• #idlenomore,  accepting criticism,  Uncategorized

    reflections on history and this December 19th

    Today I fend of depression by immersing myself in obscure books about the 1680s. It was a very bizarre time when Anglicans in England feared the king’s religious tolerance. After all, they were used to being the ones allowed to not tolerate others. Maybe we can see it a bit like when the Conservative Christians acted as though allowing gay marriage was going to mean forcing them all to billet gay honey-mooners in their house indefinitely. Except for the Anglicans that sort of was a possibility, whereas for Conservative Christians the worst they were being asked was to ignore the circumstances in which a cake they bake would be eaten…

  • accepting criticism,  education,  parenting,  the ethical life

    treating children like rational creatures

    I was reading a philosophy book the other day, and I came across this interesting passage by John Locke: Remove hope and fear, and there is an end of all discipline. I grant that good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature; these are the spur and reigns whereby all mankind are set on work and guided, and therefore they are to be made use of to children too. For I advice their parents and governors always to carry this in thier minds, that children are to be treated as rational creatures. As I read the first two sentences of that passage, my mind…

  • accepting criticism,  how do we know what we know is true

    just keep reading, just keep reading

    My brain itches right now, with this sense that new ideas are waiting to burst forth. I don’t know yet where they will take me but I can see the seeds. I’ve been rereading parts of Don Quixote in preparation to speak about it in a class I’m teaching. At the same time, I’m reading the book Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau by John Farrell. Among other things the book talks about the ways in which Don Quixote appeals to the possibility of enchanters, both helpful and malevolent to explain the disconnect between his understanding of reality and reality itself. My own mind seasons this topic with examples of…

  • accepting criticism,  communication,  homeschooling,  how do we know what we know is true

    Someone’s judging a homeschooler! Call out the troops. Or maybe, don’t.

    Sometimes I read something someone else writes, and I recognize in it something that connects with other issues. Today I saw a post titled “Maybe we haven’t been critical enough of our fellow moms….” I saw it posted on facebook, and in most of the comments on facebook people were being very critical of the blogger, saying that people need to mind their own business and not judge. For my part, the post and discussion threw me into all sorts of confusion. The sense I had from the article was not that someone wants to stick her nose into other people’s business willy-nilly, but that someone was trying to tease…

  • accepting criticism,  culture,  how do we know what we know is true,  politics,  the ethical life

    responsibility, the ability to accept criticism and pit bulls.

    I’ve written about some of the questions around bullying, and whether individuals need to grow thicker skins or be treated gentler, and about boundaries and people’s different abilities to accept criticism. In all of these there are questions of what is normal acceptable behavior, what to do when different people’s behaviors cross those lines (is someone being firm or being a bully), and how people deal with criticism (are others being too judgemental or is the person being oversensitive). Now similar questions come to my attention in an article about pit bulls: “Pit bull owners live in a dream palace, where all dogs are good, and when they are bad, it can be attributed only…