Bloggerhood Etc. 10/6/14

THUNDERDOME!

Photo: Chris Bernholdt

Best Rant. “Stop Taking the Play Out of Playgrounds” by Chris Bernholdt at DadNCharge.

Best Book.One of the Coolest Books of Maps That Your Kid Will Ever See” by Tom B. at Building a Library.

Best Birthday Cake.Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake” by Chris Routly at Daddy Doctrines.

Best Commentary.Neoliberalism Has Brought Out the Worst in Us” by Paul Verhaeghe at The Guardian. (NOTE: What Europeans call “neoliberalism”—i.e. extreme economic liberalism—is known as libertarianism in the U.S.)

Best Role Model.Heisman in Pieces, but Marcus Mariota Remains Whole” by John Canzano at Oregon Live.

Best List.10 Movies That Were More Biblical Than Left Behind” by Benjamin J Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Reflection.Martha, Misunderstood” by Cara Strickland at The Junia Project.

Best Book Review.The Closed Mind of Richard Dawkins” by John Gray at New Republic.

Best Relationship Advice. “The Secret to a Conflict-Free Relationship (Just Kidding, I Don’t Believe in Those)” by Natalie Trust.

Best Parenting Post.Kids and Electronics” Bring Back Boredom” by Cornelia Becker Seigneur.

Most Disgusting.Types of Boogers: A Cartoonized Guide” by Andy Herald at How to Be a Dad.

Best Question.Will D.C. Residents Do What Red Mesa Residents Did and Save Their High School Indian Nickname?” by Anthony Brown at Redskins’ Hog Heaven.

Best Dad Post.Suffering Children” by Brian Doyle in America.

Best Call to Action. Social Justice for Single People” by Christena Cleveland.

Most Thought Provoking.Why You Need More Muslim Friends” by John Huckins in Relevant.

Best Video.She Moved Through the Fair” by Peter Hollens (via YouTube).

His debut album from Sony Masterworks comes out October 27th and is available for pre-order (more details at the end of the video).

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Happy Whatever

Generic Holiday Decoration (now be festive...blah, blah, blah)

Image: Café Press

Anna’s elementary school has a new Holiday Policy that was put in place last September. We received a reminder email two days ago in advance of Valentine’s Day.

The first part I’m okay with.

To promote healthy bodies and minds we will only serve healthy foods during instructional time, foods that align with the district policy. We appreciate parent/family support in maintaining a positive climate in the classroom and ask that parents coordinate directly with the homeroom teacher before bringing any food in for the class for any reason. Unhealthy food will be returned to parents and not accepted in the office according to district policy.

The second part, however . . .

To promote an inclusive learning environment and honor differences we ask that you refrain from sending holiday cards and items of any kind for distribution at school. We will continue to create a fun, positive classroom climate in a variety of ways that simultaneously support our focus on learning.

I’m trying to understand how banning all holidays honors differences and promotes an inclusive environment. If anything, the holiday policy seems to stifle the very diversity it claims to uphold. It’s hard to say for sure, because I’m not in Anna’s class every day and I don’t know what cultural topics her teacher brings up. It just seems to me that this politically-correct leveling off of differences in culture and belief promotes a bland and inoffensive conformity rather than an open-minded appreciation of the differences between us.

"?" on candy heart

My elementary school was pretty diverse for it’s time and location—a fairly well-off East Coast suburb in the 1970s—and I think it served me well. I remember making holiday cards one December (don’t remember which grade). We were encouraged to celebrate the tradition we knew from home.

This meant a lot of Santas and snowmen. A few nativity scenes. And one Hanukkah card. (I remember the girl who made it, as I had a bit of a crush on her.) I remember everyone was fascinated about this different holiday.

“You light candles each night? Cool.”

“You get EIGHT days of presents? I wish I got presents for eight days.”

“What’s a dreidel?”

“What are latkes?”

We were all fascinated. It’s not like any of us would have given up Christmas, but it was something new (to us) and different. I think we learned so much more from her that day than we would have from a book.

Obviously, I stuck with me since I still remember it almost forty years later. But had my school enforced the same holiday policy that my daughter’s school does, I never would have had that experience.

And I would have been a little worse off for missing it.

Intolerance by a Different Name

This gender-free childrearing fad is getting out of hand.

First there was the family in Canada who managed to get worldwide attention for not revealing the sex of their baby. Now there’s this:

STOCKHOLM (AP) — At the “Egalia” preschool, staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.

From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don’t fall into gender stereotypes.

“Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing,” says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. “Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be.”

Judging from the article, these kids aren’t being given the opportunity to be whoever they want to be. Some of the girls are going to want to wear pink and play princess at least some of the time. Some of the boys are going to crash into walls, and furniture, and each other at high rates of speed pretty much all of the time. I know. I watch kids play and boys and girls do play differently even when they’re not playing with stereotypical boy and girl toys.

What I see is kids being forced into a gender-optional counterculture every bit as oppressive as the worst patriarchy:

Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. From a bookcase, she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless — until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.

A heartwarming story, until “junior” grows up and eats dad and dad.

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