Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rosebuds and Other Items in Need of Gathering

Is it just me or is the summer of 2014 going by quickly, way too quickly. I saw what purports to be a humorous picture on Facebook last week of cars covered in snow and underneath it was written "if you think it's hot now, wait seventeen weeks."

To give you an idea of how short this summer has already become, exactly four weeks from today, Wednesday 27 August, your children return to the classrooms of Norwich Public Schools. It wasn't that long ago their attention was flagging in warm, nearly-summerish classes while the early June weather called to any child who looked out the window. And now, boom! It's just about done.

I say your children because ours are grown and gone (I warned my wife that feeding them on a regular basis would have unanticipated consequences) and I wish I could say I had fond memories of those days getting back into the "back to school" routine, but I don't.

And I'm sort of lying-it was really my wife who did all the heavy lifting. There are pens, protractors, note pads and a dozen or more other stationery and electronic device required in today's classroom that I have no memory of when we were kids. I can even recall instances when we had to get our children specific models of calculators and/or a slide-rule. (Not to be confused with the Electric Slide; don't concern yourself with how I would know this.)

How our children learned to work all of these devices, I'll never know. I'm thinking that's one of those jobs our teachers do, like breathing out and breathing in, that we never talk or even think about. I'm glad they do it as I would be no help at all. To this day, I avoid the calculator aisle entirely because I feel dumb since I can hardly even turn any of them on.

This time of year, when I was a child, I always felt a little cheated. The days were getting just a little shorter and my parents would more and more often start sentences with "when you go back to school..." Back to school? Zounds! It didn't seem that long ago I was running with everyone else as the last school bell of the year sounded and now we're four weeks away from starting again?

The grown-up me likes to think the fourth-grade me would have said Zounds! even though I didn't learn that word until about the time I was learning to shave, and may have even yelled it a few times on that initial effort as well.

That, as any kid will tell you is part of the problem. Grown-ups get to make the rules. At least that's what I thought as a school-child and couldn't wait to grow up only to learn that only some of the grown-ups get to change the rules, but I did learn the secret and that secret is education.

The purpose of an education I was once told by a very smart man is to learn the rules of the game better than anyone else, so that you, too, can change the rules. It's almost time for school bells and rule changes, let's hope we can hear the former and prosper from the latter.
-bill kenny

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