By Craig Funston
[This second phase of an open letter to my grandchildren is in reality an open letter to all parents and grandparents, as well as to the next generation of kids. They are facing an unfriendly, unclear, and uncertain future. I just want to help by pointing a few things out.
It also gives me a genuine opportunity to rant, or did you notice?]
How about this word picture first? As a culture, we’re adrift in the open sea in a lifeboat, a leaky one at that. It might get us safely to shore, it might not. This lifeboat is not a great place to be, and now the wind is picking up On the open sea, when the wind picks up, so do the waves.
Oh boy, it looks like we’re in trouble…
My letter to my grandchildren (finally!) would look something like this:
Hi kids, Poppa here. This letter is for you. (primarily). But it is also for your generation of friends, too, and it’s going to be read by all my fans in Newspaperland. So it may a little confusing betimes as to whom this is to.
Hint: If you’re reading it, it’s for you. It’s sort of an open yet private reflection for one and all.
You may not understand the issues that are at stake here, but in years to come, you will. It’s more of a heads up note to you and yours, as I think we’re slinking into turbulent times in our country.
In terms of schooling, I see where some of you are picking up where you left off last year. Fortunately, you are being taught by your respective mothers, with their expertise and motivation. You’re in good hands! They were both well-taught by their mother (Nana to you).
Education is close to my heart, for a host of reasons, so I trust whatever form of education your parents choose works best for you. Someday you will realize that it’s a good government that allows as many education options as possible.–be it public, private, or home (and then many variations of each of those). Unfortunately, the reverse is true, too.
You live in two provinces, respectively, that don’t rhyme with Alberta. Where you live, educational options are not under attack. They sure are here. You may not know this, but Alberta was once a world leader in education. I don’t think that’s the case now.
Things have changed here drastically in the last few years. We are battling such non-academic issues as blended bathrooms, blurred basics, and banal options. Our boat is drifting and we are sinking. I don’t want to play the blame game at this point, but I’m just sorry it has come to this.
I just don’t understand why there has to be such social engineering intolerance, and venom when it comes to educational options. The education powers-that-be are missing the point on education completely.
This is not the world I want you to grow up in, nor is the one I was raised in. My generation (and previous ones) have tried to be wise in education matters because, well, education matters. Education can be many things, but this stuff is well beyond the pale of education.
I just hope you still have options when you get older. We certainly did until recently.
As I said last week, one of the legacies I want to leave you and your generation with is the ability to think things through. That may get you into trouble, but it will get you and your generation out of trouble, too. No one wants trouble or wants to be around a trouble-maker, or for that matter to even be a trouble-maker, but sometimes one simply has to disagree for principle’s sake.
Another bit of advice for you in the future is to develop a good work ethic. Fewer and fewer people know how to work these days. Work well and hard, and the world is your oyster…more or less.
There are political systems out there that encourage a healthy work ethic. Work is what makes the economic engine run. Our boat is sinking, folks. If we’re not careful, we’ll be in really serious trouble.
In fact, we’re already in serious trouble now. Anyone who embraces choice in education and has a good work ethic is seen as a mindless extremist. Ouch! That hurts—and it’s not even true. But you’ll be in very serious trouble if you don’t stand up to this bullying.
One final plea: Where’s a good boat and a bright lighthouse when we need them?