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D’une Génération à l’Autre

Today's blog post is an update on several things going on in my life lately. In my blog post on March 4, 2015, I told about the upcoming retirement of my two colleagues with whom I have been teaching French for 31 years and whom I have known for almost 45 years. In that post I also mentioned that, as sad as I was to see Bruce and Jackie retire, I was looking forward to having my former student Jeremy Patterson as my French-teaching colleague. As of Monday of this week, Jeremy is now Dr. Patterson! He successfully defended his dissertation at Middlebury College, a school renowned for its language programs. I could not be more proud of Jeremy.

About 10 years ago the president of the university where I teach encouraged us faculty who were in our 50's and early 60's to look at our students to see who we thought might be a good person to replace us upon retirement. As I considered my students at that time in regards to this, I immediately thought of Jeremy. I talked to him one day after class and told him that I knew I wasn't going to be able to teach forever and that I would like him to pray about continuing his French studies so that he could replace me someday when I retire. He told me he had never thought about anything like that, but he would indeed pray about it. Not long after that, he came to tell me that he was going to pursue the path I had suggested, as the Lord opened doors for him.

But instead of his replacing me upon my retirement, I get to enjoy having this fine man as my colleague for a few years. How cool is that?!

There's a poster I put up in my classroom each fall as a reminder about what teaching is all about — passing on what we know to the next generation. The saying at the bottom of the poster is what I have chosen as the title of this post — D'une Génération à l'Autre = From One Generation to Another. Here's a picture of that poster.
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Always More Signs

It seems as if there is no end of great signs out there. Today I'm posting the latest ones that have come my way. Some are funny, others not so much. Enjoy!

I'll start out with several that are rather ironic.

Entrance Only - Do Not Enter

Most dogs I know would not find the dog run in the next picture long enough.
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Birth Order

One of our children posted a picture on Facebook recently that got me thinking about the subject of today's blog post. Here's the picture:

Birth Order

Which of our children posted that picture? No fair telling if you saw it on Facebook!

When we were a young couple we read a lot of books about marriage and parenting. Neither of us grew up in the kind of home that we wanted our children to experience, so we did a lot of "borrowing brains" from people who enjoyed the kind of home we wanted to have. One of our favorite books about child rearing is called Know Your Child, by Joe Temple. We had always heard that you should try to treat all your children the same. In his book, Joe Temple maintains that parents cannot and should not deal with all their children in exactly the same way. Each child is unique, and what works with one child will often have the opposite effect with another child in the same family.

We began to see the wisdom in what he was saying when our second child Nora came along. It took no time at all for us to learn that she was very different in tastes and temperament from her older sister Megan. What had soothed Megan as a newborn noticeably irritated Nora. And the differences continued to manifest themselves as Nora grew. So when Mark came along, we weren't at all surprised that he was different from his sisters in his tastes and preferences.

Joe Temple's premise is that it is the parents' responsibility to get to know each of their children well so that they can guide each child's development. In encouraging children's good behavior and in correcting children's misbehavior it's vital to know what will be the most attention grabbing for that child so that the reward or discipline will have its greatest impact. What would have been torture to one of our children would have been almost a reward to one of the others, and vice versa — not at all what you want the child to experience. Another area is when to allow children certain freedoms. Some are ready at a younger age than siblings might be. We highly recommend this book to young parents.

Another book we read concerning differences in children was The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, by Dr. Kevin Leman. While we could see the veracity of some tendencies in ourselves and our children, we weren't sure that it was entirely accurate in its portrayal of firstborns, middle children, last borns, and only children. Many factors in a child's life come into play in addition to and besides their place in birth order — individual temperaments, family size, genders of the children, family make up (blended, adoption/s, etc.), physicality (body size, health, etc.), giftedness or special needs, age gaps between children, and undoubtedly many more. Any of those factors could render inaccurate some or all generalities made about birth order.

In preparation for this post I read quite a few sites related to birth order, some of which totally rejected the whole notion of generalities. I thought it would be fun to post my findings from these sites (many of which are corroborated in Dr. Leman's book) and to see what my readers have to say about all this as they look at themselves and their siblings, and at their children and grandchildren.

Here's a compilation of what I found about the characteristics of children, according to their birth order.
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A malaprop could be described as saying the wrong thing at just the right time. Malapropism is the act of using an incorrect word in place of one that is similar in pronunciation. The word malaprop (or malapropism) comes via Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the Richard Brinsley Sheridan comedy "The Rivals" (1775). Mrs. Malaprop habitually misused words. Ultimately the word came from the French mal à propos, meaning "inappropriate." Malapropism is also referred to as Dogberryism, named after Officer Dogberry in Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing" (1599). Mrs. Malaprop and Officer Dogberry made the same kind of speech error. Here's an example from each character.

Mrs. Malaprop said, "Illiterate him quite from your memory." (obliterate)

Officer Dogberry said, "Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons" (apprehended)

Children very often make this kind of error because of their limited frame of reference. Children have been overheard talking about songs they sang at "vocation Bible school" (vacation), songs such as "Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear" (cross I'll bear) and "Lead on, O Kinky Turtle." (O King Eternal)

Here are some malaprops, along with the appropriate word/s.

He's a wolf in cheap clothing. (sheep's)

It was a case of love at Versailles. (first sight)

He's got one of those sight-seeing dogs. (seeing-eye)

In Algiers, they spend most of their time at the cash bar. (casbah)

A fool and his money are some party. (soon parted) As you will see in the comments to this post, I accidentally did my own malaprop by originally saying that the correct wording was "soon partying." :-)

For all intensive purposes he skipped the meeting. (for all intents and purposes)

All's fear in love and war. (fair)

To each his zone. (own)

Agreed, no more negotiating — it's a dumb deal. (done)

It's a long road to hold. (row to hoe)
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The Good Old Days of Yesteryear

A week ago a long-time reader and friend sent me an e-mail that had some great pictures I knew I would want to share with you. We talk about "the good old days" with great fondness, and yet as good as some of those old days were, it's nice to have them in the past. Today's post will elicit some smiles, groans, and surprise as you see how things were in "the good old days." I cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of what I'm posting. It's all based on that e-mail I received.

I'm not a fan of some of men's hairstyles today — super short on the sides and back and super long on top. Why can't guys today have great haircuts as they did in my childhood in the 1950's?!

Popular Haircuts 1950s

In the early 1960's Jackie Kennedy was someone many women wanted to emulate. Here are some women with the "Jackie look" in 1961.
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