Monday, February 16, 2015

Any time is Candy Crush Saga time!


    Most parents of seniors don't even attend mid-winter parents night at Glenbrook North High School. 
     The halls, thronged with middle-aged couples in the fall, are noticeably depopulated. Several teachers greeted us with a quasi-sincere, quasi- joking, "What are you doing here?!"
      Good question. And we have a good answer. We saw the first one off at a parents' night at Greenbrier Elementary, 14 years and change ago, and we might as well see the younger one through to the bitter end. We were glad we went, particularly when our boy's Chinese teacher started class with a video of him holding our heroic dog, giving a tour of our home in Chinese. The two other couples, both native Chinese, chuckled appreciatively, though I couldn't get out of them whether they were laughing at what he said or at the way he said it.
     The teachers, as always, were excellent—our older boy found college a breeze after Glenbrook North. I did notice this parent playing Candy Crush Saga on his cell phone. At least I think it was; I'm not an expert at hand-held games. Never played one. All these games look like little arrays of colorful dots to me. It could have been Fruit Smash, or Cupcake Chaos, or something.
     The important thing was dad was ignoring the teacher, passing the time in his kid's chemistry class by playing on his phone. To me, that's bad form, though I suppose the kids have to get it from somewhere. Still, we were only in each class about a dozen minutes.
     Not a big deal. Standards are so old-fashioned. I don't know which is worse form—him playing or me noticing. Our evolving etiquette seems to be that we ignore each other's phone habits. I can't hold him up to too much censure. At least he was there. Most parents didn't bother. They were happily playing Candy Crush Saga at home. So kudos for making the effort. I believe that a large part of success in parenting, like any other endeavor, is showing up. Though how you behave once you do show up does matter, a little, I like to think. 

22 comments:

  1. That guys a jerk who was playing on his phone and if I were the teacher there ( I have been elsewhere) I'd kind of walk near him as I made my comments, or ask him if he had questions. His offspring probably does the same in class or tries to.

    Sounds like a fine school, at any rate.

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  2. oops, an apostrophe should be placed between the y and s in guys-there should be an edit tab here

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  3. Neil, you should have kind of cleared your throat and pointedly looked at him. I wouldn't be able to stop myself from doing that.

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  4. One of many examples of the extra time and work that teachers commit to in their profession. People that think teaching is an eight hour per day job have never paid attention and are probably the ones who don't show up for their own kids school programs. Teaching in public school is a thankless and discouraging exercise of commitment and dedication. Parents should at least show up and acknowledge their children's and their teachers efforts.

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  5. A past Neil would've snuck out to grab a drink, so why throw stones at the guy who did show up -- perhaps it helps the guy concentrate

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    1. No, actually, he wouldn't have - might have shown up with a few under his belt, but he'd be there. And the question you raise was raised in the post.

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    2. Right. Paying attention to something else helps him concentrate.

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    3. Ok, then. Would you snap a pic of a buzzed dad? Public shaming is public shaming, right?

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  6. I don't understand anyone not showing up at those things. It's a great way to strengthen the bond with your children.

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  7. How do you snap these pictures without being discovered? Or do you not care.

    Also it appears that he's just viewing his homescreen. At least in that photo anyway.

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    1. Quickly. As to the game, you have to trust me. I was more concerned about pissing the teacher off, since I wanted to get his face in the shot.

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  8. Your observation that Glenbrook North prepared the older boy well for college reminds one that, despite all the hand wringing about the state of public education, our better schools are very good indeed. I've had a look at the award winning newspaper my niece at the other Glenbrook high school works on and it far outshines anything done at my own pretty good school lo these many years ago. Of course, the bar has been raised by international competition since I was in school.

    I trust heroic dog will greet your return from Lotus Land with enthusiasm. Gertrude Stein, riffing on Descartes, once wrote, "I am because my little dog knows me."

    Tom Evans

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    1. public schools are fine, in the good suburbs

      where they pay high property taxes

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  9. Neil:

    You have a very cosmopolitan household. One son speaks Chinese. You have studied Russian and Italian, probably have a smattering of ancient Hebrew and at least an acquaintance with Latin (and Greek?). I'm betting your wife knows at least one second language and number one son must as well.
    John

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  10. Neil, I didn't know you spoke Italian. Let's practice some time by email.

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  11. From today's NYTimes appreciation of journalist David Carr, quoting from his talk to his journalism class -- "If you text or email during class, I will ignore you as you ignore me. It will not go well."

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  12. Neil, let's talk about David Carr and our media complexity and explosion. Remarkable man. Most relevant of topics. Thoughts...?

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    1. Not much to say beyond the obvious. I enjoyed his column in the Times, like everybody else. Met him once, on a panel together at Printer's Row book fair. He was quite charming. I went to introduce myself to him before the panel and he said, "I know who you are: I read your book on hats." He might be the only person who did, and I said something like, "I loved writing that book. I never wanted to stop researching it; in fact, I'm STILL researching it, years after it was published." At which he narrowed his eyes as if viewing something incomprehensible, and muttered, "Freak." Maybe you had to be there, but to his this guy, quite hardened-looking, who seemed as if he gave up cocaine 15 minutes instead of 15 years earlier, say that, well, it struck me as immensely funny. Not that it reflects upon him particularly.

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    2. We were in attendance at that particular gathering at the Book Fair. That's a funny story. I don't recall who the third member of the panel was, as I was not familiar with either him or Mr. Carr at that point, but I do recall hanging around a bit afterwards and overhearing the other panel member telling your son that you were a hell of a writer, or something to that effect. So, combined with being acknowledged as a "freak" by the eminent NYT media observer, ya got that going for ya. : )

      And, hey, I bought a copy of "Hatless Jack", back when it was out. Perhaps by the time you release the revised and expanded edition, I'll have even finished it! Sadly, it lingers on an ever-expanding list of books I want to get back to, but don't. Perhaps if I'd spend less time making inane comments on this blog...

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  13. Great story! He was actually praising you. I believe he saw himself the same way and was letting you know you should be proud of your doggedness (is that a word?) and infinite curiousity. Think of it as a (well deserved) badge of honor.

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  14. I wouldn't be too pleased if a parent of one of my students had tried to take a pix of me.

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  15. or was playing vid.games during presentation

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