#320 – The Juggernaut

On my way to pick up Ernie for our weekly mentoring session today I passed a hallway lined with his classmates’ school projects. After discussing the assignment with him during our time together, my brain has reached an inescapable conclusion: Forget English, social studies and math. This kid needs a lesson in basic criminology!

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#341 – Not on My Watch

A new Georgia law broadens the categories of people required to report suspected child abuse, with violators facing up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. I abhor maltreatment of children; yet I wonder whether such penalties might instill overzealous action by mandatory reporters who fear to withhold borderline suspicions of abuse. Indeed, I’ve already seen signs of potential overreaction.

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#346 – Fantastic Mr. Fox

My wife uses words like “elaborate” and “unworkable” to describe our media room’s entertainment system. Naturally, I disagree. I think any five-year-old could handle its controls without difficulty. Last night, I even proved the point, but you won’t hear me bragging under the circumstances!

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#348 – From the Mouths of Babes

A recent New Jersey news story discussed parents’ outrage over a standardized test question which asked third graders to write a secret about their lives that’s hard to keep. I think the parents misdirected their ire though. If they shared secrets with their kids, whether intentionally or by accident, then they have only themselves to blame when the proverbial beans get spilled. As I can attest from personal experience – including today’s episode – children find every confidence difficult to keep, if not impossible.

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#351 – Moving On

I received some disappointing news this morning. As my elementary school mentee informed me, our relationship won’t continue next year. I’ve feared such a result ever since last week’s well-intentioned, though unwarranted, call to family services. And while the reason ascribed by Ernie for the change – his mother’s intended relocation – may in fact be unrelated to the misunderstanding caused by my cry of suspected child abuse, I can’t help but see the old “chicken and the egg” at play in this situation.

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#357 – Pen Pals

I’m not one to incessantly gnaw the ends of my pens, but I know plenty others who do. I’ve often wondered how, why and when a person acquires such a revolting habit. Though I’ve never figured out the “how” and “why,” I’ve seen at least one potent example of the “when.” Given the circumstances though, I would’ve been better off remaining in the dark.

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