Friday, May 29, 2009

President Obama Setting an Example for Schoolchildren??

H. says, "Students have new ammunition in the fight to lean back in their chairs!"

To which D. replies, "Sorry, just because so-and-so (even if it the President Of The United States) does it, it doesn't make it right."

D.'s argument is not without merit, but I believe it is essential that children be allowed to emulate the President and lean back in their chairs. Falling on one's head, or getting the wind knocked out of them when the chair passes its tipping point, provides an early and practical lesson in physics, balance, consequences, and the rationale for listening to authority (which is why it is also essential to tell children NOT to do this, even while recognizing the value inherent in the behavior). Elementary school children (and possibly U.S. Presidents) are 67.4% less likely to sustain a serious physical injury as a result of "backfall." Children, because they are naturally resilient; U.S. Presidents because their Secret Service detail has been trained to dive across the room in under .45 nanoseconds so as to cushion the President's fall.

It should be noted that several important diplomatic protocols would be breached should anyone but Mrs. Obama attempt to point out to the President the likely consequences of leaning back and tipping his chair. Even Mrs. Obama would be permitted only the most subtle of raised eyebrows unless First Daughters Sasha and Malia were also present in the room, allowing the First Mother to use the First Father as an example to them of "what not to do even if you're the leader of the free world."

27 comments:

  1. I agree it's tacky and sets a bad example. However, how many mannerisms do we exhibit privately; how many photographers are present when we do have a lapse in social niceties; and how often is your own guard let down when you've become used to a crowd constantly following you? Obama isn't the first president to have a lapse, and can't be expected to be perfect all the time, 24/7. Neither can you. Of all the things to censure a man over, nit-picking what seems to me to be an old habit, has less effect on me than his politics.

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  2. I could just see the lawsuits if teachers allowed students to lean back in their chairs, after being told not to, and the kids fall backwards, hitting their heads or falling on another student.

    Scary.


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  3. LOL! When I was in fourth grade it was "in" for a short time to deliberately fall over backwards in your chair at school. Once my entire table (six girls) did it simultaneously, on cue. (What can I say? We were nine.)

    I wouldn't particularly want to do it now, but I can testify, as someone who did this at least four or five times as a kid, it's neither painful nor injurious. :)

    Angie

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  4. DT, what's your issue? I was a delegate for Obama. I'm also a mother. I said NOTHING about his abilities as our President. Have a sense of humor.

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  5. Oh, please. I did it all the time. In fact, William took about thirteen years to learn about chair-tipping and gravity the hard way, and I thought he was a late bloomer. LOL! Yeah, some nut probably would sue over it - but they'd probably argue the chairs should be nailed or glued to the floor to prevent it. Then some other nut would argue that that presented a tripping hazard when the chair wouldn't budge for them...

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  6. FINALLY someone my own age comments on this. LMAO!!! One of the pure joys of being a kid. I always tell my kids, "If you don't have a few scrapes and bruises, you aren't having a childhood."

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  7. If your child tipped his chair and busted his noggin, that's your responsibility and decision - guess you could have sued yourself, but .... However, teachers never had that leeway.

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  8. I'm sorry - I didn't mean to sound snippy, but I don't think you read my post closely enough, and you clearly don't know me.

    Hi, daringtexan. Let's start over. :) I think we agree on more than we disagree on. The fact is, I wrote this post tongue-in-cheek, as a mother, and truly believe that so long as no skulls are fractured in the process, we should ALL be free to tip our chairs backwards and land on our butts. Really. And to have a sense of humor about it - to get up, dust ourselves off, and move on. Now that you mention it, though, I wonder what Obama WOULD do if the chair passed its tipping point - right there in that meeting? Well - what COULD he do? Get up, dust himself off, enjoy a little laugh at his own expense, and move on, right?

    Thanks for stopping by. And remember, it's okay to laugh. Really.

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  9. I think the ER copay would be punishment enough - I don't have to sue myself. But seriously, I'm surprised they even MAKE Jungle Gyms anymore. Or that they don't come with little safety harnesses for climbing.

    I don't think my parents even knew when I tipped my chair over and hit my head on the classroom floor. I'd have been too embarrassed to tell them! Never considered "fear of lawsuit" might be why the teacher didn't tell ON me!

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  10. P.S. It could be injurious if little Tommy's sitting behind you with a pencil poised at the nape of your neck, just waiting for your chair to tip. Kids these days are so MEAN!

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  11. Well, true, but we all know little Tommy's a jerkwad and would deserve the ambushing he'd get on the way home from school after. [wry smile]

    Little kids are definitely mean, and always have been. Most adults get selective amnesia about how "sweet and innocent" children are. That's pure grade-A fertilizer. Thinking back to the meanest, most vindictive and gleefully nasty people I've ever known, the vast majority of them were under sixteen at the time, and quite a few were under twelve.

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  12. I lived through 27 years of watching escalating law suits against teachers and schools. I taught high school, yet I was the one held responsible for students bad decisions. Ish.

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  13. I know, and it's sad. I mean, sure, I've thought about packing my kids in Styrofoam to keep them safe, but that would be no way to live. So in recognition of that fact, I grew a big ol' maple tree out front so they'd have a climbing tree when they got older. So far, though, I'm the only one who's climbed it. (The photo you have of William in it was totally posed. We sat him on that branch while he held on for dear life.)

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  14. OK, I was being a bit snippy with my sarcasm, so we're both chair-tippers! who knew???? Please forgive me, I sounded a little too stern. Guess that means I shouldn't read the Chronicle before I respond to someone's blog!!!! ROFLAMO!

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  15. Well, it's all good - and you're right, probably the Chronicle and this blog don't mix. (That's better than watching Fox and coming here all loaded for bear, though! LOL!) Glad you came back, daringtexan.

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  16. Thanks for the laugh! My grandson is only two but already attempts this. I see a lot of bumps and bruises in his future!

    Jane Kennedy Sutton
    http://janekennedysutton.blogspot.com/

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  17. Maybe he'll grow up to be President, one day!

    When we first moved into our house, my son climbed atop an ice chest to look out the window. It promptly slid out from under him; he went down on the ceramic tile floor, but not before whacking his head against the pointed corner of the wooden windowsill and then again on the tile. I tried putting ice on it, and noted that despite a small spot of blood and a quickly growing goose-egg, nothing there required stitches. He would have no part of it - he wailed until I relented and let him go back to exploring.

    He's just fine, today, and if he suffered any brain damage, it scares me to think of how freaky brilliant he MIGHT've been. He's bright enough to keep me on my toes!

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  18. I think Mr. Obama might not have had the experience of falling when the chair tipped over. If he did he would never have done it again. I sure learned my lesson the first time.

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  19. Did you? Maybe you're just smarter than some of us. Angie and I obviously went for seconds and thirds...

    And the first person to say, "Well, that explains a lot" gets a long, nasty GLARE from me! ;)

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  20. Lucrecio EmeritoMay 30, 2009 at 3:52 AM

    I very much enjoyed the humor in your post and in your replies to the comments here. The long nasty glare is one of them.

    Ah, lawsuits and our litigious society. So sad. The law is supposed to protect us and is not supposed to be used as a weapon against each other. Whatever happened to interpreting the law based on the spirit which giveth life and not on the letter which killeth. A lot of people nowadays feel that there is always someone who has to be blamed for every misfortune and then use the law as a weapon. I guess it's time to take the MPRE more seriously?

    "Falling on one's head, or getting the wind knocked out of them when the chair passes its tipping point, provides an early and practical lesson in physics"...And a more memorable one too. :)

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  21. Ahh, Lucrecio - the MPRE! That brings back memories. I thought I'd get a near-perfect score on that, and was disappointed with my results. I asked my professor where I went wrong (I passed it, I just didn't get a STELLAR score, and I think I'm a pretty ethical person). She laughed. "You got 100% right on the judicial conduct section. It's under 'zealous representation of the client within the bounds of the law' that you struggle a bit. You just won't set one toe into the gray areas, will you?" Well...at least I could sleep that night, knowing it wasn't a LACK of ethics on my part.

    I don't think our legal system has ever been bsed on the "spirit which giveth life." Has it? I understood it to be a practical institution put in place to keep us all from taking the law into our own hands and beating the crap out of the hapless idiot who crossed paths with us on the wrong day. (I'm particularly thinking of the folks who burglarized our home when I was eight months pregnant with my daughter. Hyped as I was on hormones, I was ready to grab the policeman's gun and chase these fools - who wore size 14 shoes and probably outnumbered me - down the green belt behind our house at midnight. Ask Doc Z. You do not mess with a very pregnant woman whose thyroid has kicked into high gear. Can you say 'global thermonuclear meltdown'?) But you're right, it wouldn't hurt if more lawyers and judges took the MPRE more seriously. While we're talking about reforms, I'm all for stiffer penalties for bringing "frivolous suits."

    Ironically, though - that woman burned by McDonald's coffee that everyone points to as a laughable example of frivolous suits? Not so frivolous. See http://lawandhelp.com/q298-2.htm


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  22. Heather HappymakerMay 30, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    Yet another reason to send the man packing! *snicker*

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  23. Hmmm ... well, that explains a lot -- the glare, I mean. *laugh*

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  24. Lucrecio EmeritoMay 30, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    :D Yeah, the line bordering zealous representation and overzealous representation is a bit hazy sometimes. And there are instances when our own moral boundaries are crossed first before we even get near that gray fuzzy zone. As one lawyer puts it, "The things we do for our clients." :) It's no wonder why a lot of people find it difficult to comfortably walk so close to that boundary.

    Yes, you're right. It is a practical institution put in place to keep us all from taking the law into our own hands. But what I had in mind when I mentioned that rule on statutory construction vis-à-vis our litigious society is this: people sometimes forget the spirit and the intent or reason behind the legislation and instead go for the literal interpretation just so that they can use it as a weapon against somebody. Even if laws against child abuse are clearly intended only for child abusers and not for parents who are only trying to discipline their children within bounds, some responsible parents still get sued. Even if Tort only covers wrongful acts, schools still get sued for "not nailing chairs to the floor" when an accident happens. (or for nailing it to the floor when someone accidentally trips over it) Ideally, the attorney who took his legal ethics to heart should stop frivolous suits like these from even reaching the dockets. And like you said, frivolous suits and, specially, malicious prosecutions should be strongly discouraged.

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  25. Them's fightin' words, Ms. Slaphappy.

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  26. You're a riot!!! Just dripping with sarcasm, which I absolutely LOVE!!! I like your sense of humor!

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