Tuesday, September 21, 2010

They Are All in Love

I was, as each of our two children made their way through high school, absolutely clueless about so much for so long. I left it to my wife, a product of the (West) German educational system, a system extremely different from ours, to attempt to manage life in rock and roll high school first with Patrick, and then, as he was returning his cap and gown after graduation, with Michelle who started her freshman year at the end of Pat's first school's over summer. They both attended Norwich Free Academy, a three minute walk fr0m our house and highly regarded by many across the region and the state.

I worried about the academics and classroom activities. My late father was a teacher for almost all of my life and I grew up watching how it was done, when it was done well. I was never a good parent to have come for parent-teacher conferences because I not only felt I was entitled to my opinion but, so, too (and most especially), was the person sitting across from me. As for the important stuff when you're in high school: the cool clothes, the hot car, the coveted cell phone, the weekend with 'my folks aren't home' our children never had to deal with any of that with their dear old daddy-oh, so it fell to their mother to help them through the real life of high school.

I mention this because I came across a story yesterday on the front page above the fold in our local daily paper (circulation is somewhere in the twenty thousand plus) about a proposal a neighboring community may implement, a breathalyser, at high school social functions-with proper and appropriate advance notice-not to 'catch' the students at the prom, the homecoming rally, the football play-off game, the renewal of the library cards (checking to see if you were still reading; your lips had stopped moving) or whatever. You can read the story for yourself here.

Discussing all of it with my wife, I was taken aback when she explained to me that she was just short of shocked that I could be shocked by such a story. Say what? It's not that I thought or knew our kids knew better but rather had to to realize how pervasively permissive my generation raised their own children. We were rebels without a cause who became--waitaminit, I know this one. And now, without fully recognizing when it happened I've become my own father, shaking his head at kids these days.

Obsolescence approaches at the speed of light. And each day's light makes me more aware of how much in the world, but not of the world, I've lived alongside of others but rarely with them. Where do you walk on sunny time, when the rivers gleam and the buildings shine. How do you feel goin' up hallowed halls, and the summer clothes brighten gloomy halls. And they're all in love.
-bill kenny

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