I was not a good student, and though I had periods of making decent grades, for the most part, I was basically just above the passing line in most of the subjects I took.
This, believe it or not, was not due to a lack in IQ or ability to learn, nor was it the result of having minimally motivated or incompetent teachers.
Although I went to smaller schools during most of my lackluster academic life, we were blessed with teachers who knew and taught the basics of Reading, "(w)Riting" and "(a)Rithmetic," more commonly known as the "Three R's" and laid the groundwork in solid understanding for an excellent basic education.
If you wanted to learn it was there for you, and if you didn't you failed and treaded water in the same grade the next year - a colossal waste of time considering you sat in the same class, going over the same lessons and, in the size schools I went to, usually with the same teacher while the rest of your classmates got on with the rest of their lives.
Due to the times they'd been born into, when helping bear the family workload to keep food on the table was the norm, neither of my parents had the chance to finish school. Both had the greatest respect for education and both did a credible job of continuing their learning in whatever practical ways were presented to them and proved that it was the mettle of the person, of the availability of a formal education that makes a person what they are.
My dad went on to being one of the top evaluators of standing timber in the business and my mother went on to become a bookkeeper.
Both had come up during the Great Depression, hard times or Hoover times as it was commonly referred to and they encouraged - no, strongly insisted - that I finish high school and that I comport myself in such a way as to not interfere with obtaining that goal.
I never had a shot at valedictorian, nor did I care to take my academic endeavors any farther than the twelve grades. I wiggled through and had not cared since the day Russell Palmer had taught me a couple of chords on an old Stella guitar he got ahold of, somehow.
The dye was cast, and in the evenings when I should have been cracking a book, I was trying to learn another chord or, later on, another fiddle or lick, and gave my books a cursory scrape from to time, not bad enough to fail but not good enough to excel.
I knowingly made my bed and it was firmly grounded in my desire to someday, somehow make a living out of this obsession of music that had taken over most of the waking hours of my interest.
I dare say my teachers realized that I was not doing the best I could, that my all-out pursuit of music was skimming off the cream, leaving only the dregs for my scholastic endeavors.
But, they also realized that I had a grasp of the basics and that if the day arrived when I needed to, I could apply myself and learn whatever the occasion demanded (nuclear science and brain surgery notwithstanding), that I would be capable of handling whatever demands life put on my book learning abilities.
In other words, they had fulfilled the quintessential job of any teacher, they had taught me how to learn.
I'm grateful that I went to school while corporeal punishment was meted out to the worst culprits with the minor offenders having to stay around after school to dust erasers and wash blackboards, in a day before progressive agendas wormed their way into basic curriculum and forever changed the basic tenants of math and the proven phonetic method of learning to read.
I am literally appalled at the inability of young people to recognize simple words or who are amazed that I can spell their names by simply hearing them pronounced.
I'm constantly flabbergasted by so many young people's lack of any kind of fundamental civic knowledge, not understanding how the government works, its constitutionally-mandated functions and purpose, rather viewing it as a monolithic clearinghouse where printing presses churn out unlimited amounts of currency and bureaucrats sit behind check writing machines allotting entitlements and picking up the tab for whatever frivolous sexual behavior they choose to indulge themselves in.
Not only can Johnny not read, but he also can't write, can't spell, can't add, subtract or multiply and would be hard pressed to tell you what section of the nation the state of Idaho is in or who the current Secretary of State happens to be.
It seems our public schools have turned in to expensive holding areas where students are herded from one grade to another, learning more street smarts than academics and so many of them hit the streets ill prepared for the fast-paced technical world, lacking the respect or social graces that are required in simply applying for the better paying jobs.
How did we arrive at this sorry state of affairs?
When education stopped being viewed by politicians and unions as the prime and penultimate link to the future of America, and started being considered a political chess game where great power is wielded and favors passed out, education started its downhill slide - and our children have paid the price.
The whole thing could be easily remedied by the simple introduction of school vouchers, creating competition and allowing parents to send their children to a school that represented their personal family values in morality, religion, specialization and vocational training.
But, politicians and unions are not interested in vouchers; politicians and unions are interested in self-proliferation and power, kids be damned.
I hear the term "Let's take back America" a lot, and I think it's a wonderful idea and the best place to start is to reclaim our children's part of it.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America