I’m Here to Promote Failure.


Everyone wants their kid to do well.Failed.

I get it.

This is probably an instinct that goes all the way back to cavemen.  I can just imagine how proud the cave parents must have been when little cavekid, jr. came back from a hunt where he had captured the biggest rabbit.

So proud.

Parents live for their children’s successes.

Now, instead of rabbits, it’s games.  The more the better.

Travel this.  Club that.  All Stars.  Select teams.

The farther away a team is the better it must be.  Bonus points if your child plays out-of-state.

Double-bonus points if they play with older kids.

I think this is great, but we have forgotten half of the process.

Parents should also live for their child’s failures.

This may sound terrible, but it’s true.

Our children have to learn not to touch a hot stove.  Sometimes they learn this lesson best immediately after they touch a hot stove.

There are lessons to be learned in striking out, making an error, fumbling, hitting a ball out-of-bounds, and losing.

Failing has gotten a bad rap.

Our society wants to take it completely out of the equation.  We seem to have a need to protect our kids from the awful feeling of finishing second.

We might do this because we no longer have to protect our children from wild animals or any of the other unspeakable dangers cave people experienced.

We seem to believe if our kids always succeed, they will always succeed.

The truth is, if we want our children to be successful, they have to know how to fail and how to respond to failure.

Everyone is going to get knocked down sooner or later.  My fear is too many of today’s kids won’t know how to get up.

I continually see parents who are willing to do anything to make sure their child doesn’t fail.

They will spend any amount of money.  Put them on any team.  Drive them any distance.

Yell at any adult who doesn’t put their child on a pedestal and give them a trophy.

Make untold sacrifices just so their son or daughter can experience success.

And the truth is the best way for them to experience this elusive feeling of success is not more, it’s less.

Let them fail.  They will live.

Now, they won’t thank us for this.  In fact, as parents we may have to be the bad guy.

At least for awhile.

But one day, they will be happy their parents let them fail.

Just not today.

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Why Are All the Children Screaming?


It’s the Holiday Season which means there are all kinds of events.Stop YELLING!

Parties, programs, church events, trips to the mall, and concerts to name just a few.

This also means one thing.

There will be loud wild obnoxious children running amok.

Why is this?

When did it become acceptable for parents to allow their kids complete and total freedom in public?

What happened to parents dropping "The Look" on their children from 40 yards away?

Where did the days of my youth go when kids were to be seen and not heard?

Who decided it was okay for school-aged children to run up and down aisles screaming and fighting?

What happened to common sense parental supervision?

Lastly, what happened to parents giving other adults permission to discipline their children if they saw or heard them get out of line? 

Individual rights and freedoms are certainly important, but so is respect for the group.

Any chance there is a correlation between the volume level of children and society’s decision that it is inappropriate to ever spank them?

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Kids These Days Are Weird. I Mean Wired.


I’ve noticed something about The Evil Spawn lately.Rockin It!

She is growing up (sad, I know).

With this comes the inevitable.  She will spend more time with her peers and less time with her parents (this part isn’t completely sad… but we try not to tell her as to not hurt her feelings).

She’s at the age where she wants to be around her friends all the time.  Sleepovers, parties, movies,  etc.

She even likes to arrive at her games early so she can spend more time with her teammates.

But, I’ve noticed something.

The girls she plays with like to be in the same general area, but they don’t spend much time talking to each other.

Everyone has an iPod.  Or iPad.  Or iSomething.

While they are in the same general area, they aren’t really together.

They all have their own apps.  Or music.  Or TV show to watch.

This is fine by me because they are quiet.  Which is a huge bonus if you have ever lived with an 11 year old girl.

But what will they be like in the future?

Will they continue to be around people but not directly communicate?

Will they go off to college and never speak to their roommates.

Instead of meeting new people as they get older, will they continue to text or contact their friends from home while ignoring people who are 3 feet away from them?

How will they act as adults?  Will they know their neighbors?  Will they interact with other parents?

Even more confusing to me, how will they be when they are old?

Are we raising a group of children who will become the first generation of nursing home residents who sit together but never speak to one other?

It’s possible they may be way too busy downloading apps to talk to their grandchildren.

Of course, by then, there may not be apps.

Or grandchildren.

Because they really don’t interact.

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Parenting.


It’s the constant struggle between making your child’s life easier
and your life more complicated.
Who's in Charge?

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It Seems Easier to Be a Great Person After Death Than Before.


I don’t usually write about anything other than education topics.

This is because I realize my limitations are great (in far too many areas to list here).

I’m pretty sure I barely have a concept about what is happening within education. I’m also positive I have no concept about anything else. 

But occasionnally something bugs me and I’m fascinated to know if it bothers anyone else.

Today it’s Whitney Houston’s death.

I remember when she was a big star.  Maybe the biggest.

I remember the albums (casettes), movies (VHS), and the National Anthem at the Super Bowl (sorry Buffalo).

She was rich and famous.  And evidently miserable.

Her life became complicated (but whose isn’t).

I’m not judging her, but I do have a question.

As I watch TV and cruise the interweb, it seems like the focus is on how great she was and what a terrific talent has been lost.

I’m sure this is true.

But I’m always amazed how no one ever dies with bad qualities.

We always remember the best in people, but what about everything else?  What about the kids?  And in the future, her grandkids?

What has her behavior done to them?

It was great she could sing, but she had a more important job.

You see this same type of situation happening far too often in schools.

An adult’s life (for a variety of reasons) has a traumatic effect on their children.  You can just see the kids being set up for a more complicated life than any of us can imagine. 

And while educators can help at school , we can’t always help them when they’re not in school.

I don’t think Whitney Houston was a bad person.  But I do think for all of her talent, her lasting impression on the world will be how her child raises her kids.

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Rule #1: Don’t Bleed in the House.


Band-aids Were Cheaper Than a Doctor at My House.It may just be my imagination (or possibly the voices in my head), but are parents getting soft with their kids?

Maybe I am old (that’s a yes if you are keeping score at home) and I am only able to remember how tough parents where when I was a kid.

If memory serves me correct, we had it rough in regards to how our parents treated us.

I distinctly remember living in a cave. We had no money. No cars (unless you count the 85 foot station wagon with fake wood paneling on the side). Four television stations, if you count PBS. No electricity or food and we certainly didn’t eat out, go on vacation, or visit a doctor.

My parents had a theory on doctors. They felt they were expensive. You have to admit, while their theory is very basic, there is some genius hidden in its simplicity.

As parents, they made the difficult decision that it was cheaper for their children to die, than it was to take them to the doctor. Actually, as I recall, they really didn’t struggle with this decision that long.

A shallow grave near the family pets’ graveyard can make a lovely resting place for a teenage boy.

You may be thinking, what about the funeral? You can’t be serious. Do the math. Too expensive, plus they had three kids just in case one was damaged beyond repair.

One kid goes down and they would still have two more than when they started. Again, simple- but genius.

Since we were not allowed to go to the doctor, we were encouraged not to get hurt.

If we were hurt, there was one basic rule that had to be followed. No exceptions and no excuses. The rule was “Don’t bleed in the house.”

If you were bleeding, you were quickly ushered (pushed) outside in the yard.

How my parents were not elected King and Queen of the United States Association of Parents, I will never understand.

These days it seems like kids go to the nurse’s office and the emergency room for any reason. A good school nurse does more business on a Monday morning than four overpriced Starbucks.

Students are just looking for a reason to go see her. Cough, running nose, head hurts, broken bones, loss of an eye in PE, etc. are all reasons to run to a paid, very expensive medical professional. Not in my day.

When I was a kid, I could have come home with a shiv stuck directly in my heart and I would have gotten yelled at for bleeding out in the living room.

After the screaming died down, my parents would have pointed out (if I could still hear them before I crossed over to the other side) how I just ruined my family’s evening.

I can hear my dad now, “Quit crying, it is a long way from your heart.” Which I would have replied, “Actually the shiv is in my heart.”

“Don’t be a baby and don’t bleed in the house.”

It takes longer than you think to dig a shallow grave.

My wife found this entry disturbing. She wants everyone to know that parts of this blog were embellished. I must admit that she is correct. The station wagon wasn’t really that long and I wouldn’t have been allowed to pass on until I dug my own grave.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.