What about higher Education.

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I am getting ready to leave town. I spent some time reading the boards today [I hate packing]. I looked in on the "Dennis" board. They had a thread on how much education do you have. I heard the thread-bare arguments that they learned nothing in college; they learned it in life. Not my experience. Now, I have a BS in Chemistry; minor in physics, math and philosophy; MS and PhD in Chemistry. Five years of Postdoc experience; with the DOE and a University. I'll give you my experience.

I grew up in, what John Kennedy, at the time, called Appalacia [I lived there but don't really know how to spell it]. We weren't poor, but, we weren't rich. My father had always wanted to go to college; the depression and the war stopped that. There weren't that many scholarships or loan programs at the time. I got a national merit scholarship for the state U. My father insisted that I go elsewhere. I went to this elite college. He paid the bills. I spent 4 years studying, reading and thinking. I came out with a very different world view than my parents. My father was delighted. That was what he wanted. The rest,: well, I financed that on my own.

Now, it has been my experience, that those who claim to have gotten nothing from college are those who were slackers during college; or losers. ;o)))

What is your opinion?

Best Wishes and leaving town,,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), January 04, 2002


If you're not going to be around to read it...?

Your view of college may be affected by where you viewed yourself before college and how you view yourself after college. Some people may feel the most beneficial changes were accomplished outside of the classroom. Or maybe, they haven't changed enough to notice much of a difference in themselves based on their college experiences.

A shrink friend of mine said that in his opinion, a person who actually made changes in his or her world view was rare.

-- helen (Deo@vobiscum.Z), January 04, 2002.

Well,I could nver find anyone I could relate to until I went to University.Suddenly I found that far from being the odd one out I was just like most other people there.So I learnt you need to choose your environment.

2nd lesson came when having trained as geologist I couldn't get a job in the field as a woman.What was worse was that it as an equal opportunities exempt occupation.So I learnt the importance of choosing my own playing field.

Not exactly the kind of things I was expecting to learn but there you are,Z.

-- Chris (Chris@ireland.com), January 04, 2002.

I'm convinced that I left college with better abilities to think and to express myself than had I spent the four years doing something else. Of course just the passage of four years would have helped somewhat, but I believe that exposure to interesting minds, both among the faculty and the student body, was a great benefit to me.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), January 04, 2002.


As I'm sure you're aware, that thread was my fault. And I don't think it can be seriously denied that a college education is wasted on some people. I know for myself, most of what I was taught was not specifically useful.

For some, college is simply a way of letting an employer know that you can adapt to arbitrary control structures and succeed. For others, it gets them into a habit of learning, thinking and absorbing that they never outgrow.

What characterizes the Dennis crowd, IMAO, isn't so much the educational levels (which seem kind of slice-of-life, based on the responses and the non-randomness of the response) as the lack of curiosity, and resulting adherance to rigid belief, outside of their particular areas of knowledge and experience. As though such outside "knowledge" were gained not by a wide range of reading and experience, as by a narrowly focused range of memorization. But this approach is hardly surprising -- religious filters seem to distort their view of *everything* except within the narrow scope of their immediation function, where they know better.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), January 04, 2002.

Going to college should be considered a good "experience" for anyone, whether or not they liked it or used any of what they learned. The knowledge studied is usually not as useful as the experience itself, learning how to think and solve problems.

Unfortunatley for you Z, your perspective on the knowledge you gained has actually made you more of a loser than many of the people who recognize its limitations. You seem to think that your knowledge automatically makes you superior, and by limiting yourself to that perspective you are actually missing out on some of the much more profound wisdom gained from experiences in normal everyday life.

-- (education doesn't @ solve. everything), January 04, 2002.


Afraid I didn't learn THAT one in college. Definition, Flint?

-- Pammy (pamela_sue57@hotmail.com), January 04, 2002.

"Unfortunatley for you Z, your perspective on the knowledge you gained has actually made you more of a loser than many of the people who recognize its limitations. You seem to think that your knowledge automatically makes you superior, and by limiting yourself to that perspective you are actually missing out on some of the much more profound wisdom gained from experiences in normal everyday life. "

Oh, I don't think that's true at all. It's hard to tell in print what an attitude is, when you can't see the person or hear his voice. You may read into printed words your own bias against the way it's worded.

-- helen (lost@empress.of.goatville), January 04, 2002.


That's what happens when the fingers go on automatic pilot, and think they're smarter than I am. You know, kind of like Windows?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), January 04, 2002.


Sounds like you are catching the same disease as Z, getting a little too "smart" for your own good. Better keep that in check, remember pride comes before a fall. ;-)

-- Remember (In @ Like. Flint?), January 04, 2002.


Oh, I'm much smarter than Z, but I have nowhere near the status in my own mind that Z has in his. I'm working on that, though!

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), January 04, 2002.

LOL, I wasn't referring to you, Flint. Helen thought she was being smart by correcting me on another thread, but it turned out she was just not hip to the James Coburn movie character with your name.

You and Decker had the biggest egos on the forum during the Y2K debate, but at least it was tolerable because you USUALLY knew what you were talking about. Z has far surpassed both of you recently, journeying into a land of narcissism and delusions of grandeur on all subjects. Do yourself a favor and do not attempt to follow, it is more embarrassing than impressive.

-- Remember (Coburn @ as. Flint), January 05, 2002.

I guess I agree with Peter. I felt that the University experience was instrumental in helping me learn how to think. There are different philosophies on the University experience. My ex thought that University should be used to gain a trade. He majored in Accounting and spent his life doing work he didn't enjoy. I concentrated on math and sciences because the others came too easily to me. After graduation, I went back and took music, art, history, etc., and found them quite enjoyable.

My kids observed both philosophies growing up and seem to be incorporating a little of both. While thinking ahead to what job they might gain from a particular program, they are also dabbling in subjects that provide no career advantage, but encourage independent thought. I can see their thought processes changing, and I'm pleased. Of course, as Peter said, it COULD be that they're simply getting older and age in itself sometimes encourages growth.

One area of growth that I highly encourage is travel to foreign lands where cultures aren't the same as ours. I felt I learned a great deal from my travels and spent many years taking my children to explore different cultures. I don't think the people of the earth can be understood without firsthand experience in their cultures.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 05, 2002.

Hey! Somebody thinks I'm too smart! I need to frame that before I forget! ;)

Speaking of not being hip, we just realized the kids have never seen a John Wayne movie. Oh yeah! Remember the Coburn movie "Looker"? Has that ever been shown on tv?

-- helen (tattoo@it.on.my.hand.too), January 05, 2002.

LOL, Helen. I remember telling my son that I wasn't interested in Stepford children and he didn't understand what I meant.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 05, 2002.

Kolleege wuz the best daze of my life

-- (Bluto@amimal.house), January 05, 2002.

I was helping out at the kids' school concession stand. I jumped up from behind the counter and said "Empty Arms Hotel!" (HeeHaw) Forty children stood there in silence staring at me. I'm old. And not hip.

-- helen (wanted@to.marry.buck.owens.in.68), January 05, 2002.

My experience clearly differentiates between "college" and "education".

My first two years of college were a washout. I was homesick, soul-sick, unmotivated and at loose ends. I quit, found a job, got an apartment and began to work through my problems. In that instance, college may have offered me much, but merely being there was of no value, because I did not grasp the opportunity.

My second run at college was far more successful. I was highly motivated, entirely engaged and spent vast amounts of my time and energy focused on my studies, because I loved what I was doing. The results, as anyone would guess, were 180 degrees different than the first time around.

Compared to any other educational experience of my life, college was both the worst and most useless, and the best and most exciting.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 05, 2002.

You are fortunate LN. I totally agree, college is valuable but only when you are ready for it. Alas, mostly I was not.

-- (lars@indy.net), January 05, 2002.

I think that college is a learning experience which assists in your growing up as an individual. Coming from a small rural town the experience gave me an opportunity to meet different people, with different ideas, backgrounds and cultures. This to me is as much a "learning" benefit as the individual degree program that I followed and I feel certainly changed me as a person.

Of course it could have been the drugs.

-- Jack Booted Thug (governmentconspiracy@NWO.com), January 05, 2002.

Unfortunatley for you Z, your perspective on the knowledge you gained has actually made you more of a loser than many of the people who recognize its limitations. You seem to think that your knowledge automatically makes you superior

Unfortunatly that is the reaction of someone who feels threatened by another who has accomplished what may be considered a "superior" profession.

as is commonly known, my spelling isn't so good, well at least it didn't used to be and my writing leaves a lot to be desired when it come for form and sentece structure. But (yea I know, you aren't supposed to start a sentance with "but") my field caused me a lot of unearned hostility and resentment. In the 1970's and 1980's a lot of people didn't work on computers especially not women and since most computers were mainframes, this was considered a specialized and extremely complicated field that took a lot of brains to work in. When asked what I did and I answered that I operated,flew, maintained and fixed flight simulators and the computers that ran them, a lot of people would start backing away socially. There were many guys who felt threatened in some way and people in general would start talking to me in a different way.

Now it is no big deal to say you work in computing as most people have some experience with desktop comps. It is unfortunate that when someone is talented in a field that is considered difficult to do, they end up getting bashed because someone thinks they are bragging and/or showing off. Why do people assume that you think you are smarter than most people just because you have a certain ability? Different people have different strengths and weaknesses in different areas.

I got so I did resent the people who would say things like "you think you're so smart" "You think you know everything". I finally got to the point where I would say "Yes, I am smart and I know a lot more about a LOT of things than you do. After all, I took the time and effort to learn my field, there is no reason I should pretend I am less smart than I am.

Rant off

As for learning and higher education, it used to be that a certain amount of knowledge was supposed to be held in order to get into college, but now people are getting in who can't even fill out the paperwork needed to apply. Different people have different abilities, some are ready for college, some need a break from schooling for a year of 5 before they tackle it. I found it too slow for me, but then I am beginning to believe I must have been hyperactive all of my life. I couldn't afford to go to college, my parents couldn't afford to send me and Dad made too much money for me to get grants. Jobs were scarce after high school here in Seattle, Boeing was in a huge slump. So after a year of trying I went down to join the uSAF. The tech school I went to was 9 months long. Classes were 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Everything that was taught had to do with the field I was going into. Spread out in a college setting it would have equaled at least a 4 year degree in Electronics. What we were taught one hour was applied and used to learn the the subject the next hour. Everything from jet engines to aerodynamics, hydraulics, pneumatics, physics, digital electronics, boolien algebra to test equipment. It was fast paced and demanding. The subjects were taught in "blocks". They were from one week to 3 weeks long. You didn't get a chance to redo any of them, if you failed one you were washed out.

I enjoyed the challange and my brain seemed to learn fast doing it that way. I cannot learn from memorizing things, I have to understand them and when I do I never loose the knowledge. I also had the advantage of having had my Dad teach me a lot of the subjects as I was growing up. I have gone to college a few times over the years and found it to be slow and boring to me. But that's me, some people can take lots of classes and do great, some can only take a few and struggle. I think that being financially able to go to college is no reason to send a kid to it. If they crave learning and are willing to put in the effort, fine, but too many kids get sent to college just because it is the thing to do and waste the space they take up there. Life teaches, I have learned much more in life than I did in tech school, but it gave me the basics I needed to learn. I think college can do that for most people. Teach them to learn. It seems the things I learned in high school are now the things they teach in college. I cannot believe how little is taught in high school these days.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), January 06, 2002.

"Unfortunatly that is the reaction of someone who feels threatened by another who has accomplished what may be considered a "superior" profession."

LOL! You think Z is "superior" just because he has a PhD in CHEMISTRY??

ROTFL! You just proved that you are as ignorant, narrow-minded, and conceited as Z!

Lots of people do lots of very important things in their lives, what makes you two think that what YOU do is so "superior"?

I think the nurse at my local hospital or the garbageman who picks up my trash have a more noble profession than some jerkoff who knows a lot about chemistry or electronics who thinks they run the world.

-- (get@over.yourself), January 06, 2002.

get over yourself, consider whether you'd put that noble garbage collector in a higher niche than, say, a master cabinet maker or an airline pilot?

Now what really distinguishes between those jobs? Anyone with a strong back can start collecting garbage tomorrow and be damned skillful at it in a week. It takes stamina and long-term committment to be an airline pilot or a master cabinet maker. The pilot and cabinet maker undergo a long period of apprenticeship, during which time they learn a lot of specialized knowledge and acquire exacting skills where that knowledge is applied.

Now what do you suppose it takes to get a PhD. in Chemistry?

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 06, 2002.

"It takes stamina and long-term committment to be an airline pilot or a master cabinet maker."

And it doesn't to be a garbage collector or a nurse? LOL! Maybe you should try it for a while. It would probably humble you and change your arrogant perspective.

-- (arrogance@is.disgusting), January 06, 2002.

I think LN illuminates the real crux of the matter, in that it can either be very valuable or a complete waste of time. A mix of both academic prowess and real world experience with the added caveat of being a well grounded person makes for the best complete package.A condescending asshole, wheather it's the garbage man or the chemist, are both detestable, simple.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), January 06, 2002.

People are confusing assholiness with technical skill. Jerks can be found in every walk of life, from the least skilled to the most, from the least powerful to the most, from the poorest to the richest. Jerks are everywhere.

Byt about skill, LN is correct. Just head down to Manpower for day labor, and you will (with luck) be assigned duties you can learn quickly enough to make you worth paying a wage your very first day. Becoming a master tradesman in any trade takes years. For many professions, no amount of practice or study will suffice. If you ain't got the natural talent, you will NEVER be a master musician or athlete. In most good colleges that offer computer science degrees, the dropout rate (from the CS program, not necessarily the institution) runs about 75%. Sheer desire and willingness to drop everything else and bust ass, unfortunately, is far from sufficient.

(And to tie these things together a bit, I can tell you from my time as a professional musician that you SHOULD NOT trust any good musician. The time required to develop professional musical skill both excludes time to do much else (like have any social life), and starts early (when social skills would otherwise be learned). It's not a hard and fast rule, but most professional musicians are jerks. You can become a master musician or you can become likeable. You can't do both.)

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), January 06, 2002.

And what chance do dyslexics have ?Higher education is virtually ruled out.In a class structure based on the examination system where do they stand ? If you have difficulty in reading,writing,spelling and answering the telephone then you just have to be dumb in most eyes.

Yet most dyslexics have fantastic longterm memories and the ability for spatial visualisation that can out perform a graphics program.

Why don't we value people who have rare & unusual talents..instead of riduculing them because they are have difficulty functioning in today's world.250 years ago it was a different matter.


-- Chris (chris@ireland .com), January 06, 2002.

In addition there are a lot of people who don't have fathers to pay for their college education, or they are trapped in jobs where they never earn enough to afford it. People who get a college education should consider themselves fortunate, but that hardly makes them superior.

-- (knowledge @ is not. a virtue), January 06, 2002.

No one, insofar as I can see, has claimed that a college education makes a person superior. Z never claimed it. I certainly didn't. If you check the post that Z started out with, he said:

"I heard the thread-bare arguments that they learned nothing in college; they learned it in life. [...] Now, it has been my experience, that those who claim to have gotten nothing from college are those who were slackers during college; or losers."

It was "get over yourself" who suggested that garbage collection was a "more noble profession" than having and productively using a PhD. in Chemistry. A profession is not the same thing as the people in that profession. You can be a garbage collector and be a saint and a hero. But that would not alter the nature of the profession of garbage collection or make it more saintly or heroic.

As for the poor souls whose father couldn't pay college tuition, if you were paying attention, Z not only got a scholarship on his own merit, but he got his advanced degrees on his own nickel. It's kind of hard to paint him as a son of privilege, under the circumstances he describes. My guess is you hate him for his success, not for his failings as you imagine them.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 06, 2002.

No, I don't hate Z, I'm just pointing out that he consistently uses a very condescending attitude in his posts. Good for him if he has been very fortunate, there's no need to rub other people's noses in it. Actually I don't take him too seriously, since most of the time he is either lying or greatly exaggerating his talents. If he wants to play games by constantly bragging about how great he is, I'll be happy to point out how great he isn't. LOL!

-- (just having fun @ with. the loser Z), January 07, 2002.

You think Z is "superior" just because he has a PhD in CHEMISTRY?? No, I think YOU think he thinks he is superior just because he has a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Good for him if he has been very fortunate, It appears he made his own "fortune", not as if something befell him with fortune and gave him the Ph.D. without his having the drive, determination and putting the effort towards earning it.

there's no need to rub other people's noses in it. He cannot talk about his life because it makes you feel uncomfortable? Are the only people who are allowed to talk about their lives the ones who do not have the ability or money the rest do not? Should he be ashamed or embarrassed of his ability and status?

Actually I don't take him too seriously, since most of the time he is either lying or greatly exaggerating his talents. I'll just bet you would like to believe that wouldn't you? Envy is a sad emotion to experience isn't it?


And what chance do dyslexics have ?Higher education is virtually ruled out.In a class structure based on the examination system where do they stand ? If you have difficulty in reading,writing,spelling and answering the telephone then you just have to be dumb in most eyes. I agree with you totally, I am dyslexic and did really poorly in school growing up and especially on tests.
Growing up I had been told I was stupid, and that convinced me I was. In high school I took algebra which I learned and understood with ease. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I started realizing I wasn't stupid, I was taking all those "ology" classes and doing very well in them.

Yet most dyslexics have fantastic longterm memories and the ability for spatial visualization that can out perform a graphics program. I have to agree again. My dyslexia is what allowed me to be able to do the work I do so well. Thinking in functions and visualizing the electron flow or mechanical workings instead of thinking in words. Most of my co-workers who had the ability to do the job well were also dyslexic to one degree or another.

We had one guy who could pass any test but had absolutely no ability to logically reason out malfunctions and fix them. He thought people should take tests and be promoted on the results instead of their ability to do the job.

Why don't we value people who have rare & unusual talents..instead of riduculing them because they are have difficulty functioning in today's world. Hopefully this will be realized soon, as the world has changed and going to college and learning the things that were taught 100 years ago does nothing to prepare people for today's technology. There was so much importance put on literature and writing etc. which was ok for the times, but then the industrial revolution came and mechanical ability was important, and technical ability today is important. It amazed me to learn a few years ago how little computer knowledge was needed to get a degree in IT. Most of it was business, teaching them how to manipulate their employers into dragging out a project and squeezing out every bit of financial gain they could manage. They only needed one class in programming, and that was "an intro" to whatever language they chose.

One of the reasons Y2K problems existed in PC's was that the IT's who set them up didn't understand how the software worked and didn't have enough understanding to realize what would happen with them as they rolled over.

It was people who were "different" who brought us the PC. People who were not afraid to think outside of the box, who didn't just accept what they were taught in school. It was the "nerds" who sat at home using their minds to create who have brought us the amazing advanced in computing. When "business graduates" get ahold of it, they do as they were taught, which usually is illogical and ruins many of the good things and advances made.

One of the reasons there have been such an increase in technical and specialized schools is because college is not suited to teach in the different ways and specialized areas a lot of people are now going into.

I think it is time the powers that be realize they need people with different abilities and minds that work in different ways instead of trying to force them into neat little clones of each other.

We need all of the different talents and abilities different people have.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), January 07, 2002.

I recall reading an article in the mid 90s in one of the computer publications I was getting. The point of the article was that many dyslexics are excellent computer programmers.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), January 07, 2002.

Cherri's not dyslexic, she's just dumb.

-- (peter@brown.noser), January 07, 2002.

Life is what you make of it. Some lessons come from college; some from life experience but most good lessons don't come easy. It's as unique as the individual.

Z, nice try to generalize this but it's impossible. Calling those, who got nothing out of college, losers is akin to calling those, who spend their entire lives in college, narrow-minded. It's the typical 'us vs them' argument which goes nowhere. But I guess that was your intent by starting this thread.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 07, 2002.

To "peter@brown.noser":

When we want the disgusting cowards' viewpoint, we'll ask for it.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), January 07, 2002.

Just to stir the mix a bit more, how does ANYONE know what they want to be when they "grow up" if they don't test the waters in various subjects? I remember entering the University experience wanting to be a social worker [to my father's dismay, as he saw me being raped in a ghetto somewhere.] I couldn't handle the lack of definite answers. Math was better for me in that regard. THEN I wanted to be a research doctor. I didn't want to heal sick people. I wanted to sit in a lab for 80 hours/week finding the cure for the common cold. Second semester of organic chemistry had me vomiting from the lab fumes, so THAT one was out. Heh. I think it's GREAT that some people find their love in four years of University [or even find it from other sources.] It took me a LOT longer, but CS was definately where I should have been. I loved it so much that I would have paid THEM, and did well in the field for over 20 years. I'm thinking about something else now, but I'm not sure WHAT. I hope it doesn't take as long to find my second career as it took to find my first. The only thing I KNOW is that I will only do something that I LOVE doing. That's the important thing, afterall.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 07, 2002.

I known have smart folks who benefited from college... and equally intelligent people who did not. I think it's rather narrow-minded of "Z" to dismiss the latter as "slackers" or "losers."

To me, college seems most valuable when teaching what one wishes to learn. One who wishes to become a master carpenter or plumber may find the the curriculum at Harvard unfulfilling. Flint's professional musician may find univerisity far less useful than actually playing professionally. An artist may prefer painting to taking classes in art theory.

The hubris of higher education is that college teaches everything important. As a counterpoint, it is often the uneducated defiance of the proletariat that suggests college teaches nothing important. The truth, as might be expected, is somewhere in the middle.

Higher education can be valuable, particularly if you are interested in academic subjects. Practical experience is equally valuable in practical matters. I prefer a mixture. The theory of academia works better when tested in the real world. The real world works better when it draws on the knowledge of academia. Thesis-antithesis- synthesis.

As is invariably true with "Z," we see in the mirror what we wish, and ignore the rest. Academics inflate the value of higher education, though I'm really not sure college makes one a better spouse, a better parent or a better person. In turn, the proletariat rejects higher education as worthless, favoring "hands-on" experience.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), January 07, 2002.

Hands on. Italics off. ;-)

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 07, 2002.

There is no spoon. My closest friend and I both have doctoral degrees in the same field. By coincidence we did most of our graduate studies at the same university, within a few years of one another. Both of us came from humble backgrounds and made our own way. He has more raw intellectual horsepower than I do, of that there is no doubt. Although school was much "easier" for him than it was for me, my friend would agree that we are about equal in skill, knowledge, and innate ability within our shared profession. My friend is lacking in some areas of knowledge that I find peculiar. Once, when I mentioned Joseph McCArthy, my friend didn't know who I was talking about. I am also careful in conversation with him that I don't make too many pop culture references from ANY generation, as I'll usually be met with a blank look. The deficits that I consider peculiar could be explained by the fact that my friend has never read a single book unless it was required of him. I suspect that, if my friend posted here, most would guess he was not particularly educated. Conclusion? None.

I know I have more formal education than either Flint or Ken Decker. There are few areas where I would confidently engage in a written debate with either of them, because they could both kick my ass, and I wouldn't enjoy it. It is my opinion, based on what I've read over time, that in a written debate on any number of subjects, they would both kick Z's ass, too. Conclusion? None.

I have a relative who, when tested at a young age, scored out of measurable range on standardized IQ tests. She was skipped two grades in elementary school, and would have been skipped more if not for concerns about her level of emotional maturity. This was in the days before "gifted children" programs or special schools were available for such children. Before she started kindergarten she was reading at high school level, could multiply and divide 3 digit numbers, and was learning fractions. She dropped out of high school when she was 16, though she did get her GED when she was about 30. She's currently employed in a clerical position, and has no career aspirations beyond that. She could still kick my ass in a game of Trivial Pursuit, and my guess is she could kick the collective asses of anyone here, including Flint, Decker, and Z. She reminds me of the lead character in the film Goodwill Hunting. Haha---going back to my opening comments about my close friend, this is exactly the kind of obervation I could make to him and he'd have no idea what it meant! Conclusion? None.

So, here is my conclusion: Although it is interesting to me, I think this discussion is silly and irrelevant. Of course, I could be wrong. :-D

-- (just an@anonymous.one), January 07, 2002.

I thought you introduced some good points, Anonymous One. ASIDE from what we learn in school [public or private], there are questions of Cultural Literacy. I did my best to teach stuff to my kids, but I STILL hear things like, "I suppose that's biblical, eh?" THAT from #2 who won't go within a stone's throw of a church and obviously tuned out the biblical stories I'd read to her as a child. Some things are important to learn just so we can glean the importance of other things. For example, if one has never read Greek or Roman mythology, how does one perceive the parodies on same presented today? If one has never read Aesop's fables, how does one perceive the inferences used today? Well-rounded has many meanings, but I would include Cultural Literacy in the mix.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 07, 2002.

I don't think it is silly or irrelevant. Why? Because education and practical experience are important. Let's start with the base of economics. A well-educated and/or highly skilled populace is generally more productive. This higher level of productivity can translate into a higher quality of life. While not universally true, increased affluence decreases crime and other negative social behaviors. A society of free and open inquiry seems to create more thinkers. A culture where hard work (or genius) is rewarded creates more hard workers and more genuises.

We really shouldn't lower this discussion to a "my dad can beat up your dad at Trivial Pursuit" level. What is important is to celebrate achievements in education, skills, experience, etc. I know a few "Good Will Hunting" drop outs. I respect each person's right to pursue excellence... or the path of least resistance. Personally, I think we all benefit when people work towards fulfilling their potential, great or small.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), January 07, 2002.

Ken, if we can all agree on the definitions of "practical experience", "productivity", "quality of life", "negtaive social behaviors", "fulfilling one's potential", "achievements in experience", and we can all agree that these characteristics define "success", then this debate about the value of a formal education becomes less silly. In other words, if we all agree to the terms of the debate, then it becomes more meaningful. That ain't gonna happen.

Here are some facts about my two above-mentioned acquaintances:

1. My high school dropout relative would kick my Ph.D friend's ass in Trivial Pursuit
2. My Ph.D. friend and my dropout relative could take any college course together and my Ph.D. friend would finish it in half the time and score twice as high on any related tests.
3. In a written debate of randomly selected issues, my dropout relative would kick the ass of my Ph.D. friend.
4. In an oral debate of randomly selected issues, my Ph.D friend would kick the ass of my dropout friend.
5. My Ph.D. friend has a much higher income
6. Both individuals have long term relationships with friends and family.
7. My Ph.D. friend has been accused of a misdemeanor crime. My droupout relative has not been accused of any crimes.
7. Both individuals are happy, as subectively reported

Okay, of these two, who is smarter? Who is more productive? Who has the best quality of life? Since we both know who has the most formal education, if our answers to these questions agree, then we can agree on the value of formal education, can't we?

Or, I can agree to allow you to define the terms of this debate, you can get an "A", and we can all move on to other subjects.

-- (just an@anonymous.one), January 07, 2002.

Ken Decker: "What is important is to celebrate achievements in education, skills, experience, etc."

Unless, of course, you are the entity formerly known as "just having fun with the loser Z" and those "achievements in education, skills, experience, etc." happen to belong to Z. Then what is important is to denigrate them.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 07, 2002.

LN, LOL! Just a quick note to say I've appreciated your logical and humorous replies on many threads. Oops...am I now anonymous@brown.noser? HAHAhahaha.

-- (just an@anonymous.one), January 07, 2002.

"I hope it doesn't take as long to find my second career as it took to find my first. The only thing I KNOW is that I will only do something that I LOVE doing. That's the important thing, afterall."

I hear that Anita! Very well said.

I was fortunate in my 1st career, I found that I loved delving into the intricacies involved in the art of wine.That education didn't cost a dime but it did require an enormous amount of time researching, reading and tasting, mostly all of which was done before ever setting foot on the net.Sure, I didn't make a fortune doing it, but it afforded me happiness, freedom and a very comfortable lifestyle.

Which brings me to the present, the freedom I held in my past career is helping me to move into a love I found while still in the wine biz, computer graphics and all things digital.Hell, at the old job I made a new position for myself (net dude) that included a higher pay scale, whoda thunk it?

In both cases it is education that makes the difference, higher education, lower education, whatever you choose to call it it is still acquired knowledge. (one of two things that can never be taken from you, along with good character) Everything takes a certain degree of knowledge, even being a professional fuckoff takes a special knowledge, it seems some do it quite well without doing it at others expense.

Being well rounded and happy are the only two requisites that matter and it only matters to that paticular individual, as only they can judge those two criteria for themselves as it pertains to them.

"Personally, I think we all benefit when people work towards fulfilling their potential, great or small."

This thread could have well ended long before now had Ken chimed in 1st with this statement.

It's one of the reasons I love the get togethers, getting to observe such an eclectic bunch interact with each other, variety is the spice of life my friends.I suspect that if everyone here were the mirror of Z (intellectually) he would not visit the Saloon, not to mention the fact that he hangs out here instead of the "Biomolecular Mutating Zygote Board".

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), January 07, 2002.

justananonymousone, I enjoyed your analogy.

Capn, you never cease to amaze me =O)

-- (cin@cin.cin), January 07, 2002.

"Follow your bliss"

--Joseph Campbell

-- (lars@indy.net), January 08, 2002.

Drat...late again. My peon job held me overtime for two shifts around my night class today. I saw the kids for a grand total of an hour today. I managed to cook a hot breakfast and a hot supper for them while I was here.

I have a college degree. (Collective gasp from the audience.) My social background was developed in a culture where women did not work if they were mothers, and later if they worked it was at traditionally female jobs. When I started my degree, I was often the only woman in the class. I'm finishing a series of classes right now, and I'm the only woman in all of the classes in this area. I can't point to many role models around here. I'm not sure what my peer group is, outside of my classmates, and I'm the only one with a degree there.

All these years I've worked around the kids. I once was a secretary, a waitress, and a rat catcher (bare hands) for a grand total of 70 hours per week every week for eight months without even one day off. Not one day off.

Why? This is a poor rural area with few job opportunities, and these jobs were at hours when their father could take care of them after his work day. I stayed home with the kids in the traditional manner by day and worked my ass off the rest of the time.

A woman I worked with once sniffed at me and asked me when I was going to get a "real job". They were all real jobs. The kids are REAL job.

So many times I wondered why I wasted all that money on a college education when I could have driven a nice car instead. My answer is this: the kids have books and music and ideas that are freely available everywhere but rarely taught around here. Maybe I'm not a better or more productive person because I went to college, but the kids are much better off. Maybe their kids will be better off too.

-- helen dozes off surrounded by a thousand books (peons@need.books.too), January 08, 2002.

Ah, quibbling over the definitions. We don't need to agree on the precise meanings to engage in this discussion.

This discussion started with "Z" suggesting anyone who didn't benefit from college was either a "slacker" or "loser." I forwarded a third option. Some individual have little interest in the subjects taught by universities. One can still be highly "skilled" and "productive" sans a college education.

In general, society benefits when people achieve higher levels of skills and/or education and put these skills and/or education to productive use.

Your "facts" about your friends are mostly irrelevant. With all due respect, mastery of Trivial Pursuit or being accused of crime has no bearing on our discussion. It doesn't really matter who would win a "beer and pretzels" debate or finish a randomly selected college course with higher marks.

Income matters. Why? A higher level of personal income has an economic multiplier effect. A person making $100,000 per annum generally consumes a wider range of goods and services than a person making $1,000 per annum. This economic behavior creates more jobs. The higher income person often has a higher degree of saving and investment. Personal saving and investment have a direct positive impact on the overall economy. As a general rule, higher income earners also pay more taxes and this supports the many endeavors of government.

Happiness matters. Again, in broad terms, responsible and happy persons commit fewer crimes against persons or property. I imagine they are better parents, better neighbors and better drivers.

This discussion is not about who is "smarter" or more "productive." I think we can both offer anecdotal evidence of "smart" folks sitting in prison and developmentally disabled persons working to their potential. Formal education is just one "input" in a complex equation. You can have more degrees than a thermometer. If you are sitting on death row for killing 27 innocent children, your formal education is no benefit to society. If you are a high school dropout that creates musical masterpieces on the level of Bach, your lack of education means very little.

Success matters, "Anon," whether one is a successful "stay-at-home" parent or a successful Nobel-prize winning physicist. So does logic.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), January 08, 2002.

Helen, I grew up in a "mill town" where a college education was not held in high esteem. In fact, I am very familiar with the attitude that education and "common sense" are mutually exclusive. Fortune smiled upon me and I had parents who saw a college education as a ticket out for one bookish son. I was also lucky enough to have Uncle Sam help underwrite my education via the GI Bill.

Personally, I am thankful every day for a university education. On a practical level, the degrees afford me a better, more comfortable life. On another level, the foundation has allowed me to continue my education, reading great books and pondering big questions. I think I'm happier (and more productive) than had I taken a mill job.

The world is full of honorable and worthy tasks, perhaps none greater than the successful rearing of children. Catching rats and waiting tables can be vocations for the right person... and in the words of my grandfather, are worth doing well.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), January 08, 2002.

Helen, you "can't point to many role models around here"? You are the role model. Well done.

-- (lars@indy.net), January 08, 2002.

I agree with lars.

-- Pammy (applauding@for.helen), January 08, 2002.

I'm still wondering why Ender, AKA An Anonymous One, insists that there is no spoon. Somehow it doesn't quite fit with my acquired surname.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 08, 2002.

Good one Anita. Though... she was referring to the Matrix and I'm sure you knew that :)

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 08, 2002.

Maria, of course you are correct. Now can you tell me who or what Anita was referring to when she called me Ender?

-- (just an@anonymous.one), January 08, 2002.

Ken, the "imaginary" people I've met on these discussion boards got me so interested in the outside world that I went back to school and started thinking about leaving the mule behind. :)

Lars, they aren't going to crown me Mother of the Year.

The oldest is living in sin and just dropped out of college with a year to go. I'm not paying the bills, so I stayed out of it. Foolishness is best gotten out of the system when young. I did offer to pay for a technical class, and the kid jumped at it. If we can avoid the pitter patter of little feet for another year, this kid will be ok.

The high school kid is doing the maximum sentence the school offers in detention. I offered to sign papers giving permission to extend the punishment, so the kid knows the jig is up. I told this kid I would by golly start writing cute stories about my family for the local paper if I ever have to do a teacher conference again. This kid will be ok.

The Goth is having dramatic breaks with an SO. I told them I had had enough with my own and they had to take it out into sub-freezing temps. They were able to compromise before they died of exposure.

A stray young man showed up in my living room. I think he is one of the floater kids. He is very polite. I have no idea who he is, but he calls me ma'am. :)

One of the younger kids insists on sharing a coat with a lice-infested child with no coat. We got the dreaded lice letter. We donated a coat to the school to give to the other kid, but the family is proud and won't take it.

One of the younger kids may be a genius. Unfortunately, we didn't catch this child writing with the "wrong" hand until it was too late to switch back. Paperwork is a nightmare. What happens to a right-brained kid who writes right handed?

One of the kids appears to be very bright, very opinionated, and very energetic. We are soooo old we have a hard time molding this feral warrior into a civilized human being.

These are the ones taking turns in the spotlights this week. Ask me about runaways sometime. :)

-- helen (overtime@is.overtaxed.and.overtaxing), January 08, 2002.

Helen, you are so freshly honest.
I have had many people get angry with me in the past decade+ when I chose to forgo my "carrier" in order to take in and care for foster children, then droped that when my Dad got cancer (in 1994) to take care of him and my Mother until they died. Although I had not planned to continue foster care full time and went back to college to freshen up on digital electronics and to discover what new technology was around, I knew I wouldn't stick around to get a degree when the head of the electronics department told me I would have to start from the bottom, taking basic electronics. I stood there trying to figure out what was wrong with him, my having 15 years experience working in electronics and computers etc. I knew better than to argue, it wouldn't get me anywhere so I just took a deep breath and walked away, my future once again decided by some ignorant asshole. So I accepted the job of receiving care to cover me until the fall when my youngest would be in school and I could go to work full time.

Unfortunatly Dad got cancer before school started, I had to stop doing my foster/receiving care to care for my parents until they died, Mom in Aug 1999 and Dad in October 2000.

Taking care of them prevented me from working, as well as the physical problem that has plaiged me since 1997 which got serious Dec30, 1998.

I no longer have any family obligations which would prevent me from working, and have finally received the surgery needed to repair my physical problem which caused me to be immoble for so long (except when taking care of my parents, which didn't help my problem at all). Now all I have to do is continue to heal, take it slow, build up to a physical state which will allow me to go back to doing the work I love so much.
I have to admit, as far as satisfaction goes, I derived as much in doing foster care as I did in my high paying work.

I don't think people can be defined by the "social standard" of their profession, but how well they do the job and how they feel about doing that job. I cannot immagine working at a job I hated, I loved my simulator job so much I often thought I should be paying them for letting me do it.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), January 10, 2002.

Cherri, we're coming to a crossroads here too. In a few months I'll be certified to take a job in a new field. My husband is in the same program a few months behind me. Do we stay here and get by on local jobs? Do we leave for bigger money? Do we stay here and provide foster/adopt care for our tribe? We don't know yet. My heart leans toward the tribe's needs. But this could be another manifestation of pathological mothering. :)

This morning we waited for the bus in near total darkness. There were four owls talking in turns not far from us. At moments like these, you couldn't pay me enough to leave.

To get back to the general topic of the thread: the dropout discovered too late that subsistance wages don't cover animal protein in the diet. Education doesn't have to come from a university, but it helps to be able to prove a certain level of knowledge that course completion indicates.

-- helen (leaning@left.and.right), January 10, 2002.

Do we stay here and provide foster/adopt care for our tribe? We don't know yet. My heart leans toward the tribe's needs. But this could be another manifestation of pathological mothering. :)

Helen,Having receintly "adopted" a new one, an 18 year old who thinks my oldest is crazy for running out on me with her "brilliant" (not) SO while I was having surgery, him trashing the house for good measure and to show how grateful he was for years of comfort he had to put up with here, leaving me to come home to a heartbraking mess. My oldest insists it was necessary to show me how much I needed them??? and how rude I was for insisting he leave before I returned. He basically said he was undoing all the work he had done for me, I informed him in a calm voice that what he had done was wrong, went that there was no rational justification for it and said "see,I told you you shouldn't drink vodka, you end up doing stpud things you regret when you sober up". Agains advice of others I did not report these things to the authorities. I wasn't about to give them an excuse for failing to make it on their own. On their own which they so boldly claim they can manage without having to "help" me out all of the time.

Now that they are sleeping in their car they come over to earn a meal and a bath by doing housework and shopping for me. And repairing the damage they did. I'm polite and don't point out the obvious (very often), although I have told my daughter she is free to come home at any time, perhaps he scould get a job and a place for them to live and she can go to college like she had always wanted to. She's leaning that direction. My newly adopted (not legally) daughter comes by every day and take me to Doctor appointments and makes sure I am doing ok. I'm gonna keep her. Even my Foster kids from the late 1980's, The boy, now a man and their cousens who came to pick up my youngest to go to the "family Christmas" (on my ex's side), when shown my surgical scars and informed of the dasterdly deeds done to me by my oldest and her SO were so outraged they got the word out...... *evil grin* causing the dasterdly duo to be shunned and denied help when they asked for it. Some lessons just have to be learned the hard way. My youngest has my full undevided attention these days, something she yearned for while I was taking care of the grandparents. She is not as thrilled as she thought she would be, learning to adjust to my "military" standards and non acceptance of excuses.

I understand what you mean by the expression pathological mothering. I draw orphans to me like bees to honeysuckle (or flies to shit), but, and I do mean BUT, I have given to others for so long at the expense of myself that I need, want and will do for myself. I didn't give up my carreer out of martyrdome, I did it from the heart, and it was the right thing for me to do, for me as well as those I did it for. Now is my time. I need to do what I enjoy so much, get my hands on equipment I understand so well and accomplish so much on. Can I get a place in the country and commute? Not daily, How will ms puberty manage while I am gone off doing a job? Take her with me and let her "homeschool" by computer to her regular school? This would allow her to be exposed to different parts of the country and/or world. It would also allow me to have tight control over her upbringing at this difficult age. She is basically a good person, just too much like me for most other people to handle easily. Being bedridden (recliner ridden) for so long has allowed me to search out and learn so many different things I probably wouldn't have had the time to learn if I had been active and working.

Is there any way you can have both worlds, Helen?

I don't know where I'm going, but I do know there is a big need for my ability out there and not much of pool of candidates to fill them.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), January 11, 2002.

In my experience, gender influences parenting, so maybe this is a male response. If any living person "trashed" my house, they would no longer be welcome within. Period. To allow them to engage in such behavior is, in the language of pop therapy, enabling. Adult or child, family member or stranger, criminal charges should be filed. Alcohol is no excuse. Drugs are no excuses. Twisted logic and sociopathy are no excuse.

I disagree, Cherri, with the family version of the WPA. At 18, a person is a legal adult. There are plenty of jobs for able-bodied persons and accomodations other than one's car. You are not helping, Cherri, by enabling your daughter and the loser boyfriend to eke out an existence. You have done them no favors by allowing them to continue to enter your home... nor have you helped society by allowing a miscreant to engage in such behavior.

-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@att.net), January 11, 2002.

I agree with you, Ken. Of course, since all the polls presented on this forum have pretty much labeled me a male, I can't comment on the gender thang. I'm just a cold-hearted bitch that refuses to be an "enabler". I'm going to offend them in this remark, but I think that both Helen and Cherri have a need to be needed. Obviously, I don't have that need. My three kids are attending University AND working. One can handle working full-time AND attending school full- time, and the other two adjust their work and school schedules to accommodate whichever seems more important...money or hours of school. I neither worry about them starving nor worry about them finishing school within a particular timeframe. It's all part of growing up, IMO.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 11, 2002.

I almost forgot. Anonymous One is a SHE? Ender is a poster on TB2k who never fails to end a post with "There is no spoon." Ender is male, however, a reasonable sort, much like Anonymous One, so I thought they might be one and the same. No offense meant.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 11, 2002.

Yeah, I would have kicked that ass all the way out to the sidewalk and then some.The locks would be changed and the un- welcome mat would be displayed for the clueless dipshits.

He should thank his lucky stars that there isn't someone there to jerk a knot in his ass, though I doubt that he would be so bold as to stand up to someone that might push back with authority.

It's a sad situation that ain't gonna get any better till they are let stay in the car, on the street, in the cold or let hit rock bottom.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), January 11, 2002.

Cherri, if you have a way to take your youngest daughter with you while you work, I would do it. I'd leave an only anon email address for the unpleasant people in your life to have contact. They can always access that address from a public library -- if they're quiet. :)

Anita, I think I know what type of "need" you're referring to. Those people "need" to make others dependent on them even if they should not be. That isn't the case here. There are a large number of people in my family, and extended family, who simply aren't able to take full care of themselves.

We have a big issue with simple exhaustion. It's a damned hard job to keep warm with a wood stove, for instance. It's a damned hard job to keep animals healthy, much less people. It's a damned hard job for a little kid to be outside in the freezing dark well before sunrise to catch a school bus, work at school all day, and get home in the freezing dark. Ditto the working adults. We're so tired.

I think all of us are willing to move into the city for a couple of years. Then we could take cool vacations where we "rough it" for fun. One of the reasons I tell the stories of multiple failures here -- I always have, even before the dreaded rollover -- was to point out the difficulties of returning to the "old ways" that so many doomers talked about doing. My small service to greater doomer kind. :)

PS to Cherri, hire someone to kick their asses. Around here you can have that service for a six-pack and gas money.

-- helen (too@tired.to.live.here.much.longer), January 11, 2002.

"PS to Cherri, hire someone to kick their asses. Around here you can have that service for a six-pack and gas money."

Helen, this is one of the better reasons to stay out in the country, but to tell ya truth I'd never let ya pay me or my bud's to help out anothers shitty disposition : ) but...........If ya wanna have cold one (or 12) with me, well, that's different .

It'd be a labor love.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), January 12, 2002.

Screw the city helen, move to the outer 'burbs. Close enough that work is an hour or less drive, but far enough that sirens don't keep you up all night as they transport drunk drivers and gang-bangers to the emergency room.

There are LOTS of places like that here in S. Florida, it's commonly referred to as "living west of the turnpike". Nice 5 acre plots are relatively cheap, some are zoned "ag" with lowered taxes if the owner keeps livestock, Mike would like that I'll bet.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), January 12, 2002.

Deedah, can you recommend a particular area, if I were to look it up on a map or online?

-- (sounds@like.heaven to me), January 12, 2002.

Cap'n, I think my limit is less than three. :)

Unk, my husband has fond memories of Florida and a hatred of cold weather. The decision may have to made by this time next year. (Do mules get sunburn?)

-- helen (cold@all.over.except.for.the.burned.spot), January 12, 2002.

There are a large number of people in my family, and extended family, who simply aren't able to take full care of themselves

Why is this, Helen? Do you have an unusual number of disabled family members? From what I've read of your posts, you have five children, ranging in age from maybe 8-11 to 20. Four currently live at home. I haven't seen ANY indication that the teens are willing to cook dinner, clean the house, etc. Why is this, Helen? LOTS of folks have large families. I remember one in Chicago that had nine children. The parents could go off on Holiday and leave the kids to handle EVERYTHING. I worked with a guy who was one of eleven children. According to HIM, his mother didn't even know HOW to cook. Heh.

Nah. I think there's a dependency thing going on here with both you and Cherri. Cherri's oldest is 20. She isn't going to school AND isn't working? Why not? Caring for the 11-year old is no excuse. Kids at age 11 are eligible by law to stay at home by themselves. This doesn't mean they won't get into trouble, but [hopefully], we've raised them so that they know right from wrong, and the oldest certainly could have worked while the 11-year old was in school.

I understand that you see me as a cold-hearted bitch, but I just can't understand why ANYONE would raise children to be dependent FOREVER.

You can now both flame me.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 12, 2002.

It seems this thread has moved on to an entirely new area of "higher education" - learning how to play your cards.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), January 12, 2002.

Anita, I've never called you a "cold hearted bitch", although I think there are extreme differences in how we view ourselves in relation to the rest of the world.

You've got the number and ages wrong. We have very, very old people and very, very young people. We have family who need child care at night when daycare centers are closed. We have family who need help with school work, with paying for school, and sometimes with food. We've lost two last year, and two the year before that, and we're entering last stage care for another now.

Leaving a child home alone at the age of eleven and hoping things turn out ok isn't my style. Since your kids survived in your home, I wouldn't call that a failed strategy in your case. I think you were lucky. I suspect you had more outside help with your kids than you let on. Most of the kids who lived around us wherever we lived were instructed to run to our house (to me, and I was often not asked first) if they had trouble. Their mothers thought it was ok to let them come home to an empty house at the age of five.

You might not think five is old enough, but they did. I don't think eleven is old enough, but you do. It's a difference of opinion, and frankly, convenience.

"Enable" isn't always a dirty word. It's been misused as a psycho-babble term to dismiss actions rooted in compassion. Compassion is often dismissed because it's inconvenient. (Very, very inconvenient, and stressful, I won't argue with that. -- I started the whine fest, I know.)

The Soviets used to call dissidents crazy. It's easier that way.

We enable our elderly to live at home to the very end. We enable our kids to take positive ways out of trouble. We enable friends, family, and neighbors to work around their kids' school schedules. We enable the mule to dominate his sphere. :)

Last night a friend of mine made a long trip to see me. I'll be finished with school by the end of this month. She offered to let me shadow her at her job. She gave me several pointers for my new career direction. She offered to take me to a bookstore and pick out the books I'll need to study for the next step, a step I didn't even know about until last night. She could have done the whole thing, book list and all, by email. She's offering her physical presence and her personal moral support.

She's enabling me big time. And I thank God for it.

-- helen (enable@me.some.more.baby!), January 12, 2002.

Helen: So what happens if you and your family move to the city [or suburbs] for a few years? Will the responsibility for the elder "family" members go to the children of those people? Will the responsibility for the little children of the neighborhood go back to their parents?

I'm not suggesting that you're not compassionate. I'm suggesting that Helen is dead tired every day because SHE is taking on the responsibility for those who SHOULD be responsible for THEMSELVES.

What will they do without you? If you really move and they all get along fine, how will you feel? Have you thought of a life beyond care-taker of the multitudes?

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 12, 2002.

Cherri: I don't know WHAT to think of your situation. You've said before that you quit your job when you lost your son at 5 months of age. AFTER that, you fostered some children from your husband's immediate family. You just said that this was in the late 80's, so you've been out of the job market for 14 years or so, right? You already had the 20 year old, and the youngest came along 11 or so years ago or so. Your dad got cancer in 1994 and your physical problems [from a caesarean, wasn't it?] showed up in 1997? It took six years for these problems to crop up? [I'm not doubting this. I'm just trying to fit all the chronological pieces together.]

Just my personal opinion here, but I would think that some updating would need to take place before you can jump back into the marketplace again. All I know about electronics is the ON/OFF thing, but I'm sure much has changed.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 12, 2002.

Circumstances... the 20 year old had to quit her job more than a few times when I had to go take almost complete care of one parent or another. She would have hated me if I hadn't cared for her grandparents. Then this physical thing got the better of me, although I did continue to care for them while in great discomfort (screaming pain). She discovered the love of her life, her first, around the onset of Mom's cancer and he helped out quite a bit. Things slowed down after Dad's death and they needed to get out and go to work, but had gotten too comfortable, I wasn't in a healthy emotional state to argue, Dad's death hit me pretty hard and I was almost incapacitated with my greiving. I finally pulled myself out of it and this situation finally came to a head when I looked around and saw they not only were doing nothing to maintain the house, but treated their area of it like a sorority house, complete with cigarette butts in dishes and nights spent on video games and days slept away. When I expressed my displeasure I got a litany of all the help they had given me (true) when I needed it, but that need and help had stopped a year earlier. I told her he had to leave, they needed to get a job and get a place for themselves. He would leave, she would sneak him into her room the next day. He also had gotten this attitude that he could correct me, tell me what he thought "I" should be doing, and that I had to watch my tone of voice when talking to him???? Is there something in today's music that gives kids these attitudes? This came to a head a few days before my surgery. 2 hours after I got out of surgery my 20 year old was on the phone screaming at me telling me all of the things I have done wrong, with him in the background telling her all the things he wanted her to say to me, my 11 year old called from a neighbors house having been told she would be going home to an empty house. Smart kid, she talked to a parent at school and made arrangements to stay with them until I returned.

I did a lot of thinking after coming home to find the house trashed. Decided I was not going to call the police and give them any excuses for failure in their quest to be on their own. On top of not wanting to go through the hassle of the police, if I had they could and would have used me bringing charges against them for their failure to succeed. Now they don't have that excuse. They are failing on their own. Besides, I rather enjoy them begging me for a few dollars to do work for me, not to mention the free repairs of the damage that had been done. My daughter is seeing for herself what I tried to tell her. She has a home and college to come back to, under my rules. He cannot come back. Their friends don't think what he did was cute, they haven't spoken to anyone yet who hasn't told him what an immature, ungrateful asshole he is. Seems he was bragging about it to his friends and couldn't nderstand why those friends wouldn't let them stay withthem. He tried to justify it to me at first, I told him in a calm voice that what he did was a pretty damn crappy thing to do to someone who let him live in her home and to do it at a time when I was at my physical lowest point. Like kicking a dog who has just been hit by a car. I explained that there was no excuse absolutely no justification for what he did and it was totally unacceptable.

I'm enjoying the cheap labor I'm getting. I am especially enjoying the control over him that he submits to. There have been a few efforts to come over and do some things for me where they sit down like they think I'm going to invite them to stay. HEH. I hand them their little 5 dollars and walk them to the door, talking about how quiet and peaceful it is these days. I did make them aware of the pictures that were taken by my neighbor and the witnesses who come over to see the damage.

My 20 year old has made her choice, although she is getting rather disgusted with him, well she does have a home to come back to, under my rules, without him. I think her adventure of sleeping in a cold car eating cold food from cans is getting a little old.

My nephews will take let him know how they feel about his behavior when they run into him.

I plan on moving as soon as I become employed. I enjoy taking in kids of all ages and have done it since I was a teenager. But then there were the times I lived alone and found that extremely pleasant also.

I guess I will just have to make enough money to have a place in the hills/country with a cook/caretaker to be with my 11 year old while I am off doing my job. Although if I could do the majority of my work from home I would really like to take in more foster kids. Right now my future is open, I need to throw around different ideas while I am still healing so I can pursue one or three of them. I've been held back by family obligations and my physical problem for so many years it is a shock to realize I am finally free to do whatever I want to. Um, what do I want to do? Any suggestions?

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), January 12, 2002.

I am especially enjoying the control over him that he submits to.

I think that both you and Helen are enjoying control over others. IMO, the message sent is, "You're weak, and can't survive without me." Personally, I'm more fond of the message, "You're strong, and you don't need me for ANYTHING anymore."

We visited Lucky today. She was 110%. She "flew" through the place with her walker. I could have let her "believe" that she was weak and helpless, but I chose to convince her that she was STRONG, just like I convinced my kids that THEY were strong. I'll never understand the mentality that allows others to "lean on me". I feel that it does NOTHING to promote growth.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 12, 2002.

Actually, Anita, I'm dead tired from hauling wood and rocks and hay and poop and feed when I'm not doing regular activities. And oh God, we haven't even started ploughing for spring planting yet.

Did I mention I grew up on this very spot? I've been a little kid waiting for the bus before daylight and coming home late. I know how tired the kids are.

The blood of two copperheads decorate the threshold of the back door, and we killed another one outside the front door. This is in addition to the several hundred we've killed over the years. One night we killed five just getting from the car to the door. One time we called the kids out to see the one we killed, and another was within a few inches of their little bare feet. Another time one of the barefoot kids stepped on one in the dark. That's nothing compared to our neighbors who killed 68 in one night in their yard. We have to remove a floor sometime soon when the temps are low enough to slow down the snakes that are denned in there.

The goats have horns. I cringe every time they get near a small boy. They break out of the fence on a regular basis. I cringe when they get near me. Hornless goats will get killed by the coyotes, who sing a few feet behind the house quite often. Coyotes never attack people, but they get rabies sometimes and die on the place.

We lose power fairly often. When we lose power, we have to use fire for light and pump water by hand for toilet flushing. I hate using fire for light in the summer and I hate handpumping water in winter.

My brother and I fell through the ice on the pond years ago. An adult pulled us out. I'm glad the pond won't hold water any more.

The washing machine drains through a hose that freezes shut in cold weather and attracts woodrats looking for water in hot weather. If you don't know how to thaw/flush the line before you start a load of clothes, you'll flood the house. Which is precisely what the kids and my husband have done when they were trying to help. Guess who did it first?

We have a family member who suffered third degree burns to his upper body and face as a young adult while dealing with a wood stove. We use our woodstove as a primary heat source too. I've personally caught a spark in the white of my eye and got a small hole burned in the surface. I was afraid to sneeze until it healed over.

Those are the reasons off the top of my head that I won't send any child of any age in here alone. Besides that we've had bar ditch fires that spread nearly to the house, a guy run from the wreck below our house into our woods to escape the law, and a guy who later grabbed a small girl in an attempted kidnapping showed up here trying to talk me into opening my door. Then there's the infamous pit bull incident.

Let them come home alone and give them a job list? I will feel relief if I get them all out of here intact. Offering them education even if they mess up is the only way to help them get things back together. This is not fostered dependence. This is a fact of life.

(mental note -- keep trying to reintroduce the theme of Z's thread!)

We won't leave until the one who needs us here doesn't need us any more. When we leave, no matter where we go, there will always be children whose mothers think they old enough to be alone at five or seven or eleven. How will I feel about that? Tired. But at least I won't be lifting heavy objects.

-- helen (rocks@wood.hay.today), January 12, 2002.

sounds like heaven,

Try Palm Beach, Martin, St Lucie, Indian River, and Brevard counties on the central east coast. All of Florida is built up along the coast, with rural areas to the west, with the west coast of Florida being the reverse. If you don't mind living away from the beach, Orlando is also surrounded by rural areas.

-- Uncle Deedah (unkeeD@yahoo.com), January 12, 2002.

I am especially enjoying the control over him that he submits to.

I think that both you and Helen are enjoying control over others.

No Anita, the last thing I want is to have to "control" him. But his actions should not go unpunished, and this is the real world where you don't bite the hand that feeds you, then expect it to continue feeding you. If anything, having to come to me for a few dollars rubs his ego the wrong way, then it is giving him insentive to "GET A FREEKIN JOB" so he doesn't have to. The past few years was mutual give and take due to the circumstances, but it had gotten to the point where he sat playing video games all night and slept all day and did nothing to contribute. The help he had given me two years ago does not pay his way now.

Some people just need a kick in the butt to wake them up. My daughter is capable of taking care of her self, but unfortunatly, she has that dreaded, blind infatuation syndrome. No matter how you prepare your children for life, they just have to go out and make their own mistakes in order to learn. She makes her own choices. She is free to come home any time and persue College as she had planned, but he is not welcome back. He can visit but that's it. I don't force either one of them to do anything. I have no problem with taking advantage of their situation either.

I would have preferred to have been working these past years but I would not turn my back on my dying parents. Life happens. You have to make choices. My choices may have cost me financially, but I can live with myself. If I had turned my back on them I may have been financially rich, but morally bankrupt.

Having the ability to control does not necessarily necessitate using it.

Back to the subject at hand, not everything you need to learn in life can be taught in school.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), January 13, 2002.

There was a mother with three kids. Got divorced. Had to work. Didn't want to pay for childcare, or she refused to make lifestyle choices that would have freed up money for childcare. Maybe no childcare of any type was available, which is hard to believe as this woman lived in town.

This mother decides if the oldest is old enough ... say eleven ... then it's ok to send them all home alone after school. Maybe she assumes that even older kids in the neighborhood will see them home. Or the adult bus driver. Someone will. Or maybe she even leaves home alone at night. That's even better. Then even more neighbors will be home then.

This mother either does or does not tell her kids what to do in an emergency.

If she doesn't give the kids an emergency plan, she's not a good mother. She wants to be a good mother, so she gives them an emergency plan.

The plan relies on the availability of tax-supported public servants. Call the police. Call the fire department. Someone will help. That what tax dollars are for.

The plan relies on the availability of retired family, friends, or neighbors. Or mothers who work around their own kids' schedules. Or the kindess of total strangers who may be passing by at the time of the emergency. Someone will help.

This mother may ask family, friends, or neighbors to keep an eye on her kids. Or she may not ask them. She may just assume that as decent people, they will pitch in and help in an emergency. So she tells the kids they can rely on these people. Someone will help.

The kids survive. Now that it is no longer necessary to rely on everyone in the "village" to look out for them, the "village" is relegated to derisive psycho-babble. All those people who helped out were getting something out of it, so no gratitude or reciprocation is necessary.

Clue: we do it for the people who need it. Not for the people who abdicated responsibility.

I'm out of school in three weeks, Z, but I've already got more school lined up to do after I get a better job. The next school is more expensive. :)

-- helen (getcher@shoe.fitted.right.here), January 13, 2002.

I think you've "outdone" yourself in your last two posts, Helen. As a mother of three, who has always found an "after-school" program available until I could get home from work an hour later [yeah...I paid for it], I know for sure that I would NOT let any of my kids go to YOUR house.

Call me a "picky" mother, but poisonous snakes, a mule, goats with horns in the yard are of little concern compared to the hazards within. How IS IT that you chose this place of your upbringing to raise children? Do the songs of four owls REALLY light up your life to the extent that you'll ignore the rest?

Is it rent-free? I've got to believe it is, or you wouldn't choose to live there. There are places around here wherein one can obtain a decent apartment for $500/month, all bills paid. That's a large apartment, which could accommodate your children. The kids wouldn't need to stand in the dark waiting for a school bus, either, as they would be within five miles of a school. It's not a BIG city, but it's not rural, either.

More things to think about, I suppose, as the last of your "dependents" reaches the point where he/she no longer "needs" you.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

Anita, who said I was talking about you? This was Karen, Carla, and some chick who didn't bother to introduce herself before sending them over. Nine kids among them. Three different cities. Oh yeah, and it was in your town as well as other towns. I used to go to the Anglican church in your town. They used to serve white wine at communion. It's actually so overgrown in your area that the elementary schools are breaking up by grade units and still packed to the gills. They didn't have after school programs within the schools back then.

We don't have that type of irresponsibility here. That's one of the main attractions. People out here take care of their own out of necessity.

I find it ironic that I'm being lectured on not letting minor age children be dependent on me for anything when you are a middle-aged, dependent, unemployed woman.

I find it ironic that you're defending your child care arrangements (you even paid for them!) and then you tell Cherri her eleven year old can stay alone. Good enough for Cherri's kid, but you never did that.

I find it ironic that you tried to get your brother with cancer to take care of your mother, and then lecture me about helping my elderly family members willingly. Poor Lucky. None of you took her willingly.

I find it ironic that you think your choice of Lucky's nursing home is so great when they didn't seem to notice that she had missed more than one meal and no one was checking up on her toileting. You think a phone call to the staff does the trick, huh?

I find it ironic that you tell me to make other people do things for themselves when you were unhappy your inlaws refused to clean your own mother's blood off of your own carpet.

You realize, I'm sure, that I'm only saying what I think is true in order to help you out. You spend a great deal of time defending your personal boundaries. You spend a great deal of time detailing what you will not do.

Now before you get upset, I'm not calling you a heartless bitch. You're not that tough. I'd call you selfish and immature.

-- helen (fucking@heartless.bitch), January 14, 2002.

This is getting good.

-- (popping@popcorn.and pulling up a chair), January 15, 2002.

This is getting good.

I agree. Sounds like Helen's been holding back for quite a while.

There are a few minor corrections, however. 1. I never told Cherri that it was okay to leave an 11 year old home alone. I said that the law allows an 11 year old to remain home alone. If one leaves children under age 11 home alone for ANY period of time, I suppose someone could have the parents arrested for neglect or child endangerment, or something. 2. I'm not dependent. I'm wasting my IRA money.

Carry on.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002.

go helen go!

-- (dayum@gina.), January 15, 2002.

Hey, I'm usually the one they call bitch around here; actually this is pretty tame compared to some of my posts. I've been through too much recently to jump in on this or even follow along.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 15, 2002.

I just found another correction. Lucky is NOT in a nursing home. She's in an assisted living facility. It's up to HER whether or not she chooses to attend meals, etc. She NEVER goes down for breakfast, for instance, as she chooses to make her own in her apartment. She ALSO toilets on her own.

Carry on.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002.

Maria: You can be the bitch again next year, okay? 2002 is MY turn! Actually, Helen hasn't called me a bitch. She probably called me a few other things that are true, but she forgot "lazy". I'd MUCH prefer to spend the time to teach my husband and kids how to flush a washing machine hose than spend the rest of my life doing their laundry.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002.

You're right Anita; she didn't actually call you bitch and she refrained from calling you a "heartless bitch" because "You're not that tough". Ok I'll let you have control of the bitch title this year but look out next year becasue in the famous words of Arnold, "I'll be back".

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 15, 2002.

Maria: Could we make this "title" something that I could turn over at any time? I'm not completely sure that I can be a bitch for an entire year. [Stiffening up...but I can TRY.]

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002.

Anita, you get the bitch title when you can pry it out of my clenched teeth. I had to kill something to get it.

-- helen (title@not.available.for.resale), January 15, 2002.

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