Monday, January 21, 2013

Marvel...in Seconds

This day is something special.  It's hard not to miss the connection between the Martin Luther King birthday holiday and the second inauguration of Barak Obama as President of the United States.  A great reminder that change is possible and that it often takes time.  Particularly incisive and poignant were the comments of Congressman John Lewis this day.  Having marched with Dr. King and laid his body on the line in the fight for civil rights, Lewis has a uniquely original reaction to all the events and media coverage.  While the pundits scramble for words and superlatives, Lewis need only draw on his personal experiences.  He need only marvel that he is here to take it all in.  When the widow of Medgar Evers, Merly Evers, delivered an invocation, one wonders what must be going through her mind. I wondered what Lewis' mind was doing too.
In the last week we've seen many other forms of truth winning out at the end of the day.  From Lance Armstrong's "confession," if that's what it can be called, to the refusal of the Baseball Hall of Fame to even consider the steroid tainted accomplishments of former major league stars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, it's easy to catch yourself mumbling about how things have changed.  To put an exclamation point on the lack of ethics in sports, so prevalent today, we learn of the death of Stan Musial today.  "Stan the Man" was everything a ball player should be.  I don't see any more like him on the horizon.  I don't see any like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks either.  Baseball is so specialized now that we probably won't see the likes of Warren Spahn, or Satchel Paige, or  Jim Palmer again.
     Things change.  We can't go back to what was no matter how we might deceive ourselves or want to deceive ourselves.  We can only celebrate, and keep memories alive, and marvel, as Congressman Lewis does, at how fortunate we are at having seen and done what we have.
Lately I see change everywhere.  Tide rolls in and we either move or get wet.  No matter how I might long for the days where teachers were revered, and were able to use their creative skills without stepping on any one's vision of "reform," the profession today is definitely not the one I retired from a few years back down my road.    Kids write on laptops more often than not and they find information instantly by searching electronically.  Nobody goes to the library.  Or if they do it's because there is a computer there.  I'd love to see the book check out records of public high school students these days. It's possible that the books aren't there any more too.   Teachers use You Tube for videos.  Movie projectors do not exist in the mind of a student in 2013.  When not constantly battling with students to put their electrical devices away, teachers might even have a class discussion. But that can be like pulling wisdom teeth. Many kids don't like to talk in class these days.  Are they so uncertain of their ideas that it's easier to keep quiet?   And yet a strong case can be made that these students in the classes of 2012 and 2013 are more knowledgeable in many ways.  They may not be able to tell you the capital of Bulgaria, but they can find it in seconds.   By the way, it's Sofia.

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