Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Dance Like

I am amused and perplexed by people who like to dance. I am not one of those people. And I think it’s presumptive of those who are dancy to think that everyone else must be.

My main example of this is the saying “Dance like no one is watching.” I’ve seen it on T shirts and on internet motivational posters. They assume that everyone secretly likes to dance and is held back by the fear of what people will think.

I don’t dance, whether I am by myself or in public. See me standing still? – that is how I dance when no one is watching.

and say, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.”

Matthew 11:17

Internet Learning

My wife showed me a video that she found via social media. It was a plea for internet access for all students, something like bridging the digital divide. It’s a good intent, but a bad way to reach the goal.

The goal, I presume, is better education for lower-income children. Their plan (whoever “they” was) is more computers and internet. Before I get into that, though, let me describe the video.

There were two tables of several students each. The tables were separated by a sheet or screen so the two groups couldn’t see each other. One moderator read a question aloud and the first table to answer correctly would get a point.

One table had laptops and internet, whereas the other table had encyclopedias. The results were, of course, dramatic. The moderator would read a question, and a couple of seconds later the laptop table would shout their answer. The video would then show the annoyed faces of the encyclopedia table. Another question, and another answer from the laptop table, followed by dismay from the encyclopedia table. Question, answer, frustration.

Then they removed the screen from between the two tables and the encyclopedia table was relieved to see it was a setup with the other table being given an advantage.

The video then had someone give an impassioned speech on how students can’t learn if they don’t have the internet.

My response: they’re going down the wrong road.

Sure, the internet lets you look up things quicker. But the goal of the people behind this video is presumably not quicker answers to trivia. I’m also going to presume their goal is not simply more funding either. Rather, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say their goal is better education, with the goal of better education being to improve the lives of disadvantaged kids.

The kids who got the questions right – what did they learn? How much processing did their brains do? It seemed to me like they were plugging in a question and spitting out an answer. I did not see how the learning was happening.

If this were a homework assignment, and one group had encyclopedias at home and one group had the internet, the encyclopedia group would have taken longer to complete the assignment, but their education would have advanced by that amount.

Learning is like most everything else in life – you get out of it what you put into it. If there is little effort required to produce the answers needed, then there was little learning involved. No pain, no gain – only we are talking about mental muscles instead of physical muscles.

That is not to say that we should make homework more difficult than necessary, but if the goal is learning then the process should involve thinking. Plus some memorization, but that’s another topic.

A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.

Proverbs 14:6

Movie Ratings

It’s fun being a dad – I get to answer all sorts of questions about life from those little growing minds.

For instance, my grade-schoolers asked about movie ratings. What does PG mean?
My answer: that means the movie is Pretty Good.

What about rated G?
That means it’s a Great movie.

What about R?
That’s a Rotten movie – it’s bad for you.

How about PG-13?
It’s Pretty Good if you’re at least 13 years old.


I still don’t like the discontinuity among the ratings. Why does one have an age associated with it and the others do not? Either they should all have ages, or none. Make it consistent.

Example:

Current / Non-Age / Age
G G 1+
PG PG 6+
PG-13 T 13+
R R 18+

The T there is for Teen, in case you were wondering.

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.

Psalm 101:3

Battleships

If you’re playing a game of Battleship with younger kids, be sure they know the rules. Otherwise you may end up with this:

image of a Battleship game with the pieces stacked

Note: for the red peg on the right, he called out “hit, miss, hit, hit” and his brother was confused.

Then Sihon with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz.

Deuteronomy 2:32

Cold Things

It was about 25-30 degrees below freezing here yesterday, so I tried to make good use of the opportunities.

First: defrost the freezer

We have a standalone freezer in the basement. It holds extra food, which doesn’t stay extra long when there are four growing boys in the house. This freezer has needed defrosting for a few months. The main indicator of that was a dish that I wanted to get out of the freezer but I couldn’t – a thick layer of frost was securing it to the shelf.

But with the temperature outside the house being approximately the same as inside the freezer, I simply moved all the food outside, turned off the freezer, melted the ice, and the freezer was good as new again.

Second: teach the kids the dangers of frozen metal

The younger two boys were joking about licking a lamp post. I thought it would be good for them to see a demonstration, to quell their interest in the subject.

I gave Gamma a wet paper towel and brought them outside to the lamp post. I explained a little bit about what would happen and then I had him touch the post with the paper towel. He was surprised how quickly it stuck, which was the point of the demonstration. Usually you have to wait for things to freeze, and I didn’t want them thinking that about licking a flagpole, or touching any frozen metal with damp skin. It freezes immediately, so don’t think you’ll get away with anything.

I’ll assume they learned their lesson. In case they didn’t, I also warned them that it is very hard to yell for help when your tongue is being held hostage.

He casts forth His ice as fragments; Who can stand before His cold?

Psalm 147:17

Every Problem

As the saying goes, when you have a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.

In my case, I got an angle grinder earlier this year, and now every problem looks like too much metal.

The angle grinder is much more fun than a hammer. The kids like seeing the showers of sparks.

So far, the angle grinder has helped me replace ball joints, brake pads, struts, and shocks. Plus it sharpened my mower blades.

Also note: the angle grinder will take care of a variety of problems with nails too.

Young men worked at the grinding mill, And youths stumbled under loads of wood.

Lamentations 5:13

Took Forever

I heard someone use the phrase “that took forever” and although it never bothered me before, now it does for some reason.

That reason is that if something really takes forever to complete, then it can’t have completed, therefore the phrase can’t be in the past tense.

Acceptable uses are “taking forever” or “takes forever”, but never “took forever”.

As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.

1 Samuel 20:23