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Maxwell 47: Vestigial Tales of the Messy Towel Drawer


Coconut Flan

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49 minutes ago, kpmom said:

Sad to say Abby seems to have gulped down the Kool-aid.

She wrote a paragraph about a "classic short story" (Steve's words) and reported, while it was entertaining, it taught her nothing and she was no wiser from having read it.

Yeah, reading for entertainment has no value in Maxworld. ☹️   No reading just for the shear joy of it.  I'd have gone crazy living there.

Wonder what the short story was?

I wondered what the story was as well. Abby does come off as sanctimonious as the rest of her family, poor girl. Although I’m sure she knows what sort of responses would be praised in Maxhell. 

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53 minutes ago, kpmom said:

Sad to say Abby seems to have gulped down the Kool-aid.

She wrote a paragraph about a "classic short story" (Steve's words) and reported, while it was entertaining, it taught her nothing and she was no wiser from having read it.

Yeah, reading for entertainment has no value in Maxworld. ☹️   No reading just for the shear joy of it.  I'd have gone crazy living there.

Wonder what the short story was?

Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve read today?  

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1 hour ago, kpmom said:

Sad to say Abby seems to have gulped down the Kool-aid.

She wrote a paragraph about a "classic short story" (Steve's words) and reported, while it was entertaining, it taught her nothing and she was no wiser from having read it.

Yeah, reading for entertainment has no value in Maxworld. ☹️   No reading just for the shear joy of it.  I'd have gone crazy living there.

Wonder what the short story was?

Likely because she did not understand what she was reading. Kids in brick and mortar schools read classics all the time, especially as they get older. Abbie probably has had limited 1:1 teaching or educational development for many years. Too many kids, not enough time.

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Posted (edited)

I have to say I haven't enjoyed reading everything I've read. I liked school, reading, books, etc. and I still hated some books I've read. I also remember liking a lot of books that my classmates didn't. Taste is one thing.

What is depressing in the problem that she feels she needs to learn something from everything she reads and that reading for fun/pleasure has some value.

Not all reading should have to educate you. Actually what I hated about a lot of the books recommended for summer reading was the books were meant to teach you about issue, like an afterschool special. Maybe Abbie would enjoy  Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett about a young woman struggling with her weight. Or how another book she could learn something from Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Edited by Bluebirdbluebell
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I was pretty sanctimonious about some things as a teen. I’m now quite embarrassed when I think about it. I hope Abby is only writing these types of things to score brownie points and doesn’t fully believe them. Or she comes to the realization that just enjoying a book without learning is worthwhile. 

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Posted (edited)

The Maxwell's can't see the forest for the trees. They only read "useful" things and their writing reflects this. At best their writing is dry and dull and at worst it sounds like a badly translated instructional manual. If they read  for fun- then they would see how a good writer writes and they might learn how to craft their phrases better. By eliminating reading for fun they have severely limited their ability to write well and now they are passing that limitation down to their grandchildren. SMH

Edited by browngrl
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Reading widely and frequently serves so many purposes whether a twelve year old realizes it or not.  Reading develops one's vocabulary and might even open your mind.  Steve and company are fools and don't even have the sense to understand that  they don't know everything (or anything in this case).  I too was a little bit of a know-it-all as a teenager, but Abby is a twelve year old, and a sheltered one at that.  More and more reasons to condemn that ridiculously repressive lifestyle.  

I've just started watching the fourth season of The Handmaid's Tale.  I'm sure the Maxwells wouldn't find anything the genius Margaret Atwood wrote 'valuable'.  

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7 hours ago, HoneyBunny said:

Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve read today?  

Absolutely, and I've read some pretty sad things today. Abbie will be 13 in a couple of weeks. At that age reading was my kids' greatest pleasure. Yes, most of their reading was for entertainment but they were still introduced to new words and new ways of seeing the world. It's sad that no adult took the time to help Abby see what she did get out of reading that story.

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I went to two high school basketball games tonight and still kept thinking about how upsetting Abby’s words were. How about this, Steve?  Encourage Abby to read books about other faiths, other cultures, the damage religion has done throughout history or successful women. I guarantee she’d learn a lot, and her life would be enriched by them. Oh, you don’t like that either?  Then despite what you say, you really don’t want Abby to grow in wisdom. You want Abby to think and act just as Teri and your daughters do. 

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No wonder Poor Sarah only has a limited selection of words and phrases to compose her blog posts and books.

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7 hours ago, HoneyBunny said:

Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve read today?  

Yes. And not just that she doesn’t know better at 12, but that she has teachers who are PROUD of her writing that. 
 

I think the issue is that the Maxwells have a very narrow view of what constitutes “learning”. In their view, “learning” means that a story has some kind of moral lesson that hits you over the head, it’s very black and white, good and bad, and the plot and writing are just devices to bring across that lecture as simply as possible. Whereas great literature does the opposite. A good plot often evolves around a conflict, the grey areas, where there is no clear “right” and “wrong”, where there are different perspectives on the same issue, and it uses language as a means of poetic expression (rather than just words strung together as a tool to convey a basic meaning). And it often leaves the reader wondering, thinking, contemplating.

In public school, teachers work hard to help their students learn to appreciate great literature for what it is. They put it in context with culture and society at the time and place when/where it was written, they encourage students to form their own thoughts and opinions about the (moral) conflicts depicted in a story, and (hopefully) spark a joy in language and literature in their students.

That’s the opposite of fundamentalist teachings, and it shows in Abbie’s summary. We don’t know which “classic short story” she wrote about, but just from that paragraph it becomes woefully obvious that it went right over her head (through no fault of her own of course, she hasn’t been taught any different).

Fundies will sometimes claim that their education is equal (or even superior) to secular schooling, and that of course their children read the “classics” of literature too, when in reality, they entirely miss the mark in understanding literature. In a transcript, this essay by Abbie will show up as “English literature: worked and wrote an essay on classic short story X; grade: A”, which is nowhere near reality.

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Yes - if she didn't learn anything, it likely went over her head. 

I find it bizarre the maxwells and others spend so long reading the bible and yet show so little curiosity about it - why is this word used in that very spot, why is this metaphor chosen, how can that story be a metaphor for several different things, etc. 

It's clearly not just the bible but every single thing they read. No digging deeper, no thinking about the meaning (s), nothing. 

No shade on Abby, she's just a child being let down on the education front. But Steve being proud of her not being able to decipher anything but the literal meaning of a text! And boasting about it...! 

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I know a lot of people that don’t like to read for pleasure. I think they just haven’t found things they enjoy reading. I love to read for pleasure and never go anywhere without a book. There are some books I didn’t like reading. That’s okay. There are some that I have read over and over again. Most stories have something you can learn from them. Maybe she didn’t understand the story and that’s why she didn’t learn anything from it. 

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I also agree that it was a very sad post. Nothing is allowed to be purely entertaining/done for the fun of it, you must learn something (concrete) from it. What a depressing life the Maxwells lead.

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16 hours ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

I have to say I haven't enjoyed reading everything I've read. I liked school, reading, books, etc. and I still hated some books I've read. I also remember liking a lot of books that my classmates didn't. Taste is one thing.

What is depressing in the problem that she feels she needs to learn something from everything she reads and that reading for fun/pleasure has some value.

I agree. When I was her age, my parents couldn't get me to STOP reading. Anything. Everything. Whatever I could find. And yeah, sometimes I'd start something and not enjoy it and put it down *cough Pride and Prejudice cough*. But to be so proud of the fact that she read a classic short story and learned NOTHING from it... not even a new word? A new turn of phrase? Realizing where a commonly used metaphor might have come from? Nothing?!?

13 hours ago, Caroline said:

Reading develops one's vocabulary and might even open your mind.  Steve and company are fools and don't even have the sense to understand that  they don't know everything (or anything in this case).

Yes yes yes. I am so thankful I read so much as a child, because I am often able to figure out unfamiliar words by context and similarity to other words, and even sometimes puzzle out what someone is trying to explain in an email that seems unclear. It's also helped me a ton with spelling and grammar, which helps me a lot in my job as a graphic designer. I have some clients who specifically request I proofread their stuff while working with it.

 

30 minutes ago, Lgirlrocks said:

I know a lot of people that don’t like to read for pleasure. I think they just haven’t found things they enjoy reading. I love to read for pleasure and never go anywhere without a book. There are some books I didn’t like reading. That’s okay. There are some that I have read over and over again. Most stories have something you can learn from them. Maybe she didn’t understand the story and that’s why she didn’t learn anything from it. 

I agree - although some of the people I know don't like to read because they struggle at it. I don't know if it's an early exposure thing, or a brain mechanics thing (and for some people it's certainly a disability like dyslexia) or some combination of whatever, but for some people I know reading is a string of one word after another. You've probably heard people who experience reading this way - when they read out loud it's like they are reciting a list of words, not phrases or sentences with meaning. They read the words, and then have to work out the meaning of what they just read. 

I was talking with one of these people about reading several months ago, and their mind was blown when I explained that to me, the words are THERE, but it's more like a movie is playing in my head. If I think back to a novel I've read even years ago, I don't think of words on a page or the cover of the book, I usually see a scene from the book - the person, their surroundings, etc. Like a scene from a movie. It's immersive. 

Maybe that's one of the reasons they're tetchy about reading for enjoyment. Too much like "the beast", maybe? Plus the fact that getting totally lost in a story is a sure way to mess up the almighty schedule.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Alisamer said:

I agree. When I was her age, my parents couldn't get me to STOP reading. Anything. Everything. Whatever I could find. And yeah, sometimes I'd start something and not enjoy it and put it down *cough Pride and Prejudice cough*. But to be so proud of the fact that she read a classic short story and learned NOTHING from it... not even a new word? A new turn of phrase? Realizing where a commonly used metaphor might have come from? Nothing?!?

Yes yes yes. I am so thankful I read so much as a child, because I am often able to figure out unfamiliar words by context and similarity to other words, and even sometimes puzzle out what someone is trying to explain in an email that seems unclear. It's also helped me a ton with spelling and grammar, which helps me a lot in my job as a graphic designer. I have some clients who specifically request I proofread their stuff while working with it.

 

I agree - although some of the people I know don't like to read because they struggle at it. I don't know if it's an early exposure thing, or a brain mechanics thing (and for some people it's certainly a disability like dyslexia) or some combination of whatever, but for some people I know reading is a string of one word after another. You've probably heard people who experience reading this way - when they read out loud it's like they are reciting a list of words, not phrases or sentences with meaning. They read the words, and then have to work out the meaning of what they just read. 

I was talking with one of these people about reading several months ago, and their mind was blown when I explained that to me, the words are THERE, but it's more like a movie is playing in my head. If I think back to a novel I've read even years ago, I don't think of words on a page or the cover of the book, I usually see a scene from the book - the person, their surroundings, etc. Like a scene from a movie. It's immersive. 

Maybe that's one of the reasons they're tetchy about reading for enjoyment. Too much like "the beast", maybe? Plus the fact that getting totally lost in a story is a sure way to mess up the almighty schedule.

This is totally my husband. The mechanics of reading are hard for him and he never reads for pleasure. He does listen to audio books. OTOH, he is extremely analytical, handy, can can identify a problem by merely looking at it, and fix it too, and is a mathematical genius. I’m always saying, “are you going to read the directions”? He’s never read directions in his life. He’d have it put together before I’d be finished reading the directions. Different strokes!

Edited by SassyPants
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53 minutes ago, SassyPants said:

This is totally my husband. The mechanics of reading are hard for him and he never reads for pleasure. He does listen to audio books. OTOH, he is extremely analytical, handy, can can identify a problem by merely looking at it, and fix it too, and is a mathematical genius. I’m always saying, “are you going to read the directions”? He’s never read directions in his life. He’d have it put together before I’d be finished reading the directions. Different strokes!

Our husbands must be twins. I’ve never see mine read a book. I’m the one carefully reading all the directions while he looks at a project, analyzes it and puts it together and we finish about the same time. I couldn’t do that. 
 

The downside that he doesn’t  understand my need to at times just decompress and spend an afternoon reading. He never turns off his analytical brain; there’s never an afternoon off. 

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18 hours ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

What is depressing in the problem that she feels she needs to learn something from everything she reads and that reading for fun/pleasure has some value.

She's a Maxwell. Fun is only  had at Bible time or on work projects. So sad.

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On 4/27/2021 at 9:45 AM, Hane said:

One of my personal rules in life is “There us no point in owning a car that isn’t red.” 

My similar rule is "never live in a town where the population exceeds the elevation."

 

On 4/27/2021 at 2:11 PM, IReallyAmHopewell said:

Living where I do, and I suspect where they do, a car is a necessity--not a nice option. There is absolutely no public transportation where I live. My kids worked and got cars at 16 to have a life, not a fun ride. It would be nice if rural areas had even minimal public transportation but it is simply not part of the culture let alone practical. Everyone can't move to a city like NY or Portland. We have jobs in rural areas, family etc.

Agreed.  And it's not just that some of us can't live in a city but that we don't want to (see above).

Public transportation in my area means twice-weekly shuttles from the county seat (itself 25 miles away over a mountain pass) to the urban areas 150-200 miles away.

 

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I can't be the only one who wishes we knew what short story that was so we could find all sorts of edifying content in it.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Markie said:

I wondered what the story was as well. Abby does come off as sanctimonious as the rest of her family, poor girl. Although I’m sure she knows what sort of responses would be praised in Maxhell. 

About the second sentence ⬆️-, I think that's the key. These young girls are raised to please and she knew this response would get an A+ from her grandmother. Deep down maybe she liked the story, we don't know.

As a religious teen I was very critical of revealing clothing because I knew that would earn me respect and praise, even though I secretly fantasized about wearing a crop top 😜 . I also reminds me of times we would pretend to be deep in prayer or do an act of service "when no one was watching" when in fact we knew very well our parents were watching. It would earn us brownie points! I think all kids do this kind of virtue signaling to an extent. 

The very sad part is we have confirmation that a second generation of Maxwells is being brainwashed into this no-nonsense-allowed mindset. All work and no play makes the Maxwells a very dull crew.

Edited by usedbicycle
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7 minutes ago, usedbicycle said:

About the second sentence ⬆️-, I think that's the key. These young girls are raised to please and she knew this response would get an A+ from her grandmother. Deep down maybe she liked the story, we don't know.

 

You might very well be right.  In fact, she did say the story was entertaining, so I'm not so sure she didn't like it, just that she didn't learn anything from it.

Maybe she like it very much, but was looking for an "attagirl" from her grandparents.  If so, mission accomplished.

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1 hour ago, IReallyAmHopewell said:

She's a Maxwell. Fun is only  had at Bible time or on work projects. So sad.

The Bible is filled with lots of entertaining stories. Some of them are juicy, and dare I say it, f*n. There are lots of fictional books written that are based off of biblical principles for example lord of the rings and chronicles of Narnia. Both entertaining and full of lessons. 

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1 hour ago, Black Aliss said:

I can't be the only one who wishes we knew what short story that was so we could find all sorts of edifying content in it.

It was a classic! So classic that they can't even tell us the name. We've probably never heard of it, uneducated worldly masses that we are.

Or else it was way below where her grade level should be, and they don't want to make that known.

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Posted (edited)

Free Abby!  That was one of the saddest posts I read.  I loved to read when I was a kid.  I really didn't get back into reading books until the pandemic.  Now this may sound weird but I started re-reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books I read as a kid.  The ones I am currently reading are set in World War II. And I'm actually learning something like the different between a Hellcat plane and a bombardier.  Shame Abby, her sibs, and cousins will never get to read them.

Edited by SPHASH
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