Sunday, September 02, 2007

Read To Them


I had a conversation with my youngest son's girlfriend. She just received her bachelor's degree and has been working in a pre-school with children as young as two.

I asked what they did with two-year olds and she said they had all sorts of activities including geography lessons. That greatly surprised me. But she assured me that they actually learned to identify places on maps.
Sending your child to a pre-school is becoming fairly common. Yet, many parents simply can't afford that luxury.
My wife quit work after our first son was born; we adjusted our spending patterns. We also focused very early on spending time in a way that would benefit our son for the rest of his life; we read to him.
Cost is never an issue when educating a child. We bought Dr. Seuss books for a few dollars each... one every couple of weeks... and a couple of Muppet puppets [which dates us]. Then, the "Muppets would read" the Dr. Seuss books to our son.

By the time he was 3-years old, he was "reading" along with the puppets. I'm not sure when his memorization turned into actual reading, but it was very early on. He never seemed to get tired of the ritual of reading with the puppets after dinner. He would select a book, pick up the puppets and bring them to me, and we would listen together as the Muppets read.
I could have read my newspaper, or watched TV, or just relaxed on my own. But this was my opportunity to have my son spend time with me and I knew it was just as important for me as it was for him.
I replicated this ritual with my other two sons. Often the next oldest would join in and read to the younger one using the Muppet puppets in the same way I did. They were creating a tradition of sharing and learning together that they still have today... as much as is possible for grown men to have. The oldest has move out of state, but the two younger sons have their own thriving business together. They are still sharing and learning.
We didn't spend a fortune to create a love of reading and learning with our sons. We spent our time. That "investment" has returned the greatest rewards.
I have written about dysfunctional subcultures in which education simply doesn't matter.
Unlike, many who wish to blame our school systems for the failure of children within these subcultures, I hold the schools blameless. There is only one reason for a child's failure to become educated and prepared for life: his parents.
Unfortunately, the children become dysfunctional adults who create children who become dysfunctional adults.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got.
Some children will escape the cycle. They will forge a bond with a teacher or some adult who will care and nurture. But too many will simply replicate.
Stupidity has its own rewards.
It's been said many times by many people: "read to your children."
The only reason for not doing so is terminal stupidity.
School is in session.


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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)