Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Augustine and Education: The Final

The third and final installment of my Education and Augustine posts.  I most looked forward to writing this one.

"Patricius and his family had to go poorly-dressed; he had to scrape; for one disastrous year Augustine found himself condemned to give up his studies at a pleasant 'university-town' at Madaura (or Madauros: modern Mdaourouch) to run wild in primitive Thagaste.  His cousins were less fortunate: they remained without a proper education; and would have to face the poverty and boredom of a narrow world of unlettered squireens."  Peter Brown, pg. 21

After reading that quote, it struck me (again) how education is horribly taken for granted in the United States of America.  (I have not spent enough time elsewhere to speak to the extent of which other countries take education for granted.)  We are taught that everyone is entitled to education.  If you don't quite pass a class, that's okay, we'll let you go to the next grade.  If you are in high school and can't pronounce a word correctly, we'll let it slide.  After all, you did try.

That tactic is not enhancing education or our student's futures.  Rather, it is failing our duty to instruct the younger generation.

Education, as evidenced in the quote above, is a privilege!  Yet, our children drag their feet, pretend to be sick, and whine when they have to go to school.  Since school funding is based on numbers, students are subjected to foul tests that impair their learning.  Instead of the teacher focusing on preparing the student to be thoroughly educated, they focus on preparing the student to pass a test so their school can receive money.  If a student doesn't pass a grade, they'll be pushed through.  They might not have learned anything, but at least they will graduate on time.  Oh dear, it's senior year and they don't read very quickly.  Hm, and they can't say that word?  It's too late to send them back to third grade to fix it.

Our education system doesn't care about educating, they care about having money to buy the educational tools, but they fail to utilize them properly.

It seems only fair to point to the Government and not put all the blame on the schools; after all, they only do what the system requires.  Why does the Government play this game of bribery?  It is bribery; you do well and we'll give you money.

Augustine's father sacrificed for him to have the opportunity to attend school.  Patricius knew that in order for Augustine to excel in life, he needed a classical education.  Augustine attended university, and his family wasn't properly clothed.  That is sacrifice.  That is understanding the privilege of an education.

Children in Togo walk miles, sit on a stick, and write in the dirt so they can LEARN.  They don't drag their feet.  They don't have shiny school buses.  They don't have iPads.  Do you understand my anger at what education in the United States of America has become? 

Our teachers (there are exceptions) bad-mouth their students, complain about school, and give half-hearted lessons.  It is no wonder our students do not want to read, write, learn, or go to school.  We force it but don't encourage it.  180 days in school, but you will spend it doing worksheets and preparing for tests so your school can coddle the undisciplined students and fail to teach the disciplined ones.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Education and Augustine Installment 2

For the second installment on education, I want to share something from Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown. A few quotes in the first chapter hit a chord within me, and I want to share the words with you.

"A classical education was one of the only passports to success for such men; and he [Augustine] narrowly avoided losing even this."  Brown, pg 21 (brackets placed by me)

Having enjoyed learning about the classics growing up and again in college, I am a firm believer that knowing the them is one of the best educational foundations.  I realize, not everyone is inclined to learn in the same manner.  However, there is a reason when I read C. S. Lewis, I find allusions and quotes from Plato, Virgil, and many others.  Certain material was considered to transcend a certain time frame.  It could be learned from and taught to new persons in new generations and still be relevant.

Education is more than a number of subjects, disjointed and assessed separately.  Education is gaining and retaining knowledge in one's mind and pulling relevant material, regardless of the subject, to further question and solve problems.  To illustrate, Augustine became a professor of rhetoric (the art of speaking, informing, arguing).  In order to master this art, he would have thoroughly studied each subject he pursued and combined it with his study of logic and language, thus allowing him to become a master of rhetoric.

The timeless question from students, "When will I ever use math again," is a perfect example.  To master one thing requires knowledge in many things.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Education and Augustine Installment 1

Photo by K.L.R.
This is installment one of three on the topic of education.

Education fascinates me.
Growing up I loved to play school, but I always said I would never be a teacher.
My reason: I love kids, but I do not have the patience to teach.
Just before my senior year of high school, I decided I wanted to teach.  I wanted to influence students to love reading and writing.  I wanted to be their friend.
A year and a half into the program at CIU, I was losing the passion.
I heard one of our instructors say during a department chapel, in order to be an excellent teacher we needed to have passion for teaching (I paraphrase).  I became worried because I realized I didn't have that passion.
The next semester I studied in Germany.  It reawakened what I loved as a child.  History, literature, art, etc.  It caused me to like philosophy.  I spent hours thinking about what solution would fix my dilemma of what to study.
I finally decided to become a Humanities student.
Best. Decision. Ever.
The major, the classes, and the professors under whom I studied influenced me more in the year and a half than the two years I spent in Teacher Education.
I've come to see the importance of a Classical education.

The classics are scattered through the centuries of writing and art, allusions connecting the generations.

Friday...er...Saturday's Letters

Dear Friday, Now you are Saturday, but all day it felt like Sunday, Saturday, and maybe even Tuesday.  Lack of work and Thanksgiving threw my week off.

Dear Josh, It was so great to see you!  I miss hanging out with you : )

Dear Thanksgiving Meal, YUUUUUM!!!

Dear Mama, You made delicious food.

Dear Pawan, Thank you for the Indian dishes.  The flavors were incredible.

Dear Home, It was nice to visit, nice to be on "vaca."

Dear Anti-Christmas-Music-Before-Thanksgiving People, "Have a holly, jolly, Christmas, it's the best time of the year..."

Dear Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I love watching you!  This year was extra special because I saw my building where I lived this summer multiple times on camera!

Dear Michigan, Prepare to beat Ohio State!

Dear Ohio State, Prepare to LOOOOSE!

Dear Life, I'm enjoying you right now : )


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Expressing My Love for Indian Food

Indian food.
A lifetime love.

I was one of two blonde kids (my brother was other) who, at age 6 and 2, would go into a Chicago Indian restaurant and devour the tandoori chicken.  Our last time in the restaurant, the servers brought us a complimentary second platter.  Divine.

Whenever I make a visit to Columbia, Punjabi Dhaba is a necessary stop.
Best. Indian. Buffet. Ever.

I'm home for Thanksgiving.  We have an Indian friend, Pawan, eating with us.  He decided to grace us with a few Indian dishes.  Oh my heavenly day.  The spices in my mouth were like standing in a room full of rich colored, Indian scarves and rugs.  I commented that the food was heavenly.

I hope heaven and the new earth have Indian food.
The food is so close to perfection.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday, after getting home, I realized I left my camera at my other home. 
Therefore, I apologize in advance for any poor quality cell-phone pictures I post.

I slept for about 12 hours last night, which was marvelous!

Upon awakening this morning, I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  Always a favourite.  Of course, after I leave NYC, Broadway shows I want to watch open!  So, now I must find a way to get up there to watch Annie and Cinderella.

Now, Mannheim Steamroller Pandora station is playing.  Mama is cooking.  And, it just feels like the Holiday season is upon us!!!

I hope you enjoy your turkey, gravy, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes, whipped parsnips and carrots, peanut butter pie, and pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas is Upon Us...

...and I'm okay with that.

Driving home from my cousin's house tonight, I passed several homes decorated with lights.  Also, Christmas music is finally playing on 99.1!

I'm not a "Celebrate Thanksgiving before Christmas" person.  But, it does bother me that Black Friday starts at midnight....or even on Thanksgiving night.  Really?  Are we in that much need to make (and spend) money?  While you all shop, I will be snoozing.

That being said, tomorrow morning I will be rising EARLY for some shopping of my own : )

Happy Almost Thanksgiving Eve, my friends!

Need a Laugh?

You have my permission to laugh after watching this link.

It is one of those scroll through in a minute but laugh all the while conglomerations.

How many of these have you experienced?
(Come now, I know we all "eye lash kiss" ; ) )

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Role of a Female: Workplace & Home

Sitting at work last night, I overheard a conversation about what someone wanted for their future.  As it was something my mind has been mulling over for a while, it didn't take much for me to start thinking it all through again.  Since I had some time, I expounded my thoughts on a handy notepad.  I've decided to share some of my thoughts here, too, as I would love to hear feedback on the subject.

At this point in my life, I am single, young, and seeking an exciting career path.  Long-term, I want a successful career in a field I love.  I also hope to someday marry.  When I look at what I want, I feel the need to begin strategizing how I will handle certain situations.  There are variables I cannot anticipate and plan, such as whom I will marry, how our strengths and weaknesses will coordinate, how we will change together, etc.  In the meantime, I can only plan from what I know and have seen. 

A movie that has been coming up a lot lately is The Devil Wears Prada.  Miranda Priestly goes through three husbands, has two daughters, and keeps her successful career as her main priority.  I reference this movie because the industry around which it revolves is one by which I am greatly fascinated and would like to become a part.  However, I do not want my life to reflect Miranda Priestly's (or Andy Sachs', for that matter).  Last week a friend and I debated about the character of Andy Sachs and whether or not she was properly represented in the film.  We disagreed, but I took some good points away from the discussion. 

I think Andy Sachs was poorly portrayed.  Yes, she made decisions that caused her to be far less social.  Yes, she didn't sit down and explain to her friends and boyfriend that, for at least the next year, her time would be far more occupied than it previously had been.  However, her friends lacked understanding of her profession.  At the end of the film, it is made apparent that Andy doesn't want to become Miranda Priestly.  She doesn't want to lose her friends, her life, and all that is important because of, "Shoes and shirts and jackets and belts." 

The illustration above is supposed to somehow represent, in part, the dilemma I have been mulling over in myself.  Can I successfully have a career and a family?  I don't want people to assume that because I am (will be, maybe, someday) the wife that I will sacrifice everything.  Am I opposed to sacrifice?  Of course not.  I am willing to sacrifice my desires as life requires.  But, I don't want it to be automatically assumed that because I am the woman that I should sacrifice when time needs to be distributed differently.  Marriage is a partnership (and I don't anticipate marrying someone who opposes sacrifice on the male's part).

I was thinking about the men who are called workaholics.  That "disease" can destroy a family.  But, as long as the wife keeps things running, life can continue (with repercussions).  But, if a woman is away from the family too much, she is labeled as neglectful and considered a bad person.  People expect the woman to be at home and be the glue.  (I will admit, the idea of a stay-at-home dad is still strange to me).  Yes, I am generalizing, but as I've said, I'm thinking, processing, and trying to see how this could potentially all play out.

I understand the value of children.  If I ever have children, I don't want them to be raised by teachers and babysitters.  There has to be a balance.  In Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth, she talks about the roles of men and women and how the roles changed during the industrial revolution.  I think the "traditional" roles society puts forth come from these post-industrial ideals: that the man is in the monstrous world and the wife needs to create a good, righteous haven for him in the home.  Somehow Christians have morphed that into a Biblical mandate (yes, the Bible, specifically Proverbs 31, shows the woman in the home, but may I point out that Proverbs 31 has her in a lot of other places too?  Like, the market place!)

My point is not to bash home makers and Christians, nor is it to support male-bashing and certain feminist ideologies.  It was simply to write my thoughts, albeit in a less than concise manner, and to open the floor to conversation.  I know I am not the only one who thinks about this.

So, thoughts, opinions, anyone? (Don't be shy....but, if you go anonymous on me, please keep it civil).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Friday & 300th Blog Post

Dear Blog, Happy 300th Post!!!  We started two years and nine months ago.  I've updated you frequently...and not so frequently.  But, I love looking back to see where it all started and the tales that have been told since.

Dear Friday, once again, you've rolled around quickly.  It is hard to believe a week ago I was excitedly anticipating my trip to Columbia.

Dear Job, I really like you. 

Dear Lynchburg, we need to become friends.  I am willing to explore your brick buildings, riverfront, and cute little shops.

Dear Friends in Lynchburg, let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Mmm, broke into a Parent Trap song.

Dear Josh, I am SO excited to see you next week!  I've missed having you around.  I'm glad we are cousins : )

Dear People at Work, I'm glad we are getting to know each other and becoming friends. 

Dear Life, I am excited about the options opening up before me.  I'm also beyond thankful that God knows what is best for me.

Dear Europe (Specifically England and Germany), I miss you.  I can't wait to be on your land again.

Dear Weekend, we need some plans. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Topsy Turvy Life

Sitting at work the other night, a friend asked me, "So, what do you do all day?"
I panicked a little and said, "Well, I'm looking for a second job, and I am doing some work for a study abroad program."

Second shift is so hard to adjust to.  I'm a person who needs a lot of sleep (8 or more hours is ideal).  If I don't get the amount of sleep I need, I eventually hit a point of sleeping WAY longer over several days.  I don't like it.  I don't like this, "What do I do with myself..." Yes, I enjoy my shows.  I understand this is my "down time," but my down time feels like wasted time because everyone else  (ok, a lot of people) are at work.

Next week I start my new schedule (read: working four nights a week).  So, maybe I will be able to swing a more regular schedule.  You know, rising at a normal hour and relaxing in the evening...hm, imagine that.

I'm not complaining about my job.  I'm thankful for my job.  But, learning to use my time and not just bum around in my pajamas during the day is what I need to do (although, bumming around in my PJ's is a fave!).

Motivation: A few things I'd like to do

-Be organized
-Explore downtown
-Spend time with friends
-Dedicate time in my schedule to specific tasks and execute them in that time frame

(Yes, I just realized the order in which I wrote those...just pretend it was because I wanted the descending staircase affect.)

Any advice on this new way of life?

Late Night Jumble

Today I had two "profound" thoughts.

1.  Holocaust survivors live with horrific memories (understatement, maybe?).  Some lost their entire families.  The horrors to which they were subjected are unfathomable.  There is a whole generation of Europeans (and others) who lived through terrors that my worst nightmares cannot let me grasp.

*I didn't have this much of an articulated thought earlier.*

2.  I think it is easier to be a working mom with in an established career and routine than when still establishing.  This is not meant to offend anyone.  I was simply pondering the difference between some working mothers and others.

Now, my eyes are closing.  Goodnight.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Love, Laughter, Friends

I am blessed.

God has given me the dearest of friends.
I have such a basket full of true, real, loving, caring friends.
We share burdens and joys, laughter and sorrow.
I've gained family.

I've spent a day and a half, minus an hour, in Columbia, SC.
It has been full of visiting friends--my favourite kind of busyness.
The time has filled my tank, so to speak.
I got to go to my church.  People said, "Welcome home."
I got to see "my kids."  All those lovely, dear high school students who make me smile and a little teary when I see them excel.
Lunch with more laughter than I've experienced since....maybe the last time I had Sunday lunch with the Crutchfield's.  Honestly, I've laughed more this weekend than I have in ages.
Indian food with Hannah and Aaron...so yummy!  Oh, and great conversation ; )
Steph and I met at Starbucks...and proceeded to have the best and most funny time.
Long talks and Krispy Kreme donuts with Em. (I've missed that girl!)
An almost midnight visit with Annie and Kathleen...those girls are so funny!
Lunch at the Crutchfield's...the highlight of everyone's week!
Fish and Chips with Chris and Marie. These two are amazing.  They love me even when I am tired.
And, then tonight, chats with my roommate from last semester.  So good to see her!  (I'm crashing on her floor!)

Can you tell this has been a fabulous time?
I"m blessed, loved, and thankful!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Little Reminder

Since studying in Germany two years ago (yes, TWO years!), I've come to appreciate the traditional, the orthodox, the symbolism.  There are times when something is taken to a level with which I am uncomfortable.  However, the rituals and liturgy are something I've come to love while attending Church of the Apostles.  In fact, one of the most painful parts of leaving Columbia was leaving my church.  I've been going through the "how do I move on" stage for the past few weeks. 

In August, just as it was getting very hard to be away from my friends and church, I was able to make a trip down for an entire week.  It was wonderful.  This past Wednesday a friend sent me a text asking if I would be coming to Columbia any time soon.  I told her that sadly, no, I wasn't able to.  After I sent that text, I thought to myself, why not?  It is my last full, free weekend before my new work schedule.  I am happy to say, I am going to Columbia this weekend.  Just as I was really needing time with my church (and to see my friends), God opened the door and surprised me!

I digress.  A couple of days ago I was watching an episode of Numb3rs.  In this episode there were several girls from India.  One of the girls was given a prayer kit from a main character on the show, Amita, who came from an Indian background.  Amita didn't know a lot about this prayer kit, as the contents were a gift from her grandmother.  She asked the Indian girl what the red string meant.  The girl explained, "We tie a bracelet after, to remember."  That one line struck me.  In their ritual of prayer, they do not just finish the prayer and move on.  They make a visual reminder of the prayer. 

My grandmother made a necklace with different beads on it.  Each bead reminds her of a person or situation for which to pray.  It is personalized to her.  I feel the need to clarify, I am not Hindu.  I am a Christian.  But, the concept of making that visual reminder of a prayer I am seeking God to answer, or a situation I want to continue to pray for, is one I like.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012!

Today marks the end of a season that has driven me nuts.

We have approximately three more years until we hear bashing ads accusing the other rather than promoting oneself.

Today is ELECTION DAY!!!

This year is my first Presidential Election.  I voted absentee, but I'm still pumped!

I am genuinely so excited!  We should have a party.  We should celebrate!  Maybe I will get some champagne on my way home from work.  Or, tea might just have to do.

Work goes very late, but I am hoping to make it home without hearing who has won the election.
I want to experience the moment where I can soak it in and not rush back to my job.

However, before we can get to the results, people need to VOTE!
If you are not planning to vote, please reconsider!  As United States Citizens we are given the right to have a say in the direction of our country.  Take the opportunity.

Happy Voting!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Confession of a Childhood Planner

Week 1 of work is done.

Earlier in the week I commented to a girl that I don't miss the lists of college.
What did I find myself doing tonight?
Making a list.

Truth be told, I love lists. 
I love crossing things off lists.
But, more than that, I just love making them.

Do you remember being a kid and going through all the work of organizing a game, creating the people, their personalities, etc., and then mom calls up the stairs and says it's time to go?
That was me.  All the time.  I can think of countless scenarios of planning the game, and not getting to play.  Honestly, the times we would get to play, it wasn't as fun as planning the game.  Except when I would play with Amanda and we would create lives for the horses in my horse box.  We made the best stories!  When it was time for the baby horses to grow up and get married, we just had their parents die and switched the names.  Brilliant, eh?  (Writing that sounded so morbid)

Anyway, back to my list.  I made a list.  On my list are things I have to remember, things I need to do, and then things that I want to remember to do.  We'll see how the list goes against this weekend.  I'm excited it is the weekend!  WooHoo!  Skype, friends, no work, the Nicene Creed in church, and maybe a little shopping...

In parting, two questions:
Did you have any weird, childhood quirks (like me)?
What weekend plans do you have?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday's Letters: Continually New

Abi (Queen Esther) and me (Queen of Sheba) at the harvest festival
Dear Friday, You came so quickly this week.  Last week took forever, this week flew by.  I think it is the new work schedule.

Dear Numb3rs, Still watching you and still loving you.  I'm now watching from the first season.  So. Good.

Dear White Collar and Downton Abbey, I can't wait for your seasons to begin! (I'm really not a crazed TV watcher...but I have a few shows that I LOVE.)

Dear Lynchburg, why is it that when I am going one direction, I am driving North and South at the same time?  Oy!

Dear Saturday, I'm so excited for a Skype date and a party to see friends!

Dear Thanksgiving, I have you off!!!

Dear November, I'm excited you are here!  It means I get to see Josh!

Dear God, Thank you for this next/continuing step of life you have given me.  I'm excited to see where it goes (and what's next).  (I realize I am still that girl always wondering what is "next.")

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...