Another point of view

“What was that you were saying to me last night?”  Asked the Teen the next morning.  “I was saying that although we don’t love the idea that you stay at your boyfriend’s house over the weekend, we understand that whatever you do at night time you could just as easily do at three o’clock in the afternoon, and we’d rather you didn’t have to lie to us.  However, what I was saying last night is that you absolutely cannot stay at his house in the week, because you have to be awake enough to go to school, and he has to be in a fit state to go to work, and I don’t won’t to have to go and collect you in the middle of the night, and I definitely don’t want to find you not here when I come to get you up in the morning”. 

There was a long silence.  And then she said “So what you’re saying is that we need to work hard and stay firm in the week, and go out and have fun at the weekend?”  “Exactly”.  And on her face in that second I understood my mistake in assuming that what she has been putting up till now is simple resistance. Astonishing as it may sound, as a kid who life has “happened to”, I am convinced that she had never grasped even so much as the existence of the concept of work-play and responsibilities, let alone understood what we thought we were asking her to buy into. 

Danny’s class wrote a collaborative story this week, so this morning there was a workshop involving parents to come and do some artwork to go with their story.  The story involved a rat, a bunny a fairy, and some cheese.  Everyone else did drawing and colouring, and cutting and sticking around themes of rats, bunnies, fairies and cheese.  Danny’s picture had Father Christmas, three little pigs, a wolf, a reindeer, some ice-cream, jelly, sandwiches, a birthday cake, a car, a train on a track running through the middle, and then he had a little fit because I said I wasn’t sure if we should draw a machine gun.  Taking a positive view, I was impressed that he knows the Spanish for wolf! 

Learning by doing

6.30 Wednesday morning we had a film crew in our house.  The secondary school have a media project on called “Camino a la escuela” (route to school) and they are filming ten students from waking up to arriving at school, and then carrying out interviews of family members talking about attitudes to education.  They thought Teen would make an interesting story, so at 6.30 there they were in order to film us “looking natural”.  Normally at 6.30 in the morning Martin would be wearing his pants and I would be wrapped in a towel, so we had to get up early enough to avoid looking quite so natural.  A nice practical illustration of how the presence of an anthropologist changes the story that the anthropologist wants to tell. 

Spent yesterday afternoon taming the Scouts.  This year I have moved up from the 7-11 cub age range to the 11-15 Scouts, who in our group are a particularly uncivilised rabble.  I was surprised at how enthusiastically they got into the idea of constructing tables.  My aim is quite simply for them to start and finish a project, which hopefully might give them enough of a boost to their self-worth to start and finish another one without quite so much pushing and shoving and hitting each other. 

Currently putting the finishing touches to a sermon around Joel 2 and wishing I had taken notes back in 1989 when I sat through three days of Martin Goldsmith teaching on Joel.  Sadly at the time I had no idea what he was talking about, but I expect it was probably brilliant.  Education is wasted on the young.  

Chicken Run

Unashamedly stealing someone else’s material because it’s brilliant and because it actually did make me laugh out loud rather than just LOL. 

Brenda was in the fertilized egg business.

She had several hundred young ‘pullets’ to produce the eggs and ten roosters to fertilize them.

She kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced. This took a lot of time, so she bought some tiny bells and attached them to her roosters. Each bell had a different tone, so she could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing.

Now, she could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.

Brenda’s favourite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen, but this morning she noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all!

When she went to investigate, she saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To Brenda’s amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring. He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.

Brenda was so proud of old Butch, she entered him in the Auckland City Show and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the "No Bell Piece Prize," but they also awarded him the "Pulletsurprise" as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention.

Vote carefully in the next election, you can’t always hear the bells.