Students Offer and Receive Rewards – Even When Online

Students may not be as behind as we are told.

I must admit to growing weary of hearing people say that our students are falling behind. I’m not exactly sure where that comparison is coming from: last year’s students? testing scores? attendance rates? I suspect this idea, at least at the secondary level, is because school looks vastly different this year and many who are not in the classroom daily – whatever that classroom may look like – have no standard from which to judge this different learning environment. 

My argument is about this specific group of students in this specific class because I know that a kindergarten student has needs that a high school student doesn’t. Likewise, I know that not all students have access to the technology they need to effectively navigate the online learning environment. But I argue that high school seniors who do have this access will likely be ahead of any other incoming freshman class that we have sent to college simply because this year has given them the opportunity to do what no other graduating class before has been required to do: take full ownership of their learning. 

Think about what they are doing. Many schools do not hold virtual students to the same district attendance standards as hybrid or face-to-face classes, and as such, these students can opt to skip the lecture and simply submit the work and they are counted present. Sound familiar? Attending the college classroom every day is a choice many freshmen have difficulty making…until grades roll around and academic probation is on the horizon.

Further, these students are learning to build a relationship with teachers to whom they seemingly have limited access. If they have a question, they must ask it rather than relying on a classmate to ask it first. They can’t “read” the room or the teacher prior to deciding how they will behave that day. They have to decide to learn…or not, and often without an audience. They are learning new technological skills, and they are learning even more about each other. For example, it’s hard to be the class clown in a Zoom session, so they are learning to earn their classmate’s attention in other, more productive ways…like answering questions correctly and making real contributions to small group discussions in breakout rooms.

Admittedly, online students may be behind in situations where teachers were thrown into an online environment without preparation or adequate support. Students from districts that have no real knowledge of the differences in online teaching and learning and failed to seek guidance from their staff who did, may still be grappling with why students are failing. However, students who have been fortunate enough to have teachers who were either trained, or quickly figured out that teaching online is so much more than facilitating a prepackaged program, and that it is definitely more than throwing up PowerPoints that were used in face-to-face classes, well, those students may actually find themselves exactly where they should be next year, if not ahead.

I’ve been fortunate enough to teach both face-to-face and online for the last five years of my fifteen-year career, and what I’m happy to report is that relationships and rewards do not have to suffer just because we are “virtual.” Students are not destined to be behind next year, nor are they lacking in social skills, but rather are learning a new skillset that I argue will place them at the top of the global marketplace where online conferences and at-home workspaces were becoming commonplace long before the pandemic hit.

I make this argument not only with pride, but also with hope. Five years ago my biggest fear in teaching the online classes I was offered was that I’d lose what made me an effective teacher: my ability to build a community of learners. But this week provided evidence to the contrary. 

I have a student who had pretty much given up – on Day 4. (No joke.)  She even sent me a private email weeks into the class telling me that she was not as smart as I kept telling her she was. It is important to note that this student didn’t suddenly start failing this year. In fact, waiting until after the last minute to do her work and then letting her father swoop in to save her has been her mode of operation for years. It was easy for both father and daughter to blame online learning as the culprit, but I knew better and, well, this year this student met her match.

This kid is sweet, and it’s so easy to let things slide when kids are well-mannered, quiet, and well-behaved–and the kids not only know this–they work it. In fact, that behavior causes even me to be more lenient in my policies than I like to admit sometimes. For instance, my policy is to accept no preliminary assignments late and to only accept major assignments late up to three days–and with an 11-point penalty. This policy did not bode well for my sweet student. Things went south so quickly that I didn’t even have to call home as is my normal course of action. Dad called me.

This dad, like many well-meaning, incredibly loving parents wanted the best for his daughter: grace from the teacher. I agreed, and I explained that perhaps the best form of grace at this point was to let this dear one struggle for a bit. I explained to dad that daughter has become quite comfortable in her current behavior, but that next year no one will be able to come to her aid. I promised dad that I wouldn’t let this go too far but was able to convince him that we needed to let our student suffer some consequences.

Now, dad didn’t take too kindly to this plan, but after a bit more conversation and my spelling out my plan to him, he decided we’d give it a try – nothing else had worked, after all.

This kid was her own worst enemy and continued to drown in a sea of incomplete assignments even though she and I were conferencing nearly every day. She just wouldn’t do the work and finally blamed it on her inability to operate in the school’s online platform. All evidence pointed to the contrary, but I know that kids must be allowed to save face, so we started working together (again) on how to find, complete, and submit assignments. I also directed her to the tutorials that had been available all semester in case she needed a refresher later.

At the end of the week, out of 15 missed assignments, she had submitted a grand total of TWO. Dad was not happy and neither was I, so we had a conference online – dad, student, and teacher. Looking back, I wonder if my student thought this conference would be impossible this year — she had had them before in the face-to-face environment, but with her teacher working from her home office, I guess she felt safe that the conference was a “no-go” for this class. 

I have to admit that I was impressed at my student’s performance during the conference, though she and I both knew that it was a performance. I also knew that if I didn’t call her on it, she’d owe me – and she knew that too.

So during the conference we devised a plan in which I’d accept preliminary assignments for a 14-point late penalty, and that same offer would be given to all students through the end of the week. (I felt I had to offer this to maintain grade integrity.) No one would know why I was suddenly being generous, but they likely wouldn’t question it either. As the conference came to a close though, Dad hit a homerun. He added one more thing: no cell phone until our student’s grades came up – in ALL of her classes.

I won’t go over the entire play-by-play, but dad stuck to his guns. Two weeks later, daughter still didn’t have access to her phone, but that was ok–unbeknownst to the adults in the situation, daughter had a backup plan that involved using her laptop–for her social communication needs. No one was the wiser because while schools know to block sites like Facebook and Snapchat, Tumbler, Caffeine, and many others have not yet hit their radar.  Once they hit mine though, the situation got rectified, and as such, my student knew I was not only serious, but that I cared. My conference with her dad had not been lip service. I truly see something in this kid. Is she behind in writing skills? Sure. Does she need to mature – a lot?  Absolutely, but is it all on her? I don’t think so.

This past week students had to submit their second major assignment. I admit to holding my breath as I ran through the files to see if she had submitted one…and she had!  This time dad didn’t care about the grade; all he wanted to know was if his daughter had submitted the assignment. See, in a private conference with dad, I had told him that I was quite aware his daughter’s writing deficits; however, I felt that these deficiencies were caused not by bad or inadequate teaching or by our student being allowed to get away with things because she’s so sweet. I told him the biggest problem appeared to be her work ethic.

Dad still probably doesn’t like me much, but we have a long way to go before graduation, so he’s desperate and trusting me. My student needs to re-write the entire paper that she submitted, and I felt that she probably would have to when we had rough draft conferences. My student didn’t suddenly gain missing skills overnight; however, she did gain a belief in herself. She got everything submitted and even with the late penalties, she now has a decent enough grade with room to improve. She also has the opportunity to revise this paper one paragraph at a time – with me. I’m sure other teachers have done the exact same thing with her–this year is only different because in just a few months this student will be on. her. own., and she is scared.

FERPA laws will keep professors from talking to parents and the parents won’t have easy access to the professors anyway, so dad is concerned too. In addition, the professor’s value to the college won’t depend upon how many students pass, but the student will pay more for a failing grade, so it’s pretty important that our kids figure out that they have to show up and do the work the first time, or they’ll be paying to re-do it. 

So what was my reward? I’ve always been a good classroom teacher. My rules are few, but typically followed, and my expectations are high and normally met, but I was afraid that this year would be different. I was afraid that technological inequities would keep my students away from me. I was afraid that the screen would divide us in ways that could not be rectified. This situation, however, reassured me that relationships aren’t built face-to-face; they are built heart-to-heart.


What We Deserve by HM Thomas A Book Review

Picture: Book Cover
Publisher: Champagne Book Group

I absolutely love to read. As an English teacher, some say that’s nothing unusual, but I really love to read. In fact, a dear friend and colleague of mine, Shelley Crawford Love, once joked in a class we were taking saying, “That Carol Dawkins will read ANYTHING.” We laughed because it’s true, but I also read so much that few characters or storylines “stick” with me. In fact, I can’t even remember the title of the book that Shelley was referring to. I remember that the novel was about a woman who was grieving her father, but that storyline seemed minor to the work she was doing with hawks. I read Every.Last.Word. Note I said that I “read” each word; however, I wasn’t particularly enthralled with the work. The important thing is that although I can’t remember the title or even the author’s name, the work certainly revealed something to me about myself through Shelley’s comment. I love to read…and write.

My reading preferences are pretty eclectic, so it’s difficult for me to choose one genre over another, but there are some I only read when they are brought to my attention and though that list is short, romance novels are high on that list. It’s not that I don’t believe in love but rather I’ve never found a love story I enjoy so much as the one I live.

However, I absolutely adore local authors, in part because they show us that we, too, can write that next novel, but also because well, they live “here,” in the place that has nurtured me. So, when HM Thomas released her latest novel, What We Deserve, I was on Amazon’s waiting list. I had enjoyed another of her novels, The Right to Surrender and though it’s been a couple of years since I read it, I still remember Finn and Gretchen and want to see what they are doing now. That is good character development.

Though What We Deserve is quite different from the former title, her character development is the same. I identified with Miranda Lawson and the loss she suffered as I rooted for Logan Pearson to finally get it right — even though his “bad boy” tendencies threatened to ruin things at every turn.

I never like book reviews that give too much away, so I won’t do that here, but I will say that Miranda Lawson is a therapist who truly cares about her patients and the world around her, and it nearly costs her everything – not once, but twice. Her profession and her concern for others drive much of this story, but readers will readily relate to her passion, compassion, and empathy. And although we need more Mirandas in this world, these traits are also the things that frustrated me about her the most — likely because I saw many of those same flaws in myself. The ability to care for others is a gift few possess, and those who have it seldom know how to control it. Miranda Lawson is guilty as charged and at times that is frustrating, but also redemptive, in a way.

The plot in this novel is pretty straightforward, though HM Thomas is always good for a plot twist, which is something that makes her a pretty appealing author. Though an easy read, it’s not one I would teach due to the highly charged sexual encounters, but what’s a romance novel without sex…and lots of it…in full description? You’ll have to read it to see what I mean – this is a “family-friendly” blog. 🙂

HM Thomas will only improve with each novel she writes, and she has raw talent that deserves a chance. Time spent with her characters is productive not only because Thomas allows us an entertaining respite from our own crazy lives, but also because her characters often make us examine parts of ourselves, and that, is always time well spent.

That Last Ride

On December 25, 2015, my beloved horse Dixie died. She was, I fear, that once in a lifetime horse. Almost five months later, I am still grieving her. I have grieved for her longer than I did my first marriage–of course, she was a much better partner, but that’s a “whole nother” story. 🙂

Since she died, I’ve bought and returned two horses and have tried to ride my daughter’s horse Sonny. Breanna’s away at college, and Sonny is a good trail horse; he’s just sour from not being ridden.

My history with Sonny is not that great. He threw me once when one of my dogs was relentlessly barking and nipping at him (dog found a new home). I got a concussion with that fall and to date, that fall goes down as the worst fall in my riding history.  I did get back on him later, but he’s been a stubborn steed ever since – for me, not for my daughter.

The saving grace with Sonny is that he also has a history with Dixie. We’ve shared many trail rides, camping trips, parades, and beach rides together, so needless to say, he has a forever home here. However, I was convinced yesterday  that he was to be a yard ornament, and that I had enjoyed my last ride.  My confidence was gone; he wasn’t listening to a single command, seeking only to ride with other horses at his speed and in his direction, which can be pretty dangerous.

Sonny has wrecked my confidence by stubbornly refusing to move forward and by crow-hopping and spinning or side-passing me into trees and bushes if I insist that he move forward. As we were riding back to the trailer, I decided that I’d have rather loved and lost Dixie than to have never experienced such a partnership at all, but that sadly, my riding days ended on December 25, 2015 – about 30 years earlier than I had planned.

As soon as I made that decision, I ran into an old friend. She didn’t recognize me at first, probably because I wasn’t on Dixie. (That’s how we riding buddies are – we know whose horse belongs to whom–the riders, well, they’re not always as memorable. LOL) Anyway, I believe she sensed my distress and we spoke a bit about Dixie and how I’ve been unable to find my next partner. As we parted, she said, “Don’t stop looking, Carol. Do NOT stop looking.”

As I got into the truck I called Breanna and said I was contemplating selling all of the horse gear and buying a boat. She knows my heart and she knew how I was with Dixie. Now, before I give the impression that Dixie was perfect, let me explain. She was hard as hell to ride at a lope because she was blind in one eye and compensated by running a bit sideways. Breanna hated riding Dixie and many of my friends asked me how I rode her without my back hurting. You see, I had to compensate for her lope too. She would also become very stubborn if a log was on the trail and it was higher than she wanted to cross over. She also liked to go at her speed, which was often faster than I wanted to go. In addition, when I first got her, she nearly backed me off of South Mountain AND she just didn’t know how to carry a rider at a lope. As Breanna would say “We were a hot mess.” We had a lot of work to do, that was for certain, but we did it and bonded as a result.

Breanna reminded me of the times Dixie just “pissed you the hell off ,Mama” and of how I’d handle those situations. She also reminded me that Sonny hasn’t really been ridden to amount to much in four years. Finally, she reminded me that all under saddle work begins with effective ground work.

As soon as I got out of the truck after the Kings Mountain ride yesterday, Sonny and I commenced to working. He was reminded of the power of lungeing, the speed at which he should back up, the distance he needed to stay from me while being led. I then let him rest. This morning, we repeated the same routine and I took him for a ride in the hay fields and woods behind my house. He’s never been really good at these short rides – the barn and all of its feed is just too close – but he did it today. He needed some extra pushing, but did fine…until we got back home. I wanted him to turn from the yard and go back into the hay  field, circle around two hay bales and then call it a day. (Five minutes, tops.) That gelding started bucking (small bucks, but consistent) and was determined to rid himself of his rider. His rider, however, was not to be disrespected.  Not this time.

When he quit his foolishness, I rode him back to the trailer, dismounted and shocked the hell out of him. Rather than letting him go, I lunged him, backed him up, did some lateral work with him and then got right back on him. We rode exactly where I wanted to go the first time plus about 15 more minutes. This time there was no more bucking, no spinning, and only a slight attempt at walking sideways. For the first time since Dixie died, I felt almost like myself in the saddle again.

I can’t bring my Dixie girl back, but today I realized that neither can I stop riding. Somehow, and perhaps it’s from my Rabon side, but horses are in my blood. I decided to take Breanna’s advice. She said, “Mama, use this time when you don’t have your partner to work on your horsmanship. Work Sonny on the ground and earn his respect; work him under saddle and remember that Dixie was the horse she was because of how you worked with her. Have a few successful solo rides and then try to ride with a friend or a small group.” She reminded me that Dixie’s death was sudden and unexpected and that I may never stop grieving her…and that’s okay. What’s not okay is to give up riding just because my confidence is not what it was with Dixie.

After our conversation, I remembered that Dixie could be stubborn as hell with some of my daughters’ friends and boyfriends through the years, but yet never once refused to go forward when I was on her. Finally, Breanna helped me realize that while Dixie and I were a wonderful pair, she was the horse she was because I commanded her respect by working with her.

So, Sonny knows what to do. He’s been trained using natural horsmanship techniques, and he’s old enough to realize when he’s just not going to get his way. My plan is to use him to help me work on me. Who knows, he may become my next partner, or he will make me a great partner for my next horse. Either way, I am thankful that I have not yet seen my last ride.

A Teacher’s Word

I don’t remember her name. I don’t even remember what she looked like. All I remember is that I was feeling alone, ugly, and abandoned during my sophomore year when school pictures arrived. As my homeroom teacher gave me the pictures she said, “I don’t think I have ever seen such a good school picture. You are so photogenic.”

I don’t remember her name. I don’t even remember what she looked like, but I vividly remember what I looked like and I remember how she made me feel. I was wearing a blue sweater, my hair, though in the midst of the 80s, was flat and feathered, parted in the middle, and my face had little makeup.

Throughout high school, like most adolescents, I felt ugly and out of style. My family didn’t spend money on trendy clothes or salons and excessive hair products. I didn’t even know how to make my hair Eighties Tall, so the Seventies Feather was the best I could do. On that day, however, neither my hair style nor my clothes mattered. For the first time since childhood, I considered the idea that I might be pretty.

To this day, that moment is the prettiest I believe I have ever felt.

All of this reminiscing was brought about due to a class discussion I had with one of my classes this week. They made me wonder if we teachers realize the long-lasting impact of our words.

High school teachers, in particular, have an amazing opportunity to spread positivity into the psyche of the students they teach. I am 44 years old and I still remember what my homeroom teacher said about my class picture.

Likewise, I’ve never forgotten a hurtful comment that was made by my 9th grade English teacher just a year before sophomore pictures were made. I was having some difficulty with Romeo and Juliet, but I was so excited to be reading it. Perhaps I was overzealous because I remember asking a lot of questions during class. One day I went to my teacher to see if she would recommend that I be moved out of the Tech Prep classes and into the CP class track because I wanted to be prepared for college. This well-meaning teacher told me that I wasn’t “college material.” She was only trying to help direct my path. She knew my dad wanted me to be a secretary and she knew that I had difficulty understanding the foreign concepts (and language) of Shakespeare and other literature that we had studied. She told me that I was a very “literal thinker” and would find the abstract nature of the college classroom too challenging.

I didn’t go to Winthrop to become a teacher for 10 years after that. Even today, after earning a bachelor’s degree, a masters in Education, teaching at York Tech, and beginning another graduate program, I sometimes wonder if I have fooled someone and that maybe I am not college material after all.

I know there is no logic to that way of thinking, and I never stay in that thought pattern for very long, but after I have conversations with my students like the one I had this week, I want to try to fix the problem. I want to get a huge megaphone and shot from the top of the earth for all to hear: “Our subject matter may not matter to our students as it does to us, but the words we use with them sometimes mean more than we can comprehend. Speak truthfully, but speak kindly, and remember that students will grow up and change a lot after they leave the high school classroom. Don’t stymie their growth with callous words.”

I’ll never be able to thank my sophomore homeroom teacher, nor will I ever show my freshman English teacher how wrong she was, but I hope that I can remind teachers everywhere of the importance of their words, because teacher, believe it or not, your words matter.

A Word About Bertha

Perhaps it’s the recent death of actor, Robin Williams or the minor accident my youngest daughter just had, or the 1st week back to school when I always feel beaten up by the “powers that be,” but whatever it is that has caused it, my depression is back and it doesn’t want to let up.

People who have never suffered from clinical depression have no clue how real the sickness is. My youngest daughter recently shared her opinion about Robin Williams’ death in a Facebook post. She was sympathetic, but unforgiving. “Suicide is not the answer; there’s always help” was the theme of her post.

Considering all that she’s been through, I applaud her. She is right. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The issue is, however, when you are in the pits of depression, and you’ve been there so many times before, you don’t see it as a very temporary thing.

I tried to explain to my daughter that no one would judge a person who went into a diabetic coma as “weak.’ They will surely die if they don’t get help, but they can’t ask for that help. It takes people who are around them or people who know of their condition who frequently check on them to get help for them. How is that any different from someone who is suffering from clinical depression? I see the signs and talk to my family and closest friends about what is going on and they check in on me. I see my doctor and we work on this until I’m back to being my old self again, but I can totally understand why some people hide their depression with humor, anger, or anything else they can find to distract people from seeing what is really going on. I know I am guilty of this myself and do it because our society sees any mental illness as something to be frightened of at best, scorned at worst.

It’s not easy to say, “I’m clinically depressed and need some time to get myself together,” because many Americans have this belief that you can just shake it off, or that if you’re depressed you aren’t thankful for your blessings. You are simply weak, lazy, or wanting sympathy. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I have so much to be thankful for and I know it. That knowledge doesn’t stop this pain in the pit of my stomach that is so real that years ago I named it, “Bertha.” It’s another attempt at humor, but it’s also an easy way for me to let my friends and family know what’s going on. “Bertha’s back,” causes them to pause and to understand.

Bertha’s arrival could not have come at a worse time, but she’s here nonetheless and I can’t exercise her away, pray her away, eat or drink her away, or simply count my blessings until she goes away. Nothing really caused her arrival and everything caused her arrival. The only facts worth considering are that she’s here and I’m dealing with it.

So, before judging someone who seems abnormally agitated or sad; before criticizing someone for some minor fault; before being disappointed because someone let you down, remember that those things to a person suffering from clinical depression are the same as too much or too little sugar is to a diabetic. Be a help; don’t cause further damage. People who suffer from clinical depression do come out of it. Make sure you’re someone they want to reconnect with when they do.

A Lesson for Parents

If there was just one thing I was allowed to teach parents, it would not be the importance of reading to children or the importance of playing with them or the importance of making the feel special. I believe parents do the best they can already at all of those things – and if they aren’t, a lesson from me wouldn’t change things anyway.

Instead, I would teach them the importance of realizing that they know their children as their offspring – as an extension of themselves. Few, however, know their children as students in the classroom. I think parents all the way up to the early 80s knew this information thus the teacher was always “right” and his/her authority was seldom questioned.  Somewhere along the way though, this small, but important insight got lost and students became more “empowered” than their maturity level could manage.

This semester I have had the relatively unique experience of being my youngest daughter’s teacher because I am the only print journalism teacher in our high school.  The school did not want to deny her the opportunity to explore journalism simply because I was her mother.  Although I had my reservations, I allowed her to be in the class.  It was not a mistake, but I believe I have learned more about the parent/child | teacher/child relationship than she has learned about journalism.  For example, no matter how effective a parent is at home, herd mentality truly takes over when students are in the classroom. My daughter is not bad, She’s just not the Valerie I know.  She’s a chatty little thing too.  I have a greater insight on why she may do well in some classes, but not others, and it has more to do with the students in the class with her than it does with the teacher.  Few parents get to see those dynamics play out.

Some parents will argue, and I will agree, that some teachers exacerbate bad behavior in students either by antagonizing them, having too many rules or by forgetting that they are, after all, teaching children.  In answer to that argument, I have to remind myself that humans don’t typically see the world as it is; we see it as WE are. I have been on the parent side of the “bad teacher” model.  Valerie has had two teachers who should never have gone into the profession.  Both took more from her than they ever gave and it took many years and a lot of good teachers to help her recover the things those “teachers” took.  Therefore, I completely understand why parents don’t trust all teachers, but when there is a good teacher in the classroom – a teacher whose reputation is that of a caring educator – parents can best help their children succeed both in the classroom and in life if they will sit back and listen to the teacher, the professional and then work as a partner in the child’s education.  I do not think I have ever witnessed a situation where a child succeeded when the parents and teacher were adversaries. 

If parents and teachers work together, there’s no limit to what the child can learn.  This teacher also learned that while it’s not a good situation to have a teacher’s child in his/her class, valuable lessons can be learned and taught.  As with all good teachers – some of those lesson have nothing at all to do with the “plan” of the day.  So Valerie, thank you for being a good teacher to this parent.  I know I’ve learned more from you than I taught, and that was certainly never the plan.

So Jesus Got Married?

It’s really interesting for me to listen to the news as they talk about the possibility of Jesus having been married. It’s as if He married someone, somehow He’s no longer “Jesus.” Is this parchment discovery supposed to change the way we feel about Jesus? I guess it is easier for me to think about this because I’m not Catholic, and therefore whether Jesus married or not doesn’t change how I view the Priesthood or a woman’s role in church. This parchment discussion is not about sex or celibacy at all, for me.  Instead, it is about understanding one of the biggest areas of my life. For me, it means that when I pray about something in my marriage, Jesus really “gets it” because He lived it. If Jesus was married then there is no part of my life that He does not truly understand.

I don’t think I ever felt more alone or farther from the church and Jesus than when I went through my divorce. To this day the denomination I grew up in still has preachers who say you should pray through that marriage – without ever having stepped foot in it. The idea that God hates divorce, abortion, homosexuality, and, at least currently, public education, is a common thread I hear among some of those preachers. That, however, is topic for another post.

My thought on the Huffingtonpost article is if Jesus loved someone enough to marry her then He totally “got” what I was going through when my first marriage fell apart. He got the pain, the confusion, the anger, the loneliness, etc., and He was able to “get it” — better than any preacher who advised me.  How can you possibly understand divorce if you have never even been married?   It makes me look back at that time in my life differently. I really wasn’t alone, spiritually speaking. It also makes my husband of 15 years an even more precious gift to me. I’ve always wondered why God would bless marriage but withhold it from His son.

So, was the document a forgery or was Jesus really married? Who knows? What I do know is the controversy does nothing but benefit Christianity. First, if you believe the document to be true, there’s no doubt Jesus walked this earth and He truly, as the Bible says, lived as a man. If you believe it to be a forgery, you’ve lost nothing because your beliefs about His living a celibate life are still intact.

For me, I welcome the discussion even more now than back in 2012 (or so) when the document was first made public. Regardless of its authenticity, this document did not come as any “shock” to God. Perhaps there’s something we can learn from the discussion.