Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Monday, May 10, 2010

Educating the Future

There has been much talk lately about the educational system in our state and in our country. Politicians want to cut funding to save money; teachers want to increase funding to benefit the students. Legislatures have kept teacher salaries at a zero-increase level for several years now. State and federal boards have increased graduation requirements to ensure that our students are prepared to face a globally competitive arena. None of this is doing any good. And I’ll tell you why.

Our country is suffering from a famine. This is not a famine where rain refuses to fall or where agricultural crops suffer. It is a famine of morality and discipline. Our entertainment industry (in the name of overcoming “stodgy” out-dated beliefs) is in the process of “liberating” our kids. Unfortunately, what they are liberating them from is a system of morals that until now has kept our society safe.

Is it any wonder teen pregnancy is on the rise? Teens are taught that if they haven’t had sex by the time they leave high school, there must be something wrong with them. More adolescents are experimenting with sex, and are doing it at younger ages than ever before. And age boundaries that used to be taboo are now nonexistent. And to top it off, with current trends and limitless technology, students have opened up new avenues of sexual behavior. “Sexting” is only one of the newest forms of child pornography and abuse.

Teenage girls and boys are being bombarded with images of models that are as impossible to compete with as they are to ignore. What they don’t understand is that there is no way they could ever look like those models, since owing to more technology, even the models don’t look like the photos. And the result is a nation of confused youth who are attacking their own bodies with anorexia, plastic surgery, tattoos, piercings, mutilation, and other hosts of means with the intent of making them look more like the inhuman icons they see in advertisements.

We also have a world culture where smoking is accepted as not only normal, but desirable in some cases. Smoking kills more people annually than most illegal means combined, yet we do nothing to stem the tide. And what does this “teach” our kids? It teaches that as long as a buck can be made from something, then it doesn’t matter. Is it any wonder so many of them turn to drugs? Or other crimes?

So what do we need? Do we need more graduation requirements? Do we need to study more math and science in school? After all, don’t the Asian countries have wonderful math and science students? It makes sense. If we want to compete, what we need is to teach more of what makes students from other countries better. I don’t believe that is the answer.

What we need to teach is not more math, science, literature, or even arts. What we need to teach is self-discipline and moral values. What we need to do is quit blaming education and start focusing on the home. Do you know why so many kids fail at math or science in school? It isn’t because the teachers are doing a bad job, it’s because the parents are. Too many parents today are indulgent, permissive, and lacking in their own self-discipline. It would only be reasonable to infer that their kids will be lazy, undisciplined, and unprepared to learn.

When parents start truly taking a part in their child’s education, amazing things happen. Teachers have fewer discipline problems with their classes, grades improve, and better learning occurs. When both mom and dad are present and aware and alert to what is going on in their kids’ lives, many of the other problems just go away.

But we are living in a society where parental obligations are not being met. In some instances, selfishness leads to divorce. In others, low moral standards lead to teen pregnancy and a single parent family. In other cases, perhaps dad works too much. Perhaps mom has to work too much. Perhaps neither parent cares about what is happening. If we can’t straighten up our homes, our country will never be right.

And sexual preference groups are not helping the matter. They are treating choice as birthright. Simply because someone chooses a particular life-style does not give them a free pass for entitlement. This will only lead to more and more entitlement issues, where nobody is held accountable for choice anymore, and everyone will claim they were simply “born that way.” It’s time to start accepting responsibility.

Another thing wrong with our kids today is the fact that they have so few positive role models in any arena. Many athletes act as though they are above the law, as do movie celebrities. Icons in every area of entertainment are living lives of depravity, ensuring that our youth will be more depraved in efforts to be more like their “heroes.”

And most unfortunate is that so many of these negative role models are some of our nation’s leaders. How can our youth be expected to improve their lives or the future of the world when even the people making the laws and deciding their future are endangering that future by their immoral choices? Is it any wonder students cheat, steal, and lie? If the most powerful people in the country do not accept responsibility how can our children be taught anything?

So what is the answer? How do we go about changing the way things are in a way that will truly prepare our younger generations for a global society? We have to stop trying to make the change happen only for them, and work on our own issues first. Don’t add more classes to the already long list of things children ignore. Don’t pile on more pressure to be better while sending the message that being better isn’t what is best.

Let’s make the real changes that are necessary. Parent need to get involved with their kids. Politicians need to pay attention to the actual needs of our country. Our culture needs to stop poisoning our youth in all the diverse ways available. Stop pornography. Stop tobacco sales. Stop pressuring the youth into being something they shouldn’t be and are too young to understand. Stop wasting tax money. Stop putting the blames where the most good is being done—in the classroom—and start truly educating our youth. Their future depends on it. As does ours.


Nene said...

What kids need nowdays is a class called: Morality 101. If only it could be so.

Stick said...

Great post J. I have been spouting this same thing for years, but no one listens. I wish we could get back to the time when two people on a television show go to bed, and they are in seperate beds.