy has been established regarding all suspensions that include (sic) due process.

The part that triggers my posting here is this: "Self-defense is not an excuse to engage in a fight. , , ,PARENTS MUST NOT ENCOURAGE THEIR CHILDREN TO FIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES".

Question Presented:  As a father, how do I respond?  What do I tell my son?

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Karsk
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 03:49:29 AM »

Hiyas Crafty,

My sons are 25 and 22.

I used to be a school teacher in one of my past lives.  I think that the kind of policy that you cite here is pretty typical of the policies in a lot of places.  But bullying still happens.  Kids still get chewed up.  Sometimes kids have to defend themselves because if they don't they face a life of ridicule and pressure from the jackals. 

I am all for a pleasant school experience. It would be nice if kids could get together and play nice.  But kids are often faced with terrible things in the imperfect systems that we have.

By being an active parent in the school you can do amazing things.  I witnessed the effects of intense direct strong parents.  Nothing puckers school districts up more than savvy parents who are ornery and who know how to fight at a variety of levels.  When my kids faced potential difficulties... I made sure that the school knew I was an active parent.  Active in the Alpha male of my  household sort of way.

I figured that no one was going to look out for my"pups" better than me.  On a pretense of one thing or another I would go talk to the principal and would convey somehow that I had fire in my eyes...that I was a live one.  I said things like.  "I see that you have a policy on self defense.  If you are insisting on preventing children from fighting back as a protocol then I expect that you WILL be able to adequately defend my children from bullying, derision and anything else that might make a kid miserable.  If you are failing in this what specific steps are you suggesting that I take as a conscientious parent who absolutely WILL NOT TOLERATE (eyes locked:feral look in eye) my kids being chewed up by their school experience. "  Then I would plant myself in the principals office for far too long and continue the discussion...repeating myself several times until I got answers.  My intention was to make sure that they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they did not want ME back there pissed off.  I also wanted to know exactly what their process was.   I planned on making sure that my kids followed the rules to the letter ...up to a point.  . If it failed after the boys tried that policy then they would have a fight on their hands to justify expulsion if my kids did fight back.

I think that I was creating conditions favorable for protecting my sons by doing this.   Making "fortifications"  for my kids.... making the school more sensitive to my kids needs had the affect of buttressing them better against potential problems.

I would also become more reasonable with the principal after I made my point. I wanted this guy to be my ally eventually.  I wanted him to know that I am a very reasonable guy but that I would cause major difficulties if my kids were not protected by their policy.  Several times I ended up with the principal confessing in private that he thought such ideas were stupid. This happened with my stepson most recently.  He had his jacket ripped in two by two idiots. They took it from him in the school yard.   When I arrived at the school one of the kids dads was standing over my stepson querying him about what he did to provoke those kids.  He took one look at me and backed into the wall. He was not acting honorably and he knew it.  (That issue was resolved peacefully.  thats fine)

My kids have all had to fight.  I told them that they were to try to obey the rules.  They should do the tings that the school system laid out.  And call me immediately if there was a real problem.  I prepared myself to drop whatever I was doing and be at their school raising hell in minutes. (Small town).  I told the boys about timing and distancing and taught them that staying away from trouble was long range self defense because they should be able to sense trouble and that they were to practice it.  I taught them about the danger of groups. That a gang of kids could turn on you and be much more dangerous.  But at that age sometimes walloping the leader is what it takes to change the way a group of kids looks at you.

I told them what my dad told me.  "Stay out of fights if you can.  But if you have to fight...hit em hard right in the nose as hard as you can. Throws work well too as impressive awe inducing responses.   And then get away and call me ASAP."  I also told them that it was moral to stop the instant that they could see that they had knocked the spirit out of the enemy.  That if they continued beyond what was needed then they would be at fault.  Both the boys learned that there is such a thing as a presentation that is vulnerable to being picked on.  They have learned not to present themselves in that way.

My oldest son had a bunch of kids surround him.  He tried all the things that policy required plus he just didn't want to fight.  Finally he picked one of them up and shoved him onto the top of a locker.   My other son had a guy try to clock him from behind.  He grabbed him and threw him hard.  Nothing ever came of the confrontations as far as the school was concerned.  In both cases my kids came home and told me exactly what happened immediately.  I was prepared to defend them if need be.

Lots of times such things happen AWAY from the eyes of teachers.  At the end of the day there is a time when you have to be willing to stop people from hurting you.  Where I grew up, I had to fight as well. I was lucky that my fights were not crazy.  Nothing lethal.  Back then there were rules of engagement.

Now I don't know about places like LA in this day and age.  Maybe the way kids fight is so harsh that the schools are scared of kids getting killed.  But even then, at some point no matter who you are you have to do something to protect yourself.

Good luck!


Karsk
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Maxx
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 11:18:09 AM »

What a question and it's very easy to answer..I just turned 34 and I am the father of two awesome Kids. I have a 11 year old son and a soon to be this november a 2 year old daughter..And I had this talk with my Son and will have it with my Daughter..I told my son, I don't care what the school says..Someone tried to hurt you..You put them down..Training your son not to defend himself will make for a fine older Adult who just lets people walk all over him and then when it comes time for him to have a family and someone comes to hurt them...His family will suffer because he does not know how to step up...

I give my son tools..I teach him things from Kali,Silat, BJJ, Kenjutsu and Aikido..I don't however show him the things that can ruin anthoer young boys life..I teach him tools for him to help him defend himself Whereever the attack comes from..Be it a play ground fight or a Child molesting asshole or worse..I try to give him things that will help him..When he gets older and can understand what "Is going to far" I will show him the rest..

I will not allow my Family to be one of these "New Age Males" that belive the cops are there to help you and they magically show up out of thin air to help you..BS!

I also don't live in the fantasy world and ignore the fact that more and more kids and taking weapons to school or Guns and making everyone pay for their messed up heads..

If someone attacks my Son and he puts them down..And the school gives me shit..I am getting a lawyer..Thats the bottom line..And nobody is gonna make you pay or your son pay because someone attacked him and he put them down...

And for my Daughter..Well....That's Daddy's girl..I don't think I need to tell anyone here who is a father who has a Daughter what would happen to the fella who did not take no as a answer.
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Tom Stillman
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 02:36:47 PM »

I think your son will be more concerned about breaking your rules rather than the schools rules.  As long as he is clear how you feel about it I think he will be more able to decide for himself how to handle the situation. As far as what the correct decision is, I would say follow your gut feeling.   Also: Remember many kid's now a day's have poor value systems and small scuffles can escalate into a more dangerous situation. When I lived in Redding.California my step son had to change schools at age 14 due to death threats from a violent Asian gang.  Learning to talk your way out of trouble can be most valuable. Being agreable and non aggressive, kind of like a dog bowing down to the alpha male. Sometimes thats all it takes. (and a big gulp of pride)   Personally,  I teach my 5 yr old girl to kick ass when necessary and only when necessary. As previously mentioned, strong advocation sounds like a good way to go. Going into the school office and stirring things up a bit just might put the staff on higher alert to avoid a potentially ugly situation beetween parent and school.  You being a lawyer, I'm sure you are no stranger to stirring things up and convincing them to see things your way...   What ever happened to the good old day's when you get into a school yard fight and the teacher breaks it up, slaps you on the hand and sends you back to class and you might even start building a friendship with the the person you were fighting with.   sad     DT
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Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.  dalai lama
thai70
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2007, 05:10:23 PM »

I was a school teacher for seven years here in Hawaii.  They try to have the zero tolerance about bullying, but the system is easily manipulated.  I can only speak for what I have witnessed at one middle school.  Principals are overworked and don't spend much time on bullying.  It is tough to prove. 
As far as fighting, they generally suspend everybody, but if a parent chooses to appeal the suspension, the kid is allowed back into school until the case is decided.  This goes for any suspension here.  A kid can bring a knife to school (which has happened, often) and they will be suspended, but if they appeal, they are right back in school.  I feel safer already.
One course of action is to have the aggressor kid arrested.  If your kid gets hassled, instruct them to say out loud so others can hear, "I don't want to fight you."  Then If the other kid persists, your kid can whoop ass, call the cops, say your kid was the victim and claim self defense.
The best way to deal with principals who don't do what you want is (and God is going to strike me down for saying this) is to mention either one of two words...
"lawsuit" or "Lawyer"  Principals usually wet their pants at those words.
However, the best thing I've found to work is to be involved, and communicate with the school admin and teachers.  Teachers will usually take the time to talk to you, admin may not.  Mention the kids who are bullying and see if anything gets done.  You get more flys with honey than with piss.
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Tony Torre
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2007, 09:36:20 AM »

Crafty,

When I was in junior high school I was in that situation.  I was threatened with expulsion 3 days before the last day of school, which would of meant I'd lose the year and be forced to repeat it.  At least that's what I was told.  My father taught me to stand up for myself, and let him handle all the "adult" stuff.  I called him from the payphone and he dropped everything and came right away.  My fathers approach was similar to that advocated by Karsk.  My fathers belief was that my education should not be compromised for standing up for myself.  In fact my father believed that standing up for yourself and fighting when necessary is part of your greater life education.   I can tell you that experience was life changing.  I learned that sometimes doing the right thing can be challenging, but with the right approach it can be managed most of the time.  Most important I developed the greatest respect for my dad and for his teachings of what it means to be a man.  I hope to share this bond with my son when the time comes ( and it will)

Hope this helps,
Tony Torre
Miami Arnis Group
www.miamiarnisgroup.com
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thai70
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2007, 11:37:06 AM »

I remember a little ways back, I was watching Inside the Actors Studio and Johnny Depp was on.  He was telling a story about when he was in school and a bully was picking on him.  He said he grabbed the nearest thing he could (I don't remember if he said itwas a book or a rock) and ko'd the bully.  He was never bothered again.

I think that decision for a kid to fight or not is a decision that would affect them for their whole lives.  It can teach them confidence and that it is ok to stand up for yourself.  Seeing what kids are like, my daughter is going to learn martial arts (be it boxing FMA or whatever) and learn that sometimes you need to stand up and fight.
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Dog Robertlk808
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2007, 03:06:25 PM »

Quote
What ever happened to the good old day's when you get into a school yard fight and the teacher breaks it up, slaps you on the hand and sends you back to class and you might even start building a friendship with the the person you were fighting with.        DT

Those were the days before kids started shooting classmates.
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"You see, it's not the blood you spill that gets you what you want, it's the blood you share. Your family, your friendships, your community, these are the most valuable things a man can have." Before Dishonor - Hatebreed
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2007, 05:19:27 PM »

Woof All:

One practical suggestion that I have received is to cite the statutory declarations in CA of the right to self-defense.  In other words, the school's declared policy is a violation of state law-- or so my lawyers will say when we sue to school should it ever fcuk with my son's right of self-defense.

Now I mull over whether and if so how to bring this to the school's attention.

TAC!
CD
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Tom Stillman
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2007, 11:41:25 AM »

I rest my case!  I think your son is in good hands.   smiley
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Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.  dalai lama
sgtmac_46
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2007, 08:27:44 PM »

Woof All:

One practical suggestion that I have received is to cite the statutory declarations in CA of the right to self-defense.  In other words, the school's declared policy is a violation of state law-- or so my lawyers will say when we sue to school should it ever fcuk with my son's right of self-defense.

Now I mull over whether and if so how to bring this to the school's attention.

TAC!
CD
Good for you Crafty! The Nanny-State BS of trying to turn our children in to sheeple has to stop.  Imagine the audacity of declaring that self-defense is not a basic human right and is not an acceptable reason to fight.  In other words, the only civilized response to violence is to be a victim of it.

Or course, the reality is that this is a mentality that the Nanny-Staters wish to foster on society as a whole, and of course if you want to change a society, go after the children.  This is the mentality that have in store for the rest of us, and would codify it as law if possible....ironically, in America at least, our state legislatures are passing laws in the opposite direction.

Here's the logical outcome of creating a set of rules and laws that do not recognize lawful self-defense.....criminal thugs in schools have little fear of being expelled....who is punished are those students who want to be at school, who want to learn, but refuse to be victims of bullying and thuggery.  The 'punish everyone equally' zero-tolerance policies of schools is asinine in the extreme.

It's about time we started demanding that our schools act as smaller microcosms of our larger society, including embracing the rules we set for ourselves, including recognizing the basic fundamental human right of self-defense....and it is most definitely is a human right (at least in America).  It seems, however, schools are embracing the European model that says we have no fundamental right to self-defense, and all students are mere subjects of the state.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 08:32:01 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2008, 03:23:17 PM »

Well this matter wandered off the radar screen until my son's class was shown a video repeating this cowardly doctrine this past week.  He came home to me upset.  He feels afraid he will be thrown out of the school should ever he have to defend himself.

So I spoke with the school's office and made arrangements to see the video in question for myself this coming Thursday. The principal got wind of my interest and we had a very serious conversation this past Friday. In our previous dealings I have found her to be a rather level headed woman and I suspect she finds me to be , , , interesting  wink so we had a basis upon which I could begin the conversation.

I stated the matter plainly-- the school's policy was wrong and I most certainly am teaching my son to defend himself. She countered with the to-be-expected. I told her I had told him to disobey the schools policy should he be struck, and she said he would be punished. I asked if that would include a mark on his record. She said it could, though not likely for ordinary scuffles. Then I hit her with a point that I picked up here; I told her that like all human beings, my son had the God-given right, the constitutional right under the Ninth Amendment, and statutory rights under the laws of California to defend himself and that should the school ever put a disciplinary mark on him that I would bring the full power of the courts to bear.

This she was not expecting  evil She knows I used to be a lawyer and it most certainly knocked her off-balance for the logic of the point was new to her. I followed up by saying that I understood that if she had two scrapping boys both hollering "He started it!" that I had no problem with both being given detention or analogous punishment, but any mark on his record would be met by a lawsuit.

We talked some more. She tried PC twaddle and I told her the school was teaching cowardice and I was teaching my son to grow up into a man. Eventually she said she would take another look at the handbook, consult with the distict bureacracy etc. I offered to help her redraft the passage in question and she answered that she just might take me up on that.

The Adventure continues , , ,
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 05:08:15 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
grimel
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2008, 03:26:54 PM »

I stated the matter plainly-- the school's policy was wrong and I most certainly am teaching my son to defend himself. She countered with the to-be-expected. I told her I had told him to disobey the schools policy should he be struck, and she said he would be punished. I asked if that would include a mark on his record. She said it could, though not likely for ordinary scuffles. Then I hit her with a point that I picked up here; I told her that like all human beings, my son had the God-given right, the constitutional right, and statutory rights under the laws of California to defend himself and that should the school ever put a disciplinary mark on him that I would bring the full power of the courts to bear.

This she was not expecting  evil She knows I used to be a lawyer and it most certainly knocked her off-balance for the logic of the point was new to her.

Logic seems to always knock the nannies for a loop.

I forgot one thing that seems to stupify the grass eaters:

The only reason Ghandi used a peaceful approach was the British had disarmed India (which Ghandi claimed was the greatest travesty the Brits committed).

Even the Dalai Llama promotes violence as a means to maintain safety and peace when necessary.

from his 2005 visit:

The Dalai Lama gave multiple definitions for nonviolence during the hour-long conversation, including compassion and "protection for all living things." "Violence is destruction; nonviolence is construction," he said.

But the boundaries between violence and nonviolence cannot be determined simply by observing actions on their surface, he said. An individual can use nice words to cheat or exploit another, he said. Conversely, a harsh action could be done out of compassion and the intent to protect others, he added. Limited violence can be permissible, and countering a violent action with a strong countermeasure sometimes is not only permissible "but is the right thing to do," he said.

The organized violence of war, however, is never a lasting solution, he said. Acting out of negative emotions, however natural they may be, obscures reality, he said. In today's reality, "the whole world is like one family or one body. Destroying one part of the world is like destroying yourself," he said.

War is very hard to justify, he said. It's too early to say whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong, he added. "We'll see," he said.

The Dalai Lama mixed pragmatism with the principles of nonviolence when talking about Tibetan resistance to the Chinese occupation. "Firstly, our basic principle is nonviolence. In our case, violence is like suicide," he said. "We need weapons. From where do we buy them? A few guns, a few explosives won't work."
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 04:14:40 PM by grimel » Logged
michael
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2008, 05:55:55 PM »

I think you handled the situation very, very well. You got your point across very clearly without being nasty. That is about all you can do when talking with those who don't have a clue. I have told my kids the same thing---they better not start it, but they can and had better defend themselves if the time arises, and I will back them all the way.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2008, 11:23:38 AM »

As a teacher for the past five years in the section of a southern California school district that is literally on the wrong side of the tracks: I'm disturbed by the immediate assumption that the principal in question is "clueless".  The principal must have at least a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, several years spent in the classroom, and an administrative credential under her belt in order to have become a principal.  Education does not guarantee intelligence or common sense, but it does display a commitment to a goal and a willingness to jump through multiple hoops in order to get what you want.  It sounds like the principal is in the unenviable position of having to enforce a zero tolerance policy, while dealing with a stakeholder (Guro Marc) who just happens to be an expert on the subject of violence and aggression.  At least she sounds open to using Guro Crafty's knowledge to rewrite the policy into something that makes sense.

 It's a crazy world out there.  We have fights on a regular basis at my school site.  The kids choose to make that their sport.  We have a wealth of afterschool activities, sports, clubs, and even an afterschool center with a pool table, DVD's and computers.  Most of our gang kids choose to either hang out at the gas station down the street from the school or go up to the local elementary school and start fights.  Most of our kids could use a beating.  Nobody needs to lose an eye or anything, but I have several students that would benefit from saying something stupid to somebody stupid and having their a$$es kicked a little.  I never tell my students or coworkers that I train.  Honestly, if a students came at me with a knife, my first thought would be that I hope I don't lose my house.  Many of our students won't read or write or put any effort into improving themselves, but they sure have an uncanny knack for figuring out how to exploit the system.

As a doctoral student: I am working on my doctorate of education degree right now, and I hope to write my dissertation on the topic of updating the research to date about uses of martial arts education to change students' attitudes towards violence.  I recently wrote a paper about the injustice of zero tolerance policies.  A lot of my thinking actually came from DBMA (backed up with some other academia) and I also included a citation to the DBMA site.  The challenge is that schools and school employees really can't kick a$$ anymore.  We had a girl at my site get beat up by three other girls and the incident was captured on a security recording.  The victim did nothing but try to cover her head from the beating.  She did not throw a SINGLE strike back.  The three attackers were suspended for a month.  All of their teachers had to send homework for a  month because legally the incident could not affect their grades.  The girl who had the crap beat out of her had to serve a three day suspension to keep with the schools zero tolerance policy.  I watched as the vice principal explained to her that it was only a formality and that it would not be on her permanent record.  The girl spent the conversation nodding, with tears streaming down her face.

As a father: I have a ten month old.  Rules and laws mean nothing when it's your child.  The thing is that you can't really know until you are a parent.  That's one of those things that sounds condescending, but isn't intended to be.  It's like a Gathering.  You can stick spar.  You can even go at it with rattan sticks, but until you've participated in a Gathering, you don't fully know what it's like.  Looking in my son's big eyes as he takes it all in, there is nothing I wouldn't do to preserve that innocence and his right to be a kid for a few years before he starts to understand how ugly the world can be.  That being said, I'm going to see that he has the tools he needs.  If that means standing up to a bully and having to face a suspension to establish that he is not someone to be picked on, I'll not only get a sub. to cover my classes to go pick him up, I'll take him out for fu&%ing ice cream!

As a martial artist:This topic is near and dear to my heart.  After we finish fighting, after all of our Gatherings, after all of the certificates and belts, after all of the great people and the amazing stories, after a little credit card debt to catch a plane and make a seminar, after a MMA/boxing/muay Thai career, what do you want to do with your martial art?  What are the arts for?  Assume you already have all of the credentials you want and a six pack.  After all of that, we are left with the fact that martial arts can be used to improve the world around us.  I truly believe that with the unique insights into violence, aggression, personal development, and self-discovery, we really can have a positive influence on those around us.  That contributes to the greater good.  I know that all sounds a bit cliched and "new-agey", but if we change our perceptions, our reality can be different.

Guro Crafty, please follow up on this thread when you and the principal sit down together to look at the policy.  I really want to hear about how it goes.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 12:34:26 PM by Bryan "C-Guide Dog" Stoops » Logged

Dr. Bryan Stoops, Ed.D.
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http://stoops-martial-arts-academy.com/
bryan@stoopsma.com
grimel
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2008, 09:29:44 PM »

As a teacher for the past five years in the section of a southern California school district that is literally on the wrong side of the tracks: I'm disturbed by the immediate assumption that the principal in question is "clueless".  The principal must have at least a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, several years spent in the classroom, and an administrative credential under her belt in order to have become a principal.

Having a BA/S, MA/S, several years in the classroom, some admin credential only shows a) how little she actually learned and b) that getting a master's degree implies nothing as to actual education.  She obviously missed history, philosophy, civics, and government classes.  Had she learned the basics at even the 8th grade level Crafty wouldn't have had to blindside her with the idea "zero tolerance" was in contradiction with California law and the general premise behind "zero tolerance" would be shot down some time shortly after the history student learned of the first war and it's conclusion.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2008, 01:50:19 PM »

Grimel,

I am in agreement about the idea that zero tolerance policies are nonsense.  They were really put into place because in this age of self-help books and DVD's our culture has not come to grips with the idea that aggressive energy exists and that people need to learn how to handle it in a healthy way.  Think about all of the material out there for coping with stress.  There is no such movement to help people learn to handle their aggression in a healthy way (except for DBMA  wink and such).

I'm just not comfortable with the idea that the principal in question is an idiot because she is enforcing a policy that was probably created for her by the school district.  It's very important that we not demonize the folks out there in service based jobs (police, teachers, nurses), because we need them.  After five years, I am looking to either move to higher education, or into an administrative job of some sort.  If America wants to blame their lack of parenting skills on teachers, fine.  Just know that there are people out there who got into education to bring about some positive change, and found the reality of their job to be very different than their expectations.  I realize that phenomenon is not unique to education.

So Grimel, I agree with the policy being beyond stupid, but not with calling the principal an idiot for having to enforce it as part of her job.  Degrees do not mean that you are perfect or know it all, but they do prove you were willing to hang in there and complete a million little steps (a lot of them which feel very arbitrary at the time) to get that piece of paper and the title.  I do not believe that everyone in the world needs a college degree, but I respect anyone willing to put in the time and the years.
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grimel
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2008, 05:56:58 PM »

If America wants to blame their lack of parenting skills on teachers, fine. 

For some reason, my weekend job won't let me come here (WT and TPI yes, DB no go figure).

The zero tolerance insanity has nothing to do with lack of parenting.  Crafty showed excellent parenting and amazing restraint.  Zero tolerance is just stupidity without any basis in reason, logic, and historical fact.

I have issues with anyone who uses "just following orders" as an excuse.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2008, 10:59:24 AM »

Grimel,

I was not criticizing Guro Crafty's parenting.  As a whole, those people who would immediately demonize all educators are going with their biases against educational professionals.  Many of those biases were created to cover the fact that a lot of parents in the U.S. don't spend a lot of time parenting.  As a result, teachers and administrators make good lightning rods for all of the problems with the youth of America.

I am simply trying to point out that it's not right to immediately assume that the principal in question in this thread is evil, or stupid, or a lemming for having to enforce a zero tolerance policy.  I have already stipulated that as a professional educator, I think zero tolerance policies are unfair.  For the record, I think that No Child Left (Untested) Behind is wrong, but I still have to enforce it or I will lose my job.  Yes, I have tenure and I have a union, but if I flat out refused to run my class based on the California State Standards, I would eventually be out of a job.  I don't know of a lot of service based jobs out there that don't occasionally force action that might be ethically questionable.

I feel you are making a villain out of a principal for enforcing a policy that more than likely comes from the district office.  If she disagrees with any policy, I would love to live in a world where she could call the folks at the district and tell them which policies she will and will not be enforcing.  The truth is that she would not be at her job for very long if she did that.

Grilmel, I'm sorry but, for you, whenever you mention someone who is "just following orders", doesn't that expression have Nazi connotations?  In your mind, is the behavior that the principal exhibiting Nazi-like?  If you had another connotation in your head, please correct me.  However, if you did mean the standard Nazi connotation of "just following orders", that's pretty heavy.  Am I "just following orders" when I help facilitate the state test in April, despite not agreeing with standardized testing?

There are many things about contemporary education that I disagree with. A few days ago, we had a student at my school site get suspended for bringing a pair of nail clippers to school.  Is that fair?  I don't know.  Ask the (junior high school) student at my school that was literally stabbed in the back with a knife a few weeks ago if he thinks that a zero tolerance policy for anything that might be used as a weapon is "just following orders".
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JKD/FMA/Silat/muay Thai/DBMA,
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http://stoops-martial-arts-academy.com/
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grimel
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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2008, 08:48:03 PM »

Grimel,

Grilmel, I'm sorry but, for you, whenever you mention someone who is "just following orders", doesn't that expression have Nazi connotations?  In your mind, is the behavior that the principal exhibiting Nazi-like?  If you had another connotation in your head, please correct me.  However, if you did mean the standard Nazi connotation of "just following orders", that's pretty heavy.  Am I "just following orders" when I help facilitate the state test in April, despite not agreeing with standardized testing?

No, it is just a silly/stupid/etc reason to justify dong something.  As for you, if you ain't working to fix the problem, then yes.

Quote
There are many things about contemporary education that I disagree with. A few days ago, we had a student at my school site get suspended for bringing a pair of nail clippers to school.  Is that fair?  I don't know.  Ask the (junior high school) student at my school that was literally stabbed in the back with a knife a few weeks ago if he thinks that a zero tolerance policy for anything that might be used as a weapon is "just following orders".

If the stabbed student thinks the zero tolerance policy is even remotely a functional idea he just proves he has not received a functional education: 1) he was STILL stabbed even with zero tolerance, 2) it isn't really zero tolerance - the students still have pencils/pens/books/belts/scarf and a few hundred other weapons some of which are issued by the school, 3) until quite recently young males carried a pocket knife to school from sometime around the 4th grade, and 4) the only people who follow the rules (or the intent of the rule) are those who wouldn't be a problem without the rule.

IOW, what a person without the ability to reason at a functional level thinks about a policy is of little concern to me and it is "just following (STUPID) orders".  As my eldest told the principle at her Hawaiian school - if you can't control the kids, then you won't do anything to my daughter when she handles the problem.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2008, 11:02:29 AM »

Quote
If the stabbed student thinks the zero tolerance policy is even remotely a functional idea he just proves he has not received a functional education: 1) he was STILL stabbed even with zero tolerance, 2) it isn't really zero tolerance - the students still have pencils/pens/books/belts/scarf and a few hundred other weapons some of which are issued by the school, 3) until quite recently young males carried a pocket knife to school from sometime around the 4th grade, and 4) the only people who follow the rules (or the intent of the rule) are those who wouldn't be a problem without the rule

So the student who was stabbed should not have any input on school safety?  If he were to validate your opinion, would his education then be functional?  If he does believe that zero tolerance policies might make any difference, no matter how small, his whole education is nonfunctional?  If he believes that zero tolerance policies are 10% effective and 90% ineffective, does that still invalidate his entire education?  At what percentage does he have to support zero tolerance polices or consider that they might make some small difference before that one idea renders the whole of his educational experience nonfunctional?  After the Columbine shootings, if any staff or students who lived considered for a moment that a zero tolerance policy might have made some small difference, did that thought invalidate their entire education and their experience of that event?  If any of the victims had ever considered the small difference a zero tolerance policy might make, did that prove that the education they were receiving, up until they were killed, was nonfunctional?  How sad for them then that they had to be there on campus that day, since the education they were persuing was nonfunctional anyway due to their hypothetical thoughts on one school rule.

Quote
what a person without the ability to reason at a functional level thinks about a policy is of little concern to me and it is "just following (STUPID) orders".  As my eldest told the principle at her Hawaiian school - if you can't control the kids, then you won't do anything to my daughter when she handles the problem

So, once a person gives any merit to zero tolerance policies, they are by your definition, "stupid", and all of their other opinions don't matter to you.  If your children were students at the school in question on this thread, once you found out that the principal enforces a zero tolerance policy, you would no longer listen to her thoughts about any of the other policies at the school, label her "stupid", and you would empower your children to make all decisions about which rules they feel they should and should not follow?  As I tell my classes all the time, "This place (the school) is not very good training for you.  I don't know of a lot of jobs where you can show up late, wear clothes that are not appropriate for work, be disrespectful to your boss and you superiors, leave your trash all over the place, constantly ask your boss, 'Why do I have to do this?', and do your work at a third grade level when you are 25 years old and think that not only is it okay, but that it's funny."

Quote
As for you, if you ain't working to fix the problem, then yes.
  We are working, everyday.  We're working through hypertension, stress-related heart attacks, and salaries (even with summer school) that are a joke based on comparable salaries in other industries.  We are working for those three kids in each class of thirty-eight that have had their educations hijacked by those kids who have been taught by their parents that their education has no value.  We are working through stress-related hair-loss, weight gain, and strokes.  We are working in a system that has been set up by politicians to destroy public education, or to use education like any other "hot" political item to get elected or stay in office.  We are working because our parents taught us that personal development and trying to be lifelong learners are goals that are worth preserving, even when students get the sh&% teased out of them by their gang friends for actually doing their work and maybe even enjoying the act of learning.  We are working for our kids because if you have actually spent much time in classrooms lately, the future looks like a scary place.

So Grimel, it sounds like you have this national school violence problem solved.  In what school district do you serve as superintendant? I'll send you a resume.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 11:23:00 AM by Bryan "C-Guide Dog" Stoops » Logged

Dr. Bryan Stoops, Ed.D.
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Black-and-Tan
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2008, 12:13:48 PM »

I have an experience I'd like to share - although it is ancient history now, principles maybe viable with the appropriate sifting tools applied. I hope this helps.

There was a bully after me; my mom warned me of the "No Fighting Even In Self Defense" policy and I respected her and did not fight at school. Said bully kept peppering me with insults, harassment and threats for a few more months until one day my 'Full Level' was reached and I aimed a steadfast gaze his direction and said "after school when we get off the bus, we wait until it drives off, then you and me are going to go round and round."

Sure enough, after school, off school property and in a private neighborhood area, I and the bully squared off and had a most memorable rumble. It was the only fight I'd ever been in during my time at school, but I came away the winner. Funny thing: after the fight, this bully and I became friends. Isn't that ironic?

The school system never became aware of our little soiree' and the lesson was burned into my innermost recesses: the school was not being a part of the solution, to my lasting chagrin.

I'm not suggesting that all bullies are to be handled the same way - my experience was in the dim past of my middle-school years in the early '80-s, and school system life is dramatically changed from the way it was when this situation afflicted me. But I'd wager the same thing happens to this day; kids getting shoved around until they reach boiling point, and the perspective of the school system equally myopic.


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Guide Dog
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2008, 12:39:36 PM »

What a great story.  That's the way I wish the world was.  I got a little heated in this thread because I'm a teacher and I take my job really seriously and I get scared for my students and their futures.  You're very right Black-and-Tan.  Kids are reaching a boiling point and we are still working on the best way to help them.  Great post.
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Semi-Private/Private Instruction
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JKD/FMA/Silat/muay Thai/DBMA,
Savate/Wing Chun/grappling
http://stoops-martial-arts-academy.com/
bryan@stoopsma.com
grimel
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« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2008, 08:13:27 PM »

Quote
If the stabbed student thinks the zero tolerance policy is even remotely a functional idea he just proves he has not received a functional education: 1) he was STILL stabbed even with zero tolerance, 2) it isn't really zero tolerance - the students still have pencils/pens/books/belts/scarf and a few hundred other weapons some of which are issued by the school, 3) until quite recently young males carried a pocket knife to school from sometime around the 4th grade, and 4) the only people who follow the rules (or the intent of the rule) are those who wouldn't be a problem without the rule

So the student who was stabbed should not have any input on school safety?  If he were to validate your opinion, would his education then be functional?  If he does believe that zero tolerance policies might make any difference, no matter how small, his whole education is nonfunctional?  If he believes that zero tolerance policies are 10% effective and 90% ineffective, does that still invalidate his entire education?  At what percentage does he have to support zero tolerance polices or consider that they might make some small difference before that one idea renders the whole of his educational experience nonfunctional?  After the Columbine shootings, if any staff or students who lived considered for a moment that a zero tolerance policy might have made some small difference, did that thought invalidate their entire education and their experience of that event?  If any of the victims had ever considered the small difference a zero tolerance policy might make, did that prove that the education they were receiving, up until they were killed, was nonfunctional?  How sad for them then that they had to be there on campus that day, since the education they were persuing was nonfunctional anyway due to their hypothetical thoughts on one school rule.

Well, how can I say this.  No, the student who was stabbed, if he thinks a zero tolerance policy helped him in any way, should not have any input into school safety policy.  1) he can't reason a) he WAS stabbed WITH a zero tolerance policy in effect b) HE was the one unarmed during the event; 2) he doesn't have a remote grasp of history a) WWII/European policy toward Germany b) Rome/Carthage c) WWII Japan/USA; and 3) he doesn't understand the basics of the US and Cal Constitutions.

If the staff/students at Columbine/Paducah/VT and any other place with a zero tolerance policy think that policy helped them in any way, then yes, they were doubly wasting time on a nonfunctional education.  If the student can't THINK and REASON the education is wasted.  This rule has been prove time and again to be a) ineffective; b) at best a feel good we did something response; and c) teaches the children to look at government for the solution to life's problems (again they lack basic understanding of the Constitution).

Quote
Quote
what a person without the ability to reason at a functional level thinks about a policy is of little concern to me and it is "just following (STUPID) orders".  As my eldest told the principle at her Hawaiian school - if you can't control the kids, then you won't do anything to my daughter when she handles the problem

So, once a person gives any merit to zero tolerance policies, they are by your definition, "stupid", and all of their other opinions don't matter to you.  If your children were students at the school in question on this thread, once you found out that the principal enforces a zero tolerance policy, you would no longer listen to her thoughts about any of the other policies at the school, label her "stupid", and you would empower your children to make all decisions about which rules they feel they should and should not follow?  As I tell my classes all the time, "This place (the school) is not very good training for you.  I don't know of a lot of jobs where you can show up late, wear clothes that are not appropriate for work, be disrespectful to your boss and you superiors, leave your trash all over the place, constantly ask your boss, 'Why do I have to do this?', and do your work at a third grade level when you are 25 years old and think that not only is it okay, but that it's funny."

If an adult gives merit to zero tolerance ANY policy/issue which requires reason and thought is immediately suspect.  If that adult has a college education, then the college is suspect.  This isn't rocket science.  As for my children, they have the same requirements regardless of the idiocy in administration - they follow my rules.  That would be why the eldest told the principle my granddaughter would handle the problem since they wouldn't (and she did in spades).

As for your students working at the 3rd grade level, why are they not in the third grade?  Would that be the result of another admin policy of not hurting self esteem and passing them on?

Quote
We are working, everyday.  We're working through hypertension, stress-related heart attacks, and salaries (even with summer school) that are a joke based on comparable salaries in other industries.  We are working for those three kids in each class of thirty-eight that have had their educations hijacked by those kids who have been taught by their parents that their education has no value.  We are working through stress-related hair-loss, weight gain, and strokes.  We are working in a system that has been set up by politicians to destroy public education, or to use education like any other "hot" political item to get elected or stay in office.  We are working because our parents taught us that personal development and trying to be lifelong learners are goals that are worth preserving, even when students get the sh&% teased out of them by their gang friends for actually doing their work and maybe even enjoying the act of learning.  We are working for our kids because if you have actually spent much time in classrooms lately, the future looks like a scary place.

What do your health issues have to do with fixing the problem?  As for salaries, I hear the complaints every year.  I see the teachers driving 1-3 yr old SUV's.  I see them living in the same subdivisions as everyone else.  I see them with an average income of 1.5 (or more) times the local average with more time off than just about everyone else.  Not to mention you picked the vocation knowing what it paid.

Quote
So Grimel, it sounds like you have this national school violence problem solved.  In what school district do you serve as superintendant? I'll send you a resume.

Well, it isn't that hard.  The problem is all the educators want to be nice and progressive.  They keep trying to model our schools after California, NYC, Boston, and the rest of the "wonderful" schools nation wide.  Somehow, the more we "modernize" our methods and policies the more FUBAR the schools become.  Hmmm, wonder what we should do next??  Oh, yeah, get even more "modern" and increase government control.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2008, 04:32:26 PM »

Quote
Well, how can I say this.  No, the student who was stabbed, if he thinks a zero tolerance policy helped him in any way, should not have any input into school safety policy.  1) he can't reason a) he WAS stabbed WITH a zero tolerance policy in effect b) HE was the one unarmed during the event; 2) he doesn't have a remote grasp of history a) WWII/European policy toward Germany b) Rome/Carthage c) WWII Japan/USA; and 3) he doesn't understand the basics of the US and Cal Constitutions.

If the staff/students at Columbine/Paducah/VT and any other place with a zero tolerance policy think that policy helped them in any way, then yes, they were doubly wasting time on a nonfunctional education.  If the student can't THINK and REASON the education is wasted.  This rule has been prove time and again to be a) ineffective; b) at best a feel good we did something response; and c) teaches the children to look at government for the solution to life's problems (again they lack basic understanding of the Constitution)

So you're writing that a victim of school violence, should have no input into what changes should be made to make his school safer, if he believes that a zero tolerance policy has any merit.  As a victim of school violence, isn't this student uniquely qualified to weigh in on what might make the school safer?  You're writing that is only true if he believes, 100% that zero tolerance policies are wrong.  If any part of him thinks that a zero tolerance policy is a good idea, than his opinion is invalid because he doesn't understand the Constitution?  I'm assuming that your granddaughter, who you keep referencing, has a keen understanding of how all of her school rules fit into the Constitution, and she can cross reference exactly which section the school is in violation of as far as the rules that you and your eldest have taught her she doesn't have to follow?  There are no school rules at her site that you consider Constitutionally unjust that she may find have some merit which would then cause you to have to define the whole of her education as nonfunctional and therefor invalid?

Quote
If an adult gives merit to zero tolerance ANY policy/issue which requires reason and thought is immediately suspect.  If that adult has a college education, then the college is suspect.  This isn't rocket science.  As for my children, they have the same requirements regardless of the idiocy in administration - they follow my rules.  That would be why the eldest told the principle my granddaughter would handle the problem since they wouldn't (and she did in spades).

As for your students working at the 3rd grade level, why are they not in the third grade?  Would that be the result of another admin policy of not hurting self esteem and passing them o

You're very quick to throw around words like "idiot" and "stupid".  You have defined exactly what American parents need to do.  In making your rules the only rules that need following, you need to take the blame.  Any parent who makes their rules the only rules needs to be willing to accept the responsibility if their child flunks out, or can't read at grade level, or gets suspended.  You've hit the nail on the head.  Since your rules are the only rules, why would a child show up on time, do their work, respect any other adult but you, or do anything a teacher/administrator askers them to do if you have told them your rules are the only rules?  Furthermore, since you have clearly defined that most of the people involved in education are "stupid" or "idiots", or that their degree(s) are suspect, why should your children listen?  In passing that on to your kids, you need to be ready to accept the accolades when they do something right, and accept the blame when they go to prison.  How do kids make the transition, if I might ask?  When do they start listening to anyone else but you?  Are their college professors idiots too?  Do they have to listen to their boss when they get a job?  Do they ever transition? Or do they spend the rest of their lives not listening to anyone?

Quote
What do your health issues have to do with fixing the problem?  As for salaries, I hear the complaints every year.  I see the teachers driving 1-3 yr old SUV's.  I see them living in the same subdivisions as everyone else.  I see them with an average income of 1.5 (or more) times the local average with more time off than just about everyone else.  Not to mention you picked the vocation knowing what it paid

My response was a direct answer to your suggestion that most people (myself included) in education are not doing anything to fix the problem because we're not working.  My inclusion of health related issues was in response to the number of teachers in the profession that I have seen work themselves to death.  I am not suggesting that there are not other, more stressful jobs out there.  I am suggesting that the insinuation that teachers aren't trying to tackle the crisis of American education everyday is an insult.  The complaints you hear every year are a comment on  the pay for the job versus the stress of dealing with students who have parents who teach them that they don't have to follow the school's rules and that all of their teachers, counselors, and principals are idiots.

Quote
Well, it isn't that hard.  The problem is all the educators want to be nice and progressive.  They keep trying to model our schools after California, NYC, Boston, and the rest of the "wonderful" schools nation wide.  Somehow, the more we "modernize" our methods and policies the more FUBAR the schools become.  Hmmm, wonder what we should do next??  Oh, yeah, get even more "modern" and increase government control.

I am so excited about a government agent coming to my school site and showing us what we're all doing wrong.  Take my classes for a week.  I'll audit.  Take the principal's job for a week and clean up the school.  I extend that offer to anyone.  Come on down and within the rules that I have to work in, shape my students into the kind of people you want them to be.  Just be careful Grilmel, you might get stabbed in the back.  I'll call the ambulance and as they're working on you, I'll say,"At least his education was functional.  He didn't believe in zero tolerance policies."  I'll ask the medics if they think there is any merit to zero tolerance.  If they say, "yes", I'll be sure to tell them that you think they're idiots, and that everything they learned in school is invalid.
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JKD/FMA/Silat/muay Thai/DBMA,
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maija
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« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2008, 08:27:00 PM »

I've had 3 friends who all burned out teaching. 2 here in The Bay Area, and 1 in New Mexico. All left because they got tired of fighting "the system" and the stifling conditions they were expected to perform under. I helped one friend clear out of her classroom, and as a European, I was shocked at the state of the place - broken chairs, and torn up carpet in a dingey basement room with no natural light. This surrounded by a playground with no vegetation, black asphalt, bare concrete walls and outside, gang territory on all 4 sides of the school.
I believe she had about 30 students per class and I know for a fact she bought all the supplies out of her own pocket, sometimes including food.
If there is to be some authority figure, respected in the school, to arbitrate when fights occur, it seems the whole set up needs to change for the teachers already have too much on their plates. The Principals? They probably spend their time trying to meet quotas to keep the school going and fighting with the paper pushers above them. They have way too little time to familiarize themselves with the individual students, and KNOWING your students as individuals, I'm thinking, is the only way to arbitrate and educate in a reasonable manner.
I totally believe, 100%, that individuals need to stand up for themselves, children aswell as adults, but surely this has to go hand in hand with a moral understanding of what is right and wrong? All the fathers that have commented on this thread seem to have this lesson in mind as they educate their kids, but what of the probably larger percentage of kids that have no guidance? How will they define what is "righteous" behavior, especially when they are surrounded by violence on the streets and possibly at home?
If the parents are unavailable or incapable, then it's the school's job I guess, but I can't see how that's going to work in the little I've seen of the schools here.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2008, 01:31:47 AM »

Woof All:

About 6 weeks ago I had a very productive conversation with the principal and got her to agree in principal with the concept of the right of self-defense.  She agreed to have me help her draft the language for next year's school handbook.  Today we finally got around to it.

Here is the language we agreed upon:


"FIGHTING:   Part of a good education is learning how to resolve conflict peacefully and we take that seriously here at __________.  If a student is being harassed or bullied, the proper solution is to report the matter to a teacher or other school authority.  The matter will then be mediated in a civilized manner.  Parental support in this area is particularly important. 
 
"At the same time, of course we recognize that everyone has the right to defend his/herself if attacked.   Of course distinguishing self-defense and fighting can sometimes be quite a challenge!
 
"In the event of an altercation, it is the responsibility of the principal or designee to interview all students who were involved and any witnesses.  A determination will be made based upon the facts as to whether or not an attack which was defended or fighting occurred.  Then the principal/designee will make a determination on the merits and as to suitable punishment, if any.  Know that  two children claiming "He started it!" is likely to be resolved with the punishment of both."
 
The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog

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« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2008, 10:10:02 PM »

The Tragedy of America's Disappearing Fathers
By JUAN WILLIAMS
June 14, 2008

Walter Dean Myers, a best-selling author of books for teenagers, sometimes visits juvenile detention centers in his home state of New Jersey to hold writing workshops and listen for stories about the lives of young Americans.

One day, in a juvenile facility near his home in Jersey City, a 15-year-old black boy pulled him aside for a whispered question: Why did he write in "Somewhere in the Darkness" about a boy not meeting his father because the father was in jail? Mr. Myers, a 70-year-old black man, did not answer. He waited. And sure enough, the boy, eyes down, mumbled that he had yet to meet his own father, who was in jail.

As we celebrate Father's Day tomorrow, we should reflect upon a sad fact: It is now common to meet young people in our big city schools, foster-care homes and juvenile centers who do not know their dads. Most of those children have come face-to-face with their father at some point; but most have little regular contact with the man, or have any faith that he loves or cares about them.

When fatherless young people are encouraged to write about their lives, they tell heartbreaking stories about feeling like "throwaway people." In the privacy of the written page, their hard, emotional shells crack open to reveal the uncertainty that comes from not knowing if their father has any interest in them. The stories are like letters to unknown dads – some filled with imaginary scenes about what it might be like to have a dad who comes home and puts his arm around you or plays with you.

They feel like they've been thrown away, Mr. Myers says, because "they don't have a father to push them, discipline them, and they give up trying to succeed . . . they don't see themselves as wanted." A regular theme of their stories is that they feel safer in a foster care home or juvenile detention center than on the outside, because they have no father to hold together the family. There is no one at home.

The extent of the problem is clear. The nation's out-of-wedlock birth rate is 38%. Among white children, 28% are now born to a single mother; among Hispanic children it is 50% and reaches a chilling, disorienting peak of 71% for black children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly a quarter of America's white children (22%) do not have any male in their homes; nearly a third (31%) of Hispanic children and over half of black children (56%) are fatherless.

This represents a dramatic shift in American life. In the early 1960s, only 2.3% of white children and 24% of black children were born to a single mom. Having a dad, in short, is now a privilege, a ticket to middle-class status on par with getting into a good college.

The odds increase for a child's success with the psychological and financial stability rooted in having two parents. Having two parents means there is a greater likelihood that someone will read to a child as a preschooler, support him through school, and prevent him from dropping out, as well as teaching him how to compete, win and lose and get up to try again, in academics, athletics and the arts. Maybe most important of all is that having a dad at home is almost a certain ticket out of poverty; because about 40% of single-mother families are in poverty.

"If you are concerned about reducing child poverty then you have to focus on missing fathers," says Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, based in Gaithersburg, Md. This organization works to encourage more men to be involved fathers.

The odds are higher that a child without a dad will have more contact with the drug culture, the police and jail. Even in kindergarten, children living with single parents are more likely to trail children with two parents when it comes to health, cognitive skills and their emotional maturity. They are in the back of the bus before the bus – their life – even gets going.

A study of black families 10 years ago, when the out-of-wedlock birthrate was not as high as today, found that single moms reported only 20% of the "baby's daddy" spent time with the child or took a "lot" of interest in the baby. That is quite a contrast to the married black mothers who told researchers that 88% of married black men, or men living with the mother, regularly spent time with the child and took responsibility for the child's well-being.

In his fictional books, Walter Dean Myers has found that the key to reaching young readers is to connect with their "internal life of insecurities and doubts." These doubts and insecurities involve answers to painful questions such as, "do you feel loved, do you ever feel lonely?" These are feelings that are hard to share with a teacher, a coach or even a friend.

More so today than in the past, reaching the heart of insecurity among young people means writing about the hurt of life without a dad. It also means writing about being young and black or brown in the midst of the flood of negative images in rap videos without a positive male role model. These young people see so many others just like them standing on street corners, unconnected to family life and failing at school and work and threatening violence – and in so many cases just like them, without an adult male to guide them.

When these children see Barack Obama, Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice, they tell Walter Dean Myers that those black people must be "special; they are not like me, they don't have the background that I have."

In his own life, Mr. Myers often looked down on the man in his house: his stepfather, who worked as a janitor and was illiterate. He felt this man had little to teach him.

Then his own son complained one day that he, Myers, "sounded just like granddad" when he told the boy to pick up after himself, to work harder and show respect to people.

"I didn't know it at the time," says Mr. Myers of his stepfather, "but just having him around meant I was picking up his discipline, his pride, his work ethic. . ." He adds: "Until I heard it from my son I never understood it."

Mr. Williams is a political analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News.
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peregrine
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« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2008, 01:53:11 AM »

Barry Adams     

Father's Day Reminder
Sunday June 17th marks the day in North America and other countries around the world where Father's Day is celebrated. This annual day to honor our dads can be full of thankfulness and joy, or it can be full of a lot of pain and loss, depending on how we have related to our earthly fathers.

I am reminded of a story that I heard about a prison in USA who had started an initiative where they provided free Mother's Day cards for the inmates so they could mail out the cards to their moms. This initiative was so successful that inmates were literally lining up all day to get the free cards.

The prison administration decided to offer free Father's Day cards to the same inmates to build on the success of Mother's Day. They were shocked when no prisoners (or very few) showed up to get a free card for their dads. This story certainly does back up the statistics that I have heard stating that over 90% of men incarcerated in prison lacked a loving relationship with their father.

While these statistics do not reflect society as a whole, there are literally millions of people who find Father's Day one of the most difficult days of the year to cope with. Memories and disappointments can be closer to the surface on this day more than others.

Please pray for the many ambassadors around the world who will be sharing the Father's Love Letter with others through door to door city initiatives, full page FLL newspaper ads, radio and television FLL broadcasts, etc. Please also pray for every person who receives this special invitation, that they may come home to the Father they have been looking for all their lives.
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« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2008, 02:10:00 AM »

Woof All:

About 6 weeks ago I had a very productive conversation with the principal and got her to agree in principal with the concept of the right of self-defense.  She agreed to have me help her draft the language for next year's school handbook.  Today we finally got around to it.

Here is the language we agreed upon:


"FIGHTING:   Part of a good education is learning how to resolve conflict peacefully and we take that seriously here at __________.  If a student is being harassed or bullied, the proper solution is to report the matter to a teacher or other school authority.  The matter will then be mediated in a civilized manner.  Parental support in this area is particularly important. 
 
"At the same time, of course we recognize that everyone has the right to defend his/herself if attacked.   Of course distinguishing self-defense and fighting can sometimes be quite a challenge!
 
"In the event of an altercation, it is the responsibility of the principal or designee to interview all students who were involved and any witnesses.  A determination will be made based upon the facts as to whether or not an attack which was defended or fighting occurred.  Then the principal/designee will make a determination on the merits and as to suitable punishment, if any.  Know that  two children claiming "He started it!" is likely to be resolved with the punishment of both."
 
The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog



This is quite impressive, i hope other schools will follow suit as this will help develop people who will be able to do the right thing even in the face of uncertainty.
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rachelg
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« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2008, 11:33:51 AM »

Big Brothers could really use male voluneteers

"More than 70% of our children are waiting for a Big are boys, but only three out of every 10 inquiries to volunteer come from men. "

http://www.bbbs.org/
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Karsk
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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2008, 11:43:13 PM »

Today was an interesting day for me.  I have three sons.  Two are grown, and one is a step son with a mild form of autism.

Events of the day:

I wake up and my step son gives me a card.  It says 

"Happy Fathers Day Great Old Mike!"   You are are a great man.  You are very strong.   I love you.

Luke."

WOW.  I thought.   Lukey doesn't often communicate that directly.  I actually wasn''t sure what he thought of me. I have a "male way" of communicating with my boys. Sometimes you wonder if they get it.  They do.

Second event.  Relates to the Relaxed vs prepared thread...

I go to the hardware store with Luke in the car.  As we are leaving a big burley fellow apparently gets annoyed with me for making him have to slow down as he walked into the store as I am driving past.  Without thinking I say "Mind your manners pal!"  out the window.  He responds with a string of insults and of course having grown up in Pittsburgh I respond quite eloquently with a string of my own and he gestures to me to "come get some".   I stop the car and for a minute my Pittsburghian upbringing is tempted.  But I stop and I have instantaneous flashes of how stupid it is to get involved in such nonsense when there are perfectly good alternatives....like leaving...but you know, I do get tired of the strangeness that abounds in people.  All manner of people.  The baseness seems sometimes just beneath the surface...like civilization is a thin veneer...even within ourselves.  That reality is why thinking and acting like a knight is so challenging.  So I drive off.  And at 54 years old I actually do not give it a second thought.  I drive away though thinking of my step son sitting next to me.   All the thoughts of walking the talk of self restraint and teaching by example.  I think that the best example is to show your kids your humanity...your own struggle to maintain character. That way they see the truth that is a conscious choice and its hard.

Third event.

Luke and I go to a father's day event.  I think most fathers day events are really just crappy advertising...or the opportunity for everyone else in the family to do something fun that THEY want to do in the name of celebrating your father...not like mother's day.  Some of the weakness of the energy of Father's Day  relates to several of the posts above.

This event was a free day of fishing for kids.  In most places in North America, outdoor sports like hunting and fishing are in decline to the extent that in a few generations most kids will not know how to do these basic survival skills.  Here in BC, there are efforts to bring interest back to people.  Today was one of those efforts.

So we spent the day with my step son rubbing elbows with venerable old retirees who took him out on the water and he caught a few trout.  I thought this was a good thing and a fitting thing for fathers day.

While we were there several of Luke's friends were there.  Kids vibrating with personal challenges.  Kids looking for guidance and lacking it are shaking apart at the seams in a variety of ways.  Face it.  Life is really hard.  Things can get much worse than they are. Kids need us.

I am reflecting on the day as I write this and I apologize for waxing away here.  I find Father's Day to be a trial most years. Even when you try to be a good father there are times when the world does not seem to notice.  But no one said such things are easy.  Of all the things in the world to use the energy of a warrior for, creating a safe space for your kids and their friends ( because a lot of kids out there need help),  giving them a sense that there is at least one person out there who they can count on and trust...who can show them a path in an imperfect world, that is pretty much the whole point is it not? 

When Father's Day comes along, I try to strike from my mind the thoughts that the Day is promoted to sell things, that it pales in comparison to mothers day, and that the events of the day are oddly canted by absent fathers and injured people and I take the day inside myself.  I become introspective.  I think about what really matters to me. I acknowledge the weird world and its imperfections from my point of view.  I pick up my metaphorical sword and renew my vow to care.

Salute to all men who have made the vow to protect and teach kids.

Happy Fathers Day.

Karsk
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2008, 09:03:18 AM »

"I am reflecting on the day as I write this and I apologize for waxing away here."

Actually, to my sense of things this is a perfect thread to do exactly that and I for one am glad that you have done so and hope that others will do so as well.
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Guide Dog
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« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2008, 12:35:41 AM »

This is hard to write:

Lately, I seem to see that the evil folks in the world are moving forward.  That is to say, I know a lot of people whose sole purpose at work is to keep their jobs.  They all seem to be making upwards of 100 grand a year.  I seem to keep seeing that as a whole, people evaluate success based on what kind of a car you drive and how big your house is.  I am a school teacher.  I drive a Chevy (it's dirty) and I live in a condo with a pretty view (but it's old, and not very big).  I know a lot of mean men who treated women like dirt and seemed to keep sleeping with a bevy of beautiful ladies.  I seem to keep running into the fact that EVERYONE is judging, and no one, family, friends, or coworkers really have your back.  They are too busy pointing out that they live in bigger houses and that my car is dirty.  Naturally, they do this behind your back, and life never seems to be free from judgement.  I can count quite a few folks on my fingers who turned out NOT to be authentic people.  Lost of them are people that I once shared a beer with and commented that we'd be "friends forever".

I don't mean to be negative, but in terms of character and authenticity, the last few years have not put a great amount of faith in my heart as far as the folks that have drifted in and out of my life.  I write this based on many people that have the label "friends" and "ex-friends" and not about the folks that I have met through DBMA.

I write that because I have a 14 month old son who is my whole world, and I know that someday soon, he is going to look at me and ask about the world outside the walls of the condo he lives in with my wife and I.  I am still formulating an answer.

Sorry to be a little negative.  I'm going to turn 30 in a few weeks.  If you are over 30 and shaking your head at me, please excuse me.  Hopefully, this is just my 1/3 life crisis.  Happy belated Father's Day to those out there with pups of your own.   smiley
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« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2008, 07:18:42 AM »

Woof Guide Dog:

"I know a lot of mean men who treated women like dirt and seemed to keep sleeping with a bevy of beautiful ladies."

But YOU are married and have begun having a family.  Why does this matter to you?

"I seem to keep running into the fact that EVERYONE is judging, and no one, family, friends, or coworkers really have your back."

Welcome to the human condition smiley

"They are too busy pointing out that they live in bigger houses and that my car is dirty."

Humans are a social animal i.e. hierarchical animal.   Who are these people who judge you?  Are they in competition with you?  Or you with them? , , , and why is your car dirty? cheesy

"Naturally, they do this behind your back, and life never seems to be free from judgement."

Well, duh.  cheesy

The question presented is what to do/not do about it.

I think you may have heard me talk about my personal rules of engagement in the street (i.e. interaction with the anonymous) :  If he says his dick is bigger than mine, I say congratulations.  If he says he used it to fcuk my mother last night, I wish that he had a good time, for WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.  As Guro Inosanto more pithily puts it "BE THE TEMPERATURE, NOT THE THERMOMETER."

Surely you knew when you went into teaching, the the financial returns would be less than you could make elsewhere-- and other returns greater.  So what is going on here?

 
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2008, 09:19:37 AM »

Woof Guide Dog, I read this this morning........Possibly something from the Bible to ponder for a moment. smiley


Proverbs 19
 1 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
      Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
       2 Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge,
      And he sins who hastens with his feet.
       3 The foolishness of a man twists his way,
      And his heart frets against the LORD.
       4 Wealth makes many friends,
      But the poor is separated from his friend.
       5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
      And he who speaks lies will not escape.
       6 Many entreat the favor of the nobility,
      And every man is a friend to one who gives gifts.
       7 All the brothers of the poor hate him;
      How much more do his friends go far from him!
      He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him.
       8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
      He who keeps understanding will find good.
       9 A false witness will not go unpunished,
      And he who speaks lies shall perish.
       10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool,
      Much less for a servant to rule over princes.
       11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger,
      And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
       12 The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
      But his favor is like dew on the grass.
       13 A foolish son is the ruin of his father,
      And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.
       14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
      But a prudent wife is from the LORD.

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Howling Dog
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« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2008, 12:32:29 PM »

Woof Crafty and Tom,

Quote
"I know a lot of mean men who treated women like dirt and seemed to keep sleeping with a bevy of beautiful ladies."

But YOU are married and have begun having a family.  Why does this matter to you?

That's fair.  Within that, I see people hurting one another, back and forth.  Good folks looking for love, and some just looking for the lovin'  grin.  Crafty, you are correct.  Many of the things I am bit&^ing about because I am sticking my snout in where it doesn't belong.  I am happily married.  I just wish some of the folks out there would stop hurting one another, or find what they are looking for.  I guess I just wish people happiness.  I realize how naive that must sound.

Quote
Welcome to the human condition
Again, I suppose that I just wish it weren't so.  I realize how naive that must sound.

Quote
I think you may have heard me talk about my personal rules of engagement in the street (i.e. interaction with the anonymous) :  If he says his dick is bigger than mine, I say congratulations.  If he says he used it to fcuk my mother last night, I wish that he had a good time, for WHAT YOU THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.  As Guro Inosanto more pithily puts it "BE THE TEMPERATURE, NOT THE THERMOMETER."
This reminds me of Gandhi's "You must become the change which you wish to see in the world."  The first time I read that quote, I too came back with a "well, duh" moment.  As for learning about people and how it is often best to turn a deaf ear, blind eye, etc, I am still trying to develop myself in that area.  I realize how naive that must sound.

Quote
Surely you knew when you went into teaching, the the financial returns would be less than you could make elsewhere-- and other returns greater.  So what is going on here?
  That too is fair, Guro C.  My problem is that the other rewards have not turned out like I expected them.  So, perhaps you are right.  It may be time to look elsewhere.  I never expected universal respect or gratitude, and certainly not ease or perfection, but the experience has been very different.  I realize how naive that must sound.

"Dog" Tom, thank you for the quote.

So thank you both for your wisdom and thoughts, and excuse my naivete, which is paramount.    undecided  Thank you for letting me whine and pant, and thank you both for your insight. 

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« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2008, 06:58:40 PM »

Guide:

I am not sure that my way of explaining this will resonate with you but:

I meet a lot of fellows with the sentiments that you are expressing.  I think that in some ways the folks that you are looking at are actually responding to the same sentiments.  Where you are sitting back and feeling a bit disillusioned, they have responded with cynicism and anger and a selfishness that says "Screw the rest of the world, I am going to take care of me".   I have actually met relatively few people who I would call genuinely evil, but I have met tons of people who I would call ignorant, afraid, reactive, and so on.   

I mirror Crafty's responses to you by saying that my father once told me that 75% of the people out there were "messed up".   He also said that being a good man isn't supposed to be easy.  I think that the implication is that if you set for yourself the goal of living life with character (as defined by yourself since by my reckoning your own assessment of what right is what counts) then expect challenge in your life. 

Please forgive the heavy metaphor but the kinds of challenges that you will face are Knightly.  When you decide to live a life of high character, expect to feel alone.  There are not masses and groups of people doing this.  All along the way you will choose by definition a path that diverges from the norm.   Expect to be weary of seeing all manner of behavior that does not live up to your values.  By definition of the choice you make, thats going to be true.

The bright side of this choice to live more nobly, is that despite the loneliness and the weariness you are not alone.   There are people all over who are shining...who are living according to values.  They  are separated from you by a sea of darkness (at least that is how it feels sometimes).  But to me that is the point and the relevance of those who choose a path of nobility.  If not for the darkness the knight would not be what he is.

All the people who are trying to live with character are comrades.  So in reality you are not alone.

A person that chooses to do this (live overtly with character) will be like a beacon.  If you are really walking the talk you will influence people around you just by living with integrity...with your presence.  You have an opportunity to promote something different in the world than what you see.  The way is to become an example, not to bemoan that others don't get it or to proselytize.  I don't believe in proselytizing.  The only way is by example.

If you truly believe in certain values then you will work to integrate them into your life in all respects.  It's a huge vow to take on.. to truly become integrated around your values.  The act of doing this is as serious as life and death.  By taking such a vow and trying to carry it into action in daily life you start on a path that leads you to a bunch of lessons.  You learn for example that what you thought was noble about yourself  might not be.  You will figure out that there is a kind of arrogance about aspiring and comparing to others and that knowledge will make you humble.  You will realize that all the people out there that you think suck ( and they probably DO SUCK) are also and simultaneously struggling and attempting and failing and making concessions to fear....and ...they are not all that different from you in a way.  So one lesson is about the humility that you have to have to completely realize your own values. 

___

So in the the sequel to Once and Future King...The Book of Merlin I think its called...King Arthur is standing on the battlefield.  His bastard son Mordred has succeeded in destroying the Knights of the Round Table and the ideal that Arthur brought into being called Camelot.  That alone is interesting since Mordred came out of Arthur's own loins. 

He is standing there looking at the ruin of the Battlefield and thinking very UnArthurly cynical thoughts and doubting himself and a young kid comes up to him and says "Where is the King?" 

Arthur says  "What King?"   
Kid "King Arthur of course, I want to join the Knights of the Round Table."

At that moment Arthur looks out over the sea.  Its a day of cool breezes and mild waves.  The sun, hitting the  surface of the ocean plays over the waves and creates millions of "shiny drops" that play in an ever changing pattern.  Arthur realizes that this is the nature of the Knighthood.  The shiny drops are the knights, who come and go over time amidst the deep dark ocean of humanity.  Sometimes there are dark times and sometimes the sea is awash with light...but the Knights always arise, making the ocean seem a bright place.


That passage which I paraphrased to an outrageous extent, really hit me when I read it in my 20's. 

Dunno if this resonates with you but there ya go.

Karsk

P.S. I just re-read this and it sounded heavier (cornier ?)  than I intended. Nevertheless, I won't change it and just let it rest as is.  The sentiment is honest.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2008, 07:12:16 PM by Karsk » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2008, 01:03:17 AM »

Karsk,

I was thinking of pulling my posts from this thread.  I was worried they might sound too whiny.  I have a lot to be thankful for, and sometimes I lose sight of that. 

You have written on these boards before about knights and knighthood and your insight always seems to fit in to the topic at hand, as you have done again here.  I suppose I am struggling with how much hope to maintain that sometimes people can be good and the world can be a good place. 

I too had my father tell me in my youth that most people in the world as a$$holes and that I need to be careful.  I like people and I don't really want to live my life expecting people to be at their worst.  I again wrestle with what to tell my 14 month old son when he grows older.  How much reality do you arm your children with?  How soon?  Do I keep the chain going and tell my boy that most people are not to be trusted?  I realize that these are questions that are very old, but I intend to keep asking them, for myself and for my boy, and for all the folks out there who believe in character and authenticity.

Thank you for your insight, and for the passage, which I did NOT find too heavy.  It was just right actually.   smiley


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« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2008, 10:21:06 AM »

GD: 

Your posts have always been in search of Truth and to pull any of them would be a disservice to that search.

Nice post from Karsk.  I particularly liked this passage:

"if you set for yourself the goal of living life with character (as defined by yourself since by my reckoning your own assessment of what right is what counts) then expect challenge in your life. 

"Please forgive the heavy metaphor but the kinds of challenges that you will face are Knightly.  When you decide to live a life of high character, expect to feel alone.  There are not masses and groups of people doing this.  All along the way you will choose by definition a path that diverges from the norm.   Expect to be weary of seeing all manner of behavior that does not live up to your values.  By definition of the choice you make, thats going to be true.

"The bright side of this choice to live more nobly, is that despite the loneliness and the weariness you are not alone.   There are people all over who are shining...who are living according to values.  They  are separated from you by a sea of darkness (at least that is how it feels sometimes).  But to me that is the point and the relevance of those who choose a path of nobility.  If not for the darkness the knight would not be what he is.

"All the people who are trying to live with character are comrades.  So in reality you are not alone."

The only point I am not sure about is this one:

"Expect to be weary of seeing all manner of behavior that does not live up to your values." 

Choose carefully what you ask for, for you will get it.  Although one may fall into a feeling of weariness in reaction to what some others do, IMHO it is not necessary to do so, and I would avoid putting the power of my word to creating it.  Again, this is the only point I would quibble with in a very good post.

TAC!
CD
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maija
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« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2008, 10:45:03 AM »

A few thoughts:
I do not think it is true that the world is mostly populated by a#$holes. I would REALLY recommend traveling with your son, anywhere from Iceland to Thailand to realize that people in general are tremendously generous and helpful. Stay off the tourist track and you will find it even more so.
Also, I like the way a man I know who is a Unitarian Minister makes sense of human behavior. He believes that every one is trying the best they can, it's just that sometimes their best is just not very good!
I agree that there are very few truly 'evil' people in the world, just selfish, ignorant, afraid, 'messed - up' people. This insight does not make life any easier of course, but perhaps it leaves room for change.
Everyone is on their own path and sometimes it is hard not to get caught up in other people's negativity, however I do not think 'turning a deaf ear and a blind eye' is necessarily the best course because it is like looking away from reality. The interesting question to me is how to hold this reality in one hand and at the same time 'knightly' values in the other?
One can only try to live an honest and righteous life and as Karsk said, lead by example. I always try to think the best of people, everyone gets one chance (perhaps 2 or 3 if I'm feeling generous!), if they don't live up to their word then I let them go. It takes a while to find the knights, but it's a worthy quest!!
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It will seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first.
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« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2008, 12:20:48 AM »

Here is an interesting story that I think relates.

Once upon a time (heh)  I was a school teacher too.  I taught for a while and then decided to move on to some other things. In the transition time between careers, I substitute taught for a while.

This was in Anchorage Alaska.   One day, I got a call to work at the larger school there.  When I arrived, it turned out that I was to teach the "bonehead" math classes.  These are the very basic math classes that are used as fillers and to meet requirements for lots of underachieving kids.  I went to my classroom which was, I kid you not, at the bottom of a stairwell underneath the stairs in a hall.   

The substitute job was typical.  They had left some lame boring material and expected me to teach that (worksheets) and then let them watch videos for the remainder of the class.  The kids were tough guys every one of them.  They were coarse and abrasive and as a sub I was cannon fodder.

So after attempting to teach this stuff, I suddenly got an urge to not follow the "lesson plan".  Rather than showing a video I said,  " You know, I can see a lot of bored and antagonistic looks right about now and I don't blame you.  Look at where you are sitting and what you are doing. No wonder.  Then I started talking about rites of passage and the knighthood.  Some of the things that I said above and more. It was too long ago for me to remember what I said beyond that.

At the end of the session, these kids stood up and applauded.  Not just a little but a lot.  I was quite frankly reacting to the appalling situation more out of disgust but when I got into it I let my passion show.  These people...the ones that you would never ever think would get it....they got it.  That incident reminded me that we are all in a struggle to find our nobility whether we realize it or not.

I figure that these archetypes of nobility resonate somewhere in all of us.  That is why courage matters. If you act with integrity and courage...it can inflame that same energy in others...

sometimes as a teacher you find out years later that some small thing that you did or said had a major impact on a kids life ( and sometimes NOT Smiley ) . I think most of the time it is our passion and our character that affects people more than what we actually say though.  And all those cynical people out there ...they were in those classrooms once.

Cheers,


Karsk

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Karsk
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« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2008, 12:32:51 AM »

There was one other thing.

I think that there are times when the world goes chaotic.  At those times people get scared and they lose their connection.  Often those crazy times occur because of some catastrophe.  People who dwell on the far fringes of character can become feral and even the best of the best can be moved to savagery. 

Catastrophes can be abrupt.  But at other times, things can slowly increase the pressure on people. Things like increasing population pressure, people having to compete for EVERYTHING, or maybe even times of decadence where noble virtues are neglected for some reason...things you would just as soon walk away from but maybe you cannot for one reason or another.

I think that often this background pressure is intense and people don't even know it.
Acknowledging this does not excuse people loosing it.  It does help to explain why things go wonky sometimes. Once again, at those times, there are people who are capable of holding themselves together even in the face of that pressure and even then respond with nobility. 

That capacity is quite remarkable.


Karsk


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« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2008, 03:13:39 AM »

Thank you Karsk, maija, and Guro Crafty for your followup posts.

I had the opportunity to discuss the same issues with a close friend recently and we had a nice, lengthy conversation about character, people, and values.  Karsk, there have been some REALLY good moments in the past five years.  I really love helping people acquire knowledge.  I started as a high school teacher and moved to junior high when I finished my masters because a position opened up that was in the area of my graduate work.  I had a former student from the high school visit my school site recently.  I knew him as a freshman, and there he was a senior, ready to graduate.  He told me that he had really enjoyed my class and that he was happy that I had stayed in the district.  That was nice.

It's just been a hell of a year.  My school site has new leadership.  We had a student that was stabbed (he lived, the knife missed his heart by a quarter of an inch).  Many key members of the staff quit, retired, or are changing schools and districts because the climate of our site has been so poor.  I am working on a doctorate in educational leadership as a teacher in an environment where the leadership seems to be moving the school in a bad direction.  It's very discouraging.  Many of the members of my staff (myself included) have commented that their stomachs are in knots everyday driving to work.  Being a teacher really fits into the needs of my life (family, training, graduate school), but I would like to do it somewhere else.  I have been on interviews, but I have not been able to find another home outside of my current position.  I am still working on it, and there is a lot of summer left!

So, I know that this is a thread about fatherhood.  Maija, that's very good advice: as my boy grows, he will be doing a lot of traveling.  I am always amazed at how friendly folks from around the world seem.  Again, I have meet many of them through DBMA and martial arts training, but even in my own non-martial arts related travels, it's good to get what my wife calls "new air" on a regular basis.

Also, not to whine, this has been a year when I have ended what I have considered to be my closest friendship for 15 years.  I am about to turn 30 in a few weeks so that is a very significant amount of time for me.  This was someone that I met on my first day of high school.  To make a long story short, that friend's girlfriend got into it with my wife when my wife was pregnant.  This resulted in a feud that went on for over a year and a half.  As a matter of fact, the last contact that my former friend had with me was an accusatory text message that he sent on the morning of the second day of the three day Gathering in April.  What I have come to realize is that I have paid my debt as far as the friendship goes.  I am sad it happened.  I know that I am partially at fault for what happened.  What I have also come to realize is that this person and his now fiance are living very different lives than my wife and I.  The main realization that I have come to is that I have a responsibility to my son and my wife to free myself from any guilt or sadness associated with the end of this friendship.  This person and I simply do not have matching definitions of "obligation" or "work ethic".  Neither of us has to be the bad person.  We are simply on different paths.  I realize that "people drift in and out of your life", and that I have been told this since I was very young.  However, like all younger people, I believed that I would be the exception.   smiley  I have decided that this person and his significant other are not good people to have in contact with my child.  It doesn't have to be a bitter thing, (like we ALL were making it) it just has to be called what it is (over)and it has been.

So, a bad teaching year, the end of s significant friendship, and working on a degree in leadership in an environment devoid of authentic, character-based leadership made me a bit sad, and pessimistic for a few weeks there.  Also, I fractured my foot a few weeks ago (at work of all things, a cherry on the cake of the 07-08 academic year) and working out has been hard.  I have been doing a lot of teaching and not much training.  Tonight, I just got out to my garage for the first time in a few weeks for some circuit training, kettlebells, and a nice walk.  The orthopedic doctor told me to get off of my crutches.  However, it is going to take a few weeks to rebuild my body.  My psyche also needs some rebuilding this summer.  So my previous posts on this thread are me being a bit melancholy.  I appreciate all of the folks out there offering kind words and positive energy! 

My son is working on walking and talking and I am so happy to be home with him this summer.  I need to focus on that, and trust in the feeling I get in my heart, my head, and my soul every time I look at him.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 11:37:44 AM by Guide Dog » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2008, 10:35:40 AM »

Scottish schools ban Father’s Day cards
Fear of embarrassing children of single mothers or lesbians prompts move
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article4188170.ece
Kathleen Nutt
Christian references have been removed from Christmas cards and school sports days excised of competitiveness. Now Father's Day has become the latest event to fall victim to the forces of political correctness.

Last week thousands of children were prevented from making Father’s Day cards at school to avoid causing embarrassment to classmates who live with single mothers and lesbian couples.

The politically correct policy in the interests of “sensitivity” over the growing number of lone-parent and same-sex households, has been quietly adopted by schools across Scotland.

It only emerged this year after a large number of fathers failed to receive their traditional cards and gifts last Sunday.

While primary children are banned from making cards for their fathers, few schools impose similar restrictions in the run up to Mothering Sunday.

The ban has been introduced by schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Clackmannanshire.

Currently, some 280,000 children in Scotland live in single parent households, accounting for just 7% of the total.

Tina Woolnough, 45, from Edinburgh, whose son Felix attends Blackhall primary, said a number of teachers at the school had not allowed children to make Father’s Day cards this year.

“This is something I know they do on a class-by-class basis at my son Felix’s school,” said Woolnough, who is a member of the school’s parent-teacher council. Some classes send Father’s Day cards and some do not.

“The teachers are aware of the family circumstances of the children in each class and if a child hasn’t got a father living at home, the teacher will avoid getting the children to make a card.”

Family rights campaigners have condemned the policy as “absurd” and claimed it is marginalising fathers.

“I’m astonished at this, it totally undermines the role and significance of fathers whether they are still with the child’s mother or not,” said Matt O’Connor, founder of Fathers For Justice. “It also sends out a troubling message to young boys that fathers aren’t important.”

Alastair Noble, education officer with the charity Christian Action, Research and Education, added: “This seems to be an extreme and somewhat absurd reaction. I would have thought that the traditional family and marriage are still the majority lifestyles of people in Scotland. To deny the experience of the majority just does not seem sensible.”

Victoria Gillick, the family values campaigner, accused schools of politicising a traditional fun activity for children.

“Children like making things, and making things for someone is great fun. I wouldn’t call it politically correct, I’d just call it stupid,” she said.

“It seems quite unfair to deny those children whose parents are together and who want to make cards from enjoying the experience. Stopping children from making Father’s Day cards is reinforcing the fact that some fathers are not there, it’s actually drawing attention to the issue.”

Local authorities defended the move, saying teachers needed to act sensitively at a time when many children were experiencing family breakdown and divorce.

“Increasingly, it is the case that there are children who haven’t got fathers or haven’t got fathers living with them and teachers are having to be sensitive about this,” said a spokesman for East Renfrewshire council. “Teachers have always had to deal with some pupils not having fathers or mothers, but with marital breakdown it is accelerating.”

Jim Goodall, head of education at Clackmannanshire council, said: “We expect teachers and headteachers to apply their professional skills and behave in a common sense manner. They have to be sensitive to the appropriate use of class time and the changing pattern of family life. We trust our staff to act sensibly and sensitively.”

A spokesman for South Ayrshire council said: “We are aware of the sensitivities of the issue and wouldn’t do anything that would make any child feel left out or unwanted in any way.”

Edinburgh city council said the practice on Father’s Day cards was a matter for individual schools.



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« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2008, 12:26:24 PM »

Thats rather annoying.



I wonder at the response of men and fathers in Scotland to this.  Perhaps one of the folks from there would know.  What I have noticed about the reaction of men to such slights...is a deafening absence of a response. The article said that one group called the decision to do this absurd.  That's good.  Wonder what happened after that?

You really do not see lots of protests from men about being marginalized or put down in such ways.  Perhaps there is the ancestral guilt that binds men from saying that they think such things are unfair, or fear that they will arouse the wraith of women, or they cannot in their own minds state objections to such drivel without simultaneously feeling weak.  Perhaps the group mind of the cultures that we live in still sees a large imbalance between the genders such that holding men on a short leash is still the norm and men themselves wear the leash willingly...

But here is the thing.  I have discovered that calmly and rationally saying  the truth of how such things make me feel with no outrage or reactiveness combats this sort of thing.  If I am vocal and engage in "constructive trouble making" with clear eyes people see the other side. 

I wish that more men would say such things like "That action prevents my children from connecting with me in a way that matters and I don't like it."  out loud and in public....like the drunken uncle at the wedding who cannot help but say what he's really thinking (minus the drunken part).  Just being honest and forthright and letting feathers get ruffled, chips fall where they may...constructive trouble making.



Cheers,

Karsk
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« Reply #46 on: June 24, 2008, 03:57:53 PM »

I'm sitting here jaw agape....

Pardon my language, but WTF?Huh

I live in Glasgow, Grew up in Renfrewshire & am ashamed that this is happening here. My wife's just qualified as a kindergarten teacher & finds it ludicrous, The nursery she works in has a couple of single parent kids. their solution... Make a card for your grandfather, or someone you care about. As Mrs C-Scotty has just said over my shoulder "Kids don't know they're different till you tell them they're different".

God I'm glad of the razor my Kids got me for father's day (none of your cheap Gillette rubbish, a proper straight razor  cool grin cool )
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« Reply #47 on: June 24, 2008, 04:04:55 PM »

I am so glad I am Politically in-correct.......... shocked  evil
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« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2012, 04:19:40 PM »

ttt
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« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2012, 09:09:35 PM »

ttt

Before i left work, i literally searched for this thread and wanted to post to it tomorrow!

You must be psychic!

p.s. although my post is not Martial Arts-related but is a father/parental concern.
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