When Success Leads to Failure

Jessica Lahey’s new book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, looks superb. It’s a theme I tried to hit hard in my preparing teens for college book. An excerpt of Lahey’s book recently appeared in the pages of The Atlantic. Here’s an excerpt of the excerpt:

The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault. Marianna’s parents, her teachers, society at large—we are all implicated in this crime against learning. From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards. We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to come home proudly bearing As, championship trophies, and college acceptances, and we inadvertently taught her that we don’t really care how she obtains them. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfect record. Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.

Check out the rest, or pick up the book.

Human Capital – Episode 2: Inside the Planned Parenthood Supply Site

The 6th Planned Parenthood video has been posted. This one features a former StemExpress employee testifying that high-pressure tactics are used to encourage women to consent to donate their fetuses for research and that fetus parts are sometimes taken even without consent.

The Press Release from The Center for Medical Progress:

Continue Reading…

Debunking the “Pro-Life” Planned Parenthood Defense

Have you heard the “pro-life” argument for Planned Parenthood? It’s being promoted everywhere by center-left journalists from Dana Milbank, to Ruth Marcus, to Damon Linker, to Will Saletan. Writing for the New York Times, Ross Douthat sums up this view:

“..even though Planned Parenthood performs hundreds of thousands of abortions each year (while lobbying constantly against any restriction on the practice), to oppose channeling public dollars to its family planning operations is to be objectively pro-abortion, because these operations prevent many more abortions still.”

Douthat then debunks this argument in multiple ways and from multiple angles. If you’re talking to friends or co-workers who are disturbed by the Planned Parenthood videos, but who think Planned Parenthood still serves “the greater good,” you’ll definitely want to read this piece.

Onward by Russell Moore

I enjoyed reading an advanced copy of Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. The book begins with a few chapters summarizing the increasing secularization in the United States (and even in the Bible belt itself), as evangelicals have shifted “from moral majority to prophetic minority.” Moore then explains how the already, not-yet nature of the kingdom of God means that our priority, as individual Christians and as churches, should be the reconciliation of sinners to God not the subjugation of those who (sometimes vehemently) disagree with us. The next chapter does a great job explaining how the culture war, in a sense, is nothing new: Going all the way back to the days of Jesus, true Christianity has always been strange and freakish relative to the wider culture. Moore writes:

The church is not to be walled up from the broader culture but to speak to it (2 Pet. 2:12), but that can only happen if, as sojourners and exiles, we have something distinctive to say (2 Pet. 2:11). We are called to “proclaim the Continue Reading…

College is Not a Commodity



Fantastic article in the Washington Post by Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities and a former president of Cornell University and the University of Iowa. When we talk about the value of college, it’s easy to compare schools based on metrics (graduation rates, student earnings, default rates, etc.) and forget that it’s the effort from individual students that makes the difference. Excerpt:

Unlike a car, college requires the “buyer” to do most of the work to obtain its value. The value of a degree depends more on the student’s input than on the college’s curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students get great educations at average colleges, and unmotivated students get poor educations at excellent colleges. And I have taught classes which my students made great through their efforts, and classes which my students made average or worse through their lack of effort. Though I would like to think I made a real contribution to student learning, my role was not the sole or even determining factor in the value of those courses to my students.

Read the whole thing–the ending is particularly good.

Student Turns Down Every Ivy League School for U of Alabama

Ronald NelsonRonnie Nelson (left) turned down all eight Ivy League universities to attend the University of Alabama this fall. Nelson also declined offers from Stanford, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Vanderbilt, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Why? Alabama offered him a full-ride scholarship and accepted him into their Honors Program. The Ivy’s don’t offer merit scholarships, nor do several other prestigious universities, such as Stanford.

What about need-based aid? The Ivy’s offer to meet “100 percent of a student’s demonstrated financial need,” but they take a comprehensive look at a student’s family’s assets, including parents’ home equity, number of dependents, and number of dependents in college.

Continue Reading…

Nominals to Nones: 3 Key Takeaways From Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey

Ed Stetzer offers an insightful break down of the latest Pew Religious Landscape Report (summarized here). The short version is this: Nominal Christianity is on the decline (with the majority of those raised in Mainline denominations defecting to an “unaffiliated” status), but within the larger category of “Christian,” there is a shift towards evangelical faith.

Here are a few nuggets:

What’s the Point of a Professor?

Mark Bauerlein is a professor at Emory University and the author of an outstanding book entitled The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30 (see commentary here). In a recent NYT article, Bauerlein laments wants happened to the role of the professor when students are more instead in a credential than an education (and more anxious about grading than eager for learning):

When college is more about career than ideas, when paycheck matters more than wisdom, the role of professors changes. We may be 50-year-olds at the front of the room with decades of reading, writing, travel, archives, or labs under our belts, with 80 courses taught, but students don’t lie in bed mulling over what we said. They have no urge to become disciples.

Sadly, professors pressed for research time don’t want them, either. As a result, most undergraduates never know that stage of development when a learned mind enthralled them and they progressed toward a fuller identity through admiration of and struggle with a role model.

Read the whole thing. Dr. Bauerlein was kind enough to endorse my latest book, Preparing Your Teens for College.

Correcting Six Mistakes from the Same-Sex Marriage Oral Arguments Last Week

Did you miss the two and a half hours of oral arguments on same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court last week? James Phillips, visiting assistant professor of law at Brigham Young University, does a great job correcting six mistakes that were made (in some cases by the Supreme Court Justices themselves).

Error Number One: Massachusetts Marriage Rates Have Stayed the Same

Error Number Two: Because Some Men Leave Their Wives and Children, Marriage Does Not Help Keep Fathers Around

Error Number Three: The Purpose of States’ Recognizing and Regulating Marriage is to Bestow Dignity on Couples

Error Number Four: The Only Harm to Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Making Marriage More Adult-Centered

Error Number Five: There Is a Parallel between Brown/Loving andLawrence/Obergefell

Error Number Six: Age Restrictions on Marriage Are Equivalent to the Definitional Element of One Man and One Woman

Phillips piece is clear, compelling, and highly accessible (no legal mumbo-jumbo). Give it a read.

How Old is the Universe?

R.C. Sproul:


To hear answers from the other speakers (and a great mix of views), see the 42:09-75:40 portion of this video.

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