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Back-to-school time can be time to consider future

August 20, 2009

The beginning of a new school year has always been something of a reflexive event -- board the bus, answer the roll call and plod from room to room. One class has graduated, one is just beginning. For the rest, it's the same ol', same ol'.

Except students in this and ensuing years, in between texting friends and slamming a Dew, might take a brief moment to consider the world is changing and new economies have a way of punishing the unprepared.

We hate to be such a downer, we really do. But thinking early and often about careers and life can be exciting as well.

We are blessed with a school system that has made so many options, from vo-tech to the arts, available to young minds. By all means, take advantage of the offerings. And don't aim low. Every day, students who once feared they might not be good enough for challenging course work discover they do indeed have what it takes, and it leads to a job that is a pleasure to perform.

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Of his writing career, Mark Twain once said, "If it was work, I wouldn't do it." (He also advised against letting school get in the way of your education, but never mind.) Indeed, success is measured in many ways, but loving what you do is the best and most successful way to go through life. So take advantage of today's opportunities and prepare for tomorrow's unknowns.

And parents can look at a new school year as a fresh start as well. Gentle encouragement might not be appreciated now, but it most likely will pay off with time. While teachers are at the top of the educational food chain, parents are a close second. A teacher in inner-city Baltimore probably spoke for many when he said, "If the parents are on board, I can teach the child."

A weighty obligation, perhaps, but such is the role of a parent. Be interested. Get involved. Devote some time to the effort. Not only will your child's life be easier, it almost goes without saying yours will as well.

As we write, economies and the world at large are uncertain propositions. But parents, teachers and youths can make a great team, so long as all parties understand that in these times, it is not enough to simply go through the motions.

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