Maybe (slightly) Reducing the Consequences of Government Education

Government education generally carries with it certain traits.

  1. The history books they purchased by the government tend to focus on the government’s history instead of the history of the people.
  2. They see everything as geography based.
  3. They introduce jobs that tend to have heavy ties to the government. Ask a group of students in elementary school what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll get a bunch of firemen, police men, teachers, lawyers, astronauts, and doctors. Every one of those industries is heavily involved or subsidized through the government.

I’m probably a little more sensitive to this issue than most parents, but there is a part of what my kids were being exposed to at school that seemed nothing more than a marketing campaign for public sector jobs.

So, I decided to do something about it.

Thankfully at precisely the time that I discovered Erin McKean online he was getting asked what he wanted to be in school. So I trained him that if he ever gets asked that question he should respond with ‘I want to be a Lexicographer.’ Then explain that it’s the person who puts words in the dictionary. I then went the next layer knowing that my son would probably get asked what his favorite word was, I proceeded to teach him the word absquatulate.

Fun adventures have ensued.

We’ve learned that Lexicography will not pay a living wage, but he’s no longer trapped in the firefighter, police officer, teacher paradigm. He wants to be an engineer.

the bus driver bonus

In our town finding school bus drivers is hard.

The company in charge offers a hefty bonus for new drivers with licenses. For various reasons it’s not a job I’m interested in having. One reason is that with 4 kids, both my wife and I each feel like we’re bus drivers already.

So far this year we’ve done trips to wrestling, tennis, basketball, trumpet, choir, orthodontist, urgent care, and church group. All instead of pursuing the things we see as adding value. I’m sure other readers have longer lists. This one may not be as diverse but there’s a lot of repeat business in what’s summarized above.

The bonus the bus company offers gets paid after a certain amount of time with the company. The bonus you get paid as a parent comes after a certain amount of time as well. Like last night when my oldest boy talked to me about his future–nothing special–but he shared his feelings. He thought about his words.

I once heard that parenting isn’t always about quality time, but quantity time.

Quantity leads to quality opportunities.

Our First Oklahoma Tornado


It started off as just a typical morning. I went and did PT with the guys in class up on base. At the end of one course we’ll usually play sports for PT. This was no different. We played a version of football that was a lot like ultimate frisbee. I would have rather had the frisbee. Something about a sport with a ball doesn’t really appeal to me (unless it’s soccer).

After PT I hopped in the car to take care of an appointment at the house. I arrived and tidied up. Chrissy had been on the road for several hours at this point and I’ll let her talk about the insanity of her trip. I sat and waited, got the phone call that they were coming, and somewhere close to 10:00 the movers arrived.
We unloaded the van all day. The quiet, clean, empty house began filling up with brown boxes. The bedroom closet got full. The master bedroom got full. The kitchen got full–so we put kitchen stuff in the garage. The garage got full. The movers we had were great! They were courteous and very careful with everything they unloaded. Of course, some things got damaged during shipment. Our cheap bookshelves that we’ve had for years didn’t like this move and broke. The terracotta pots didn’t survive. Other little things were damaged and the walls in the house got their first scratch as the old blue couch was being moved in.

The soundtrack for the day was from over the hedge–granted this place seems to be away from the suburbs–but it seemed rather appropriate.

At the end of the day they tried to help assemble the beds. By this point I knew Chrissy was fast approaching and the beds were a must. We looked diligently for the box that had the hardware, to no avail. So we started working on the paperwork. It was pretty easy. There was a whole crate of our stuff missing. I contemplated living without a dryer and our flat panel TV and decided quickly that I like both of those things too much to do without them. The paperwork was easy because we just wrote in big letters “SHIPMENT INCOMPLETE.” The movers had a tornado of their own to deal with finding the crate. A mislabled crate in a warehouse is a difficult thing to find.

At the house the tornado arrived about twenty minutes after the movers left. I found the box of hardware for the beds. Our neighbor (Stacie) has four kids. The younger three like to come over and visit. While the movers were here their presence was somewhat obtrusive. When they came by after dinner though they were quite helpful. Austin helped me put together Eliza’s bed–definitely a two person job–couldn’t have done it without him! Christie and Kyla helped me with the boys bunk-bed–Definitely a two person job–couldn’t have done it without them! Things were looking up.

Chrissy was going to arrive sometime around midnight and that gave me just a few hours to get things ready for their arrival and breakfast in the morning. I started with the clothes on hangars–got those boxes empty and remembered that my kids really like cereal. In order to eat cereal they’d need bowls. So I found a box labled “Kitchen, Glassware” and began to empty it. About the middle of the box I realized that there weren’t any bowls in there and that there were about 4 boxes labeled “Kitchen, Glassware.”

With Chrissy’s arrival there was more than just me emptying boxes. Now the house is cluttered with a mixture of boxes and unboxed items strewn across the house. The last boxes showed up yesterday with the dryer. The house is messy–it’s probably my fault.

Last night we went shopping. In addition to not talking about our goals and getting frustrated as a family, Daniel ran a shopping cart into the back of my left leg–knocking me over. We got home and vented. The adults got out on the front porch and enjoyed a “sit” and at 9:00pm it was still warm enough for the kids to run around in the sprinklers.

It might have the fact that my camera doesn’t take good photos at night–but some of these photos make it look like once we’re finished with this moving tornado we’ve got three smaller ones coming.