April 6, 2021- I spent the day with groups of high school history students, whose task was simple: Read short passages and answer questions, in writing. That was all: No discussion, no Q & A with the teacher-and above all, no phones. It is interesting that I saw students accessing the same information that was on the handouts, on their phones, and in a much higher font. People will do what works in their best interests, regardless of rules or convention.
There are, theses days, as in times past, any number of conspiracy theories, all manner of disrespect for authority and failure to consider other points of view, lest one be found guilty of faulty logic (as if that were an actual crime, rather than just evidence that further investigation might be in order). I will address those matters, in the next post.
In the meantime: I choose, pretty much, how I will spend my time, on any given day. I take on special assignments, like the one described above, mostly out of regard for the circumstances in which the schools of this area find themselves. I also choose which Zoom calls to join, as others choose whether to join those calls which I host. I choose when to answer the sometimes incessant pings on Instant Messenger (which I have mostly to contact my immediate family). I choose to help friends with tasks that would be unwieldy for them to do by themselves.
There are those, who live through others or who wish to leach off of them, constantly prescribing what those others should do, asking for money or attention, or just bemoaning that no one cares about them. I have been guilty, in times past, of each of these. The realization, a few years back and when I found myself alone, was that my time was best spent tending to personal growth. That remains so, and any of the choices now being made, in this personal sphere, are geared towards addressing the flaws that rankle both myself and those around me.
I noticed that most of the teens who were around me today were doing the same thing: Focusing on the work, yes, but also going about that work in a manner that dovetailed with their own personal situation. May that ethic long serve them well.