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The Tentacle

February 23, 2018

Learning Life’s Lessons

Harry M. Covert

The trend these days is to appoint high schoolers to school boards. What a nice thought and fad. Really though, are teenagers ready for such input in the learning process?


I’ve always enjoyed dealing with youth and young people. Once, I was a “young people,” but while I figured I was bright and as adept and smart as my elders, I was no prodigy much to my dismay.


Certainly while young folks in this time may be considered above average in many quarters, decision making must be left to others, way above the age of accountability.


Let’s hear the cares and concerns of those secondary school students about how they think matriculation ought to be. I’m not sure the maturity level, or age of accountability, satisfies adult thinking in how public or private schools can do their jobs.


Learning most assuredly is a life-long process. However, while some young people mature quicker than others, the vast numbers do not emotionally.


The growing style of girls and boys and young women and young men vary. How exciting in those teenage years when hormones rage. Enough of this tender roadway.


While individual acceleration is going on, are these learners ready to assume leadership of their elders. The effort to add substance to boards of education is laudable and gives feel-good emotions to pacesetters.


Professional people spend days and hours learning their crafts, preparing for days as lawyers, doctors and Indian chiefs (puns intended).


Mental acuity doesn’t arrive at the moment of conception, or birth, of the age of accountability. Some say that time of becoming an adult is at 13 or 20. Laws have limited grown-up, or near adult status, to be 21 for beverages and smoking and other activities. Eighteen is set for lawbreakers to be tried as adult persons. It’s also that age when eager teenagers can join military branches, shoot guns and enemies and be sent to war zones.


However such adult standing does not automatically confer intellectual prowess for political and educational success.


Input from teenagers into the public school arena away from sporting teams, and classroom subjects, may be good. They are not of voting age. They have lots to learn on life’s rickety roads to satisfying ways and means.


However, voting on academic, policy, hiring of teachers and considering budgets must be left to the big girls and boys who’ve passed today’s age requirements as known and accepted.


It’s been interesting to watch protesting high school students walking out of Maryland and Florida classrooms. It’s understandable at their reaction to the recent high school deathly shootings. Marches and immediate demands make good headlines and news reports, but solutions are few and far between.


Sitting political leaders and others don’t know how to stop broad lawless activities in schools and other places. How in the world do teenagers have the answer?


Grownups must be the leaders. They are the teachers and role models, plain and simple. Young people are the future, how obvious, however they must be prepared, not only in reading, writing and arithmetic but in how to live.


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