“Boys will be Boys” from the Globe & Mail yesterday

IMG_0080Here is a great article from Margaret Wente….

MARGARET WENTE Globe article

Boys will be boys – schools need to understand that

MARGARET WENTE

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Feb. 14 2013, 6:00 AM EST

Last updated Thursday, Feb. 14 2013, 6:00 AM EST

The other day I gave a talk to a parents’ group at a boys’ school. It was a big group. I asked them if they’d ever known a boy who hadn’t made a pretend gun with his fingers and gone bang-bang. Not a single hand went up.

No surprise there. Boys have been fighting with pretend weapons since the dawn of time. Mock battles and mock violence are a normal part of boyhood. But in the age of zero tolerance and Sandy Hook, society is in a panic. Some parents won’t allow water guns in the house. Even Nerf Blasters aren’t okay. “[Parents] think it’s innocuous because it’s a cartoon,” one critic of toy guns told The New York Times. “But they’re buying something that is reinforcing shooting.

Last month, a five-year-old Massachusetts boy was threatened with a two-week suspension from his after-school program for making a gun from Lego bricks. “Pointing a gun and making shooting sounds can be uncomfortable to somebody. And it’s not respectful,” explained the earnest school superintendent in an interview with ABC. In Maryland, a six-year-old was suspended for one day for – yes – pointing his finger like a gun. His parents hired a lawyer to have the suspension removed from his permanent record.

The punishment of boys for being boys proceeds apace. But what happens to them on the playground is the least of it. What happens in the classroom is worse.

New evidence suggests that boys are penalized from the day they first set foot in school. A new study (whose findings were first reported by Christina Hoff Sommers, writing in The New York Times) finds that boys get lower grades than girls across the board – not because their schoolwork is inferior, but because they don’t behave like girls.

The study, which was published in The Journal of Human Resources, compared the standardized test scores of thousands of kids in kindergarten through Grade 5 with the grades their teachers gave them. Overall, girls outperformed boys on reading tests, boys outperformed girls on science tests, and boys and girls scored about the same in math. But no matter what the subject, the boys’ grades did not reflect their test scores.

“Boys who perform equally as well as girls on reading, math and science tests are graded less favourably by their teachers,” the authors write. Why? Because of differences in “non-cognitive development” – that is, behaviour. In general, girls are much better at sitting still, paying attention and co-operation – all the traits that teachers value. Boys lose points because of that. And the bias against boys, the study found, begins in kindergarten.

Why does this matter? Because how you do in school increasingly dictates how you will do in the world. And teachers’ grades strongly influence grade-level placement, high-school graduation and university admission prospects.

Some people argue that it’s only fair to mark boys down for deportment. To me, that’s gender bias. It’s like saying that women aren’t as promotable as men because they don’t behave the way men do in the workplace.

It’s no surprise that schools subtly discriminate against boys. After all, they are increasingly run by women – women who, as girls, were extremely good at sitting still, paying attention and co-operating. The schools have become more and more hostile to boys’ inclinations and interests. They have abolished competition in favour of co-operation – even though boys thrive on competition. They’ve outlawed rough-and-tumble play (too dangerous) and even cancelled recess altogether. In high school, they bore boys to death instead of teaching them how to make and build stuff.

One of the most successful schools today (also cited by Ms. Sommers) is New York City’s Aviation High School, whose students are mostly minority boys from low-income families. Students spend half the day in standard classes and the other half studying technical subjects such as aviation hydraulics and aircraft engines. They wear coveralls and get to practise on real planes. The school day is extremely long, and graduation rates are exceptionally high.

We have a good community-college system in Canada. But that comes too late for a lot of boys. We need a massive reinvention of vocational schools, turning them from dumping grounds into places where boys can learn and thrive. Boys will be boys. Work with it.

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My, how they have grown….

When I started this blog, my guys were 7 and 10, and now they are a startling 9 and 12 soon to be 10 and 13! A teenager in the family, yikes, not sure exactly how to cope with that.  They are getting gigantic, the shoes that litter the back hall, the front hall, the closets, they are huge!  It is now hard to distinguish who’s are who’s.  We were at my nephew’s wedding a few weeks ago and my once tiny baby, now could be mistaken for a man, dressed in a suit with a tie, even his own dad didn’t recognize him at times at the party.  Everyone tells you it happens so fast, that in a blink of an eye all of a sudden they will be grown up and seeking independence and freedom and their own way.  And it just does, that is the reality of life with kids.  Time is measured not is days but milestones, stages, grades, inches and accomplishments.  Kindergarten graduation leads quickly to grade six graduation, then middle school, grade eight grad and high school.  Then they are gone…hard to believe, but I got a glimpse of that future when they were away at camp for one week this summer.  They had a great time, didn’t miss us as they were revelling in the fun and friends.  On the other hand, the house was tidy, we got to work longer without any guilt, and it was very, very quiet.  They are hitting their stride as young boys becoming young men, they will push the limits in their different ways, and they will push the parent patience button many many times but are they ever worth it!  My guys have given me more joy, taught me more than I could ever possibly teach them and have enriched my life beyond measure.  While in some ways I am anxious to see what they will be become as adults, I am equally thrilled to savour their cuddles, hugs and “I love you’s” while I still can. It is not the destination but the journey that counts…..

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Being a goalie’s mom

Talk about stress, I am not sure how he does it.  Facing shot after shot, break-away after break-away…and lots of them.  He is 9 and is passionate about being a goalie.  He is confident, self-assured and tells me how he anticipates the shots and uses visualization to defeat his opponents.  He is 9 and is passionate about being a goalie. His limited career of one year in net has turned me into a raving lunatic from the sidelines.

His team is getting better, perhaps even peaking in time for the playoffs but they have had limited offence and minimal defence for most of the season.  I can be heard shouting from the other end of the arena,  or so my other son embarrassed to be near me, tells me.  My young goalie  has been the recipient of many game pucks, even though they have lost most of their games.  He is proud of his position on the team and happy to have full-on pressure.

So now I add being a goalie’s mom to the list of descriptors I have acquired since having kids.  I am not just so and so’s mom, or class parent, I am now a goalie’s mother.  Talk about stress, each time the other team is in his zone, I cringe.  Every break-away, I hold my breath.  Every save is a small victory.  Every goal a defeat.  Every time the puck isn’t cleared by his team, I yell.  Every bad bounce, I feel a bit sick.  Goalie’s are a special breed, to be able to take the pressure – to be a hero or a heel, to be revered or shunned.  I am just hoping I up to the job of being his biggest fan!  I found this poem and it does a great job of summing up what it feels like to be a goalie’s mom:

I’m sure you’ve seen her at a hockey game,
Although you may not know her name.
She seldom sits with her friends or the crowd 
Who get so excited and yell so loud.
The rest of the teams they can give and take, 
It’s the goalie who always makes the mistake. 
“Take him out” they holler “He’s a sieve!!” 
“He doesn’t even deserve to live!!” 
But when the contest is going the other way, 
They have nothing but praise and good things to say. 
“He’s stopping them all. Isn’t he great?” 
“If he keeps this up, we’ll be going to state!” 
When overtime comes, she can no longer stay,
But goes to the lobby and starts to pray
And cautiously listens to hear a loud roar.
She then knows that one team have now made a score. 
Her heart in her throat, she peeks at the fans.
They are joyful, screaming and clapping their hands. 
With a sigh of relief, she know her boy’s team has won, 
So for now there won’t be any criticizing her son. 
She says a quiet “Thank you God” as she starts to the door. 
Today’s a happy ending, but she knows there’ll be more 
Times when the goalie doesn’t come through. 
There’ll be days when she’ll brush a tear from eye 
And days when she’ll want to break down and cry, 
For the player with the almost impossible task.
Oh, how she loves that child from behind the mask. 
Yes, I’m sure you’ve seen this lady at one time or another 
‘Cause she’s a special breed, she’s the goalie’s mother.

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Why Boys Need Parents or Why Parents Love having boys!

Many may have seen this on the internet but still funny to read!

 

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep
2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3.) An 3-year old boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 x 20 ft. room.
5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6.) The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7.) When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh oh”, it’s already too late.
8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke — lots of it.
9.) A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.
10.) Certain Lego’s will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.
11.) Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence
12.) Super glue is forever.
13.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can’t walk on water.
14.) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15.) VCR’s do not eject “PB & J” sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18.) You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20.) The fire department in toronto has a 5-minute response time.
21.) The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
22.) The spin cycle on the washing machine will, however, make cats dizzy
23.) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24.) 80% of men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.
25.) 80% of women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kid.
a) For those with no children – this is totally hysterical.
b) For those who already have children past this age, this is hilarious.
c) For those who have children this age, this is not funny.
d) For those who have children nearing this age, this is a warning.
e) For those who have not yet had children, this is birth control.

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Motherhood is a Marathon, not a sprint

“I really learned it all from mothers.”
— Dr. Benjamin Spock

That is quite an admission, the famed Dr. Spock, the guide for a generation of parents…learned it all from mothers!  I think one of the greatest things about moms is that they share.  They share their experiences, their fears, their joys, their worries, the everyday minutiae of raising kids.  We all learn from each other, we compare notes, seek advice, provide insights, and learn in the doing. While there is no exact rule book on raising kids, there is a robust publishing industry willing to share guidelines and measurements and strategies for every stage and phase of raising children.  I have found that the best, most accurate and most actionable learning that I have used has come from other mothers.  They get it like no one else does.

One of the earliest lessons I learned about being a mom was from my favourite (deceased) pediatrician, Dr. Norm Saunders. In one of my first visits with my oldest, who was then, the tiniest bit of thing and a few days old, he said, “Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint.”  He counselled me, (I was a bit overwrought in the early days), to relax and not worry so much about my mothering skills.  He was an amazing man, doctor and became a friend.  He said to follow your instincts and that the best doctors listened to moms, and that there was such a thing called a mother’s instinct.

The other saying about marathons that I repeat to myself often is that to remember that there are those who are finished the race and for them it is done, but for many the race is still being run….I would say that I am in the thick of it.  Many friends have older kids and one of them said to me a few years ago, “I can’t believe how much road you still have to cover.”  Every time you get to a new stage with your kids, it easy to forget the stages that you have passed through.

The difference between motherhood and training for a true marathon, is that generally you train for a marathon.  There is really no training program for moms…there are seminars, books, the internet but it is variable and inconsistent.  So hence we get back to other moms…they are truly the best coaches and cheerleaders for other moms.  My friends and my network are my go to resources, and while everyone parents differently, I have learned so much from other moms.  I have found on this journey that other moms are just as happy as I am to walk the marathon of motherhood and enjoy the scenery together.

My advice to anyone struggling or overwhelmed with motherhood – find your network of moms and tap into them often…..

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 10 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 32 posts. There were 19 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 53 views. The most popular post that day was The bully and the bullied...

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ca.linkedin.com, linkedin.com, mail.live.com, en.wordpress.com, and lmodules.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for boys brain, girls brain, su mcvey, zipline, and girl brain.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The bully and the bullied.. January 2010
3 comments

2

The Brain! The Brain! October 2009
2 comments

3

About September 2009
4 comments

4

Athletes as Role Models January 2010

5

Remembering Ro February 2010
4 comments

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Child of mine

Here is to my guys who are starting another year of school, a favourite from Carole King:

Although you see the world different than me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
All the new colors and pictures you’ve designed
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

You don’t need direction, you know which way to go
And I don’t want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow
You’re the one who taught me you don’t have to look behind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Nobody’s gonna kill your dreams
Or tell you how to live your life
There’ll always be people to make it hard for a while
But you’ll change their heads when they see you smile

The times you were born in may not have been the best
But you can make the times to come better than the rest
I know you will be honest if you can’t always be kind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine,
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine



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