Teach . . . Your Children Well . . .

That is a line from a Crosby Stills Nash and Young classic from the 60’s.

Its also appears in the Bible: Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

I look at today’s school walk out with an equal amount of pride, bemusement, and irritation.  This post isn’t about gun rights, or memorializing lost souls, its about what lessons are we teaching our kids.  I’m irritated that while preaching about school safety, we allow kids to roam freely in and out of the school building.  But, as a friend reminded me, its not a prison.  Kids are free to leave at anytime.  Boy times have changed!  Is anyone else old enough to remember needing a hall pass just to go to the bathroom, and being challenged by a hall monitor or teacher?   Not a prison?  Remember the guards (teachers) walking up and down between the long row of tables in the lunchroom, daring you with a glance to speak above a whisper, or to get up before it was time to be marched out to the exercise yard in rows of two.

Now, I’m told that they can’t stop the kids from leaving, but they will get an “UN-excused absence” if they do leave.  Ooooh.  That’ll learn them.  Maybe I missed that part of the school open house meeting when i was a kid.  We couldn’t even get up out of our desks before we had permission from the teacher, even if the bell had rung.  And we didn’t DARE leave the room until everyone was lined up, and quiet.

Do we even had detention anymore?

One of the worst moments of my elementary school years was the one and ONLY time I had to stay AFTER SCHOOL!!!!  Long story short, I was being harassed in music class by this girl (I was in 4th grade) and she wouldn’t stop even after I told her I would hit her if she didn’t.  She didn’t.  I did.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t hurt her. Heck its the only fight I ever won I think.  Her tears were more of surprise and outrage that I had done what I said I was going to do.  I had to stay after school.  She did too. (Serves you right Rhonda Garduno)  (editor’s note :  I do not condone hitting women.  I did it once, and did my time, haven’t done it again.)  ANYWAY,  I had to stay well past the time I was normally home.  I never ran faster in my life that afternoon in fear of what doom awaited me at home.  I burst into the house, gasping for air and apologizing to my mom for being late, who looked at the clock and said,
“Oh, are you late?  I hadn’t noticed.”

Unfortunately, my perfect crime did not go undetected.  At the next open house, my teacher made mention about me having to say after school to my parents.  I was not there.  Kids were NOT allowed to tag along at open house.  That way the parents got the whole story.  And I got the whole can of whoop-ass when they got home.

Now, in High School did I ditch a class or two..?  Actually, I ditched a whole 6 weeks of Accounting to hang out in Communications room screwing around in the TV studio (yeah, that’s where it all started).  But again, when my folks found out (those darn open houses!!!), not only did I get grounded for the same amount of time, but they almost got the Communications teacher fired!  Yeah, I was one of her favorite students after that.

Getting back to this morning . . . I don’t have a problem with kids expressing their beliefs, and standing up for what they believe in.   More power to them.  But what did they accomplish or hope to?  What was done then that couldn’t have been done before, or after school, or even during lunch? Other than miss some instruction time.  My darling daughter stayed in class, but wore some orange in solidarity   She hopes to accomplish more by writing letters to our Congressional leaders.

Which action will be more effective?  Maybe both . . maybe none.  But I like practical approach my daughter is taking.  I hope that is something I’ve taught her.