Jul 03

A Model for Apologies

Round 1, fight!

Does this conversation sound familiar to you?

“Say sorry to your brother.”

“But he’s the one who–”

“Say it!” you insist, an edge of warning in your voice.

He huffs, rolls his eyes to the side and says flatly, “Sorry.”

“Say it like you mean it,” you demand.

“Sorrrrry,” he repeats, dragging out the word slowly with bulging eyes and dripping insincerity.

You sigh in defeat and turn to #2, “Now tell him you forgive him.”

It sure seems familiar to me. The author of a blog post entitled “A Better Way to Say Sorry” used that exchange to demonstrate how forcing apologies from children is counterproductive. I’ve read more than a few articles to that effect lately.  However, unlike some other articles on the topic, this one doesn’t suggest some goofy hippy solution like a peace circle. Instead, a simple script is presented as replacement for ...

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Jun 16

Ko Rule!

Ko’s a no-go in Go.

“Yes you are!”

“No I’m not!”

“Yes you are!”

“No I’m not!”

And so on, ad infinitum et nauseum.

Every parent hates back-and-forth fights like that. There’s no resolution, and everyone loses – including parents. I now have a name for that kind of nonsense, though, and naming is the first step toward taming, right?

OK, that cliche might be a bit naive, but I do hope that having a handy name that can be referred to in the heat of the moment will help end those fights more quickly and without parental yelling.

So, what’s the name? It’s “ko rule”. It’s a rule in the ancient game of Go.

ko is a shape (an arrangement of stones) where one player is able to capture exactly one of his opponent’s stones with one move, but after capturing the stone his opponent ...

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Jun 14

It’s a Neighborly Day in This Beauty Wood

Won't you be my neighbor?

Won’t you be my neighbor?

I’ve complained recently about folks being nebby (here and here). It’s only fair that I also mention folks being neighborly, which is something that happened today.

I took all three kids on a walk to our church for St. Anthony’s Day mass and brunch – a distance of approximately 2 miles. Naturally, we also walked back. It was a bit warmer by then, and we were all tired and sweaty. About halfway home an older woman standing outside her house noticed us, greeted us, said something about being hot, and asked if we wanted water. I thanked her and said we were only home. She emphatically repeated her offer, word for word.

I know a mother’s no-nonsense “offer you can’t refuse” when I see one. I chuckled inwardly, deciding she’d expressed just the right level of interest and concern, and accepted. She invited us to ...

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Jun 06

Lapse in Judgement?

Nope, not one of my children.

Nope, not one of my children.

This story infuriates me. A mother named Kim Brooks left her 4yo buckled up in the car for five minutes on a cool day and ended up facing criminal charges.

“He glanced up at me, his eyes alight with what I’d come to recognize as a sort of pre-tantrum agitation. ‘No, no, no, no, no! I don’t want to go in,’ he repeated, and turned back to his game.

“I took a deep breath. I looked at the clock. For the next four or five seconds, I did what it sometimes seems I’ve been doing every minute of every day since having children, a constant, never-ending risk-benefit analysis. I noted that it was a mild, overcast, 50-degree day. I noted how close the parking spot was to the front door, and that there were a few other cars nearby. I visualized how quickly, unencumbered by ...

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May 31

Gifted Privilege

scene from Pink Floyd: The Wall

We don’t need no Prussian model education system.


noun \ˈpriv-lij, ˈpri-və-\

: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others.

“Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid…And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write…I’m so glad I’m a Beta.” - Brave New World, chapter 2

I visited our school district’s gifted center recently, because Alex will be in the program next year. On the one hand, I was thrilled by all the personalized attention, innovative teaching, and additional resources he’ll be getting. On the other hand, I was a little depressed.

First, I was depressed that he’ll ...

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