Sunday, November 15, 2015

same song, another verse (a little louder? a little worse?)

It's not supposed to be like this.
No one has a right to walk into a concert hall, a cafe, a stadium, an office, a market, a grade school, and murder people. No one has that right.

The children must hear us say this clearly and with a whole heart. Who else can say it? Who else would? We are the ones sitting face to face with kids who question God, goodness, and self government, and all who represent themselves as being in charge of the world as it is 
It's not supposed to be like this.
The children must hear us say that the God who spoke through the prophets at many times and in various ways—who in these last days has spoken to us by his Son—this God takes no pleasure in the suffering and death of his creatures.

They must hear us say it's not supposed to be like this, and someday it won’t be—that the hope of the gospel includes a new heaven and a new earth where goodness is completely at home—we haven’t seen it, but in faith we see it coming. 
In the meantime, they must hear us proclaim that life is grace and horrible things happen; that the ground beneath our feet is prone to shift; that people are capable of breathtaking acts of love and self sacrifice, and staggering acts of violence and oppression; that the sun rises and the rain falls on the good, the ordinary, and the horrid.
They must hear us declare the mercy of God who promises the good news will one day prove to be as relentlessly good as the bad news is so relentlessly bad in these days. The children must hear us confess that life is hard and God is good.
But first, they must hear the active silence of us listening to them them. They must be convinced we hear their denial and fear and anger and confusion—that we have our own fear, and anger, and confusion.

They must see that we are not afraid of silence... not afraid to let paper and colored markers express what can't be spoken—knowing the children will almost certainly require more blue and violet and black and gray than yellow and green.

We must be prepared to talk when we believe they are ready to hear. Without glibness. Without talking down. Without bluffing.

Here's is a comprehensive list of things we can absolutely promise the young who live in our care:

1. We will do everything in our power to protect you each and every day.

2. ...(there is no 2).

We must not make promises we can't keep.

That said, we must not believe for a moment that being unable to do everything we wish, in any way disqualifies us from doing everything we can—or relieves our duty to wish and work in every way we must. Strength and goodness were never prerequisites for action. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?" the writer Annie Dillard asks,"or shall stand in his holy place?" 
There is no one but us. There is no one to send, nor a clean hand, nor a pure heart on the face of the earth, nor in the earth, but only us, a generation comforting ourselves with the notion that we have come at an awkward time, that our innocent fathers are all dead—as if innocence had ever been—and our children busy and troubled, and we ourselves unfit, not yet ready, having each of us chosen wrongly, made a false start, failed, yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures, and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and involved. But there is no one but us. There never has been. There have been generations which remembered, and generations which forgot; there has never been a generation of whole men and women who lived well for even one day. — Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm, Harper and Row, 1977 p 56-57
This is the spirit in which each generation of God's people ushers the next generation to that table God prepares before us in the presence of our enemies. None of us comes to this table because we are worthy. If we come at all, we come because we are hungry.

We must be present, ears and eyes and hearts open to what is before us and around us and inside us. We must push ourselves to remember and tell the truth as well as we can, and trust God to make that enough.
[This is adapted from from the silence of the lambs, posted December 14, 2012, following the massacre of children at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connencticut (which, in turn, was adapted from It's Not Supposed to Be Like This, posted April 16, 2007, following the slaughter at Virginia Tech). Here are some biblical texts that inform these thoughts and may be useful as you explore all this: the opening paragraph of Hebrews...2 Peter 3...Hebrews 11...Matthew 5:38-48...Psalm 24...Psalm 23...Isaiah 55]

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

in the wind | tweets from the space ending 10.20.15

Where kids get the guns they carry + how to reduce the incidence of minors carrying firearms

Free 2015 National Bullying Prevention Month resources for teenagers

Sanitized for your protection|Is this a thing where you live?

teenage tobacco use 2014

the price we pay for easing access to firearms just about all the time for just about anyone

States with informed antibullying laws reduce by 20% compared with other states

US teenagers by the numbers |annual death rate declined more than 1/3 from 1999 through 2013

Digital Differences | Teenage Boys, Girls, Social Media + Romance

The less $ parents made 2011-14, the more likely their children were diagnosed w/ ADD or ADHD

US high school cigarette, cigar + marijuana smoking declined 1997–2013—% using pot but not tobacco rose

fatal crash rates for teen drivers fell 56% 2004–13—but car crashes still kill more teens than all causes

Putin + Power | Food for thought from Fareed Zakaria

playing doctor | new report on how state lawmakers insert themselves between us + our physicians

Sunday, September 20, 2015

In the wind | tweets from the space ending 09.19.15

9th grade is the most common year for sex abuse against girls | here's a pdf for parents 

separating wheat from chaff is a learned skill 

YouTube Minecraft channels are not all created equal 

My  answer to What is a content designer? 

Monday, September 14, 2015

In the wind | tweets from the space ending 09.13.15

why are we still talking about this? | 2015 VMA ratings were in the toilet with the show's lowlights 

re: reports of sliding SAT scores | College success relates more to HS GPA than test scores 

vapes + chaw | 2001–13 HS smokeless tobacco use rose more among athletes than nonathletes 

Does your underage child use Kik Messenger? |  tips for  

happy Labor Day to all the greedy-grabby workers 

Every once in a while, a story... 

teaching - without preaching - about religious practice 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

rocks cry out | a StoryCorps Story about mercy

Julio Diaz courtesy StoryCorps

Every now and again a story like this one from Julio Diaz pops ups and stops me in my tracks. It's been floating around for quite a while but, somehow, I just heard it [h/t @JayHowver]. It's short, but, I think, long-lasting.

In an epoch of crazed, angry, fear, Mr. Diaz drops a little mercy on a stranger who needs it. Thank you sir. And thank you, StoryCorps.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

greedy-grabby workers | Anne Lamott on Labor Day

I understand why politicians want to see labor as the cause of most of our societal and economic problems. It takes the focus off the banks, the corporations, the military-industrial complex. But public school teachers? I guess they really are sort of greedy and grabby — not to mention rich. Especially those greedy-grabby public school special ed teachers. My younger brother is one of them, and boy, is he raking it in. Talk about take, take, take. -- Anne Lamott

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

in the wind | tweets from the space ending 08.28.15

Too early | Early school day start as a risk factor for adolescents

grade-by-grade | a parents guide to primary school learning objectives + methods

UPDATE on the great northern migration | turns out it's 98043

holy moley | Stephen Colbert talks about life, the universe + everything

Future Framers of America | 15 year-old presidential candidate polling well in early states

when they're good they're very good + when they're bad they're horrid | suspect social apps

Diagnosis | 1997-2014: Has a health professional ever told you your child had ADHD or ADD?

social media network effect | a bit overstated + clunky perhaps, but here's a useful case study

The first time | new data on when college students are most likely to first try controlled substances

Sunday, August 09, 2015

in the wind | tweets from the space ending 08.08.15

Losing their cool? | life after middle school

Gray Matters | New medical study finds childhood poverty negatively affects brain development

passages | 92024 - 98155 (give or take)

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

passages | 92024 - 98155 (give or take) UPDATE

If you were thinking about coming to visit Susan and/or me in San Diego, think instead of what that visit might be like in Seattle - because that's where we'll be... tomorrow (assuming nothing weirder happens than us moving from San Diego to Seattle).

[UPDATE: We've found a lovely place to live in Mountlake Terrace, Washington - a touch more than ten miles north of Seattle proper (that's 98043 for those keeping score at home). It's worlds away from our little southern California beach town - there are big trees and blackberry brambles out the back door, and it's remarkably quiet. Second night in town we saw Kate in Shakespeare's As You Like It in the Seattle Shakespeare Company outdoor summer series; fourth night, we heard her sing a hilarious and delightful new song in the 17th annual New Voices concert at Seattle Repertory Theater - so, off to an entertaining start! Just a bit more unpacking and settling (thanks for helping with the move-in Hamers + Jaegers!) and we'll be fully operational. 

On this first day of school for many families we love, I suppose we're feeling the end of summer too - sad to have left our good life and lovely friends in California... and excited for all that's ahead.]

Leaving Colorado in 2000, we expected to land in the Seattle area but found ourselves happily rerouted for 15 wonderful years at the beach. Now, in the ebb and flow of all things, we’ve decided to complete the journey. We sold our little beach home at blinding speed, and we’re on our way.
In terms of work, other than physical location, nothing changes - the tiny company called me is still open for business, just farther north.
This move brings us back together with our daughter, the amazing Kate Jaeger and her wonder-spouse Eli, so we're majorly stoked about that. This reunion mitigates some of the melancholy we feel in leaving dear friends and neighbors in our remarkable San Diego community (we never expected that sort of closeness - what a crazy, beautiful grace... Thank you.)
So, on we go! More news when there is more...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

in the wind | tweets from the space ending 07.14.15

sexting | L.A. Unified opts for prevention over punishment

good news | Kentucky churches integrate Common Core standards in Vacation Bible School

ending racism for good | "Try not! Do. Or do not. There is no try."

You know they kill Nemo's mom, right? | Films you should watch + talk about WITH your child

teenage sexual predators | important new study on adolescents who perpetrate sexual violence

Not what the preacher said | 82% of 13-17 year-olds in Ypulse study say they are virgins
gamer survey | boys want better female game protagonists

Sunday, July 05, 2015

In the wind | tweets from the space ending 07.05.15

Common Sense Media's running list of outstanding movies for children, tweens, and teens  

Brilliant. Neil Gaiman reveals the easiest path to becoming a writer h/t Publication Life 


Summer reading for middle schoolers  h/t 

first person | a plantation tour guide + the questions she got about slavery  

inside out | a graphic artist explores the overlap of 25 emotions