walk a mile

IQ 87


Over thirty years ago I came across this article, written by Harry W. Forgan who was, at the time, an assistant professor of Elementary Education at the University of Miami, Florida.

“When teaching a course on tests and measurements at Kent Sate University recently, I decided to administer an adult group intelligence test to the class. I wanted the students to “feel” what it was like to take such a test and realize what items we use to measure intelligence. I also thought they might be more aware of the short time it takes to obtain a number which is regarded as very important by many educators.

The students were told not to write their names on the test papers, but rather to use a code such as their house number, physical measurements, or any less obvious symbol. I explained that I really didn’t have faith in IQ scores; therefore, I didn’t want to know their IQ’s. The administration of the test required only 50 minutes. The students seemed to enjoy taking it and chuckled at some of the tasks they were expected to perform. I had to laugh to myself when I saw some of them looking at their hands and feet when responding to items concerning right and left.

Upon scoring the test I found that the lowest IQ was 87 and the highest 143. The mean IQ for the 48 students was 117. I was not astonished by the 87, even though all of the students had successfully completed the general education courses and student teaching at Kent State and were ready to graduate by the end of the term. After all, IQ tests have many limitations. Then I got an idea. I decided to prepare a report for each student, writing his code on the outside and the “IQ 87″ on the inside of each. I folded and stapled each paper, after all, an IQ is confidential information!

At the next class period I arranged all of the folded papers on the table at the front of the room. I wrote the range and the average IQ on the chalkboard. Many students snickered at the thought of somebody getting an 87. The students were eager and afraid as I began by explaining the procedures for picking up their papers. I made a point of telling them not to tell others their IQ score because this would make the other person feel as if he too had to divulge his “total endowment”. The students were then directed to come up to the table, row by row, to find their coded paper. I stood sheepishly ready to laugh out loud as I watched the students carefully open their papers and see “IQ 87″. Many opened their mouths with astonishment and then smiled at their friends to indicate they were extremely happy with their scores.

There was dead silence when I began to discuss the implications of the IQ scores. I explained that in some states a person who scores below 90 on an IQ test is classified as a slow learner. The fact that group intelligence tests should not be used to make such a classification was stressed. I also emphasized the fact that someone in this class could have been classified as a slow learner and placed in a special class on the basis of this test. I told how many guidance counselors would discourage a child with an 87 IQ from attending college. Again I emphasized the fact that one person in this room was ready to graduate from college having passed several courses in history, biology, English, and many other areas.

I then went on to explain that the majority of elementary and secondary school teachers believe in ability grouping. This is usually done on the basis of intelligence tests, so I explained that I would like to try ability grouping with this class, again to see “how it feels”. Some of the students objected right away, saying that “I do not want to know their IQ scores”. I calmed them by saying it would be a worthwhile learning experience and assured them that I really didn’t believe in IQ scores. I told the students not to move at this time, but I would like all of those with an IQ below 90 to come to the front so they could sit nearer to me for individual help. I told the students who had an average IQ (between 90-109) to go to the back of the room and then take the seats in the middle of the class. The students with an above IQ were asked to go to the side of the room and take the seats in the back because they really didn’t need much more help.

“O.K., all those who got an IQ below 90 come to the front of the room.” The students looked around to find those who scored below 90. I said that I knew there was an 87 and maybe a couple of 89’s. Again there was dead silence. “O.K., all those students whose IQ is between 90-109 go to the back of the room.” Immediately, to my amazement, 9 or 10 students picked up their books and headed for the back of the room. Before they could get there I said, “Wait a minute! Sit down! I don’t want to embarrass you, but you would lie and cheat, the same way we make our students lie and cheat,  because you don’t want to be classified as “slow”. I wrote ‘IQ 87′ on every paper!”

The class erupted. It was in an uproar for about five minutes. Some of the women cried. Some indicated that they needed to use the rest-room. All agreed it was a horrifying and yet valuable experience. I asked them to do one thing for me: Please don’t label kids. Because we are all “gifted”, “average”, and “slow”, depending on the task at hand. They promised.”(“Teachers Don’t Want to Be Labeled”)

These “soon to be” teachers didn’t want to be labeled.  This article reminds us that students don’t want to be “labeled” either. Let us “remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”  (Luke 12:7) As we teach and serve, let us do so with a Christian attitude and love for those who we teach but in particular, let us be extra kind to those students who seem to have been labeled with a much lesser value by the world then their real worth as a son or daughter of God.




I Fall In Love All Over Again!


When I married my wife she knew of my passion for sports, in particular, Baseball. Not only had I been playing it since I could walk but I passionately followed it and was an avid fan of the New York Yankees.  She however, had no knowledge of the game or for that matter, any interest in its past history.

And so it was that the summer we married ended up being one of the most memorable in the history of the franchise and certainly one that went down in the history of the game. In the summer of 1978 the Yankees made one of the greatest comebacks in history and ended up tying the Boston Red Sox’s for the division at season’s end. A one game playoff in Boston would determine the winner of the division. I was crestfallen when I found out that I had to work at the same time the game was being televised.

In the middle of my shift at work my boss came in to tell me my wife was on the phone. When I picked up the phone I heard my wife’s excited voice blurt out, “Bucky Dent just hit a three run home run and the Yankees are winning.”  I smiled, asked her what inning it was and thanked her for the call.  When I hung up the phone I remember stopping and thinking, “What a woman!”  Why? Because I knew it meant absolutely nothing to her, but she was watching the game on TV so she could tell me about it.  As silly as it sounds, for me at the time,  that call brought to mind a self-revised scripture found in the fifteen chapter of John.

“Greater love hath no wife than this, that a woman watch a game for her husband.”

Small gestures of sacrifice and kindness go a long way in making a successful marriage. It has now been over 40 years since I heard her voice over the telephone telling me about Bucky Dent. I can still feel the excitement in her voice and the joy in her tone as she delivered to me the good news.

Now, all these years later, when they replay that historic Home Run on TV,  and I watch Bucky run the bases, he never makes it home in my mind.  As he circles the bases, somewhere between second and third he transforms into my girl, and I see her face and I hear her voice, and a smile comes to my face, because, once again I feel her electricity in the air! And I fall in love all over again with the girl that I chose to marry!

shoulder crying

Shoulders Wet With Tears


I really can’t explain it but it happened.  In 2002 my mother passed away and I thought I was handling her loss very well.  Then, one Sunday, a few weeks after my mother died, a fellow church member came up to me and gave condolences regarding my loss.  I felt tears start to swell in my eyes as I thanked him for his kindness.  Then, the flood gates opened up and I started to sob.  I mean sob right there in the middle of the chapel with all sorts of people in close proximity. As my tears flowed this kind man put his arms around me and when he did I laid my head on his shoulder and sobbed till I had nothing left. I was so embarrassed.  Yet, there I was, crying uncontrollably while being held in the arms by this good brother. He never pushed me away nor did he make me feel uncomfortable about my behavior.  In fact, I will say that it felt, at that moment, as though the Savior himself was holding me in his arms.  I have never forgotten the love and concern I felt from this man.

I have not seen this good brother for many years, as we both have since moved from the area.  But just this past summer I happened to see him at our old church building. We were both visiting. I went over to him and we hugged and caught up on each others lives. I mentioned to him about this experience. He remembered. I told him how special that experience was to me.  He humbly brushed it off as nothing.

Great are the words of an ancient prophet:

“…he said unto them: Behold…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life— Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord…” (Mosiah 18)

What a wonderful and beautiful blessing it is to have brothers and sisters of the church who are willing to bear our burdens, and who mourn with us while trying to comfort us in our darkest hours. That is the true essence of Christianity; the pure love of him who we worship.

I have had many experiences with members of Christ’s church who, like this good brother, are willing to share my burdens and offer words of encouragement when I have needed them.  My hope is that I am found to have the same, ‘pure love of Christ,’ so that when others darkest hours descend upon  them, I might also be there for them.

When the day comes and the Lord asks us if we are our brothers keepers, may we be able to say, “Why yes, we are. ” And we will know where our brothers are, because our shoulders will still be wet from their tears.


Escaping The Ranks Of Moral Insanity


“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority,” Marcus Aurelius opined, “but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

Sometimes I feel that the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to “escape” from the insanity of the immoral majority.  It seems that everywhere we turn the messages that are being communicated by society and the cultural media, are messages that are in opposition to the commandments given to us by a loving and kind Father In Heaven.

This is not something new nor is it something unexpected for our times.  From the beginning of time, the Lord has used prophets to warn the faithful and teach them how to escape the “insanity” of the immoral peddlers of our days.  What is moral insanity?  The evangelist, Charles G. Finney, (1792-1875) defined it as thus:

“Moral insanity…is will-madness. The man retains his intellectual powers unimpaired, but he sets his heart fully to evil. He refuses to yield to the demands of his conscience. He practically discards the obligations of moral responsibility. He has the powers of free moral agency, but persistently abuses them. He has a reason, which affirms obligation, but he refuses obedience to its affirmations. In this form of insanity, the reason remains unimpaired; but the heart deliberately disobeys.”

The ancient scriptures are replete with warnings of how things would be in our days; the last days.  Paul wrote:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”(2 Tim 4:3)

Paul also wrote:

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1Tim 4:1-2)

“Having itching ears”, “conscience’s seared with a hot iron” and “puffed up hearts” all seem to conjure up images of insanity to me!

Being found on the side of the majority doesn’t equate with being found on the side of the Lord. We can escape the moral insanity by following the commandments as revealed through prophets of old, and by obeying the guidance and direction given by prophets in our day.  The concepts, precepts, and directions given to us by prophets can bring sanity to our lives and hope for our futures. May we read, ponder and pray over their words. Their words were given to us so that we might avoid the consequences of sin and gain the blessings of a Christ-centered life.

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