Two hundred years ago on New Year’s Day, a third-rate publisher issued an anonymous novel with an outlandish premise, quickly discounting most of the 500 print copies after slow sales. Despite this inauspicious beginning, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,” has haunted us all the way to a time when life is routinely reinvented in a laboratory.
Ed Finn and David H.Guston
Let’s change the story a bit. What if the Frankenstein Monster was really a nice guy? The Monster who was played by Boris Karloff in a series of 1930 films was a bully, who went on a murderous rampage but in the end he solicited the audience’s pity as the towns people tracked him like a dog because of his abject cruelty. The bully became a victim and in an unknown hamlet in some lot at Universal Studios the crowd trapped him and burned down the building where he sought his escape. They thought they killed him but, this was only 1931 and they had to leave room for several sequels. No doubt the monster was different, which is one of the reasons they had to get rid of him. Weakness and difference are the two reasons why victims today get bullied; well the monster wasn’t weak but he sure was different.
I have really taken a good hard look at the way things are today as opposed to the way they used to be. I have gone off on tangents at conferences and did nothing but speak from my heart. I feel as though my way of thinking is slowly becoming extinct, but I believe that regardless of popular opinion or political correctness I have a voice, I mean ever body else does right? I have written hundreds of essays and blog posts but, the fifteen essays contained in this book are the essays that describe what I call the Kryptonite Syndrome and explain what really is weakening our schools and at times weakening us as a society. Here are the abstracts so you can decide if this book is for you.
We Have Medicalized Education
I choose to joust with no one regarding the condition of ADHD. My only goal with this essay is to give educators a clear view of the topic and help us all determine what is organic and what is truly learned behavior. We have medicalized education! Truthfully we have gotten to the point where meds are the first choice in treating behavior problems not the last. Medication has proven to help kids with ADHD or ODD. Talk to any therapist though and they will tell you that medication in combination with therapy is the plan that nets the best result. In schools meds are relied on too heavily, and need to be used in combination with solid discipline and effective consequences. Where were ADHD and ODD 40 years ago? They didn’t exist or they weren’t invented yet. Why, because kids with behavior problems were few and far between. Authority was respected by parents and students. When we discovered that disrespect is now the norm and not the exception, we began to create conditions to support the behavior. If a kid acts up today it is usually attributed to the fact that he doesn’t take his medication consistently, when in reality he is not being disciplined effectively.
Disrespect Is Pervasive In Our Schools
Sadly disrespect is not only pervasive in our schools but in our society. Students aren’t corrected for it and they become adults who believe that they can say and do whatever they want. And that includes instilling the fear of God into a teacher who tries to correct their kid. Teachers complain about it, but no one talks about the problem. Why? Because this fear ascends the ranks and school administrators and even the superintendent live in fear of irate parents. No one confronts and everybody runs. The schools are controlled by 20% of the parents with the loudest voice and the most threatening attitudes and behaviors.
No One is Responsible, No One
Everybody knows that excuses are built around circumstance, environmental and genetic circumstance. Crimes get committed and circumstance is always brought up. Tough upbringing, or he was raised on the wrong side of the tracks are just two excuses used. We are determined, that’s who we are, and we can’t change. Circumstances only influence they don’t determine behavior. Provide enough excuses for anyone and they will provide you the evidence to support your belief. Teachers have been forced to excuse behavior by a dysfunctional system. A system that has been shoe horned into education by a dysfunctional society.
Self Control Should Be Taught
Self control should be taught but, unfortunately it’s not. Have you looked at the condition of society? 1 in 4 homes are in foreclosure. I guess we can blame the banks, or can we? Everybody wants something bigger and better. To get bigger and better the money has to be made to get it, unless the bank doesn’t care. But, in the final analysis the decision is made by the buyer. Teenage obesity, diabetes, addiction, alcoholism, are all evidence of the lack of self control in society. And oh, did I mention anger issues and the left over bitterness from childhood that gets carried into adulthood wreaking havoc on families. Society has lost control of its thoughts, its words, and its actions. Everybody knows. What produces a nation of people with self-control, consequences do. Unfortunately many people are sitting in that leaking boat right now and are experiencing the consequences of the lack of self control.
We Lie To Kids
Oh we don’t mean to but we do lie to kids. We have inflated their grades because we don’t want to destroy their self esteem. By the way, what is self esteem? Today kids feel good about themselves for no apparent reason. It is almost impossible to be left back, and if a kid has low test scores the teacher always gets the blame. So we let the kid know that he is doing great academically, inflate his grades and give him a false sense of his academic ability. Don’t worry someone will tell him, like the college he will be trying to get into in a few years. Then for sure everybody will know including him.
I Like You But…..
The statement, “I like you, but don’t like your behavior” is a lie. Be honest you don’t like the kid. The truth is we are all are measured by our behavior. I own my behavior, I am my behavior. Like me but not my behavior, stop it. There are some adults that we don’t like because of their behavior, we might be married to one, are kids any different. The truth is I don’t like you because of your behavior, and I go home every night praying that you take the next day off.
Reasons Not Excuses
Excuses are built around circumstance, environmental and genetic circumstance. Crimes get committed and circumstance is always brought up. Tough upbringing, or he was raised on the wrong side of the tracks are just two excuses used. We are determined, that’s who we are, and we can’t change. Circumstances only influence they don’t determine behavior. Provide enough excuses for anyone and they will provide you the evidence to support your belief. Teachers have been forced to excuse behavior by a dysfunctional system. A system that has been shoe horned into education by a dysfunctional society.
We Have Lost Our Independent Thinkers
Everyone has to pass the state test. How is it administered? The kids are sitting in rows. Why are they taught in groups? It is almost mandated in some districts that everyone sits in groups. Does everyone like working in groups? Some kids are introverted and prefer to work alone. This kid is going to earn himself a trip to the school psychologist because he is anti social. How many jobs require people to work in pods of 4-6 all day long? If they did no one would get any work done. That’s just what’s happening in our schools.
Compliance or Obedience?
Years ago the only thing we wanted was for a kid to obey; now it’s the last thing we get. As a matter of fact obedience has become a dirty word. The educational gurus who have spent their time attacking education from a theoretical standpoint, but never really spent any time interacting in a classroom with a group of wild kids liken the word obedience to dog training. They fear that we will destroy the creative side of a kid’s brain by not allowing him to choose and by forcing obedience. Okay already, let’s change obedience to compliance. The definition; doing what you are told when you are told to do it, with a good attitude. The NJ Turnpike has a sign posted right after you pay the toll, it reads; you have left the NJ Turnpike OBEY local speed laws. I guess we only have to obey as we get older.
The Playground is Now a Parking Lot
Run, jump, pull-up, push-up and throw a softball. The requirements for physical fitness as set forth by President Kennedy in 1961. The president’s council on physical fitness was formed because America was getting soft. Well guess what; it’s getting softer. Do you know why? Because our kids don’t get out and play enough at least not in school. Years ago if we finished our work as a class you know what we did? We got to go out for a game of football, wiffle ball, or softball. Now when kids are done with work do you know what they can look forward to? More work, or better yet a brain break for about two minutes that is equal to a good stretch. Childhood obesity and diabetes let’s put an end to them; you know how. Give kids more opportunity to run around on the playground.
NCLB (No Child Left Behind)
I agree that no child should be left behind, but they all are. Kids don’t leave first grade on the first grade level because they all don’t enter first grade at the same level. By the time they hit the third grade some kids are already two years behind. Multiple Intelligence, Differentiated Instruction, Inclusion, all great stuff but truly they don’t meet the needs of the students. All those levels in the same room with an overly ambitious curriculum; everybody is being left behind.
There is No Fear
Kids don’t fear anything today. As a matter of fact parents fear their kids more than kids fear their parents. Systemic discipline is just a slap on the wrist and dysfunctional schools fight dysfunctional families. While all of this is going on the kids watch, laugh, and say and do what they want without any real consequence.
Parents Need Parenting
The question is who is going to do it? After speaking to hundreds of parents about their children what I discovered was they don’t talk to their own parents. They lack discipline skills and are so angry and lost that they take out their rage on their own kids. Three generations of dysfunction. Everyone knows it, and talks about it, but no one knows what to do about this disaster that Everybody Knows.
Kids have lost their ability to get along and are rapidly becoming adults who have matured physically, but not mentally, or emotionally. Society has been taught to disagree, but with the wrong attitude, so don’t disagree with me or I won’t like you. Disagreements are things that get walked away from because of the fear of conflict. The idea that a productive conflict could exist and the two parties involved could leave enough space between them for a disagreement is too tough to imagine because egos are just too big. Win-Win, can’t happen because someone always has to win and someone has to lose. Don’t talk too loud now because someone will hear, and even your whispers will get back to the wrong person, like your boss who will muzzle you and make sure that you always walk the line of political correctness.
The Inter-generational Tendency
What parents do in moderation, the kids will do in excess. The concern is that things will get worse. We are at a point where we have to put up or shut-up because all the complaining in the world won’t change the mind of parents, teachers, or administrators when they’re egos are at stake. Their own imprint and upbringing are what drive the decisions that get made and keep us surrounded by a sibling society.
If you agree with some or all of these statements and want to read more about what is really weakening our schools please Click on the link below to get an immediate download of the entire book for only $5.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward through the night.” When I was learning to write cursive, this was one of the quotations that I had to write over and over again, and to this day, it is ingrained in my brain. As I got older I realized how deep and meaningful these words were and I use the quotation as often as I see necessary to encourage and uplift others and myself who may read whatever I write. It encourages me to set goals, strive for the best, persevere and set standards, and finish whatever I have started, and most of all NEVER give up!!
Throughout my life I have had failures – failed exams, failed relationships, failed interviews, failed lesson plans or lessons taught, failed friendships, heartaches, heartbreaks, among others. What have I learned from these disappointments? I have learned things about me that I didn’t know before and I have learned to set the bars higher at times and reach again for my goals. Another lesson learned from my failures is how to be confident. Failure shows me that I need to fight even when the road seems rocky. My shortcomings are temporary setbacks, but I can move forward. I can use my failures to reach out to others and encourage them and say, “I was there and this is what I did, and look where it got me!” I got over the hurdles and I’m going to the finish line.
From the ‘failure” experiences, I have learned that, like the Greek philosopher Plutarch said, “What I achieve inwardly will change outer reality. “ I can give of my time to students, co-workers, and others I come in contact with when needed. Even when I experienced nausea and gut wrenching pain, I am still willing to help and show acts of kindness.
I have realized that I am a survivor and each time I have to dig deeper to float above water. As a non-swimmer who loves water, I know I can sit, relax, meditate and listen to the sound of the water, but not submerge. I know my limits! I know how to persevere and I can help those who need help to persevere! I have been acquainted with failure and I know it is not fun, but I channeled my energy to achieving! I realize that attitude is more important than aptitude and I AM disciplined!