Tuesday, November 13, 2007


AA meetings have made the first part of Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer quite famous; but for the sake of this post, here's the entire prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful worldas it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things rightif I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with HimForever in the next.Amen.

As my wife and I drove home this afternoon, she confessed to not enjoying her new school. At one point, she exclaimed, "It's unfair." She was venting, and I've learned reasonably well to just let that happen. But that statement can be taken in so many ways.

First, it's unfair to her fourth grade students that no one has truly held them accountable for not learning basic skills. The fact that a student can enter fourth grade without knowing how to read at the first grade level is a tragedy. It is unfair to that student.

Second, it's unfair to her fourth grade students that no one has truly taught them academic skills like organization and perseverance. Neither the students' previous teachers nor their parents have succeeded at teaching those skills. It is unfair to current teacher.

Third, it's unfair that down the road a little ways, students sit in nice new buildings and loads of technology. The State of Connecticut and the Federal Government have done the greatest disserivice to these students by claiming free public education as a virtue but failing to ensure that every student receives a fighting chance. It is unfair to society.

Fourth, it's unfair that a teacher lacks information on students because other staff members can't get their job done. No one is perfect, but when people fail to perform with regularity, they shouldn't have a job. It is unfair to the student.

Fifth, it's unfair that students can disrupt the school day with very few real consequences. True discipline, whatever that means, has been negated by a system that values self-esteem over functionality. It is unfair to the current teacher.

Sixth, it's unfair that students do not value education. How often do we hear, "this is boring," or "I hate this school?" These students are allowed to foster negativity. It is unfair to society.

Seventh, it's unfair that parents are more concerned with boyfriends, girlfriends, drugs, big houses, fast cars, alcohol, and all the other distractions than with their child and his or her education. It is unfair to the student.

So, enjoy my Serenity Pictures. They were taken at various times of the day this Autumn at the Lake I love and see when I wake up, when I get home from a day of grinding, and before I sleep. That Lake is my Serenity right now.


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