Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Particle Roundup July 2015

One in an occasional series, a roundup of parenting articles (particles) that have caught my attention or been virtually shoved in front of my wandering eyeballs.

The Letter your Teenager Can't Write You
Weeks away from having a teenager, I was interested in this one.  It makes a strong argument for hanging in there when it feels like there's no point. 

I raised an addict - what could I have done differently?
Knowing some addicts of different ages, I have often wondered about whether a moment occurred that - if handled differently - could have changed a path.  This essay implores parents to be knowledgeable about the availability of drugs because even raising a kid well to the point that he or she looks happy and ready for life does not ensure against that child finding a source at just the wrong moment and throwing a ton away.

Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children
In other bleak addiction news, screen addiction in China and elsewhere. Pretty happy my kids are at a no-electronic-devices old-school summer camp for two weeks.  Maybe there's one of those for me?

What if Everything You Knew about Disciplining Kids was Wrong?
Stats on suspension can be disturbing, especially among really small kids.  As a kid who got high marks in everything but penmanship and conduct and who knew his way around the elementary school principal's office because of the latter, this was an interesting read.

The Mixed-Up Brothers of Bogota
Not strictly about parenting, but the latest, most fascinating contribution to the nature vs. nurture question.  Two sets of identical twins in a Bogota hospital get crossed up.  Each family ends up with a non-biological son who happens also to have a twin out there.  All four twins meet in adulthood. 

For what it's worth, I read all of these articles using Pocket on my phone, here and there when I could.  Actually, for the letter from your teenager, I listened to it via Pocket's text-to-speech monotone robot.  That was an interesting medium for the raw emotion of that essay.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Poem: Mining in Tandem

I didn't write this poem in response to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's marriage and divorcePunditry about their divorce, which is either (charitably) hair-splitting or (more viscerally) asinine, did inspire me to post it now, though.

Mining in Tandem
an original poem by Jeff Forster

In the wedding cards of
family and friends,
we write,
"Welcome to the institution." Ha!
"Marriage is fun."
We don't write,
"Work like hell."
But we probably should.

It's hard to picture one of those
not-believably-rustic Pottery Barn plaques
with the slogan printed in
some harmless font:
"Fall in love.  Stick together.
Work like hell."

There's a lot to overcome
deep down in any one of us.
When we put two down deeps
together, why wouldn't we
guess that it would be a ton of work?

It's like mining in tandem.
Holding onto one another while chipping
away at all that lies down deep.

Holding the line.  Shining a light on
each other.
Working.  Like hell.

The reward for all this work is not
some pile of gold or jewels
or even coal.
The reward is discovering
that it is possible
to bring each other out of the dark.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pirates Predictions: Midseason Update

As with my beginning-of-season post, I'm posting this one game late.  The Pirates won the 82nd game of their season tonight.  But I did the math after 81 games to project the Pirates win totals against our predictions.  Charlie, who has won the contest two of the four years we've done it, is on track again.  If the Pirates extended a 47-34 over 162 games, they'll win 94 this year.  And probably still finish in second place in the NL Central to the Cardinals.