Weekly Reads: Why School’s Fail at Teaching About Slavery, Snow Days, and How to Help Parents with ADHD

Hey there Readers! I hope everybody had a fun and safe Super Bowl weekend. We had a great gathering with friends and enjoyed the Eagles upset of the Patriots.  When I was younger this was the time of year when I would spend 3 long cold months pretending to like College Basketball more than I really do. But it’s  Winter Olympics year and that means I lose my TV privileges to The Girl so she can watch the skiing and skating go down in PyeongChang, South Korea. And I get to watch curling.

Why do our schools fail to teach the harsh realities of slavery in the US?  A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center sheds some light on the shameful performance of our history teaching.

The report includes the “dismal” results of a new, multiple-choice survey of 1,000 high school seniors — results that suggest many young people know little about slavery’s origins and the government’s role in perpetuating it. Just a third of students correctly identified the law that officially ended slavery, the 13th Amendment, and fewer than half knew of the Middle Passage. Most alarming, though, were the results to this question:

Which was the reason the South seceded from the Union?

a. To preserve states’ rights

b. To preserve slavery

c. To protest taxes on imported goods

d. To avoid rapid industrialization

e. Not sure

Nearly half blamed taxes on imported goods. Perhaps, the report’s authors guessed, students were confusing the Civil War with the Revolutionary War.

How many students chose slavery as the reason the South seceded?

Eight percent.

Scary Mommy reports on the befuddling case of a Kentucky school that has installed pedal desks instead of perhaps giving kids more RECESS TIME!

Ania Onion Bula at The Orbit did a deep dive into the intersection of mental illness, sexual orientation, and crime when discussing pedophilia. It’s a thorough and enlightening read.

I love football, but I understand that it exists at a strange crossroads in American life, almost a secular religion, one that asks for deep sacrifices from the players who risk their health for our enjoyment (and theirs by the way, as an aside… Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was asked why he trudged out 2 uninspiring years for the Arizona Cardinals at the end of his career. He responded that he “loved playing football and just didn’t want to stop.” He has also surprised many by encouraging his son to play.)
But the intersection of football and Christianity is another matter entirely, especially in our public high schools. A Georgia legislator has sponsored a bill to make it legal for High School football coaches to lead their players in pre-game prayer. 

It comes in response to a situation late last year, when East Coweta High School’s football coach John Small was caught praying along with his team, an act which is illegal since it can be interpreted as religious coercion. District administrators eventually told the Freedom From Religion Foundation that they would put a stop to Small’s actions.

Now, State Sen. Michael Williams has sponsored SB 361, the “Coach Small Religious Protection Act,” so that coaches can pray with their students without punishment. It’s a bill that would be dead on arrival if it passes since it violates the Constitution.

SB 361 notes:

… when the context makes clear that the employee is not speaking on behalf of the school, school employees are entitled to robust protections for their religious expression.

Now I don’t think something like this has a chance in hell of passing even Georgia state constitutional muster, but the effort to push it through underscores why we need strong secular organizations to advocate for the non-believers and religious minorities who could face exclusion, discrimination or unwelcome proselytisation from an authority figure simply because they like to run fast and squish people.

It has never been easier for our kids to consume media, but at the same time it has never been easier for them to create their own media than ever before. Here’s some advice on how to encourage your little media mogul.  

I’m in the middle of one right now and can attest that Snow Days May Be Prudent, But This Work From Home Parent Isn’t a Fan. 

We haven’t checked in with our Grounded Parents alumni in awhile, those writers who have passed through our gates and gone off into the world of people who will pay them in like… money and stuff.

First here’s our Steph, with a great piece at Romper on how the history of Girl Scout Cookies proves how important empowering young women really is. 

Jenny Splitter, while also rocking the Washington DC underground theatre scene and schmoozing with Kavin as a Science Mom  spent 2017 popping up all over the place, from Slate;Pruitt’s Policies Undermine My Faith in Our Food, to The Cut; Processed Food Gets a Bad Rap  to the lofty pages of the Washington Post; I was Determined to have a VBAC, but in the End it Didn’t Matter.

Speaking of Kavin, she’s is still representing the Grounded Parents way at Forbes, collaborating with Cameron English with some Insider Tips for Conversations with People Who Reject Empirical Scientific Truths. 

Lastly, a piece that is personal for me, 5 Things You Can Do to Support Parents with ADHD. 

My friends knew the truth though. And when I told them about my diagnosis, they were not surprised. I heard a lot of, “Oh that makes perfect sense,” and “That explains a lot.” To them, the diagnosis fit me and the challenges they saw me struggling with over the years. My sister Tamara said, “Think of how many times you blamed yourself for things you just couldn’t help! It was the ADHD all along.”

That’s exactly how I felt in the months after my diagnosis. So much of the guilt and self-hatred, borne from years of inability to control certain behaviors, began to fade as I read the materials my doctor gave me and started seeing a psychologist who specialized in the condition. I still dealt with the depression, but the medication I take for ADHD works with an antidepressant to manage the symptoms.

I now lean on my friends for support too. They help by giving me reminders, and by taking my kids to events. However, the times I need a friend most are harder to articulate. Along with the ADHD comes mood swings, and together those things create moments when I am frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed out and in serious need of a break. My friends often want to help me get this break, or assist with  cleaning or organizing, but they don’t always know how to broach the topic politely and offer aid.

Last year Fiona the Hippo (who has an awesome Twitter feed) took the Queen City by storm. Can the Cincinnati Zoo’s newest addition do the same? Meet Winsol the baby Aardvark!!!!

Featured Image Credit: Superbowl MVP Nick Foles and his daughter Lily James (Associated Press)


Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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