Monday, September 5, 2011

Class Clashes

When the nights get longer and the evenings cooler, we know that fall is near.  And every year at this time like clockwork the rhetoric heats up on everyone’s most dreaded topic at the dinner table, class warfare.  It is the hot discussion on all of the cable channels and the blog sites.  The arguments change slightly each year as the alleged ‘victims’ become more sophisticated with their talking points, but the core of the debate never changes.  The “Us Against Them” battle lines are drawn.

I am sympathetic to the victims of class.  Life is inherently unfair, and that is a hard lesson for most of us.  The benefits of the good life sometimes accrue to those not worthy or deserving, either because of genetics, geography, or pure luck.  Here is the harsh reality, kids – you will always live in a world with classes, and don’t expect that to ever change.  At least until you turn 18.
    
The kids don’t want to go back to class this week, and we parents know that it will be war.

It wasn’t always this way.  There was a time in the not so distant past when the beginning of a new school year was highly anticipated by our kids.  They missed their friends.  They missed the structure.  They missed their teachers.  While they could not verbalize it, I think they missed the joy of learning in general.  At some point around the 3rd or 4th grade, this na├»ve optimism takes a distinctly downward trend and their attitudes harden against the rigors of structured education.

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone

The transition from school lovers to school haters can be explained in a number of ways.  It could be peer pressure.  It’s cool to rebel.  It could be that today’s strict curriculum standards leave little time to think and reason as you prepare for SOL exams.  It could be that schools were designed in the 1950s to develop a blue collar working class population that we as a nation no longer need.  It could be that teachers are so overpaid and protected by their unions that they have no incentive to educate our little kids (THAT is sarcasm, people).  It could be that school is competing with playing outside, Facebooking, or watching TV.  I think it’s the latter.

Regardless of the reason kids complain about school, their education is important, and we parents need to be prepared to win this annual class warfare battle.  Hunker down, moms and dads.  A storm’s a comin’, and it promises to be long and loud.  Batten down the hatches.  Steel your spine.  Play to win the battles so you can win the war. 
   
I have a message for all those class warfare warriors out there under the age of 18:  Life is unfair.  Get over it and do your homework. 
 
Now, where did I put the remote?     

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