Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Closing of the Year

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have and so
We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year
—Wendy And Lisa - The Closing of the Year

Saturday, December 28, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 12.28.13

the fault is in our...philosophy | John Green on US health care http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

your kid got a handheld device...now what? Common Sense Media recommends apps for every agehttp://bit.ly/1dd7MNS 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

the fault in our philosophy | John Green on US health care

I missed this piece from John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Mental Floss, brother to Hank Green) on why the US has long spent so much more on health care — including more tax dollars — than other developed economies (we're looking at you Canada, UK, Australia) with so little to show for it. Who's at fault? Insurance companies? Drug companies? Malpractice lawyers? Hospitals? Or is it more complicated than a simple blame game? ("Hint: It's that one," he says.)

For a more thorough examination of US health care expenses, Mr. Green recommends a series at The Incidental Economist: http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wor... The Commonwealth Fund's Study of Health Care Prices in the US http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/med... and this New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/hea...

Mr. Green promises this is part one in a series on health care costs and reforms leading up to the full rollout of the Affordable Care Act next year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 12.21.13

have yourself a merry little Christmas [h/t Apple] http://jimhancock.blogspot.com

Read it yourself: What GQ actually says Phil Robertson actually said. http://gqm.ag/1bWiCqn

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 12.14.13

Listen Fast: Do Digital Natives Exist? http://bit.ly/1gskk7c

the affluenza defense | 4 dead; the drunk driver gets probation http://cnn.it/1gsX8FU

I've got your Santa right here Ms. Kelly http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

is sorrow enough? | wringing our hands over gun violence http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

is sorrow enough? | wringing our hands over gun violence

Is sorrow enough?

One year and 11,494 US gun deaths since Newtown, what else have we done than wring our hands?

If you don't like the way this is going, or if you do, tell the people who represent you in Washington exactly what you want them to do. 

 Find your Senators   Find your Congressional Representative 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 12.07.13

read it yourself | assessing what 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know http://bit.ly/1gBV3VB

When I take Adderall, I think, ‘This must be how really successful, smart people are all the time' http://alj.am/1g6qrOl

Nelson Mandela | ahead of the flock 

Friday, December 06, 2013

Nelson Mandela | ahead of the flock

"There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way." 

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, p.526, 1995

Monday, December 02, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the two weeks ending 11.30.13

HoHoHo | Gift ideas (books, movies/tv, apps, games + music) for kids 2-6, 7-12 + 13-17 from Common Sense Media http://bit.ly/1b6fQAQ 

the Batkid should lose his health insurance http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

the common good | why the guy who "created" the # didn't seek a patent 

finishing what we started | making good on unintended consequences http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

Nickelodeon study: 8 out of 10 kids say they wish they could spend more time with their parents http://bit.ly/1eoKlkh

sustainably interesting | This Black Friday, Repair, Don't Buy, Says Patagonia http://bit.ly/1iOKYqn

Just back from a remarkable experience with 3k+ youth workers @ #nywc in Nashville. I never tire of this tribe. Thanks @YouthSpecialties

A Proclamation + Invitation to Thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln | 1863 http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

finishing what we started | making good on unintended consequences

Secretary of Defense mikes a compelling case for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
...One of the legacies of the past twelve years of war is that thousands of young Americans will carry physical wounds for the rest of their lives. These wounded warriors deserve to have the same opportunities to live, work, and travel as every other American, and to participate fully in society whether at home or abroad. Joining this treaty will allow the United States to help shape international practices for individuals with disabilities that are consistent with our own high standards for access and opportunity. It will also help personnel who have family members with disabilities, who often have to choose between their families and their careers when considering assignments in other countries...Failing to approve this treaty would send the wrong message to our people, their families, and the world. Approving it would help all people fulfill their potential. That's why I strongly support swift Senate action.
-- quoted by Gordon Lubold at Foreign Policy, 11.21.13 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


And the Batkid's family should lose their home.

That's the effect of the words and actions of people who want to delay, defund or do away with The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — Obamacare.

Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone helpfully matches the Batkid messaging of 10 Members of Congress — my representative among them — with their voting record and public statements about the Affordable Care Act. 

I'm sending a link to my congressman as a reminder that words have meaning and votes have consequences — his and ours.

Monday, November 18, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 11.16.13

E-cigarettes on the school yard 

with apologies to G.K. Chesterton | sometimes good things are difficult 

will wary advertisers risk Snapchat for a shot at reaching Teens? http://bit.ly/1agCzZ5

to life! | a pretty good start 

Friday, November 15, 2013

with apologies | sometimes good things are difficult

With apologies to G.K. Chesterton,* the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult; and left untried.

* I borrow Mr. Chesterton's phrasing on an even bigger theme from What's Wrong with the World (1910)

Monday, November 11, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 11.09.13

smoke from a different fire | what we know about abusers of pain killers, heroin + krokodil

Samuel L. Jackson's work is (mostly) not suitable for young children | + he knows it 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 11.02.13

bossing v partnering [part i] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Growing up mobile | digital children in the US 

opportunities + obstacles | websites + the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) http://bit.ly/1f8cjRn

bossing v partnering [part ii] | a small idea from Raising Adults http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

The fabulous Kate Jaeger — the artist formerly known as Kate Hancock — preps for after-show hijinks at the Village Theatre production of Les Misérables, opening soon all over Seattle.

Friday, November 01, 2013

bossing v partnering [part ii] | a small idea from Raising Adults

The opposite of Bossing is Partnering. A partner asks for help when she needs it, seeks insight from others, makes room for differences in style, doesn’t make a big deal out of things that don’t really matter. 
A Boss turns into a Partner when he comes to believe his way isn’t the only way. Or when he reaches the end of his rope. Or both. When there’s too much work and not enough time. When he’s sick or double-booked or overwhelmed or just plain worn out. Most Bosses hold out as long as they can. But very few can hold out forever. Life’s too complicated. Once that time comes, the biggest question is whether there’s anybody left to Partner with.
The Boss may have done so much relational damage that no one wants to help. Why put myself on the line for someone who’s going to criticize me for not being him? He’s already made it perfectly clear that I’m inadequate for the job. 
On the other hand, if I love my Boss (and if it’s my parent or spouse there’s a pretty good chance I do) I may be willing to help when he really needs it. 
All he has to do is ask.
Asking for help and really meaning it spells the end of Bossing. And most reformed Bosses never look back because Partnering is simply more inviting for everyone involved, more fun, more profitable, more energizing.
Partners learn to relish a few extra minutes of drive time if those minutes can be used to nurture a relationship. 
Partners don’t mind not getting every plate and glass into the dishwasher if it means standing next to a child and chatting while they wash a few pots and pans together. 
Simply put, Partners place more value on people than precision.
I’m not saying there’s no place for the pursuit of perfection. I want a surgeon committed to zero defects in her team. But there’s no place for perfectionism in human relationships. When we’re talking about household chores, or getting across town, if someone gets it wrong, nobody dies. What’s the big deal that’s worth alienating our children over how the dishes get washed?
Next time you realize you just freaked out over a detail that was—in the grand scheme of lifeless than nothing, try being your own Collaborator. Take a moment and ask yourself:
  • What just happened here? What did I say and do in front of my child? What message do I think he got from me?
  • Why did I send that message? Why did that seem so important to me just then?
  • How do I want to proceed from here? What do I want to communicate in the next 30 minutes? How do I want to handle myself the next time something like this comes up?

At the end of the day, Partnering is better for raising adults than Bossing. When I Partner, my kid becomes a participant, not just an observer. I want that. When I Partner, my child learns new skills that prepare her for the future. I want that too. When I Partner, I free up time to focus on other important things—like how I’m really doing in life. 
Okay, I’m not sure I want that. But it’s what I need. The truth is, one reason I get Bossy about details that really matter only to me—elevating a simple task to the level of national security—is to divert myself (and everyone around me, I hope) from the reality of where I truly am compared to where it seems plain I need to be.
Now that I think of it, I really don’t care for this line of reasoning. I’ll forget about Partnering if you will.
— from Raising Adults

Monday, October 28, 2013

bossing v partnering [part i] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Nobody likes to be around Bossy people. Bosses know everything; which is way too much. Whatever it is, they know how to do it—better than anyone else. They’re impatient with those who do things differently.
Bosses can be a big pain in the behind.
No, give me that towel! You’re not folding it right. This family has folded towels the same way for six generations: in thirds the short way, then in thirds the long way. How could you not know that? 
Note that How could you not know that? is in the form of a question. But there’s nothing sincere about it. Can you see anything in the context of this exchange that would make the kid believe his parent was an Explorer and not just pushy Boss? 
No, don’t turn here, this is the long way! Just pay attention; I’ll show you how to get there. 
The kid thinks: “Why don’t I just let you drive? In fact, let me out; I’ll catch the next bus.”
That’s not the way to load a dishwasher. You can get more in if you ... Oh, just give me the plate.
Truly: Does anyone really believe this is the path to raising an adult?
Seriously... If you’ve been Bossing, please give it rest. Humankind will thank you. I promise.

— from Raising Adults

Sunday, October 27, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 10.26.13

resentment + theology 

High/Low | what college students expect to earn (in dollars) by majors http://n.pr/1fVDn9A 

pick a side | Jon Stewart on the American financial press http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

Is divorce contagious? Findings from the longitudinal Framingham Heart Study suggest the answer may be yes http://bit.ly/16wbhP4

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

resentment + theology

Martin Marty, who often makes me think twice, offers up this nugget from John R. Bowlin (in Jeffrey Stout's book, Democracy and Tradition):

Resentment is easy. Theology is hard.

I can't stop thinking about this the last couple of days...

Monday, October 21, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 10.19.13

Am I pretty or ugly? Online trolls + creepers respond to someone they think is 15 years old 

Common Sense Media takes a swing at parents' top 10 questions about cyber-bullying 

fixing v. collaborating [part iii] | a small idea from Raising Adults http://jimhancock.blogspot.com

Lemony Snicket, still at it again http://bit.ly/1aTT7E6 

Computerworld | Facebook loosens its rules on teen privacy http://bit.ly/1c2TvW6 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

fixing v. collaborating [part iii] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Instead of Fixing, try Collaborating. The Fixer follows an expedient path to short-term good. The Collaborator imagines a time when he won’t be on hand to fix things or a circumstance too complicated to be simply fixed.
The Collaborator—who is also an Explorer by the way—begins with questions designed to find out what the child knows. One of the great things about collaborating is it’s equally valuable in both positive experiences or negative—learning—experiences. Kids can learn to repeat positive experiences and avoid negative ones. The collaboration is virtually the same.
Here are the three Big Questions for the Collaborator:
What? Why? How?
What do you think happened? This is not a technique, it’s a honest inquiry, so don’t get hung up on the wording. What do you think happened? or Tell me about it. or What stands out for you from that experience? are all fine variations on the theme. Whatever words you use you’re inviting your child (or student, or employee) to put a name on her experience. The subject might be a disagreement or a book, a film or a lecture or a close call on the highway. Doesn’t matter. What matters is hearing what the kid thinks she experienced.
Why do you think it happened? Once he’s identified what seems to have happened your kid is ready to assign meaning to the experience. The essential question is Why, out of all the possible outcomes, did this one occur? Why do you think you identified more closely with that character in the book than with the others? The answer to which tells the Collaborator and the child something neither may have known before the question was posed. Why do you think you misunderstood your sister? invites a consideration of why he heard something other than what she said. Why do you think you overestimated the amount of gas in the tank? calls for an assessment of decision-making skills and wishful thinking. 
How do you think you could repeat this success (or avoid this failure)? This is the money question. If a child can answer this question, the learning cycle is complete because now she can take purposeful action to repeat success or avoid failure. She may or may not be emotionally prepared to take the action. But whether she does or doesn’t the Collaborator will have a chance to repeat the same process next time, celebrating success or commiserating with failure. In either case, if the kid can answer the What? Why? and How? questions she’s a step closer to intelligent independence.
The beauty of Collaborating is you don’t have to do it forever. Eventually, you can help your child see what you’ve been doing (and how and why you do it). Then in most situations she can take over the process herself.
In more formal learning situations I frequently ask the What? Why? and How? questions this way: 
What’s the most significant thing you heard or thought about in this session? 
Why do you think that’s so important? 
How do you think you might apply that to your life?” 
When I teach kids this process I make a guarantee. I say: If you answer these three questions at the end of every class session and reading assignment, you’ll raise your grade by half a point to a point. I’ve made this promise for many years, and I’ve never had to take it back.
You may notice these questions are centered on the kid rather than the adult. There are two reasons for this. First, the Collaborator is asking a question she doesn’t already have the answer to. 
Otherwise it would be a trap. 
Second, I’ve come to believe that people learn what they can learn—what they’re prepared to learn—rather than what they’re supposed to learn. It would be great if we all learned sequentially, one thing after another until we knew it all. That’s not the case. Complex learning is more like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s non-sequential and associative. So when a kid is asked to describe his own perceptions of an event his answers are correct by definition: 
This is what I thought was happening.
This is why I thought so.
It may be that his perceptions are inaccurate—he thought the digital clock said 11:10 p.m. when it actually said  1:10 a.m. So of course he was shocked to find out he was two hours late. Is there reason to believe he falsified his story? If not, he needn’t be punished for a misperception. Of course that doesn’t mean he won’t still pay the price of a broken agreement. But that’s a judgment call for his parent.
Whenever we ask, What do you think happened? we get another view of our child’s learning curve. We get to compare where we thought he was on the curve, with where he really seems to be with where he’s supposed to be.
That creates a matrix that’s updated every time we process a significant event, whether positive or negative. And if we can effectively process a negative event it’s likely to become positive. That’s what we call learning from our mistakes.

— from Raising Adults

Sunday, October 13, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 10.12.13

A totally unscientific look at a 10-year-old using social media [AdAge] http://bit.ly/1gnrZSw 

imagine | crashing the global economy on principle... http://jimhancock.blogspot.com

in plain speech | who's shutdown is this? http://jimhancock.blogspot.com

food for thought | Mickey D's will include books in 20MM Happy Meals Nov 1-14—that's a lot of Happy Meals... http://bit.ly/GNEvgE

fixing v. collaborating [part ii] | a small idea from Raising Adults 

Parents say time with kids is more rewarding than paid work—and more exhausting 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

fixing v. collaborating [part ii] | a small idea from Raising Adults

Fixers come in every size, color and shape. Rich, poor, and right down the middle. A fair amount of fixing is done out of guilt by parents who are otherwise disengaged.
I remember the sad outrage my young friends expressed after a classmate’s suicide. The kid drove off the end of a bluff, much as Thelma and Louise would shortly thereafter. But there was no one chasing this girl. The others couldn’t believe her parents were so dense. She’d already totaled two vehicles in single car accidents, but her father and mother just didn’t get it. They dutifully replaced the first car with a second, sturdier one. And they replaced the second car with the one she used to kill herself.
I suppose that’s an extreme case. Nothing like that probably ever happened in another family. Probably wouldn’t ever happen again. 
Another kid I knew stacked her empties in the bedroom closet. From time to time her mother cleaned them out without a word. The mom told me she wanted her daughter to know she was aware the drinking. What she didn’t want was the confrontation. Of course that inevitably came when the kid got so strung out she couldn’t function any longer. When things finally unraveled the girl said she couldn’t understand why her mom ignored her for so long.
The stories multiply in my head.
An adolescent girl who tortured and killed frogs and insects to gross out her parents and friends around the family pool, eventually killed herself. Everyone wondered why she was so angry. But no one ever asked. 
Another came home from a trip to find all her laxatives and diuretics—the medicinal part of her anorexia—neatly arranged on her dresser. The girl put the drugs back in the closet and continued her eating disorder, feeling more alone than ever. Years of physical and emotional harm passed before she started ironing that out with her mom woman-to-woman. 
Fixing doesn’t fix a thing. At best, it postpones the inevitable. At worst, it’s deadly.
I killed a mouse yesterday. I didn’t relish the task so I did it quickly. I did it because the mouse was caught in a trap, its back leg caught when the metal bar snapped shut. 
The little guy was moving around pretty good on three legs, trying to get free, but I could see it wasn’t going anywhere. My mind flashed to another mouse in another trap. 
That one didn’t belong inside either; that was the point of the snare. But it was moving about so vigorously in the trap that I took it outside, figuring it would hobble away, lesson learned. It seemed like a good fix. A couple of hours later I went outside to be sure it got away. It didn’t. I found it convulsed in pain, swarmed by ants crawling in and out of it’s mouth and nose. I felt sick. I feel sick remembering it now.
So yesterday I killed a mouse because there was no good fix. I didn’t relish the task so I did it quickly.
Just in case you are overly literal: I’m not suggesting we set traps for children. I’m using unpleasant imagery to say our kids can’t afford to have us fix things for them. Because it’s a trap and they may not be able to survive it. What they require from us is honesty, accountability, decisive action, compassionate love. 
If for a month you refuse to bail your kid out, he’ll be surprised, then angry, then hurt, and then he’ll slowly accept that it’s not your job to fix things for him. 
And in case you were wondering, don’t expect him to say thanks...not right away.

— from Raising Adults

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

crashing the global economy on principle...

"...imagine if a Democratic Congress threatened to crash the global economy unless a Republican president agreed to gun background checks or immigration reform. I think it’s fair to say that Republicans would not think that was appropriate."  
President Obama, 10.08.13

Monday, October 07, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 10.05.13

ObamaCare | find out what will health coverage cost you http://jimhancock.blogspot.com

fixing v. collaborating [part i] | a small idea from Raising adults http://jimhancock.blogspot.com 

Breaking News: Millennial parents behave a lot like...you know...parents. http://bit.ly/1g7KZnK 

the work we have chosen to do together 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

the work we have chosen to do together

An Open Letter from Senator Elizabeth Warren

If you watch the anarchist tirades coming from extremist Republicans in the House, you'd think they believe that the government that governs best is a government that doesn't exist at all.

But behind all the slogans of the Tea Party – and all the thinly veiled calls for anarchy in Washington – is a reality: The American people don't want a future without government.

When was the last time the anarchy gang called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children's toys? Or for inspectors to stop checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria? Or for the FDA to ignore whether morning sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in our babies?

When? Never. In fact, whenever the anarchists make any headway in their quest and cause damage to our government, the opposite happens.

After the sequester kicked in, Republicans immediately turned around and called on us to protect funding for our national defense and to keep our air traffic controllers on the job.

And now that the House Republicans have shut down the government – holding the country hostage because of some imaginary government "health care boogeyman" – Republicans almost immediately turned around and called on us to start reopening parts of our government.

Why do they do this? Because the boogeyman government in the alternate universe of their fiery political speeches isn't real. It doesn't exist.

Government is real, and it has three basic functions:
  1. Provide for the national defense.
  2. Put rules in place rules, like traffic lights and bank regulations, that are fair and transparent.
  3. Build the things together that none of us can build alone – roads, schools, power grids – the things that give everyone a chance to succeed.
These things did not appear by magic. In each instance, we made a choice as a people to come together. We made that choice because we wanted to be a country with a foundation that would allow anyone to have a chance to succeed.

The Food and Drug Administration makes sure that the white pills we take are antibiotics and not baking soda. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees crash tests to make sure our new cars have functioning brakes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission makes sure that babies' car seats don't collapse in a crash and that toasters don't explode.

We are alive, we are healthier, we are stronger because of government. Alive, healthier, stronger because of what we did together.

We are not a country of anarchists. We are not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is, "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own." We are not a country that tolerates dangerous drugs, unsafe meat, dirty air, or toxic mortgages.

We are not that nation. We have never been that nation. And we never will be that nation.

The political minority in the House that condemns government and begged for this shutdown has its day. But like all the reckless and extremist factions that have come before it, its day will pass – and the government will get back to the work we have chosen to do together.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

fixing v. collaborating [part i] | a small idea from Raising Adults

The line between actions and consequences is severely blurred for most kids because, by and large, they don’t understand the general principle of cause and effect.
They don’t understand cause and effect because the adults in their lives constantly come behind them to fix things when they screw up.
This problem is complicated by idle threats and equally idle promises. 
If you’re a good boy at the store (whatever that means), I’ll buy you a treat, is a promise that’s easily lost in the excuse: It’s too close to dinner; you’ll spoil your appetite.
Not fair! Sure, we have to be concerned for a kid’s nutritional well-being...so we’d better take care to not make idle promises in exchange for compliant behavior.
All right, that’s it! One more word out of you and we’re going straight home!
Really? You’re going to load everybody back onto the bus and go straight home? I’m not saying you shouldn’t do exactly that if it fits the situation. But please don’t threaten to do it if you know you can’t live with the consequences of following through. 
If I say: Stop nagging! You kids are killing me! I should have the decency to die the next time one of them nags. Otherwise, it’s just an idle promise. 
More to the point is the fact that, not wanting our kids to experience pain, many of us are quick rescue them from the consequences of their failures and wrongdoing. 
When they’re young we easily replace a toy carelessly lost or broken in anger and shield children from the cost of their actions. Time passes and we drop what we’re doing to deliver an item thoughtlessly left behind so a middle-schooler won’t suffer a loss of prestige or miss a meal or fail to turn in a paper on time. Still later, we cover a negligently overdrawn checking account or pay a traffic ticket and insurance increase resulting from a moving violation, or foot the bill for whatever we believe will rescue our little knucklehead from a ruined life. 
And they resent us for it. Maybe not in the moment, but soon, and forever until we make it right.

— from Raising Adults

Monday, September 30, 2013

ObamaCare | What will health coverage cost you?

Kaiser Family Foundation


Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins tomorrow. The nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation created a free calculator for people who don't have health coverage or struggle to afford the coverage they have. 

Enter estimates based on the income you anticipate in 2014, and find out what to expect, including the possibility that you are eligible for subsidized health cover. 

The calculator is handy, private and secure (meaning you're the only one who sees the results — you can estimate high, low and middle to see a range of possibilities).

Try the calculator

Sunday, September 29, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 09.28.13

telling the truth | Ricky Gervais in Fast Company 

2013 SAT scores hold steady, mostly 

This is OBAMACARE | what's at stake 

McDonalds backs sodas out of the Happy Meals menu http://bit.ly/1bcTaw2 

forever young? | that's a baby boomer problem http://jimhancock.blogspot.com