Monday, February 4, 2013

Along with Learning, Let's Measure Love!

I hail from Mark Twain country. Thus, a little satire for this week's posting.

With Valentine’s Day nearing, my family just took its annual love survey.  

Using a privately-run, publicly-funded love rating system--my family members and I rate our love for one another using a scale of 1 to 5. While the surveys are done individually and anonymously, the answers are compiled collectively and the results are shared publicly.

In a spirit of transparency, I am proud to report that the family love meter reading comes in this year at an impressive 4.37. This is a rebound from last year’s dip to 4.28, but short of our all-time love meter high of 4.76 in 2011.

Three of six family members showed improvement. The new grandson broke in at an unprecedented, perfect score of 5.0 on the love meter. The two that did not improve only went down slightly at .09 and .12. The eldest child improved the most at .97. Mom and dad made love meter gains of .41  and .11, respectively.

Why, you may ask, do we go through this annual ritual and analysis of our family love? Of course, who better to turn to in matters of love than business-minded reformers. The data meisters profess that we must measure what we value. In our family, we value love, so--hence--the love meter matters. 

Without the love meter, our devotion would surely wane. In this modern era of accountability, we cannot just presume we love one another or that family love is happening naturally. Believing love is beyond measure is nonsensical in the love reform movement. We must ignore our family as a social construct and look at this love unit through the lens of MBAs. We must provide evidence of our love in statistical ways.

Analysis of our love stats helps us develop ways to keep improving our ratings. For instance, this past week, I ensured growth in my love meter rating by sending my wife and kids some gift cards before the administering of the survey. I think this did the trick and masked my Walker-related stress.

While we scored well this year, we will have much meter-manipulation work for next year. The grandson’s perfect score artificially inflated our family love rating this year and will cause a strain in maintaining our overall scores in coming years, especially as he approaches the terrible twos. Also, the great teenager-tweener war is waging and dragging down the family love score.

Consequently, my wife and I have considered sending one of the kids to the child-bribing grandparents next year around survey time. Yeah, yeah--we know such collusion might not give us an accurate reading of our family’s love, but the stakes are high and the scores matter most (see Campbell’s Law) in showing our family’s love.

Never mind that the love meter system does not pass basic validity and reliability standards--the scores are to be made public as politicians demand we show the extent of our love in graphs and charts.

According to the plutocrats, competition further nurtures family love. Therefore, our scores--in free market fashion--are compared to others using the love meter rating system. On the upside, if we race to the top of the love meter--the politicalprenuers promise a family trip to the Bahamas. Who says you can’t buy love? 

On the downside, if our love scores drop, we must submit a family plan of love recovery. If this plan doesn’t result in improved love scores, we are subjected to intensive family therapy at a private counseling agency. Sensibly, if we fail to grow our love rating following therapy, our family will be busted up for our own good.

I am not complaining about this. After all, we follow a "no excuses" policy--regardless of financial and/or emotional stress--in maintaining a high standard of family love.
This is a tough love policy consistent with America's meritocracy ideals. Critics of this system should stifle their critical thinking or move to China!

We have to get a quick handle on this family love thing as more accountability is headed our way. The same companies running the family love meter are promising new-fangled instruments for measuring previously-thought-measureless things--like learning, teaching, leadership, and more.

Not so long ago, we used to handle (what we thought were) intangibles--like love, faith, hope, learning, passion, teaching, and leadership--with the utmost care. Now we know better. We must proceed with all due haste in quantifying all things of worth. For if you do not measure something, it has no worth.


  1. Uh Oh. Our household scored in a lower percentile on the love-meter this year. Probably my negligence to not send out X-mas cards this year factored in.

    And those kids -I lectured them to eat right, get good night sleeps and do a lot of arse-kissing because the love-test was coming up. Obviously they paid me no mind.

    Oh well, I guess I will await the Love-choice initiative to pass - where govt will subsidize us to hire surrogate parents, and prostitutes for my spouse and I.

  2. That was brilliant and hilarious. I needed that.

  3. I do not think this instrument is either reliable or valid for a 77-year old celibate. We need to produce an instrument that is more appropriate for such a population. However, we may not be able to get the work done during this fiscal year, especially since our staff has been cut by 89%.

  4. Legend! The best education blog I've ever read (and trust me, I've read a fair few...)

  5. Truly enjoyed reading this and following the links. Hmmm.... wonder if I would love more if I got paid more...

  6. I think that you are short sighted. Why stop with just love? If your want to be really innovative and serious, you should extend the conversation to more areas of life!

  7. I love this! I really, really do! And, I am sharing at Vivian's Love Letters on Facebook.

  8. This passage sounded familiar: "Why, you may ask, do we go through this annual ritual and analysis of our family love? ..... The data meisters profess that we must measure what we value. In our family, we value love, so--hence--the love meter matters."

    We must measure what we value! When I first heard that in a CRCSD inservice meeting I laughed out loud, and then found out they were serious.

  9. Hey, if it's good enough for Bill Gates, it should be good enough for the rest of us. He's so rich, he must be smart. He says measure leads to improvement, so we measure to improve.

    Another wise(r?) person said: You can't make a pig fat by weighing it.