Response to the Article “5 Things it Turns Out You Were Right to Hate About School”

After reading a book I heartily enjoy, I tend to stalk the author and find out what else they’ve written. Such is the case with the author of John Dies at the End, David Wong. Surfing through the JDATE Tumblr proved to be quite useful during this endeavor, as I found several articles written by Wong on Cracked.com. They reflect his books perfectly (by which I mean they’re both oddly dark while oddly entertaining), but I centered on the article listed above for several reasons.

Throughout this trimester our English class has been discussing modern education: how it isn’t working, what we can do to fix it, how it’s already changing (for better or for worse). Reading this article, however, brought up some more interesting points we haven’t yet addressed.

The kicker is, I’ve asked several teachers for their opinions on these five grievances, and they agreed with every single one. So, why haven’t our schools modified their curriculum to include the solutions to these problems? Well, in another article written by David Wong, he writes that the human brain is always going to resist improvement. It’s that little voice in our heads that tells us to put off that homework, those chores can wait until tomorrow, someone else will fix this for me. However, it’s our choice to ignore that voice and press forward.

I wholeheartedly agree with this article. What I wouldn’t give to divvy up those final exams, had more recess, understood algebra, to do away with grade-borne competition and middle school. I just hope that those in charge are as curious (and fanatic) as I am, and take David Wong’s words to heart.

Response to the Article “Study: Behavior in Kindergarten Linked to Adult Success”

I have to admit, this article has a point. Kids who learn emotional and social skills early on have an easier time in life; it’s almost common knowledge. However, what struck me most as interesting in this article was this thought: if the correlation is common knowledge, why don’t we focus more on it?

Why are we so centered on academics, when emotions hold just as much, if not more, over our lives? I, for one, believe it’s because we’re rooted in tradition. This method has worked for so many years, why wouldn’t it work now? Why fix what isn’t broken?

The answer is simply that it has broken, unbelievably so. Academic success is pushed so hard that high-school students nowadays have classes their parents didn’t have to deal with until college. It’s no longer about sharing and getting along, it’s seeing how far you can push yourself to beat that other candidate to the scholarship. Not so much what we, as teenagers, want, but what we might want.

But there’s a problem with focusing only on schoolwork. It doesn’t get you many friends. Without a healthy balance of both intellectual and emotional intelligence, we can’t build relationships. We might have trouble communicating basic messages, doomed to live our lives as emotionally stunted Frankensteins.

Maybe if we focused more on how others react and process emotions, we could help ourselves become better people. Learning through others and vice versa is how we grow, how we learn. By both knowing both the situation and how best to communicate said problem with others, it’s unbelievably easier to solve it.

Link to the article: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/16/living/kindergarten-social-skills-adult-success-study-feat/

Sacred Writing #3

Another one bites the dust. Can’t remember what the prompt was, because I ignored it and decided to write about my two favorite characters (that I’ve created, at least), Raven and Kit. I love them to death, but sometimes have trouble writing about the duo, so I practiced during this Sacred Writing.

Begin!

As Raven danced, she could feel everyone’s eyes on her. Watching, transfixed as she glided across the ballroom floor. She slowed, beginning to feel embarrassed, until she felt a firm hand on her waist. She looked up into the green eyes of her best friend, who grinned and swung her around to face their audience.

Kit began to twirl her around, and suddenly the eyes were no longer noticeable. Her friend seemed more like a protector as she kept her mind off the stares they were receiving. What did she care, anyway? She was here with Kit. In her mind, at least, there was no one else in the room.

The hands found their way back to her waist and open palm, beginning a smooth waltz. Raven’s smile, small at first, grew into a wide grin when she noticed Kit glancing down at her shoes, attempting to keep in time. She took the lead, feeling her partner look up and smile back as Raven began to twirl in the other direction.

She had no idea how long they stood like that, just dancing the waltz, or the tango, or just stepping and shifting their weight, staring into the other’s eyes, but never missing a beat. Kit’s hands never left her, except when it was necessary to keep time, or to unceremoniously throw her into a whirl. When she missed a step, Raven could feel the protective grip tighten, the fingers warm up slightly and draw her closer.

After the dance had ceased, they stood there, in the now-empty ballroom floor, and Raven gave her protector a small kiss, a reward for her silent knight.

Scene ends.

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.” -Kingsley Amis

I like this piece, it’s short and cute (maybe because I think the two of them make an adorable couple). You know what? I’ll upload some pictures I drew of them. I know that counts towards the creativity portion of CAS, and I like designing them.

See you soon!

Sacred Writing #1

The following is seventeen minutes of unrevised writing that I completed during class. The next two posts I put up will be the same idea, but different pieces.

Prompt: How Do I Make My Life More Memorable?

I think there’s a very easy way to answer this question. It’s by doing things that I want to do. If I’m lonely, I’ll talk to friends, if I have an awesome idea for a story, I’ll draw it.

I can make my life more memorable by trying out and accepting new opportunities that come my way. As a wise Youtuber once said, “You don’t get good memories by saying ‘no’ all the time.” I’ll try out for drama, I’ll sign up for my church choir, I’ll even dance like a mad fool during Homecoming.

The problem with the above answers is that they’re easier said than done. I have homework, I have extracurriculars, I have family to keep track of, I have school to worry about. I have to think about what my peers will say.

Perhaps it’s more about waiting for the right moment. Seizing opportunities as they appear, not as I seek them out. It’s worked out well so far. That’s how I got my dream job, but it’s also how I got what I think of as my worst job.

Maybe it’s a balance? “All work and no play” and all of that. I need to be restrained, but able to fly free when need be. But how can I fly free when chains are attached to my ankles, reminding me that I may be having fun now, but I have a report due soon? How can I dance when no one’s watching if no one else is joining in?

“If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.” – Doug Larson

I feel the need to stress the fact that this is unedited, but I also know that it’s quite obvious. Just so you know, I rocked Homecoming, I was the best dancer that cafeteria had ever seen.

What was that part about the chains? I don’t know, it came out of nowhere and the muse rose back into the heavens while I tried to figure out how to finish this piece.

Response to the Clip “Suicide Bombers Target Peace Rally in Turkish Capital: 95 Dead”

Of the many hot-button topics I’ve had the pleasure of discussing on this blog, feminism, gun control, the Pope, this perhaps is the most touchy. Terrorism is a very fragile subject to discuss, but I guess that’s what we’ll have to try today.

I would like to say that suicide bombing is very immoral. You may say it’s the ultimate sacrifice for your cause, but perhaps your cause is a bit unjust if they can’t find an easier way to get their point across. I firmly that peace and understanding can be achieved through words, not violence. Why must lives be lost in a way that ultimately makes the figures in charge less willing to listen?

Perhaps the worst part is that there may not have been that much of a reason for those ninety-five deaths. No groups have stepped up to claim the bombers as part of their cause. So, not only have the victims of the attack died for no reason, but so have the bombers themselves.

Sometimes the world makes very little sense.

Link to the clip:

Response to the Articles “7 Reasons Liberals are Wrong on Gun Control” and “Conservatives are Delusional About Facts on Guns”

I’ll be honest, while I’m very much neutral on the gun control debate, I tend to lean more towards the Liberal side when pressed, so I just had to choose these two articles to write about.

While this author of the “7 Reasons” article (Conservatives United) does bring up some obvious points, such as the effect stricter gun laws would have on hunters and sportsmen, they fail to do what the author of “Conservatives” (Huffington Post) does so well, and that’s what makes it less trustworthy in my mind. The Conservatives United article does not contain sources for any of its information, while the Huffington Post is chock-full of them. This calls into question all of its information and ideas presented, and it makes for a poor article.

A problem I have, not with these articles, but with the two sides in general, is their animosity towards each other. Just look at the titles of these two articles, like two second graders trying to argue about whether or not they should get pizza. I’d really like to formulate an opinion on the topic of gun control, but I’ll have to get my information from someone who isn’t just going to trash-talk the other side, so I might be looking for a while.

Links to the articles

Conservative – http://conservativesunited.com/7-reasons-liberals-wrong-gun-control/

Liberal – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dale-hansen/conservatives-are-delusional-about-facts-on-guns_b_7560888.html

Response to the Article “Pope Departs, After Showing a Deft Touch”

I, for one, am impressed by Pope Francis. To navigate the political minefield that is America right now was a challenge I do not envy him for. But I must disagree with Mr. R. R. Reno when he said that the Pope’s silence on those topics demoralized those at the forefront. The Pope had no responsibility to say his opinion about any of our hot-button topics. He was just visiting, from what information this article provides. That being said, I did appreciate the Pope asking the bishops to be less critical and more welcoming, telling them they need a better way approach to modern families.

While I can appreciate the Pope’s “savvy” in regards to avoiding topics such as gay marriage and abortion, and will remain firm on my position that he did not have to say anything about those topics, I know many would want to disagree. There’s a big difference between staying silent on a topic and skirting around it with only a few thinly veiled comments. That’s trying to please everyone, and that doesn’t always work out so well.

Link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/28/us/pope-departs-after-showing-a-deft-touch.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news