Thursday, October 19, 2006

Follow the Leader

A friend sent me a link to a CNN clip about a school near Boston banning Tag! as a recess activity. The school claims it's an unsupervised contact sport, and that children can get hurt.

Other schools have also banned games where contact is involved, specifically dodgeball, which was deemed, "exclusionary and dangerous."

I remember moving every 10 months growing up. I remember always being the new kid. It didn't help that I was overweight and awkward. I was always picked last, and often not picked at all. I remember standing alone on the sidelines, or with one or two other "unwanteds" - kids nobody wanted on their team because they weren't fast enough, or couldn't hit a ball hard enough, or were just plain unpopular. How I wished that some one would have come along and told the other children, "You can't play that game any more. If every one can't play, no one can play."

The memories of that period are still painful, but looking back as an adult, I wouldn't change them. I'm glad no grown-up came to rescue me. Through difficulty, I learned resourcefulness. Through loneliness, I learned how to be aware of others' needs for interaction.

Children of my generation didn't suffer micromanagement by school officials. Our nation was still under the impression that parents should be allowed to... well... parent their children, and that school was a place for book-learning and studying. The "do-s" and "don't-s" of day-to-day interaction were expected to be taught in the home.

My generation was also the first to have children mass-murdering other children in schools. We were the first to have classmates strap explosives to themselves and walk into a crowded gymnasium. We were the first to take bitterness and anger from being excluded from recess games and twist them into justification for revenge. Because of my generation, the children of today aren't allowed to decide what games to play during their breaks.

"What's next?" My friend queried. "A ban on hugs?"
"A ban on smiles," I said, sighing heavily.
"I think they're trying to ban contact," he chuckled.
"Sure, for now. Eventually, though, smiles will be seen as a distraction."
"Your probably right," he agreed, heavy-hearted.

Said one parent, "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."

Even the PTO is at odds with the ban. " I would say it's kind of silly, and there's no reason for it- for them not to be able to play tag." (PTO President)

Why, then, has the ban not been lifted? Parents disagree with it. Teachers disagree with it. Surely that counts for something? Apparently not, when their voices are out of synch with the school principal's agenda.

I'm sure, at this point, you're thinking I'm a bit over the top. Inferences to conspiracy theories and likening the school principal to a Nazi leader probably doesn't sit well with most folks. In truth, it's only a vague musing. Think on this, though:

When the German leadership decided to move in the direction of what we now call the Holocaust, they didn't start out by blazing in with guns firing and mass-murdering people. They started out by smiling at the children. By molding and sculpting young minds as they grew to follow the crowd instead of think independently, they convinced an entire nation to participate in genocide. It all started with one simple phrase:

This is for your own good.

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak out for me.
(Pastor Martin Niemöller)


Mr. Miller said...

Brilliant observations! And with that, two thoughts come to mind: 1: "Those who do not (or cannot, thanks to the indoctrination centers we commonly call our government education system) learn from history are doomed to repeat it." ~George Santayana~

And secondly: ".... learn now the difference between the words 'reason' and 'excuse'...." ~ Neal Boortz ~

Mouth said...

Love the second quote. As to the first one - you know I hate your politics.