Monday, August 6, 2012

Don't overdo it.

Our Australian Olympic team has not been getting as many gold medals as some people had hoped, and there have been tears and recriminations over it. One of the swimmers cried after not winning gold, and said she felt she'd let people down. Others had cases of emotional meltdown, and back in the Australian press some commentators are saying "Why is this? It's not right!" and blaming our lifestyle for it. I'm thinking, hey, can we have a sobriety check here? Right, so I'm not an athlete. I didn't even represent the high school I went to. But even getting to the Olympics is quite a formidable thing. In all races, someone finishes last, never mind only getting silver or bronze. What would happen if anyone who didn't expect to win didn't take part at all? What sort of games would it be? A good number of entrants is needed to make the event happen at all. So how about we remember it needs all the field to make it worth watching or competing; and why would someone feel win or you're nothing? Be fair. There is the fact of being 'good sport', of course. Don't be resentful about not coming first. ( I had to get used to that, believe me). Then there's the plain fact, no-one should assume they have to win or be damned. And Australia, with a small population, shouldn't feel that we're all failures just because we don't win everything. Sport ceases to be sport if it imposes that sort of pressure on people, and the whole reason for reviving the Olympic Games as Pierre de Coubittan did in 1896 was to have a goodwill games, not a proxy war. I can't speak as an athlete because I've never spent the years of training and commitment it takes to get to an international event. I know that. But the athletes should not think I'm passing judgement on them, even the last placegetter did well even to get to the games. And no-one should feel like a failure because having even got to the games, they didn't win gold.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home schooling: understandable.

Yesterday's news in Austalia reported that more parents are electing homeschooling. The reasons given included bullying, learning difficulties and dissatisfaction with the teachers. I'm nor surprised. School can be an evil place for some kids, they get picked on and harrassed all the time and the school either will not or can not do anything effective about it because the bullies are always 'poor kids with problems'. Then there's the matter of schools being used to disseminate current political ideas, which may well clash with parents' values and beliefs. It may be a good thing if the ability of government to try and control society through so called 'educational' propoganda is curbed. I can see exactly why some families don't want their childen under the influence of school and at the mercy of some of the other kids there. It's a shame because if school is well run and has the right ideology it can be a great sharing place and social contact environment, but it often degenerates into a psychological ghetto which people can suffer from being involved with. One of our children hated school because of the rubbish they had to put up with from the 'peer group' as it is called, and felt that the staff did not do anything at all. But then when teachers DO try to act, they can find themselves in trouble. The last day I ever spent teaching, I intervened when a boy was aggravating the girl sitting in front of him by joggling the back of her chair. When I told the boy to stop he glared at me and said: "I did nothing wrong!" I knew that if he complained the school would probably resolve the thing by saying I should have handled it differently. It is absurd. The underlying problem is that school is being used as an all-in processing works for anyone under 17, a place to keep them so they're not on the street and a place where what the parents should have done to bring them up can be done by the teachers. It doesn't work, but the powers that be keep saying the teachers have to be more effective, and talking about sacking some of them. It's a farce. Small wonder that some parents decide that learning and growing up can be a nicer process for their children if it's done a different way. One good friend I discussed this with stated that the home-schooled people she knew were not very socially competent. They hadn't had much contact with other kids. I wonder if what that means in fact is that home schooled kids are not so precociously adult before their time. They live in a more natural way, which seems wrong to people who are used to they way we do things, i.e. send kids to school, but that usual way might not actually be the best way. If I get the opportunity I migh talk to more home schooled people and see what they think about it. Whatever happens, I can see why some people do not like sending their children to school, and their kids do not like being there.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Irony! And cultural shifts.

If I understand what the term 'cultural shift' means, one that we're seeing at the moment is this: schools are being called on to do what families used to do. I don't think it is a good idea in principal and it isn't working in practice anyway. It is ironic because so many people who reject communism, as I do also, are being taken in by a Marxist idea: diminish the importance and role of the family and replace it with a government instrumentality, the school.Marxists wanted that to happen because the family could be an alternative source of influence from the state, and a rival focus of loyalty. Marxism, like all one-state ideologies, wants the complete allegiance of the individual, and the means of capturing and holding them is the school, a government organ with teachers required to teach the party line and see to the indoctrination of all its students. The family should not be allowed to interfere with that. According to that outlook the Khner Rouge, when they ran reeducation camps after the capture of Cambodia, instucted children to sever the bond with their parents. The same was reported from the Soviet Union in the past. Families must not be an obstacle to the state's complete hold on the loyalty and obedience of the individual. Ironic then that in non communist societies, people want to call on the school to bring their children up for them, thereby surrendering to the school the chief role in influencing their child's development. This may not be the conscious intention, but it can be the result of calling on the school to teach their children discipline. I've heard a parent saying "I'll be glad when they go to school, so they learn some discipline." In other words, that parent does not want to take responsibility for teaching their child discipline, the school should do that. How oftern have people said, "Schools should be doing something about it", when any problem is raised concerning children or youth. Parents should not have to do it themselves, they say. I can see where the 'deschooling society' movement comes from. In response to the increasing influence of schools in child raising and development some people want to take back the parents right and duty to raise children themselves. Schools should teach the curriculum, not take over as surrogate parent. Some teachers eagerly put up their hand and try to assume this role. A favourite teacher cry is 'there's nobody else there for them!" which can be quite untrue, and insulting to some parents that a teacher should arrogate the role of mentor and chief caregiver. Even when the child is neglected, and the school is forced to make provision that should come from home, the result is not as good as a good home should make it. Whether you believe in God, as I do, or nature, God or nature set up the family as the means of raising children and inducting them into adulthood. In better times the church was largely involved here, and still is in some families or communities. Those who have tried to undermine the role and influence of the church failed to put anything better in its place, and are now left howling about 'schools are failing our chilren.' Schools are only failing children if the family failed them first, by failing to send them to school properly reared, provided for and ready to respond to school the right way. Schools and their staffs should not be expected to replace parents, and the attempt to make this happen is a failure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A delusion exposed.

The news recently reported that one of the pioneering 'gay marriage' couples have just broken up. I don't want to be unkind about people going through a relationship breakdown, because it hurts, but I'm thinking: after all the fanfare, all the fuss made about how legalising or legitimising homosexual marriage, the celebrity couple who got the limelight have come apart. Of course that happens to straight couples, too. We couldn't help hearing all about Kim Kardashian's marriage because it was everywhere in the media. And it lasted under a year. The thing that strikes me is the futility of it all. Advocates of same-sex partnerships being called marriage act as if this was a breakthrough into a golden age. All it does is expose the pointless claims made by people that they've found a great new way of running society, and it turns out to be no big deal at all. Another news item that struck me came from a column in The Sydney Morning Herald, in which the writer said: (paraphrased): Western society has had little success in recreating, or replacing, the institutions which have declined in the past few decades, the family and the churches, and people are left without a sense of solidarity or belonging to something which connects them and gives them a sense of self. People feel adrift and lost without these things, and the supposedly clever social pioneers who ridiculed them have not come up with anything better, so they've left a hole where there used to be solidity and security. It's more of the same. People claim they know a better way to run the world, and find they've made things worse by junking some of the things that people needed - such as stable family relationships, and the acknowledgement of God in people's lives and conduct. It's a lie, a hatful of humbug. The supposedly progressive ideas are a delusion, and we need to get back what we failed to appreciate when we had it: a society in which, to many people at least, God and His teachings were properly honoured and followed.