Oh Say, Can “THEY” See…

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:09 AM.

            I taught an American government class this past week at the high school. Well, taught might be a little misleading. It was Constitution Week and Mrs. Beard was kind enough to ask me to come out and regale the students with all I know about that famed document. It didn’t take long.

            It was a class of seniors. They impressed me with their attentiveness, their youthful energy and their politeness. Of course, it was a required class. Maybe they were just trying to get through the moment!

            And, oh my gosh, how young they looked! I was talking about Thomas Jefferson, King George III and the Boston Tea Party…..but I was thinking “Was I ever this bright and alert? Did I ever move with this ease and bounce? Was I ever wrinkle free?” I had running shoes older than some of these students!

            They seemed so self-assured. Comfortable. At ease. Innocent. As I pointed out the short comings of the Articles of Confederation and headed into the Preamble, my mind catapulted back to my last year in high school. I was trying as hard as the dickens to put up the “Hey man, I’m cool attitude”. But, the truth was, I wasn’t so cool. The thought of graduation was both exhilarating and intimidating. It was a big world. And, I was just smart enough to know it was about to change for me. My doubts and fears had doubts and fears!

            They were drafting 18 years olds for Vietnam in 1965. College cost more money than I had. The home that I’d been bragging about “growing up and leaving”, all of a sudden, didn’t really look that bad. The little town that I’d been telling folks for years that I couldn’t wait to get shed of, was after all, really pretty nice……and friendly……and safe.

            As I was explaining how Georgia and some of the other less populated colonies weren’t about to accept the “Virginia Plan”, I wondered what was really going on in the minds of these wonderful young people. Have they even thought of the future? Do they realize the cauldron they are headed for? They seemed pretty hip…….but life has some dips and curves not evident in an American Democracy class. Maybe they were putting up that same front I displayed.

            Down amongst the freedom of speech, press and religion discussion, it crossed my mind that I might be giving this talk in the wrong direction. I was shelling down the corn on what used to be and how it all came about……but I might should have been aiming toward their future.

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