Character Education, Behavior Repair, and Charles Dickens

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Character Education, Behavior Repair—“By Any Other Name. . .”

key“It is easier  to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

Dickens_dream<—Charles Dickens and his characters

In Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations, the young boy Pip started out in difficult circumstances, being raised by his older sister, who was very harsh. When he came of age, he was blessed with a considerable fortune from an unknown benefactor. His money caused him to be rather prideful and vain, but his conscience always bothered him. When at length he discovered the source of that fortune, he was humbled. In due time, Pip overcame his pride and vanity, because he ultimately heeded his conscience, felt compassion for many he had once disliked, and developed a sincere desire to do what was right.

Another story from great literature is in the Bible, where Jesus Christ met the woman taken in adultery. After He shamed her accusers, there was no one left to condemn her or throw stones at her. The Savior told her to “go and sin no more.” Although Jesus did not condemn her, neither did He forgive her at that time. There is something she needed to do first, in order to obtain that forgiveness. She needed time to repent. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.68)

The dictionary defines repent—“to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.”

Character education, behavior repair—what have you—implies the choosing of right over wrong, and making an effort to change for the better, or in other words, repentance. Repentance, by any other name, is still repentance.

People often have negative feelings about repentance. However, honest observations of our current culture compel us to acknowledge that good character leads to a more peaceful, orderly, and happy society. The truth of this principle cannot be ignored.

Parents need not be afraid of holding their children to high moral standards. The atonement of Christ is a safety net in the times of falling short, but it is fastened to repentance. Repentance is not easy, but it is easier in the long run. Still, “it is easier [yet] to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

After His suffering was over, Jesus said that if we would repent, or turn from sin, we would not have to suffer for those sins, because He already paid the price. So, at the end of the day, we see that “repentance” is really a message of love, because it is the key to mercy, and ultimately saves us from a lot of unhappiness.

Copyright © 2011 by C.A. Davidson

faith-and-freedomFortify your family with the Judeo-Christian Heritage HERE

Charles John Huffam Dickens; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period.[1] During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.[2][3]

Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors’ prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly installments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.[4][5] The installment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback.[5] For example, when his wife’s chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens went on to improve the character with positive features.[6] Fagin in Oliver Twist apparently mirrors the famous fence Ikey Solomon;[7] His caricature of Leigh Hunt in the figure of Mr Skimpole in Bleak House was likewise toned down on advice from some of his friends, as they read episodes.[8] In the same novel, both Lawrence Boythorne and Mooney the beadle are drawn from real life—Boythorne from Walter Savage Landor and Mooney from ‘Looney’, a beadle at Salisbury Square.[9] His plots were carefully constructed, and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his narratives.[10] Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.[11]

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age.[12] His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to G. K. Chesterton and George Orwell—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.[13]

More about Charles Dickens

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Bible Stories: Character Education and Self-Government

Dinner Topics for Monday

Bible Stories: Character Education and Self-Government

Samson and Delilah—

Internal Government

*Teaching about the Fall

keySociety cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

samson-delilahSamson was raised from infancy, prepared by diligent parents to fulfill a mission of liberating Israel from the Philistines. Instead, he is known in scriptural record as the epic hero who never was. On the surface, the Biblical account of Samson looks rather amusing. That Samson’s remarkable physical prowess was connected to the length of his hair reads almost like one of Grimms’ fairy tales. The fact is, the length of Samson’s hair was only one outward manifestation of the Nazarite vows he had taken. The immense strength was a spiritual gift, contingent on his faithfulness to the Nazarite discipline.

Samson failed to develop the necessary self-discipline to merit the spiritual gifts he had been blessed with. As he became boastful, and trusted in his own strength rather than giving glory to God, Samson one by one broke all his vows. He indulged his selfish passions and appetites, including marrying out of the covenant with an immoral Philistine woman. He did not think anything through; his behavior was driven by his feelings.

When he trivialized the source of his strength by playing games with the Philistine Delilah, this represented the final breakdown of his discipleship to God.

She pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. (Judges 16:16)

mockingpeopleAt some point, most of us can probably relate to having experienced this kind of pressure from someone else. Samson’s failure came first from dallying so much with sin and temptation. He constantly surrounded himself with it. Is it any wonder that he finally broke when he was pestered long enough?

Samson’s lack of internal government caused his personal downfall and deprived his nation of liberating leadership.

One may also be pressured when trying to do something right. Even then, it is easy to react in anger, fear, or foolishness.

The “wise man who builds his house upon a rock” knows that true freedom comes from acting by choice rather than being acted upon.

buildingonrock“Discipline” is defined as “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” Simple, brute-strength “will power” is not mentioned. Because the natural man rarely has sufficient “will power,” the “wise man” trains, molds, and corrects himself on a daily basis. It is a building process— on rock. No shortcuts.

The wise man looks ahead, constructing his house to stand independently of forces that tear down and undo his work. Day by day, a step at a time, he schools his feelings, delays gratification, and subordinates foolish impulses to the larger character he is capable of. The less he indulges himself, the more substance he has, and the less room in his life for that which would cause irreparable downfall.

The builder’s to-do list might include practicing courteous actions rather than angry reactions. Discussing and using peaceful resolutions to conflict and misunderstanding. Using moderation in appetites and showing appreciation for the gifts and services of others. Teaching wisdom and order. All these seemingly small things make up the firm inner structure that can withstand incessant adverse elements and bring enduring peace of mind.

Character Education Concepts

gavarret-follow-christFor the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19 )

  1. Why is daily discipline in small choices more effective than “will power” in times of crisis?
  2. The three areas of temptation are: 1) appetites and passions 2)vanity 3)greed and power. How can this knowledge help us prepare to resist temptation?
  3. How can we avoid dallying with sin in the following areas? Movies and TV. Music. Reading material. Internet. Dating.
  4. What does “temperance” mean? Compare dedication and fanaticism.
  5. Choose five or more epic heroes from scripture and outline their ministries. How did they exemplify Christian discipleship?
  6. How does the Savior help us overcome our weaknesses through the atonement?

christs-outstreched-hand-lindsleyAnd if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.(Ether 12:27)

 

 

Copyright 2010 © by Christine A. Davidson

 

The Parable of the Empty House

As a Man Thinketh

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Prov. 23:7)

golden-calfAfter God had delivered them from bondage, the children of Israel began their epic journey to the promised land. Freedom, however, was not what they expected. Food was plentiful — indeed, bread from heaven rained down upon them daily. Yet they were not accustomed to the simplicity of the Lord’s way of life. Gone were the heathen groves wherein one could indulge in sensual pleasures. The flashy graven images were missing. Their new wilderness home was free of Egypt’s distractions. Now they could concentrate on building new lives for themselves, replacing the taint of idolatry with an eye single to the glory of God. They had but to look to God and live. Simple. They brought no Egyptian idols with them. Even so, they turned to idolatry, for in their minds, they were still in bondage.

The Savior gave a parable about this condition.

empty-house-2When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished, for the good spirit leaveth him unto himself.

Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (Matt. 12:43-45)

 

empty-houseThis oft overlooked parable of the empty house might speak of a man who leaves his old life behind, accepts the gospel and embarks upon the strait and narrow path of Christian discipleship. On that path the first obstacle is in the form of habits from his past. The iron rod [word of God] is steady and secure, but plain. It does not glitter and allure. In vain he searches for something on the road to heaven that will give him the same thrills and carnal satisfaction that his pre-conversion world held. He finds none.

Still, his soul has been cleansed, released from the chains of past wickedness. Agency has been extended to him anew. He has arrived at the pivotal point of his life, the brink of glorious opportunity.   However, if a traumatic experience in his previous life robbed him of spiritual roots, that opportunity could have a dangerous edge. His mind might be a spiritual vacuum. With what will he fill his mind? The choice is his, and his alone. Will he lay hold upon every good gift, or will he touch the unclean thing?

apathydudeThe trials and adversities of life are painful. Seeking comfort, the man turns, not to God, but to his old habits. He goes to Church every Sunday, but during the week, the old ways take over. Instead of looking to God to heal his pain, he numbs it with worldly distractions, which God calls idols. Seemingly innocuous habits move in and make themselves comfortable, and make him comfortable. Upon arising, the man turns to phone and social media. This programming is the first thing that enters his mind in the morning. What can be wrong with that? During lunch, social media. After work, TV. After dinner, games, social media. Before bed, social media, video games. After Church, electronic media, video games.

On Sunday, the man dutifully dusts off his scriptures and hauls them to Church. But they don’t mean anything. He doesn’t understand them. After years of worshiping images, he can no longer recognize the real thing. He has succeeded in numbing his pain. In fact, now he is “past feeling,” just like the idols which have received his unwavering attention for so long.

Moses was faced with the monumental task of sanctifying his people— removing the ungodly habits from their lives and filling their minds and hearts with the word of God. Most importantly, he had to keep the children from being sullied by the unholy baggage their parents had brought out from Egypt.

So he taught them,

family5prayingdinnerAnd these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deut. 6:6,7)

“Holy habits and righteous routines,”[1] when practiced daily, are part of holding to the iron rod [word of God], and will steady us on our path back to Heavenly Father.

Dinner Topic Questions

Dinner Talk Topic: Our conversation, use of leisure time, and choice of entertainment are a reflection of what is in our minds. *Controlling our thoughts

  1. How are our conversation, use of leisure time, and choice of entertainment a reflection of what is in our mind? When you are alone, what kind of background do you like to “keep you company? Is there a better companionship to seek?
  2. What do you dwell on when you have nothing specific to think about? If you look around, can you see someone who is worse off than you are? How does it make you feel?
  3. Are you alone in your circumstances? Why not?
  4. Can a self-absorbed person be truly happy?
  5. Can you recognize the presence of the Spirit? How?
  6. In what conditions will the Spirit withdraw?
  7. What seemingly small things can offend the Spirit?
  8. How can continual exposure to the sensationalism of electronic media cause a person to be “past feeling”? (1Nephi 17:45)
  9. What must we do to be worthy of having the continual companionship of the Holy Spirit?
  10. In what ways can games and social media dull our senses? How can reading scriptures or a good book, or listening to classical music,  be active rather than passive? Can we go through the motions and not understand the life lessons God is trying to teach us?
  11. How can failing to actively nourish our minds with spiritual food create a spiritual vacuum, and what are the dangers of such a vacuum?
  12. A “graven image” is a tangible object a person might worship instead of God. Also, spending time and money on things that distract someone from God might also be considered as idolatry. How can we avoid this problem in our lives?
  13. Look up “idolatry” in the dictionary. Is idolatry only an ancient evil? How can idolatry affect our lives today? Why do you think their idols caused the children of Israel to be immoral? Do cold, lifeless idols, or even movie idols, hold their worshipers accountable? What happens when there is no accountability?
  14. James 1:8. “ A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” What must we do to stay out of spiritual Babylon?
  15. Isaiah 7:15 “Refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Is it possible to “touch the unclean thing” without letting go of the word of God?

 

Copyright 2010 © by Christine A. Davidson

 

            [1] Elaine Dalton, “Look toward Eternity!”. Ensign, November 2006, p.32

History: Booker T. Washington, Leader in Education

Leader in Education

keyBooker T. Washington was a “famous African American educator—one of the most significant of all black educators. Not only did he head the famous Tuskegee Institute but he also started a Bible college to improve education for Gospel ministers in black churches.
“His students from Tuskegee became leaders and educators across the nation. Washington’s own practice was to spend time in the Bible every day, and he incorporated religious exercises into the academic studies at Tuskegee. In fact, tuskegee students not only received religious and moral lessons during the course of their regular academic studies but they were also required to attend chapel services, where Booker T. himself delivered lessons and sermons.” (David Barton, Four Centuries of American Education, p.41)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
220px-Booker_T_WashingtonBooker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community.
Washington was of the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants, who were newly oppressed by disfranchisement and the Jim Crow discriminatory laws enacted in the post-Reconstruction Southern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1895 his Atlanta compromise called for avoiding confrontation over segregation and instead putting more reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement in the black community.
His base was the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college in Alabama. As lynchings in the South reached a peak in 1895, Washington gave a speech in Atlanta that made him nationally famous. The speech called for black progress through education and entrepreneurship. His message was that it was not the time to challenge Jim Crow segregation and the disfranchisement of black voters in the South. Washington mobilized a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community’s economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling. Secretly, he supported court challenges to segregation.[1] Black militants in the North, led by W.E.B. DuBois, at first supported the Atlanta Compromise but after 1909 they set up the NAACP and tried with little success to challenge Washington’s political machine for leadership in the black community.[2] Decades after Washington’s death in 1915, the Civil Rights movement generally moved away from his policies to take the more militant NAACP approach.
Booker T. Washington mastered the nuances of the political arena in the late 19th century which enabled him to manipulate the media, raise money, strategize, network, pressure, reward friends and distribute funds while punishing those who opposed his plans for uplifting blacks. His long-term goal was to end the disfranchisement of the vast majority of African Americans living in southern states, where most of the millions of black Americans still lived.[3]
Overview
Washington was born a slave in Virginia. After emancipation, his family resettled in West Virginia. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union University). In 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, which attracted the attention of politicians and the public, making him a popular spokesperson for African-American citizens. He built a nationwide network of supporters in many black communities, with black ministers, educators and businessmen composing his core supporters. Washington played a dominant role in black politics, winning wide support in the black community of the South and among more liberal whites (especially rich Northern whites). He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education. Washington’s efforts included cooperating with white people and enlisting the support of wealthy philanthropists, helping to raise funds to establish and operate thousands of small community schools and institutions of higher education for the betterment of blacks throughout the South. This work continued for many years after his death. Washington argued that the surest way for blacks to gain equal social rights was to demonstrate “industry, thrift, intelligence and property.”
Northern critics called Washington’s widespread organization the “Tuskegee Machine”.

After 1909, Washington was criticized by the leaders of the new NAACP, especially W. E. B. Du Bois, who demanded a stronger tone of protest for advancement of civil rights needs. [Note: DuBois was a strong believer in socialistic principles.]Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks in society, and that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run. At the same time, he secretly funded litigation for civil rights cases, such as challenges to southern constitutions and laws that disfranchised blacks.[1][4][page needed] Washington was on close terms with national Republican Party leaders, and often was asked for political advice by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.[5]
In addition to his contributions in education, Washington wrote 14 books; his autobiography, Up From Slavery, [This is an excellent book to read] first published in 1901, is still widely read today. During a difficult period of transition, he did much to improve the working relationship between the races. His work greatly helped blacks to achieve higher education, financial power and understanding of the U.S. legal system. This contributed to blacks’ attaining the skills to create and support the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, leading to the passage of important federal civil rights laws.

Read more about Booker T. Washington

 

Character Education: Faith, Decision, and Charlie Brown

Character Education: Choose Wisely

Quentin L. Cook

keyold“Refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15).

 

My desire this evening is to share some counsel about decisions and choices.

Lucy Rationalizes

charlie-brown-lucy-baseballWhen I was a young lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area, our firm did some legal work for the company that produced the Charlie Brown holiday TV specials.1 I became a fan of Charles Schulz and his creation—Peanuts, with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and other wonderful characters.

One of my favorite comic strips involved Lucy. As I remember it, Charlie Brown’s baseball team was in an important game—Lucy was playing right field, and a high fly ball was hit to her. The bases were loaded, and it was the last of the ninth inning. If Lucy caught the ball, her team would win. If Lucy dropped the ball, the other team would win.

charlie-brown-lucyAs could happen only in a comic strip, the entire team surrounded Lucy as the ball came down. Lucy was thinking, “If I catch the ball, I will be the hero; if I don’t, I will be the goat.”

The ball came down, and as her teammates eagerly looked on, Lucy dropped the ball. Charlie Brown threw his glove to the ground in disgust. Lucy then looked at her teammates, put her hands on her hips, and said, “How do you expect me to catch the ball when I am worried about our country’s foreign policy?”

This was one of many fly balls Lucy dropped through the years, and she had a new excuse each time.2 While always humorous, Lucy’s excuses were rationalizations; they were untrue reasons for her failure to catch the ball.

Decisions Determine Destiny

It is important to rise above rationalizations and make the best choices.

freewill1During the ministry of President Thomas S. Monson, he has often taught that decisions determine destiny.3 In that spirit my counsel tonight is to rise above any rationalizations that prevent us from making righteous decisions, especially with respect to serving Jesus Christ. In Isaiah we are taught we must “refuse the evil, and choose the good.”4

I believe it is of particular importance in our day, when Satan is raging in the hearts of men in so many new and subtle ways, that our choices and decisions be made carefully, consistent with the goals and objectives by which we profess to live. We need unequivocal commitment to the commandments and strict adherence to sacred covenants. When we allow rationalizations to prevent us from temple endowments, worthy missions, and temple marriage, they are particularly harmful. It is heartbreaking when we profess belief in these goals yet neglect the everyday conduct required to achieve them.5

Some young people profess their goal is to be married in the temple but do not date temple-worthy individuals. To be honest, some don’t even date, period! You single men, the longer you remain single after an appropriate age and maturity, the more comfortable you can become. But the more uncomfortable you ought to become! Please get “anxiously engaged”6 in spiritual and social activities compatible with your goal of a temple marriage.

Some postpone marriage until education is complete and a job obtained. While widely accepted in the world, this reasoning does not demonstrate faith, does not comply with counsel of modern prophets, and is not compatible with sound doctrine.

I recently met a fine teenage young man. His goals were to go on a mission, obtain an education, marry in the temple, and have a faithful happy family. I was very pleased with his goals. But during further conversation, it became evident that his conduct and the choices he was making were not consistent with his goals. I felt he genuinely wanted to go on a mission and was avoiding serious transgressions that would prohibit a mission, but his day-to-day conduct was not preparing him for the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual challenges he would face.7 He had not learned to work hard. He was not serious about school or seminary. He attended church, but he had not read the Book of Mormon. He was spending a large amount of time on video games and social media. He seemed to think that showing up for his mission would be sufficient. Young men, please recommit to worthy conduct and serious preparation to be emissaries of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

My concern is not only about the big tipping-point decisions but also the middle ground—the workaday world and seemingly ordinary decisions where we spend most of our time. In these areas, we need to emphasize moderation, balance, and especially wisdom. It is important to rise above rationalizations and make the best choices.

Everyday Decisions

A wonderful example of the need for moderation, balance, and wisdom is the use of the Internet. It can be used to do missionary outreach, to assist with priesthood responsibilities, to find precious ancestors for sacred temple ordinances, and much more. The potential for good is enormous. We also know that it can transmit much that is evil, including pornography, digital cruelty,8 and anonymous yakking. It can also perpetuate foolishness. As Brother Randall L. Ridd poignantly taught at the last general conference, speaking of the Internet, “You can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential.”9

Frivolous Distractions

When we turn down the volume and examine the substance, there is very little that will assist us in our eternal quest toward righteous goals.

RushSocialMedia2PIXDistractions and opposition to righteousness are not just on the Internet; they are everywhere. They affect not just the youth but all of us. We live in a world that is literally in commotion.10 We are surrounded by obsessive portrayals of “fun and games” and immoral and dysfunctional lives. These are presented as normal conduct in much of the media.

Elder David A. Bednar recently cautioned members to be authentic in the use of social media.11 A prominent thought leader, Arthur C. Brooks, has emphasized this point. He observes that when using social media, we tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work. We portray an incomplete life—sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way. We share this life, and then we consume the “almost exclusively … fake lives of [our] social media ‘friends.’” Brooks asserts, “How could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?”12

Sometimes it feels like we are drowning in frivolous foolishness, nonsensical noise, and continuous contention. When we turn down the volume and examine the substance, there is very little that will assist us in our eternal quest toward righteous goals. One father wisely responds to his children with their numerous requests to participate in these distractions. He simply asks them, “Will this make you a better person?”

When we rationalize wrong choices, big or small, which are inconsistent with the restored gospel, we lose the blessings and protections we need and often become ensnared in sin or simply lose our way.

Erosion of Judeo-Christian Values

But when culture, knowledge, and social mores are separated from God’s plan of happiness and the essential role of Jesus Christ, there is an inevitable disintegration of society.

apathydudeI am particularly concerned with foolishness13 and being obsessed with “every new thing.” In the Church we encourage and celebrate truth and knowledge of every kind. But when culture, knowledge, and social mores are separated from God’s plan of happiness and the essential role of Jesus Christ, there is an inevitable disintegration of society.14 In our day, despite unprecedented gains in many areas, especially science and communication, essential basic values have eroded and overall happiness and well-being have diminished.

When the Apostle Paul was invited to speak on Mars Hill in Athens, he found some of the same intellectual pretension and absence of true wisdom that exist today.15 In Acts we read this account: “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”16 Paul’s emphasis was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the crowd realized the religious nature of his message, some mocked him; others essentially dismissed him, saying, “We will hear thee again of this matter.”17 Paul left Athens without any success. Dean Frederic Farrar wrote of this visit: “At Athens he founded no church, to Athens he wrote no epistle, and in Athens, often as he passed its neighbourhood, he never set foot again.”18

Subtle Influences

Many choices are not inherently evil, but if they absorb all of our time and keep us from the best choices, then they become insidious.

bigbenclockI believe Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s inspired message distinguishing between “good, better, best” provides an effective way to evaluate choices and priorities.19 Many choices are not inherently evil, but if they absorb all of our time and keep us from the best choices, then they become insidious.

Even worthwhile endeavors need evaluation in order to determine if they have become distractions from the best goals. I had a memorable discussion with my father when I was a teenager. He did not believe enough young people were focused on or preparing for long-term important goals—like employment and providing for families.

Meaningful study and preparatory work experience were always at the top of my father’s recommended priorities. He appreciated that extracurricular activities like debate and student government might have a direct connection with some of my important goals. He was less certain about the extensive time I spent participating in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He acknowledged that athletics could build strength, endurance, and teamwork but asserted that perhaps concentrating on one sport for a shorter time would be better. In his view, sports were good but not the best for me. He was concerned that some sports were about building local celebrity or fame at the expense of more important long-term goals.

Given this history, one of the reasons I like the account of Lucy playing baseball is that, in my father’s view, I should have been studying foreign policy and not worrying about whether I was going to catch a ball. I should make it clear that my mother loved sports. It would have taken a hospitalization for her to miss one of my games.

I had decided to follow my dad’s advice and not play intercollegiate sports in college. Then our high school football coach informed me that the Stanford football coach wanted to have lunch with Merlin Olsen and me. Those of you who are younger may not know Merlin. He was an incredible all-American tackle on the Logan High School football team where I played quarterback and safety and returned kickoffs and punts. In high school Merlin was recruited by most football powers across the nation. In college he won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman. Merlin was ultimately the third overall pick in the National Football League draft and played in an amazing 14 consecutive Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.20

The lunch with the Stanford coach was at the Bluebird restaurant in Logan, Utah. After we shook hands, he never once made eye contact with me. He talked directly to Merlin but ignored me. At the end of the lunch, for the first time, he turned toward me, but he could not remember my name. He then informed Merlin, “If you choose Stanford and want to bring your friend with you, he has good enough grades and it could probably be arranged.” This experience confirmed for me that I should follow my dad’s wise counsel.

cook-choices-192x192My intent is not to discourage participation in sports or the use of the Internet or other worthwhile activities young people enjoy. They are the kind of activities that require moderation, balance, and wisdom. When used wisely, they enrich our lives.

However, I encourage everyone, young and old, to review goals and objectives and strive to exercise greater discipline. Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals. We need to rise above rationalizations and distractions. It is especially important to make choices consistent with our covenants to serve Jesus Christ in righteousness.21 We must not take our eyes off or drop that ball for any reason.

This life is the time to prepare to meet God.22 We are a happy, joyous people. We appreciate a good sense of humor and treasure unstructured time with friends and family. But we need to recognize that there is a seriousness of purpose that must undergird our approach to life and all our choices. Distractions and rationalizations that limit progress are harmful enough, but when they diminish faith in Jesus Christ and His Church, they are tragic.

My prayer . . . we will make our conduct consistent with the noble purposes required of those who are in the service of the Master. In all things we should remember that being “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” is the great dividing test between the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms.23 We want to be found on the celestial side of that divide. As one of His Apostles, I bear fervent testimony of the reality of the Atonement and the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

 

  1. Lee Mendelson-Bill Melendez Production TV Specials.
  1. From the moons of Saturn distracting her to worrying about possible toxic substances in her glove, Lucy always rationalized why she dropped the ball.
  1. See “Decisions Determine Destiny,” chapter 8 in Pathways to Perfection: Discourses of Thomas S. Monson (1973), 57–65.
  1. Isaiah 7:15.
  1. “If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces” (William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, act 1, scene 2, lines 12–14).
  1. Doctrine and Covenants 58:27.
  1. See Adjusting to Missionary Life (booklet, 2013), 23–49.
  1. See Stephanie Rosenbloom, “Dealing with Digital Cruelty,” New York Times, Aug. 24, 2014, SR1.
  1. Randall L. Ridd, “The Choice Generation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 56.
  1. See Doctrine and Covenants 45:26.
  1. See David A. Bednar, “To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood” (speech delivered at BYU Campus Education Week, Aug. 19, 2014); lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/to-sweep-the-earth-as-with-a-flood.
  1. Arthur C. Brooks, “Love People, Not Pleasure,” New York Times, July 20, 2014, SR1.
  1. Unfortunately, one diversion that has increased in our day is pure foolishness. When the Savior enumerated some of the things that can defile man, He included foolishness (see Mark 7:22).
  1. This happened in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as with the Book of Mormon civilizations.
  1. See Frederic W. Farrar, The Life and Work of St. Paul (1898), 302. There were philosophers of all kinds, including Epicureans and Stoics, rival groups who some described as the Pharisees and the Sadducees of the pagan world. See also Quentin L. Cook, “Looking beyond the Mark,” Ensign, Mar. 2003, 41–44; Liahona, Mar. 2003, 21–24.
  1. Acts 17:21.
  1. Acts 17:32.
  1. Farrar, The Life and Work of St. Paul, 312.
  1. See Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104–8.
  1. Merlin Olsen was a hall of fame football player, actor, and NFL commentator for NBC. He won the Outland Trophy playing football for Utah State University. He played pro football for the Los Angeles Rams. On TV he played Jonathan Garvey opposite Michael Landon on Little House on the Prairie and had his own TV program, Father Murphy. Merlin is now deceased (Mar. 11, 2010), and we miss him very much.

 

Character Education: Happiness and Self

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Defining Moment

Defining Moment: Sometimes the simple act of reading definitions of words can give us interesting insights into life and ourselves.

Pleasure

Pleasure—sensual gratification, frivolous amusement

rollercoasterridePleasure is something that is enjoyable, but it is temporary; it does not last. Some examples of good pleasures might be: a delicious meal, dessert, a lovely fragrance, sight, or sound, a fun ride at an amusement park, a party, etc.

Some people find pleasure in harmful things, such as drugs, vile websites, etc. But the pleasure in such things is fleeting, so it becomes addictive, because a person seeks more and more for self-gratification.

Some pleasures might seem harmless, like video games, but they can be addictive, and cause harm because they waste a lot of time that could be used more productively.

Happiness

Happiness—a state of well-being and contentment

Notice that happiness is a state, or a condition. This means it is more lasting. “Joy” is also a more spiritual, lasting condition. Contentment means being satisfied with small things, not having unrealistic expectations, or obsessive and excessive desires, or insatiable appetites.

family3-silhouetteMany people find that happiness is elusive, because unlike pleasure, which might be more easily and quickly obtained, happiness is achieved. It usually takes effort or work, time, discipline of— rather than gratification of— self. It may be the product of a process of building good character; happiness results from a way of living. It is not always perceived by physical senses; it usually is not visible or touchable.

While pleasure is often linked to gratification of self, happiness is the opposite—a forgetfulness of self, lost in service, doing good for others, creating something beautiful or inspirational, helping others realize potential good, building good and lasting relationships with family and others. Happiness is associated with, and a result of righteousness. A prophet once said that wickedness never was happiness.

“The Lord’s [Jesus Christ’s] way is the only way for us to experience enduring happiness. His way brings sustained comfort to our souls and perennial peace to our homes.” ~Russell M. Nelson

Teaching Children: Character, Decision and Results

Everyday Dinner Topics

Teaching Choices and Consequences, Decision and Results

keyoldAnd thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them [the words of God] when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. ~Deuteronomy 6:7

stickShow the children a stick that has the word choice written on one end and the word consequences written on the other end. Explain that a consequence is what naturally happens because of a choice we make; for example, if we choose to practice playing a musical instrument, we will get better at it, and if we choose to touch fire, we will be burned. Pick up the stick and show the children that every time you pick up the stick, you get both the choice and the consequence of that choice. Ask an older child to read 2 Nephi 2:27. Invite the other children to listen for what the consequences are for making the right choice (liberty and eternal life) and what the consequences are for making the wrong choice (captivity and misery). Draw a simple diagram on the board like the one shown here.

agency-diagram

Help the children understand that when we make good choices, it leads to freedom and happiness, and when we make wrong choices, it leads to captivity and unhappiness.

consequencesInvite two children to come to the front of the room, and let each child hold one end of the stick. Ask the child holding the “choice” end to give an example of a good choice (for example, speaking kindly to others). Ask the other child to share possible consequences of that choice (for example, making lasting friendships).

Critical Thinking Definition: Multiculturalism and Moral Relativism

Critical Thinking Definition: Multiculturalism and Moral Relativism

Critical Thinking

Examples of Moral Relativism in “heroes” and “role models” for young people: On the Disney Mousketeers show, two girls found the maleficent queen and got on their knees and bowed to her. “Despicable” has taken a reversal in meaning, in the cute and cuddly cartoon in “Despicable Me”, and his “minions” have been made into popular toys. Webster defines a minion as a servile dependent—it is not a positive thing to be. “Minions” have historically been used as a term denoting servants of the devil. Meanwhile, a truly despicable entity resides in the White House, and his adoring minions, both in the bureaucracy and the media, roam the country wreaking havoc in our lives. ~C.D.

Quotes on Moral Relativism

keyThe great loss here is truth, objective truth, and we are turning dysfunction into virtue. ~Rush Limbaugh

  There’s no concept that the United States is the good guys and they [Iran] are the bad guys. ~ Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

media-sycophantsWhat happened was we had a sound bite yesterday from some guy that works at Eyewitness 8 TV news in DC, in Washington.

He was talking about me and how unreasonable I was in being critical of this Iran deal’s lax standards inspecting suspected violations committed by the Iranians.  So we pointed out, it’s a 24-day delay! From the moment we suspect something until we can get in there (if we get in there at all) it’s a 24 day delay.  It’s written into the deal.  Obama and his acolytes are trying to deny it, but it’s in there.  We’ve learned it’s even more difficult than that.  And this guy at Eyewitness 8 News — “the Eyewitness 8 News dude,” as you said — says, “Well, wait a minute, now!

moral-relativism3“What’s wrong with the Iranians not wanting to be inspected?  If somebody demanded to inspect our nuclear program, we wouldn’t let them,” at which point I launched into what I thought was a pretty effective monologue on how this guy doesn’t understand the differences between the good guys and the bad guys, that there’s a moral equivalence that’s set in on the left, that we’re no better than Iran.  “We’re just like Iran! We’re not special.  There’s nothing exceptional about us.”  There’s no concept that the United States is the good guys and they are the bad guys. 

Libertarian Moral Relativism

moral-relativism4We just equate everybody.  We just equate everything.  And, as a means of understanding… This is, by the way, the Ron Paul rationale for not even doing a deal with Iran. Ron Paul has said countless times, “Well, nobody told us that we could or couldn’t do nuclear weapons, and if somebody did tell us we couldn’t, we wouldn’t listen to ’em. So I don’t blame the Iranians.  We don’t have any right to tell them! Especially if we have one, we can’t tell other countries they can’t.”  Now, that’s a strict libertarian view. 

But even at such, I think Ron Paul realizes the US is the good guys.  I went into quite an impassioned monologue at that point on the differences in the good guys and bad guys and what the United States moral-relativism1stands for and that we are the defenders of liberty.  But if we’re not gonna defend our own liberty, then defending other people’s liberty is never gonna occur to us.  And because we are the leaders of the world, and because we are the lone exception to the human existence on this planet… The United States of America is alone among nations which have been founded on the premise that the citizens are free and that the government is subservient to citizens.  There’s no other nation that’s ever done this, and as such we have become the lone outpost and the bright, shining beacon of individual freedom and liberty.  Iran is not even in the same ballpark.  Iran’s not even in the same universe.  It’s incumbent on us to keep the bad guys in the world in check, because this government has that as a constitutional duty.

These people swear an oath, Obama, elected official, they swear an oath: Defend and protect the Constitution, defend and protect the people.  Well, Iran, as a state sponsor of terrorism, is a threat to people all over.  For this guy in Washington to equate the United States with Iran is classic moral relativism.

multi-culturalism-quote

Eyewitness 8 Dude—He’s obviously a product of the public education system, which has been dominated by multiculturalism (moral relativism—all cultures are the same)

He’s obviously a product of the public education system, which has been dominated by multicultural curriculum, which states that not only is the US not exceptional, the United States actually may be more guilty of human rights violations than even nations like Iran!

Example of Liberal Multiculturalism

 

We have the best culture in the history of the world, and the cultures we are bringing in are corrupt and primitive. ~Ann Coulter

moral-relativism2That’s what kids today, and for the last couple generations, have been taught.  “I mean, who are we to tell Iran what they can and can’t do?  We’re the nation of slavery, and we’re the nation of women’s violations, and we’re the nation of” whatever other condemnation they want to come up with.  So, as far as they’re concerned, we don’t have any moral right to tell people what they can and can’t do.

I said, “It’s not a right; it’s a responsibility! The United States has a responsibility to itself, to its people, and to free people the world over.”  This guy in Washington, and he’s not alone, doesn’t even understand. I mean, [moral absolutes are] a foreign language to him.

Leadership Styles: Procrustes Definition, Liberal Egalitarianism, and Inequality for All

 

Procrustes Definition, Liberal Egalitarianism, and Inequality for All

Leadership Styles

Month-Defining Moment

Definition of Procrustean Leadership Styles

Procrustes—a legendary robber of ancient Greece noted for stretching or cutting off the legs of his victims to adapt them to the length of his bed.

Procrustean—marked by arbitrary often ruthless disregard of individual differences or special circumstances

Liberals do not lift others to a better life; They pull everyone down to the lowest common denominator. ~Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Liberal Egalitarianism=Inequality for All

procrustesbedSome kids get more goods than other kids, and that makes it unfair.  Of course as liberals, the answer is not to help the kids who are not in good familiesThey become the lowest common denominator.  They become the baseline.  Everybody must be made to be like them in order for everything to be fair and equal.  The natural tendency of the left is to punish success, to punish achievement, to punish anything that they believe gives an unfair advantage.

It is who they are, and you’re seeing evidence of it all over the country, if you have the courage to stop and recognize it.  Here’s a pull quote from the story: “In contrast, reading stories at bedtime, argues Swift, gives rise to acceptable familial relationship goods, even though this also bestows advantage.  ‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says.

“This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion — that perhaps in the interests of leveling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted.”  There really are expert academicians and philosophers who are pushing the idea that being a good parent and reading to your kids and being loving gives your kids an unfair advantage in life.  You know, in the old days — and it wasn’t that long ago — families like that were what you emulated! Families like that were what you wanted to be.

Liberals: Reading to Your Kids Gives Them an Unfair Advantage

fatherreadingfireplaceThere’s a theme for today’s program, and that is: Everything I’ve told you about liberalism is being demonstrated. It’s on parade in the Drive-By Media today.  All you have to do is notice it and take note…  Never make people better, but always take the people at the top and bring them down so that everybody is equally disadvantaged, equally miserable.

Having a loving family is an unfair advantage, is a social justice problem, and there are people in this article who literally make the claim that abolishing the family and letting the state and government raise kids may be the only answer.  This is in the UK.  I erred when I said Australia first.  In the UK.  Makes it even closer to home.  But liberals here and liberals in the UK, liberals are liberals in Australia. They’re liberals everywhere and the same, no matter where you go.  And they’re dead serious about this.

Admittedly, there are some of them who think it’s a bad idea to ban or abolish the family as an educational institution.  There are some people here who will say it’s a bad idea to abolish the family and let the state or the government raise kids for the purposes of education, but even those people still think that good families give kids an unfair advantage, and they measure that by “familial relationship goods.”

Only 18% of 8th-graders are ‘proficient’ or above in US history, and only 23% are proficient in civics.”

Anti-American Book

Anti-American Book

RUSH: From Breitbart: “Results of the ‘Nation’s Report Card’ released this week by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that only 18% of 8th-graders are ‘proficient’ or above in US history, and only 23% are proficient in civics.”

Now, it should be noted that you have to be able to read in order to learn history.  Just listening won’t get it done because you never know if who’s telling you about it is being truthful.  But the saddest thing is that many of those who are rated “proficient” in history have probably been taught a bunch of psychobabble, probably a brand of Howard Zinn’s hate-America-first history.

 

slavery-democrat-thing“Despite hundreds of billions of dollars poured into education programs in the United States via the US Department of Education, the ‘Nation’s Report Card’ states that 8th-graders’ average NAEP scores in US History, Geography, and Civics demonstrated no significant change since 2010 when students were last assessed.” Just think of all the money that Obama and the Democrat Party have poured into the teachers… (Ahem!) I was gonna say teachers union; I mean education.

corruption2The stimulus bill alone sent the teachers unions untold billions of dollars.  It was disguised money.  They were telling us it was going to education, to rebuild schools and roads and bridges.  But we now know, looking back, that the vast majority of the money went to teachers unions, part of the Democrat Party’s very well-constructed money-laundering scheme using the unions to do so. 

Education, Common Core, and Disaster

Education disaster ‘no accident,’ expert warns

‘Common Core is not going to fix this problem’

keyParents frustrated over the poor state of education public schools are providing their children have missed the point, says this education expert. The schools aren’t failing — they’re performing exactly as they were designed to perform …American schools are producing illiterates by the millions and burning through dollars by the billions – and it’s all by design, according to international journalist and educator Alex Newman.

“It’s no accident that we’re getting the kinds of terrible education results that we’re seeing right now,” Newman said in a recent interview on “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

book-crime-of-educators“Common Core is not going to fix this problem, and neither are these federally funded tests,” he said.

In his new book, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children,” coauthored with Samuel Blumenfeld, Newman reveals just how bad the situation is.

For example, three-quarters of American students who earn a high-school diploma are unprepared for college coursework. Thirty percent of high-school graduates can’t pass the U.S. military entrance exam, which is focused on basic reading and math skills. More than 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs sit vacant because there aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill them.

Across the country this spring, students are scheduled to take federally funded tests that align with the Common Core standards.

Common-Core-MathThe resistance already has been strong. In most areas where the tests are not mandatory, many students have chosen to opt out of the testing.

New York State has emerged as the center of resistance to Common Core. In some school districts, well over half of the students refused to take their Common Core-aligned tests this spring. In one Long Island district, 82 percent of students opted out. One teachers’ union, New York State United Teachers, has actually encouraged parents to opt their kids out of the tests.

Newman is delighted to see so much resistance to Common Core.

“It is extremely encouraging to witness the growing resistance to Common Core and the massive numbers of students and parents that are choosing to opt out of this Orwellian, federally funded testing regime,” he told WND.

“The controversial tests, in addition to serving as one of the primary enforcement mechanisms for the Obama administration-backed Common Core fiasco, are gathering unimaginable amounts of data on children for use by federal education bureaucrats. This is simply unacceptable, and it is great to see parents and teachers defying this outrageous plan.”

Common-core-protestFLCommon Core has faced criticism from both the left and the right.

“It is encouraging to see this growing alliance against Common Core that transcends party lines, ideology, and every other division,” he said. “As we show in our book, the Common Core nightmare is bringing Americans together like never before to take a fundamental look at what is going on in the government education system. This is a very healthy and extremely positive development that should have come decades ago.
“The American people need to stand united against Common Core and the associated tests, and one of the best ways to do that, at this point, is to simply refuse to participate. If policymakers continue to ignore the public outcry, they do so at their own peril.”

Say-No-To-Common-Core-PinsNewman believes lawmakers are not truly interested in what the public thinks of Common Core because the lawmakers want to use it to dumb down American children. In “Crimes of the Educators,” Newman and Blumenfeld write about John Dewey, the progressive education reformer of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The authors argue that Dewey and his allies developed a new method of teaching children to read, called the whole-word method, that has had disastrous results. Newman laments that the whole-word method is still being taught in many public schools today.

“They literally teach the kids to read English as if it were Chinese rather than the traditional phonics method that has worked since time immemorial, and that’s at the root of so many of the problems we have in our country today,” Newman explained on Malzberg’s show.

Politicians and education bureaucrats often claim that students are doing so poorly in school because governments don’t spend enough money on education, so their proposed solutions are very costly, Newman points out.

corruptionFor example, it was estimated in 2014 that states would have to spend $10 billion up front to implement Common Core and then up to $800 million per year for the first seven years of the program.

Newman thinks federal and state governments are stuck in an endless cycle of spending money on strategies that don’t work. But he believes the cycle will never end on its own because the powers-that-be don’t want American children to get smarter.

“The educational establishment will never put a stop to it on its own,” he declared. “The American people need to find out what’s going on. They don’t need more billions, they need less billions, and they need to be exposed.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/education-disaster-no-accident-expert-warns/#p7M4fRQzHbfBugC5.99

 

Education, Common Core, and iPads

Education? iFad Meltdown in the LA School District

keyIt is so bizarre to see this story and realize that America had a far better hold of basic literacy back when the country used McGuffey Readers. Tech toys are just a way to spend money and they don’t create educated adults.

The LA School District bought iPads equipped for Common Core for their students. Now they want a refund.

commoncoreThe slow-motion train wreck is reaching its destiny. I wrote about the doomed decision on the part of the LA School District to purchase school iPads back in the summer of 2013: “LA Connection: iFad and Common Core Are ‘For The Children’

An excerpt:

“Board members Steve Zimmer and Richard Vladovic expressed the most concerns. Zimmer questioned whether devices other than tablets were more fitting for high school students. Vladovic worried that the board lacked detailed information on costs. ‘This is one of the most high-profile contracts this board will ever approve,’ Zimmer said. This contract is ‘as big as they come.’ ‘I can sleep tonight with my conscience clear,’ Aquino responded, ‘that you did the right thing for kids.’”

It is so bizarre to see this story and realize that America had a far better hold of basic literacy back when the country used McGuffey Readers. Tech toys are just a way to spend money and they don’t create educated adults. In fact, at most all they do is educate children on technology that may be gone by the time they are adults. I remember getting my hands on first-class video-editing equipment in college. But it was all analog. Now, people probably do all that work on a much more compact computer. There is no reason to believe that the ability to use an iPad prepares anyone for life or teaches them what they need to know to be a truly educated man or woman.

In the meantime, the L. A. school district is about to get an expensive lesson in the difference between private and public property. Think about whether you would prefer to use your own private bathroom or a public one and apply that preference to what is likely to happen to most of these iPads over the next year. How many will make it?

What I didn’t know then was that Steve Jobs and many other Silicon Valley executives, while happy to take money from tax-fattened public schools, don’t want their own children to have access to them in their education.

By October 2013, mere months later, the LA school district was recalling the iPads. As Dave Jolly wrote for Godfather Politics,

govwasteabounds.In wake of a $2.8 billion deficit and the need to lay off more than 12,000 employees, one has to wonder at the logic and intelligence that led to the decision to supply $700 iPads to thousands of students.  The program supposedly cost the LAUSD a whopping $1 billion.

Classes began on August 13.  After only a month and half of school, the LAUSD has realized the huge blunder they made in supplying thousands of iPads to students.  Before giving the students their iPads, the district placed certain security settings on them to prevent them from accessing undesirable websites. However, many of the students were able to bypass the school’s security settings with a few simple clicks.

In addition to the students hacking through the security settings, many iPads have been conveniently lost or misplaced.  This has caused some of the district’s schools to start recalling the iPads.  Two high schools, Westchester and Roosevelt have already recalled the devices, but school officials say that almost a third of them are still unaccounted for.

A mere billion dollars may be inaccurate. According to Reason.com’s Robby Soave, the cost was actually $1.3 billion. Soave reports on the next stage of this debacle. You can probably guess what it is.

That’s right. The LA school district is getting ready to sue Apple and Pearson (the software company that loaded the Common Core applications on the devices).

Honestly, I don’t care that much about Apple and I hate Pearson as a thoroughly corrupt crony business that makes huge money off government education racket (as Soave notes). But the people who should be sued are the members of the board of the LA school district who made this egregiously stupid decision. In any case, even if there is some slight cause against Pearson there is none with Apple. They delivered the iPads to the school district. End of story.

Notice the method here. Make insanely stupid economic decisions and then, when the inevitable implosion takes place, save face by blaming the private sector.

The government only has one script.

But they also have a couple of supporting narratives they use. The story in the Los Angeles Times reminds us that then-Superintendent John Deasy played the race card and invoked income inequality to manipulate people into signing off on this disaster:

Deasy had said the technology effort was a civil rights imperative designed to provide low-income students with devices available to their wealthier peers.

And look how it all ended: like it always does when politicians play on race grievances and economic class warfare. The irony is, now the students of the LA school district are more like the children of wealthy Silicon Valley executives.
Read more at http://politicaloutcast.com/2015/04/ifad-meltdown-in-the-la-school-district/#kek8uMLjmMCxYMTp.99