Columbus’s Christmas Idol

I am interning at a middle school over break. The school’s choir is currently in a contest. The video below is their submission:

If you are impressed, vote for KIPP Journey Academy, here . There are a bunch of really awesome students who would appreciate it.

Why Kids are Rarely Skeptics

There are a lot of skeptics out there. They are hard to ignore and most of the time, they are impossible to escape. Maybe you are a skeptic. Society likes to train skeptics. The Enlightenment and the scientific revolution and all that jazz have proven skeptics useful, I guess. Universities spit out skeptics like it’s nobody’s business. I don’t know anyone who has recently been through four years of college who didn’t take at least once course that was greatly influenced by postmodernism.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of postmodernism. Heck, I’m an English major with an interest in communications and psychology. It would be almost impossible for me not to enjoy postmodernism. But there’s one realm of education postmodernism has not yet infiltrated – primary schools (preschools, kindergartens, grade schools, and to a great extent, middle schools).

In those grades, children are still taught short, optimistic slogans like “Hard work always pays off” or “Be an individual” or “Good things happen to good people” or something of this nature. I think, in most cases, if any student were to utter these words in a college course, there would be argumentation. And for good reason: they aren’t always true. We can all think of instances when bad things happen to good people, for instance.

But the thing we easily forget is that the reason these slogans exist is not because of some government conspiracy to keep citizens complacent (in most cases). They exist because they are simplifications of very complex truths that are beneficial for us. “Good things happen to good people” is not true, but something like “You have no control over the exterior things that happen to you, but if you act in a noble and optimistic way in the things you can control, chances are you will live a much happier and fuller life” is¬†true.

So next time you walk through an elementary school, instead of scoffing at all of the seemingly overly-optimistic saying on posters and motivational pictures, be a little more forgiving.

A Hypocritical Heart Heavy with Hyperbole

I’m about to criticize the world for something I know I do on a regular basis. So I’m hoping you can afford me the love and grace to recognize the truth in the following words even if they do make me a hypocrite.

Your exams are not going to kill you. You have a cold; you are not dying. You broke up with your boyfriend; you are not forever alone. That class did not rape you. You don’t want to kill everyone. You don’t hate everything.

Hyperbolic phrases. I get them. They are sometimes humorous. Except when they aren’t. There are people all around you who are struggling with deaths, with sexual abuse, with terminal illnesses, with depression. I don’t know. I don’t mean to be a debbie downer here. And believe me, I understand being stressed or uptight about things that are seemingly unimportant to others. But that doesn’t mean that you should compare those things to grave things like death and rape.

Life is not exactly a walk in the park (although, it is a bit like standing in the ocean), but if the biggest thing we have to worry about is a tough exam, maybe we should be blessing the world instead of cursing it.