Monday, August 26, 2013

Reflections on the Educational Process

Once again it appears that the Texas Educational Agency has thrown the baby out with the bathwater.  This seems to happen every few years when a new PhD is added to their staff, al, in their opinions, for the sake of providing the children of Texas with a better education.  And in my opinion and only my opinion, once again, they are severely injuring the education of Texas’ children.

The new water mark for Texas education will be three-fold:  test scores, graduation rates, and college entrance exams. Graduation rates have some validity, I think.

However, while it would be nice, I suppose, if all our kids went to college, it’s not very likely, and, frankly, not necessary.  So why would entrance exams be a necessary guideline?  Don’t we want to have mechanics (auto and otherwise), secretaries, cooks and chefs, hair dressers, massage therapists, heavy equipment operators, farmers, electricians, bus and truck drivers, plumbers, and so forth?  Don’t we need them any more?  And if we do, why do they need to have a college diploma?  There are trade schools for those necessary jobs.  Often they pay more than one would receive with a college diploma, so, I think college entrance exams are useless as a monitor of achievement for everyone.

Now, quite a few years back the whole education system was changed with “No Child Left Behind”.  This program insisted, and still does insist, that we are all the same, with the same abilities, talents, thought processes.  Baloney!!

Gee, I wish I could paint like Rembrandt or play cello like Yo-Yo Ma.  But we are not the same.  I can write and I do a little art, but I can’t sing or play music.  I love to cook, but I am no Bobby Flay!  I don’t know anything about a car except whether it goes or not, and I don’t want to know about it.  I rely on someone else who has those abilities. 

We are not all the same!  We don’t look alike, sound alike, walk and talk alike.  And we don’t learn at the same rate or through the same process.  And no matter how much the state of Texas would like for us to, we don’t!  Full stop!

There was a time, about thirty years ago, when teachers were allowed to know what they are doing and to teach kids.  We had homogeneous grouping, so that kids could learn at their own rate.  We also had prayer and paddling.  Now, kids are not expected to mind; they are condemned if they pray; they have to be just like to kid next to them.  Ridiculous!

The kids are still expected to take a standardized test, and it would appear that they are supposed to be taught the test only.  I never will forget when one of our grandchildren’s sixth grade teacher informed us that this child could not do long division!  At that time the test didn’t teach it so it was never learned, but that sixth grade teacher thought it was essential and taught it anyway!

I remember when another grandchild’s second grade teacher had to lock the door so she couldn’t be disturbed when teaching phonics because it was against policy to teach that method - a system which is one of only two that ever really works, in my opinion.

I’ve been out of teaching for ten years now, and you couldn’t pay me to go back, because, although I can teach just about any child to read and do elementary math, I wouldn’t do it right according to the state, and I wouldn’t want to play the games the state has set.

What is my opinion?  Each school district should be responsible for the education of the children within the district.  State and federal government should step out.  This is just my opinion, but I hold to it!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Will be Done - NOT

How often to we pray the Lord's prayer, and we really want God to do what we want, not what He wants!

Are we truly ready should Christ come back today.  Have we done God's will to the best of our ability, and when we have failed, have we asked forgiveness, gotten back up, and tried again?

If not, we are not ready. 

We so much want what we want, but above everything we should really want to someday enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  All the material things that make life so easy.  All the great trips and comforts.  They are wonderful, and I feel so blessed to have them, but they don't make me closer to God. 

The way I live my life.  They way I approach other people.  The way I minister, and, especially, the way and how often I pray do far more to help me achieve the Kingdom than all the computers, cars, good food, art supplies, clothes can ever do.

And I must have faith. I must believe in what I cannot see.  I must finally declare, as did St. Thomas, "My Lord and my God!"

One of the four readings yesterday at Mass is from Hebrews 11: 1-16:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.


Yesterday our priest reminded us that all these people, although they sinned, did indeed believe.  They got back up and continued as was humanly possible to follow God's direction.

What direction does God want from me right now?  I am waiting.  I am praying.  I know He will direct me along the path He wants me to take, and when I stumble, He will lift me up.

The same priest quoted C. S. Lewis on Facebook yesterday:

"The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither."

~ Mere Christianity
 


 We must have Faith, even as small as that grain of mustard seed, and we must follow Jesus to the best of our abilities.  We must allow His Will be Done!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Indian Creek



In 2000 the boys of Boy Scout Troop 73 in Mineral Wells transcribed the Indian Creek Cemetery located just west of Mineral Wells at the corner of Indian Creek Road and US Highway 80. The cemetery is located on the east side of Indian Creek Road a block north of Indian Creek Baptist Church.

I am proud to say that the reason for this transcription was my grandson, John Banner's, Eagle Scout Project. With much planning before the fact and much organizational work afterward on John's part, the project took place on two Saturdays in September, and on December 17, 2000, John's 14th birthday, he received his Eagle rank.

(John, left, was sworn in by three cousins who are also Eagles, Ron Johnson, Bill Dillard, and John Poe.)

Alton Reedy, chairman of the Indian Creek Cemetery Association, gave permission for this task. And, although it was previously thought that only about 400 graves were located in the cemetery, the boys soon discovered that there were 750+ graves accounted for with some sort of marker and many more which were no longer marked.

The cemetery had been transcribed for the Palo Pinto County Historical Association by Grace Gilbert Smith in 1975. However, copies of this transcription seem to have all but disappeared.

Indian Creek Cemetery appears to have been used for the first time in 1894 when a two-year-old child, Jessie Hill, was buried. As with many pioneer cemeteries, it is often the case that a child dying either in infancy or of disease demanded that a burial ground be established.

Other early burials include infant daughter Rodgers, Renie Rodgers, and Leann Goodbar in 1895; Gracie Sates, W. G. Williams, and Mary Henson in 1896; Charlie Wheeler in 1897; Evie Farley in 1898; and Malisie Glidewell, Obed Morgan, Daphne Queen, Orvid Queen, C. A. Chick, and Alice Gage in 1899.

Two Civil War veterans are buried at Indian Creek. One is J. N. Baxter who served as a Private in the 22nd Arkansas Infantry, and the other is W. H. Queen who served in Company E of Birds Louisiana Calvary.

There are many veterans of both World Wars, Vietnam, and Korea also buried at Indian Creek, along with members of many of Palo Pinto County's pioneer and current families such as Angress, Ballinger, Choate, Cox, Eubanks, Kimbrough, Like, Mills, Owens, Stephens, and Warren to name a few.

If you like to browse cemeteries, this is one of the most interesting. It is well maintained by the Cemetery Association, whom one must contact for burial permission and information.

The transcription information is housed with the Cemetery Association as well as at the Bois Ditto Public Library, with copies going to the Mineral Wells Heritage Association and the Palo Pinto Historical Association.

If you are interested in contacting the Indian Creek Cemetery Association, call Alton Reedy at 940/325-2079.

Now on to our COT Questions and Answers:

"I would like to thank you for a well written essay on the Scotch-Irish...it is one of my favorite subjects. Have you read The Scotch-Irish by...Leyburn? Also, in T.R. Fehrenbach's Lone Star there is one whole chapter devoted to the Scotch-Irish." Charles E. Wilson, Houston TX.

"I have published a two volume book Swaffords of Sequatchie Valley, Tennessee about eight Swafford brothers born during the period 1762-1785 and moved from Greenville, SC into east TN about 1810. Their father was reportedly Peter James Swafford born about 1740 place unknown. I was born in 1920 and my father was born in 1878 in Hill County, TX, and he always told us that the Swafford/Swofford families were Scotch-Irish. I have been able to develop considerable information about the eight brothers and their descendants but very little about their father.

"In 1680 William Penn collected a debt owed to his father from King Charles II. Penn requested that he be paid in wilderness land in America instead of in money. The land he granted became Pennsylvania. Penn came to America in 1682 but he had opened the land to Quakers in 1680 and they moved in by the thousands. Two brothers, James and William Swaffer (Swafford) came from Newtin, Cheshire, England as early as 1684 and settled in Upper Providence. They each raised families and apparently moved to various states but I have not been able to connect these Pennsylvania Swaffords with any other Swafford family group.

"I have recently published another book "Swafford/Swofford Families of America" second edition, 1208 pages, name indexed. This book deals with 32 manuscripts about 32 different Swafford/Swofford family groups that I have not been able to connect together or to my TN book. During my 47 years of research I collected all of the Swafford/Swofford information that I found and pieced them together with the records and thousands of letters." submitted by Ray C. Swofford, 2275 Peterson Road, Greenback, TN 37742; Telephone: 865-856-3487.

Ken Clary out at the BackAcres RV Park in Garner says: "I read your article about Soda Springs in CrossRoads. My cousin Dorothy Wright lives just down the lane from the old house photo. Her husband, Marvin, is buried in the cemetery there along with his father and Grandfather who came from England. They own several hundred acres along the Brazos. It is a beautiful piece of property, and I went fishing with my Dad there several times. Dorothy's mother and my dad were brother and sister."

Michael Dillingham writes: "I am searching for any information on JAMES EMERY WILLIAMS, born June 6, 1875, at Granbury or Palo Pinto County Texas, married Minnie Pearl Hill on July 7, 1902, at Gatesville, Coryell County, Texas and died May 31, 1970 in Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas. He was buried in Spur, Texas. I thank you in advance for any help and information."

A query from Anna Gilbert of Mineral Wells asks if there is a connection between her g-g-g-grandfather John Abston, Revolutionary War Patriot of Virginia, buried in Collin County Texas and our local Lynch family. Mrs. Gilbert says Abston married Rachel Clement, daughter of Capt. Benjamin Clement, of VA. It appears that Capt. Clement and one Charles Lynch were successful in making gunpowder used by revolutionaries during the British blockade in Virginia. If you have information regarding a Lynch/Clement alignment or you would like to make a comment or query of your own, please write me at P. O. Box 61, Mineral Wells TX 76068-0061 or email me at sue_seibert@att.net. See you next time!

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