Killing Kids’ Questions: Critical Thinking OR Critical of Thinking?

Bad parent!  I could read it in the old woman’s eyes as my eight year-old son let the door shut in front of her.  “Why do I have to hold the door open for her?” he pleaded to my embarrassed scolding. “She wasn’t carrying anything.” “Because it’s polite.” “Why?” “Why what?” “Why is it polite?” “Because that way she won’t have to open the door.” “But why can’t she do it herself?” It was bad enough to get the old lady’s glare, now I got the pitiful head-shake as she huffed past us. “Dad!”  He demanded, “Why?” I snapped, “Just do it, okay?” That was probably the moment, as I retro-grade my parenting ten years later.  Maybe that was when I had cut my son’s natural curiosity right in half.  Nature or nurture?  Do we, by default, stop asking questions as we get older?  Or are those questions driven from… Read More…

The Ring Around the Rosie: Nursery Rhymes & Nightmares

    Have you ever wondered why every child under the age of 10 is a sociopath? OK, age 20. Psychologists talk about the years kids spend consumed with themselves, the years spent acknowledging only their own needs. I’ve developed a theory about this after about two hours of moderate research. Here it is: consider what we’re putting in our kid’s heads? When we force them to turn off the television to protect them from stories like Sandy Hook, Zimmerman, and from crazy people like Adam Lanza and Antonin Scalia, what are we using to replace these disturbing images? Here are a couple examples from my own experience.  Like every other kid ever, I frequently heard the singsong rhyme, “Jack and Jill.”  When Jack fell down and broke his crown, my brother told me, “You know, that means Jack died.”  What?  I couldn’t sleep that night.  Years later, driving home with… Read More…

DON’T “Reply to All”

   Comedian Nathan Fielder engineered a prank on Twitter recently. You may have heard of it already. He asked his followers to send this text message to a parent: “Got 40 grams for $40.00.”  Then, they were to send this message to the parent right afterwards: “Sorry. Text not for you. LOL.” Fielder asked his followers to submit screen-prints of the parents’ responses. Some of the responses were hysterical, in all-caps. Some were surprisingly laid back. All were pretty funny. Here’s a site where you can read some responses: htttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/nathan-fielder-prank-drug-deal-tweet-parent-outrage_n_3157077.html These texts were intentional, of course, but haven’t we all at some point accidentally sent the wrong digital message?  On our iphones, say you’ve saved texts from several people and you want to respond to one of them, doesn’t your thumb sometimes hit the wrong one when you’re momentarily looking up to see if traffic stopped?  Haven’t we all replied… Read More…

WTF Podcast: Comedians Risking “Not-Funny”

http://www.wtfpod.com/ At the risk of plugging a particular product, my iph–uh, my cellular phone is everything now. When I drive to and from work, which takes 1-1.5 hours out of my day, it navigates, it accesses IMDB for surfing during red lights, it gives me text messages from my wife about our need for milk (Kids, Don’t text and drive!), it plays any song or album I can think of whenever I want, and most often, it plays the podcasts I want to hear. Every Monday and Thursday, it plays the latest WTF, with Marc Maron, and kids, it’s required listening. I want a report Tuesday morning. (Really, though, no kids allowed. The words initialed in the title are spoken frequently, about 10 times in the first few seconds.) Marc Maron is a standup who has been working the mike about 30 years. He hosted Short Attention Span Theatre one… Read More…