Saturday, January 14, 2012


          Oh, come on, Kid; don’t be like that!  Isn’t the world a cynical enough place as is, without you picking on an already beleaguered educational system?  Sure, nobody really gets a kick out of piles of homework; and being put on the spot for a star performance at the front of the class has never been considered a good time; but that’s no excuse for the Modern Man (er, Nutt) to develop an attitude that good ole’ fashioned Aristotelian teaching has run its course. 
          Listen:  If we can’t get our kids interested in reading, and by extension, get them interested in absorbing new and useful ideas, we may as well all be walking around with diamond-soled shoes on a mile-high glass platform.  It’s only a matter of time before some Hapless Dunce (probably a not-so-distant cousin or ex-college roommate) does the tap dance that begins our Plummet Into The Great Below.  Early is the time to propel young minds toward learning.  Waiting until their attention is captivated by an ever boundery-less media is a coming in a day late and, with most schools struggling and underfunded, a dollar short.  No one is going to wait to try to get your kids to notice the next Hot Thing.  And where their attention is concerned, there are today more access points than any time in history.
          Internet, gaming both personal and online, streaming video, TV and music, texting, tweeting, freinding, un-freinding, posting, Flickring, Tumbling, YouTubing and forty other –ings nobody has heard of today but which will be household words by this time next week are all constantly and noisily vying for our eyes, ears and time.  It’s hard enough to get grown folks to pay attention for the duration of more than a few minutes’ conversation, so how much harder still for the young ones. 
So, what do we do?  Form an underground fight club and send a bunch of sleep deprived ragamuffins to bomb the headquarters of Cisco and Google, dropping us head first into a social media stone age?  Don’t get carried away; I’m not hypocritical enough to tell you, via my self published internet blog that modern technology is destroying Nuttkind.  More access to better and more varied information is one of the greatest advances in our history.  The solution, as it has ever been, to society’s woes is basic common reason, critically managed and compassionately implemented.  And this is where we can all take note, if we want Li’l Pea Nutt’s school experience to be worth anything.
Despite anything you may have heard, or even said, school does not exist to make kids behave, keep them out of their parents’ hair or sell deluxe peanut clusters twice a year.  School exists to introduce us to and teach us how to use The Tools of Thought.  The living mind naturally gravitates toward using.  Touching, manipulating tools, creating effects; this is euphoria to a living mind.  Don’t think so?  Good luck getting little Pea Nutt, or Georgia or Nuttley for that matter to set down those smart phones and game controllers for one solid minute.  Today we are wired in and keyed up.  It fits our results oriented lifestyle.  Being effective in life with all these advanced tools begins first with understanding the Tools of Thought.

Why is 3 + 5 = 8 so important?  Once you’ve heard that three plus five equals eight, and you’ve held three in one hand and five in the other and counted the eight, and then tried it with your hands switched and seen all the ways three added to five really do sum up to eight, no one can tell you different.  The learning mind becomes the discerning mind.  Despite all the genius blossoming in the continuous invention and re-invention of the internet, there are some drawbacks to every Tom, Dick and Harry being capable of publishing whatever the hell they want with no research or discretion.  But here’s the kick:  People can say whatever they want, but once you have seen and can recognize a Real Eight, you won’t be fooled. 

3 + 5 = 8 is the first step to recognizing the difference between opinion and fact.
So stop talking smack and do the math, Pea Nutt!  And keep your pants off the ground and show some respect!  Dag Blasted Kids!!

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