arts, movies, music, pop culture · dating and singlehood

standardization tests and the art of telling someone they’re substandard

Who makes up these “standardization” tests any way? Where do these things come from – a group of teachers or, worse, academics who sit around a table in a room with no windows that smells slightly like bleach and windex? And who in the world thought it was ok to refer to them as SOLs???

The idea of a standard set of knowledge imparted to every girl, boy, and by default, woman and man, is baffling to me. Let’s say at a minimum it’s about being able to, you know, read my blog. Let’s start with that. You should be able, at some point in your life, read. And maybe do math that will at least enable you to count your change at the store and maybe answer how many fingers am I holding up when the nice police officer is asking you on the side of the road at oh-dark-thirty.

Educational reform notwithstanding, society has standards that are placed on everything. We have collectively agreed to drive on a particular side of the road – just because the Brits had it all backwards. We have also decided that walking up to someone and punching him in the face is cause for some kind of legal repercussion. These are the rules and we are saying, yea, we won’t do that – well, unless we can get away with it.

Then we have these unwritten (and sometimes written depending on the person) rules about the person we’ll date. It’s either a list like he should like sushi and long walks on the beach and hold my hand when I am sobbing over the loss of Italy to Spain (for the entire country – not just the football championship thingy). Or he should be tall. Or whatever. Some of us will admit to a running list of things in our heads which we check off as we met people and write off those that at first blush don’t make the cut, like when John Wayne auditioned for the part of Genghis Khan and the director laughed him off the … oh wait. never mind.

I’ve been told on several occasions but both well-intentioned friends and completely ill-intentioned scorned ex-friends that I am too picky. That I can’t make up my mind or that I am expecting something – well someONE – that doesn’t exist. I have always said BAH HUMBUG! I know (a) what I want and (b) what is necessary and (c) what God’s design looks like, in general terms of course, and that no one I had crossed paths with were (d) all of the above. And I know I wasn’t filling out the scantron wrong. (Do they still use scantrons? I had to Google it to see if that was even what they were called.)

And it isn’t that I have a list, but let’s say general guidelines that talk more to a man’s character and experiences and I’m just not going to let certain things slide any more. Been there done that. Wash, rinse and get out of the shower.

There’s another blogger I follow who I generally agree with on most occasions and we have probably written about 80% of the same stuff (I am definitely more of a geek it seems). Her list made me laugh… … I can relate. I used to want someone left-handed. Like that was actually on my list. And “NOT a pastor” was on the list for a long time – actually up until really really really recently.

The point though, I think, of her blog and mostly mine, is that our standards get out of focus and we are looking for whether someone knows how to  find the quadratic equation of the exterior angle when the cos = 42 or something… when really he doesn’t even know if he really loves Jesus or not. We get way way ahead of ourselves when we fill out these checklists for compatibility like what if he uses Crest and I prefer Colgate? Am I really up for changing my toothpaste for the REST.OF.MY.LIFE?!?!?! And what do I do when he makes fun of Batman???

And there’s a good example. It isn’t so much that I mind if you don’t appreciate the things I appreciate. It has more to do with teasing mercilessly and in front of my friends and to the point where you actually think less of me because of the things I like. It’s a lack of respect. And Aretha just ain’t havin that.


On the right side of the equation is the person who not only appreciates what you bring to the table but finds ways to encourage you in it. Like a good dad who sees the things his kids enjoy and finds ways to help them grow and learn and build on those interests, opening a world to them. Um, not that I’m saying I’m looking for a dad… but I … um, wait, I’m going to move on now…

The point being, of course, that when you are treated well and find mutual respect and support in each other, it’s about your standards being just the right height. And settling for less will always be an unbalanced equation where x = I don’t really give a hoot any more because I’m alone and sad. And it happens slowly, like the frog in the water – where the frog will stay in the water and keep adjusting its internal temp even though the water eventually is boiling. It’s a gross analogy but it makes total sense. No one starts out saying I’m going to lower my standards. It happens over time. And like moving parts of the equation around back and forth on either side of the equals sign, you eventually lose your way and can’t remember where you started any more. Unfortunately in life, we don’t get a mass reset button. But you can go back to the original equation and get back to the basic principles you’ve learned from the beginning.

And to all of us singles out there reading this, I just say… hold on. We are not forgotten by our Father and He can’t wait to see our faces when we ask Him for all we need.

Also, I’m trying to think of a No Child Left Behind joke.

Also, also, I am not a mathematician, but I play one on my blog.



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