Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

A million years ago, when my children were in school, I used to worry about a lot of things concerning their education. We lived in Manhattan and although we were not poor, we had to dip into savings to afford their tuition. When it came time for our daughter to enter Pre-K, we were forced to analyze our options.

We knew that the public school we were zoned for had metal detectors and not a very good reputation for the quality of the education.  We also knew that just a few blocks away (but not our district) was a highly rated public school that had some very affluent families who participated in fundraisers, giving the school many resources other public schools lacked. That public school remains a highly coveted place to enroll children.

I knew of families whose children went to the school even though they lived in our district. It seemed odd to me and my curiosity was aroused once when one of the mothers bragged about how she used her grandparent’s address to enroll her child. I thought about that a lot then and often since. My propensity towards following the “rules” judged this behavior as wrong but I didn’t want to lose a friendship so I always kept quiet. As the years went by, I saw many many more examples of bending rules to improve offspring chances. I don’t blame anyone but still, I think it is not fair to people who don’t have the resources or the ethical ambiguity required to carry this out.

My children were homeschooled. It was a decision we made not because we were extremely religious folk or against traditional methods but simply because, after we made a 3,000 mile move to another country and we tried two different schools, it became apparent that our children could not do worse with their intelligent and willing parents diligently taking over (with a proper curriculum) the educational process. I am happy to say that our children were able to take their SATs far away from the States but in a legal way and apply to schools.

Were their scores outstanding? Hardly. But they were able to get into colleges in the U.S. which was always our goal. It became apparent after they were actually in their respective colleges that their fellow students did not always meet even average standards despite having spent their entire school life in some rather prestigious institutions.

When our child was attending college, we noticed a very high ratio of international students who couldn’t possible be there except that their families must have contributed vast amounts of money. At first, I didn’t want to believe it because I was in love with the college, but after several incidents came to light, it was impossible to ignore. My advice to my child was always the same: “Don’t judge what they are doing or what you are seeing, you go about your business and conduct yourself with the moral upbringing we expect of our family.”

It is mind-boggling to me that the recent college scandal involving so many, many people and institutions was not something the offspring (and beneficiaries) were aware of. I hope I speak the truth when I think and believe that my own children would not have accepted our interference with their admission process in this manner. Right now, the college application process and the fact that money is a huge part of whether there is success…makes me so happy that I have always kept my own counsel when making observations in writing or in conversation about education.

I am sad that youth today can trust no one to really have a decent moral compass.


bing.com public domain image

Left-brain censure!

Left and Right Hemispheres

I had a guitar lesson today. It is my favorite hour of the week. I play my lesson and receive feedback from my professor. Today, he was very complimentary, perhaps because my playing was better than usual. I had practiced every day except for one during the week. It showed.

During the lesson, while technical issues are being resolved (a loud truck goes by, dogs bark, the  sheet music falls to the floor because of sudden gust of wind, etc.) we take the moment to talk. Today I mentioned my writing. I asked his opinion about whether there is room for a poet and the poetry. He smiled, curious about where the question originated. I shared that I have a poet friend who insists she receives her poetry almost completely assembled. I, on the other hand, must work hard and revise often before I am satisfied even a simple blog entry can be shared. I don’t ever feel that a paragraph magically appears before me.

He told me that often his songs seem to appear in the ether for his taking. I posit that our minds are constantly thinking and if a song or poem “appears” it is because we have been formulating it and when we sense it is ready, we compose it. He smiled at that and reminded me that my thinking is in accordance with my left-brain thinking tendency. I laughed and since there were no noise or other issues, we continued with our excellent lesson.

Fridays are always such good days. My lesson is early, leaving the rest of the day to spend as I wish. I often hope to get a few paragraphs down in either my novel or on one of my blogs but I just as often get sidetracked by this and that and at the end of the day have very little to show. Today was a good day. I finished an important element in the novel, and I am writing in this blog. That constitutes a good day, good output

I read somewhere recently that writers (and I am one) have experienced and know everything they write about. I interpret that to mean that if we are writing about a child who has been beaten, perhaps we have not experienced actual beating but we have experienced something similar (a humiliation for example) which will allow us to empathize with our protagonist and write from that POV and be believable. I feel like I really need to work on getting out of my own way. I do edit my thoughts because I am often afraid that people will be able to recognize themselves in my stories. I have to learn to be less self-conscious. With my left-brain tendencies, it is not an easy task.

My output today has given me permission to begin my weekend early…now if only I had purchased a bottle of wine, it would be perfect. I guess it’s a good thing, I will save some of those calories for the weekend!