Ongoing Stories of My Soul

Look over my shoulder as I ponder life.

Democracy: An Open and Shut Case

As I was puttering around my classroom waiting for the kids to come in, I was thinking about the day’s lesson. As a sixth grade teacher of Social Studies, my days are full of teaching about ancient Greece. Now…I saw you roll your eyes, but truly, there is a lot of good stuff packed into this curriculum topic. And if presented with enough excitement, the kids are spellbound with the stealth activity of the Trojan Horse, and the drama of all those goddesses. I tell them ‘Homer’ and ‘Virgil’ are writers who go by one name….much like Beyonce, Prince, Cher, etc. Kinda like saying the last name Manning: we know you are talking football.  Or if you are talking presidents and you say, ‘Abe’ no one asks for i.d. We get it. Fame does that: abbreviates the name. My son used to buy shoes called Jordan’s. Enough said.

So here I am ready to dazzle my darlings with the whole notion of democracy—which you know began in the city-states of the Greek region—when one of my students bounds in and announces, “Hey Mrs. Hall…did you know the government shut down? What’s up with that?”

I would like to know “What’s up with that?” myself. I am used to hearing the word: shut down. I tell kids: “Shut down your computers.” Factories and small businesses have shut down all across the world.  I started to say that in sports there are shut downs when teams don’t score; but I think that is ‘shut outs’ instead. Yeah….I flunked ESPN.

It is hard explaining how our government works to young minds. It is even harder to explain why they AREN’T working. All I know is that it is the small cogs in the big wheel that are being damaged by this action. I am to fly to LA next week to present Lunar Science to a bunch of school kids from the Watts area. Part of my lesson was to secure the Lunar Soil Samples aka ‘moon rocks’ from Johnson Space Center. As an educator with an Aerospace Endorsement to my license, I do this quite regularly. My security plan is faxed, and I am waiting for clearance and confirmation to have in my possession, these precious chunks of the moon. My email today from JSC is reminding me that they are closed and no educational disks will be distributed. A nice note from the gal at JSC apologizes for disappointing the children. I am sad. The kids are getting cheated. Again. Oh sure, I can come up with another lesson and the kids will never know what they missed. But I will know. Funny….there are always two things young minds are interested in: space and dinosaurs. They may never experience either one, but they will study both with an insatiable sense of wonder. I think it is because they take both on faith. Just as I take it on faith that my government will keep working like me. I retired and restarted. I rarely stop and shutdown for me is when I forget what I am going to say next.

Now if you think I am going to use my blog to bash the Democrats or Republicans, you are going to be disappointed. I have my opinions and when it comes to politics this is my mantra: I am not changing your mind and you are not changing mine. Let’s just say that I still have my paddle from my early days of teaching and going to Washington D.C. for a field trip might prove painful to some folks in Congress. Just sayin’….

How this will all play out is anybody’s guess. I am a bit relieved that my mother has ‘gone to Glory’ as she would be fretting her little apron off, worrying if her social security check would be in her checking account the first of the month. She always paid her bills on time and it would cause her great mental stress if she were to let somebody down. Hmmm….maybe Washington needs to study the work ethic of my mom.

In the mean time, I will walk into the classroom and convince my charges that democracy really is a good plan of government. We just celebrated the Constitution in September, and discussed all of the terror surrounding September 11th. History isn’t always pretty, or comprehensible, but it is vital that we look at the various parts to understand the whole.

I’m proceeding on with the Greeks. The kids have assignments, projects, tests, maps, reading, quizzes on the topic of early democratic government.

Just waiting on that kid who says he/she did not do their assigned homework on the topic of democracy because they were ‘shutting down’. 

Land of the free and home of the brave: OPEN SOON.


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