Think Geek Celebrating Asperger’s Day with Temple Grandin Video

18 02 2011

“She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.”

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Tim Tebow: The Boy Who Lived

6 02 2010

. . .destined to grow up as an example to us all. Of — um —

Are you ready for some football?
(Olympic Excess coming up next!)

We homeschooling families like learning at home in our living rooms, especially for free. You could even say we celebrate it! But you’re a Thinking Parent as well, so think about this — is “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” a sports message best taught on tv as multi-million dollar ad wars? Or is it paid political speech we’ve learned from real-world experience celebrates division and shooting to kill, the kind of combative warfare all learned people know that neither Christ nor America was ever about, despite false advertising through the ages?

What lessons are being taught in our living rooms, not by individual homeschooling parents or great literary characters like the Boy Who Lived but by corporate-controlled televised sports as entertainment, and is it sacred business, serious business, or funny business (if business has any business teaching any of us any of it?)

Our best entertainers and artists in any era help us conjure our own Patronus against the universally human fear of the dark.

Who in this story capitalizes, controls, one might even say conjures, this unarguably public education for which corporate America is unelected and unaccountable?

What if Tim Tebow had been born gay instead of gridiron-gifted? Would his mom still have been chosen for her choice to teach SuperBowl fans everywhere her ethics and how to define “family and life” worth celebrating? What if her unaborted son once grown to be a sports star, openly credited magic rather than miracles? Would he still have been chosen by CBS to dramatically break the network’s policy against advocacy ads mixed with hero worship? Is ignoring your doctor’s advice as Pam Tebow (and Sarah Palin) chose for themselves and apparently preach as mom gospel to everyone including the Supreme Court, a lesson CBS will be held accountable for as both profit-seeking and public broadcast system?

Here’s something your children will NOT learn about celebrating family and life watching the CBS SuperBowl:

“Women take decisions about their health very seriously. They consider their doctors’ advice, they talk with their loved ones and people they trust, including religious leaders, and they carefully weigh all considerations before making the best decision for themselves and their families.”

“My daughter will always be my little girl,” [the sports star] says. “But I am proud everyday as I watch her grow up to be her own person, a smart, confident young woman. I trust her to take care of herself. We celebrate families by supporting our mothers, by supporting our daughters. By trusting women.”

Upon which [the evil schoolmarm as minister of education] retorted tartly that students couldn’t be trusted to know what was good for them and they were a bunch of negative whiners . . .

Ethical? Educational? Christ-like? Good enough for your child at any age or stage?

Preparing for SuperBowl Sunday as a secular Gator up on cultural controversy, I’m reflecting on my own education through many years of bleeding orange and blue and watching UF sports, especially Tim Tebow as our most famous student-athlete ever. Yes, the most famous ever.

The Boy Who Lived has clearly surpassed even Steve Spurrier’s renown although the reasons seem murky and not merely statistical — perhaps because not even the most fanatical fan nor the SEC, the Heisman Committee or The Old Ball Coach himself, ever confused Steve Spurrier with Christ-like beatitude? 😉

I think my best self-learning on this subject was laid out in biblical allegory style, in What Should We Call Christ as a Kick in the Head? Tim has had his last on-field performance as a Gator for God but his first as a bought-and-paid-for shill airs tomorrow. I’ll let you know if it teaches me anything new . . .

*********
What Should We Call Christ as a Kick in the Head?

Just drove Young Son to Irish dance and musical theatre. Their performing arts studio is in a neighborhood shopping center with a sandwich shop and pizza place, a chinese food restaurant, a small computer shop — and a huge, very busy martial arts place with big glass walls across the front so you can watch from the sidewalk or your car, called Karate for Christ Ministries.

I’ve waited for the kids and wondered about this incongruous pairing of east and west before. School football players in the South seem very well-educated if Christianity is the standard and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is the measure. My favorite quarterback Gator Tim Tebow is always blessing the tv announcers and thanking his lord Jesus Christ for his touchdowns. His whole family goes on mission trips and he even convinced his coach to join him on one last summer. But school football and school religion are compatibly American — at least so I was taught — especially in the Bible Belt.

Karate though? For Christ?

So today as Spunky started a new conversation about what it means for a child to be “well-educated” I noticed it afresh and thought I’d mention some of what it makes me wonder, about what’s being taught and learned and why to our kids out of school, not in.

The phone number is painted on the glass, too: want your child well-educated in mind, body and spirit all at the same time? Who needs School OR Church? Just call 8-WE-KICK.

I called up wikipedia instead: Read the rest of this entry »





Who Cares About Haiti?

16 01 2010

I am pleased to have been the recipient of the Ordre d’Honneur et de Merite, Haiti, 1934 —
JJ’s great-uncle, Henry D Barker, born more than 100 years ago in America, recounting his impoverished boyhood and subsequent career

In the here and now, JJ has a mom-friend who cares enough about Haiti that she carried the Christian gospel to children there last year, and is suffering with the Haitian people in the earthquake’s aftermath.

She is the mom of Favorite Daughter’s traveling companion to Europe last summer. The November before that, this devout conservative evangelical (but also well-educated medical professional and feminist, for a southerner at least) did a little traveling of her own and took the church mission trip to Haiti.

Here is her FaceBook status update today:

Presidents Team up for Haiti.
Wow, that is the spirit that makes America the great country that it is. It makes me proud to be a naturalized American and to be part of Americans helping Haiti.

So it seems to me we surely share American values and see truth, beauty and goodness much the same way, despite not sharing the same family, politics, religion or profession.

As for me and Haiti, I’d personally still look to education rather than religion to save it. My family history is all about the transformative power of hard work and sacrifice channeled through education, not prayer. My great-uncle D went on his Haitian education mission trip of sorts after growing up dirt-poor subsistence farming in the Blue Ridge Mountains, partly homeschooling in fact, then studying agriculture and textiles at Clemson back when it was an agricultural college and Air Force academy.

From other universities he later earned his master’s of science in agronomy and his Ph.D. — first in our family! — and I was raised on stories from my mother’s mother (Uncle D’s enormously proud little sister) about him and Aunt Pauline living in Haiti for years in what sounded like a tropical paradise, helping to change the world with his education.

In 1928 he wrote a book about it: Éléments du Botanique Général par Henry D. Barker, Ph.D., Chef du Department de Bontanique Service Technique.

In French.

Published in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Stamped right on the front cover.

I am holding that book in my hand right now because by default I am now the family’s historical repository as was my father before me — both of us also academic doctors, admired throughout the extended family as continuing generational examples of the importance of education, not just to enrich the individual or contribute to the family’s collective well-being but also for all of humanity, because learning and then using it for good is what we are meant to do. . .

Inside his book, it’s inscribed in his feathery old-fashioned fountain pen script:
“To my mother from The Author.”

And I also have here beside me Uncle D’s self-published memoir of his boyhood, inscribed in that same hand, to me! —
“to Jennifer whose grandparents Alice and Ira were born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Henry D Barker”

Here is what he wrote about Haiti in the epilogue: Read the rest of this entry »





Congressional Christmas List: Stop Child Abuse at School

16 12 2009

Congress isn’t always the enemy and bipartisan help for people in need isn’t always a cruel joke:

Across America, children are restrained, confined in seclusion rooms, and subject to aversive interventions. Roughly half of all states have little or no legal protections against restraint and seclusion in school. In several states, efforts to pass laws and adopt regulations have failed.

On December 9, 2009, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, HR 4247 was introduced by Congressman George Miller (D-CA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Chris Dodd and is numbered S 2860.

This issue of the Special Ed Advocate contains a comprehensive overview of the proposed legislation in a new article by Jessica Butler, Esq. You’ll find the provisions of H.R.4247 and will learn about the safeguards in the bill, what is prohibited, how it will impact children with disabilities, and the requirements for compliance and data reporting.

Please don’t hesitate to forward this issue to other friends, families, or colleagues. . .