I'm tired of thinking about it

I took Jacob to gymnastics today, and since mother's aren't allowed into the gym for fear we will be possessed by the spirit of Nadia Comaneci and try to vault off the vault horse thingie, break a nail and sue the place for pain and suffering, there was a gaggle of us moms in the antechamber, if you will. I like these women--they are fun, energetic, and involved in their kid's lives. One mom asked, "So, did you take Newsweek? Did you read that article about how little boys are failing in school these days?" No, I don't take Newsweek, because, you know, I hate the liberal media and want all pundits to go to hell. Ok, really, I just hate the clutter that a gaggle of magazines causes in my house. (Gaggle seems to be my word of the day, I suppose. I think it technically refers to some avarian species, but it seems to be fitting my purposes quite well today, don't you think? I wonder how many times I can use it one post!) Where was I? Oh, yes, magazines. A gaggle of 'em. Anyway, my friend went on to remark that today's public schools have spent so much time and energy trying to get girls to catch up and realize that they, too, can look just as cool as the boys in goggles (wow, that's almost like gaggle!) in chem class, they forgot to spend 2 second saying it to the poor boys "You can do math and science too!", and now everybody is just ADHD and high on Ritalin, which of course makes everybody depressed, and how can you learn about geese, gaggle like or otherwise when you are thinking deep, profound, depressiong thoughts about mortality while bouncing off the walls at the same time? Darn those teachers, when are they going to get it right? Ok, so our sons are headed for a life of depression, ADHD, and illiteracy. oh NO! But here's the thing. I recently read another study somewhere (probably in that paragon of scientific findings, "Parent" magazine) that boys usually graduate from high school and set off for college feeling invincible, whereas the girls are the ones whimpering in the corner, just needing to be loved. The incidence of depression in adulthood is also apparantly much higher for women than for men, and the seeds of that seem to be planted in highschool. Ok, so it's our DAUGHTERS who are headed for a life of depression and, um, listening to Depeche Mode in the dark with their eyes closed, swaying to the beat and wafting incense through the air. At least they'll be literate, though. (Wait--does anybody listen to Depeche Mode anymore? What happened to those guys, anyway. Were they even guys?) All of this means one thing, really--our kids are doomed. Somehow, though, I don't buy it, or at least I can't get all that excited about it. My parents admitted that by the time I came along, I was lucky to be alive at the end of the day. No namby pamby things like nap schedules or structured play time for me, no sir. They would basically throw some food my way sometimes, hope I would find it amongst the mess, and go on with the task of trying to make sure the house didn't fall down while raising 6 children. And, not to brag or anything, but I did turn out to be pretty literate. I can even spell fairly well. I also know cool words like "gaggle". So I'm just going to keep reading to my child, keep encouraging him in his pretend games (well, maybe not all of them ..ahem..), and let him swim and gymansticize his guts out without worrying about the pending doomage of his academic career. And if he does fail, I guess there's still always Depeche Mode. And gaggles.


Blogger Tracy M said...

DOOM! DOOOM, I say!!

Doncha just get tired of it all some days? You totally made me laugh today, and I really needed it. Thanks!

I will now go resume pondering all the DOOM! (apologies to Susan)

1/25/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Beanie said...


I think I counted 8 times!

1/25/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

So, I do have a "gaggle" of magazines in a very cute basket by my couch, one of which is that self same magazine you mentioned.
I was discussing that very article with my husband over dinner last night.
None of what was mentioned was ground breaking data.

It did talk about boys falling behind in education. It also mentioned a mom who was disappointed that her son was not diagnosed positive for ADHD. She thought he was too hyper and wanted to have a medical okay to give him a pill so she wouldn't have to parent him as much.
It said that "millions of parents are wringing their hands, and educators are searching for new tools to help tackle the problem of boys". (Apparently medication is not enough.)
Give me a break.
If you are a committed parent who is in touch with your child's needs your kids are going to be fine. (I suppose there is no real guarantee, but better than if left to their own designs)

In our church we have established a tutor/mentor program which pairs boys and willing adults to focus on areas they are falling behind. It works great. If you kid is struggling and you can't see it until it comes home on a report card, it may be deeper than a break down of the public educational system.

If it gets really bad, like Heather said, throw them some food, turn on Depeche Mode and they may do fine on their own.

1/25/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

has anyone ever noticed that there ALWAYS has to be a crisis for parents? Whether it involves education, newly discovered health risks, bullies, or in utero warping of their little minds, it's always something. When the fervor over one thing dies down, something else needs to be found. And in a decade or so we'll likely be hearing about the same things all over again. I'm in the 'wool over my eyes' camp on this one. I will do the things that have obviously worked over the years. You know, little things like reading, talking, and learning with my children. Then if I fail, at least I can blame it on not giving him ADD meds ;)
P.S. It was The Cure that we listened to in my day, Depeche Mode is sooo old school! lol

1/25/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

We listened to The Cure, too, but it was Depeche Mode's song "Somebody" that really made us feel deep. That, and the song "Blasphemous Rumors". A bunch of Mormon Young Women, some of whom were wearing ALL BLACK, lipsyncing all the words to that song--we felt very rebellious indeed.

1/25/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

I can't even begin to count the number of times I layed on my bed, face in my pillow, lamenting the loss of another "true love" whilst listening to "Somebody" by Depeche Mode.

It is definitely one of those songs that denotes the era of my teenage life and brings back all kinds of weird feelings when I listen to it now.

1/25/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Russell Arben Fox said...

I used DM's "Blasphemous Rumors" as the basis for a writing assignment in a philosophy class my freshman year at BYU. My roommate and I had an argument about the lyrics ("for small mercies" or "forceful mercies"? both versions work...). I don't remember which version I went with. But I do remember my teacher, poor old noble Chauncey Riddle, scanning the paper and reading the lyrics, with a look of horror on his face.

1/25/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Beanie said...

I forgot to mention that a few years ago 20/20 (or some other reporting type program, can't remember now)did a study of some children that had been diagnosed with ADD when really they had been misdiagnoses...and what they did have was a sleeping disorder-which has some of the same signs that ADD has. In some of these children it was a simple solution to some of the problems that they were having, without the drugs.

Just an after thought that I had, I know that's not always the case, but it does make you wonder about the diognoses of dr.'s theese days!

1/25/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Just google'ed DM--they're going on tour throughout Europe. So, I'm thinking if you haven't planned an anniversary trip yet this year, maybe you could hint around that you want to get in touch with your lost adolescence, and see a show in Norway this year--and if you can convince your DH to do it, let me know your tricks.
Mo mommy is right on track. How many of us were breast-fed? Depending on our ages, we had moms who were told that formula was the best thing they could do for their babies. I was bottle-fed, and somehow managed to get a graduate degree. My chilren were nursed til they were 2, and they seem to be turning out fine.
I believe that the devil loves it when we Mo Mommies freak out about all the myriad ways we're royally screwing up our kids because it distracts us from what is really most important.

1/25/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

Depeche Mode is sad? Not compared to the Smiths...or even New Order!

I'd love to read that paper on "Blasphemous Rumors." Awesome.

1/25/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Bridget C said...

From my perspective teaching 6th grade Humanities I think the chronic overscheduling (sports), sleep deprivation (all night on computer) and horrible, I mean HORRIBLE diet (Pepsi and pop-tart for breakfast, Snickers and Pepsi for lunch, no parent home to cook dinner at night) a solid minority of my male students had was what interfered with their learning the most.

Also, as an aside, and hopefully not a thread-jack - I was feeling a little blue the other day and went online just to see what was cooking. I read one of Tracy M's posts and many of your comments and felt such a surge of love and connection with my sisters on the internet. Thanks for being there. I'm a regular reader but rarely post. There are many like me, I am sure. Your words and support have touched me a great deal and I am very grateful.

1/25/2006 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I'm with Tracy.....Doooooommmmmmm........

Something I've read that makes sense to me is that boys do better emotionally because they are acting out and wiggling around, and when they do poorly, the teachers say things like "if you'd only been paying attention, you'd know the material." So the message they get is "You can do it, but you chose poorly. Next time, you'll be fine. Just choose better"

Girls get told things like "Math just isn't your subject. But you're really good at history. We all have different strengths." The message: "Your brain can't handle that particular subject, so it's not worth the effort. Spend more time where you shine, because you'll never shine here."

I'm waiting for the Time article on why homeschooled kids are dooommmeed, or privately schooled kids are secretly all prostitutes (did I see that one?) or why we're all going to die in 5 years because of something that happened during the Carter administration. Doooooooooom articles sell more magazines.

And personally, I'd like to see Heather get possessed by the spirit of Nadia and attempt fantastic stunts during gym class.

1/26/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous meems said...

In my grad school class on creativity, our professor told us that many boys (and fewer girls) are misdiagnosed as having ADHD by untrained educators. The characteristics of "high-creatives" are strikingly similar to ADHD kids, and some people can't tell the difference.

1/26/2006 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Meems, not surprising at all!!

I have often thought that back in the day, if Ritalin and other ADD?ADHD drugs had been available, Mozart, Van Gogh, da Vinci, Manet, Rodin, Picasso, Verdi, Wagner, Benj Franklin, Ths Jefferson, and on and on and on... would not have created the way they did. And what the world would have lost!

(Not to dismiss the cases where meds are actually called for, but I think the general consensus is they are far overproscribed...)

1/26/2006 01:15:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

Focus on one day at a time, Heather. We all scare the hell out of ourselves when we start thinking too far ahead.

1/26/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


The lyrics are so totally "for small mercies." It's ironic, man, can't you see? Because God, like, has a sense of humor, and only dispenses small mercies when he feel like it, instead of, you know, saving the whole human race from evil and bad things happening to good people. Don't you GET it?

1/26/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I'm a firm believer that kids learn better in all girl/all boy classrooms. Now I just have to find a school that agrees with me...

1/27/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I think so too.

1/27/2006 10:59:00 AM  

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