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Maxwell 47: Vestigial Tales of the Messy Towel Drawer


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fundiefan

The Duggars are definitely friends with the Maxwells and Steve takes pride in that - reviews from "Jim Bob Duggar" or "Michelle Duggar" are pretty common in their writings, but everyone else who test reads or reviews is names as "David M" or "Mrs. M". The only full/last names ever given are the Duggars. Gotta' go for that clout. And, the Duggars did use chore packs, and I'm sure other Maxwell wares. 

Abby saying the story has no value in today's post - well, I expected nothing else. She is taught to say exactly that. She is not taught to read a story and review it critically or discuss its's theme or tone, she is taught to decide if it has "value" or not; it it's "edifying" or not - and "value" & "edifying" are defined by her grandfather/father/mother. 

She's a good little robot, doing & saying exactly as she is programmed to do. 

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Happy Easter FJ!

OMG, Sarah bought her own car! Her OWN car! I feel like this is a huge step. I also feel like I have no idea where she would even go. Like, apart from that one trip to check out another town

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freejugar
13 hours ago, CyborgKin said:

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

This crew!

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freejugar

I'm amazed she was allowed to read anything other than the bible

I can't think of any classic short story that would be Maxwell approved. Maybe a fairytale?

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Black Aliss
1 hour ago, Alisamer said:

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.

I was trying to think of children's stories that don't have an obvious moral theme and it's hard. Most of them do and it's not subtle. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie tells us that actions have unintended consequences. The Poky Little Puppy reminds us that if we are bad we will eventually get caught. The Cat in the Hat? Oh, wait that's quite the morality allegory complete with the fish as Christ Figure. I give up.

Oh, maybe it was The Story of Ferdinand. It's about a bull who doesn't want to do the work he was sent to earth to do, he just wants to sit quietly and smell the flowers.

Is it too much to hope that Melanie reads the report and has a talk with Abby about what the story did have to teach her.

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Caroline

Why would Abby's 'teachers' give her such a pointless short story to read in the first place?  Especially if reading such stories that only entertain is a waste of good cleaning time....

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Bluebirdbluebell
5 hours ago, Black Aliss said:

I was trying to think of children's stories that don't have an obvious moral theme and it's hard. Most of them do and it's not subtle. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie tells us that actions have unintended consequences. The Poky Little Puppy reminds us that if we are bad we will eventually get caught. The Cat in the Hat? Oh, wait that's quite the morality allegory complete with the fish as Christ Figure. I give up.

Oh, maybe it was The Story of Ferdinand. It's about a bull who doesn't want to do the work he was sent to earth to do, he just wants to sit quietly and smell the flowers.

Is it too much to hope that Melanie reads the report and has a talk with Abby about what the story did have to teach her.

And maybe she really didn't learn anything, because it's just an entertaining story? I'm not sure I learned something from every piece of literature I've ever read. I got relatively good grades, and I enjoyed many of the books I've read. I think enjoyment can be enough. 

I also know people like Mama Blue prefer to read nonfiction most of the time. She likes to learn about history or science while she reads. In a different family, Abbie's desire to learn something every time she reads could be seen as a desire to become a historian or scientist of some type (i. e. biologist, physicist, etc.)

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ElizaB

Although I am a bit pleased that Abby was not only allowed but assigned to read something "entertaining" that didn't have value. The Maxwell adults mostly read nonfiction in school. 

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CyborgKin

Steve saying basically "I read and photographed and shared my granddaughter's homework because it was left sitting on a counter with one page face up" doesn't feel great to me.

And he's delighted and amazed that her indoctrination is working :( 

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MamaJunebug

I’m gonna be sick. 
 

Abby’s learning to call up, down. 
 

If it interested her, it opened her consciousness to something she hadn’t known before, or hadn’t seen in a certain way. 
 

if she hadn’t known something before, she DID learn something. Same for seeing it in a different t way. 
 

Yet she’s believing that she learned nothing. Oh poor, sweet, 12yo child. Words mean things. If something held your interest even for a second, it meant it made an impression on you, so as small as it may have seemed, you did learn something. 
 

Poor kid. Abd blast it, I had hoped for better than this from Nate & Mel. 

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Austrian Atheist

I give Abby a pass. When I was her age I usually knew what teachers wanted to hear for a good grade. I also often didn't share my real inner thoughts in school essays or presentations because I thought they weren't anybody's business. (And I didn't grow up in a fundi environment where you could really get in trouble for independent thoughts.) Abby knew that at least Melanie and Terri would read her essay. She wouldn't dare to write anything "controversial" - whatever she might really think.

Personally I find it sad that the Maxwells are not able to find anything useful in any kind of entertainment. English is a foreign language for me and my English teachers in school weren't that good. I have acquired a lot of reading or listing skills by consuming entertaining stuff. I read trashy literature (romance novels, mysteries...), I watch NHL hockey games and read hockey blogs - yes that stuff is purely entertaining without a valuable "message" - but I still learn vocabulary, phrases, metaphors, slang... 

If a plot takes place in a country, an epoch or a milieu I had known nothing about before I still learn something. For (embarrassing) example: I read Nora Roberts "Chasing Fire". While the book itself was just a shoddy romance I still learned about firejumpers. I hadn't even known that firejumpers exist before. (We don't have huge wildland fires in my home country.) 

Another example: An acquaintance of mine is an engineer. He likes baseball (baseball isn't a common sport around here) because he finds the mechanics of trajectory interesting. A good teacher would actually use such entertaining things for teachable moments.

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anachronistic

12/13 is 7th grade in the US. The only book I definitely remember reading then in school was ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and it taught me that this Ernest Hemingway guy was a very, very, very dull author, and boats are horrible. And some other book about a man and his wife and a baby, and a coyote, I think - I remember acting a scene from that one out with a doll in a basket and pencils for knitting needles but I can’t remember the name of it. The couple were Hispanic/Mexican...damnit this will drive me nuts....anyway. All books teach you something, even if it’s just that ‘wow I hated that! I’m going to avoid books like that!’ (See also: Bridge to Terebithia.)
 

I also read ‘Gone with the Wind’ for fun that year (also because I loved the praise I got from adults for reading such a big, serious book) and I’m ashamed to admit that the racism went completely over my head. In my (very well regarded, well ranked, New England) school system we were explicitly taught that slavery was *not* the reason for the civil war, states rights were, and I liked the drama and costumes. Ugh! What an uneducated little prick I was! I was also heavily into Mary Higgins Clark then. It was so realistic that I quickly concluded that murderers, people in witness protection, etc, were everywhere around me, I just couldn’t tell.  (This was also influenced by my relatives who worked the grisly side of government crimes and told many stories at holidays.)

 

Luckily, who you are at 12 often has very little to do with who you are as an adult. I remain hopeful for this generation of Maxwells and that they will be able to escape the compound and find their own opinions of.....anything. I’ll take anything that’s an original thought and count it as a success. 

 

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Botkinetti

@Austrian Atheist there is nothing embarrassing or trashy about your reading choices. As adults we are allowed to choose books for any reasons at all. My reading depends on my mood. I read , especially in the summer , books that I call “fluffy”. No great meaning to them but they make me laugh and spend an enjoyable few hours in someone else’s head. 
That the Maxwells feel they have to learn something from everything they read is sad and depressing.

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LilMissMetaphor

I read Clan of the Cave Bear when I was like...9? 10? I learned lots from that book so that means it should have value, right Steve?

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Alisamer
13 hours ago, Caroline said:

Why would Abby's 'teachers' give her such a pointless short story to read in the first place?  Especially if reading such stories that only entertain is a waste of good cleaning time....

To prove that anything "worldly" and not biblical is worthless?

2 hours ago, Austrian Atheist said:

If a plot takes place in a country, an epoch or a milieu I had known nothing about before I still learn something. For (embarrassing) example: I read Nora Roberts "Chasing Fire". While the book itself was just a shoddy romance I still learned about firejumpers. I hadn't even known that firejumpers exist before. (We don't have huge wildland fires in my home country.) 

My sister once aced a college Chinese History class because she'd voraciously read a historical romance novel series set in China. Most authors do at least some research to add authenticity to their books, even when the book itself is "fluff" or "just fiction". Think of the Harry Potter series - all the star and constellation names in the Black family line, the bits of Latin thrown in as parts of spell and potion names... all those are little fun things than not only add meaning (and clues to future discoveries) in the books, but are highly likely to come up at some point later in life even if that just means recognizing the possibly meaning of a foreign word due to it's Latin root reminding you of a spell.

I really think all reading teaches something. It might just be "wow this 'author' is pretty terrible" but even in that case you're learning how NOT to write something!

1 hour ago, anachronistic said:

12/13 is 7th grade in the US. The only book I definitely remember reading then in school was ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and it taught me that this Ernest Hemingway guy was a very, very, very dull author, and boats are horrible. 

I don't remember what books were assigned in 7th grade, but I think we did a Shakespeare play that year. I know for sure that by that point I had read The Hobbit, IT, Coal Miner's Daughter, Gulliver's Travels, every Nancy Drew book I could find, Ballet Shoes, a TON of Sweet Valley High (and Twins) books, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids, most Judy Blume books, lots of Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl, an entire set of Foxfire books that happened to be in the house, and basically whatever else I could get my hands on. My aunt would bring me BAGS of magazines after she was done with them and I'd read every bit of all of them. 

When we'd go to the mall I'd disappear into the bookstore. My mom took us to the library every single week during the summer throughout our childhood and we'd each check out a stack of books. One of the highlights of elementary school was the Scholastic book fair. 

I find it sad that the Maxwells are teaching their family that there is little to no value in fiction. Especially since Sarah's assigned job is to produce fiction.

---------

Although, while I think this is highly unlikely, it did remind me a little of a time I asked my cousin what cool stuff she'd learned at summer camp, and she disdainfully said "we didn't LEARN, it's not SCHOOL!" 

Maybe, like my cousin, Abby has a pretty strict limited view of what learning is? Like "fiction" isn't allowed to be "learning" because it's fun. 

My cousin associated school, and therefore learning, with drudgery and pressure and dislike. Which is pretty sad, because to me learning new stuff is really fun.

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Aithuia
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, anachronistic said:

And some other book about a man and his wife and a baby, and a coyote, I think - I remember acting a scene from that one out with a doll in a basket and pencils for knitting needles but I can’t remember the name of it. The couple were Hispanic/Mexican...damnit this will drive me nuts....anyway. All books teach you something, even if it’s just that ‘wow I hated that! I’m going to avoid books like that!’ 

 

The Pearl, by John Steinbeck? That was on my 8th grade reading curriculum along with The Red Pony. My English teacher apparently warned the parents at Back-to-School Night that it was going to be a rough year, since all of the required reading books were dark/upsetting to some extent. Not that children/teens should only read books about sunshine and rainbows, but yikes. Every book we read that year included some kind of tragic death.

I had the "Hated it! Know not what to read now!" reaction to quite a few of those, especially since my class would be horrified at what had just happened and lack entirely the emotional maturity to discuss whatever awful thing had just occurred in the plot. 

Putting the rest below a spoiler--CW: mention of death of a child. (Did I do that right? I've never used a spoiler before)

Spoiler

Okay, class of 13-year-olds, let's discuss the violent death of an infant that happens at the end of the book. What do we think it symbolizes?

*absolute silence and horror*

Nothing? Okay, time for lunch!

 

Edited by Aithuia
Fixed spoiler. Sigh.
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MamaJunebug
5 hours ago, Austrian Atheist said:

mysteries...), I watch NHL hockey games and read hockey blogs - yes that stuff is purely entertaining without a valuable "message" - but I still learn vocabulary, phrases, metaphors, slang... 

Please know, my disappointment is not with Abby! Heavens, no. It’s with the lies she’s being fed. 

 

5 hours ago, Austrian Atheist said:

Abby knew that at least Melanie and Terri would read her essay. She wouldn't dare to write anything "controversial" - whatever she might really think.

This gives me life.  Thank you. Also, I’m still holding out hope that what Mel teaches in school is not what she actually models. ‘

 

4 hours ago, Botkinetti said:

That the Maxwells feel they have to learn something from everything they read is sad and depressing.

To their dismay, they are learning something with every image they perceive, even if it’s just that the grocery store has a special on plums this week. 
 

 

2 hours ago, Alisamer said:

To prove that anything "worldly" and not biblical is worthless?

That’s the crux of it, I imagine. If it’s not specifically published in the work advancing Christ (Steve!) and His Kingdom (control obsession!) it isn’t worth the time. 
 

The first notion I had about how extremism had infiltrated the Lutheran church was very early in Internet days, when an earnest seeker asked a pastor for his opinion on reading Harry Potter books.  

The pastor shrugged that while he saw no danger in the HP series, he wished “that the Bible was all anybody ever read, all day, every day.  He wasn’t exaggerating.  He and Steve  would’ve butted heads at infant baptism v. decision baptism, but gads, otherwise they would’ve gotten along just fine. 
 

I’m grateful for my religious upbringing and I  still live & believe most of it. But cannot see how anybody could live like that, literally “sola Scriptura!”

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Nothing if not critical
5 minutes ago, MamaJunebug said:

But cannot see how anybody could live like that, literally “sola Scriptura!”

One of my best friends joined a very strict religious order right after school. It is all pretty horrible - she isn't allowed to leave the walls of the convent like ever (even the dentist makes visits), no visitors except close family, and so on. Before she left, she gave all her books away, because she wasn't allowed to keep them. Which means she hasn't read anything but the Bible (and maybe some approved devotional writings) in the past thirty years. It boggles my mind.

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Lgirlrocks

I read the hiding place in the seventh grade and the outsiders in the eighth grade. The outsiders is one of my favorite books. It was something that fostered my love for reading more series books. I have read that book probably 40 times since then. Wish Abby was allowed to read different types of books, same for the other Maxwell kids. 

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Bluebirdbluebell
3 hours ago, Aithuia said:

The Pearl, by John Steinbeck? That was on my 8th grade reading curriculum along with The Red Pony. My English teacher apparently warned the parents at Back-to-School Night that it was going to be a rough year, since all of the required reading books were dark/upsetting to some extent. Not that children/teens should only read books about sunshine and rainbows, but yikes. Every book we read that year included some kind of tragic death.

I had the "Hated it! Know not what to read now!" reaction to quite a few of those, especially since my class would be horrified at what had just happened and lack entirely the emotional maturity to discuss whatever awful thing had just occurred in the plot. 

Putting the rest below a spoiler--CW: mention of death of a child. (Did I do that right? I've never used a spoiler before)

  Reveal hidden contents

Okay, class of 13-year-olds, let's discuss the violent death of an infant that happens at the end of the book. What do we think it symbolizes?

*absolute silence and horror*

Nothing? Okay, time for lunch!

 

I'm glad someone mentioned Steinbeck. I learned nothing from Of Mice and Men. 

@Austrian Atheist There is nothing wrong with reading a romance novel. Also a lot of Americans could learn about fire jumpers from Chasing Fire, which I've heard is well-researched.

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allyisyourpally5

Ironically, the Maxwells have called themselves life long learners several times, yet they never actually expose themselves to anything where they might actually learn something new.

Abby would have had different grade boundaries to us. 
I remember doing multiple reading assignments at school, and I’m sure most of us on here did. It builds over time of course ~ I write about why I liked a story and had to give reasons. My favourite part. Then as t8me went by we would have to analyse characters. Find hidden meaning, metaphors and morals. Write alternative endings. We learnt how to write a short summary. We would have to write reviews and consider the book from several different angles and explain the book for various types of audience. Plus much more. The more reasoning and explanation and understanding of the comprehension, despite your opinion of the story, the higher your grade. It didn’t matter if You hated the book and tore it apart as long as you could thoughtfully explain and write why.

Abby’s question for the book on the other hand was likely phrased something like “Is this book of educational value to children who love the Lord Jesus and wish to serve him in every activity they do? Does the time taken to read this book mean that time in productive family based Christian activity has been reduced? Was the book purely an entertainment form or did you learn anything brand new from the text.”

Eye roll. Poor girls. Such a dull life. 

 

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Jana814
1 hour ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

I'm glad someone mentioned Steinbeck. I learned nothing from Of Mice and Men. 

I hated that book!!  My teacher was a fan of John Steinbeck had us read it no one in my class liked it.  

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Caroline

Those Maxwells and their followers are dumber than I ever imagined.  One commenter remarks that even some Phd candidates aren't as wise as 12 year old sheltered Abby.  I can't imagine that the cult of dumb bells like this won't die out sooner than they plan.   Another commenter asks what the short story was and Terri responds that they don't want to start a controversy by saying what the kid read.  They are cowards as well as stupid.  

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FloraDoraDolly

I was feeling rather optimistic when I saw that earlier post where Nathan's kids were at the library. Now, not so much, although I agree that Abby might have written what she knew her grandparents wanted her to say. Or maybe she was just being lazy and didn't feel like writing a full-length essay.

IIRC, their family uses the Abeka curriculum. The story is probably in their 7th grade English textbook.

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Bluebirdbluebell
21 minutes ago, FloraDoraDolly said:

I was feeling rather optimistic when I saw that earlier post where Nathan's kids were at the library. Now, not so much, although I agree that Abby might have written what she knew her grandparents wanted her to say. Or maybe she was just being lazy and didn't feel like writing a full-length essay.

IIRC, their family uses the Abeka curriculum. The story is probably in their 7th grade English textbook.

The essay was longer than it looked. Here's what Teri said about:

Quote

We chose not to name the story so that what Abby actually read wasn’t the basis of a blog debate. The report was much longer. The last page happened to have the summary on it. If you look at the photo, you can see another page. That page was filled front and back, handwritten, double spaced like the last page. This second page had the front filled as well. The summary is on the back. If the summary takes up about 1/4 of a page, then the summary was about 1/13th of the report.

The summary wasn't double-spaced, but I'm glad the summary wasn't the whole report. 

 

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Hane
10 hours ago, anachronistic said:

12/13 is 7th grade in the US. The only book I definitely remember reading then in school was ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and it taught me that this Ernest Hemingway guy was a very, very, very dull author, and boats are horrible. 

Long ago, my daughter and I agreed that we hate all books about “a bunch of men on a goddamn boat.”

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