Young people

MarcusI took my truck to the dealer for routine service, and I accepted a shuttle ride back home. The other passenger teaches school. She had a lot to say about the experience.

She said she loves to teach, but the circumstances in which she teaches discourage her tremendously from continuing in the field. The challenges come from the educational system itself, from the students, and from their parents.

The students, she said, have no appetite for learning. They say when they need a fact they will Google it. They are not aware that there is more to learning than facts.

The school system is interested primarily in good test scores. High scores validate the alleged effectiveness of the people of rank within the system. Emphasizing facts as a learning priority supports the powers that be in achieving the appearance of success.

Parents have largely relinquished their responsibility in two ways. The most obvious is that young students spend more time with their electronic gadgets than they do in thoughtful encounters with people. The other is that parents want to be their child’s friend, and discipline and rigor are abandoned in an effort to be popular.

In other news, I photographed a wedding last weekend as a favor to the bride. The groom was 19 years old, and he and his new wife have a two-year-old son. Several things caught my attention. One of them was the number of young people in the wedding party who smoked. Some of them held cigarettes during the formal photo taking.

Another was the use of the F word in front of children. I asked one of the men about this, and he basically said it was no big deal.

A third thing was the level of violence in the rough housing among the males before the ceremony. They operated in a frame of reference like nothing I had ever seen.

Finally, the bride and groom chose an officiate who had some behavior problems, and he demonstrated them on their wedding day.

I know many young men who I admire tremendously. Their virtues were cultivated by wise and caring parents. They were encouraged by an educational system that communicated something about the pleasures of learning.

We have to make a thoughtful choice about the future we want for young people. This is no time for people my age to sit in their rocking chairs.

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