Entries Tagged as 'family & parenting'

virtual children by Scott Warnock

You dummies want screens…

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I know it’s all too easy to say “this jumped the shark” or “that jumped the shark” about moments in our entertainment-addicted/addled/saturated culture, but a few commercials I’ve seen have really pushed me to wonder how, well, stupid they think we are. [Read more →]

books & writingcreative writing

Back and Broke in Philly

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Back in Philadelphia was when I first saw my father as weak, as dependent, and as a guy who didn’t like working. Despite his lack of funds he seemed insistent on this last point—he would avoid work entirely unless he found what he considered to be his proper position. This was when I first saw that he’d possibly risk getting booted onto the street rather than take any job. In 1991 we were in the heart of the first Bush’s recession, and it didn’t seem like there were many of those idealized white-collar management positions around. My father was overweight, unemployed, under massive debt, and for the first time in my life, I saw him as old. He hadn’t had a full-time job since 1987, and I could see he wasn’t looking forward to searching for it. He knew the companies didn’t want him anymore, at least not for any kind of lucrative position. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Talk is cheap… but it’s not disappearing just yet

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It’s a pretty regular occurrence lately. I’ll be in one part of the house, and I get a text from another part. Now, I know you think that I’m a high-paid blogger, living in a mansion that requires long-distance intra-abode electronic communications, but the truth is that my living arrangements are modest, with all parts reachable via shout, if not slightly elevated voice. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Vouchers and school “choice” — take a good look

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You’re probably hearing more lately about vouchers and what’s called “choice” approaches to schooling. Have your antenna up and look carefully into what these education approaches are about — and what they do to children. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Motion pictures of everything

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My dad found an old grainy video of my brother and me when we were about 7 and 8 years old doing – what else? – some wrestling on a lawn. He had it converted from 8 mm to a DVD and titled it “Yesterday.” [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythinggoing parental

In honor of Mother’s Day, top ten worst pieces of advice my mother gave me

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10. When I was young, my mother said I could be anything I wanted to be and that the sky was the limit – which is why I gave up on my dream of becoming an astronaut.

9. My mother always taught me to fight fire with fire – eventually leading to my being booted off our local volunteer fire department.

8. My mother always advised me to quit while I was ahead – and to this day I’ve never won a race.

7. My mother said I should never run away from my problems, and once my problem was I was being chased by a bear.

6. My mother always told me, “You can’t blame a guy for trying,” but the police totally disagreed when they arrested me for attempted murder.

5. My mother told me that sixty was the new thirty – so now I have a one-year suspension on my driver’s license.

4. My mother always said that, when I grew up, I could be anybody I wanted to be – leading to my being arrested for identity theft.

3. My mother told me to always give 100% – which is why I nearly died at last year’s blood drive.

2. My mother said my life goal should be to light up the room wherever I go – and now I’ve been charged with arson.

1. I told my mother, “When I grow up I want to be a man,” and she replied, “Don’t be silly, you can’t do both!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

virtual children by Scott Warnock

The silence of the Warnocks

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So I come home from work early and my little guy is playing video games again. Again. I go right into the usual bawling about how he plays video games too much and my wife although she states her agreement with me again — again! — comes up with the excuse this time that I only saw the video game-playing because I came home early. That line of logic – if I came home later that would have meant he’d been on it longer! — drives me to rage. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Phones and drugs and rock & roll

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With three teenagers, I’m getting on the other side of it – could it be this column may have run its course?! – and now I feel I have some hard-earned perspective to provide to people just starting this kid-raising bit. One of my starters: Keep them off the phones as long as you can. [Read more →]

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Penn State’s Cael Sanderson shows what a coach should be

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I watched the NCAA wrestling championships the other night and saw the stunning dominance of Penn State. The Nittany Lions won five (of 10, for you non-wrestling folks) individual national titles. Two of those guys beat two-time defending champs. Another was a redshirt freshman who took off the redshirt midway through the year. The other two are buzzsaws. The team won the national team title for the sixth time in seven years. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Getting them there boys to read

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As a little boy, I had a literate environment in my house, and I myself was a big reader. I remember material literacy moments, such as when I kept sneak-reading my mom’s thrillers, like By Reason of Insanity and The Omen. I recall scaring myself stupid with those books and then coming back for more. I remember how The Lord of Rings trilogy smelled. I remember hiding the Alien “graphic novel” (I mean, that’s what it was) because of the language. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

They don’t need us anymore

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Julianne and I took a trip to Bogotá, Colombia last week. I attended WRAB IV, an international writing research conference, and we stayed at the remarkable Bogotá Bed and Breakfast while being introduced to the wonderful city of Bogotá. In planning this journey, there was a little catch: What we do with our three kids – more specifically, what to do with three teenagers, since, when we returned, all three would be teenagers? [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Diversity [icon of American flag?]

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Many of you have no doubt heard about Drexel professor George Ciccariello-Maher‘s December tweet, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” Since then, I myself have received some hateful, threatening email, I guess because my address ends with drexel.edu. Groups sending such emails aren’t too selective. [Read more →]

sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The myth of the college athletic scholarship

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Someday I’ll break the NFL addiction, but it won’t be 2017. I’m nestled in watching playoff football lately, which means I’m also watching a repeated cycle of commercials. Toyota has one in which a hard-working young lad and his parents go through a path filled with bumps and bruises that ends up with a smiling college football coach offering him a full scholarship. That’s some good theater: Everyone’s all teary-eyed that the lad made it! [Read more →]

creative writingfamily & parenting

A Poor Man’s Christmas

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Christmas was coming and my father was between positions again. It was the late seventies and well after his temporary gig driving the van delivering flowers in downtown Philly. It must have been between computer-programming jobs, possibly Textronix in Blue Bell and Arthur’s Travel in Center City, the job that would launch him to California and alter the trajectory of his life.

But in the winter of 1978 or ’79, my Dad had nothing. He was broke. I remember him hinting at this, but I don’t have a great sense of feeling any danger because of it. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Not letting the toy story end just yet

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First off, I hope my kids don’t read this column before Christmas, although I think I’m safe. Why? In a couple months, I will be living with three teenagers. They have their own interests. The house feels older, more serious. Christmas has followed suit. Presents come in envelopes. They have screens. They’re practical. Simply put, they’re not toys. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Writing, technology, and class mannequin challenges

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Recently, I gave a talk at a high school about how college students today are learning online and with ed tech in general. The audience was parents, and it was interesting to hear how they perceived the learning their children were doing in front of/with a computer and how they felt about it. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Portal

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My wife and I have been attending back-to-school nights for 13 years. Even though our youngest is in middle school and we have two high schoolers and know the routine, we feel a sense of duty to attend and support our kids and their teachers. This year, as I listened to each teacher’s energetic welcome and course description, I was really struck with the scrutiny today’s teachers are under. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Thanks to that Trump guy, “The Talk” is a little easier

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In about four months, all my kids will be teenagers (child three is six months away…), so, as a responsible dad, I have had to have various versions of “The Talk.” I’m okay with it. I’m not some sitcom dad, squirming around in discomfort and using incomprehensible metaphors. I’m fine talking candidly to my sons or daughter. For my boys, Donald Trump made this a little easier.

[Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Grades online…

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Teachers now are under a great deal of scrutiny because of digital gradebooks. They are expected to update grades on an almost hourly basis and… [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Those rotten cheaters?

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I’m in the world of online learning, and I read about this topic most days. Recently I saw an email ad that said, “When a school or district makes the shift to online testing, the top concern of teachers is how to prevent students from cheating.” The “top concern”? While we should be concerned about cheating, let’s not exaggerate its prevalence online. After all, you don’t have to look far to see that people cheat, well, everywhere. [Read more →]

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