Category Archives: The Problem

Want to Find a Teacher to Help Your Kids be Creative? Look in the Mirror.

Where did anyone ever get the idea that kids learn to be creative at school? For instance, a recent Newsweek cover story entitled The Creativity Crisis goes right from describing the lack of creativity among children to discussing how schools and teachers can solve this problem. What about home and parents? Think of your childhood experience, or that of creative people you know. Read books about the childhoods of creative people, such as the biography of Steve Jobs. By far, … Continue reading

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Why Bring Another Human to This Crowded Planet?

Before you were a parent, you heard this question, I’m sure. That chatter still continues, but to the extent that you surround yourself with other parents, you’ve pushed it to the background. Still, it’s a worthy question to consider. The world is getting more crowded every day. In the opinion of most scientists who study the global climate, the earth’s increasing population is causing the earth damage that could one day be catastrophic. Before kids, my answer to the question, … Continue reading

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Teachable Moments Come Whether Parents Are Around or Not

“Look around, Michael!” My dad grabbed me by the shoulders forcefully and stared into my eyes. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Look!” I’m sure he had tried that many times before, but for some reason, this time, I was ready to really think about what he was saying. I scanned the room, and then looked back at him. “You’re right,” I replied. I turned around and went back to my bedroom, and I was never afraid of the dark … Continue reading

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“It’s Easier If I Just Do It Myself”

I’m sure you’ve said this to yourself. I know I have, at least once or twice. You think for a moment that your kids should perform a menial household chore – e.g. putting away their toys, cleaning their dishes off the table, helping you bring grocery bags into the house from the car. They’re old enough to perform the chore physically and mentally, and they’re right there in front of you. However, then you think about what a pain in … Continue reading

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Do Marco’s Travels Seem Remarkable? They’re Not!

A couple of weeks ago, my seven-year-old son Marco made the following trips on his bike on his own, one after the other: from school to the barber shop, Golden Shears (2 miles). He walked in, greeted his favorite barber, Sam, and sat down in Sam’s barber’s chair before I walked in a couple of minutes later with his two brothers from the barber shop to the bike store, Menlo Velo (0.6 miles). I stayed behind at the barber shop … Continue reading

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Fake Baseball

My seven-year-old, Marco, plays fake baseball on an organized team.  That’s right.  In his league, the kids go through the motions like they’re playing real baseball, but they’re just faking.  There are nine players on each team, and there are four bases on the field, but these games have no outs, no runs, and no winner or loser.  Blahhhh… “Why can’t we have outs and runs?” asked Marco after his first game.  “I don’t like this.  It’s boring.” I don’t … Continue reading

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I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me.

Barack Obama said this back in 1990 as a 28-year-old law school student at Harvard. This doesn’t bother me. I’ll bet most twentysomething yuppies would agree. Cities are so much more alive and hip to these folks. I probably said something like that myself when I was in my twenties. Then, we get married and have kids, and suddenly most of us notice how unaccommodating our urban environments are for kids. We notice the crappy schools for the first time. … Continue reading

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Should Kids Work Like Adults, Or Should Adults Play Like Kids?

Kids’ lives are fun. They play. Adults’ lives are serious. We work. We have responsibilities. Many psychologists and psychiatrists question this widely-held dichotomy. They think that kids should play a lot and continue to play into adulthood. They claim that the most likely path toward a successful, happy life – a life in which one can have his cake and eat it too – is guided by intrinsic motivation. You may have heard of the concept of euphoric “flow” experiences. … Continue reading

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Teachers: Do Your Job at School, and I’ll Do Mine at Home

Why do our kids’ elementary school teachers stash those homework notes for us in our kids’ backpacks? Yes, I agree, kids in the first few grades aren’t responsible enough to consistently complete homework assignments on their own. However, the notion that teachers can’t do their job well unless they give homework is just plain wrong. Furthermore, it’s tragic and foolish that teachers are assigning homework to kids as early as kindergarten. Sure, these notes start out nice and all. “Dear … Continue reading

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The Audacity of Homework

Shame on Oliver, a friend of my son, Marco. He hasn’t been handing in part of his kindergarten homework, worksheets full of letters that require tracing over. However, he has handed in his book reading logs and book report. He likes reading books that interest him, but he’s not keen on tracing letters. So, his teacher told him he may not be able to have recess all next week. He cried and cried. He doesn’t want to go to school … Continue reading

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