Monthly Archives: September 2013

Losing Is Good For You

NYT pop up

After being born in the late fifties, primary school in the sixties and high school in the seventies I went to work as a teacher in 1979 in a society that was hugely messed up. All kind of things were considered old-fashioned and freedom was the word. That lead to several decades of teaching where I saw children without any kind of support or even upbringing from their parents … what you’ve never  learned you can’t pass on. The results were sometimes devastating.

Some of these devastating results are now becoming more and more visible. We now see a group of neglected children, sometimes financial but most of the time emotional. Mom and dad both work  – and don‘t get me wrong, I’m all for it when it’s necessary – but fail to “manage” their kids. And to compensate for “lost quality time” (I hate that word) their lovelies get all they want and more. Spoiled brats everywhere.

Another result is is the fear of failing … the parents fear of failing. They have to prove they are good parents, even with being at work most of the time, so their child cannot fail. It has to win, to achieve at all costs. Losing is not an option. Making mistakes is not an option.  Even schools get  into this foolishness sometimes … a wrong answer isn’t wrong, it’s almost good.  Saying it’s wrong may hurt. Humbug!!!

On this subject I read an interesting article by Ashley Merryman, op-ed contributor at the New York Times. She tells about the strange situation that children get trophies  for just about anything, sometimes just for showing up. It makes for weak students who get into panic-mode as soon as things go wrong because they have never learned to deal with setbacks.  Here’s a part I really liked in her article …

In life, “you’re going to lose more often than you win, even if you’re good at something,” Ms. Twenge told me. “You’ve got to get used to that to keep going.”

When children make mistakes, our job should not be to spin those losses into decorated victories. Instead, our job is to help kids overcome setbacks, to help them see that progress over time is more important than a particular win or loss, and to help them graciously congratulate the child who succeeded when they failed. To do that, we need to refuse all the meaningless plastic and tin destined for landfills. We have to stop letting the Trophy-Industrial Complex run our children’s lives.

This school year, let’s fight for a kid’s right to lose!

Amen to that!  Here’s the article, it’s well worth the read!

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Why I hate to drive through Rotterdam …

… more than an appointment with a dentist!

Today was the day I had an appointment with a special dentist in Rotterdam at a clinic for Endodontology. Seriously, where do they find these names? My own dentist had given up on two of my teeth, feeling there was nothing more he could do to ease my pain.  And, as he didn’t want to decide to pull them out, he send me to this clinic.

Now, let me be honest with you … I don’t particularly like dentists but I’m absolutely not afraid for whatever treatment they throw at me.  I can deal with the pain (and the anesthesia) quite well, so that was not an issue. The issue at hand was …  the clinic is in Rotterdam.

Now, Rotterdam is one of the largest -if not the largest – city in the Netherlands.  And it’s  famous for having the largest port in Europe and the fourth largest port in the world. Nice!  However …  it’s, in my view, the most terrible city to drive your car in. Maybe if I had a large container vessel it would be different but navigating a small car (or any car, for that matter) is next to impossible.

The way in was quite straightforward.  Just follow the highway into town and make sure you take the right exit.  My GPS handled that well. Most of the route in town went well too. Until I encountered that dreadful sign … road construction, detour. Aaarrgghh!! I knew it! They do that all the time. No matter how often I go to Rotterdam and no matter where I need to be it’s never easy. There’s always a road construction!

I followed the sign but that didn’t help much as I didn’t know exactly where I needed to be. I had taken a look at the map at home so I had an idea of the direction I had to take but that was that.  So all of a sudden I found myself at the wrong side of the Maas River,  the large river flowing through Rotterdam.

I risked my life making a U-turn (thank heavens there was no police in sight) and went back to  where I came from. Time was running out so my nerves were all over the place. At last my GPS picked up again and I finally found the indoor parking facility I had decided to go to.

But alas, that was not the end of my trouble. At that time I was almost too late for my appointment so I hurried through the door onto the street, realizing I had no idea what direction to take, right or left? And no one in sight to ask, of course. I decided on going left … what turned out to be the wrong decision. Heading back I dug out my cell phone and called the clinic, asking them some guidance.  They were kind enough so finally …  FINALLY … I walked in the door.

(the street I had to be in)


The meeting with the dentist was a piece of cake after all that, lol.  He had a good look, took another X-ray, poked around a bit and decided I needed another root canal. Apparently we all have four root canals per tooth, the fourth being very small and most of the time invisible, even on a X-ray. There’s no root in it, it’s just the canal but in my case it has probably started to act up. That’s why my dentist couldn’t find the problem.

So, I made an two hour  appointment for November to have it fixed.

Going back home was easy, by the way. Follow the “Rotterdam Ring”  sign, the Ring being the major highways around Rotterdam, and you always find your way home.

*Big sigh of relief!*

Categories: Health, Humor, Me, Netherlands | 8 Comments

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