How to Protect a Four Year Old from Earth Day?

I'm in a bit of a pickle. I have no idea how to address the idea of Earth Day with my four year old. I'd prefer to not have to mention it at all until she is older and can grasp some of the bigger concepts around it, but Earth Day is everywhere.

It's hyped on PBSKids, with some of her favorite shows like Curious George and SuperWhy. It's on billboards, radio, and signs at the grocery store. And I'm afraid that they will talk about it tomorrow at her morning preschool class. They have already talked about Reduce/Reuse/Recycle, so I'd be surprised if it doesn't come up.

If I thought it would help, I'd have her stay home tomorrow just to avoid it, but as I said, Earth Day is everywhere and we're going to have to address it somehow. I just have no idea how.

I'm trying to think of some way I can spin it positively, but I'm at a loss. Should I not address Earth Day directly and instead concentrate on promoting positive values and activities like productive work, science and ingenuity? This may not be too bad of an option, because my guess is that any indoctrination they might try in preschool will be limited to "keeping trash out of our parks" or something similar that a four year old can grasp, which isn't too insidious. If that's the case, my only concern is the positive association that will be implanted between Earth Day and being good.

Does anyone have any ideas about this? Things that worked for your young person or things you tried that didn't have the effect you intended?


Rational Jenn said...

What I try to do (but this issue hasn't come up too often for us) is point out what the benefits to humans are, if something that is being promoted is or could be a rational value. The park example: I would say, and this is true, that I much prefer clean parks to dirty ones, and that dirty ones aren't much fun for people to visit because they attract unwanted wildlife, bugs, etc. And they don't look as nice. Make sure she can tell that the focus should be on HUMAN values, not "The Earth" as such, if you can see what I'm getting at here.

With the recent "Earth Hour," we were pretty direct about what we thought some people were up to and why we wanted to pay tribute to the humans who invented our power supplies and light bulbs, etc. (My kid is older, so maybe yours isn't quite there yet--but she is pretty astute, if I do say so myself.) I think I even told him that of course it benefits us to turn off unused lights, because then we don't have to pay for them, and it just makes sense--no point in lighting up a room when no human is in it who might need that light!

And we told him that some people were wrong in thinking that power itself was a bad thing for the Earth. And then touched on how of course smart people do not want to destroy the Earth because that's where we live. He looked at me like I was an idiot, because really, such things are completely obvious to children.

I don't know how I would counteract another adult who is an authority figure (friend, teacher, etc.) telling my kid the opposite of what I think, other than to point out that I disagree and try to show some in examples reality to support my point. Now that I think about it, we've done that kind of thing with religion.

I am interested in how others have handled this stuff, too. For us, emphasizing that the focus should be on the benefit to humans seems to work. And if there is no benefit, then why would we do it?

C. August said...

Thanks, Jenn. This approach -- trying to emphasize the human benefits -- is a great approach. You've done an OK job with your squirts, I guess, so I value your opinion. ;-)

"Going negative" so to speak, would do nothing at this age. There would be no context for her to interpret my assertions, and she'd just think "oh, Daddy doesn't like this!" This wouldn't give her any useful information, and may even backfire in that she'd think she couldn't even ask about it.

I only bring that up because my personal thoughts about Earth Day are so strong that I have to consciously avoid making any comments sometimes, simply because I don't want to make things any more confusing.

This year however, I don't know that this whole thing will be an issue. She seems blissfully ignorant of all the crap around Earth Day, and it turns out she doesn't have school tomorrow... school break.

I know she's noticed the talk about Earth Day, because she saw a mention of it after Curious George the other morning, and repeated the words "Earth Day?" in a kind of "what the heck is that?" way. But she didn't ask a question and I didn't pursue it. I've asked her some leading questions, just trying to probe what she was thinking about, and it hasn't made an impact as far as I can tell.

Based on past experience, we may hear more about it in a couple of weeks, when she'll suddenly have a ton of questions. But at that point, if it comes, she'll have some solid ideas that we can work with. Right now, I can't see any reason to bring it up if it isn't bothering her.

I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill. But this environutjobbery is so awful that I'm more concerned about it than I am about religion. There's no way my kids are going to be infected with religious thought, but the environmentalists cloak their crap in scientific-sounding jargon, and sometimes appeal to reasonable ideas (we all like clean parks to play in!). It becomes the secular public shool version of Catholic school indoctrination.

I just have to remember that the sum total of living in a rational household with parents who value human life and reason is much more influential than the occasional examples of irrationality, and not worry so much.

softwareNerd said...

The few times I've chatted with my 9 year old about such things, I take an approach similar to what Jen described.

I might ask: "Why do people want to protect the earth?"

A little later, something like: "So does it make sense to protect something on the earth in a way that nobody can ever use it?"

C. August said...

Thanks, softwarenerd. I think the first question is one I could definitely pose to my little one. I'm curious what her answer would be.

It could lead to some good opportunities to promote life-affirming values. Though I think she'd probably just say "Dad, can I go ride my bike now?" :-)

Kelly said...

Hi there, heard about your post on Rational Jenn's blog.

I think I have a unique perspective as both my parents are Objectivists. I went to public school and was exposed to a lot of the environutjobbery as well as the ethnicitynutjobbery that was going around then. My parents always answered my questions about those kinds of topics in a very straightforward, rational manner. Armed with that "intellectual ammunition" (as my father called it), I rarely succumbed to the irrational ideas they were teaching in my school (and even when I did, it didn't take much to undo). Kids are incredibly rational and will very easily see the truth of the matter when you present it to them.

Good luck with your kids! My husband and I are planning for kids a few years down the line, so I'm really enjoying reading about how other Objectivists are doing with raising their kids!

Deb said...

I, too, loathe Earth Day.

I have 7- and 8-1/2-year-old daughters. When my girls were in Montessori preschool, they were surrounded by all of the blather, especially as the school was the kind where you could hear the granola crunch as you drove up the driveway.

The situation came to a head when my oldest was in first grade, and people teased her because she brought in Lunchables to school, because the packaging in it was "Hurting the Earth." When she finally complained to the administrators about the teasing, the administrator gave MY DAUGHTER an earful about why they discourage kids bringing packaging to school that "Hurts the Earth" because "We must all do our part to save the earth." Needless to say, my husband was in the school the next day to give THEM an earful, and we ended up pulling her mid-year (because of poor academics, not just their poor philosophy, although that didn't help) and starting homeschooling.

The worst part of the treehugger arrows being aimed at our little kids is that they, directly or indirectly, convey the message that these little kids are living in a world that has been made unsafe by the Big Bad Grownups that they are supposed to trust. Not only that, but it's somehow every kid's job to try to fix what their parents have destroyed.

This is a terrible message to send to little kids. Even if it were true, the time to break it to a kid is not in preschool or early elementary school.

My girls know that the world is divided up into people who are thinkers and those who are not, those who are creators and those who are destroyers (like those who throw trash on the trail), those who spout nonsense and those who must carefully pick their way through the nonsense. It's really a shame about the nonsense, we tell them, but we'll show you how to navigate around it.

My oldest loves to pick through philosophical issues like environmentalism and religion (are they really any different?) carefully, so we do it with her all the time. She loves to explore these issues, and she has radar for what pushes my buttons...she knows that wacko environmentalists do so, and sometimes she teases me about it.

We have explained it to her this way: We love the earth being beautiful, because we love hiking through it. We have a local nature trail that starts a block from our house, and WE are the people who often bring along a trash bag and gloves, because we want to leave a place better-looking than when we arrive. We have no right to trash someone else's place, and we avoid people who do so, and we do what we can to make our own environments beautiful.

When people make nonsense claims such as that one must turn off electricity, or avoid plastic, or "buy local" because it's saving the earth from destruction, we tell her that those people are wrong, that they're using bad science and bad logic. She likes to make such claims, just to watch me snort, and to start a conversation to sort through these issues yet AGAIN...because even though we home school, the treehuggers are, indeed, everywhere.

Again, though, it depends on the kid. My youngest knows our views, is comfortable with our certainty, and couldn't really care less about this..."Okay, I get it, no problem, can we get back to Nancy Drew now?" So how you tailor your response really does depend on the child. You can casually say that someone is wrong about something and leave it at that, or you can let your passion show and go into your reasons in depth, if that's what's called for.

My older daughter, though, has always tended to be very concerned that people she cares about are wrong. We have had to tailor our answers and attitude over the years so that she doesn't get anxious about it, e.g.: "Oh, yes, your Brownie leader is wrong about that, no biggie, you have to take the good with the bad and, in some circumstances, just ignore the things about which they're mistaken. That Mrs. M really does know how to organize a benefit for the overseas soldiers, doesn't she?"

It really is a constant balance...to teach kids to live joyfully and confidently and productively, while at the same time navigating them through the treacherous waters of others' poor reasoning. And each kid does it differently.

C. August said...

Thanks for the comment, Kelly! I know it wasn't your main point, but I'm really interested in your public school experience. I went to PS also, but my parents weren't Objectivists (though both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged were on my mom's bookshelf, I didn't read them until I was 19.)

I go back and forth as I worry about sending my kids to PS. On the one hand, I think that being raised in a rational household with plenty of intellectual ammunition will give them the tools they need to thrive. But at the same time, I wish I was able to provide an environment where I didn't need to arm them just to make it out unscathed.

If you don't mind my asking, roughly when did you graduate high school (half-decade is good enough) and what area of the country were you in? What was your opinion of PS, and would you have preferred some other schooling?

I had the benefit of seeing two very different PS systems, one in Colorado and one in Minnesota. One, CO, was great, challenging and didn't pander to mediocrity. The other, MN, was a wasteland of the lowest common denominator. If I knew my kids' school system would be like my CO experience, I'd have no hesitation. My wife and I moved to a town outside Boston that we think has good schools, but things can change. It's just a big black cloud of the unknown on the far horizon right now.

C. August said...

Deb, thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I read your blog fairly often, and am inspired by the stories of your girls.

I think you raised a really important point when you said:

"The worst part of the treehugger arrows being aimed at our little kids is that they, directly or indirectly, convey the message that these little kids are living in a world that has been made unsafe by the Big Bad Grownups that they are supposed to trust. Not only that, but it's somehow every kid's job to try to fix what their parents have destroyed."

That last sentence reminds me of my experience in elementary school, though I don't remember which grade... maybe 4th? There was an anti-smoking unit in science class, and to illustrate how awful cigarettes are we set up little experiments to "smoke" a cigarette with what was essentially a bellows, and it deposited the tar onto a piece of paper. Seeing how much tar came out from one cigarette, on top of all the other scary cancer data, freaked me out. I remember walking home, scared, holding the tar-stained paper. I sat my mom -- who smoked -- down at the kitchen table and relayed to her everything I had learned, showed her the tar-paper, and told her I wanted her to quit because I didn't want her to die.

It worked. She stopped. I think tears were shed, but I don't fully remember.

There are some obvious similarities and differences between my experience and what the treehuggers do in their indoctrination. With the anti-smoking thing, the experiment I saw was real, the science suggesting a link between smoking and cancer was good, and I was acting to preserve the life of the most important person in my life. The treehuggers present the same type of argument to kids and likely scare the crap out of them, but the science is not proven, the philosophy behind it is anti-life, and there is next to nothing the poor kid could do to fix things even if it was true. But still, there are probably 4th-graders walking home, shaking in fear, and confronting their moms about how their purchase of Lunchables is killing the planet.

Oh, and I liked your description of how differently kids handle the thorny issues. I think my oldest is much like your youngest, at least so far, at the tender age of four. Right now she is much more concerned about making a craft or riding her bike. And I'm perfectly happy with that.

Kelly said...

Hey, no problem! I've been lurking on all the blogs I've been reading and have made it a point to come out of hiding a little :)

Public school from an insider's perspective hmmmm...Well the first comment I would have would be about "socialization skills". Anti-homeschoolers often express the worry that homeschooled kids will not have any social skills. I would say that most, if not of all of what I learned about social skills from public school was negative. Children were commonly allowed to bully, steal (also know as "sharing" by my 2nd grade teacher!) and hurt other kids with little or no repercussions.

I think there are a lot of skills that I could have learned (especially in geography, math and history) that were very very poorly taught by my schools, and by the time my parents realized, I was honestly too far gone to care. I am still scared of calculus at age 27. That said, because of my parent's dedication, I ended up a pretty happy, productive person. It's really a toss-up though, like you said. My sister did not fare nearly as well in public schools. She was considerably more sensitive than I, and gifted. I don't think the public schools were able to give her what she needed. In fact, they often held her back. I was also sometimes held back in certain subjects I was good in (the humanities). It's a problem with the lowest common denominator environment the schools set up. there are, however, the occasional bright spots. Had I been homeschooled, I don't think I would have been involved in the band - something I loved and also an experience that made me who I am today.

Personally, I think the schools have gotten worse since I was a child. My mother was a Montessori teacher for a lot of my childhood. When I told her I couldn't see putting my children in the public school system, she agreed. It's just far too risky and potentially damaging. I think as more parents become homeschoolers, even more opportunities for homeschooled kids will arise, including music, arts and sports opportunities.

I'm not shy about when I graduated...I'm 27, so I graduated in 1998. I went to high school in NJ. It's hard to say if I would rather been home schooled. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Like I said, there were things I loved in public schools, but also a lot of negatives.

C. August said...

Thanks for the perspective, Kelly. I graduated HS in '90, and I don't know how much really changed in the 8 years between you and me. Based on what I saw firsthand from one good experience in CO -- elementary through freshman year in HS -- and the last three years of HS in MN, it was as different as night and day. I was in a gifted and talented program in elementary that was phenomenal, where I dissected animal organs (incl. a deer eye!), did logic puzzles, went to museums, etc. I was in an honors bio class in my freshman year that was harder than any class I took in college (except for 2nd semester calculus, which I just never understood very well, and happened to be an engineering weed-out class at Purdue. I was a bio geek.)

In MN, I did NOTHING for three years and got straight A's. There were no honors classes, and since I was ahead in science I took all my science classes with the years ahead of me. That was fun. Half the kids in school had no idea if I was in their class or another year. It was such a waste.

I don't know if schools today have gone to hell in a handbasket ("In my day, I had to walk 5 miles to school, uphill, both ways, with no shoes and it always snowed!") or if the variation is district by district. I have the sense that it's the latter. At least I hope so, and I hope that we're in a good school district now.

I thought it was interesting that you immediately chose homeschooling as the alternative to PS in your comments. Was that because most secondary private schools seem to be either Catholic, or super-expensive day schools that cost more than college?

Have you read about the VanDamme Academy? LB, the blogger on 3-ring-binder and I have bemoaned the lack of a VDA in Massachusetts. Even then, it would only go to 8th grade.

And homeschooling isn't an option for my family, so we need to make something else work.

One point about homeschooling that I'm sure RationalJenn could expound upon is that there doesn't seem to be any lack of extracurricular activities for homeschoolers, including band. Deb from Mariposario (earlier comment) just blogged about her daughter singing in a Bach childrens' chorus. There are sports organizations and bands and all sorts of things, as far as I can tell.

And I agree with you that most of the supposed benefits of socialization in PS are only good for examples of what NOT to do.

Kelly Elmore said...

Hey C. Jenn directed me to your blog. I wanted to tell you about a conversation my daughter and I had about environmentalism recently. She was asking what "Save the earth" meant. I think we heard it on the radio. I told her that people said that when they liked owls or snakes or rivers or trees more than people. I explained that we really liked owls and snakes and rivers and trees, and that we wanted to keep them and enjoy them. But we like people more. So we want people to take what they need from the earth (I gave examples of paper and animals to eat and space to live in). I don't know how much of this she understood (she is almost 5 and doesn't always tell you what she's thinking), but she said a few times how she liked people best but snakes second. :) Anyway, I try to make sure she knows that the world is for us to use and enjoy.

C. August said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kelly! I can see how A. (my little one) would respond well to the "we like snakes and birds but like people more" line of reasoning. She's not quite 4 1/2, so she's pretty close in age to your daughter.

That seems to be on her conceptual level, but it's hard to tell. She makes leaps in grasping abstractions that I would never anticipate (so cool!) so it's hard to tell what will stick sometimes. In the end we try all sorts of lines of reasoning with her, from lower level concepts and concretes to broad abstractions, and follow up based on where she takes the conversation. If she doesn't really respond, I still make my point (albeit briefly, because she'll just tune me out) because it often happens that whatever I talked about will come up again in a week or three. The kid is a sponge! She hears EVERYTHING, even if she seems totally engrossed in something else.

And I can totally see her saying "I like people best... but snakes second" with a sly grin, poking fun at me.

Kelly said...

I wouldn't say that my choice of homeschooling was immediate. It's something I've been thinking about for years, and it was a tough decision, because I know it means a huge dedication of time. I also realize we may not be able to make it work, so my second choice would be a very good private school. My choice has to do with partly with the cost of private schools, but also with comments I heard about a lot of private schools being no better than public schools (with all sorts of environmentalism and Dewey-esque indoctrination). This is something that can be viewed somewhat on a case to case basis, but as it stands now, I want to make sure I am entrusting such a large part of my children's education and well-being to someone I can trust. My hope is that homeschooling will become more popular, especially among Objectivists (I know my best friend for example, wants to homeschool) so that parents can work together and exchange expertise to help give their children the best education. But if, as you, we couldn't afford it, we'd have to make something else work. Like I said before, it is possible to raise thinking children outside of a homeschooling environment. At this point, it's just not my preference.

I have heard about the VanDamme Academy, and have been to their website. I would love to have a VDA here in NY. Based on what I know of it, I could certainly entrust my children to them.

I have heard there a large number of activities that homeschooled kids can enjoy. I think a lot of my worry about that has come from talking to a lot of people who are strongly against homeschooling.

Rational Jenn said...

One quick point to address something mentioned briefly--there are more extracurricular options for homeschoolers than ever before, due to the increase in the number of people taking their kids out of government schools (whatever their reasons might be). And there are a surprising (to me) number of non-religious if not outright secular options, too. Depends on where you live, of course. My oldest child is just reaching "official" school age and we will not be without activities, that's for sure! In fact, we're off to chess class in a little while.

Also, and this is so exciting, I can think of 8 or 9 Objectivist homeschooling families off the top of my head. Sadly, we live all over the country, but still!

C. August said...

Kelly (not Kelly E.) I just meant that I thought it was interesting that you chose homeschooling as the primary alternative to PS in your comment, not that you hadn't been thinking about it. :-) The usual choice is public vs. private, with homeschooling as a distant third, so it just struck me as worth noting.

I agree with your concern about private schools, even the "really good" ones. Here in New England, I thinks it's quite likely that they would be hotbeds of strongly leftist ideology. It's a non-issue for me, though, because there is zero chance that I'll be ponying up $15,000 a year for elementary and $40,000 a year for high school.

Maybe RationalJenn, LB, or Deb (all Objectivist homeschoolers) will chime in here, but it seems like homeschooling is gaining ground. I think one of the issues is that there often isn't a sufficient concentration of Objectivists in any geographical area to make up a vibrant group. That's why they join apolitical groups and seek out like minded people to associate with. Obviously I'm distilling a ton of conversations and postings from a number of homeschoolers into a generalization, but I think it's accurate.

You said: "I have heard about the VanDamme Academy, and have been to their website. I would love to have a VDA here in NY." I was thinking about this too. I wonder if Lisa VanDamme would be willing to start up an east coast franchise or two? One in metro-Boston and one in metro-NYC? I'll just shoot her a quick email and get that started. :-)

Ah, if it was only that simple!

Kelly said...

Oh no worries. It's hard to get tone across on the internet. I didn't think you thought I wasn't thinking about it....:-P

From what I've heard/read, homeschooling is gaining some ground. I'm hoping there will be even more resources out there when Dan and I decide to have children. Maybe one of our homeschoolers can blog on that or give a link to some relevant info.

I'm lucky, as living in the NYMetro area, there is a pretty large concentration of Objectivists. I don't know any around here who really want to have kids though.

Stella said...

Just to add to the discussion about having been educated in a public-school environment and what that meant/means...

Unlike Kelly, I was not raised by Objectivist parents -- far from it, my parents are very devout Christians and raised me to be one too. (I went agnostic in college, then atheist/Objectivist when my boyfriend of 4+ years re-introduced me to Rand's works.) I wouldn't say the public school I went to ruined me, but it certainly wasn't an ideal education by any means. When I read Lisa VanDamme's articles on education in The Objective Standard, I realized that I, like most kids, was taught without the necessary hierarchy of knowledge that makes learning meaningful.

I was in the gifted program at my school district and it was still too slow for me. By a lot. I got A's without trying -- meaning skimming a book the night before a test rather than reading it carefully as I was supposed to, the sort of study habits that lead to a superficial "knowledge" of a subject rather than real understanding. I have an excellent short-term memory and was thus able to ace all of my tests in high school, but how poorly I really understood what I was parroting back was not revealed until college, when the test questions suddenly required application of principles rather than memorization of facts. Suddenly I, the straight-A student was still pulling A's in my humanities classes (where I could still get away with putting together a mishmash of ideas and making it sound plausible) but was getting C's in the sciences, where my lack of understanding of concepts became clear.

At the time I went to school (I graduated HS in 1996), environmentalism wasn't as hot as it is now, although there was a definite altruist streak (in order to get into the National Honor Society, for example, you had to do a certain amount of "service to the community").

Now, things are much worse in my former school district -- both in terms of altruism being taught and in terms of lack of educational hierarchy. My niece attends the same middle school as I did (and will be starting at my former high school next year), and I often ask her about what she's learning in school. This is how I find out that she's reading novels about nomadic life in the Sahara in "English" class, learning about tribes in Africa in "social studies" (never mind calling it "history," and of course they teach about how all cultures are equal except Western civilization, which must self-immolate), and being told about microstructures within cells in science class before even understanding what a cell is. My boyfriend and I try to augment her education as best we can given that we don't get to see her often (fortunately, she loves attention from adults and is happy to let us teach her math, vocabulary, etc.), but I still worry that she's growing up with an even worse foundation than I had, plus more altruism in the form of environmentalism and multiculturalism.

I am not sure whether or not I will have children, but if I were to do so and Lisa VanDamme were to open a second school on the East Coast, I'd send my children there in a heartbeat. If not, I do love my career, but I would consider giving it up for a time to homeschool the kids so as to bring them up with better ideas than are being taught in most schools (public or private) these days.

C. August said...

Stella, thanks for that detailed comment. I think the perspective you offered of being able to see how your one school district has changed is really valuable to this discussion.

My wife had a similar experience with her gifted program in school. And I think if I had spent my whole public school experience in MN instead of just the last 3 years, I would have had a similar story to yours.

This is how I find out that she's reading novels about nomadic life in the Sahara in "English" class, learning about tribes in Africa in "social studies" (never mind calling it "history," and of course they teach about how all cultures are equal except Western civilization, which must self-immolate), and being told about microstructures within cells in science class before even understanding what a cell is.

It's hard to believe this is actually going on. I wish you were making it up.

It did give me the ideal to make another close examination of the curriculum in our district, and take a look at things like what books they read, and whether they respect a hierarchy of knowledge at all. Luckily they post detailed accounts of their curricula so I'll get the hard facts about it, rather than unfounded assertions.

Mona said...

On the subject of public schools, I'll share my experience attending both Catholic and public schools. I was raised by non-Objectivist but generally rational parents. I attended Wisconsin public grade schools, then spent 2 years at a Catholic high school school and 2 at a public one in Illinois. The Wisconsin schools had a great gifted program, and I always liked school, but I could tell as early as third grade that there was little in the way of a hierarchy of knowledge. I was attracted to religion prior to attending the Catholic school, probably for several reasons, but once I learned about Catholicism (at the religious school), I rejected it. I then started looking around for other religions and went through quite a few before reading Age of Reason and becoming agnostic. Then I switched to the public school, where I was exposed to all sorts of liberal ideology and proceeded to reject that. I became interested in politics and became a libertarian, although I was sufficiently put off by other libertarians to have reservations. (By now you're probably ready to homeschool your kids at all costs, but I think I turned out okay in the end.) I eventually found the ARI essay contests, read the Fountainhead, and straightened myself out.

Academically, in general, the Catholic school had more challenging classes, more passionate teachers, and more studious students, but fewer outstanding students. The public school was more of a sink-or-swim environment, in which independent learners could thrive in the many AP classes, but they had to overcome disruptive students and sometimes poor teaching. (I graduated in the early 2000's.)

In retrospect, I'm glad I had both of those experiences, because I was able to identify what I didn't agree with and use the process of elimination to try to figure out what I did agree with. I'm sure your kids will be even better equipped to sort through it all than I was. Obviously if a better option exists in your area, take it, but don't despair if your options look bleak. I'm not terribly concerned about my little sister, who will be attending one of these schools next year, but when I have kids, I intend to homeschool and/or send them to the Van Damme Academy if I live close enough.