Monday, August 27, 2018

No child should miss out.

A child cries next door. His sobs are heart-wrenching. He has come home from the first day of school, begging not to return. I feel his pain. School has started, and year after year, I have the same concerns.

All children learn differently. We are as different as our fingerprints. We all think differently, see things differently, capture and hold things differently. So how can we toss kids into a classroom teaching them all the same way? I know from experience what it is to be different.

My mind travels over everything all at once. I don't miss much. Never did. I was/am an observer. That means that when I am in a conversation, I am  also taking in everything around me. When I walk down the street, I take in the people, the sites, the sounds. My senses are tuned in to everything. Is it overwhelming? Not in the sense you might think. I know that by what I am, I add more to my life and those around me. I empathize, feeling what others feel. I am open to learning constantly. However, learning in a classroom was boring for me. I was not a book learner. I am a visual learner even though I love to read. I do not like silence. When it is too quiet, I find myself looking for sounds and getting distracted. I could never do homework without music or the TV. Yes, I had trouble with school.

As a child, I lived as an introvert. Only as an adult did I learn that I am really and extrovert. I always felt like the odd girl out never quiet fitting in. Our home was always filled with people, but we girls learned to serve and sit on the side. In school, we had limited activities, so I never really found my niche. I understand that little boy next door. I was just like him every year of my youth.

So what can be done to help kids like me and kids who are not tuned in the way education tells us they should be? Perhaps there needs to be more thought put into individual learning and exploring ways to turn kids on to those things that make them want to learn. New ways of teaching might be considered. We have certainly done it the same way ever since schools began. New, creative ways to reach kids and to help them soar. Allow them to learn individually.

I just talked to the twins about their first day in first grade. Their favorite part of the day was lunch. Ah, kids after my own heart. Lunch and recess. Most kids would agree. Wouldn't it be great if the kids came home thrilled about a new thing they discovered, that they are excited to go back tomorrow to learn more? Shouldn't every child find their dreams where they can create and build us a better world through those gifts with which they were born?

A child cries, and I want to lift him up and tell him that there is a path to his laughter and joy in learning. No child should miss out on possibilities. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

An independent step

We watched soap opera, Ruth Lyons, Liberace and just a few other shows. I watched because my parents watched. I don't think we ever thought to watch anything new. A pretty small picture on the world.

As I have grown older, and even more so over the years, I have become aware of how essential freedom of the press is not only to personal growth, but by enabling us to see a bigger world that we are part of. I only saw a tiny bit for 18 years.

When I moved to the city, I was far behind the people with whom I worked. I didn't know a thing about office apparel. I had no idea what it was like to go to fancy restaurants. The world was so much bigger. As a writer, I am saddened at the smallness I knew. Was I scared to reach beyond it? Darn right. I didn't fit in. Comments were made about my hairstyle. My clothing was far from stylish. I was visiting homes like those seen in magazines and meeting company executives. There was a long learning curve in store for me.

The world was changing. A man was on the moon. Riots were rocking the country. Russia was a foe. A larger world was opening up to me with pros and cons. I no longer was tied to local media. I was learning from the many races that surrounded me at work. A man from India. A Jewish inventor. A black man and a lot of white people. I was learning. I was interested in learning. I questioned. My opinions changed.

I learned the good and the bad of the world around me. Newspapers might disagree; still I read them to figure out what I believed. No one told me what to believe or who to listen to. The free press gave me eyes to see for myself and protected me from one sided conversations. 

When the press is manipulated, I am angry. They are our eyes and ears on the world. They keep the checks and balances working, because they demand it. They keep us protected by the very thing that they do. They report. They report one side and the other. But if you don't get both sides, then you have a problem. It would be like a basketball game being played by two teams in the same uniforms.

The media has a right and a duty to inform us even if it is something we don't like. That is Democracy. The press is on the side of the truth. If that truth is challenged, then that is okay. It has to be an open playing field. If you are presented with only one view, you have lost your freedom of choice.

I know many will not like this column, and at times, I think it is time to stop writing. My heart is saddened at the state of our country. As a writer, I am saddened that there is such narrow thinking still controlling people. I hope for more for all of us and our country. 

All I write is as truthful as I can possibly state it. You have seen my life dance before you and my heart as well. I am an opinion and a story you can chose or discard. However, by just reading it, you have taken an independent step forward. From this writer's hands, I thank you.