Saturday, January 17, 2009

A disadvantaged child

Let's get past the political correctness right off the bat, a "disadvantaged" child is one that is poor. We don't have any poor in America anymore, we have disadvantaged minorities. But I would like to tell you about one of those disadvantaged (read poor) children. This child was so poor that he never had the obvious advantages of watching Sesame Street on TV, wearing Oskosh by gosh toddler clothes or being able to use his home computer for homework. In fact, this child was so poor, he only attended formal schooling for a short time. He never had the advantage of an extended learning or advanced placement program. He never got drilled for standardized testing. His parents never bought him Nikes or Rebocks. Worst of all, he never owned a set of Legos.

He didn't have the advantage of an enlightened curriculum designed so that no child was left behind. He never had the benefit of effective classroom teaching in terms of pedagogy. His ability to understand a particular lesson was never enhanced through effective audiovisual techniques. He apparently never was taught how to put a specific lesson into a larger context including its clinical relevance or review of prior material. It is unlikely that anyone fostered him in an effective learning environment including showing respect for him as a student. His intellectual growth was not encouraged.

No one taught this poor child any social skills. He never experienced a cooperative learning team in a brainstorming session. I doubt he was Student of the Week and certainly did not have access to a Skill of the Week bulletin board. He probably never learned active listening or praising, taking turns or using quiet voices. He certainly was never tutored in staying on task. His life was not cumbered with an expert preceptor interactive curriculum and how to prioritize among problems. You can tell, he was severely and perhaps terminally disadvantaged. It is unlikely that he ever viewed a PowerPoint presentation.

We can only wonder at how this child was able to function at all, and it is no surprise that he became a day laborer working at the most menial of tasks.

Remarkably, he was able to overcome these vast educational and economic deficits. He was finally, after many years of self study and hard work able to get a respectable job. It could even be said that he was well liked by some of his peers. He was well liked enough to get elected as President of the United States and become one of the greatest writers and speakers in the English Language -- of course, Abraham Lincoln. How much of what he missed was really a disadvantage?


  1. He was also one America's most brilliant political strategists and a spiritually-based humanitarian generations ahead of his time; a man unafraid to lead by moral example, encourage with humor, or demand performance with 'a voice of thunder'.

    Of him Tolstoy said in 1908:"...He was the greatest...a hero...he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rock...
    We are still too near to his greatness, but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us."

    Best of all, he loved his step-mother ~ who always saw his genius in embryo.

    It is an indictment of modern culture that we fail to inspire school children with true American heroes rather than aggressively indoctrinate them with faddish characters who are cheap and empty imitations.

  2. I guessed it! I guessed it! I knew who you were talking about right away! What do I win?

    Great points on the "disadvantaged".