Are You an Honest Person? I Mean Really Honest?

This article, I Think You’re Fat, is potentially life changing. I like to think of myself as an honest open person, but in reality I am a strategic liar. We all are. You’d admit it too, if you were honest.

In the 1800s authorities believed fictional novels were destroying the youth, by the 1950s and 60s it was Rock and Roll and television, and in the 1980s it was Heavy Metal and Dungeon and Dragons. Today the scapegoat for society’s problems are video games. On the same day Business Week published Video Games Aren’t a Waste of Time, we hear Barack Obama blame video games for underachievement. I have written multiple times about video games on this blog. In my last entry I decided to take the Playstation away from my 4-year-old because he was having emotional breakdowns over the game. A month or so later I returned it to him, with a few rules, but no fixed time limits. He plans to be a game developer and designer someday and I am not going to crush his dream. He owns his life, not me. But as a father I must expose him to much more than just video games, he is five now and taking Blended Kenpo, learning Spanish, Chinese, Persian, and Hindi, and learning to write short stories in English. Mr. Obama, video games are not the problem, public schools and low expectations are. Video games are making children’s lives better, it’s our schools that are destroying them.

Copybrighter wrote a fun post comparing today’s social media craze with what was going on in the 90s.

My ancestors immigrated to the US from Norway. I guess it was really poor 100 years ago, but when I read about Norway today, I wonder what it would be like to be a Norwegian now. Even the cops in Norway seem cool.

Simon Townley a freelance copywriter from the UK, wrote a post telling us about the software tools he uses to write. Many of them I had never heard of before. It is a long but highly valuable post. If you love to write either as a profession or hobby, his post is a must read.

I watch almost zero television, but I stumbled on some vintage shows from the 70s and 80s available online. The commercials are a bit annoying. If they must have commercials, it’d be better if they ran vintage commercials instead, like “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.”

I recently read Davis Allen’s book GTD. If you want to know more about this powerful productivity enhancing system. Al wrote a nice primer about David Allen’s GTD system at 7P Productions. This knowledge applied will pay you back a million x.

15 thoughts on “Are You an Honest Person? I Mean Really Honest?”

  1. Actually, he was blaming poor parenting in the form of babysitting kids with television and video games.

    When I first read the article I was trying to find where he said that as I’ve often heard him say, “We’re going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that’s going to take some time.”

    I don’t have kids myself, but I can tell from watching my friends and family that the kids with parents who are actively involved in their lives (with or without video games), are much more astute than the ones who aren’t.

    Even so, in the end, it will depend on the individual. It’s always good to give the best possible start.


  2. Nneka,

    I like Obama in many ways. But IMHO the mention of video games isn’t innocent. It is demagoguery. I don’t like it from conservatives and I don’t like it from liberals. It is typical political fear mongering and it disappoints me.

    Like you said, the problem is active involvement. I wish he’d leave it at that. And I agree with him that it will take some time to cure. The first thing we need to accept is that we can do better and Xbox 360 isn’t to blame. Xbox 360 is an effect not a cause. The cause is far deeper.

  3. Hi Steve – your kid is learning Spanish, Chinese, Persian, and Hindi? Is that right? I’m blown away if that’s true! I’m proud of the fact that I know a little Pig Latin (ustjay iddingkay).

    Thanks for the link to my article on GTD as well – I lit up when I found out you recommended it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Al,

    Yes that is accurate. These kids today are going to be so far ahead of us. I only know english, and not that well.

    He is learning them in Montessori School. I don’t think people realize how poor most schools are and it isn’t because of lack of funding.

    70% of the kids in his school perform at the post college level by 6th grade. And few of them test as “gifted and talented.” When I tell people this they think it some school for freaks. But nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the students go on to become CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and professional athletes.

    And you know what? They do it for about 30% less cost than a public school!

    In our local public school they give elementary students only 15 minutes for lunch -including standing in line – no recess – and PE once per week.

    My son’s school does it in a shorter day, with 40 minutes for lunch and 40 minutes for recess each day and PE twice a week.

    I don’t think people realize how poor even the best public schools are.

  5. Steve – the Montessori School sounds very impressive. It’s pretty awesome that you’ve invested in your child like that.

    How did you figure out that the Montessori school is 30% less than the public school? Is it by the overall cost spent per child? I’m thinking that for parents, public school is free while Montessori schools likely have a tuition to pay?

    I’m really impressed that your kid is being exposed to such a wide variety of languages. The mind of children are like a sponge, and they’ll soak up whatever interests them. Learning a new language is not just learning new vocabulary and new grammar, but it’s learning about new says of thinking beyond the Western style as well. I honestly believe a large part of creativity is attributed to the Medici effect.

    Your kid will do well, so hope you’re saving up for an MIT or a Stanford tuition ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Al,
    Yes, overall spending per child in our public school district. It is 50% if you measure state wide.

    As you might be able to tell…
    I feel very strong about education. It doesn’t need reform, it needs to be revolutionized.

    We need education that meets the needs of students and parents, not unions, corporations, or the government. As it stands right now students and parents (the education customers) are the 4th priority. They need to be the top priority.

  7. Video games are not destroying children’s lives. Parents who allow their children to play them excessively are destroying their children’s lives.

    And you are not crushing your child’s dream for the future if you limit the time he spends playing video games. It’s not like that career even remotely depends on him being able to play video games (at all, let alone for unlimited amounts of time) when he’s four-years-old. I just hope these games he’s spending so much time on are age-appropriate. In the end no matter what a child loves and wants to spend all their spare time on, you still have to be the parent.

  8. As for the honesty thing, I think there’s some value in it, but one part of pissed me off. When he told those two different women that he would date or sleep with them if he could – why should they have to deal with his confessions? There are times when it’s better for people to know our true feelings, even if they don’t like them. But in some cases people don’t want to know, and there’s nothing to be achieved by telling them. Now the nanny just gets to feels creeped out each day she works there, and wondering if he’s going to bring up the subject again, and it’s not like he even had any hope of being able to act on the desire. Keeping your mouth shut is not always lying – sometimes it’s just an acknowledgment that your own shit is your shit and other people don’t have to suffer for it.

  9. @Chosha,
    I agree with your take on the guy being creepy with women. I don’t buy the whole “total honesty” thing. I just thought the article had enough meat to really get you thinking about yourself.

    About the video games, I do limit his time indirectly, I suppose. We do lots of family stuff, we go places, he has his school, he has to take break to eat, and he has to go to several classes at night. I do think video games are good for their minds. I think these games can prepare them for the world they are growing into and will need to shape. Personally I think a lot of this anti-video games stuff is pure fear mongering. There is good evidence to suggest video games are good for kids and are actually making them smarter. So yes by taking them away, I could be hurting his chances later in life.

    Some people think the Flynn Effect is technology making us smarter.

  10. One more quote on Video Games:
    Wright proposes that video games teach ‘the essence of the scientific method,’ that ‘through trial and error, players build a model of the underlying game.’ To succeed, a player must establish a hypothesis about some aspect of the game, test it, and evaluate the results of the experiment. The organizer of a playground game explains the rules in advance, but a video game often hides its rules, revealing them only as the player figures out how to unlock the game’s secrets. And when that happens, a game player can experience an ecstatic Archimedes moment.

    Read More

  11. Thanks for the heads up on the links above. I’m on my way to check out writemindset right now. I’m not really knowledgeable or even remotely interested in various software programs and applications but this seems like a sign that I should start writing.

  12. In truth it is more the message than the medium. To say that “video games are not the problem, public schools and low expectations are. Video games are making childrenโ€™s lives better” is a dangerous statement. Though I agree that schools and society need to raise the bar when it comes to the potential of a child, I also feel that subjecting children to highly violent and sexual games is very damaging on a young mind. Everything needs balance. The right games at the right time are a great tool for enhancing a child’s growth, but things to require moderation.

  13. I’d like to think I’m an honest person but I suppose I would have to admit I am not completely honest, as in brutally honest. I was watching an old episode of Greys Anatomy last night and in it was a young man who had a neural problem that caused him to say exactly what he thought with complete honesty and of course to everybody else, he just seemed rude ๐Ÿ™‚

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