Berry: Too busy for my child’s freedomWritten by Thomas Berry | | email@example.com
A friend of mine reprimanded his teenage daughter for failing to correctly answer a question about when the Declaration of Independence was signed. He then launched into a rant worthy of the stereotypical conservative talk show host about the failures of the local school district to properly teach American history and civics.
When he ran out of steam, I suggested that he take responsibility for filling this obvious void in his daughter’s schooling, and for holding the school board responsible for this omission. He responded with another tirade, this time about how he doesn’t have time to do the teachers’ jobs for them, especially since he’s paying them to do the work, because he works so hard at his job.
The problem here is not a lack of time, but a failure to prioritize. OK, my friend works hard. So do I. But he also spends a lot of time unwinding from his work by playing his favorite electronic games, where others at least make an effort to remedy a major problem.
The daughter is very intelligent, and easily masters anything to which she chooses to apply her mind. But, lamentably, beyond the handful of courses she does enjoy such as science, her passion has been limited mostly to boys and the fads of pop culture. She clearly has no interest in either history or civics, and neither the school nor her father are doing anything to change that, even though such knowledge will be vital to her ability to function as an intelligent voter.
The problem is three-fold. The school district fails to teach history or civics with any semblance of accuracy, completeness or interest-inducing passion; the student has no interest in them; and the father gives his recreation a higher priority than seeing that this educational need is filled.
A neighborhood Independence Day party concluded with a fireworks show. My youngest grandson was engrossed; even though he’s too young to understand the meaning of the lights and sounds, he laughed and clapped while I held him in my lap. As we watched, I offered a silent prayer that his and all following generations would know greater freedom and prosperity than has mine.
Yes, many of us are quite busy, and those of us who are often forget to give thanks that we are fortunate enough to even have jobs. But if we choose, like my friend, to make ourselves too busy to see that our children are properly educated in the history and civics that are the foundation of their future liberty, as long as the problem personified by my friend and his daughter continues, my prayer over my grandson will likely not be answered favorably.
Thomas Berry, for the Children of Liberty, www.meetup.com/The-children-of-liberty