Regarding Thomas Raleigh's Oct. 26 Opinion piece, "The strategic case for talking with Iran": I guess in a dream world, everything is possible – even taming wild Islamic fundamentalists, the mullahs in Tehran. Even better: President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should fly to Tehran in the hope of making the grand bargain!
Please wake up and face the realities. The mullahs in Tehran will never be tamed by negotiation. They view negotiations as a sign of weakness, and they would use the prospect of talks to buy time – probably in order to get the bomb. Sitting at the table with the "Great Satan" (the US) is unthinkable for Iranian clerics.
As the athletic director at a small K-8 school in the vicinity of Chicago, I couldn't help but agree with the sentiment of Dean P. Johnson's Nov. 3 Opinion piece, "Schools are banning tag. What's next: musical chairs?" I oversee our school's recess program, so I am on the playground every day watching the children. Mr. Johnson made some great points about how teachers need to pay better attention on the playground and about the need for students to learn that falling is a part of life.
But I would like to suggest one further step. Last year, there was an accident at school involving students playing football (a game considered vicious and dangerous by many a protective teacher or parent). It got me to think about solutions so the kids could still play. My conclusion: Join the game. By joining the football game, I can watch the kids' physical interactions as well as their subtle social exchanges. And what about my supervision duties? I assemble enough kids to play so that the other teachers on recess duty can look after the rest of the children. So far, I've had great success with this method, and I hope others will, too. Instead of banning tag and robbing children of valuable learning experiences, supervising adults should consider joining the game.
Reid G. Charlston
East Dundee, Ill.
Regarding Dean P. Johnson's Nov. 3 Opinion piece about schools banning tag: The greatest joy of tag is that the adults don't play it. I really feel for the kids today. I remember walking to after-school events with my friends. I remember getting together with them without our parents hovering over us. I remember just being able to take off in the neighborhood and hang out. None of this was adult-supervised or involved parents shuffling us from one place to another.
Street smarts once made Americans tough. The kids I see today aren't tough, and they aren't street smart. Many are overweight, protected, and never seem to be growing up. I'll bet the current generation of children will be too self-absorbed as adults to even bother much with their own children. So hopefully, the next generation of kids will actually have the chance to grow up the same way I did. Although, when I was a kid, drugs weren't so readily available – and that is what really scares me, not tag!
Regarding the Nov. 1 article, "A journal brings life into focus": Anne Frank inspired the author to write in a daily journal, and he, in turn, keeps her legacy alive. Thanks to both of them for presenting the power of the written word.
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