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Monday, January 9, 2012

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

I am sad to have to say it, but I am pessimistic right now about America's future. Parents have abdicated their responsibilities, opting to shirk their duties onto the schools or, even worse, the state welfare system. Society's expectations of civility and decorum have all but disappeared. We live in a society in which sexual deviancy may be discussed and even displayed publicly, but religious speech is curtailed or frowned upon. The moral education of the rising generation is depressingly lacking, at least as pertains to the majority.

I teach in a middle school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in a region of the country generally associated with traditional American values. Nevertheless, what I see and hear from our youth truly shocks me. Seventh and eighth graders make crude sexual references. There is virtually no respect or deference toward adults. What is worse, when parents are informed of their children's disruptive (and often disgusting) behavior, many rush to the defense of their child, becoming more upset with the teacher and school than with the actions of their children. They seek to be their children's friends rather than their parents--and yes, there is a difference. We seem to be raising a generation of sociopaths, unable to differentiate between right and wrong unless they perceive that a wrong has been committed against them.

Certainly there are many bright lights shining in the darkness, just as there are many stars shining in the night sky. Even so, it is difficult to see the light of day receding. I got into education because of Thomas Jefferson's contention that a democracy requires an educated citizenry. We have now so undermined our educators that our children, while they may be able to read and calculate, have no sense of ethics, responsibility, or respect for their fellow human beings. Teachers who dare advocate such values risk being shouted down by irate parents who teach opposing viewpoints at home. I am disheartened by what I am seeing and experiencing; I think I will have to change careers before an already difficult occupation becomes impossible.

I pray that we can avert this disaster before it destroys us, yet as a Christian I realize that the world will become much worse before Christ returns. Still, as Dylan Thomas wrote, it is our sacred duty to "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

1 comment:

  1. I see the same thing here in California. I am amazed at how the children talk about teachers. It is sad that they (and their parents) have no idea how much time and effort teachers actually put into their job. They don't understand that the feelings of entitlement will not only harm their kids but our country as well.

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