That makes no sense

In the April 18, 2015 issue of WORLD Magazine Andree Seu Peterson had a column entitled “A class about nothing” which was subtitled “Psychology professor offers intensive case studies of the imaginary.” The premise of her column was the absurdity of a Rutgers University professor “teach[ing] psychology to medical students through reruns of Seinfeld. They analyze Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine for greater insight into narcissism, obsessive-compulsion, and inability to forge meaningful relationships.” Later, Peterson writes, “The Rutgers professor is not merely adducing illustrations; he is studying the episodes like Rommel studying a map of North Africa. He has created a database of every Seinfeld episode and its teaching points, and he assigns two episodes a week.” This may seem silly to some people, and the merits of studying a 1990s sitcom that poked fun at itself for being a show about nothing could surely be debated. Given some of the other college and university course offerings I have heard of, though, this would not, in and of itself, be sufficient fodder for an entire column (or blog post) in my opinion. Peterson apparently did not think so either, because she extrapolated on her shock at the course content to include an attack on the possibilities of learning anything from fiction.

That probably sounds extreme, and I think so too–so I will let Peterson speak for herself. “Does anybody besides me have a problem with this?” she writes. “Is it gauche to point out that Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine are sitcom characters? These are not real people. They are made up. They have no true existence. They have no deep-seated motivations, no real histories, no actual upbringings, no formative years.” This is all true, of course. However, the implication that because these four sitcom characters are not real people we cannot learn anything from the show is ludicrous. Peterson has admitted in other columns that she does not watch television–which is certainly fine–so perhaps she has a grudge toward the medium itself that is tainting her position on the teaching power of fiction–in whatever form it may appear. After all, if the fact that Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine “are not real people” means that we cannot learn anything from watching them it would necessarily be true that we cannot learn anything from reading Robinson Crusoe, The Scarlet Letter or any other literary work of fiction. Nor could we learn anything from watching movies that are not based on fact. Theatrical productions resulting a writer’s creative mind would be out, too.

In fact, if Peterson’s point is carried to its extreme, we could learn nothing from the parables of Jesus. There are myriad lessons to be gleaned from the story of the prodigal son or the parable of the sower or the parable of the ten virgins, but guess what? The prodigal son, the sower and the ten virgins were not real people. They had no more true existence, deep-seated motivations, histories or upbringings than Jerry and his pals do. Stories, however, communicate powerfully. My favorite professor in college stressed that history is a narrative. I agree, and I enjoy history because I know it is a story, not just names and dates and places. Racial prejudice comes alive far more in fictional accounts than in reading newspaper accounts of the actions of Klan members and good ol’ boys down south who did everything they could to prevent integration and equal rights for African Americans. I could elaborate at length on the merits of literature and the teachable moments that are created by good fiction, but I think you probably already recognize that.

Peterson elaborates, saying that the closest thing she can think of in the Bible to a professor teaching psychology through the use of Seinfeld episodes is the “dim-witted idol-maker: ‘He cuts down cedars. … He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. … And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”‘ (Isaiah 44:14-17). In a bizarre demonstration of self-delusion, he makes a like–then believes it.” Sadly, Peterson is so far off-base here that it is not even funny. The “dim-witted idol-maker” is taking an inanimate object and ascribing to it knowledge, wisdom and power that it certainly does not have because he just created it out of the same material that he is using for fire wood. To suggest that believing that a god-made-from-logs is the same thing as believing that it is possible to learn life lessons from works of fiction boggles my mind. It may well be one of the most foolish things I have heard in a very long time.

“The Bible is different,” Peterson writes. “Cain, Lot, and Absolom are real people, with real childhoods and real thought processes.” True, those examples are. As already mentioned above, however, the Bible also teaches us with fictional people. “It makes no sense to try to find motives in cardboard facsimiles,” Peterson concludes. This is simply not true. The creative arts–whether literature, sitcoms, feature-length films, plays, visual art such as painting and sculpture–can and do teach us. In fact, the danger is not in suggesting that there are lessons to be learned therein but rather in suggesting that they are harmless and void of influence. It is when we stop realizing that the television shows we watch, the books we read and the movies we view have the power to teach and to influence that we are walking straight into a trap. Such a position grows out of a deep lack of understanding that has potentially life-changing consequences. That is what makes no sense.

“The fragrance of spiritual devoutness”

George Müller died in 1898. Arthur Pierson died in 1911. Pierson wrote a biography of Müller, entitled George Müller of Bristol, an excellent book. In the book he shared a concern about the education of children of Christian parents. More than one hundred years later that concern has proven to be incredibly prescient. Here is what Pierson wrote…

Many Christian parents have made the fatal mistake of entrusting their children’s education to those whose gifts were wholly intellectual and not spiritual, and who have misled the young pupils entrusted in their care into an irreligious or infidel life, or, at best, a career of mere intellectualism and worldly ambition. In not a few instances, all the influences of a pious home have been counteracted by the atmosphere of a school which, if not godless, has been without the fragrance of spiritual devoutness and consecration which is indispensable to the true training of impressionable children during the plastic years when character is forming for eternity.

Solomon write, in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “there is nothing new under the sun.” That is certainly true in this instance. Pierson could easily have written that rebuke yesterday and it would have been just as accurate, if not more so, as when he wrote it.

It is not my intention here to attack Christian parents who send their children to public schools, but it is my intention to offer a word of caution. It is my hope that perhaps those parents will take time to reflect on the decisions they have made regarding the education of their children and perhaps prompt them to reconsider.

I know that there are some very good public schools in the United States, schools that are safe, staffed by competent and even caring individuals and that provide students with a top-notch academic education. There are certainly public schools with fantastic facilities. Despite those perks, there are real problems with even the very best public schools. It simply is not possible for an educational setting to be morally neutral or for any teacher to teach in a morally neutral fashion. Every person (and therefore every teacher) has a worldview. Every public school has rules which prevent the inclusion of some things and require the inclusion of others. Often those things which are excluded are the very things Christian parents should desire for their children while those things which are included are the very things Christian parents would likely desire that their students not be exposed to or influenced by.

Quite simply, there is not–and in the current climate of the United States cannot be–a public school that contains “the fragrance of spiritual devoutness and consecration which is indispensable to the true training of impressionable children during the plastic years when character is forming for eternity.” Parents need to carefully and prayerfully consider the atmosphere and environment in which they are placing their children. Between kindergarten and high school graduation a student will spend some fifteen thousand hours in school. That’s nearly two full years of life if the child were in school 24/7.

The character of children is being formed for eternity and in many instances that character is firmly established by the time the child leaves home. What influences are shaping the character of your child?

“…the answer is increasingly no.”

Al Mohler begins his article “Is Public School An Option?” with this questions and statement: “Should Christian parents send their children to the public schools? This question has emerged as one of the most controversial debates of our times.” As I suggested in the previous post, I would have said “sure” if asked this question anytime prior to the early part of this century, and that was even after I had spent three years teaching in a Christian school. I felt that I had turned out just fine having attended public schools my whole life and, frankly, what I had heard and seen of some homeschooling and Christian school education made me cringe. I was convinced that public school education was usually more rigorous and better prepared students to be lifelong learners. Bottom line, I thought public school education was more legitimate.

Mohler writes, “Until fairly recently, exceptions to this rule [the expectation that parents would send their children to public schools] have been seen as profoundly un-democratic and practically un-American. Homeschoolers were seen as marginal eccentrics, Catholics were seen as hopelessly sectarian, and those who sent their children to private schools were seen as elitist snobs.” Perhaps not exactly, but that fit my way of thinking pretty well.

Of course, as Mohler also points out, public education in America was under the oversight and influence of parents and the local community for hundreds of years; “public schools were public in the sense that they were community schools maintained for and by the citizens of a community.” That way of thinking has certainly changed, and beginning with John Dewey the influence of the parents and local community members on the curriculum and policies of the local schools has significantly diminished.

As Mohler states, “decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court secularized schools in a way that separated the schools from their communities and families.” Of course I am not old enough to remember when there was prayer and Bible reading in school, so that removal happened before I came along. And in that small Midwestern town where I went to high school there was still release time once a week when students could leave the public school during the school day and go for an hour to the church of their choice for “religious instruction.” Students who did not wish to go could stay at school for a study hall. My public high school choir performed their year-end concert in a church and the performances included doctrinally-sound Christian hymns like “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” So maybe my experience had not been the norm… And maybe the decreasing influence of the local community had not become the reality in the Midwest yet by the time I graduated high school.

What eventually changed my mind about public schools as a viable option and the legitimacy of homeschooling and Christian schools was the realization that schools were not ideologically neutral, which I had deluded myself into thinking they could be. Mohler writes, “The ideological revolution has been even more damaging than the political change. Those who set educational policy are now overwhelmingly committed to a radically naturalistic and evolutionistic worldview that sees the schools as engines of social revolution. The classrooms are being transformed rapidly into laboratories for ideological experimentation and indoctrination.” If I may be so bold I would disagree with Mohler on that last part, because I am now convinced that classrooms have not been transformed into “laboratories for…indoctrination” but rather always have been. “Indoctrination” means “the act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view.” Public schools have always done that because it is impossible to teach without doing it. Christian schools do it, too; in fact, that is the whole reason most parents who send their children to Christian schools do so!

Am I suggesting that it is not possible to take a non-ideological position on any subject or that a teacher cannot impartially present information to students? No; that can be done–though it often takes real intentionality to do. What I am suggesting is that every teacher has a belief system, a worldview, that influences their way of thinking about every subject, and that worldview comes through in their teaching.

What has happened is that the right and wrong that public schools used to teach have become various versions of right and debate over wrong because everything is relative. What has happened to the public schools is the removal of certainty and absolutes and facts and the substitution of questioning and relativism and opinion. This is what has led to the ridiculous stories we hear and read about graphic sex ed classes, infringement of student rights to gather or pray or express a minority viewpoint and the support by public education leaders for teaching an acceptance and even and embrace of sinful behavior.

What caused me to change my mind about public schools, and to pretty well determine that my own children will never attend a public school, was the realization that what the schools teach–even the decent ones–is almost always taught from a perspective and toward and end that is completely at odds with what I believe and what I want my children to believe; specifically, what the Bible says. Local control of public schools is increasingly rare. There is more local (and school-level) control than many of the loudest conservative voices claim there is, but it is not enough. The tidal wave of mental manipulation and cconvictionless character has crashed into the public school system and as the water settles the ruins are increasingly visible.

Paula Bolyard, blogging for PJ Lifestyle, has responded to Mohler’s article, too. She correctly writes, “This is one of the most difficult questions a Christian family must wrestle with as school curriculum and speech and behavior codes increasingly stand in opposition to Christian teachings.” I am not by any means attempting to make light of this issue or suggest that it is an easy decision. There are people I know well and respect (indeed, people I am related to) who have chosen to send their children to public schools, and I am not sitting in judgment of them. I personally think that many of their reasons are flawed, but that does not mean they do not hold them sincerely. I will address some of these arguments in a future post.

I think what it comes down to is this assertion by Bolyard: “The stakes are very high. Consider the effects of thirty or more hours a week in a government school where you have no control over what your children are taught — where your local teachers have little or no control over the content of their lessons. Where the federal bureaucrats — many of whom have antipathy toward your Christian values — dictate what your children learn, all day long. How much time are you willing to invest in debriefing your children?” That’s just it. Students will spend some fifteen thousand hours of their lives–their most formative years–in school. Does it make any sense for me to knowingly and willingly place my children for that length of time into an environment that I cannot control and that I increasingly am in opposition to? I don’t think so. If I do, I will have to deal with these candid questions Bolyard asks: “How will you convince them that you are the authority on any given subject — that what you’re teaching them is right — and not their teachers? Is it fair to put a young child in the position of choosing between what their teacher is telling them and what their parents and Sunday school teachers say?”

Nearing the end of his article Mohler asks and answers the question that is the basis for the entire article. “Is public school an option? For Christians who take the Christian worldview seriously and who understand the issues at stake, the answer is increasingly no.” I absolutely agree. In fact, I may well have left the word “increasingly.”

The Safest Poison?

I have mentioned here before that I am part of an online community of Christian educators and in the forums provided through that community there are many discussions on a wide range of topics of interest and concern to Christian educators. Not too long ago there was a discussion about science textbooks for high school science classes–how to select the best books, thoughts on the offerings of specific publishers, etc.

One of the comments was made by a school administrator who quoted his school’s biology teacher. Part of his comment was this statement: “What I found was that the [publisher’s name] was a good curriculum; however, my concern was with the student text generating student interest. There seemed to be a lot of text compared to pictures, models, graphics, and diagrams.” I found this statement troubling for a couple of reasons. First, we are talking about textbooks for a high school science class, not an elementary school class. By the time they reach high school students need to have learned how to learn, and they need to be beyond the stage when their interest in and attentiveness to a text is driven primarily by the colorful pictures and graphics a book may contain. There is a place for graphics, illustrations, models, etc., I do not dispute that, but selecting a textbook because it has the best graphics–or, on the contrary, excluding a textbook because it does not have great graphics–is a dangerous basis on which to make a decision, not to mention silly one. One of the best series of history books I have ever seen is the four-volume The Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer, and those books contain no photos. Whatever maps or illustrations are included are in black and white, yet students enjoy the books because they are well-written and tell the narrative story of history.

The second comment made by the quoted biology teacher was, unfortunately, exponentially more troubling than the first. He explained that their school eventually chose a textbook from a secular publisher, and hailed the wonderful extras that came with the adoption of that book, including access to online resources. Then he made this statement: “Choosing this secular curriculum has been a blessing because my class is very captivated and ‘in love’ with biology. It was the least infiltrated with evolution compared to other secular publishers.”

Now I need to state here and now that I am not one who holds rigidly to the position that Christian schools should only utilize textbooks and resources from Christian publishers. My philosophy has always been that the textbook that will best meet the needs of the students is the one that should be used, and that it is the responsibility of the teacher, regardless of the textbook used, to ensure that courses incorporate a biblical worldview. And I have not seen the specific textbook in question, so I cannot definitively state that it is a “bad” book or that it should not have been selected.

What I can say with confidence, though, is that the very suggestion that a book is “okay” because it is “the least infiltrated” with evolution or any other theory or position that is counter to Scripture is highly troubling. Does the individual in question think that his assertion is even possible? A textbook is either infiltrated with evolution or it is not. A person either has a biblical worldview or they do not. A person is either for the Lord or he is not. There is no middle ground. And infiltrated, by the way, does not mean that the book contains the theory of evolution. Every good biology textbook should include the theory of evolution, since part of effectively teaching students is exposing them to the various theories that exist and equipping them to counter those that are in opposition to Scripture. No, infiltrated means that the textbook’s author’s wrote the book with an evolutionary worldview. It means that they believe that human beings evolved from apes, and apes evolved from something else, and on down the line to the primordial ooze or whatever building blocks man supposedly evolved eventually from. It means that the book’s author’s deny that God spoke the world into existence.

That has implications that are vast, and will touch every page of that textbook, despite the biology teacher’s assertion that “Evolution references were primarily localized in the evolution unit.” Baloney. The evolution references may be localized, but the idea of evolution, the belief in evolution, and the implications of evolution are not localized; they cannot be localized. I would certainly hope that a biology teacher at a Christian school would not say that the creationist viewpoint is localized to the chapter on origins in Christian textbooks, or that his own creationist viewpoint is localized to his teaching about origins. I would hope that his viewpoint infiltrates (to use his word) every lesson he teaches.

With that in mind, the suggestion that the book “least infiltrated with evolution” is a good and safe choice is really not much different than saying that the student’s can drink the beer with the lowest alcohol content, smoke the cigarettes with the lowest nicotine content, watch the movies with the lowest number of obscenities or least amount of nudity, use the drugs with the lowest likelihood of addiction, and play Russian roulette with the gun with the fewest number of bullets. Those suggestions are absurd, I know. But the textbook least infiltrated by evolution is not really any different…because there is no amount of poison that is safe.

The Impact of Worldview on Education

The word “worldview” is one that gets used a lot these days. It has become a buzz word of sorts over the past five to ten years, and to be honest I am not sure that everyone who uses the word has exactly the same definition in mind. When I talk about worldview I am talking about the lens through which a person sees the world and interprets events. A biblical worldview, then, means seeing the world through the lens of Scripture–interpreting events, past and present, with an understanding of what God has revealed in His Word.

The truth is, everyone has a worldview. I have blogged about what worldview means in an earlier entry, so I will not go into a lot of detail on it now other than to restate that there is no such thing as a completely neutral worldview. It simply is not possible to be completely neutral. The world will suggest that it is possible, and will even try to enforce neutrality on society, particularly public schools. The reality, though, is that in its effort to be neutral the world takes a position. Think about it, particularly in terms of public education. To say that prayer cannot occur in schools, that teachers cannot teach creation, etc., is not a neutral position but an anti-Christian, anti-God position. To be completely neutral on the topic of evolution versus creation a school would have to teach Darwin’s position, the Bible’s position, and several other positions in between, and do it in such a way that simply presented each position without trying to persuade students which idea was correct. That doesn’t happen, though. And in public schools where teachers have tried to teach both sides of the argument it has provoked a fierce and quick response.

I should insert here that I attended public schools for my entire life. I also attended a non-Christian college. Even after I began my teaching career in a Christian school I was not of the conviction that Christian parents should send their children to Christian schools. After all, I reasoned, I went to public schools, and I ended up okay. In the years since, however, I have become more and more convinced that public schools are a dangerous place for students to go. And I don’t mean physically dangerous, although sometimes that too is true. Rather, I mean psychologically, spiritually and intellectually dangerous.

I have good friends who disagree with me on this subject. They will suggest that the realities of the world are going to confront their children eventually, and they would prefer that their children be exposed to it while they are still at home and they can help to train their children to identify the errors of worldly ideas and defend biblical truth. Others will suggest that their children need to be ambassadors for the Lord, to be lights in the public school environment. I think that sincere people can disagree on these issues, and I am not going to say that it is a sin for Christian parents to send their children to public schools. I believe that each family has the God-given responsibility to provide for their children’s instruction, and that they are accountable to God for the decision that they make, not to me. If a family truly believes that God is leading them to send their children to public school, I need to respect that decision. Of course, in some instances, a family may not be able to afford a Christian school, or may not be geographically close enough to one to enroll their children there, and homeschooling may not be an option, either. Whatever the reasons, I think that Christian parents can send their children to public school and not necessarily be outside the will of God.

At the same time, however, I believe that if it is at all possible for a family to homeschool their children or to send them to Christian school that that is by far the better choice. Children are impressionable, and what they learn during their school-age years will necessarily shape their ideas about many subjects. I cannot think of any other endeavor in which a family would knowingly send their children to a place of instruction that they know is contrary to what they want their child to learn and believe. For example, if a family wants their child to learn to play the piano, they would not send the child to a teacher that they knew did not teach piano effectively and then re-teach the child at home. A parent who is experienced and knowledgeable about basketball or ballet will not send their child to a teacher with whom they disagree about technique and skill and then teach their child what they believe is the right way when they get back home. No; such a parent would either teach the child at home from the get-go or would ensure that their child went to a teacher who they were confident would teach their child correctly.

And Christian parents seem to recognize this in the area of spiritual development; I don’t know any Christian family who sends their children to a Muslim mosque or to a Kingdom Hall or to a Mormon temple for religious instruction and then teaches them what they believe after they get home. In fact, I am confident that if this idea was suggested to them most Christian parents would say that it is a ridiculous idea. Yet, many of those same parents see no harm in allowing their children to spend seven or eight hours a day, five days a week, thirty-six weeks a year in a school that undermines and distorts the very biblical truth that they want their children to learn and believe and embrace as their own.

Christians absolutely have a responsibility to be light and salt in a sinful world. But it is important that Christians are properly trained and equipped to handle that responsibility before being sent to do it. I once heard Cal Thomas say that no country has eight year old ambassadors, so why should we think that an eight year old Christian is adequately prepared to represent Christ in a hostile world? Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Until a believer is strong enough to know how to identify and defend against the world’s influences it is likely that their salt will lose its taste. Perhaps intentionally–the individual may knowingly reject the truth–perhaps unintentionally–the individual may simply be persuaded that false teaching is true because they are not knowledgeable enough about the truth to know otherwise.

Bottom line, God has given parents the responsibility to teach and train their children–not the state. The school and the church should be a part of that training, but can never replace the parent. Ideally, the parent, school and church are all in one accord and can support and reinforce each other–three legs of the same stool, or three strands of the same cord. And the reality is, this simply cannot occur in a public school. Public schools do not support and reinforce biblical truth. I know many of us long for the days when many public schools did do this, but we aren’t going to return to those days. So parents must prayerfully consider how to fulfill their God-given responsibility to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

It’s Not Okay

Last time I ended with this statement: “The question is simply what kind of education to provide, where and how to provide it.”  The discussion of “unschooling” led me to point out that there really is not anyone–at least not anyone who is mentally competent, I guess–who really believes that a child should be allowed to do whatever he or she wants.  After all, this could easily lead to very dangerous behavior.  I may want to allow my child to learn about electricity when he decides he is interested, but I also, as his parent, have the responsibility to protect him from what he does not know.  I would not allow him to stick a fork into an electrical outlet in order to learn about electricity.  Instead, because I know something that he does not know, and the information that I possess and he does not could seriously affect his health, I will protect him from his ignorance and educate him about the dangers of inserting a fork into an outlet.  So, in this instance, the answer to the question would be to provide the education in a very direct, firm and proactive manner, probably at home, and probably as soon as my son is old enough and inquisitive enough to consider sticking a fork–or any other object–into an electrical outlet.

Most parents who are supportive of the idea of unschooling would, of course, agree with the points I made about not allowing children to literally do whatever they want.  I stretched the point to its logical conclusion in order to emphasize that words and ideas have consequences, and it is dangerous to use words like “whatever” casually.  At the same time, many of those parents likely do feel that their child(ren) should be able to explore academic subjects according to their own interest, at their own pace, and for the duration of their own choosing.

Even this, though, is contrary to biblical instruction, I believe.  Perhaps the most well-known instruction in Scripture for parents is Proverbs 22:6, which reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (ESV).  I have heard, as you probably have, several different interpretations of what this verse means.  Probably the most common is the suggestion that the instruction to “train up” means, in the original language, “to create a taste for.”  It is the idea of placing a small amount of something on the palate of a baby’s mouth to cause the child to want it.  By instilling the taste for what is right and true the parent will train up the child.  Dr. Bill Rice III has suggested that the verse refers to the same principle as aiming and shooting an arrow–parents have the responsibility to aim the arrow at the right target, to pull the bow string back with the appropriate amount of force, etc., in order to ensure that the arrow hits the target.  Either way, what these interpretations have in common is the conviction that there is, in fact, a difference between right and wrong, wholesome and unwholesome, righteous and worldly, and it is the God-given responsibility of the parent to set the child on the right path. 

Another oft-cited passage that directs parents in their responsibility to educate their children is found in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, which reads, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).  This passage doesn’t leave room for varying interpretations; it is clearly God commanding parents to teach His statutes and laws to their children.  This passage also makes it abundantly clear that this is not a one-and-done kind of responsibility; parents cannot just teach these to their children once.  Neither can they just ensure that their children get to church every week and trust that this will meet the requirement.  No, God instructs parents to teach their children diligently (meaning with intent and persistence), and to do it all the time–at home and while out, while walking, while resting, and while working.

Neither the verse in Proverbs or the passage in Deuteronomy leave room for parents to let children do their own thing.  In fact, Scripture also makes it clear, in many passages, that each and every human being has a sin nature, and it is not mankind’s natural desire to love, please or honor God.  Accordingly, letting children do their own thing is a clear and less-offensive way of suggesting that it’s okay for parents to let their children explore their own sinful tendencies.

I have (I think) sufficiently explained why it is not okay for parents to abandon their children’s education to the wish and whim of the children.  But that still leaves plenty of room for discussion about exactly what kind of education children should receive.  Specifically, it raises the question of worldview.  And that will be addressed next time.