Weekly Meanderings, 16 September 2017

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 5.28.02 PMFinding help for Florida’s manatees:

Two manatees were beached along Florida’s Sarasota Bay when Hurricane Irma sucked water from their usual home and left them stranded in knee-high mud.

Several people posted photos of the animals that were stuck on the shore Sunday during a low tide created just before the hurricane made its way up the Florida coast and slammed into the Sarasota region.

“One wasn’t moving, the other was breathing and had water in its eyes. My friends and I couldn’t move these massive animals ourselves, and we called every service we could think of, but no one answered,” Michael Sechler wrote on Facebook and Instagram.

“We gave them as much water as we could, hoping the rain and storm surge come soon enough to save them,” he said.

Another person who spotted the mammals said he joined a community rescue effort in which several people eventually rolled the manatees onto tarps and then dragged them about 100 yards into the water.

ACNA’s continued struggle with women’s ordination’s latest news from Todd Hunter:

“I have just returned from attending the College of Bishops’ conclave on the ordination of women to the priesthood. I am proud of the spiritually mature manner in which Archbishop Beach designed and, with the wise and loving assistance of the Unity Task Force, conducted our deliberations. The conclave was quiet, sincere and godly. The bishops collaborated with one another in an overall atmosphere of love, respect and honesty. Thankfully, the outcome of the conclave permits C4SO to continue our practice of ordaining women of character and integrity as priests and deacons, enabling them to serve in whatever way their spiritual gifts, calling and temperament call for. We continue to conduct this practice in humility toward those who disagree with us, and we do so with a laser focus on mission and being ambassadors of God’s kingdom—male and female alike. I am proud to serve alongside our women. They have shown extraordinary patience and grace during a particularly difficult period of waiting to receive the outcome of this conclave. To those who have wrestled or still do with the issue of women’s ordination to the priesthood: You are welcome in C4SO too. We are a diocese that celebrates the unity shown in our constitution, as modeled in this week’s conclave.”

Australia’s students and overseas orphanage compassion:

The trend of Australian high school students going overseas to volunteer in an orphanage is about to come to an abrupt end.

The world’s biggest school-based volunteer travel company, World Challenge, will no longer offer trips to orphanages in the developing world after research showed the practice was harming vulnerable children.

Advocacy agency ReThink Orphanages said a revolving door of volunteers was making abandonment and attachment issues even worse.

The evidence is compelling enough to convince World Challenge to quit the industry.

For 30 years World Challenge has been linking schools to volunteer projects in many countries including Cambodia, Vietnam and Madagascar.

It is big business. In the past decade, the volunteer tourism industry — known as voluntourism — has exploded, and is now worth $173 billion globally, according to ReThink Orphanages.

Erika Christakis: [HT: JS]

Few people care more about individual students than public-school teachers do, but what’s really missing in this dystopian narrative is a hearty helping of reality: 21st-century public schools, with their record numbers of graduates and expanded missions, are nothing close to the cesspools portrayed by political hyperbole. This hyperbole was not invented by Trump or DeVos, but their words and proposals have brought to a boil something that’s been simmering for a while—the denigration of our public schools, and a growing neglect of their role as an incubator of citizens.
Americans have in recent decades come to talk about education less as a public good, like a strong military or a noncorrupt judiciary, than as a private consumable. In an address to the Brookings Institution, DeVos described school choice as “a fundamental right.” That sounds appealing. Who wouldn’t want to deploy their tax dollars with greater specificity? Imagine purchasing a gym membership with funds normally allocated to the upkeep of a park.My point here is not to debate the effect of school choice on individual outcomes: The evidence is mixed, and subject to cherry-picking on all sides. I am more concerned with how the current discussion has ignored public schools’ victories, while also detracting from their civic role. Our public-education system is about much more than personal achievement; it is about preparing people to work together to advance not just themselves but society. Unfortunately, the current debate’s focus on individual rights and choices has distracted many politicians and policy makers from a key stakeholder: our nation as a whole. As a result, a cynicism has taken root that suggests there is no hope for public education. This is demonstrably false. It’s also dangerous. …Where schools are struggling today, collectively speaking, is less in their transmission of mathematical principles or writing skills, and more in their inculcation of what it means to be an American. The Founding Fathers understood the educational prerequisites on which our democracy was based (having themselves designed it), and they had far grander plans than, say, beating the Soviets to the moon, or ensuring a literate workforce.Thomas Jefferson, among other historical titans, understood that a functioning democracy required an educated citizenry, and crucially, he saw education as a public good to be included in the “articles of public care,” despite his preference for the private sector in most matters. John Adams, another proponent of public schooling, urged, “There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the expense of the people themselves.”In the centuries since, the courts have regularly affirmed the special status of public schools as a cornerstone of the American democratic project. In its vigorous defenses of students’ civil liberties—to protest the Vietnam War, for example, or not to salute the flag—the Supreme Court has repeatedly held public schools to an especially high standard precisely because they play a unique role in fostering citizens.
Libby Kane:

No one wants the family china.

At least not the generations set to inherit it.

Tom Verde writes in The New York Times that millennials and Gen Xers are uniquely resistant to the influx of furniture, kitchenware, and general stuff that comes with their parents’ downsizing.

They can’t even donate it.

“We are definitely getting overrun with furniture and about 20% more donations of everything than in previous years,” Michael Frohm, the chief operating officer of Goodwill of Greater Washington, told The Times.

An entire industry has sprung up around figuring out where the stuff will go. Professional move managers help seniors downsize and dispose of the belongings their grown children won’t take, charging about $50 to $150. The full cost of the service, which may include an estate sale, can reach $5,000 or more, The Times reports.

It’s not all that surprising when you think about it. For one thing, younger generations might not have the space to store table service for 12. The average age of homeownership has been pushed back, and the number of millennials who own homes is at a record low.

Experts say it’s partly economic — 20- and 30-somethings buckling under student-loan debt and having trouble securing work right out of school don’t have the disposable income for many of the traditional life markers, like buying a home or getting married — but these grown kids may also have different value systems.

On drinking water:

We all know that drinking water regularly is good for the body. But most of us probably don’t realize just how important being properly hydrated is for our health. In fact, every system in the human body counts on water to function.

Approximately two-thirds of the adult human body is made of water. And did you know your tissues and organs are mainly made up of water? Your brain is 80% water, your muscles (including your heart) are 75% water, your blood is 83% water, your lungs are 90% water, your skin is 64% water, and even your bones are 30% water!

It is important to think of water as a nutrient your body needs. Here are 6 specific ways drinking water and staying properly hydrated will tremendously benefit your health.

This dad’s got a theory:

As a dad, it’s hard to think about the day when your daughters start dating. To think of ill-intentioned boys or girls sniffing around, manipulating their emotions and leaving a broken heart in their wake is hard to swallow.

We’re bound to be protective of our daughters because the fact is the world can be a more dangerous place for women than it is for men.

But it’s also high-time we realized that they can make their own decisions and make their own rules for what they do with their bodies, and we can trust them to be the bosses and gatekeepers of their own lives.

Dad and poet Jeff Welch put it pretty perfectly when he shared his very simple “rules” for dating his daughters.

Are you ready to hear his brilliant rules? Because it’s basically just one, and here it is:

They make the rules.

“I ain’t raisin’ no princesses,” he wrote in the post.

The father of three girls (and stepdad to two more) elaborated:

“You’ll have to ask them what their rules are. I’m not raising my little girls to be the kind of women who need their daddy to act like a creepy possessive badass in order for them to be treated with respect. You will respect them, and if you don’t, I promise they won’t need my help putting you back in your place. Good luck pumpkin.”

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