Weekly Meanderings, 20 August 2016

Great sports story I saw this week about Archie Manning:

Buddy didn’t tell his son that he loved him—it wasn’t in his makeup to reveal the bedrock of his emotions—but Archie understood that his dad was his second-biggest fan, just behind his mom, who had attended every game in every sport that he had played since Archie could throw a ball. Buddy, at 5’ 6”, had been a standout offensive lineman at Drew High when he was a teenager, and now he was in awe of the athleticism of his son. He never imagined his boy would become the Ole Miss starting quarterback, much less an emerging folk hero.

But Buddy wasn’t just proud of Archie’s growing football achievements; he reveled in knowing that Archie was making his own way in the world, narrating his own compelling story, maturing into a man of substance. Archie was on the path to a college degree, and that was Buddy’s top goal for his son.

And yet . . .

There were storm clouds gathering in Buddy’s eyes that Archie couldn’t see—that no one could see. Buddy was a workaholic; he had rarely seen the opening minutes of Archie’s high school games because Buddy felt obligated to stay late at the shop. Buddy’s job as manager of the farm machinery dealership in Drew had always seemed his top priority.

Kelley Goeway’s story, and here’s the opening, but do go to the link and read the whole piece:

So my third cancerversary has passed. Three years since my diagnosis. I’ve had a couple of those, “not much I can do,” conversations with my doctors lately. If you’ve never had one of these, they all basically go like this.

Doctor: “So how have you been?”
Me: “Really bad, actually. I’m in a ton of pain on a daily basis.”
Doctor: “Right…but that’s just you. That’s kind of your baseline.”

I even got an edgy, “I wish I had a magic wand, but I don’t, so.” which I attributed (after the Holy Spirit poked me in the ribs a few times to get over myself) to the fact of doctors being broken people who also have bad days.

I can sympathize. I’m sure it’s not easy to continuously see a patient in my situation. I understand that at some point they really are out of options.

Here’s one thing to expect if you find out you have cancer: People will drown you in recommendations for cancer related media. Books, movies, cancer tv shows–which are apparently a thing someone thought the world needed–podcasts, etc. The point I’m trying to make is that there are fictional hospital stories everywhere.

Like any other stories categorized by a similar setting, hospital stories seem to have a few other things in common. The doctors are always determined and rough around the edges and really caring deep down and brilliant and funny and hip. They never give up and medical science is super cohesive and straightforward and everyone is on the same page except sometimes the one stupid guy who gets his just deserts in the end and sees the light. And the patients always get better except when they don’t and then they die.

Spoiler warning: this is not how real life is.

John Mark Reynolds’ excellent discussion of what a good discussion and conversation requires:

Great discussions can lead to great things with the right people. Tolkien and CS Lewis would gather with other literary friends at a local pub. They read, drank beer, and discussed their work. The result was genius.

Plato says the drinking is helpful, but it is not necessary. We are not Tolkien, so finding CS Lewis will not enable us to write works of great genius, so that is not a worry. We can have great discussions in any case.

If you have never been in a great discussion, then let me tell you what it is like for me. Time passes without my even noticing, people open up, the topic evolves, and I understand the topic and my fellow discussants better at the end. When a great discussion ends, I want to start again, even though I cannot.  So how can we all have this experience?

This is an interesting exercise in pondering by Chris Gehrz — on the possibility of a “Christian Democrat” party in the USA.

Parija Kavilanz:

Sean Maroni has a passion for tinkering with things.

The childhood trait persisted through his teen years and made him pause his college education in mechanical engineering to launch his startup Betabox in 2014.

Maroni, 24, is founder and CEO of Raleigh-based Betabox, a business whose premise is to inspire innovation, especially among schoolkids.

Most public schools lack funds to offer students a full-time lab filled with expensive tools like 3D printers, laser cutters, scanners and electronics to design and build prototypes of cool ideas.

Betabox tackles that challenge. “It’s as if you snap your fingers and a fully-stocked tech lab arrives,” he said.

Related: How tech literate are 8th graders? You’d be surprised

Betabox’s mobile labs are built inside refurbished shipping containers and have been retrofitted to include things like whiteboards, laptops and CNC milling machines.

The labs come in two models. One has wheels, battery power, solar panels on its roof and 200 square feet of space, which can hold 8 to 15 students comfortably.

“We can drive it to customers and set it up anywhere outside,” said Maroni, adding that he just needs about a week’s notice.

Brad Griffin, on talking to teenage girls, and he has six tips at the link:

Adolescent girls—like boys—get wrapped up in the work of parting from childhood and moving toward adulthood. This is good, important, even necessary work. But for parents and other caring adults, it can feel painful, especially when it comes to communicating with girls. Your once open, easy conversation partner can transform overnight into a closed door of silence.

The good news is that we don’t need to accept these transitions as relational dead ends. Girls need us more than ever in these years; they just need us in different ways and on different terms—theirterms.

Psychologist Lisa Damour works daily with adolescent girls in both private practice and school-based settings. She has compiled her years of wisdom, experience, and research into a volume titledUntangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.[1] This manual serves as an valuable resource for parents, leaders, teachers, and anyone else who is helping a young woman through the journey from childhood to adulthood.

When it comes to our conversations with teenage girls, here are a handful of helpful tips you can use in your next few interactions.

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