Monday, February 19, 2018
Hard as it is for me to believe, it's been 46 years. We'd just arrived in Phoenix, newlyweds, and, at the appointed time, we showed up at the little school where Barbara would be teaching, where we got a look at the place and at the room which was hers. At least part of the tour and the introduction was given by a sweet old veteran (read old, here, as somewhat relative), who'd been teaching kindergarten at the school for years.
"Yeah, well, it won't be long and they'll be here, you know," she said, or something to that effect. "But it's fun. I'm kind of anxious." Honestly, I think of her as a kind of angel--most kindergarten teachers have to be. "But it's different, too," she said.
"Different?" I said.
"Kids, I mean."
She scrunched her shoulders as if a little shy about complaining. "Used to be when they'd come into my room I had to work for a week to get them to open up, they were so scared," she said. "Nowadays, they come bustin' in, swaggering, and sayin', 'Who's in charge here?'"
It wasn't an indictment. She wasn't thinking the end of the world as we know it was near. It was just an observation about how kids had changed. Five-year-olds, she claimed, were far more brash and bold. That was almost a half-century ago.
I've been reminded of that moment when I hear the Florida kids talk about what happened last week at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, especially their brassy bashing of the President of these United States. When Trump tweeted that the FBI should have been tracking the kid that did the shooting instead of investigating Russia, a torrent of kids' voices stuck fingers in his face:
That's cheeky stuff.
And it's just a few. You don't have to look far to find a thousand others, just as belligerent, just as "in your face."
They don't seem to know their place. An old friend of mine who's almost 100 years old, told me that when, in occupied Holland, the Nazis would be around, the Dutch would jam their hands in their pockets because they'd always been taught it was disrespectful to stick your hands in your pockets.
We've come a long way.
It wouldn't be difficult, on the basis of those students' barefaced sauciness to wonder about the state of the world, might even be easy to think the end is near, if it weren't for the fact that those kids learn impudence from the Master Bully himself, the Shah of Shamelessness, who cranked out own cheeky insolence all weekend long and clearly doesn't know his place either.
If you don't like the way those kids slam the President, consider how he talks to us just about every day. They're just good students.
For the record, all of that doesn't mean the end isn't near.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:33 AM