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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

Without saying.........

Happy 4th of July!!!


As a middle school teacher in the 1980's, my job each day included helping 150, and sometimes more, living, bubbling bundles of hormones to comprehend the complexities of modern science. For each group of 30 to 35, I had just 45 minutes to get each lesson across. Forty five minutes to help them grasp the enormity of time for our planet. Forty-five minutes to wrap their heads around how much change mankind could bring or had brought to the world. I wanted first and foremost for them to know that knowledge is power...that knowing how to find a truthful answer would give them the power to make decisions for themselves rather than leaving those decisions to others. I always told them that a good scientist hadn't memorized the answers to all the questions, but instead knew where or how to find them.

It goes without saying that times have changed.


AIDS was unknown as a disease of man in those days. There had been no school shootings. I had a calendar in my briefcase to schedule meetings and taped a paper reminder to the front of my spiral bound grade book to ensure my attendance at that meeting. My grades were averaged on a calculator that was larger than a modern television remote and I had to provide library time for my students to read encyclopedias and books and magazines if my assignment included a research paper. I could take a Polaroid photo of my class doing a lab activity and share it on the bulletin board in the hallway for all to see. All thirty five of the next group of students who would be coming into that lab.


It goes without saying that times have changed.


But people have changed even more.


Humanity survived the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages and the Age of Enlightenment.

Our lives became easier and more comfortable with the Industrial Age.


And for a little while, the Information Age seemed to be the best yet.........all the information we could possibly need right at the tips of our fingers. We had only to type in the topic.


Until suddenly, television went 24-7 and information became a weapon, blasting us around the clock. Now, we watch global tragedies as we munch on our fast food dinners and hear hour upon hour of the same breaking news from pundit after pundit as the day fades into night. Even as we pull the covers snug and will our minds to shut down for rest, our phones blink and beep to remind us that we have access to everything we want to know, from the wealth of works stored in the world's greatest libraries to the smallest, most hateful thoughts of our neighbors.


It goes without saying we need to change again.


Can we try to see the other side of an argument we had with our neighbor? Can we read about someone from the other side of the political aisle and search out the facts of the story? Can we find a middle ground?


Happy Birthday America!!!


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