Thursday, April 23, 2009

Give Me Your Voice and I'll Lend You My Ear

I thought seriously about continuing the poll, but I think I’ve decided against it. I’d rather get actual conversations as opposed to yes or no type answers.

One of the things I’ve had on my mind lately is my childhood. I don’t know why, but I keep reflecting back on all sorts of things. The other day I literally made a list of some of my favorite childhood movies. Afterwards, I watched a few of them and realized some might actually still be considered favorites. I’ve also thought about times when I was in elementary school. These memories have been good ones. They’ve not been bad. I’m not saying that all of my time in school was pleasant, but just that I’ve had the good memories on my mind.

I don’t know why, but I feel sort of an odd calm about life. I think that by reflecting back on the good times of my younger days, I’ve sort of been reminded of simpler times. And that’s made me yearn for that again.

I think people can take on too much work in their lives sometimes. I know I’m guilty of this. I try to do way too many projects all at once and then when I’m absolutely stretched for time, I feel like falling to pieces.

Life can sometimes be so complicated. And I keep asking myself why that is? I think, for the most part, we all complicate things for ourselves. Maybe that’s due to our misunderstandings or over-analytical personalities—who knows—but I think whenever our lives become overly complicated, we need to sit back for a moment, take a deep breath, and slow down. If we don’t, it will just cause us all sorts of problems (fatigue, frustrations, anger, strained relationships, etc.).

So, here’s what I’d like to know: Is your life too complicated? If so, what things do you allow complicate it? And what can you do to uncomplicated your life? How do you ease up some of the stress of life? Let me know what you think.

Anyone wanting to comment is welcome to do so.

Later! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two Years and Counting

Time is such a funny thing. I thought I was just about to reach the two year anniversary of my blog, so I looked up my first post to see about the date. As it turns out, the anniversary is today. So, I happily announce that my blog is officially a two year old (Watch out! They can be wild at that age. :) )

As I reread that first post I couldn’t help but feel as though it had been such a long time ago that I wrote it. So much has happened in that time. But regardless of all that’s taken place, and all the changes and new insights I’ve developed, I still feel that the message of that first post is as relevant as ever. If you’ve never read it, I’ll encourage you to do so. The remainder of this post will relate to it.

As a future teacher, it bothers me to see how many backward approaches people take to education. It bothers me to see how much corrupted, bureaucratic politics have infiltrated our schools. But I’ll reserve the urge to go into a rant about those things and focus solely on school violence.

In my first post, I commented on the shooting that took place at Virginia Tech. In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded of that incidence by the news of a young man who shot himself, and another who hung himself, both because of bullying that took place at their schools. Yet again, more school violence has occurred. I warned in my first post that things of this nature will continue happening so long as we continue to push God further and further out of our society. Without God comes a great deal of immorality. History is full of examples of this.

But about school violence, I take seriously the fact that our politicians and school administrators at large have done nothing to honestly help curb it from happening. There are so many easy steps that could be taken to help prevent problems like this (that would actually work), but nobody seems to want to implement any of them. And I can’t help but wonder why?

I offer three solutions that I guarantee would cause a dramatic decline in school violence.

Solution number one: implement a Golden Rule policy throughout the entire school. This should be the rule that teachers enforce and focus on the most. They should look out for bullying. When they see it, they should stop it. They should teach constantly that students treat each other as they would want to be treated themselves. And there should be consequences for the one who does the bullying. This would not only help stop school violence, but it would show the students that their teachers care, and would help the students learn how to better care for each other as well. It would cause the students to put themselves in another person’s shoes and realize that it’s never okay to treat someone poorly.

Solution number two: perform confidential written student interviews at least once every two weeks. The teacher should write on the board these four questions for the students to answer on their own paper: What things do you like about school? What things do you not like about school? Is there anyone causing you any problems, or hurting you in some way? How do you feel today? Just to ask these four simple questions a teacher can find out what’s on the students minds. They can find out which students are at risk, who the bullies are, what problems are happening at school and at home, and practically any other problem the student is having, including academically. The teacher can then get help for the student before it’s all too late.

Solution number three: create a metal detector foyer at the entrances of every school. What this would mean is students would have to walk through two sets of doors in order to get into the building. At the first entrance, they would have to walk through metal detectors. If the detectors go off, the second set of doors would automatically lock and prevent the student from entering the school. The student carrying a firearm would be locked inside the foyer, preventing them from causing harm to any of the other students and giving time for police to apprehend them. Talk about prevention!

So, there are three solutions (and by no means the only ones out there) that would dramatically make a difference in our schools. I guess my question is, why haven’t these things been implemented? The first two solutions wouldn’t cost anybody anything. The third would cost some, but is that cost really too high? I certainly don’t think so—not if it prevents students from getting killed. And all of these are solutions that would actually work. They go directly to the root of the problem. The issue at hand seems to me to be everyone’s desire to complicate everything, and beat around the bush due to laziness, greed, and/or a thirst for power. And as long as that’s the case, I doubt we’ll ever see anything positive come about in this regard.

The warning still stands…

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Analyzing the Results of the Poll

Well, my first poll conducted on my blog just closed a few days ago. Here are the results:

6 people said gay marriage should be allowed.
3 people said gay marriage should not be allowed.
6 people said civil unions were okay, but not marriage.
0 people said that they didn't care one way or another.

Okay, so lets analyze the results. Naturally, if you don't care, why vote at all? That was sort of a dumb question on my part. But moving on, at first glance, one might think that there were more in favor of gay marriage being allowed than there were against it. But then you would have to consider the third option. Altogether, 9 people said that they felt gay marriage should not be allowed. Of those 9, 6 believed that civil unions should be allowed and recognized. What does that mean? It means that even though some don't believe marriage should be allowed, a majority do feel that gay relationships should be recognized in some way. If you look at the results in this way, you will find that a large majority had this feeling. Whether through marriage or civil unions, a total of 12 to 3 felt that gay relationships should be recognized. I think that's important to point out. Of those 12, half believe gay relationships should be recognized through marriage. The other half believe they should be recognized through civil unions. But there was not a consensus on how they should be recognized. There were only 3 people who voted who believe gay relationships should not be recognized.

I really find this interesting. When I first began this poll, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I had a hunch that more would be in favor of recognizing gay relationships in some fashion, due to the background of those who typically follow my blog (and that was a variable that should be considered here in this poll), but I was surprised to see the even split between those who favored gay marriage to civil unions. Even though a majority favored recognizing gay relationships in some way, that majority was evenly divided about how to recognize such relationships. After seeing these results, I'm not as surprised now about the failure to prevent Proposition 8 from passing in California a few months ago. These results, I think, show that indeed, the majority of people are not in favor of gay marriage. However, that does not suggest that the majority is against recognizing homosexual relationships.

So what are the implications? I see a problem here for those in the gay community fighting for gay marriage. Is the ultimate goal here a recognition of homosexual relationships, or is it to prove that homosexual relationships are exactly the same as heterosexual relationships? If it's the later, the results will always prove fatal. Gay relationships can never be exactly the same as straight relationships. Two men are not the same as a man and a woman. It's as simple as that. And I think most people see this. They see there is a difference here (Yes, apples and oranges are both fruit, but an apple can never be an orange). This poll of mine indicates this belief. However, if the goal is simply to get a recognition of homosexual relationships, then wouldn't it seem a far better bet to focus attention on civil unions? I do not doubt that all of those who supported gay marriage in my poll would also support civil unions for gay couples. However, those who supported civil unions clearly showed they were not in favor of gay marriage. My argument is wouldn't it be better for supporters of gay marriage to support civil unions instead? First off, they would clearly have an easier case to make, and if they won, they would still get all the rights and benefits given to straight married couples. The only difference is that they would have to let go of their attempt to prove the two kinds of relationships as the same. Logic suggests the two can never be the same. Not really. So, why not just accept that and fight for what's actually achievable?

There again, is gay marriage not achievable? More and more states seem to be accepting it. But just because the state accepts it, does that mean everyone will accept it? I don't think so. As a Christian, I can never accept any union between two people of the same sex as marriage. Even if the state allows gay marriage, which I tend to believe it should, I still could not accept it. That's just not marriage to me. It may be like marriage, but it's not marriage. I could, however, accept civil unions. As a Christian, I can't really complain about civil unions at all. So, wouldn't that be better to fight for? Looks to me like that would be a win win for everyone.

Let me know what you think. How do you feel about the results of this poll? Do you see the same implications I do?

As for the next poll, I'm still undecided as to what it will be about. I have a few ideas, but I've not settled on one just yet. So, keep a look out. I should have my mind made up in the next few days.