1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Dan Duff

I saw tomorrow look at me,

through little children’s eyes,

And I thought how carefully we would teach,

if we were really wise.

Children understand the concept of gifts. They know that bright package with the big bow that is placed before them on their birthday is a gift without the obligation of any repayment. They give their love with the same concept. They expect nothing in return for their gift of love.

Children are such a wonderful gift. Even though to so many, they are such a burden. Maybe I should title this piece “The low value we place on our children.” Here I go on my soapbox again. Screaming out in a small way about the injustices of the world. I think the years have given me some credibility in these matters having raised or help raise five children and now going on the 11th grandchild. I feel just surviving that process is a great accomplishment. Children wring your emotions from one extreme to another like that ship ride at the fair. It starts off gently rocking you to and fro until it gets to a point where you are at the top of the arch and suddenly you are rushed to the other end of the pendulum in a stomach churning wrench that leaves you breathless, only to do it backwards with the same intensity. One minute you are gently rocking that baby in your arms and the next you are chasing a teenager headlong in a stomach churning wrench that leaves you breathless, broke and bemoaning.

Some welcome this bundle into the world with great expectations, but a million and a half of us will abort the fetus for far less reasons that rape, incest or health of the mother. We in America have long since lost the shock of those numbers.

Some welcome this bundle into the world because it seems at the time to be the cure of all the hurt and disappointment in our life. We soon find that it does not fill the emptiness that it was supposed to. It is now compounded by this little package that demands attention 24/7.

Soon the child is put off onto a school systems that spends billions every year on education, but pays teachers such a meager wage that many qualify for food stamps. Many school systems are now so laden with upper level bureaucrats that 3/4 of the salaries are being paid to non teaching personnel. While some district superintendents make two hundred thousand dollars a year, a lot of teachers are lucky to make ten percent of that. Most parents are happy that schools are willing to baby sit their children for this meager sum, yet blame them for all the ills of society when junior fails to learn.

I don’t think I would be giving away trade secrets if I told you the number of teachers who will stand in front of twenty five to thirty five children this fall and attempt to teach them something that they themselves know little or nothing about. I don’t think you would be alarmed if I told you that some thirty percent of the teaching force are people who cannot pass the basic test for receiving a teaching certificate. I don’t think you would jump in your car and go screaming into the night, if I told you there are a lot of so called temporary teachers who will be working full time this fall with college degrees in subjects that have nothing to do with education.

While these people may be able and willing, they in effect are learning at the same time as their students. There are so many classroom being built each year and so many people retiring that Principals are putting people into the classrooms just to plug holes in the workforce.

They could be the best teachers in the world but the courts have made it impossible to teach anything other than the strict curriculum mandated by the state. For teachers to try to instill values into our children is almost against the law. If they try to put discipline to work in the classroom, they have class action law suits brought against them. If they try to defend themselves when students attack them, they are charged with assault.

The real job of teaching has fallen back on the parents. We are going to have to roll up our sleeves and take on the task of seeing to the education of our children. The real values and discipline will have to be done at home. This is where it should be taught. We must now look at our home life and collect our minds and material and set about seeing the things not taught in schools are taught at home. To do so, we have some questions that must be answered.

Are we teaching them to do as we do or do as we say? If we don’t set boundaries on ourselves, how can we expect the children to live within boundaries we set for them. We are the example the children look to as their model for development. If a parent is not playing by the rules, the children know it and will more than likely call us on it.

Are we teaching them out of love and commitment or are we the reluctant tutor who will teach only as a last resort?

Are we teaching them to be responsible, valuable, productive adults, so that later they can teach their children the same things?

Children are little people and their brain is open and receptive to every sound and gesture we make. When we make a mistake we should tell the children and ask their forgiveness. After all wouldn’t we expect the same from the children? Children understand forgiveness. When they do something that does not please us, they are fierce in obtaining our forgiveness before they move on. Should we not have the same consideration for them?

When we look at our children, are we looking at our teachings or the teachings of others? It is easy to spot. Are they reflecting the values you have taught them or what has been instilled by others whom we have given authority? Parents should teach like there is no school house. We should be raising our children to be educators, not in schools but of their children. The minds of children are moldable and pliable. Children believe us when we tell them something. They have complete trust in us. They have every confidence that we will teach them the right things in life. After all, is this not our God given responsibility?

Someone is teaching your children. Last year Harry Potter taught over four million.

Someone is training your child ! We can only pray that the footprints they follow are ours. Watch your step.

Our children are the future.