Friday, October 06, 2006

Guns & Paddles

Here is a headline from today’s news:

Wisconsin Lawmaker wants teachers to carry guns.

Ok…let me make sure I have this right.

Prayer – not allowed in schools
Corporal punishment – not allowed in schools
Gun toting teachers – lawmakers thoughtfully considering

Don’t get me wrong, I think prayer has practical applications to the individual. Any forced, group prayer is likely not going to get my support. But we do our best to remove God and time honored disciplines from schools and then become so outraged with the ensuing results that we are now proposing a militia of teachers? Am I the only one lifting an eyebrow to this?

There are so many problems with this idea that it would be like shooting fish in a barrel to point them all out. However, I would at least like to mention one: not all teachers should be packing heat. What is keeping Ms. Nearing A. Breakdown from popping a few caps in a fit of rage because the class didn’t read their assignments?

“By the way, Ms. Breakdown…I need to see you after school for some tutoring.”

“Can’t do it Billy…I have mandatory target practice and gun training today.”


The Paddle – What kept me and many generations of school aged kids from acting out too terribly bad was the thought of having Principal Pete paddle your posterior. Normally this wooden threat would just hang on the wall above his desk as a reminder. You always heard rumors of someone getting a good swat on the backside but I never actually saw it happen or had any friends at the bad end of the stick.

The Note Home – This was almost as bad for me as any potential spanking. I have such a highly developed sense of pleasing my folks that to disappoint them was outright scary. I would beg my teacher not to tell my parents and promise all sorts of good behavior if they’d just tear up the note. I am sure some instructors saw my pleading as a sign of abuse at home because of the sheer and utter display of desperation. But I really did not get spanked often. It really was the fear of being a disappointment that worked on me.

The Parents – I had good ones. Not everyone does but this is where the discipline blame game starts and ends in my opinion. It is very rare that I hear of good parents with a devil child. Whether parents are abusive or just neglectful…the kids will act according to their upbringing…period.

There are other things like detention, suspension, standing in corners, banishment at recess, running laps, etc. but the main three I grew up with are listed above and were effective. Some of these techniques still exist but most are laughable if used at all. I also realize that the older the children get (i.e. highschool-aged) the less effective most punishments are. This new generation seems to have no fear of consequences. So I guess the only viable solution is to arm everyone and see who comes out of the fray.

What do you think?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cry Challenge

I’ve said it before, so I supposed admitting it again won’t hurt…I am a wuss. I think last time I used the word pansy. Life is cyclical in so many ways. I started out as a very sensitive child. Overly sensitive might even be the proper analysis. Through hard knocks, some training from dad, and the sheer need to assimilate into this fraternity called manhood, my sensitive side faded. Insults no longer pierced the armor. Physical pain might cause me to wince but dry eyes never let loose their precious saline bounty. I became rock solid and still am in many ways.

But the circle has me on a path of revisiting my inner child. The strangest things get me going. It always starts out the same. A big and impossible lump begins to form in my throat. If I don’t immediately put the kibosh on this…tears begin to well up and spill over. Maybe this return isn’t so bad. As an adult, who do I have to impress these days anyway? If another man is not so inclined to join my pansy party, then good for him. To each their own.

In my last installment of this sort, I confessed to three things that had recently got the rain drop machine to churning. So in keeping with tradition, here are the most recent tidbits. Oh…and you might be wondering about the title. This is a challenge of sorts. I am quite sure that a few of you will pass with no problem. However, I know that this will at the very least touch you. And if that fails…I will officially be scared of you.

Crocodile Hunter – I talked about him in a
previous post, stunned by the animal that caused his end. But recently on 20/20 Barbara Walters interviewed his spouse. Most of the interview was sad but almost none of it cause waterworks for me. I love animals and all but her passion and Steve’s are off the scale…so I just could not relate in many cases. Then she talked of her son. Lump forming…we have a blip on the radar. She caught her son walking to the garage armed with a screwdriver. Curious, she followed to see what he was doing. There he was, clanging away at Steve’s old motorcycle engine…not really using the tool correctly but making noise as though something was getting accomplished. Lump growing…saline alert…code yellow. She inquired as to what he was doing and this was his reply, “I am fixing daddy’s old bike so he has something to ride in heaven.” Code red, mayday, mayday, we have spillage. Begin evacuation plans. Granted…being a parent helps. Imagining my son doing something like this should I meet with an untimely death is what really got to me. But I couldn’t help but sit there and wonder why I managed to let the Crocodile Hunter of all people affect me is such a way.

Autistic Basketball Player – The video speaks for itself. I found it on one of my favorite funny sites of all places. This boy served as the basketball assistant since his limitations kept him from actually playing competitively. Depsite his handicap, he ingratiated himself to the team and was their number one fan. Then a chance presented itself…
click here. (I post links quite often and realize that some of you do not follow them. All links on this post are well worth your time. Plus you cannot claim to have passed the challenge unless you actually participate.)

A Father’s Love – If by now you have remained unaffected, this is my biggest challenge of the three. Again, being a parent helps but you will likely get something from this regardless. The
link here will give you the full back-story which in and of itself is touching. I had received the story in an email and liked it but never got pushed over the line of wussery. This time was different because the page you will visit has a video at the end (so scroll down after reading the story). You can actually watch this amazing father take his very handicapped son on some wild adventures. I am counting on this third installment to finally get even the best of you to fail my test. Please let me know the results of this challenge in your commentary.

I suppose a prize should be awarded to the winner. I will have to think of something good to give out. A heart transplant might cost too much but that is all that immediately comes to mind ;).