Truly Blessed

ALS patient James Martin shares his journey.

James Martin: A screeching argument against Common Core

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James Martin
October 6, 2014

For quite some time I have debated about writing on this topic. I have decided that I can stand silent no more. Our schools are under attack. There is a pervasive threat attacking both our students and families. It is being pushed by the elites of both the left and right. It's not common. There is no core purpose. It is frustrating our students and driving parents absolutely crazy. It can only be stopped by speaking out.

The issue, of course, is having fifth-grade girls learn to play the violin. If angels playing harps is the music in heaven then fifth-grade girls playing violins is the soundtrack of purgatory. That is the only way that I may make sense of the sound emanating from an upstairs bedroom.

The sounds are very hard to describe. There is screeching and scratching, yawing and whurring. It is not the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, nor is it the sound of cats fighting in the moonlight. A dental drill does not do it justice either. The closest description may be a combination of all three; a feline dentist drilling on fighting cats while falling down a chalkboard clinging to it with all their might and all their claws. That is close.

The best way to get rid of the sound of cats fighting is to throw a bucket of cold water on them. But you cannot do that to a fifth-grade girl learning to play the violin; it tends to dampen her enthusiasm. It also dampens the expensive violin that we are renting. Instead I thank Job (and Jobs) for my headphones.

But this process seems to be a great metaphor for parenting. Lots of suffering; lots of patience, fears and tears, practice and perseverance, and most importantly the joy of seeing your child try things that have nothing to do with you.

So as I listen to those cavity filled cats fighting on the chalkboard I am reminded that I am truly blessed.

James Martin is a former attorney and graduate of Gonzaga University and Marquette Law School. He lives in Spring Prairie near Burlington. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He is married with 6 kids. James is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the Gazette staff or management.

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