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Showing posts from June, 2016

Removing Consequences--A Mistake for Education

Fairfax County Public Schools have my dander up and I don't even have children attending their schools anymore. However, I do have their graduates in my college classes and the school system just made my job harder. They have instituted a new grading system that removes the requirements and incentives to study for tests and turn in homework. You can read the report of the changes here and I encourage you to do so. However, let me summarize the key changes:

1. If a student makes less than 80% on an exam they must be given the opportunity to take the test again. Failure to offer every student the opportunity to retake a test in order to exceed the 80% threshold means that no student can be awarded a grade of more than 80% on the exam.

2. No student will be given a zero for missed homework until he has been given multiple opportunities to complete the assignment and failed to do so. (In other words, deadlines are really just suggested completion dates)

3. Homework for practice can a…

Time is Treasure

I'll be honest. I think my time management skills have dropped off in the last few months. I just haven't been getting the right balance of  spiritual, physical, interpersonal, intellectual,  and professional time. My latest article up at Catholic Stand was written as a pep talk to myself. I hope you find it useful as well. Here is a snippet:

The Baltimore Catechism asks, “Why did God make me?” The response is, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” Perhaps this is a good place to start in taking a critical look at where we store our treasure of time. Does your use of time help you to know God, to love God, and to serve God? Head on over to Catholic Stand and read the rest! Let me know what you think.

Thou Shall and Thou Shall Not

The Gospel at this morning's Mass was the well known beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, the recitation of the Beatitudes. (Mt 5:1-12) If you read a little farther you hear Christ say,

 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." Christ did not negate the Ten Commandments. Instead he completed them. The Ten Commandments are written as a series of prohibitions: Thou shall not...  The Beatitudes give us the alternatives. Instead of doing the sins specified in the Ten Commandments, live according to Beatitudes.

Sometimes it is so easy to get tied up in the thou-shall-not's that we forget that giving up the vice does not leave us empty. Rather, it makes room for us to be filled by something even more wonderful.

Perhaps as we evangelize others, we would do better to focus on the thou-shall's instead of the thou-shall-not's. Emphasize what will be gained through virtue instead of what will be lost by g…

Which is more important: the party or the guests?

Here we are in the month of June and wedding season is upon us. As I began my daily constitutional of coffee and the crossword I ran across a Carolyn Hax advice column that addressed the issue of destination weddings. The questioner considered destination weddings incredibly narcissistic and was feeling pretty angry that a family member had chosen that option for her wedding. 
Ms. Hax gave a good response as far as it goes but I think she left out a very significant factor:

I realize this goes against human nature at the molecular level, but please consider not having an opinion at all.   Instead: Are you able to go? Yes/No. Do you want to go on the given terms? Yes/No.   And then either go or don’t go accordingly. If you can stop yourself there, without judging anybody, then you can emerge from this without emotionally downgrading someone you love or spending a nickel unwillingly spent. This detached analysis is easy when it is a friend or acquaintance who is sending you the invitati…