Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reading, Communication and Analysis



Reading is fast becoming a lost art.  A recent event spoke to me about just how far we've come away from the foundations of understanding.

Language is a currency in which we must put faith in order to properly communicate.  When we use counterfeit currency, we deceive, just as we do when we change a word's meaning.  When "door" does not mean "door", we lose the ancient landmark of which we know our boundaries.  We saw this recently when our nation sought to change the definition of the word "marriage", via democratic process, rather than use a different word to describe something very different.

We have also seen our freedom of speech be dramatically reduced as we have allowed government more control over our lives than ancient despots ever thought possible.  Drowned by prosperity, no one knows how long it can be sustained, as there are more people living off the state in our country than there are inhabitants in the nation of Greece today.  Historically, we are sailing on uncharted waters, and those who produce are being separated, socially, from those who strictly consume.  Where it ends, or better yet, how it ends, remains to be seen.  End, however, it will.

In the world of entitlement, egalitarianism, and legalized bullying, the employer is bad, the employee is good, and everyone gets an A+ in order to bow before the gods of self esteem.  Kids now "knock out", that is, so violently strike another human being as to cause immediate brain damage and cessation of consciousness.

Somewhere out there is a politician who just knows that if he can get a few dollars, he can fix it.

Beneath the rubble is the little child who is not learning how to read.

With all of our advances, we are now seeing an entire generation of children growing up with inefficient reading skills, and as the state fails, it prescribes medication and throws even more money at the problem.

I was down on the floor playing with my grandson, Ethan, when, from across the room, came these words, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear!  What do you see?  I see a Red Horse looking at me!" and Ethan immediately threw his head 180 degrees, and did the "GI Joe" crawl, in excitement, over to the chair, and hit his hand, several times, on the book.

He was a week shy of 8 months of age, and it is now "instinctive"that he reacts to books.  His parents read to him before he was born, and have, along with other family, been reading to him throughout.  He says "Da Da!" for his father to read to him.

Contrast this to a 2 year old who can't sit still for a book, won't speak (except to say 'no') but can operate an iPad AND a DVD player at the same time, in the car.  His babysitter?  A 19" television off in the corner of his 12' by 12' playpen.  It is almost impossible to engage him, even for the most animated adult, or get him to show interest in a book.  He has been babysat by the television and the passivity (absence of human interaction) has taken its toll.  Combine this with the myriad of new electronic devices and it will not be long before the system says he needs medications and special reading tutors, and...they'll throw all kinds of money at him but he will not excel.

Our communication is via speech.  The mechanism of speech is words.  Words tell us what is in the human heart, for it is out of this abundance, or so people of faith know, that the words come.  The "heart", that is, the seat of the affections and intellect (what we feel, what we know), is transmitted to the tongue, and the words are chosen quickly.

My arch enemy when I was 13 was a thirty something female school teacher with a blistering red pen who upended my self esteem by marking EVERY SINGLE ERROR on the paper.  She did not take any excuses, sob stories, or manipulations.  She ripped our self esteem to shreds until there was nothing left but...

a well written paper.

"How you doing?" was met with, "I am well, thank you..." and she expected, and received, the same respect.

I am grateful today for the harsh junior high English task master!

So it is that those of you reading this with either young children, or grandchildren, may also be, one day, if you grab that book (or that kindle?) off the shelf (or off the iPad?) and READ to your child or grandchild.

Teach statement analysis early.  It is, essentially, a listening skill that can be learned.

I recently had a challenge come the way of a child who's mother was infuriated that her daughter claimed to have caught her in deception.  In one of those funny, not-so-funny moments (never forget: even in humor, words are chosen for a reason!) the mother challenged me.

"I don't lie!  Just try me! "

I said to her, "Let's say that you were accused of stealing from your employer.  What do you do?"

She said she was a waitress.

I saw a twinkle in her daughter's young eyes with that, "you're gonna get her" look.

"Ok, great", I said.  "Let's say that money went missing from the register, and I think you took it!  What would you say in the interview?"

She said, "I would say, 'I did not.  I swear to God, I did not take the money!"

I saw the twinkle in her daughter's eyes spread to the cheeks, where the mouth extended into a very large smile.

I asked her if she would "swear to God" and she said that she would because it is true.

"Well", I said, "It is likely that you did not take the money, but the fact that you said, "I swear to God" tells me that you may have lied about something else, and let me now ask you, Have you ever taken anything from your job that did not belong to you?"

"Oh, God no!", she exclaimed.  "I would never do any such thing!  Never!  Ever!"

Her daughter interrupted her quietly and said, "Uh, Mom?  Hello, Mom?  Remember that roll of toilet paper?"

The flush came over the young mother's face.  She had "borrowed" an "emergency roll of TP" from the place she worked.

"Oh, God, that's not stealing!  I am so embarrassed.  I was out of TP and didn't have time to go to the store.  They have so many that they would not miss it anyway!"

In deed.

Our words do give us away.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I also read to my baby before he was born. He excels in school in every class! I am proud of him, but I think he was born curious, and intelligent and would be an excellent student without my reading to him. Who knows, really?

Anonymous said...

i strongly disagree that a child should be taught statement analysis. i think it would teach them how to be deceptive and/or lie more than the benefit of knowing someone is lying. you should teach them to be truthful.

Kellie Sue said...

Anon @ December 22, 2013 at 12:02 AM

You've missed the entire concept of SA. You can't teach someone to lie, because it's impossible to lie succesfully! And anyone who thinks they can lie successfully is deluded and holds all of humanity in utter contempt. The brain knows the truth and the truth does come out no matter how hard someone may attempt to juggle it around. Not only does the truth of a matter reveal itself, but also the truth of how someone views the world. What their personal, inner reality is.

For example, anyone who thinks you can teach someone to lie, such as yourself, has revealed something about their character.

Jen Ow said...

My son loves books and I'm so glad! We have read the same book every night before bed since he was a few months old, and now even I feel like I can't go to sleep without it! He cuddles up in the crook of my arm and talks over me the whole time I read to him, telling ME the story in his own words, and pointing out things on the page. I have always loved to read, and I hope he continues to enjoy it as well.

I can also attest to the reading/education crisis in this country. My sister teaches 4th grade in a rural, low income area. She drives over 45 miles to work every day because she believes she can make the biggest difference at that particular school. Only 5 of the students in her 4th grade class actually read on a 4th grade level. The rest of them (21) all read at least a full grade level lower, and almost HALF of their school day is a 'active reading block', to give intensive help to the students who need it.

The sad part is, whether they improve or not, they will be passed onto the next grade, because there are SO many, that holding them all back is not an option. There are not enough teachers and the class sizes are capped.

It is a lose/lose situation for all involved. The kids who are on par with the MINIMAL requirements are spending half the day in a reading block while other subjects are ignored, and the kids who are behind have no real incentive to improve...while my sister's evaluation is based on her students standardized teating scores (don't getting me started on those BS tests) and how many students she bring a up to the expected skill level. The parents of the most troubled students blame the school, teacher, classroom distractions (other children)...basically EVERYONE and EVERYTHING except their lack of involvement, and participation in their childs education.

If something doesn't change our country doesn't have a future, not if these kids grow up to make the same excuses and repeat the same failures as their parents. I am preparing myself for homeschooling when the time comes. I refuse to send my son to a building to be dumbed down by stupid bureaucratic crap, and a curriculum centered around government established testing standards. My sister says critical thinking and actual learning is a thing of the past in public schools.

Learning has been replaced by a testing process that establishes the 'standard' by mass testing the students and then dropping the expectations to the level they are at, rather than establishing a standard and teaching the kids what they need to know to pass. It's all about keeping funding to these programs like 'common core', and keeping 1000's of government employees on the payroll...not about teaching kids the things they need to know.

Smh

Anonymous said...

Cute lad :)

Anonymous said...

Jen Ow, what makes you think you are a qualified home-school teacher? Do you have a teaching certificate? What makes you think you are more qualified to teach your child than a certified experienced teacher?

Anonymous said...

I read high above grade level due to TV being forbidden and the fact that I needed to escape the reality of a household with 2 abusive parents, one of whom was severely disturbed and left me with permanent emotional and physical scars. Books saved me. They allowed me to escape if only in my own mind. Sometimes, I wish I had not read so much, however intelligent it has made me, however skilled in writing, that I had not needed it, that reality had been appealing in some way.
The schools today do not teach spelling and they have noone but themselves and their shockingly lazy instructional techniques for their students poor writing and reading skills. They do not teach spelling or grammar and tell kids "spell it the way it sounds". This is unforgivable considering English contains words from at least 7 different languages and is not spelled anything like the way it sounds. Nothing could be crueler than instructing kids to "spell it the way it sounds" when it comes to the English.
Too bad. The schools use a defective teaching method, this is what they get. Kids who cannot spell, read or write.

Lemon said...

Somebody's been into the eggnog...

Skeptical said...

Why is the use of "swear to God" a tip off that the woman had possibly taken something else? Why are those words in particular significant?

Jen Ow said...

What makes me think that I am more qualified to teach my own son, one-on-one, without him being placed on the back burner to accomodate the 20+ other students who can't read, or even sit still and shut up long enough to be taught anything?? Gee, I don't know, lol!

As I said, I am preparing myself for homeschooling, (with the help of my sister who has her masters degree in early childhood education, and too many certifications to list.)

My son is only 3 years old. If I were to feel that I was not qualified, or if I were able to find a public or private school that I felt would be appropriate before he is old enough, then I would send him there. Home-schooling is not my preference. I want him to enjoy social interaction with other kids. But I WILL do whatever I must to ensure my son gets an appropriate education, not one based on everyone succeeding whether they do the work or not.

That is not how the world works, (not for successful people anyway) and that is not something I want instilled in my son. I want my son to LEARN, be challenged and excel, not just 'pass' to ensure continued certification and funding for the school, and it's goverment sponsored programs.

I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I'm lucky to have the option to homeschool if I choose, and to have access to early childhood teaching material, (which I have used with my son since he started talking) as well as other resources recommended by parents who homeschool.

I'm not saying EVERY public school is a waste of time for kids. I hope that is not the case! But, I have heard the stories from the frustrated teachers, and the complaints and worries of discouraged parents who see their SMART children falling behind. I feel compelled to take proactive steps to ensure my son gets the education he needs.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the significance bc everyone has taken something like a ketchup packet.
I believe Peter has romantic interest in the woman?
Otherwise, what is "the (recent) challenge that came the way"?
A child caught the mother in deception? Really? Or is it Peter who is trying to find out if the woman is not being honest about her feelings for him?
I think that this is probably the same woman Peter is trying to figure out if she likes him or not.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4:28, your post is a hoot! It never occurred to me that Peter's "friends'" love lorn story of rejection and/or lack of progress, 'or does she or doesn't she' might be his own! Now THAT is a good one..! he he he

elf said...

That's hilarious lmao I would bet dollars to donuts that Peter does not have any love interest in anyone except his wife. Of course a person only learns an answer to a question by asking.

Peter, are you flirting with a woman other than your wife?

John said...

Good point....you have à good insight...

Anonymous said...

OT knoxx arrested in Spain.

hated school said...

Good luck! I can tell your son is Loved.

Anonymous said...

Amanda Knox arrested in alicanti re previous theft case.

sidewalk super said...


Along with the ability read and write, these kids cannot speak any English language that most of us would recognize.


Anonymous said...

Jen Ow, are you implying that your sister is the last good teacher left in the country? It sure sounds like it. Well let me tell you, she isn't. There are many good teachers and many good schools, with many of these being public schools.

Obviously your research, experience and opinions are quite limited; as is the poster who claims kids no longer are taught spelling and English. You've GOT to be kidding yourselves!

I can see keeping a child at home who has special needs while chipping away at it yourself the best you can; but mostly, I feel sorry for poor little home-schooled kids. They are at the mercy of their frazzled mother, they have no escape from her and many of them get slapped around by her. They also have no social outlet and learn no interaction or social skills. The losses of a normal childhood and education these children incur are vast.

Jen Ow said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

If Jen wants to honeschool her kid, let her! They do not teach spelling in schools! They teach "spell it the way it sounds". Stupid, yes. But we don't have geniuses designing the educational curriculum. This is the absolute truth--they tell kids "spell it the way it sounds"; "spell one of the complicated languages on earth, a language swimming with French, German words and at least five other languages, just spell it the way it sounds. And don't worry about grammar!!!
I speak fluent middle English. I understand this language better than most of you and the complexities of it. Telling kids to "spell it the way it the way it sounds" would have been kinda OK if we all still speak Middle English.
Can you read this?
It maken myne harte wrote that I have hade my worlde as in my tyme"? Yes you can. Just pronounce every letter including the "silent e's"--whoah folks we're reading Chaucer! Do you know what it means? "It makes me happy to know I have fully lived my life." Funny thing is, we're not trying to teach middle English are we? We don't pronounce every letter anymore do we?
You think it's OK to teach kids to spell as if we still speak Middle English?
You are one person who should NOT be telling Jen not to homeschool her kid!!!

Jen Ow said...

Anon 8:29-

I did not say my sister was the only good teacher, nor did I even comment on her teaching ability. I am well researched on the common core curriculum, and I would gladly answer any questions you have (in the event that you have an actual interest in the topic, and are not just blindly ranting about a matter that isn't any of your concern).

I am not 'frazzled', and I do not 'slap around' my son. Whatever abuse goes on in your home, that makes you think kids need to escape their parents, does not go on in mine. Also, if you bothered to read my response you would see that I stated my desire for him to interact socially with other kids. But I won't place that desire above his primary education.

The skills and study habits learned in primary school are the foundation of a students educational future. I do not agree with students being taught using 'accomodations', meaning that they can test with their books open for reference, and re-take tests as many times as needed to pass, (or as it is referered to, 'master a skill').

To put things into perspective, imagine it like this:

You apply for a new job and get hired. When you show up on your first day, does your boss take you to a desk and tell you, 'Ok, we need to see what you know, and what you can do, just do your best and get whatever you can done...oh, and if you need us to provide any 'accommodations' for you to succeed, just let us know...this is all about you succeeding at the level you are right now, and that's all we expect of you'.

Or, does the boss tell you what you are expected to do, and demand you perform to THEIR standards, or they will fire you and hire someone who can?

Anonymous said...

Jen Ow, I wish you success with your home schooling idea; however, you won't be able to spend as much time posting on here if you intend to give your play-acting teachers' job the attention it deserves.

As it is, you already spend hours and hours every day writing up your long posts then posting more long posts explaining the previous long posts and on and on.

It won't be like this when you have to give your attention to your son, not if you expect to do a better job than you claim certified teachers are doing who give their job their full attention all day every day. Even now, I wonder, whose looking after your little three year old all day everyday while you sit there posting?

Don't you think you should be spending at least a little time now working with pre/pre-k assignments for him? You realize don't you, that a child can actually fail kindergarten if they aren't already prepared for kindergarten upon enrollment? Little kindergarteners are expected to be able to keep up.

Anonymous said...

Jen posts about once a day on average, and I am sure it does not take her long to write even a lengthy post as she seems quite intelligent--unlike yourself anon. I think she's allowed to have an interest and is not required to stare at her son 24 hrs a day, plus at age 3 my son was still taking one 3-4 hr nap each day.

Jen Ow said...

You response confirms that you have no genuine interest in the subject and are only butting into an issue that doesn't concern you, (and apparently spending alot of time thinking about me, and my life). I'm flattered, but I'm done giving you the attention you crave.

As always, you have proven yourself a class act, and your clearly FULL of Christmas cheer, lol. Give your rude, self righteous BS a break, and who knows, you may even have FUN. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Well, if your son was still taking three-four hour naps at 3+ years old, then he must have been running around like a little holy terror until midnight every night. Poor little guy.

BTW, yes, a three year old DOES need watching all day. Not ignored while mommy sits preoccupied on the internet all day.

I read not long ago where a mother spent so much time on the blogs all day and night that she let her two small children starve to death. This is no joke. True story.

Jen Ow said...

Hi Anon 11:44

Funny how one post states that a child needs to be able to escape their 'frazzled mother', and the next I am not giving my son any attention, lol. I guess it also doesn't occur to them that the posts I wrote yesterday were all in response to their questions or comments..so I guess they feel like they are neglecting their life for SA too? Irony.

Jen Ow said...

Let me guess ..your one of those know it all 50 somethings, who have plenty to say about other people's parenting, yet never had any kids of your own?

Vita said...

Jen, you wrote,

"He cuddles up in the crook of my arm and talks over me the whole time I read to him, telling ME the story in his own words, and pointing out things on the page. I have always loved to read, and I hope he continues to enjoy it as well"

Jen, my fondest memories, of my childhood was one of my parents, my aunt reading to me. Each brought a new experience with voice, and excitement, even if it were the same book I chose each time. Reading to your son is the greatest gift you two can and will share together. I came across this on yt. I remember this book. It's been more than 40 yrs since my eyes have seen the illustrations. I do remember each word, as Perry Como reads aloud. I was probably your son's age.

How I remember? as one of my family read this aloud, like you, your son. They allowed me to participate in the magic, making reading time a most wanted. This only children share, free will, their greatest gift to us, to themselves once found, nourished, is their imagination, their expressed without fear.

These are precious moments, yes, that do last for a lifetime. Jen, Thank you for sharing here.

Happy Christmas to You & Yours
http://youtu.be/qUzIF4eYRkg

Vita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:41,

Thanks for your concern, but no, he actually wasn't running around until midnight. He actually had a very regular sleep schedule, was in bed at a normal time and went to bed with no problem.
Why don't you back off of Jen?
There is no doubt in my mind you are jealous of Jen, because she's smarter than you.
I am smart enough that I can figure out who you are too.
(Oh, and by the way, maybe you have your own Mommy issues? Did your Mommy dote on you 24 hours a day and supervise you vigilantly as you shook your rattle never turning her back for a moment to make dinner, etc.? Did she also go with you on dates when you were in high school? Maybe she still picks out your outfit each morning now that you are a full grown adult also?)
I hope so. We wouldn't want Mommy to give you one brief second of unsupervised time, God forbid you should be scarred for life!

Anonymous said...

Jen, I noticed that Heidi/Derek Tudela did not spew their ususal malice on the last Ayla thread from the past week. My guess is they've been lurking and are just now rearing their ugly heads against the posters here who have spoken out against them. The writing style is similar to other crap they have written on other blogs.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, anon picking on Jen, you wouldnt be that same poster who went nuts posting under that one newspaper article for a year would you? The one who obssessively hates Trists and who also had a lot to say about how her other son should be given up for adoption so he could learn to speak "proper English"? Just wondering bc you seem to know an awful lot about how Jen should be raising her son and what kinds of
pre-K educational materials she should be using. It reminds me a lot of the stuff that poster had written.

Peter Hyatt said...

Please don't copy paste or make any reference to the foolish "turd" comments. She has received enough attention and the SPAM folder will eventually get ALL of her posts.

Don't argue with her. Don't defend me, or my family...

please just ignore and wait for the deletions to be complete. I have a few people on it.

Even well meaning, if you copy/paste or answer her, your post will also be in the SPAM folder, and once the folder catches on, your other posts might end up there as well, so, please just don't.

Thank you,

Peter

Peter Hyatt said...

PS:

one may disagree with homeschooling, or may believe that government schools are best, but the commenting must be civil or the comments will also be deleted.

My registered nurse daughter was home schooled for years, so, as you can guess, I am sensitive about the topic.

Homeschooling parents sacrifice a great deal of time (and money) in order to attempt to get the best education for their children. I tip my hat to them.

I also have public (government) school teachers in my family, who are dedicated professionals and do great work.

They are, at times however, not so popular, as they are exacting and demanding...something today's parents don't relish.

Peter

Lemon said...

Jen
Ignore the fool's comments. This well known troll is projecting her disappointment regarding her own children, is lonely and bitter, and seeks to tear down others who obviously have good relationships with their kids. When she is not attacking PH, she is attacking others. Its attention she craves, even negative. It is sad.

Jen Ow said...

To clarify, I don't blame the teachers, and I'm sorry if my comments came off that way. Teachers are not the issue, and the ones I know are also frustrated.

Sadly, although it is such an important job, teachers are terribly underpaid for the volume, and type of work they do, (and also in contrast to the time and money they spend on their education, and continued certifications). I admire their dedication, to press on whether they agree with the curriculum, or not.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their family and friends! xoxox

Jen Ow said...

Good advice Lemon, will do!

Trigger said...

"Oh, God, that's not stealing" denial

"I was out of TP…etc." Justify

"They have so many…etc." blame

This is not a reliable denial.