Dickran's Blog

Just a few drops in the bucket

Congratulations! You graduated without doing anything!

Ignorance is bliss.  Learning about what goes on in the world is depressing.  Who knew walking into Wal Mart could be so enlightening and so disturbing?

While waiting in line to check out, I noticed a newspaper for sell.  The headline talked about policy changes for the local school system. I don’t know what all of the new policies were. I didn’t finish reading the article.  I was scared to actually.

One of the new policies…the one that made me quit reading…the one that pushed me to write..did it inspire me to write?  That’s too much of a compliment.

The lowest grade that a student can receive in this particular school system is a 55.  What?  Are you serious?  So I can get half the problems right on a math test and get the same grade as the person who didn’t do anything?  I’ve heard of grade inflation, but this is ridiculous.  We’re talking about HIGH SCHOOL.  High school isn’t that hard. I didn’t say students had to take AP Calculus and AP History.  Basic maths, histories, sciences and literatures are not that demanding.  Throw in a few PE, band, art, and technology classes and you’ve got a high school transcript worthy of a diploma.  If students aren’t willing to do this baseline level work, they shouldn’t graduate.  Maybe they shouldn’t be in school.  Maybe they need to be left behind.

If administrators are just trying to push people though the system, then what’s the point of a high school diploma?  It can be argued, that a high school diploma has very little value.  There are thousands of college graduates who are struggling to find a job, so it’s not like a bachelor’s degree is the final answer either.  But why give someone something that hasn’t been earned? And this is the bigger issue. Can I decide to not show up for work and still receive 55% of my paycheck?  What are we teaching kids? Who really cares if they know the capitals of all 50 states?  Do they understand that to get something you have to work for it?  With this system, they aren’t learning either.

Here you go, you can sit on the bench for the whole game, but we’ll still give you 10 points and 5 rebounds anyway.  Oh, you finished in last place?  Here’s a trophy for participating.  Can we get back to earning what we get?  Earn is such a strong word that it doesn’t even have an antonym according to http://www.synonym.com/antonym/earn/ Interesting?  I think so.

There are consequences to all of our actions.  This country will pay dearly for such policies. While we may be destroying our earth with pollution, littering, and oil spills, we are destroying our future generations with the lack of attention that we’re giving to teaching our children properly.  What makes us think we’re invincible?  It is our people that made us great in the past.  Not our technology or our weapons.  We’re not going to have enough great people in future years to keep us great if we continue down this road. America will eventually pay for allowing and supporting such policies.

May 30, 2010 at 6:44 PM Comments (0)

A Question for the Class of 2010

Class of 2010,

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!  You’ve worked hard, you’ve jumped through all the hoops, you’ve persevered. It feels great! Exams, papers, and projects are now memories you’ll share with friends instead of events that you have to dread. Great stuff right? I’d like to give you a present for your achievement. This letter is good for a ticket into the largest amusement park in the world. It doesn’t have an expiration date.  You can use it now, or later if you decide you haven’t had enough school.

I imagine your next question might be, “Where is this amusement park?”  Your mind might wander to thoughts of Six Flags, or Disneyworld, Busch Gardens, or Cedar Point. Nice try, but try again.  This one is bigger.  Some of the rides are faster and more dangerous than anything these could offer. Don’t worry, it’s got the slower rides as well.  It’s got locations all over the world.  You can visit these parks in every city and town across America and the world.  Yes, there’s one right in your home town.  You didn’t know?

This park is called Life.  The question is which rides will you spend your time on?

Do you prefer the roller coasters or merry-go rounds? Will you have the guts to ride the roller coaster, even though you’ve just seen 10 people getting off the ride pale as ghosts?  Will you sit on the merry-go round and just listen to the screams of the scared throngs on those wild and violent rides?  When you ride that fast one that makes you nauseous, you think you’ve had enough, and you can’t take anymore, do you buckle up again, throw your hands in the air and ride it all over again? Or do you go over to the merry-go round and ride in circles.

When I graduated, I started off riding the merry-go round. It was easy.  It was comfortable.  There weren’t any bumps in the road.  The problem was that the view was always the same.  I was always looking at the back end of the same horse.  When I felt like I met the height requirement, I jumped onto another ride.  It was definitely more exciting, but only because the horses on this merry-go round were closer to thoroughbreds than the ponies on the first ride.  Neither ride could match the feelings that I’ve had for the last 4 years.  Yes, the ride is fast and furious.  Yes it has its ups and downs, and even upside downs.  Many times I can’t see the twists and turns that are ahead.  And sometimes I look over at that merry-go round and think about making the switch.  But then I consider the view, and the back end of that horse is pretty unappealing.

Which rides are you going to ride?  Life has rides of all shapes and sizes.  The largest amusement park in the world wouldn’t be complete without the full compliment of rides.  There will be people riding all of them.  Some people will stand in line for hours just to get on one ride.  I would encourage you to try them all. Figure out which ones you prefer.

I like a change in scenery.  I like not knowing what’s next. I cherish the dips, twists, and turns. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I do know they make me a better person.  I’ll look forward to seeing which rides you decide to take.  Congratulations again.  Welcome to LIFE.

May 28, 2010 at 11:07 PM Comments (0)

When will we ever learn?

It’s amazing how things work in life. We all make mistakes, we all tell ourselves we’ll never make that mistake again, and yet history repeats itself consistently. Some of us might refrain from repeated blunders, but how many of us just never quite get it?

Everyone has a flaw, at least one. Whether it’s a lack of discipline, organization, confidence, honesty, commitment, loyalty, patience, or some other intangible, we are who we are.  As a result, it can be quite a challenge to actually learn from our mistakes. It can be almost impossible to keep history from repeating.

How do we take ourselves outside of our innate programming and actually “change”? Is it possible? Are we so hardwired whether by nature, nurture, or a combination of both, that we’re unable to really avoid repeating our mistakes? Is it possible to “program” a child or ourselves to literally learn from their mistakes. Instead of teaching them what to do or not to do, is it possible to teach them to analyze a situation as right or wrong and then act in the future based on that how to avoid making that mistake in the future?

December 31, 2009 at 8:14 PM Comments (0)

Should parenting be taught by the government?

http://townhall.com/columnists/ChuckNorris/2009/08/11/dirty_secret_no_1_in_obamacare?page=full

This article really got my gears turning. I think it would be a great discussion over coffee or hot chocolate, in my case.

I’m a firm believer that poor parenting is the major cause of many if not most of the problems in our society today. Whether parents are bad role models, they don’t care, they don’t set and enforce rules, or they spoil their children, better parenting would lead to better performance in schools, lower crime rates, and higher fiscal responsibility. If fewer people had credit card debt, there were fewer people in jail, and students did their homework, just think about how much better society would be.

I feel like I am blessed to have good parents. Wait a minute, let me correct that, GREAT parents. Am I perfect? Of course not, but I know they are a large reason why I am who I am. I believe they could raise any child to be a productive citizen in our society.

That doesn’t mean there’s a secret formula or some magic pill to great parenting. I’m sure my siblings and myself were all raised differently. The variables in raising children are constantly changing. The fact that I had no older siblings would make things different for me. Technology changes things. Society changes things. I’m still confident that they figured it out and made great parents regardless of the situation.

How did they know how? It sure wasn’t through some government subsidized class. As good as these intentions may be, somebody is a little too idealistic. The government has enough trouble running itself. And now they want to get into individual homes and try to run those? I can just imagine the expensive bureaucracy that would be created in such an endeavor. Besides the fact that it’s a complete invasion of our rights as people, it would just mean more wasted money and time.

And Chuck Norris is right. There are just as many rich parents who need help with parenting as there are poor ones. While there are many problems with low income neighborhoods, there are plenty of rich people who don’t know how to truly care for their children. Buying them stuff to make them happy is not the answer.

I can see it now.  “Parenting Police”  They walk through the mall, see an instance of poor parenting, and slap cuffs on the parents or write them a ticket.  Or they go door to door doing random inspections of parenting methods.  While better parenting would make things much better, I don’t think this is the solution.  The best experts on parenting are parents themselves. You don’t need a PhD in psychology to be a good parent.  How many parents want to admit that they aren’t good parents?  That would an interesting statistic. What if a parent thinks they are doing a great job?  Regardless of what anyone else thinks, should they be subject to the “Parenting Police”?

I don’t usually get caught up in political agendas and discussions.  They are fun to discuss but I’m not about to lose any sleep. I just found this one a little interesting. Feel free to make your own drop in the bucket….

August 11, 2009 at 9:47 PM Comments (3)

The phenomenon of “o’clock”

Has anyone ever wondered why we gravitate towards starting events at “something o’clock”?  If the day comes that I get married, do you think my future wife would have a fit if I wanted the ceremony to start at say 5:37?  Would it be terrible if everyone had to be at work by 7:09? Maybe it’s “easier” to start things at “o’clock”.  Maybe we’re just lazy to try and remember anything else.  Maybe TV shows start at “o’clock” to give them excuses for more commercials.  But remember when TBS started all their shows at :05.  They don’t do that anymore do they?

The funny thing is that the Super Bowl always starts at 6:18 or 6:23 or something, and they always find time for commercials.  They never have trouble selling spots either.  Granted, the Super Bowl for a football fan is a Christian’s Easter, but since when does the sun always rise or set at “o’clock”? Not that it really matters.  And it’s not that I’m complaining. Maybe it’s not a phenomenon after all.  I just wonder if this was just a “natural occurrence” or something that someone famous started one day and everyone just followed.  Or maybe there’s a more logical explanation.  Any ideas? I was just wondering……….

August 5, 2009 at 9:18 PM Comments (0)

I like complexity.

As was noted, the title is such a simple statement, yet infinitely meaningful.  Does it remind you of any other phrases?  How about “constantly changing”?  Maybe you can comment with others.

I don’t know that any other statement can sum me up quite as well as that one. I like complex people. I like complex situations. I like complex tasks. Simple people tend to bore me.  Not that many people are really that simple, but some people are uncomfortable with their complexity. I enjoy being able to delve into what makes us tick.  Exploring the summation of our experiences, which have been impacted by countless variables, is exciting. Analyzing these variables, which are completely out of our control, yet shape our lives is fascinating. To deny this complexity is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous.

Life is going to throw a variety of pitches my way.  Thank goodness they aren’t all straight fastballs.  Sometimes it’s a curve, sometimes it’s a slider.  Sometimes it might even be a knuckleball.  I might not even hit for a very high average, but I’ll figure it out one day and then I might go on a 162 game hit streak.  If you only swing at the fastballs, you’ll never learn how to hit the rest.  Bring on the complexity of life.  If anyone wants to get on base in front of me, I’ll do my best to knock you in.

It’s really simple. You never know what life’s going to throw at you, so stay on your toes and be ready for anything.  That’s not that complex is it?

July 27, 2009 at 9:21 PM Comments (0)

Blogging is fun

I need to post more often but in smaller chunks. Sometimes I just get started on an idea and I feel like I need to flesh it out completely before I post it. By then it ends up being longer it needs to be. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I would like to post something daily. I guess the perfectionist in me wants to make it more than it has to be. I need to convince the perfectionist in me to be satisfied with shorter posts as long as I make them more regularly. I can do that right? Sure I can.

July 26, 2009 at 8:50 PM Comments (0)

Making up for no posts in a couple weeks

I realize I haven’t posted on my hypothesis in a while.  Since I’ve been working basketball camp and recruiting for the past 3 weeks, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in front of a computer screen.  I’ll continue it.  I just thought I would take this opportunity to talk briefly about how titles and labels for people are really a waste of time and very annoying to me. A label could be something as simple as “white” or “black” or “hispanic”. A title could be something as complicated as the “Interim Executive Manager of Product Development for the Advancement of Tiddlywinks”.

Who really cares!?!?!?!?  Does it really matter what color skin you have?  Does it really matter what language you speak?  Does it matter that you have 15 words in your title to make you seem important? Just because you’re labeled one way, doesn’t make you any more special or important than someone else.  I’ll call you anything you want me to call you if it makes you happy.  Titles and labels are only words.  Words that may have some meaning, but at the end of the day are worth the same amount as the paper that they might be written on.  If you think you’re so important, do something to make yourself important.  I challenge you to do that something for someone else and let them see who you are.  Don’t tell them what title you’ve been given by yourself or some corporate marketing junkie.  Wait…did I just label someone?

As different as we are, we’re still the same. Treat the person beside you the way you want to be treated and life will be better for everyone.

July 15, 2009 at 2:19 PM Comments (0)