Great American Conversations
                    With The Alumni of RHS
                 Issue 92 September 30, 2000

   "The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."
                         - H. W. Beecher

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         Today's Subjects and Contributors:

          Guiding Your Own Children
          Patty de la Bretonne '65

          Critical Thinking
          Jim Moran `86

          Harry Potter and Parental Rights
          Jill Walser `81

          Down With the OCA
          Missy Keeney Baker `59

          Vickie Andersen Simmons '67

          Medicare and Harry Potter
          Bob Carlson, aka Mike Clowes (54)

   1.  Fill a glass or cup with your favorite beverage.
   2.  Drink your fill of what these people have to say.
   3.  Consider what you might like to add.
   4.  Hit the reply button and talk to us!


Subj:   Guiding Your Own Children
From:   Patty de la Bretonne '65

Dear Jenny Smart Page,

 I definitely support your desire to guide your
 children down the path you believe is right. [re
                - Patty de la Bretonne '65

P.S. Your phrase, "calling on a magical spirit to
 help him out in a jam," does sound a lot like what
 many so called Christians do all the time and feel
 they have a right to, doesn't it?


Subj:   Critical Thinking
From:  Jim Moran `86
[Re comments made in SB91]

Oh, god!  Yes, how stupid of me.... I forget, many
 of you live or lived in Eastern Washington, where
 such thing as critical thinking is a rare thing.
 No, I was not making a statement which backed
 banning parking lots from taverns or pubs.  But, I
 was making an observation about our society.
 However, there are stiff laws on the books which
 make very important statements about drinking
 and driving.  Just like in Washington State (at
 least when I lived there), it was illegal to have an
 open container of alcohol.  Now, wait, just
 because I have an opened bottle of hard alcohol in
 the glove box of my vehicle doesn't mean I was
 drinking and driving. No.  But, the people of
 Washington State are making a point on this
 subject of drinking and diving

Yes, you are correct, it would not be a great law. 
 But, nowhere did I encourage anybody to call their
 state rep., state senator, or governor on this
 subject.  Rather, I was thinking outside the box.
 (AKA thinking critical) about this subject.  The
 point was we (as a society) do not really want to
 control (very tightly) alcohol, for the government
 makes a ton of money from the sale of it. 
 Remember, Prohibition was repealed in the depth
 of the Depression.  Why?  Because the government
 needed funds and needed them quickly.  The
 government still makes a ton of money from the
 sale of alcohol.  I know most Americans would not
 give up their gas sucking cars, but that's
 another subject which I think is outside the box...

                        Critically thinking,
                        Jim Moran `86


Subj: Harry Potter and Parental Rights
To: Jenny Smart Page `87
From: Jill Walser `81


I don't have time to write such eloquent essays, but
 I wanted to commend you for standing up for your
 beliefs. It's rather incredible how others transpose
 their fears onto others with differing opinions,
 regardless of the content of the actual opinions.
 I.E., I don't like censorship, so I'm going to read
 that you are advocating censorship whether you
 did or not.... It's ridiculous. You are the mom, you
 have a right to expose your children to whatever
 you choose as long as its not illegal or immoral.
 Similarly, as mom, you have the right to withhold
 from them (and advocate that they utilize self
 control due to the family's moral values) the things
 you view as immoral or illegal. Period. 

My son loves Harry Potter, he's read them all at
 least 40 times. He also reads an incredible variety
 of other books.  We have about a half hour
 commute to and from the school he attends. As a 4
 year old, he read the book Newf at least 150 times.
 Its about a dog rescuing a cat, very cute. And no...
 he doesn't go about rescuing cats from starvation
 in the Newfoundland wilderness... I've read the
 Potter books all once, to see for myself if I felt the
 material appropriate, and as such, I think they are
 fine for children capable of discerning a fantasy
 story from reality. They are exciting and fun to
 read. My son is able to realize that wizardry is
 someone's idea of fun, not a vocational decision.
 Frankly, I think he equally relates to a lady who
 makes her living writing stories as with a skinny
 English kid who bails himself out of trouble in
 rather inventive ways... His reading Harry Potter
 doesn't change the constant conversations and
 deeds we engage in exemplifying morality,
 conscience and respect.  Anyway, I for one am
 glad you are taking your job as mom so seriously.
 I'm always glad to hear that children are being
 parented instead of ignored, neglected or abused.
 More power to you. 

As for our "idyllic" childhoods, where we ran
 around playing kick the can until we couldn't see
 the can for the darkness... We grew up with
 Wesley Allen Dodd roaming the streets on his
 bike. We grew up with toxic chemicals seeping
 into our swimming holes. We weren't any safer,
 just blissfully ignorant. 
                            Jill Walser `81


Subj: Down With the OCA
From: Missy Keeney Baker (59) 
To Bob Carlson, aka Mike Clowes (54)

I wasn't aware that homosexuality was being
 "taught" in our public schools!! How can that be?? 
 Actually, I wish someone would explain in a
 scientific and "rational" manner how one would
 teach someone to be homosexual!  No one ever
 taught me to be heterosexual!!  My sister, Patricia
 Keeney (63), from Forest Grove, Oregon has long
 been an activist in PFFLAG (Parents, Families and
 Friends of Lesbians and Gays).  I know they have
 had to work tirelessly and diligently against the
 kind of hate legislation that the OCA and like
 minded groups are always proposing.  I say "Down
 with the OCA, down I say!!!"

Oh, by the way, it's Tinky Winky.  He's purple and
 the one with the purse!  Oh, and my daughter just
 reminded me that he also has a triangle on his head
 which is supposed to be the symbol of gayness or
 something.  It's sooo obvious!!

               - Missy Keeney Baker (59)


From:   Vickie Andersen Simmons '67

Re: the Harry Potter Debate

Hat's off to Jenny Smart Page (87)!  I couldn't
 agree more with her beliefs on raising children.  I
 have raised mine in the same fashion.  I believe
 kids need guidelines.  When they are off on their
 own, they will have had a good groundwork laid
 for them to make their own decisions.

I have 2 sets of twins.  The first set (girls)  
 graduated in 1999.  One is at UAA on full
 scholarship in engineering.  Her twin sister chose
 to join Youth With A Mission and go to Eastern
 Europe for 7 months.  She went to help spread the
 good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but also
 to ease the suffering (and there's a lot of it) in
 places that have been bombed or have had such
 poverty.  She went to feed, show love and
 compassion.  Raising her the way we did - morally
 and with strict guidelines as to what was
 acceptable in our home, etc., did not make her a
 'scared little wallflower.'  Quite the opposite!

Thanks to Tony Sharpe (63) for clarifying the story
 of David.  One item he left out was that David and
 Bathsheba lost their first child as a result of their

As to the subject of my little 'rant' - Tolerance.  It
 amazes me how many people who would call me
 intolerant are even less tolerant of my point of
 view and my RIGHT to it.  I don't tell my children
 'no' to something from a point of hate for that
 particular thing.  I tell them "no," because I love
 them and know the consequences of going down
 that particular path.  Those who would call me
 intolerant are equally so.

             Vickie Andersen Simmons '67


Subj:    Medicare and Harry Potter
From:   Bob Carlson (Mike Clowes) '54
Medicare and Harry Potter- Now, there's a pair to
 draw to.

First off, with regards to Medicare coverage. 
 Fortunately or unfortunately, it is not the president
 or any presidential wannabe who determines who
 qualifies and who does not.  It is a "governmental
 gnome" who nobody knows that set this policy. 
 And it will take more than a campaign promise
 (which along with a $1.60 will get you a cup of
 coffee) to change the policy.  Even a congressional
 change to the Medicare/Medicade laws will
 probably not suffice.

Remember what "Daddy" Dawald taught in civics: 
 "Presidents do not make laws, they only propose
 them to Congress."  The simple fact is that no
 matter what Bore or Gush propose to the
 electorate, it is not a fact of life, law or anything
 else.  It is a campaign promise and nothing more. 
 You could think of campaign promises as
 "termination winds"; if you don't like the way it's
 blowing, you can quit.

Mary Ray Henslee (61) has every right to worry
 about this issue, as she is slowly getting to the age
 where she will have to worry about it.
 Unfortunately, Mary, no matter who you select as
 your candidate it won't make that much difference. 
 Previous contenders for the "throne" have vowed
 to change or eliminate the program; and it never
 happened.  Even changing the "gnome" who set
 the policy doesn't help.  Perhaps changing the
 governmental mind set from negative to positive

Unfortunately too many of our "civil serpents" take
 the negative view and thoroughly resent anyone
 wanting to upset their particular rice bowl.  The
 idea seems to be that the only way they can hold
 their position is to deny service to many, but take
 care of a few and claim "budget limitations" or
 other bureaucratic nonsense as to why they cannot.

Now, on to Harry Potter.

I, too will defend to the death, Jenny Smart Page's
 freedom to read, write and raise her children in
 what ever manner she pleases.  And, if she thinks
 Harry Potter is the devil incarnate, that is her right.
 But, perhaps Jenny was subjected to forces beyond
 her ken while growing up.  Those of us who went
 through childhood before there was television
 really had to rely on imagination to get a
 perspective on the world around us.  Sure, we
 believed that you'd best not tug on Superman's
 cape or try to look under the Lone Ranger's mask. 
 And, yes we knew what these characters looked
 like through comic books and Saturday Afternoon
 Serials (at the Village Theater).

I guess, Jenny, the point we are all trying to make is
 "Don't close your mind."

    Well, that's my opinion, and I'm welcome to it.
              Bob Carlson (Mike Clowes) '54


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