The Bright Side of Education and Conversation


I have written on numerous occasions about the ills of the education system and the indoctrination of our children. I can speak about this subject because I drive a school bus for high school students in my hometown. I have seen children from different towns and grades K-12. I saw how distant kids were during the Pandemic and how they have grown closer with the masks off. To be cautious not to paint an entire picture with a broad brush, I want to look at the positive side.

I often hear my friends’ condolences that I have to tolerate these unruly kids on my bus every day They could not be further from reality. I always retort that I may have the best job in town. I go for a drive in the country in the morning and repeat in the afternoon. My bus is full of many kids who are so quiet they might be meditating. Driving a bus loaded with someone else’s children is a lot of responsibility and stressful. It is one of the most rewarding jobs I have had, especially when every student says thank you as they step off.

Over the last couple of months, I have had the privilege of transporting a small class of Exeter High students as they tour different places of worship in the area. Eric Doucet, the Social Studies teacher of the course, has a tight repoire with these students. You can sense it in the dialog as we commute to the day’s church, temple, or synagogue. They discuss the religion they are to explore and test the questions they will ask of their guide. These are not kids just getting a day out of school. These students are invested in their new experiences.

So far, I have transported them to a Hindu Temple, Jewish Synagogue, Roman Catholic Church, Protestant Church, and Greek Orthodox Church.

I attended Mass at St Michael’s Church in Exeter with the group, and they had a Q&A session with the Church Deacon after the service. They listened attentively and asked concrete questions. It was impressive from a group of Gen Z kids who are not supposed to be religious or spiritual. A testament to them and Eric Doucet.

During our drives, Eric and I have had lengthy and meaty discussions on history, geography, travel, and, of course, politics. I especially enjoy the conversations because we both explore opposite views and ideologies incredibly civilly. Eric describes himself as a moderate Liberal, but I would label him as grounded in common sense. That is something we need more of if we are ever to bridge this divide, this chasm that has so divided the people of this country.

The surprise is how much we have in common as liberals and conservatives. This reinforces my belief that people of opposing viewpoints sometimes go to different corners because it is expected. Compromise is a lost art. Votes in Congress always go along party lines. Confirmations for the courts, including the Supreme Court, used to be nearly unanimous consent. Now the Yays are only from the party of the President who nominated the candidate.

This blog has been an adventure and, at times challenging to write. The negativity is in every story, and you seek out something positive, and today I was lucky. I hit on two stories in one that shine a bit of light on an otherwise gray time.

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