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Born That Way - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Born That Way
I bought Skylar the shiny, silver basketball I'd been promising her all week. When I first mentioned that I'd seen one at Foothills Mall, I expected her to express mild interest and move on. But she brought it up every day. Because Kim was working late all week, I'd pick Bean up and, as we headed down Campbell, point out the new copper-covered dome on the astonishingly elaborate retail-office complex they're building on the southwest side of the intersection with Skyline. "Will my basketball look like that, dad?" I told her it would, "only in silver."

She was delighted with the acquisition and proceeded to practice "one hand dribbling" for an hour in our kitchen. I gave her some pointers -- "Bend forward at the waist. Remember to use your fingertips instead of your palm." -- and watched as she made significant progress in a matter of minutes. Apparently, whatever has kicked into gear with her on the reading front has its equivalent on the sporting front. Come to think of it, I didn't start playing sports with any interest until I had started reading. Perhaps there's a connection.

At any rate, when she started trying to pass the ball back and forth between her hands, she realized that dribbling went much easier with her right hand. "Does that mean I'm right-handed?" All of a sudden, a cloud passed over her face. "Is something wrong, honey?" She frowned. "I wish I weren't born Republican, dad." I asked her what she meant. "You know. Republicans are on the right. I want to be on the left."

Suppressing a smile, I reminded her that I'm also right-handed, but practiced dribbling with my left hand until I actually became more proficient dribbling that way than I am with my right. That satisfied her. Soon she was switching from left to right with what for her -- her gross motor skills continue to lag far behind her fine ones -- is remarkable aplomb. But, as I watched her take pleasure in her rapid improvement, I couldn't help but marvel at the connections she makes and the conclusions to which they have the potential to lead her. To paraphrase a spider named Charlotte, she's "Some Girl."
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Comments
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: October 1st, 2005 05:39 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"Is something wrong, honey?" She frowned. "I wish I weren't born Republican, dad." I asked her what she meant. "You know. Republicans are on the right. I want to be on the left." </em>

Charlie, you had me laughing so hard I hurt myself! What are you teaching that girl!? Hahaha! If she works hard she can be ambidextrous like me. *wink* However, I'm talking about writing, not playing basketball. I hate teachers telling me I had to chose one and not both when I could write so well with both. Even now, I can write more legibly with my left than many of the students I have with whatever was there proper hand. :-))
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 1st, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
And practicing skills ambidextrously is great brain building stuff. We routinely splint up our 'dominate' arms with inflatable splints and spend the whole day doing things with our non-dominate arms. Good neuro linguistic programming stuff.
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: October 1st, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yes, it is. But, in the 1950s the educational system in all parts of the U.S. had very low expectations for African American children. I used to hear, "You people....," all my life. I thankfully don't hear that anymore. We're learning, slowly.

I wanted to learn gymnsatics when I was in middle school but no predominately African Amer. school in the L.A. school system had it because, "those people" don't do gymnastics, "they do track & field, football and, basketball." The Mexican Americans had soccer, "naturally." (Okay, I need to get my mind away from 1963.)
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 1st, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
::blinking::

You were told to choose one particularly hand to write with because you were African American? I was thinking it was just because writing with either hand was unconventional (something I could still see happening in schools today, for that matter).

I can certainly believe it about the gymnastics. It was still a giant hoopla not even that long ago when Tiger Woods hit the scene because he was not the "traditional" golfer.
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: October 2nd, 2005 10:46 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
No, I don't think choosing one hand over another for writing had anything to do with being African American. I'm referring to your comments: "And practicing skills ambidextrously is great brain building stuff. We routinely splint up our 'dominate' arms with inflatable splints and spend the whole day doing things with our non-dominate arms. Good neuro linguistic programming stuff." Why would "brain building" be important for a race of people that one wouldn't expect to be capable of having a brain that could be built. The educational system took the attitude that a large part of the population were only capable of reaching a certain level and that's it. Of course, we know that many do not raise above a certain level, for humanity in general, but, a school system, any school system should not take the position that all Asian students, for example, are going to be such and such and teach only to that level while white students are taught to another level.

I should also say that the handwriting thing happened to me while I was still living in Ohio... if that's important. I think it is important because when I told my teacher I couldn't understand why doing all 20 math problems incorrectly made sense. I said that I thought if I did 10 of them correctly and understood what I was doing, then that should count. As an adult and teacher she should have understood that I was having some problems (I also transferred to this, a different school, all in the same city in Ohio while living with my grandmother a short time before moving to Calif.) and made some attempt to help me. Instead, she marched me down the hall for swats by the male teacher for not completing all 20 problems as instructed. Like I said to her every time, I did the problems I understood and not make a feeble attempt at the twenty problems knowing they'd all be wrong for the sake speed. Even today, I have to work out math problems in my own way but, I have no fear of math. I also dislike my students claiming they can't do the necessary division in my photo classes to mix chemicals. It's 5th grade math.

I guess one of the points I'm making is that in order to learn you (the teacher) have to set goals somewhat higher than what you expect a student to reach in order for the challenge to inspire and motivate them. At least, that's the way I see it. We all have set ourselves a series of challenges throughout our lives and, I continue to do that. I think I made it clearer this time. If not, let me know. :-)
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: October 2nd, 2005 10:50 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Okay... sorry for the clarification but, the two Ohio teachers were different but, the school system was the same. Let's see, remember 1954, Brown vs. the Board of Education? I'm talking about a nationwide problem.
katieengl From: katieengl Date: October 1st, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

ok its progressed to full blown stalking

howd you like "history of violence"? I was two rows behind you and your wife(?)
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 1st, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ok its progressed to full blown stalking

omg, that icon! Absolutely fabulous!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 1st, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ok its progressed to full blown stalking

I agree. We could all use more mutant llamas in our lives.
katieengl From: katieengl Date: October 1st, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ok its progressed to full blown stalking

mutant llama huh? i never really knew what it was. thus the "WTF?" in the corner. =)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 1st, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ok its progressed to full blown stalking

That was my mistress, actually. . .

Seriously, we loved it. We're all about allegories of that sort in this household. How about you?
katieengl From: katieengl Date: October 1st, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ok its progressed to full blown stalking

I guess i feel a little dumb now cause i didnt really catch the allegory. Perhaps upon hearing more about that angle i'll enjoy it more. For the most part i found it really akward. some of the things that happened seemed to come out of no where. again, probably something i'd find less weird had i caught the allegory. =)
kdotdammit From: kdotdammit Date: October 1st, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ok its progressed to full blown stalking

I just wrote something about it on my ljournal if you're interested (http://www.livejournal.com/users/kdotdammit/510464.html).

Signed,

Charlie's Mistress.

PS: I heart stalkers.
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