Alex Barton’s Lesson

All parents are teachers but many of us are mere amateurs.

I have long been an admirer of the teaching profession, their vocation and dedication, all of them. We entrust our children into their care, in loco parentis, secure in the knowledge that they will do their part in guiding them along the treacherous path to adulthood.

I was therefore a little alarmed to read that a young Kindergartener, “Alex Barton,” had been voted out of his class, a bit like one of those popular reality shows on the telly. This wasn't a case like “Lord of the Flies,” where the children had run amuck without adult supervision, but rather, his ousting was instigated by his teacher.

It made “me” wonder. It made lots of “people” wonder. It made his mum take “action.”

I wondered why a teacher might do such a thing? Five years old, seems a little young to be teaching Darwin's theory of “survival of the fittest,” but I'm obviously not up to date on the State curriculum.

How else might this have come about? Maybe this was merely a role playing exercise, helping the children learn “kinesthetically,” where we learn by doing. An early introduction to the power of the vote, elections and democracy?

Then there's public speaking or the debating aspect. There are any number of valuable lessons to be learned, to say nothing of voicing opinions and sharing.

Perhaps this was a carefully orchestrated plan, to teach inclusion by demonstrating exclusion, lesson one, with a follow up next week?

It could be that this was a litmus test to check the class' moral fibre, a bench mark and launch pad for a new campaign of social awareness.

Alternatively the teacher decided that her students were in need of a demonstration of the “bystander effect.” The bystander effect is when an incident occurs that requires action from the onlookers but few are able step up to the plate. Alex found that two of his classmates were able to act, but who would choose to test five year olds?

I expect it was something to do with the harsh lessons of reality, that life can be a “popularity contest.” When is the right time, developmentally and chronologically to learn that lesson?

I wonder what her plan was? I'm just curious. It seems a curious lesson plan to amateurs. I wonder if the rest of her profession concurs? I somehow doubt it. I suspect she is in the minority, singled out with a unique perspective. I wonder if she is a good sharer? I'd love to know her perspective? I'm sure we'd all like to understand.

My own behaviour as a parent would not hold up well under public scrutiny.

I'm sure there are some saintly types around who never lose their cool. Sadly, I'm not one of them. All to often, every day in fact, I'm pushed to the point of “exasperation.” I lack the patience and temperament for “teaching,” and more importantly, a vocation. My retaliation is usually in the form of sarcasm. Luckily no-one around here understands sarcasm. Unluckily my tone makes the underlying message unmistakable = Mum is mad. I make many mistakes and more than a few hideous blunders. I've learned to forgive myself the errors and vow to do a better job tomorrow, every day, but that's the nature of human frailty.

Fortunately, no-one's going to call me to account for my misdeeds.

I get away Scott free.

It's only all the “children” that will pay.

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Alex Barton

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

When I was a young person I was small, round and freckly. Any one of these attributes alone, would have been unremarkable, but together they combined to put me in a particular class of people, undesirable people, or maybe it was the spectacles? My fairly ordinary appearance shaped how I experienced life, a crash course in social skills before the term had even been coined.

I was fortunate. My father was in the Navy which meant that we never had to endure any one school for very long, as there was always another posting hanging in the wings to bring relief. The crunch came with boarding school where my education was stabilized from 11 until I was 18. Like many marginalized children, not in the 'in crowd,' I made it to adulthood relatively unscathed. That was all back in the bad old days when people were more narrow minded, ancient history. These days people are more enlightened, open minded and accepting of differences great and small. We enjoy an ‘inclusive’ mentality and marginalize the judgmental tendencies.

Other people are far less fortunate than me. Their experiences defy comprehension.

Today I learned of a young man who was ostracized publicly, his name is “Alex Barton.” This little chap is definitely small but he is neither round nor freckled. He looks perfect. He is perfect. He is the perfect fit for his loving family. Sadly, he is not a perfect fit for some of his peers, primarily his teacher who orchestrated his ousting and planted stigma in the young minds of many. I learn that other “autistic people” have had similar experiences. Many others are flabbergasted at such behaviour.

Strangely, or rather coincidentally, a pal sent me this quote yesterday:-

“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Mathew 25:33-40.

Another chum sent me this e-mail. She is no longer small and round, and I grew up to be much bigger than I ever imagined.

Tequila and Salt

This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where one could read it every day.

You may not realize it, but it’s 100% true.

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.
5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. You are special and unique.
8. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.


If you are a loving friend, send this to everyone, including the one that sent it to you.
If you get it back, then they really do love you. If life hands you Lemons, skip the lemonade,
ask for Tequila and Salt and call me over!

Best wishes from me and mine to all the Bartons.

“Left Brain Right Brain”


“Action for Autism.”
Many thanks to “Bev” for pointing us all in the right direction and to “Niks Mom” as we all gather together.
Alex might benefit from going to “Adam’s” school, where inclusion is a positive goal that many more of our children should enjoy.

“Drive mom Crazy” also gives as an adults perspective.
“Abfh” posts on this today too, as well as providing a very handy telephone number “here” in case you’re not the writing type.

Here are some more jolly good links that we may be able to pass around the blogosphere as an updated list from “Last Crazy Horn,” and numbered for ease of use [what would we do without efficient chums?]:-

  1. Whitterer on autism
  2. Leftbrainrightbrain
  3. Action for autism
  4. Asperger Square 8
  5. Maternal Instincts…Flying By the Seat of My Pants
  6. The Joy of autism
  7. Drive mom crazy
  8. Whose Planet Is It Anyways?
  9. Odd One Out
  10. Cogitamus
  11. Odd Time Signatures
  12. Stop. Think. Autism
  13. Along the spectrum
  14. Andrea’s Buzzing About
  15. Foggyrock
  16. The Diaper Heads
  17. Memoirs of a chaotic mommy
  18. Life with Joey
  19. The Rettdevil Rants
  20. ASAN
  21. Livs Journey
  22. Big white hat
  23. Ballastexistenz
  24. Aspie-editorial
  25. Being ammey
  26. The Anthill
  27. Thinking in Metaphors
  28. Lone Wolfs Den
  29. Jonathan Turley
  30. Lyndon
  31. Retired Waif
  32. Lorem Ipsum
  33. Digital Journal
  34. Disability Studies, Temple U.
  35. Mommy life
  36. Panic’s Deep Thoughts
  37. Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest Of The Time I Know You?
  38. Charming Bitch
  39. The Adventures of Leelo and his Potty-mouthed Mom
  40. DC Metro Moms
  41. Enter the Jabberwock
  42. Incertus
  43. Eric Berlin
  44. Awalkabout
  45. The Gimp Parade
  46. Man, or Maniac?
  47. Autism Vox
  48. Apple Tree
  49. Club166
  50. A Room of Mama’s Own
  51. The Strangest Alchemy
  52. Suspect Device: The Blog
  53. Huzzah!
  54. Beartwinsmom
  55. Pipecleaner Dreams
  56. The Squiggly Line of Thought
  57. Highboldtage
  58. Dvorak Uncensored
  59. Social Skills and Asperger’s Syndrome
  60. The Quaker Agitator
  61. Bohemian Booklover
  62. The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi
  63. How This Old Brit Sees It
  64. Stirring the Pot
  65. Disaboom
  66. Midlife and Treachery
  67. Celebritique
  68. Sanabitur anima mea
  69. To Be Great Is To Be Misunderstood
  70. I Can Only Imagine
  71. Up On Eagle’s Wings
  72. A Life Less Ordinary?
  73. Kaleidoglide
  74. Cripchick
  75. Daily Kos (full of a lot of information)
  76. Marla Baltes
  77. Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
  79. Fatherhood Examiner
  80. EditorMom
  81. It’s Atypical Neurolognorosis I Tell Ya
  82. Wheelie Catholic
  83. Free Falling
  84. The Lawdog
  85. Sheila Schoonmaker

Or you could pop along to my jolly good pal “Last Crazy Horn” as see her sterling work in situ at “Odd One Out.”

P.s. We’ve been battling asthma over here with the boys, so I’ve not been as vigilant as I should have been. If we’ve missed you out drop me an e-mail / leave a comment / post a link.
“Here” is a link explaining why some people choose to “homeschool” from “Mrs.C.”

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