Saturday, April 21, 2012

More on Jonas Salk --and Other Continuation Schools

There was one student at Lloyde High School. She was a really troubled case, one of many students who get bounced around from one school to another, from one diversion program to another.

She was even kicked out of Jonas Salk -- "Man, I got kicked out of that school," she would casual mention to us. She talked about it at least once a week.

Unlike some students, she would get to work, when she was calm about it. Many times, though, she was either too tired or too messed up to know what she was doing.

I cannot imagine how tough it must  be for many of these students.

Then again, I just think of the routine upbringing which most young people endured in the 1800's. When the hit twelve years old, Mom and Dad would pack up their belongings, give them three days' food, then hand them over to a boarding school or to an apprentice in town. The parents did not do this to be cruel, in my opinion, but rather because they wanted their kids to have the best opportunities they could, and staying the countryside, where famine and disease and privation were the norm, was not the best way to go. In fact, it would be cruel to let the child stay home, in effect.

If most twelve and thirteen year olds were starting out at such a young age, then how come our youth today can't handle the big world out there? What has created this culture of despair and dependence which intimidates people from going out there to make the most of a tough world?

Because this society, or this culture, has taught people that they can make their own way in the world, that young people are permitted to choose and think and say whatever they want to, because they have received entitlement instead of encouragement, they are scared stiff of this big, bad world, one in which they have only their feelings and their limited thinking to trust in.

Everyone of us needs to wake up and realize that the world is not scary, in fact the world is not really anything. No matter how fallen and faulty things may be on the outside, our circumstances do not have to be determined or dictated by what other people think or say, by the circumstances which pass by or pass over us.

This young lady from Salk to Lloyde witnessed a world which did not seem to have much to offer. Like many of the teenagers at that school, she was wearing designer clothes, she had the latest in fashion and technology. She was popular, to be sure, but she did not have much going for her beyond what her parents had given her.

Parents cannot give their kids what they want to give their kids -- they can only give their kids what they have, and the best thing that parents can give their children is a rock-steady source of unconditional love, which must be greater than the parents and the students. They also need to impart to their children the truth that they can overcome just about anything, if they believe.

But a lot of kids right now do not believe -- they truth their flesh, they listen to their peers, and they have nothing to show for their lives beyond the same dour despair that their own parents had succumbed to. Schools are not making anything better for adolescents by letting them get away with everything, by babying them into believing that everything will work out for them just because they have the favor of their parents. We need the favor of God Almighty, and we can get that as easily as believing in our heart and confessing out our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Since the public schools are not allowed to teach faith, though, and frankly I believe that it is appropriate for the state not to teach morals, anyway, the next best thing would be to expect schools to provide nothing more than the basic skills to read, write, and do the necessary skills to get by, but more importantly to get out there and make something of the life that God has given us.

I have no idea what happened to Ms. Got-Kicked-out-of-Salk. I have to believe that either she got her credits done, or she dropped out, like many of the students in these inner city high schools. Either way, the continuation-stagnation schools that litter the South Bay are not doing our kids a service. The last time I saw Ms. "Kicked-Out", she was sleeping in a classroom that met from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. Some of the students in that class had jobs during the day, so they enrolled in the credit recovery program in the late afternoon. A grand total of ten students showed up to class. One of the students spent the greater part of the day running around the room, writing his name on the board. Another student would move his desk around the room from the front to the side next to the window. At one point, he said, "I want to get kicked out."

Most of these students think that they can make it in the big, wide, world. They really have no idea what is in store for them, if they really think that defiant fit-throwing and an entitlement mentality will get them anywhere in the world.

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