First, sorry this is so late. We were up at 3 am for some family stuff, and didn’t get back to bed before 5:30. I then woke up at nine, and am only now more or less human.
Also, the family stuff started at 1 pm, which means I forgot to take my add medication, and spent the whole afternoon walking in circles in my own head and sometimes physically. It takes a lot of caffeine to fix the same issue, and I never had enough, because I wasn’t organized enough to.

No, nothing is gravely wrong. Well… one of the family cats is dying of renal failure, maybe, and getting an adequate diagnosis required two vets, one of whom was backed up (And we still don’t have it.) Then there was the human side of this, in that the cat’s human was having issues dealing with it. Yes, I know, but we do get attached to them. And our youngest cat is 10, which means the next few years will more or less suck.

Anyway, day before yesterday I found myself on a facebook discussion on Mediahog’s (I refuse to give him hits in the main post) latest grandstanding, in which commenters were fairly harsh to him. At which point one of the commenters who is leftist for my circles (and probably objectively, though not that insane, yet) complained. He didn’t chide us, but he said that he felt guilty speaking that way “of a child.” Mediahog is 21.

I heard the same thing about Greta, and I want to say, yes, she’s a legal child. Though most of what we said was about her pronouncements, not her, except for “I was a teenage mutant wokescold” which… sorry, is true.

Look, let’s talk about children, shall we?

Adolescents are hard to categorize. They’re hard to measure. All attempts to measure their “maturity” hit hard against the fact that the measurer tends to rate as “mature” opinions he agrees with, no matter how obvious it is the young person was indoctrinated.

But also kids mature at different rates. They just do. And they display adult/child behavior at different times.  And hormone-insanity (which weirdly is mostly not sex oriented, just results in extreme emotional behavior) hits at different times and for different periods.

And some day you’ll be surprised to see your teen kid, with whom you have knock out drag out fights over not wanting to do his laundry give his friends very good advice on how to relate to their parents.  The next day you’ll be back to laundry wars.

We have a lot of “data” saying the brain doesn’t mature fully till 25, in most people. It is used for all sorts of things, like to delay ability to buy alcohol to 21. (But not to delay voting till 21. I invite you to think on that.)

But it’s never universal. I THINK I was unusually mature for my age… pretty much always.  Maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I just knew a lot of stuff. Because… Odd.  Also, like most Odds I got accused of being emotionally immature, even while I was playing “mommy” and “overseer” to my friends in the same age group, to keep them from doing life-destroying stuff. I think what instigates the “you’re emotionally immature” is that we don’t react as people expect, while being obviously intellectually mature, so they lash out at us for the difference, not net immaturity.

ALSO we often refuse the indoctrination/manipulation that works on our peer group, which makes people upset. And they have to explain it away.

At eight I had massive arguments with dad’s communist friend. When he lost, he’d accuse me of being immature and “brainwashed.”  At the same time another of dad’s friends who was what can only be called a materialist wealthyist  [as in he believed people’s worth could be measured by their material worth (I later found out he got rich literally through an unpredictable stroke of luck, which explains A LOT.)] loved taunting me because my goals (at the time. They weren’t even well defined. Though honestly I’d still pick that way, above “comfort” level) were knowledge over wealth. He kept telling me I was choosing to be stupid and that meant I was dumb.

I was eight. Both of these grown men felt a great need to win arguments with an eight year old girl in pigtails. Both were vindictive and frothing at the mouth enraged when they lost. Both continued trying to do this till I was 12, when they gave up because I learned to answer everything with “Whatever.”

Mind you, society let them get away with this because I was a child and should learn from my betters. (Rolls eyes.)

Was I less emotionally mature than those two losers? Who knows. Given my age, probably.  Was I less intellectually mature than they were? Again, who knows? I had no great knowledge at 8, I had opinions, mostly from how things “felt.” I learned, though, because I had to figure out how to oppose their arguments. Both were probably responsible for my early reading of history and philosophy.

Did they treat me as a child? Only when convenient.  As in “She doesn’t know anything, she’s a stupid child.”

And that brings us back to the problem of adolescents.

Some people have said adolescents didn’t exist till recently, but that’s not exactly true. Adolescents with a lot of time on their hands didn’t exist till recently. But that could be said for every age group.  It could also be said that older people with enough energy to do stuff didn’t exist till recently. It didn’t mean it didn’t exist, here and there, in rare occasions. Just not as a group. And it doesn’t mean it’s not a real phase of development.

The apprentices in Shakespeare’s London, who often engaged in riotous behavior, were teens. The tendency was there.

But society, when going to work at ten or eleven was normal was a lot more repressive of acting out. And frankly, having a ton of time on your hands makes everyone unhappy.  Not having a purpose in life makes humans unhappy. We are born to strive. Lack of strife makes us … weird.

I think adolescents should be kept occupied with learning. I think our training of young minds should be a lot more rigorous. But society is going the other way towards SOFTENING their path, not making it harder and more competitive. I think that’s the wrong way to go. But I’m not everyone else.

And as a parent I confess it’s a struggle between wanting to make it “all better” for your kids, which of course you want to, because in some part of a parent’s heart they’re always the little two year old who skinned his knee and came to you for comfort, and knowing they have to brave the squalls before they harden enough to stand on their own.

And for a bunch of reasons, including extreme guilt over not giving them enough time (you can’t raise kids and have two successful careers. Both require more time than mere humans have) and concentrating all our eggs on one or two baskets, society has moved to “protect” and “coddle” the young way beyond what used to be permitted or possible. We now speak of mid twenties as “children.” We make no demands on them, at all, till almost thirty. And then we wonder what went wrong, and try protecting more.

What went wrong is in point of fact that we don’t let kids earn money, have any sense of independence, or be responsible for their actions, tastes and beliefs till they’re … well… sometimes never.

And our society is prosperous enough to allow it, but maybe not to survive it.

One of the strongest human impulses is to “keep our kids from taking the wrong path.” Even when the wrong path is something weird that wouldn’t bother anyone else. For instance, younger son is a hard sci fi guy and completely rejects space opera, which in our house sounded all sorts of alarms.

It can be that stupid. You expect your kids to make the choices you did. The HARDEST thing in the world is letting them choose. Even harder is letting them choose when you know they’ll hurt themselves. But you have to let them, or you’re denying them the right to be human.

So, how much should you protect your children? I don’t know.

I tried to do the minimum protection to allow the kids to still grow up. For instance, I’m fond of saying I never child proofed the house. We house proofed the children, which meant they were safe anywhere.  There were long graphic talks of what would happen if you stuck something in the wall socket, PLUS light slaps on the hand when this was attempted. (Long before they understood the talk.)  Yes, it required a lot of vigilance they didn’t even know was happening. BUT it also worked. Neither of them ever did anything unholy stupid like the visiting kid who flung himself head first from our upper porch (at  12. Thank heavens for the big leaf piles, is all I’m saying.) By ten I could trust them to go anywhere and not get hurt. Yes, it was a lot of work.

How about protecting them from unwholesome influences?  Well, it depends what you call unwholesome.

I had two things in my camp when I undertook raising the terrors:

The first, is personal. I grew up under a national socialist regime that censured every mildly salacious thing. I still came across a lot of porn. Why? Well, because I was on an insatiable quest for written material, which included exploring any shelves on houses we visited. Most porn violently repelled me. As in, crawl backwards away from it. Now this might have been because I’m a girl and girls aren’t into visual porn. Part of my interest in Greek and Roman myth is because of a prurient interest in sex by the time I was 8 or so and — physically — entering puberty-ish (as in had breast buds) (And yes, it gave me weird ideas. I mean, just Zeus’ adventures…)

Anyway when I was 11 the international socialists took over. And look, they always start with a lot of …. what I call moral corruption, to then get people to sign on to the full communist program, which cleans society.  (No? Look at all communist countries and their enforced puritanism.)

So, suddenly porn — from soft to hard — was everywhere, including magazines sold in the street.

Honestly, I didn’t notice any difference in consumption. Some guys were still addicted, but they were the same guys who would have been addicted in the old days.

Also people who got addicted to it were usually trying to…. Look, addiction is a personality type, but what you’re addicted to depends on how you manage it. And falling into something like that or drug addiction or other destructive habits usually means there is a huge problem this is self medicating.  It doesn’t mean it’s all right, but it means if that’s not available, something equally destructive will take its place.  Almost everyone I know of who has fallen that way had a massive trauma at the core of their being.  You don’t solve the trauma by banning one palliative. You solve it by addressing it.

The second experience that influenced how we raised our kids was that for reasons involving what we were doing at the time we became acquainted “acquaintance-friendly” with a family of extremely devout home schooling Catholics.  They were a lovely family. The oldest boy was about 18. The youngest girl was 2.  Smart kids, knew a lot of everything.

I once found myself at lunch at their house talking to the 18 year old who was college bound, and talk wandered over to my experiences during the revolution. (Some of which granted are weird, but I wasn’t even going there.) Which led to the French revolution and the guillotine.  At which point I realized two things: this well-educated 18 year old had CLUE ZERO what I was talking about. And his mom was giving me frantic signs across the room.

Afterwards I was told in a snippy tone they hadn’t taught him any of the horrors of history to “protect his innocence.”  THEY HADN’T TOLD HIM MURDER WAS POSSIBLE.  No, I’m not actually joking. They told me that way he wouldn’t have bad thoughts. (Did they expurgate Cain and Abel, or did he think that was the only one?) And btw that was the last time we were invited over/allowed to talk to the kids.

My first thought was to think they were morons. Very bright morons.

Because I could see, without needing glasses, that kid entering college and finding out everything he’d been protected from and not only having no defenses but NEVER trusting his parents again. Or retreating howling to a mental space of his own making.

I have no idea what the kid knew about sex, either, but I’m going to guess it had all been sanitized and expurgated.

So– our kids…

Well, when #1 son developed an interest in Roman history at THREE, for crying in bed, the more … accurate histories went behind glass, and locked. There were a lot of middle-grade, YA histories in their places as well as adult level histories about Roman history and architecture.

And though both kids had computers from age three, there was a limiting program installed till they were about 13 or 14 (I don’t remember precisely.)

Shows we watched that might have well, the occasional nude scene, got talked about before they watched. Same with violence of any sort.

And we talked about addictive behavior, because it runs on mom’s side and I have it. And how it’s possible to get addicted to ANYTHING and use it to escape reality. And how a little escape can be good for you, but if you live there it’s bad.

Long before they were given sex ed in school, we’d described the mechanics, (to choruses of ew. Nothing kills adolescent prurience like having mom tell you about it in clinical terms. Seriously. Highly recommended. It’s like giving them a sip of wine on the holidays. Makes wine totally not cool.) And we’d had long rambling talks — the best way to encourage this is to have them help you with some heavy repetitive work. Say, building a porch — about the psychology of sex, and why hook-ups can actually wound you (besides being extra stressful for Odds, because it’s like an endless audition.) Also about how real human relationships are. (This was often done with reference to books.)  Reading Heinlein in their teens led to discussions of why he thought group marriages would work, and why they were extremely rare (at least successful ones.) And how it was an attempt to square women-with-careers and child raising. And why it doesn’t work that way. (Because the caretaker will favor her own kids, duh, same as harems.)

Anyway, instead of narrowing their focus, we just discussed everything ad nauseum, (no seriously) including tough moral choices and how to defeat your own inner animal.

Yes, it was a lot of work. And yes, we sometimes wondered if we were doing the right thing.  And yes, sometimes “parental censorship” was invoked, like when younger son got addicted to neopets, which meant I couldn’t read neo neo con for a year, because we blocked the word “neo” on our browser. By the time he’d figured out how to hack out of it (good for creativity) he was over the addiction.  I think right now he’s addicted to politics, but like I can throw stones.

Did we succeed? Who knows? They’re no worse than the rest of us, which must count as a win.

Is that the only way to raise kids? I don’t know. I do know at some point you can’t protect them. They’ll find ways.

And if your kids grow up to be political and loud, they’ll take their lumps, at whatever age they do it.  At least if they’re not on the left, when everyone will simultaneously praise them for their “intelligence” as if the opinions were signs of that, and scream at you that they’re just children. Because they believe in oracles and magical children, but that’s just a sign of a culture in ghost dance.

What I know is that you can’t protect your child from everything, and then expect them to live free in a free society. A child to whom the very concept of murder is alien is a victim walking or a predator in the making. And his faith you worked so hard to pour into him will shatter the first time he realizes evil exists.

We tried not to raise children. We were in the business of raising adults, who would live in the real world.

And as for clamoring for the government to protect your kids…  Well, most of the aggression on your kids’ minds right now is coming from government, if not directly through the imbibing of the progressive doctrine that has made its way to the institutionalized, permanent bureaucracy.

Child protective services might remove your kid if you don’t agree to drugs and surgery on a minor who thinks being trans is cool and never showed any signs before last month. (Yes, they believe the kid was hiding. Listen bub, even younger son who is the master of secrecy couldn’t hide to that point. Parents, at least those who live with the kid know what they’re up to. … If they want to know.)

WHY do you think giving government that power will protect the kids? Or anyone?
I was born under a very controlling government. Stuff still leaked through. Both what I’d now consider objectionable… no, wait, most of it I’d consider objectionable. Dad’s friend was a communist. And had the highly illegal materials to support his point of view (Marx etc.) And if he hadn’t been such an unpleasant person, he might have converted me… at 8.  And this was a more repressive government than you can even conceptualize. And we didn’t even have the net, but this stuff was everywhere, and people knew where to get it. (Weirdly no one was passing around stuff on free market economics or personal responsibility, but to be fair I did get a copy of the Federalist Papers.)

Giving government more power is allowing them to send us further down the merry road to hell. Because they always use it to control you.  And until we get rid of the permanent bureaucracy they’ll control you only in ways that give them more power. Period.

In the end, we can’t save all the children. We can’t save all the adults either. In the end it’s down to personal responsibility.

We all have the virtues of our vices and the vices of our virtues.  Mom’s family has addictive personalities because they’re obsessive and fall down rabbit holes. Oh, there are other issues, but that’s the type of personality. I have it with bells on. I had to use “addiction fighting techniques” to get free of fanfic sites. AND I’m fighting a battle to control social media, made worse by being unable to abandon it completely. (I’m starting to win. Yes, that meant fixing problems in my life before I could. Since I had to fix them to get off the prednisone cycle, that’s just as well.)

But that means I can channel it, say to writing, or to learning things.

You can’t use government to create perfect humans or to keep humans from evil.  We’re humans. All of us have a broad streak of darkness within us. You can’t just deny it. And yes, some people will embrace it, no matter what.

But the best thing you can do is know it’s in there, shake hands with it, know who and what it is, and just how evil you could be, if you let yourself.

And then stop it. And watch it all the time.

I watch myself all the time. Particularly when I’m very angry and emotional over something.  All the time.

In a way it’s like making sure your kid doesn’t put his finger in the socket. It’s unpleasant, takes time, and is annoying.

But just like your kids will get around those stupid little plugs in the sockets (every kid I ever knew) and like my kid defeated the multiple locks on the door to run naked through the streets of downtown Colorado Springs, people will get around controls. They’ll just get around in distorted ways, often more destructive than the original.

Your inner beast will try to get around it too. One of the favorite lies is “This one is actually good.”  But it’s not. We all know of good intentions and the way to hell.

You need to know the inner darkness and control it. And know why you control it.

Because that’s the only way to be human and an adult.

And you have to allow others to be adult, even if they choose wrong and decide all they want to read is hard scifi. Or worse.


Because free will is the essence of humanity. Without it we’re not fully human. We’re animated puppets.

And free will MUST allow the option to fall.


360 thoughts on “Children

  1. I’m of the opinion that about the best thing you can do for a 3-4 year old is teach them how to collect eggs for breakfast in the morning. But since my parents raised us to be nigh-complete city-slickers, I may just be romanticizing the Little House series.

    That said, chores in a suburb home are pure tedium with very little obvious payoff – or at least things were never allowed to get dirty by little boy standards, so I never quite grokked the importance of cleaning as a child – so if I get to be a father I’m still gonna try the ‘chores with meaningful results’ thing.

    Maybe have them raise pigs for project money, for the lessons on delayed gratification.


    1. altimatewriting, have them collect eggs for breakfast. Pigs are a bit too big, rough, and lethal for 3-4 year olds to handle; as in a pig is going to consider them to be food, knock them down and eat them, regardless of whether the kid is dead at the time or not.

    2. I don’t want to deal with chickens, but it’s time to attackle the clutter, and maybe it’s not altogether too late to leverage the little one’s helpfulness and enjoyment of putting things into other things.

      She has been required to clean up… let’s call it inappropriately located artwork, so there is at least some concept of visible results.

    3. There are things you can do. I paid the kids for chores. Very little, because the kids needed me to redo them (behind their backs) when we started. Raising them as they got older. I think by 14 a “whole house dust and vacuum” was about $40.
      I let them choose what to do based on prices on the board.
      They never complained of boredom.
      For reasons known only to the psychiatrists they don’t have, though, both preferred “Building trades” work with me, including the obligatory trip to hardware store as soon as it opened. Eh.

      1. Mom eventually started offering pay for extra chores, above and beyond the daily assignment, but the payment was 25 cents for work that had to be done pretty much perfectly. Some of us tried, but we all gave it up as not worth the effort unless there was something specific we wanted to purchase.


        1. I’ve heard of a mother with that rule. Also that some things were extra chores for the mother — driving you to school if you missed the bus — and so you paid for them.

      2. Read Cheaper By The Dozen, about the Gilbreath family (Mom & Pop were pioneers of industrial efficiency studies) raising of their twelve children. Chores were put up for bid, awarded to the lowest bidder and contracts were enforced.

        I am sure there were minimum qualifications for the bids — ability to perform could not be assumed, surely! — but cannot recall id that was in the book.

        DO NOT view the movie, especially not the re-make. The book is a quick read, episodic and well written.

      3. Yes, we paid our kids for chores, too. I can still remember the look of disappointment on my teenage son’s face when I had to inform him that the “mow the yard” chore did not pay out for merely pushing the lawnmower around the yard—which is basically what he had done—but instead required that all the grass be cut: and look, here’s a counterexample, and there, and there, and there.

    4. We have chores to get tablet– and I’ve recently started “paying” the kids with candy from the big jar I’ve filled with day-after-halloween candies.

      Finish all your chores? (Basic: put your clothes away, clean your room, be dressed, etc; school kids: your assigned chore; oldest two, one additional chore. Things like “pick up the livingroom” and “sort the clean clothes.”)
      You can play on the computer.
      Not only finished your chores, and lessons, and everything else– but I didn’t have to fight you? And it’s more than an hour before dinner?
      Take a candy.

      That, and knocking school back an hour, were HUGE improvements.

      1. Mom’s program was a bit like that, except that she considers Super Mario Brothers to be a hyperviolent slaughterfest and put sharp daily limits on our computer use. _All_ computer use, console or desktop.

        Which of course we ignored as much as we could, thus training us in critical childhood skills of cynicism, disobedience, and deception. Child psychology degrees apparently don’t cover ‘never give an order that won’t be obeyed’.


        1. Since I’ve got a major peeve over folks grouping “screen time” as a single thing– that’s like conflating riding in a car, playing in the yard and driving a tractor for work on the grounds that it is “out of house time”– that’s definitely not a failing we’ll hit. *wry*

          1. Ditto. I’ll accept that screen time isn’t running-around time, and if too much running-around time is replaced by sitting-on-your-butt time, the lack of exercise is going to lead to unhealthy kids. But I believe there’s a big difference between watching TV (a passive activity where you just accept input) and playing Minecraft (an activity that requires creative thinking and, depending on the mods the parent has added, problem-solving to make the different machines work together to achieve a desired outcome). And I think there’s almost no difference between reading a paper book and reading a book on a Kindle, but some (most? I don’t know) of the “limit screen time” advocates would lump Kindles in with TV. (Of course, if the kid is using the Kindle to watch Youtube, then they’d be right to lump it in with TV, but not if he/she’s reading.)

    5. Do you have a 4-H branch in your area? (Ask your county extension agent.) If so, that’s a great, supervised, way to get into raising livestock that can’t necessarily be kept at home.

      1. First I’ve got to finish getting fit: A woman who wants a chubby man is going to be an anchor around my neck and prone to resentment if I succeed anyway, a woman who wants a fit man has no reason to believe in me until I’m a lot closer.

        (Kinda let myself go after a courting experience destroyed my self-confidence. What’s worse than trying to fix a broken bird?: No one considering it worthwhile to let you know how broken she was in the first place. So fixing myself up is still a work in progress.)


        1. Good luck on the weight loss. I’m trying to shift mine into a ketosis diet. WW changed their plan too many times over the past 10 years for me to keep track of it.

        2. Er… Albert?
          DECENT smart women don’t mind chubby men. They’ll love you for your mind.
          And that endures more than the shape.
          Work on mind and social skills, more.
          Body too, but for your health more than anything.
          Hell, I knew a knock out woman who PREFERRED her men with a little extra fat because that made them “real.”

          1. The problem is, in this time of virtue signaling, it’s all too easy to find people who think they are being virtuous by the attempted-slow-murder that is fitness shaming. Since the efforts that promote fitness don’t come easily to me, I have to very cautious about anyone who’d think herself righteous in enabling me in my sloth and gluttony. (Sadly, quite a few LDS women are all too willing to listen to the post-Sexual Revolution world.)

            Can’t really count on finding a unicorn – someone who would invest her future in my potential and help bring it out – either, as much as I’d love to.

            But yes, a big part of it is for my own health. My parents have demonstrated that for them, the 60s* _can_ be the new 30s-40s, so I have no excuse for not getting the rest of the way into shape, and I don’t want to chance a heart attack in the next couple of decades.

            Honestly, at some point I probably ought to relocate to BYU territory and find an LDS girl who wants to be married to a voracious reader. But that’s for after getting some indie revenue streams going.


            *Not sure about the 70s. They’ll be able to report on that next decade.

            1. When hunting, the smart hunter goes where the most game can be found.

              You will never find someone you have nothing in common with; therefore, look for people you have something in common with at places where you do the things you like to do. I hate bars, like hiking or walking, like reading, like most SF movies (even the horrible ones or the campy ones), occasionally enjoy talking about stories I’ve read, speculation on technology trends, space, biology, etc. So two places I’m likely to find people like that are at Cons, space and science centers, museums, parks, and college campuses. If I lose my spouse before I go, and still feel the need for companionship, then those are the places I’ll need to go. Especially if there are adult learning classes available.

              The really odd part of finding my current housemate? We only ran into each other after I stopped worrying about finding someone.

              1. We only ran into each other after I stopped worrying about finding someone.
                I can’t emphasize enough how “looking” hinders the finding on something so unquantifiable.

                But, do get fit, and go do things that you enjoy (that hopefully involve other people), and make friends. And good luck. 🙂

              2. That’s why I decided to go to cons more often, to find people (not just potential romantic partners, though that was a bonus) in “my tribe”. Then I got sent overseas again, which put paid to cons for a couple of years.

                Ironically, about three weeks before I came back to the States for the one Con in two years that I was willing to make a 5000 mile trip for, our gracious hostess introduced me (online) to the Bugbear, and we went from there.

                And both he and I have more than a few extra pounds that we are planning to encourage each other to lose healthfully, in order to have more years together now that we have each other.

                1. Not in her middle years. Young, sure. But not in her middle years. Hell, Synova, she’s lost a ton of weight, is a foot plus shorter than I, and when I arrived without my luggage, I put her clothes on, no trouble.
                  This doesn’t prevent her telling me I’m enormously fat, but neither does it make her slim.

            1. She married. 😀
              And yes, complete knock out. It was amusing to go out with her for a drink, and watch her ignore all the fashionable guys for that chubby somewhat balding guy in the corner, then trying to start a conversation on books. 😀

            1. Use the most generous tolling system there is, and pock a class that has growth potential and won’t die in the first encounter.

        3. Well, I’m not on the market, but I gotta say that the “man” part of either chubby or fit man is much more important than the other modifier; you seem to be a decent person, which is a lot more important than how fit you are. Women (not “females,” but women) tend to be a lot less visual than men; it’s not even close to 100% but frequently women who want a guy for his looks are accessorizing, not finding a mate. (It seems a lot more common than it is because, obviously, the nasty ones keep coming back on market!)

          There’s a reason that “dad bod” is a thing, basic biology is going to be against you in the long run. (Which is actually good for survival!)

          That being said, you do you. 🙂

          1. OTOH, a man who’s physically fit with decent muscle definition has proven (unless he won the genetic lottery) that he’s capable of long-term thinking, delayed gratification, and doing hard, not-usually-pleasant work to reach a chosen goal. Which might mean that he’ll be a really effective criminal — after all, none of that speaks to his moral character — but if he’s also a decent moral man, then those are also traits that will make him a good father someday. Now, the chubby man might also have those traits, so it would be foolish to reject him solely on the basis of being chubby — but she’ll have to get to know him before she knows whether he has those traits or not. So if I had a daughter, I’d advise her that a decently fit man is a good sign, and a useful trait to look for (though of course not the only trait to look for).

            1. Also, one can be chubby but still physically strong. Many “strongest man” competitors have less “definition” than bodybuilders.

              My Bugbear is solid and thick. And strong. Which is a million times better than having abs.

              1. Nor is being “cut” proof one is physically strong. Muscles are funny things and our understanding less than we imagine. Ability to put stored energy into use, for example, is indifferent to muscle definition, and recovery time is more a consequence of good cardio-vascular conditioning than musculature.

                A certain school of thought holds that a man concerned with maintaining a “fit” body is insufficiently concerned with more important matters, such as wife and children — just as another school argues that a woman focused on her looks is more interested in catching a man than in keeping one.

                The human race is a marathon; endurance counts more than being fast in stages. Your goal is propagating your genes and beliefs (not necessarily in that order) and once a phase (such as finding a spouse) is completed your goal is to move on to the next stage, not linger about the prior recalling glory days.

              2. This is true; I’ve seen some of those strong-but-look-chubby guys (in pictures and/or video) myself. So a young woman would be well-advised to look at both fitness and visible signs of strength (e.g., if she goes shopping with the “chubby” guy and he lifts a 50-pound bag of rice without visible effort, she should immediately upgrade her opinion of his strength). Of course, to be able to accurately judge strength, it helps to have some comparison, e.g. if she knows that she could handle a 10-pound bag with no problem, a 20-pound bag with some difficulty, and a 50-pound bag not at all, then she’ll have a much better estimate of his strength after seeing him do that, than would a woman who has never even tried to lift a 20-pound bag of anything.

            1. *clears throat* While I’m all about finding excuses to link cool research, you really should notice that I said a lot less visual.

              That Cumberbatch has a career and is indeed viewed as quite cute is proof enough of that!

              Obvious issue with the study (since I can’t actually read it) is that it says attractiveness— and doesn’t define if it’s physical, visual, behavioral, etc, but it’s most likely general. Which avoids the question of what folks are finding attractive.


              Final rabbit-hole– I find it utterly endearing that guys tend to “see” the wife as she is in their mind, while gals tend to adore what they see even when it doesn’t make sense.
              Actually came up in the newest FF14 expansion, where Alphie is supposed to do a portrait of a couple— she isnot very attractive. Husband is pissed off by the near photographic quality, wife loves it. Totally saved the characters for me, because it suggested they actually do love eachother.

            2. The term “attractive” carries a lot of baggage here. From a woman’s perspective, an “attractive” man can mean one who is clean, well-groomed (hair & hands, skin tone), attired in a mode conveying a grasp of social signals appropriate to the societal cohort to which she aspires. It is a far more complex signalling than the male’s visual understanding.

              Presentation is critical, and women are generally far more attuned to such than are men, but it is not as simple as Physically Fit. It includes indications of social status, nuances of coordinated colors & patterns and far more. I recommend reading John Malloy’s Dress for Success works, less for specific tips than for the overall analytic approach to the ways in which social status affects our interactions.

              1. David Boreanaz is an incredibly underrated actor* who does a great job of this– watch a clip of him chewing the scenery as Angelus in Buffy (evil demon vampire) and he’s scary, but about 90% of the characters the guy does hit the Kicked Puppy buttons.
                He’s decently tall (6’1) and even when he’s doing the “curl your shoulders in so you look smaller and unintimidating” thing, he LOOKS big, but also like he’s constantly trying really, really hard.

                * I only noticed because there was a body-swap episode at some point where he was actually moving and talking like who the character “really” was.

              2. Me? I used to say I don’t even have a type. I consider some men (and women) aesthetically pleasing (you and spouse are one of the best looking couples ever, just on facial structure) BUT the real attraction was always “I can talk to him.” And the one who GOT me I married.

                1. For lot’s of people (particularly un-particular guys) their type is describable in a single word …


    6. Son, at the age of 3, helped put his dishes in the sink, and put them in the cupboard. In the Philippines, he wasn’t helpful with laundry (he ended up with his own basin to be hand-washed), but after the 2009 flood he and his older sister were perfectly capable of hauling away branches and similar chores. He helped feed chickens and somehow ended up with the most angry, feisty, one-eyed bantam rooster as a pet – he would upend the chicken, set him on his back, and it would stay there. He also helped me move around small pots, and plant.

    7. I’ll admit; one of my stronger memories from childhood involved getting paid for doing a SERIOUS deep-cleaning of the kitchen. Before that, I’d been vaguely aware of dirt as something that didn’t last past the next day the Cleaning Lady came.

      Any kitchen accumulated grease that a once-a-week cleaning won’t really deal with. It was hard work, but it was also deeply satisfying. It could SEE that I was accomplishing something.

  2. One of the weirdest paradoxes is:
    The universe is designed for free will.
    We have no clue how to do that.
    All our AI is just clever programming that gives the illusion of free will. We are given freedom to go, so we are free to come. God offers us what we need, the devil offers what we want.

    1. Odd, WP doesn’t seem to be nesting responses under the replies, just appending to the end of the comment area.

      Presbypoet, the algorithm on free will is pretty much the same as the algorithm on the existence of God. You get the best results on behaving as if you have it, and behaving as if He exists. The other way just leads to nihilism and anti-social behavior.

      1. I collect paradoxes. Predestination and free will are both 100% true at the same time.
        You only can get to there if you start by understanding that God is fully in charge, and Calvin didn’t go far enough. If you start with free will, you don’t realize that you need predestination. You think you don’t need God. This explains leftists.

        1. Not necessarily – but starting from free will and building your ethical framework from scratch is a heck of a lot more difficult and if you’re not careful can lead entirely too far along the utilitarian road. Starting with God is by far the safer way to go for most people.

        2. Free will is only a meaningful concept in a temporal system. God is outside the universe, therefore outside of time, therefore the concept is not really meaningful as applied to God, at least in the case of God knowing what is going to happen. However, we have free will because we are subject to time, and there are Biblical warnings about attempting to know the future—quite possibly because foreknowledge overshadows free will.

        3. No, what explains leftists is the notion that whatever promotes Marxist revolution is virtuous enough to overshadow all vice, and contrawise whatever hinders the commiescum from taking over is evil enough to undo all virtue. Thus anything they claim to care about is a tactical position only, to browbeat society into handing over all authority to them.

          Thus it’s ‘only sex’ when Clinton gets Oval Office Oral, but Trump is under a microscope regarding his personal life. (Fortunately, seems pretty clear that Melania decided to keep him fed and laid after Stormy, and she’s sufficiently ‘smoking hawt’ that most women aren’t going to outshine her.)


  3. Re: weird Catholic homeschoolers — Um, never mind the rest. How could they call themselves Catholic? There’s no salvation without the Cross, and Jesus definitely got executed/murdered, so….

    Sometimes I just want to pound my head against the wall. Idiot co-religionists bother me most of all.

      1. Heck, I find myself cringing inside at OT stories even in the kids retelling… But we read them anyway. It’s important for my kids to know that the world is broken and bad things happen and people do bad things, ‘good’ people and bad people. Otherwise my kids going to be a walking victim waiting for some jerk and I am not ok with that. Too many people are jerks waiting for defenceless person. So read, talk repeat.

        I know I can’t always be there, so I want to build in an inner alarm, “boundaries we’re crossed! Get help!” Which requires an awareness that there’s evil out there.

      2. Bible study with kids can be interesting. This year we’re studying the New Testament and at the summer family reunion we were studying Acts. I idly wondered why Paul and Philip didn’t heal the Ethiopian eunuch and then my niece asked why the eunuch needed healing. 😮 Time for a quick topic change.

        1. I received a Bible for my eighth birthday, and being the bookworm, started reading through it. Mom was a bit shocked when I started recounting what I’d read about Lot’s daughters.

          1. When I went to matriculate older son into 9th grade, we were in line with one of his then best friends who was a strictly (and stupidly. No, seriously. Kid ended up valedictorian, so parents couldn’t be actually dumb, but you know, there’s a level of stupidity that only very smart people engage in.) brought up in some fundamentalist faith.
            While we were chatting the kid says that he thinks books that have violence and sex should be forbidden.
            At which point I looked him in the eye and said “Like the Bible?”
            His eyes went round. “There’s no sex or violence in the Bible.”
            I have ZERO clue what kind of expurgated namby pamby bs his parents had told him was the Bible.

            1. Most likely they didn’t touch on the Old Testament; that seems to be pretty common.

              Meanwhile, my kids have the Action Bible….
              (It’s a comic book. Yes, seriously. Yes, some of the stuff hits Cheese Factor 11. But the kids are already familiar with the idea of retelling a story in four or five different ways, with different things missing, to make different points.)

              1. We had a comic book-style bible, but not so action focused. Actually I think my husband found one.

                My in-laws gave us a copy of part of the Brick Testament thing. I… am not sure they knew very much about it.

              2. I have one of those. It’s a good way to read the entire thing through, without getting caught up in the language of the KJV. Especially since the OT is in large part a history of the Jewish people up to the time of Christ. Sometimes you have to know the story of what happened in order to interpret the lessons properly, and comic book format can help you visualize that better than archaic language can.

    1. Some homeschoolers apparently think that schools teach too much, rather than not hardly enough. That’s the only way I can parse it, at least, and then once they start cutting things out they probably purity-spiraled into cutting out everything even faintly disturbing.

      Never mind that the best way to get a little boy to love the scriptures is usually to read the bloody parts together.


      1. (Nods) My favorite books of the Bible when I was a wee little lad were Judges, Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and the good bits of 1 and 2 Chronicles.

        1. Yup, I loved battle stuff. Of course, my dad is a Civil War buff and we were always visiting free admission battlefields, so it would have been weird if I didn’t like military history portions of the Bible.

        2. The places where stuff happens – of course. I liked Judges, and the story of Judith and Holophernes. (Mom and DadRed had kids’ Bible that included the Apocrypha.)

        3. My favorite was always where Abraham argues with God over the destruction of Sodom. “What!? Destroy an entire city? Suppose i cn find 50 righteous men?”
          “OK, for 50 I will spare the city”
          “What if I can only find 40?”
          “OK, for 40 I will spare the city.”
          All the way to ten. I told my Sunday School teacher at 11 years old that there were probably 9 righteous men, and God was pissed at them for not trying harder to clean up the local society. She ignored my idea and was upset because I said God was pissed.

          1. One of the common explanations for Abraham stopping at 10 is he was counting on his fingers for Lot’s family and figured – given Lot’s brood – there HAD to be 10 people in the city considered righteous. Unfortunately he couldn’t even count on that.

        1. Agreed. But I think it’s a good rule of thumb that if someone thinks that modern public education in the US teaches children too _much_ for their own good, that person wouldn’t homeschool very well.

          That said, I’m a Mormon rather than a Catholic or Protestant, so I’m a little hesitant to rag on some of the decisions that seem religion-based: I’m no more qualified to tell someone how to be a good, say, Baptist than they’d be to tell me how to be a good Mormon.

          On the gripping hand, when some Christian (broad meaning) parents can’t let their nigh-grown offspring read the Bible because it’s too raw for them, it feels like they might be missing the point.


    2. It does seem to render Communion and the whole Transubstantiation thing a mite dicey.

      Frankly, I’ve long thought “innocence” over-rated. Knowledge is there for the taking — when you are ready for it. Given too soon it is not actually knowledge, is it?

    3. And how do they deal with the concept of Original Sin if they have to ignore large categories of sinning?

      1. Heck, how do they deal with the 10 Commandments?!
        I mean they’re full of adultery, and murder, and coveting, just to name a few. Sheesh.

  4. No, we can’t save everyone. And no use arguing about it like Abraham did with God over Sodom. Couldn’t find 10 good men in the entire city, so he took the ones he could find and got them out before he blew the cities to perdition. Even then Lot’s wife screwed up. And she wasn’t even a teenager then.

    1. I feel like his daughters were a bit more screwed up than their mom, what with the whole date-raping their dad to get incest babies …

      1. Assuming the account wasn’t distorted at some point, assuming they weren’t already pregnant from sneaking out and suddenly Daddy was the only male around to blame . . .

        . . . given that getting pregnant is a roll of the dice, I am suddenly wondering how much they would have needed to get Lot drunk. Because if they each got pregnant from their first time with him, that sounds rather convenient.


        1. Not to mention how much alcohol do you have to drink to forget the woman you are banging is your daughter … for the second night in a row. (Though given that women tend to synchronize cycles, it’s not completely outlandish that they could both get pregnant within the same timespan.)

          I’ve put together a “Cards Against Humanity” style game with Bible verses, and that’s one of my favorite cards to play.

      2. Obviously Lot’s wife’s death left a gaping hole in his daughter’s proper education and socialization process. Add to extreme isolation, and their incestuous relationship with him becomes understandable. Of course the Moabites and Ammonites have been a persistent thorn in the sides of the Israelites ever since then, even though Lot was Abram’s nephew.

        And Sodom really did deserve to be vaporized. I mean come on, what kind of a guy is going to turn up a couple of virginal young women when their own father offers them to you without any conditions other than, “Don’t bother my guests?” I know, doesn’t say much for the Dad, does it?

      3. Everyone was dead, absolutely everyone. If identity is in your blood-line and everyone in your clan or tribe is dead dead dead and maybe you’ve been told stories about phophecies that concern you… and guys, it’s Lot, Lot’s wife turned to salt, not Abraham. Anyway, people routinely married in families. Maybe not immediate family unless your family were Pharaohs, but cousins and close relatives. It probably seemed like the obvious solution to their horrible predicament and likely punished mostly because they decided to solve the problem themselves instead of trusting God.

        1. They also didn’t have anything like our revulsion at incest.

          *points at middle east* Seriously, check out how many of the great marriages are “we share one or more grandfathers.”

          *shudders* Serious ick.

  5. You can’t use government to create perfect humans or to keep humans from evil.

    With all due respect with James Madison (see below), the above would be true even if Angels were to govern us. 😉

    James Madison Quote (from Federalist Papers)

    If Men were Angels, We would need No Government. If Angels were to Govern Us, Government would need No Limits.

    End Quote

  6. Whether intentional or unintentional (or both), the current educational establishment is turning out perpetual children.
    But, the main unintended result (and their brilliant plans always produce far, far more unintended results over the intended) is that it’s the children of the Nomenklatura that are most affected by this taught helplessness.

    Look at Hunter Biden or Chelsea Clinton- both are the six figured version of the screw up living in their mum’s basement. There’s no drive, no spark, no real ambition. Without nepotism and outright corruption, these Ivy League grads wouldn’t be able to do anything, really.

    The Future belongs to the adults. Always has, always will.

    1. Chelsea isn’t a total waste. She’s had at least 2 children, and seems to be more interested in raising them than her mother was in raising her.

      1. And kudos to her for that- I probably should have used the multiple useless Kennedy spawn instead.
        But, would she be as rich if she wasn’t hanging onto her parent’s coattails?

      2. I’ve noticed that when Chelsea is away from mom for a while, she gets saner and more adult, and occasionally says sensible things (tho nothing so profound that it’s stuck in my head). So perhaps there’s hope for her, or at least for her kids, once the old witch meets her final dingdong.

        1. She does seem like a nice person, and doesn’t have that ever gnawing, ever burning, never satiated lust for power that drives her mom.

          1. It is kind of fun to think of Hillary as suffering the tortures of Tantalus while here on earth.
            Think about it. All those decades of driving, gnawing ambition for power, of compromise and lies and crimes and projecting a false image, then 2008 comes, and she comes close, but doesn’t quite get it.
            So, her emptiness has to wait until 2016, with the promise that this time, the deck will stacked in her favor.
            Then 2016 comes, and it’s like she sits down at a banquet, with all the mouth watering aromas of various delicacies- a feast she’s been waiting for and striving for and working for for decades.
            And just as she is about to put the first tasty morsel in her mouth, the fork is intercepted, and she is curtly told that the meal is not for her. Instead, she has to stand back and watch someone else dine.
            And to make things worse, all her supposed allies really think that it’s probably for the best- there’s no clamoring for her to run again (outside of the voices in her head).
            It’s fitting, really.

            1. From something I remember her saying as a child in the White House, I suspect she’s closer to her father than her mother.

              Basically, she told her school that if there were any problems, that they should call her father because her mother would be Too Busy. 😦

              1. the security guy I knew said everyone liked her as she was a pretty good kid. Yeah, she was closer to her dad, but she did like “working” with her mom (being tagged along as a prop more like)

        2. Ah ha! That’s how I’ll get rid of Hillary. I’ll send her a package of DingDongs every day for 90 days, and then cut her off cold turkey.

      3. Perhaps it isn’t fair to blame her for it, but Chelsea has gone from highly paid, prestigious job to highly paid, prestigious job while treating them all more or less like a joke. She takes positions that for anyone else would be a career capstone (on-air correspondent at NBC, vice-provost at NYU) and considers them summer internships.

        All her public pronouncements have suggested to me that she simply doesn’t get the fact that these are essentially bribes to her parents.

        1. She’s never had to really work or struggle, and as a consequence, probably doesn’t really know how to actually work, or struggle, or persevere.

          1. This is the problem of a lot of the darlings of the lefty establishment. Even Michelle Obama hated everyone else, because she thought everyone else MUST have it easier.
            They’re also ALL shockingly incompetent.

            1. Which is kind of the funny thing- they’re not producing the adults needed to actually make the world run.
              Most of them are okay when it comes to sitting on a board and producing really stupid ideas, or cashing checks from skeevy sources.
              But actually standing up and taking charge? Not really. Even the Che wannabes want Someone Else to do all the Revolutioning, then hand power over to them.

              1. Especially apparent when they imagine that the police they so despise will bleed and murder on their behalf. To some extent, this idea helped by corrupt cops and judicary who refuse to equally enforce the law (such as activist LEOS and judges who give Antifa much lighter sentences than Proud Boys.)

                They’re very used to authority figures intervening in their favor, but don’t realise they’re the minions, the little zerglings to be turned into suicide bomb banelings, not the Queen of Blades.

          2. I wrote that in a story, about a completely different character, but it fits Queen Hillary to a T:

            Arrogance, narcissism and money have always worked for him. He gets what he wants without having to make any effort of his own, has never faced any kind of hardship, never had to try. And he believes that makes him better than all the people who have overcome trials and adversity, have actually accomplished things. His whole identity is built around a collection of bad habits.
            Count Vordarian: “What? You’re a Betan! You can’t do—“

  7. Well… one of the family cats is dying of renal failure, maybe, and getting an adequate diagnosis required two vets, one of whom was backed up (And we still don’t have it.) Then there was the human side of this, in that the cat’s human was having issues dealing with it.

    I am so sorry.

  8. My sympathies about your cats. Don’t know what you’re experiencing with vets, but I treated my last cat (and extended her life) for chronic renal failure for five years. It required daily sub-q fluid and some oral meds. It’s probably too far for you, but I took her to the Cat Specialist vet in Castle Rock. I bet there are vets who specialize in cats further north by you. I don’t think it would take more than an in house blood test to diagnose crf. Of course if your poor kitty doesn’t have chronic but something extreme….

    Anyway, I thought I’d pass that along. My Toes also had the radioactive thyroid treatment done by Dr. Olson. She lived to 20.

  9. Look, let’s talk about children, shall we?

    No, let’s talk about the monsters who use abuse them, who use them as shields for their own ideologies. From Epstein to Thunberg’s puppeteers it seems a societal problem. Not since the Children’s Crusades has exploitation of children been so mainstreamed — I don’t consider using them as “free labor” on a farm pr in a household exploitation; it is domestication, training them in how to be useful in society, acquiring the skills and habits that will enable them to become self-supporting adults.

    Where we once drew the line at commercial exploitation, priming them as consumers — (which children inherently are; it is the parents’ duty to teach self-discipline, taming those feral appetites — they are now being used as merchandise, product for adult consumption. A society which accepts such perversion is doomed. I leave expansion as discussion topic for the student.

    Sympathies on Greebo, Pets – and children – are hostages we grant to Time, knowing the inevitable ends.

        1. From down under:

          Showing how difficult it’s gotten to teach either basic sex ed, or relevant to the students sex education. The kids aren’t interested in the basics, STDs and similar info, and the combo of pron plus sexual identity politcs and #metoo have left them both with more awareness and less understanding.

          Because it’s mentioned in the article: I never understood the fascination in live action Western adult videos with the spanking, strangling, or calling their partners names, so I honestly haven’t any idea how to explain that one, and since it’s so common, I’m pretty sure the question will eventually.

          1. Strangling apparently enhances the sexual climax; although I have no idea how that happens with restricting the oxygen supply to the brain. However, there have been hundreds of documented deaths (David Carradine being one of the more infamous ones) from autoerotic self-strangulation gone wrong.

            As for spanking, all I can think of is Queen’s song, “Pain is so close to Pleasure” and John Mellencamp’s, “Hurt’s So Good.” But not my cup of tea.

            1. It’s adrenaline and limbic system response, primarily. As for strangling men in particular, I forget the exact mechanics, but it tends to enhance the strength of the erection. (This effect was first noted by the death-erections that hanged men sometimes get.)

              1. Spanking increases blood circulation to the area, enhancing stimulation is my guess. The name calling presumably prompts a greater sense of “doing something naughty” thus bringing in the lure of the forbidden.

                Strikes me as tedious effort but then I sent Beloved Spouse into paroxysms of laughter yesterday by reading aloud the message line from a sexual spam mail: “I Want You To Teach Me Passion!”

                You might better ask this of some of the BDSM practitioners around here

          2. It’s the young kids, who were never punished.
            Pain and pleasure are close in the human brain, and since they never experienced pain as punishment, they get crosswired.
            Again overprotected, big babies.

            1. I’ve had to smack little diapered bottoms; they really don’t get hurt, it’s more the noisy WHACK sound against their butt that gets them.

              There are some kids though, who don’t seem to respond to gentler forms of discipline (like loss of privileges/computer time/phone use) or even just the hand smacks. There are kids who need the good old fashioned thrashing.

              And the disgusting thing is, they use the ones who resist even that as the ‘reason why discipline doesn’t work.’

                1. You also can’t explain ‘hurt’ if a child has never experienced pain. For children ‘hurt’ and ‘danger’ are hand in hand at the most basic level of understanding. Some kids are okay with getting startled and it’s enough.

                  …I mean, okay, my baby girl has like a rather hair raising lack of sense of self preservation (we have to run to close the baby gate because she will bolt toward it, and she resists learning how to go down the stairs safely) so sometimes, roaring to get her to stop in her tracks is all I can do.

                  Sometimes? She’ll grin and keep right on going towards the stairs. But that short pause is, for now, enough for me to catch up and catch her.

                  1. I use precisely that explanation as to why I would use spanking to enforce, say, not touching a hot stove or going out into the street. First, attention. And second, I would much rather my kids experience a little bit of pain that would keep them from much greater pain, until they reach an age where I can explain WHY they don’t run out into the street after a ball, and have them UNDERSTAND the explanation.

                    1. Exactly this. I expect that there would be someone who would try to argue that inflicting even that pain would be ‘cruel.’ I have a ready response: I have buried two children already. Cruelty is thinking it’s okay for me to risk having to do that again to make YOU feel better.

              1. In diapered bottoms events…. the Chief fell down the basement steps today. It’s a cement floor, and he managed to trip, fall backwards, duck under the hand rail, and back-flip to the floor. Hit the cat’s cage area on the way, and landed on his behind.

                He was terrified, but FINE. (Mommy was terrified, at that. I’ve been having nightmares about exactly that happening since we got stairs….)

                Yeah, he basically had two four foot drops instead of an eight foot one, but he landed on his behind and as best I can tell even with utter panicked mommy mode, he didn’t have a single mark on him. (thank God)

                1. OH GOD I RELATE TO THIS HARD. Jaenelle’s favored method of going down steps is semi-sideways head first, and we are trying to get her to learn the safe method (backward, slowly, on all fours, or sitting on her diapered butt) but we can SEE her reasoning out ‘but I can’t see where I’m going’ so she refuses it.

                  And she has repeatedly tried to climb out of her cot (one of the wooden ones that’s almost the size of a single bed), ignoring that there’s pretty much a meter-odd drop to tiled floor. We’re coaxing her to learn how to climb down the side of the bed (she is starting to get the hang of it) because she’s taller than the height of the mattress. (74 cm at last nurse visit) so the dimsum is more a spring roll now… but I am utterly terrified of her falling and breaking something like her neck. She has also become very adept at slipping out of restraints like in her carriage, or high chair.

                  And yes, she keeps looking at the barriers and trying to climb them… ;-; babygirl, why do you do this to Mummy!

                  1. You might look at getting a few of the playground tiles. Some of them are rated for 8 foot drops (no, don’t ask me how they test them I have fantasies of them tossing misbehaving kids off the top of a ladder AKA “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.)

                    1. I can guess. Kid in story fell less than 8′. School yard did not have these new newfangled protection tiles. Also don’t have the equipment cited either.

                      Preface. Mom of kid in question swore she was getting something to put on the kid, 7 years old, that was printed in bright, visible day & darkest night, that read “Happened at SCHOOL in front of TEACHERS”. Kid had been climbing jungle gym, fell, and broke BOTH arms, during recess. Sure, twin may have been egging him on. Then both tried to hide it from mom & dad. How do think I knew that when my son broke his arm (during the slide as a ramp + roller blades incident)? When kid can’t grab anything with their hands, something is wrong. Her son was in plaster casts, both arms. My son just had to have a splint & wrap. Either case the injury would not allow the hand to grasp anything.

                      No. Neither set of parents complained. Kids. Stupidity.

                  1. Son was 3 when he came tumbling down sisters stairs. He & his cousin were climbing up to the top, then coming down on their butts, in imitation of younger, almost 1 year old cousin. Don’t know what happened to cause it, but all of a sudden he comes cartwheeling down, from little less than halfway. Far enough that had he actually hit the wall or the kitchen island, wrong, would have broken something, probably his neck. He missed both, & landed between them and slit onto the kitchen floor, on his butt. You have never seen 4 adults move so fast in your life. Scared the living daylights out of us. Kids? They were *laughing like hyenas. Not a bruise on him. Like you said, kids bounce.

                    * Not even a “oh scared mom & dad to death, I must be hurt, wail”. Nope, cackling hyenas.

                    1. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug.

                      (My mom doesn’t worry when dad is working cattle UNTIL he starts laughing– you’ll see this wiry little ****** sprinting across the field, cackling like mad, chased by a cow. They haven’t caught him yet! But, I did get warning that when I feel the urge to start giggling, it MAY be time to kill things.)

                    2. Could also be hysteria rather than adrenaline, depending on the kid. When my mom was, I think, eight and her sister was ten, they were climbing a tall tree not too far from the house, but far enough that my grandparents didn’t have line of sight on them. So when my mother slipped and ended up hanging by her hands from the last branch above a long drop that would, at best, have seriously harmed her… all her sister could manage was to laugh, literally hysterically. Thankfully, my mom managed to clamber back onto the branch and got down without being hurt at all.

                      BTW, that sister grew up to be a very sensible woman, so hysterics are not a matter of poor judgement or bad character. At least, I have one counterexample to that theory.

                    3. Hysteria on part of the kids, maybe. Cousin would have been 4. Son would have been 3 1/2. OTOH seeing 4 of us pull a sit to leap over the counter (not really but close enough), probably was hilarious from their point of view.

                      Adrenaline, on the adults behalf, definitely. No way could I move that fast, ever, under standard operating conditions.

                      I think that was the “Dad broke the moon”, on the way home, trip too. You see the “solution” to our scare was for the dads to take the two outside to bounce the ball. Being a partial moon out during the day, & visible in the spring (Oregon), dad’s idea of getting the kids mind off of what had happened, was the old “daddy took a bite out of the moon, yum, yum” bit. Did they tell the moms they did this? No. So then on the way home, suddenly the kid starts screaming. Oh no, he was hurt, somethings wrong!!!! Nope. Kid is screaming because “daddy broke the moon!!!!” Really? It was a long weekend.

                    4. Yes, hysteria on the part of the kids was what I meant. Apologies if I was unclear. The adults were definitely operating on adrenaline. And/or whatever hormone takes the “limiters” off your neuromuscular system* and enables you to lift a car off your kid even if you’re normally weak, which IIRC is a different one than adrenaline but I can’t bring its name to mind.

                      * Those limiters are there to avoid injuring yourself, because your muscles have enough strength to damage your own bones/tendons/whatever if they applied all their strength at once. But the body has an emergency override system: if you’re scared enough, your body figures it’s a matter of survival and it’s better to damage your tendons than to die / let your child die.

                    5. My sister Pippy rode her trike all the way down the cellar steps, of the house that we lived in, at the time. She was about three, IIRC. (Yes, a California house from the 1920ies which actually had a cellar underneath part of it. Dad used it as his workroom) Panicky scream from her, either halfway down, or when she hit bottom. Dad leapt all the way over the living room couch, from a full rest, when he heard her scream. When he went bombing out the back door, Mom was on his heels.
                      No, she was not hurt. Only startled, as were Mom and Dad. And she never did that again.

                    6. How to broad jump, sitting on couch to backdoor super leap: Hear your child screaming bloody murder in fear.

      1. Or in the seventies, where they’d got into this weird mind set of “Sex is good for kids.”
        I know how they got there. It was Freud and weird sociology experiments. The problem is no one said “Whoa, guys, this is just completely against human tradition. Maybe there’s something wrong with it?”
        But of course, they were going to remake humanity and everyone else had got it wrong.
        And the serpent in the tree whispered “You shall be like gods.”

        1. Completely against Christian and Jewish tradition*. In cultures where he who would be master isn’t expected to serve his people, indulging vile appetites seems to be a common perk of power, at least to my superficial understanding of cultures around the world.


          *Over on Baen’s Bar, there was this lady who was convinced that the Bible gave her fundamentalist preacher father the right to rape her. She wasn’t interested in hearing about the Law of Moses** rule that once you have sex with a woman, all of that woman’s children are sexually off limits, whether they’re your kids by her or not.

          **The fact that Moses felt the need to spell this out says a lot about Egyptian culture of the time, I think.

          1. Well, they didn’t exactly have genetic testing back then, so they couldn’t tell which kids you were related to, and therefore forbidden to have relations with.
            “Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know.”

          2. A tidbit about Roman political smears that stuck with me— there was one politician where he sexually used infants, and an opponent mentioned it, and the bad part was supposed to be that he did it too often and thus showed a lack of restraint.
            Not, y’know, babies as sex toys.

            1. I remember reading that one of the big contributors to the erosion of the Empire was that they tended to use abortion and infanticide too much. Babies were NOT considered people, obviously; and part of the push to make Rome Christian was because it was observed that the Christians would take in abandoned children, raise them, and flourish.


              1. It started with the habit of raising all the children, even the girls. And then when you wanted to marry off your sons, you might be stuck marrying them to Christians. The theoretical power to kill both wife and children did not prevent the offspring of a pagan father and a Christian mother being overwhelmingly Christian.

            1. Oh, this was almost two decades ago. Before Mercedes Lackey flounced out because John Ringo’s books were selling better than hers. (Which was obviously because evil rightwinger Jim Baen was promoting him and not her.)


          3. I once ran across a woman who literally claimed that it could not possibly mean that because it might mean that a man could not have intercourse with his wife. (how she harmonized that with 2 Samuel 20:3, I don’t know.)

        2. The problem is no one said “Whoa, guys, this is just completely against human tradition. Maybe there’s something wrong with it?”

          Progressive social scientists: “F#@! human tradition; there are no cutting edge academic attention or grants in proving the known. Besides, what could go wrong?”

  10. And frankly, having a ton of time on your hands makes everyone unhappy. Not having a purpose in life makes humans unhappy.

    See as an example the British Royals. Only one of them has an actual job.

    We now speak of mid twenties as “children.” We make no demands on them, at all, till almost thirty. And then we wonder what went wrong, and try protecting more.

    And the most fertile period for women is now completely within this extended “childhood”, and coincidentally such maximum-fertility-childbearing is the subject of societal approbation from multiple fronts, from “women-must-pursue-careers” to “too young to be a parent” and so on.

    It’s no wonder the overall fertility rate is dropping.

      1. If “Society” were serious about promoting parenting we would structure education/career paths for a “parental break” in that interval when females are best able to produce kids, then reintegrate them as those kids move along in the world: offer career courses to Moms while the little’uns go the K-12 route.

        Eliminate Day Care almost entirely — it conveys entirely the wrong messages about being a parent. But an educational track (or suitable shift work for the non-academically minded) which works with children’s school scheduling would enable parents to integrate their roles within productive lives. At present their options are akin to a zipper with too many teeth on one side.

        1. The problem is that that makes too much sense. When they finally realize population worldwide falling is NOT a good thing (ten or twenty years) they’re instead going to mandate having x children by x age. watch if I’m wrong.

          1. 18 to 21. WE DO KNOW THIS. There are studies.
            Unless they’re Latin and have early menarche when it’s probably under 18. Don’t know. It’s also a little scary.

        2. This is actually a post-Navy-retirement possible path for me–not a real daycare, so much as assisting parents with childcare around shift work and jobs. Parents who know us/me, not random people paying a stranger to provide daycare. Especially useful in more rural areas, where the Bugbear and I will likely be living.

          1. Chrismouse, be very careful in today’s legal environment. You may not think it’s a real daycare; city, county, state, and Federal gubmints are likely to think otherwise…. and that doesn’t even count someone you have honked off who becomes aware that you are taking care of children not your own. It used to be that the village nasty gossip could be ignored; nowadays, they can drop a dime at levels you won’t even be aware of.

        3. If “scoiety” were serious about promoting parenting, we would encourage one parent to stay home with the children. Period. We wouldn’t “work around careers” or any other such nonsense. We would encouragement marriage at a relatively young age, followed fairly closely by making babies, and a constant caregiver for the 2-4 children. And that would also mean not outsourcing school to a disinterested third party (the State).

          The sad part is our nation is actually rich enough to accomplish this. But we won’t because we love our annual trips to DisneyWorld and all of our gewgaws too much to switch to a generally one income scenario.

          (Note, I’m not saying we have to go back to whatever, and we don’t have to give up our nice things. But, honestly, this paradigm shift would make us much happier in the long run, and much less sociopathic.)

          (And yes, I am way behind on this post. Sue me.)

          1. It’s not the gadgets or trips to Disney world. It’s TAXES. I know. If Dan didn’t make way above normal money while the kids were little, we wouldn’t have been able to have me stay home, and even then it often came to use being quite literally scrambling for the next meal.
            We’ve never driven expensive cars. I only change my wardrobe when it stops fitting me, and shop thrift stores.
            BUT it was still tight as all get out.
            Because your friendly government takes most of your money, once you count in EVERYTHING including sales taxes.

            1. Back in the Nineties I ran the math on the Dependent Deduction of the US tax code and it turned out to be less than 20% of what it would be had it been indexed for inflation. That would have shielded income against taxation to a much greater extent, facilitating more family control over basic decisions.

              For a family with two children the costs of a second income — in child care, in “time-saving” options taken to compensate for time spent at job, in work wardrobe for second job, in paying for services to accommodate time spent at second job — often consume nearly all of the income from that second job. The second job also increases “in-family” friction due to the need of coordinating two work schedules, even as it offers some insurance against loss of hours/job for primary wage-earner.

              1. On the third hand, if mom has a Real Job, then people are much more willing to give help or even just leeway– Elf has had to put his foot down a few times about just because his kids aren’t in daycare doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to go home to them.

    1. Also the idea that if you are not absolutely perfect as a parent then you are a child abuser little different from a individual you didn’t kill themselves.

      So exactly the people who could potentially be good parents are pushed away from it.

      1. Aha! Yep, shoulda been “societal disapprobrium” which spellcheck says is not a word, but I insist.

        Basically, Society at large hates on those baby makin’ 20-somethings – wasting they lives, they is.

              1. Actually, I take any and all corrections as appropriate and correct – I am commenting while waiting for the brief periods when very large spreadsheets are not doing whatever the heck they are doing while not paying attention to me so I can do some (brief) work before Excel goes away and cogitates deeply again, and so my attention is split. I have no doubt I was portemanteauing and stuff. If it seems I am not grateful for correcting that is wrong.

                But I really would like to learn how to say “What-Ever” in teen Portuguese.

                  1. That’s Brazilian. It was more “Tabem. O que quiser.” It’s more “Sure. Whatever you want.” Said sarcastically. Or “Nao me interessa” (I don’t care) PISSED THEM OFF.
                    My dad once told me my super power was looking at adults with an expression like “You poor pathetic human worm, you think I care?” I wasn’t aware of this. He said it was fine, but don’t turn it on him ever again 😀
                    Apparently I had.
                    Actually my younger son has the same expression and I REMEMBER the inside of the head at that time. What it means is “You’re pissing me off and I don’t want to fight.” But I can see how people would see it otherwise.

                    1. /laugh

                      Sometimes I think kids don’t start to grow up until they realize just how much they are like their parents, even the ones that can’t stand each other (or maybe especially the ones who can’t stand each other.)

                      Sarah, YOU are your father!

          1. “Discovered early in the 21st Century by renowned backyard physicist and 2029 Nobel Prize for Physics winner Bubba-John Carter using his homemade particle accelerator apparatus shortly before it was declared a SuperFund site, the element Disapprobrium’s name resulted from the near-universal condemnation and loud scoffing from the scientific elite until the results were reproduced and the element’s unique applications enabling both antigravity and widespread inexpensive antiagathetic treatments were established. When confronted with the grammatical issues stemming from the name he chose for the element by a delegation of distinguished grammaticists accompanied by a video news crew at the main portemanteau of his vast mansion, Bubba-John replied an unknown phrase before slamming the door, which has only recently been translated as “What-Ever!” in dialectic Portuguese.”

            1. …and has been found to react violently when exposed to Bureaucratium or Administratium, producing prodigious quantities heat and noise, and greatly disturbing the neighbors.
              Who’s in the RABBIT?!

    2. Perhaps if the British Royals had more actual power, and more need to be responsible for shit that matters, they’d act more like people with Real Jobs. QE2 herself is not afraid of getting her hands dirty, and has often done so. (Truck mechanic during WW2; trained and hunted with her own dogs as long as she was able, and when they brought her a runner, wrung its neck herself.)

      For a while my sister’s office assistant was a niece of the King of Spain, who explained that he wanted his family members to experience working for a living, so they’d have a clue how the other half live.

        1. iirc for her last birthday party, she drove the Rolls from the meeting point out to where festivities were to happen. and it was not a road/drive/pathway. She’s an offroader! Granted the lawn’s been rolled to near Texas-clay-in-August compactness.

            1. everything I find here t work is her in the Rover, and talking how she is stopping driving because Phil the weak minded crashed. The pic I recall though, like I said was across the property, not down the road, though she used to occasionally do that as well.

    3. use as much vocabulary as you can safely handle, but no more. “Approbation” is a Desert Eagle word..

    4. See as an example the British Royals. Only one of them has an actual job.

      At the moment, yes. However, those born into the family have held down an actual job in the past. The men have all served in the military, albeit just short stints afaik (both Harry and Andrew served in combat zones). Elizabeth served as an honorary member of the Auxilliary Territorial Service during World War 2, and apparently filled roles as a driver and a mechanic.

      1. Didn’t both William and Harry serve? IIRC Harry was ALL KINDS OF PISSED OFF when careless journalists put his unit as risk by essentially revealing where they were and how he was a lovely high value target and he had to be reassigned back to home for everyone’s safety.

        1. Both served, and a bit more-so down and dirty, than the other scions of recent times.
          Yeah, someone made them yank the Prince and his unit out of an area to prevent a dedicated effort to kill or injure him. He got reassigned and the unit moved to a different AO. He was mad and wanted to be with his unit.

          1. He was dedicated to his brothers at arms, and it probably was one of the few places where he was Just Harry (as special treatment singles him out, bad for unit cohesion as well as operational safety.) While I am sure that he understood, it probably also felt like he was leaving them in the lurch.

            Wills was a helicopter pilot I think, and I think he still flies.

        2. Both of the brothers served. But while Harry and Andrew served in combat zones (Andrew was in the Falklands War), William and Charles both served their terms in peacetime.

      2. Iirc strictly speaking, Her Majesty is still active duty. She is the Colonel in charge of the regiment that protects her.

  11. But not to delay voting till 21. I invite you to think on that.

    Delay the draft to 21 and I’m with you.

    Personally, I think a Green Military ID should mean “you can buy alcohol” as well, but that’s me.

    1. Just went and looked – way back when the green card was for active duty and the pink was for the reserves, same style card, black & white photo in the center front, but now they issue a Common Access Card chip ID card (kinda white with blue squigglies) for active, and various colors of cards that look like the old IDs for other people with Exchange access, green now being reserves – see

      You learn something new every day…

    2. Set a legal age to drink, vote, marry, enlist/be drafted etc. Make it 16, make it 30, I’m open to discussion. But make it the same for everything.

      I’m not a big fan of our current system of creating a class of Second Class Citizens.

        1. Definitely not 16. 21?

          Voluntary enlistment could be younger than that; I hear enough stories that for a vast number of the young it helped them grow up and direct them, so there’s positive results there.

          Getting sleepy so I lost the train of thought.

          Oyasumi -good night-

        2. Make it 25 by default, with a clear path to earlier majority for those who are self-sufficient (including not living on grants, likewise no student loans to repay), or who honorably complete 4 years of voluntary military service.


      1. I can almost see allowing it as an opt-in. You want EBT, dotGOV healthcare, and HUD? Give up full Citizenship and pool your resources together with the Hivekin.

        Unless they like having less stuff than the people willing to actually work for a living and develop a taste for waiting in lines they should grow out of it. I hope…

          1. That’s because too many people don’t understand the concept that the disabled vet has already paid for those things. It’s not an entitlement, it’s earned compensation.

        1. Welfare Islands: For when dystopian science fiction starts looking more attractive than reality.

          (But include contraceptives in the food. Children shouldn’t grow up in a Welfare Island.)


          1. Or Welfare Cruise Ships!
            LA wants to do that with homeless. Put everyone on long-term welfare on a ship, at sea. No crew. Just the welfare folks on it, and explain in small words how the only people to keep the ship running are them, and there’s manuals in each cabin. And the spam, beanie-weenies and cheese will be delivered by boat every so often.

            Then let the Hunger Games begin. Heck, you could probably pay for the fuel and food for it with the subscription to the video feeds.

    3. Beat me to this. Agree. Age 21: Join military, vote, & drink.

      Maybe even driver’s license?

      Naw. Just too convenient having the kid be able to drive himself to work, or sports practice. Also helped that his last two years at HS meant the trunk of his car was his school & sports locker. No worries that something was left at home or at school. Just had to be in his “locker”. Now granted, once the car was parked on campus, it stayed there until he was ready to leave. The HS parking lot permit for HS students, was a parking spot hunting license, it didn’t guaranty parking. Oregon, at the time, had a law that other kids couldn’t ride with anyone under 18, unless they were siblings. Kid is an only child … His contribution to the golf club (besides playing) was, he could carry 4 sets of clubs beyond his, freeing up the coaches vans for team members who didn’t drive. If the van had to take team member & clubs, there wasn’t enough room.

      Although some of son’s friends didn’t get their driver’s license until well after 21. Know a few that still don’t have one, well into their 30’s. An area that lack of car is doable. But sure isn’t advisable.

        1. No, not this. For the military, it wouldn’t surprise me if the optimum time to join for a healthy young man is around 16.

          I wouldn’t say no to states and cities putting their own limits on local voting age, but federal voting age ought to go back up to 25.


      1. I don’t remember all of the details, but California has made it more difficult for teenagers to drive without an adult present.

        1. Cousins … Yep. Well before they were 15 (legal age for learner’s permit). Huge machines. They were driving as soon as they could sit in the chair, reach the controls with their feet, and see out the windows. Which was different age for all three regardless of gender … genetics is not fair.

          FYI. Great-nephew (great nieces didn’t want to) could not work on farm (my cousins are my son’s age, Uncle is only a few years older than I am) by law. We don’t have anything to do with their family farm.

            1. Law reads no one under 18 can run farm (or ranch) equipment unless children of family involved in farm. So, children of farm managers. Or family farm conglomerate where extended family all who have not only financial but involved in farm activities. None of which applied to us.

              1. When they were writing it up, didn’t it say no one under 18, period, until after threats to block it and others by certain farmer heavy reps? foggy memory, That might be elsewhere or a fed rule.

                1. Don’t know. Probably. I think it was the family farms who screamed bloody murder. The ones that typically do not hire anyone. It sure put a crimp in summer jobs for the HS crowd in a lot of areas.

                  The way it works now, it’d be illegal for me to have worked on/with my Aunt & Uncle, place in Baker (horses), while we were visiting (horses), between the ages of 13 & 16. First couple of years, just a kid swap for two weeks. Three oldest in Baker, Three youngest in Eugene. Then I started going over for the summer (horses) …. have I said horses enough. Okay, full summers. Meant helping to take care of horses, milking cows, cleaning up barn, helping put up hay (FYI, it took younger cousin & I both, to lift the block hay bale), gathering eggs, helping to move irrigation pipe, helping in the garden, feeding pigs (when they had them). Working “farm”? Well they sold eggs, milk, & butter, and occasionally beef & hog. But no, not really a working farm. Still would be illegal for me to do any work because I wasn’t one of their children. My pay? Got to ride the horses.

                  1. school bully learned fast not to pick on the boys and girls I knew who tossed those bales from the back of a p/u to the loft, to the stacker, only the youngest two were not helping there, because they were 6 and 8 iirc and slowed things down. The girls did it as well if the boys were elsewhere working.
                    Michigan passed some part time and youth labor laws that instead of “helping” the yoots, made it too expensive to hire them for a slew of businesses, ergo a passel of summer and part time, after school jobs went away.
                    I tend to think that was intentional.

          1. Baaad idea. We are having enough trouble with teenagers being put on the Sex Offender Registry for texting pictures of themselves already. Do Not give the busybodies more power to ruin lives.

            1. Er. Romeo and Juliet laws? I.e. if both underage.
              But seriously at this point I just want the age to be changed for voting to “age at which you’re likely to see taxes taken out of your paycheck.”

    4. Frankly, I’m beginning to think that if you aren’t, or haven’t ever been, doing enough to pay income taxes, then you’re not “able bodied” enough to vote, be in the militia, drink alcohol, etc.

      And no, filing for income tax and getting back more than you paid doesn’t count.

      1. I’ve been down with some variation of “net taxpayer in order to vote” for quite some time. It might be heresy to say it, but I like it more than the SST idea.

        It is also, arguably, what only letting property owners vote amounted to in the colonial period.

    5. I recall the argument slogan: “old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”

      Just one fallacy there. Voting involves exercising judgement, foresight and enlightened self-interest.

      For the average ‘Nam-era draftee, fighting meant following orders.

      While the distinction may be obscure to those on the Left, I maintain the overlap between the two categories is not broad.

      1. You are not incorrect, but I think the moral side of the argument still falls with the fight means vote side.

        The argument has less to do with ability and more the fact that people who will risk death should have input on taking that risk.

        Interestingly, I’d say the end of the draft and replacement with an all volunteer force lowers the moral power of the argument.

        1. I’d say the end of the draft and replacement with an all volunteer force lowers the moral power of the argument.

          I strongly suspect that is a major underlying element of calls to revive the draft for the military expeditions post-9/11.

          As to the question of people who will risk death having input on taking that risk … I can argue it either way. The world ran tolerably well, after all, without such input and it can be argued that their personal risk biases their view unduly, as does their general ignorance. OTOH, if a war policy cannot summon support of a sufficient majority to overcome the objections of what is, after all, a minor portion of the electorate, it is best not pursued.

  12. I think what instigates the “you’re emotionally immature” is that we don’t react as people expect, while being obviously intellectually mature, so they lash out at us for the difference, not net immaturity.

    Being able to avoid manipulations that work on other folks our age– even if we don’t know why, we’re just following good advice– is another reason.

    Hey, if my appeal to your emotional state doesn’t work, then you must not have it, right?

    See related, “you’re an a-hole” type stuff when you don’t manipulate as they expect.

    1. I don’t think that “emotional maturity” has any substantive meaning.

      Sure, some emotional states must be experienced to be understood, but that has as much to do with maturity as “having a good beat” has to do with melody.

      1. Eh…. *waggles hand* Can refer to ability to deal with the emotions that you are experiencing, and/or skill at recognizing and dealing with the emotions of others. Controlling your emotions, rather than being controlled by them– that aspect of maturity that is directly related to emotions.

        Generally just means “poopyhead,” though, from folks who are quite sure they know how a stranger feels better than the stranger does!

  13. I was eight. Both of these grown men felt a great need to win arguments with an eight year old girl in pigtails. Both were vindictive and frothing at the mouth enraged when they lost. Both continued trying to do this till I was 12, when they gave up because I learned to answer everything with “Whatever.”

    “OK, Boomer.”

    1. The “OK, Boomer!” thing is kind of like a generational version of a Mom’s Curse, given the whole “don’t trust anyone over 30” thing from the late 60’s.

      1. Boomers: “Don’t trust anyone over 30!”
        Millennials: “Okay Boomer.”
        Boomers: “No! You have to listen to us!”

    2. Now I want to learn how to say “What-ever!” with teen attitude pronunciation in Portuguese.

          1. YES!!!!!!

            But then son learned from the best … his father, and to some extent me. See, both of us started our careers, and hubby worked at it for 35 years, where if, at the job, someone, not with the company we worked with, was happy, you weren’t doing your job. Not 100% true, because some recognized the job, and were happy/okay-with, that. Hubby was very good at that. Me, not so much. Hubby took to it like a duck to water. ** I might have gotten there, but fate had other ideas. It helped that my second career, software solutions, made clients happy.

            ** Not that I gave in. This is a job where if you favored one side over the other, you could go to jail … I was more afraid of that. Bullying me didn’t, & doesn’t, work. But I definitely can’t brush it off like hubby. Or our son.

            1. Or annoy. I will never forget how hubby and a coworker talked to each other in obnoxious pun and joke format, working all the while, while the pencil pushing arschloch for an officer grew so angry he turned purple because he COULDN’T yell at them to stop it or stop talking because they were getting their work done efficiently. Nor could he write them up for anything.

              Oh and r/maliciouscompliance muahahaha

            2. Most people in Portugal never got this, but somehow my wiring is British. BEWARE when I’m extremely polite.
              And when I’m extremely polite to another woman it’s particularly dangerous. Particularly if I haven’t been so before.


                “When the heir of all the ages “has the honour to remain,”
                When he will not hear an insult, though men make it ne’er so plain,
                When his lips are schooled to meekness, when his back is bowed to blows –
                Well the keen aas-vogels know it-well the waiting jackal knows.

                Build on the flanks of Etna where the sullen smoke-puffs float –
                Or bathe in tropic waters where the lean fin dogs the boat –
                Cock the gun that is not loaded, cook the frozen dynamite –
                But oh, beware my Country, when my Country grows polite!”

            3. *snicker-snort* Not just to insult, but an amazing number of people take grave offense when you are polite when they want you to be informal, even if they just scolded you for not being extremely formal! (The “may” thing. And don’t get me started on teachers who wanted to assign me a nickname, AND make me answer to it, without even TELLING me. Oy! -.- )

              1. Fortunately, there is no Nick-Name for “Paul” that wouldn’t be insulting.

  14. And as for clamoring for the government to protect your kids… Well, most of the aggression on your kids’ minds right now is coming from government, if not directly through the imbibing of the progressive doctrine that has made its way to the institutionalized, permanent bureaucracy.

    Most of the ground-roots, been around for a while, was starting to get successful stuff I’ve seen re: gov’t and kids has been “stop hurting my kids.” Just stop it! Leave ’em alone!

    Then suddenly there’s a big broad surge for sweeping public action of the same Grand Solution style that made the problems….

  15. think our training of young minds should be a lot more rigorous. But society is going the other way towards SOFTENING their path …

    The sad fact is that they begin their educations with heads nearly devoid of knowledge and our schools proceed to fill those heads with mush.

    It is difficult to believe that a film (and later TV series) dedicated to the process of learning rigorous, disciplined thought could succeed in today’s market.

  16. > We have a lot of “data” saying the brain doesn’t mature fully till 25

    Throughout much of history, getting pretty close to grandparent-hood. I’ve *met* grandparents who were in their late 20s.

    1. I wonder how much that delayed development is a consequence of adolescence not involving decisions and consequences. What you don’t practice you don’t develop. Alexander (and Hannibal afterward) seemed to have matured in that venue rather early.

      Keep in mind that what we now understand about brain development and plasticity is still very new and subject to change.

  17. Leftists hate us because we expect them to grow up.

    Look at everything they want. ‘Free’ health care. ‘Free’ education. ‘Free’ housing. Guaranteed minimum wage, whether they can be troubled to actually get a job or not. A ‘Free’ lunch. Forever.

    They want Big Brother Government to ‘take care’ of them so that they can remain children and never have to take responsibility for anything. They even want the government to take responsibility for raising their children!

    That is their Utopia — a world of perpetual babies taken care of by the all-powerful State from cradle to coffin.

    Of course, some of the babies are more equal than others.
    When someone does a foolish thing, you should say it is a foolish thing. They may still continue to do it, but at least the truth is where it needs to be.

    1. “Free” to them. They just don’t want to pay the bill themselves. But they do want the government to force others to pay it for them. Which makes them both thieves, and parasites.

  18. My view of this is that if you go into battle, and you strap a child to the front of your tank, and they die, you’re the one who murdered them.

  19. a little escape [from Reality] can be good for you, but if you live there it’s bad.

    Reality will almost certainly hunt you down and the results will NOT be pretty.

  20. I can second the maturity swings. One day, I’ll see behavior that makes me proud of my students. Later that day, I’m wondering if there’s been changlings introduced to the building. And the emotional drama. [SIGH]

    I’ve had a few students who got their world views shaken in my class. I don’t pull many punches. I don’t emphasize horrors too much, but I don’t gloss over things either (Thirty Years War, slavery in global history, Holodomor, the Gulags, the Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot’s Killing Fields . . .)

    1. When Darlin’ Daughter was in middle school she was being the fed the view that the Japanese* were the victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, specifically with a book telling about the bombings from the view point of a school girl about her age in one of the bombed cities.

      In response I made her sit through the episode of Why We Fight dealing with the benevolent Japanese administration of the Chinese portion of Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere.

      ( Yes it was war time propaganda, but while it was not entirely accurate, it was not misleading. If anything it understated the Rape of Nanjing, and the producers (and probably the US Gov) had not heard of Unit 731 at the time. It was certainly closer to the truth than the revisionist crap spewed by the Japanese and academic fellow travelers (in all senses of the phrase) these days.)
      She did not enjoy even that sanitized discussion of how the Japanese behaved , and, combined with my explanation of the casualty figures (on both sides) predicted for Operation OLYMPIC, made her understand that the bombings were not just because the US were big meanies.

      *I have no problems considering the civilians not engaged in war production in those two cites as victims, but only if you put the blame where it belongs, on the arrogance and barbarity of their own government in how they started and conducted the Pacific War. IOW, Don’t start a war if you can’t take a joke.

      1. The thumb-nail response I have to the civilian question is to ask if they’re aware that Japan did not consider them civilians, to the point that they would apply quite brutal punishment on those who did not behave as proper soldiers.

        Most coherent response I’ve gotten is that is our fault, too.

        1. Well, strictly speaking, Perry.

          Even then, can’t blame the Tokugawa shogunate on America.

          1. I’m still pissed because the first I heard of this was that poor SOB who was nuked twice– that’s because after he survived the first nuke, as a civilian, HE WAS ORDERED TO GO WHERE THEY WERE WARNED THE BOMBING WAS GOING TO HAPPEN OR HE AND HIS FAMILY WOULD BE EXECUTED.

            So he got nuked.


            And yes, they killed people who left areas where we dropped “please, for the love of God, get out of here so we don’t kill you” leaflets. AFTER the first bomb.

            Hell, I didn’t even get taught about the “look out, nuke coming your way. Again.” warning drops….

            1. I never heard about that part either, but I did know about them training eleven-year-old girls to fight the U.S. Marines with bamboo spears. Everybody was expected to fight to the bitter end, or commit suicide as so many did in Okinawa.

              The atomic bombs spared both sides from an unspeakable nightmare. We struck them with weapons so horrific, they took the shame out of surrendering.

              1. Even then, it took their Emperor to get them to surrender.

                (And apparently some of the Military tried to stop the Emperor from ordering the surrender.)

              2. I think that every American adult should have the fundamental hardness of heart not to consider gassing the Japanese farmers from the air, and letting starvation work, unspeakable.

  21. One of the Eagle-required merit badges is something called Personal Management. That includes several months of a real-time budget, for which our counselor has said “Don’t be gentle.” So once we get his “job” set up, along with the various expenses, I think he’ll be having a few unexpected expenses popping up. (He’s only 11, so obviously all job information is going to be fictional. Though I’m basing it on a local low-wage job along with the withholdings.)

    1. Personal Management merit badge councilor here. Scouts I worked with tracked 2 jobs. One entry level (“do you want fries with that”), one still entry level, but required some type of higher education (could be trade or college). Part way through they got “raises”. Everything was based on real local numbers, including housing rent, etc. Yes, withholdings, too.

      Compound interest started with: “Choose one. $1/day for 30 days. Or $.01 on first day, but doubling prior day’s value, every day for 30 days. Latter means $.01 first day, $.02 second, $.04 third, etc.” (Someone here pointed out “a penny saved is a penny earned”). After THAT lesson moved on to real lessons on mortgage interest and CC interest. Again used real examples (ours … although had to fake the CC charges if you don’t pay off every month).

      My son did his at 11 too. So, yes. Fake job information. Although for him took it one step further. One option he had at 11 was to deal with refund drink bottles/cans (he’d come when I went shopping, he fed cans into machine & took results in to get money). He kept the money. He could also earn chores dollars at home. He tracked that too along with what he spent on school lunches or not (he could take cold lunch …)

      Additional payoff? Local HS had a segment (not 90 days) on personal fiance, mid senor year. Any scout already having completed this merit badge sailed through. I remember the parent/teacher conference after that segment. “You son is a scout.” Us. “Yes. He earned Eagle 22 months ago. Why?” Teacher. “Most scouts can almost teach the finance section. Your son could teach it.” Yes, we might have put a bit of emphasis on financial management.

  22. “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”

    From Walter Miller’s great novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz. The quote applies to an overall society; I think it is also applicable at the child-raising level.

  23. Afterwards I was told in a snippy tone they hadn’t taught him any of the horrors of history to “protect his innocence.” THEY HADN’T TOLD HIM MURDER WAS POSSIBLE. No, I’m not actually joking. They told me that way he wouldn’t have bad thoughts. (Did they expurgate Cain and Abel, or did he think that was the only one?) And btw that was the last time we were invited over/allowed to talk to the kids.

    I’d bet those bright morons were fairly wild when they grew up.

    The thought process of “I was wild growing up, and snuck *ALL* the crap past my parents. Therefore I am going to be able to keep my kids from doing anything bad!” is one I will never understand.

    1. I had a friend who once came home at 10 in the morning after having been out all night.

      Dad: “And just what have you been doing?”
      Son: “Nothing you wouldn’t have done when you were my age.”

      And Dad gets extremely pale…

      1. A reply like that to my dad would have me extremely pale.
        Once I regained consciousness, that is.
        I don’t know if they, having been some serious wild children back in their youthful days, thought they could keep us from doing anything bad.
        I do know that we knew they knew a lot of the trick and dodges and excuses, so we avoided most of the serious stuff.

        1. We just had a saying that Dad & a few of the other older dads, weren’t allowed to tell tales out of childhood, unless it made dad look stupid … torn frozen jeans comes to mind. Kid didn’t NEED any additional ideas. Just a clear understanding of what had serious LEGAL consequences today … that didn’t when dad(s) were younger; not that those stories were allowed. Kid knew dad & his brother weren’t saints. We also had a saying of “boys will be boys”.

          Before I get accused of gender bias, the female Venture members were allowed to slide down the *mud slide* created with the scouts, the ones there chose not to. The only rule for the mud slide (beyond obvious safety of the slide) was you had to have something decent NOT muddy for the ride back from the campout. The rest was between you and your parents.

          *mud slide* Not like we have snow here. Consequences of “free time” on a campout. They planned it, they executed it. When caught, slide was checked, law was laid down. Fun was had. Didn’t have to call a single parent to pick up a too-muddy-for-vehicles scout. Parental reaction wasn’t particularly favorable; only victims were clothing after all, and that cleaned up.

          My problem? I am one of 3 girls, in a neighborhood of girls. No brothers to compare to. I was considered a tomboy, or at least not a girly-girl. I didn’t even come close to being a tomboy. I had to check the over safety concerns, and rely on the dads for “reasonable” extra unplanned activities. I would have shut down the mud slide, it would have been the wrong thing to do. Not that the lesson above wasn’t learned, and uh, available “free time” was subtly curtailed …

    1. Only because of foreign meddling.

      Those voters who flipped must’ve done so because of Russian agitprop distributed by way of American right wing blogs.

      Hey, guys, why don’t you chime in, and explain more of this?

      1. I do so hope that the Left keeps on blaming the Russians.
        Hey Democratss, maybe you need to go a bit more radical?

        1. Putin probably does have a personal grudge against Hillary Clinton.

          One of the guys at the place where Johnson was campaigning wore an ‘Epstein didn’t kill himself’ t-shirt also implying that the BBC is strongly soviet influenced. Foreign influence?

          Additionally, the Magnitsky act is hypocritical given Epstein and Bulger.

          The lines of argument break down then, because it isn’t really plausible that Putin has a sense of fair play or a willingness to be at peace with the world if the world will be at peace with him.

          1. I’ve heard that Putin was no fan of Obama.

            Apparently, he described trying to make deals with Obama was like playing chess with a pigeon.

            Sooner or later, the pigeon would knock over the chess pieces and sh*t on the chess board.

  24. Back when, if memory serves (say, pre-modern Europe), you became an adult between ages 13-18, depending on where you where and what your social status was. There were set rituals and signs that separated an adult from a child. So your young and frisky years were spent working very hard, under fairly rigid adult supervision, with some sanctioned steam-blowing (carnival/Fasching, other similar festivals, the occasional riot). But you also had adult duties and responsibilities. Survive that, and you were judged sufficiently mature (and had earned enough of a dowry/household portion) to start a family.

    I wonder how much society has lost by dropping the bright lines of “adult” and “not adult.”

  25. I think part of the problem is that modern society tends to herd teenagers together. Where they can pick up bad habits from each other.

    Society used to split them up, shove them in with adults. Get a teenager surrounded, and he’ll mature pretty quickly. Especially if the adults have sense enough not to lecture incessantly.

  26. And I agree that schooling should be far, far more rigorous. Let the kids EARN grades. Expose them to new ideas. Don’t present a theory as fact…present competing theories as such and let the debate flow freely. Nothing makes the sciences more tempting than the idea that there is a frontier…and if you’re good enough, YOU can work on it.

    It beats a job shuffling papers. Trust me, I’ve done both.

    1. Some of the best teachers I had would challenge even the correct answers- asking how you got that answer, what’s the conclusion stemming from that answer, and so on.
      Ironically, one was a hard core Lefty, but he still wanted us to actually think and come to our own conclusions.
      It was rare thirty years ago, and I expect far more rare now.

    2. “Challenge even the correct answers.”
      That’s how science and technology advance. I’ve even considered the possibility that our entire concept of a light-speed barrier may only be because we start with not-quite-correct fundamental equations on speed, velocity, gravitation, and such like. What if some of these universal “constants” are actually not singular, but consist of variables themselves that just happen to give that constant as a product?
      Science is based on observation and creating models that match what we see; and sometimes we don’t see what’s right there in front of our eyes, even over hundreds of years.

      1. I’d amend your last sentence to “that match what we think we see”.

        Witness the FUBAR on the number of chromosomes in the human cell:
        Shot: “There are 48 chromosomes in the cell, and here are the pics to prove it.
        Chaser: “There are 46 chromosomes in the cell and here are the pics to prove it.
        Hangover: “Those are the same pictures!”

        Consider Gorebull warmening, sea levels, sociology, et cetera.

        1. Thing is, the models weren’t necessarily wrong for the jobs they were originally designed to do. V=d/t works just fine for how long it takes a horse going 10 mph to get from London to Land’s End; or if I drive from San Diego to Boston in 36 hours, figuring my average speed as the crow flies. Doesn’t work as good computing electron orbits though.

  27. “Adolescents with a lot of time on their hands didn’t exist till recently. But that could be said for every age group.”

    I would argue that Adolescents with a lot of time on their hands have existed IN THE WEALTHY CLASS forever. What has changed is, now nearly everybody is that wealthy.

    1. Oh. I meant to mention that. And they were usually spoiled and trouble, and a lot of them never grew up.
      That’s how all our teens act. Like spoiled scions of very wealthy families.

      1. Military leaders have noted the beneficial effects of raising kids on a farm for thousands of years: I remember Tom Kratman noting that one ancient kingdom – I think Sumerian – handed out farms to retiring soldiers to get them to raise the next generation of soldiers on said farms.

        (He notes that, humans being the cheating sorts that we are, those retired soldiers immediately went out and got adopted by someone rich so that they could trade land for immediate cash. We know because a lot of those adoption records survived.)

        Despite being raised a city slicker, one reason I want to do farm stuff if I ever have kids is for their benefit. (Being fascinated with the Little House books as a 5-year-old may have also influenced me.)


      2. The spouse worked at three schools in Boulder County. The one in at the time middle class Louisville had normal kids. The one in federal heights was Tile I and the kids were very needy…. Just like the million dollar ragamuffins in Boulder

  28. “So, how much should you protect your children? I don’t know.”

    You had to go and say it. /rant mode activate/

    From a developmental perspective, speaking as a physical therapist, they can’t learn to walk if you don’t let them fall down. Mom, pay attention.

    In martial arts the very first thing they teach you in most styles is how to fall down. Then they teach you how to stand up. Only after that is accomplished to they proceed with the hitting and kicking part. Tai Chi is a little weird that way, they teach you how to stand up first, the falling down part is advanced classes.

    But in all the styles, part of learning how to stand up is the teacher coming around and pushing you over. In Tai Chi there is a pushing game where the object of the game is to make the other person move their feet. If you don’t move your feet or fall over, you win. Its a fun game.

    Leading to the situation in Real Life when some fat guy accidentally runs into you on the subway platform, he falls down and you don’t. Because you’re standing up properly, out of habit ingrained by hours and hours of practice trying to push your friends over. (Drunk push-hands is the best party game ever.)

    But, and this is the part they lie about in Kung Fu movies, nobody practices over a bed of nails or hot coals. Adding fear of failure and injury does not make the student learn faster or better.

    This applies to academics as well, teachers. You make the kid scared of math (or history, or music) they’re never going to do it. And by never I mean there is no punishment or threat you could bring that will make that kid do it. They will find a way to avoid it for their whole fricking lives. Some will retreat into failure and drug addiction to escape it, that’s why there’s so many losers and stoners in high school. They’re in Hell, and it takes drugs to keep them putting one foot in front of the other.

    So lose the flaming hoops and walking on glass. Its -stupid-.

    One other thing: kids learn to walk and talk WHEN THEY DO, goddamn it! Their brains and muscles grow at different rates. The kid who didn’t learn to talk properly until he was four and who couldn’t do math in Grade 2 grows up to be a computer engineer, despite the report card that came home claiming Little Johnny should start looking at the applied stream instead of academics. (In Grade 2 for f— sake. Seriously.)

    So, for all you well-meaning assholes out there who think some Tough Love, some Socialization and some Structure will get that child’s grades up: Leave Them The F- Alone. They’ll be just fine. And they won’t grow faster just because you, in your infinite wisdom, think they ought to. They grow when they grow, and that’s it. If it takes them until they’re 30 to figure out calculus, that’s how long it f-ing well takes.

    /here endeth the rant/


    1. Our modern approach to teaching has an element that is as if some moron had done a study showing that in the future, 98% of economic activity will be general officers doing staffwork. So, parents wanting the pre-school to prepare for the promotion to colonel, education majors studying the best way to make early decisions about branch so that all demographics are evenly distributed, and teachers who have no idea how badly they are doing because of quality of easily available self evaluation metrics.

      And I was *mumble* before I learned *redacted advanced but fundamental bit of math*.

      1. I was ~35 when long division was finally explained to me by a patient girlfriend. She showed me the mathematical proof. Having seen the proof, I was then -finally- able to understand all the shit I had previously not understood.

        Thirty years of asking “but -why- does it work?” and being told to shut up and get on with it. Bitter, me?

        1. You mean you couldn’t “see” how starting on the left would work?

          I think my folks showed us how it worked before we ever saw the paperwork side– so knowing you could start from either side, as long as you respected the place value, was just like knowing that if A+B=C, then C-A=B, etc.

          1. I’m one of those irritating people who can’t do things by rote. I need to see WHY it works, then I can do it. If there’s no reason why it works, then its a black box and I can’t really get it done.

            The entire extent of public -and private- education, plus university, NOBODY could explain/prove long division. They all did it by rote. One girl listened to my 35 year old complaint, took half an hour to go through the algebraic proof of division from start to finish, and the whole thing became obvious. Kapow.

            1. Ah! I get it, I think– you’re one of the folks that proofs actually work for; I have to see a thing work for it to ‘work’ for me. Math proofs just go straight through my head. I adored “Donald Duck in Mathamagic Land” as a kid, because of all the illustrations of what they were talking about!


              What a “seeing” division work would look like:
              77 divided by three.

              I can, obviously, just do one at a time into piles of three. Or I can do piles of 10 and have the “ones” pile, which is already what I knew to do to make things easy for counting money.

              Then I can take those and go one at a time into three piles.

              Or I can do piles of ten as long as it goes in evenly. That gives me 2 piles of ten sorted, remainder of one pile of ten and the scrap pile of 7.

              So then I figure out how many times I can evenly split that 17 into 3– oh, that’s five, two left over.

              So it is two tens, and a five, with three left over– 25, remainder of three.

              I frequently got stuck in charge of dividing up the treats…which meant I did the work and got whichever someone else nobody wanted. So I got VERY good at being fair. ^.^

            2. I have occasional brain glitches. Suddenly I’ll forget the method/formula and have to invent it again.
              Probably a related issue.
              The number of times the math teacher called me up front and went “This is … interesting, and it works, but not what I taught you to do.”
              Or my favorite “Did you learn this from your brother?” “No.” “Did you just invent calculus?” 😀

        2. The way the US teaches long division makes no sense to me or older son. I finally taught him to do it the Portuguese way, which is completely different. He still does it that way.

    2. We got a report card in first grade for #2 son saying with care and patience he might be able to live alone some day. He’s finishing two and a half engineering degrees with minors in math and physics.
      Mostly he was bored out of his gourd and had sensory issues.
      Look, the only thing we didn’t force them to at least TRY to do was younger son, social skills.
      And I realized the other day he still has issues, in typical geek fashion. I need to talk to him about it and make him aware of it.
      He’s usually very grown up, and charming in a weird way, but if he thinks he’s going to get hurt — i.e. someone doesn’t like him or is mad at him, even if the person is joking (he doesn’t get SIGNALS damn it) — he acts like hell’s own jerk asshole to these people.
      If he doesn’t become aware of it, and control it, he’s going to have both romantic (already has) issues and job issues.

      1. That, or find a job where being a bit of a jerk is an advantage. Has he considered a career in flight test?

          1. Flight Test is I think referring to the engineering specialty. Mike may be able to help if Marshall is interested.

              1. Mike M., from what I can tell, had an engineering career that is partly in flight test engineering.

                So his comment on Marshall’s behavior being useful for flight test was a comment on a potential field of engineering that may be suited, if Marshall has the interest.

                Of course, even if I’m obnoxious enough, I’m not really excited by that sort of thing, so it probably isn’t for me, even if I did have the technical chops.

                My thought? You’ve mentioned a lot issues with Marshall finding mentors. If he had any interest in flight test engineering, I would suggest he try to get in contact with Mike M., and at least find out the name of the book Mike has written.

                I’m short on sleep, and not paying close enough attention, so it is possible I am missing something obvious.

                  1. There are specialties within disciplines.

                    Forex, Radar engineers are a subset of RF engineers are a subset of electrical engineers.

                    Flight test is a subset of aerospace engineering.

                    We know Marshall is an engineer and wants to work on aerospace problems, but the kind of problem is not as obvious to us.

                    There are a lot of people here who know about aerospace engineering, and can give suggestions, but can’t give good suggestions without knowing more about specialty, which Marshall may not even know yet.

      2. “Good news! Your kid has a sense of humor, that means she’s not retarded.”

        (No, I have NO idea. None. And somehow no one ever understood why I failed to be impressed with these gems of shared wisdom.)

      3. Young Relative #1 was extremely slow learning to speak, to walk, to read etc. But did things like learn to read upside down because it was easier to hold the book that way. Reads either way at the same speed. Came home crying from school because it was so boring it nearly killed him. Other kids would bully him, and he would -forget- what they did but still be sad. Et Cetera.

        Young Relative #1 was taken for testing and was nearly off the chart at the high end for most things, doing Grade 12 level at 8 years old. This one is now in computer engineering and cruising through it.

        That’s the one they were calling stupid in Grade 2. Got home-schooled for most the lower grades, went back in high school. Learned how to play most of the instruments in the band too. Would switch from saxophone to piano to flute to clarinet.

        Young Relative #2, same family, is an artist. Leaned to speak in full adult sentences very early, no baby talk. Started drawing at maybe 3 years old, was producing adult-level work at 10-11 years old. Again, home-schooled until high school because coming home from school with teachers saying they were stupid, crying from boredom etc.

        This one tests off the chart high side for a completely different constellation of abilities, bottom 3% for mathematics. Brain not ready for teh math, is what I said. Probably be ready in a few more years, because 3 dimensional manipulation is top 98%.

        This one will not likely become an engineer, but will definitely be -something- worthwhile unless the school system kills them.

        So that’s what I’ve been seeing in the school system as an adult, gifted children being labeled morons and shoved to the side because they didn’t fit in the nice round hole. Not isolated cases, these two. Parents aren’t without resources and they’re not shy either, went to the school and kicked some asses, ended up home schooling anyway. Because they were very clear the kids weren’t going to win.

        1. Regular public school is absolute HELL for those rated as gifted; especially those rated off the charts. I think I only survived because I got tracked to the AE (Academically Enriched) and Honors classes when I went through school in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and that my mother fought for my brothers and I like a tigress. Being in a class for the usual run of students … that was horrible in so many ways. I can only imagine how much worse it is now.
          Home schooling … if I ever have grandchildren, I am home-schooling them myself.

          1. THIS. Oh, Lord, this. Me, the kids.
            Dan was in what might have been the one functional school in the country. (I loved it as an exchange student.) So he loved it.

    3. *switches in*

      Making the implicit explicit– if they are behind because of a lack, you can’t fix it by doubling the dose. You can’t help someone be able to fail successfully by standing back and letting them fail in a way that would be hard to survive if they had been allowed to fail; you won’t teach someone how to fall safely by letting them fall twice as far.

      Yeah, it’s wrong they weren’t taught, but you don’t teach somebody by pretending that they were taught.

    4. I had to double check whether Phantom or Sarah wrote the original post, knew it wasn’t me.

      Our son, to some extent when he was younger, had similar responses from teachers. But my baby sister was the eye opener well before any of us had kids in school. This is back when they still had multiple school path levels. Teachers wanted to put sis in remedial classes across the board. Because she wouldn’t talk (why would she? She had two older sisters talking for her.) Little sister the Engineer.

      Our son early teachers pulled “can’t read”. Question I had to them was “Can’t? or Won’t read aloud in class? Have him read to just you.” Math was never going to be an issue, not with a built in tutor in the house … well it was but that was between us and teacher “Guess and check, as a valid math method? Uh, are you kidding? NO.” Kid was taught algebraic method, early.

      1. They wanted to put older son into classes for ah intellectually impaired because “not smart enough to ever learn to read.”
        Leaning across table “Well, I found out he could read when he was reading the life of Caesar at 3. What have you done to him?”
        Teacher had picture books with one line of text available. Her trick for finding out when kids were reading was when they got those books and laboriously worked through them during assigned breaks.
        Which our son… didn’t….

        1. me in second grade.

          Teacher: he needs treatment he spends all his time staring out the windows

          Mom: then why does he have a B in your class?

          Teacher: oh, he gets all his work done and turns it in

          (same teacher was also shocked by standardized test results that shows i was reading in a 6th grade level- mind you, 6th grade was as high as the test could indicate)

      2. Yes, all of the above.

        All of this shit boils down to “kid’s brain not ready to do that task right now.” It will be ready later. Possibly much later, possibly next week.

        But a school, as presently constructed, is not there to teach the kid so that the kid grows and becomes great. They are constructed to sort children by age and present X material at X age. That the kid’s brain isn’t ready does not enter the equation at all. Kid will be presented the material, judged on their performance, and then rewarded or punished accordingly.

        And that is at a -good- school. Bad schools don’t bear thinking about.

        Japan of course is much worse. There the sorting is ferocious, they do their practice on the high wire above a shark tank balanced over a volcano. You didn’t measure up in Grade 3, it follows you for life.

        Result, the Japanese have a huge problem with Hikikomori, there’s a million people who won’t come out of their bedrooms for anything. They also have a huge “problem” with “NEETs”, kids “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”. The ones who looked at the no-future on offer and declined.

        1. In #1 son’s case, as they started admitting by second grade, it was “he’s way ahead of the program. We can’t teach him anything.
          BUT THE SCHOOL OUTRIGHT LIED TO US and told us it was illegal to advance them to the next grade or further.
          Meanwhile, when Marsh made himself too hot to hold (he’s mine. He was FURTHER ahead and let them know) they advanced him with nary a peep. In fact, they offered to put him straight into high school from elementary (which is how he ended up homeschooled for a while because I’m not going to put a small, slim, pre-pubescent child in with the beasts.

          1. Neighbors had a 5 year old who tested 1st grade, they wanted to put into 1st grade. She missed the cut off by less than a month. She’d have been older than I was when I started 1st grade when I started. Difference? When I started the cutoff was be 6 on or before Oct 31, the year you start. Fast forward 30 years, the cutoff is be 6 before the first day of school. No exceptions. Fast forward, she’s now in 2nd grade, and the school system wanted to jump her 2 grades, into 4th. Parents looked right at them & said no. She had her friends in her grade. They had made their bed. Legally they had to figure out how to appropriate accommodation. Don’t know what ultimately happened. They ended up moving out of the area. I suspect they took the recommendation & either home schooled, or used it as an excuse to go ahead, enroll her in the new grade, where she made new friends.

            That policy had two of my sister’s held back. They missed the start of school entrance, by days. Depending on where Labor Day fell, a day or two, at most.

    5. In elementary school, there was a computer game – very simple, these were Apple II computers – where the player answered an array of arithmetic questions with a time limit. The more you got right, the more bullets and bombs your fighter plane had in the little game that followed. Get them all right and you got a bonus. (Enemy radar disabled IIRC.)

      For some reason, those of us who played that game got pretty good at math that year.


  29. Quick note before I go back and read the rest of it; It makes biological sense to be more protective of “only” children. (For argument, I’m going to count two kids as “only” as well.) When I was young there weren’t many “only” children because people who only had one tended to want more and had that blood “thing” that meant they lost the rest. That *loosing* likely contributed a great deal to “only” child coddling but it’s also going to be because there’s only one focus for your parenting so the poor kid gets all of it. Two is better, but still doable if you’re so inclined.

    Once you have five or six, heck, if you check them all in at dinner to see if no one died during the day you’re doing pretty good. But I noticed something when I had three (pregnant with #4) and was friends with a woman who had an only. She didn’t need obedience. She could watch him and pull him out of trouble if he got in it. I needed obedience because I could only look in one direction at any given time and only keep one toddler from killing itself at a time. The others HAD to be at least going in the same direction as each other so I could keep them in view or it was impossible. “Why don’t you let them play?”

    The only children in my cohort growing up weren’t all spoiled. Some were very well behaved, but they might have just had that personality. “He’s an only child,” was an explanation for bad behavior that got nods of agreement because of how often it was true.

    Older siblings also end up responsible for younger ones at young ages. Not “we got a dog to teach Jonny responsibility,” but “we got a baby.”

    1. Yep. No. It’s also the consciousness that this/these two are your ONLY children ever. It’s really difficult…. to let go. I had to white knuckle myself into it more than once.

    2. This. I was eleven going on twelve when my youngest brother was born. (Youngest of four, total) And he was basically my living baby-doll. He had the great good fortune to be born at the start of summer vacation, and I swear- Mom didn’t have to lift a finger to care for him until school started again in the fall.
      According to legend, one of his first teachers asked him who his parents were, and he answered, “Mom, Dad and Sissie.”
      I am convinced that this experience is the only reason that I was not completely unhinged at being a single parent in my twenties, two thousand miles from my family. I had already raised a kid – no surprises there.
      Sigh. I always thought I would have four or more. That struck me as a good round number. Didn’t work out that way, through bad luck when it came to selecting a life partner.

      1. That struck me as a good round number.

        Ummmmmmm … no. Four is not a good round number. Three is a good round number. Six and nine are good round numbers. Eight is a great round number. Four is arguably a worse round number than seven although possibly better than one if you’re writing in a particularly ornate style. Two and five are confused round numbers while there is some dispute over whether zero is actually a number.

        Of course, if you’re employing Roman numerals the only good round number is C, with D not far behind.

    3. Ours was an only (might have mentioned a few times, not by choice). Worked real hard at not coddling.

      Now when people learned he was an only child, their response was “must be spoiled rotten”. We never once argued. Our response was “Well we’ve got the spoiled part down. Still working on rotten part, can’t seem to get that right.” (For the record, still haven’t managed it & he’s 30.)

      We started him working chores right along side of us, as soon as he could crawl & walk. I’ve got the most adorable videos of him helping stack wood after dad & grandpa split it; because he wanted to “hlptd”. Him helping rake leaves to put into the yard can; and about the 3rd round telling dad “hw neeeddsss to do it”. He was 3.

      Lots of failures allowed. Discovered sometimes the same results could be consequences or just a learning lesson. Life isn’t fair.

      Broken arm #1. Cause – Roller skating down a “ramp”, also known as the school slide, had helmet on. Consequent – had to relate the story to anyone who asked (a lot asked), & didn’t get to play a fall sport he wanted.

      Broken arm #2 (a year later). Cause – When bike stops suddenly unexpectedly, rider doesn’t. Lesson. Still got to tell the story at doctors & at school (because anymore that is what happens when kid come in with broken arm), still didn’t get to play fall sport he wanted to.

      So many stories.

      Son also had playmates who weren’t only children, but might as well have been. Older siblings were 12 to 15 years older. Parents essentially had two sets of only children. Well one parent had one only child (older one), second round came as twins.

    1. Once upon a time the main marker of education was that it forced students to engage in second order (at least) thinking, demanding they be able to anticipate consequences of contemplated actions.

      I don’t care how damned many degrees you have, nor how much deeper you’ve piled them, if you cannot think through as simple a policy consequence as this entails.

      1. the thing is, it has the same standard of care as medicare…

        you know, medicare, the stuff that there are multiple levels of supplemental insurance plans for, because it doesnt provide adequate care?

  30. And his faith you worked so hard to pour into him will shatter the first time he realizes evil exists.
    Like any material for a vessel or a weapon, you have to temper it with fire to harden it and keep it from being fragile.

  31. A book I am reading now: “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff. It basically argues that the major issue with the present campus free speech wars (and for some reason they think it is limited to campus), is that they are creating generations of emotionally fragile people, and that attempts to protect children from emotional harm actually damage their emotional resilience.

    To which I say “duh!”

  32. Must share. I actually sat through Ben Shapiro talking for nearly an hour because of his basically articulating the reason why ‘ban porn’ is such a bad idea, that I agree with so much.

    Sadly, people have to do advertising through the talk, so… yeah. I just gloss over that.

    1. I remember her. That was back when I was still active on the bar. She was active there for years.(I can only keep track of so many groups at once.)

      I could not follow her logic, and when she tried to claim that since her parents were no longer having relations when the abuse occurred, the Samuel passage didn’t apply.

      Being told it would apply even if her mother were dead did not phase her.

    2. Watched it, agree with most of it. The reason why ‘ban porn’ is such a bad idea, ultimately, is that you can’t ban it. No set of government controls can ban pornography any more than they can ban drugs or ban alcohol. Its impossible.

      It doesn’t matter that booze drugs and porn are bad, it doesn’t matter that people are being harmed, what matters is -can you do it?-

        1. I was thinking from an honest, really trying to get it right perspective. The opportunities for abuse are manifold and diverse. ~:D

          Example, you can’t buy “gun-pr0nz” mags in Canadian bookstores. They won’t sell them. Pretty much have to go to a gun shop to find a copy of Guns & Ammo.

          I can’t imagine that the government was not involved there somewhere with a gentle nudge or a friendly suggestion.

  33. Pingback: SPEAKING OF DEMS:  Children…. – The usa report
  34. I enjoy reading your blog because I like and share the way you think ( I presume that what you write is the way you think ). Freedom is perhaps the most dangerous addiction of all. It leads to the rejection of all sorts of help by those people and institutions which wish to control individuals and groups.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Paul L. Quandt

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