I slept for nine hours last night. I'm probably still recovering from illness. Or maybe I'm recovering from a whole semester of late night cramming. Does it bother me that I put in about 35 hour preparing for classes every week in addition the 15 hours in the classroom, while some of my students haven't even purchased the textbooks yet? No comment.
Despite their lack of class preparation, we still had some great chats at school today. Everybody wanted to talk about the massacre at Virginia Tech. In my media class, we talked about how the press covered events and the interpretation in the press of events. Earlier in the semester, we had talked about the way that the press covers crises with the eventual attempt to provide meaning to events. Current events conveniently brought the textbook to life. That textbook that some haven't purchased yet.
The press seems to be spinning events in one of two ways: gun control and campus security. Some are blaming this massacre on the ease of buying guns in Virginia. Others, like a commentator on Fox news, say that if professors were armed, this would never have happened. I assured my students that they really didn't want me armed. If I was packing some heat, the first ones to go would be the unprepared students.
The issue of campus security was a more serious topic, because it is basically nonexistent on our campus. Anybody can wander into the campus and slip into the dorms or the classrooms without any problem. They felt that campuses should be more secure. The fact that this massacre happened at the hand of a student was a bit of a stumper. Dan Drezner writes that the flags were raised by this guy's creative writing teacher. Perhaps there should be mandatory creative writing classes for freshman to weed out the wackjobs early on. However, Dan worries that this could lead to over reactions.
I taught three classes, checked in with my mom who was minding a sick Ian, corrected page proofs for an article, and then zoomed home to pick up Jonah from the aftercare program at school.
When I got him, he was distraught. All the boys in aftercare had been playing with their GameBoys and DS's or Webkins, they wouldn't share, and he had no one to play with. The girls were playing board games and drawing pictures at the desks, but the boys were clustered around the video games. It's probably not accidental that girls are better represented in colleges than boys.
Before Christmas, Steve and I went through major soul searching about whether or not we should get the boys the big video game systems. We relented and picked up one of the cheaper models, a Game Cube. We decided that it wasn't worth turning our kids into a social lepers, because of our high minded, intellectual beliefs. Well, the Game Cube isn't enough, because the boys all have the deluxe models and the portable games, too. Do we buy more video games, so that Jonah gains some hand in the social dance of elementary school?
It isn't only access to computer games that boys need for social status. There's sports, too. Yet another area that we're failing as parents. We don't watch sports at home. Steve doesn't toss a ball with the boys on the weekend. He would rather go for a hike with them or read books. I'll review the baseball scores, but I would rather sit in Yankee stadium than watch it on TV. Jonah isn't bad at sports; he got some good hits at Little League on Saturday. But the other kids at school play sports seven days a week. In second grade, the sporty kids play tackle football three days a week. They also attend traveling soccer games. The little girls are at cheerleader practice. The parents drive them around to their games and spend Saturdays in folding chairs on the sidelines. Sports are a big part of suburban culture. One mom said that a typical Saturday could involve a football practice, a game, and then a soccer game. I really don't want to do that.
So, how much do we turn our lives around to make our kid popular? If he really loved sports a lot, we would help him out. But he isn't begging for day long sports. He is begging for the computer games. We'll probably give in. Again. Yeah, parenting is easy.