Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mama Bean posts links on Saturday - April 24, 2010

- What a terribly apropos way to start this week's Link Love. Seth Godin tells a story of overhearing someone in a coffee shop seeing his website for the first time, and his inability to personally guide them to the best parts of his digital self. I've definitely been worried, in my absence from the blog recently, about maintaining the quality standards I've set for myself, and someone's first impressions based on my blog activity as of late, so this link particularly hit home this week. He admonishes the online world moves too quickly for nuance - every byte you put out there could be the only thing anyone ever sees of you, so make it worth it. "Every interaction might be the whole thing." I don't need Seth Godin to tell me to be nervous about this - I'm always looking to make each entry stellaramazingincredible, and acutely aware of putting my best foot forward in commenting, facebook statuses, and tweets. (cf. loosely, this entry about blog self-censorship. K wisely pointed out the Internet is forever.)

- This is a post about the intersection of parenting and environmentalism. When I was younger, I used to say I didn't want to have children. The real reason was because babies scared me, but the reason I told people was that the world was too broken to bring another human into. And I still struggle with this; how do I teach my children about the birds and the bees, the actual dying birds and bees around the world, without conveying a defeatist attitude? Because it is my responsibility to teach them the truth about their world, and help them make positive life-long decisions. I suppose growing up in our Cheapskate Hippie household will help, but as the author points out, "I want with all my heart to help our children find a path forward, but I am having a hard time seeing the forest for the falling trees." I got some very encouraging feedback from Mike, who was the person to open my eyes to Peak Oil many years ago, and also one of the people who inspired our vegetable growing. He points out only colonized bees suffer from Colony Collapse, but we can still support wild bee populations. For e.g. drilling hole in a piece of wood to look like honeycomb will attract wild bees to create nests nearby. He felt his enthusiasm regarding small changes still making a difference was lame, but I told him I find him delightful and charming. And helpful!

- Another Skeptical OB post, this time about understanding lactivism in the context of the dominant mothering ideology, which is Intensive Mothering. Breastfeeding is an integral part of what's considered success as an Intensive Mother, and those who rigidly adhere to the ideology will find a failure to breastfeed tantamount to failure as a mother. Which is, of course, ridiculous. It's important to recognize, although this ideology is the cultural standard, that doesn't make Intensive Mothering the Truth, the Way, and the Light of parenting. When you break from the dominant ideology, you leave room for flexibility, and adaptation, where each parent and each child has the freedom to figure out what works best for them. Maybe Intensive Mothering works best for you - yay! If it doesn't, something else will - yay! As Dr. Amy points out, "There's nothing wrong with the dominant ideology of intensive mothering. There is something wrong with insisting that the dominant ideology is the only correct ideology" (This would be a good parallel discussion on denominationalism in Christianity...)

- Don't click this link if you're scared of ants. It's a video of ants eating a crab essentially from the inside out. Apparently it gave Char nightmares. (Sorry!) I found it interesting in a car wreck kind of way. Insects are fine to watch from afar, but I get a little squigged when they're right in front of me. Ants in my own backyard get boiling water poured onto their nests. (It sounds cruel, but it's a quicker demise than some of the neurotoxin poison control options.)

- What really happens after you save the princess. Okay, maybe the joke is sexist and demeaning. But it's kind of cute and well executed, and it made me laugh. It could make you laugh, too...

- Ooh, three videos in a row! This is an Oscar-nominated short animation depicting a fictional world constructed of corporate logos. Very well done! There are thousands of logos, and it's all terribly clever. The story is cute, too, and then there's the sociological message-y undertones...but I didn't read too far into it. Too much thinking ;)

- This is an interesting follow up to a math education link I posted a few weeks ago. It's basically a (very loooong) collection and summary of different parents' experiences with self-directed math education. He draws interesting distinctions between the categories of math children learn: playful math, instrumental math, didactic math, and college admissions math. I haven't finished the whole article yet, because I got distracted by his link to his article on the Sudbury Valley schools. I've lately found myself preoccupied with homeschooling blogs, and educational theories, I suppose because I have a kid now who's going to need educating at some point. I don't think homeschooling will work for our family, but really, we're all homeschoolers, because we all have a responsibility to complete and complement the education they receive at school. So I want to gather ideas and plans now...I know, a little obsessive on my part /shrug.

- This link probably deserves its own post. It's a fantastic entry by an adoptive parent about God's place in adoption. Basically, adoption is always God's plan B for a child - plan A is always for children to grow up in their family of origin. Now this may not sound so revolutionary or anything, but within some Christian circles, this is an incredibly unpopular viewpoint. The popular warm and fuzzy thinking is that God created these children to be adopted. Which really diminishes the birth mother's role to some kind of unworthy surrogate, and ignores the real pain and complexity of her child's separation from its original family. I say this from the perspective of someone who is both Christian and adopted. I commented on the post, "Growing up, I always knew something bad (sin) was the reason I wasn't raised by my original family, but I was told to ignore that reality, because it showed a lack of gratitude. It is important for adopted children to feel they can grieve their lost family, and still be happy and blessed and feel gratitude for their adopted family." These are issues the adoption community is only coming to grips with in the last few years. The best resource I discovered in my mid-20s to really help me understand my feelings about adoption is this book. If you are participating in any aspect of the adoption community, I highly recommend reading it.

- As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here's a great summary from the Pioneer Woman about why she loves growing her own vegetables.

- To be honest, I didn't read this article closely enough to say anything super meaningful about it. It's a (virtual) debate about the Church's relationship to the Arts, and how Christianity has "radically abdicated its understanding of the power of beauty; and since beauty might be the only argument for God the people of our time are actually open to, that means we are largely failing to tell the Christian story to the world." The one point I really liked about the article was a brief comment on the progressive bibilical illiteracy of our youth. (Good grief, I sound crotechety and old...) There is this whole generation of children growing up with a gap in literary comprehension because they don't know the basic biblical allusions made in older literature. I have wondered about this before, how the trajectory of modern literature will travel as biblical allusion becomes increasingly irrelevant or simply unknown. The article's broader point is how to responsibly use art to engage modern culture, without succumbing to the flashy, trashy, etc. standards of Hollywood. Anyway, I'm not doing the article any kind of justice, read it at the source :)

- Fun for the Finale! It's the Four Chord Song! They're ALL the Four Chord Song! Wheeee!


  1. Not to quibble needlessly, but this reads as difficult on at least a couple of levels:

    "Which really diminishes the birth mother's role to some kind of unworthy surrogate, and ignores the real pain and complexity of her child's separation from its original family."

    ...we do the same thing to nonhuman animals, of course, which rankles for exactly the same reason. Yes, the role of the birth mother deserves not to be diminished. But the prospective adoptive child isn't a thing. The language really does matter, here - we disregard the legitimate interests of humans (and nonhumans) far too often.

  2. Wow, so much info here to look through and enjoy -- thanks MUCH for the blog update!! Blessings on you guys.