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OPINION

Pray for some Miss Carolyn’s……

By Kesley Colbert
Contributing Writer

I have three grandchildren that are going to school online. I have three that are physically attending classes at the school building. 

            I have no earthly idea which group is getting the better end of the deal. 

            There is a lot to be said for social distancing in August of 2020. And the schoolhouse has always been a gathering place for every germ, disease, bacteria and virus floating around. Safety for our children, especially my six angels, ought to be the uppermost thought on every adult person’s mind on the planet this morning. 

            And to err on the side of caution, as we all know, is divine.  

            But how do you ask a teacher a question online? How do you fight over who gets to use the pencil trimmer first? Who do you shove in the water fountain line? How do you pull Suzie Cozart’s hair when Miss Carolyn isn’t looking…. 

            If you don’t go to school, how can you have recess? 

            “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is a nice premise for a book, but it is not reality. Most folks don’t half remember being in kindergarten. Everybody remembers lining up for those awful spelling bees in the second grade! 

            There is a lot to be said for the live, real, personal interaction among the students. Listen, I learned as much from Bobby Brewer, Ricky Hale and Buddy Wiggleton during my school days as I did from any teacher. 

            Of course, how to keep a frog from smothering in your pocket, how to roll the exact amount of saliva into a paper spitball or how to make gunpowder didn’t show up on any semester tests. But there is way more to school than Blue Bird reading classes, multiplication tables and cutting out Abraham Lincoln’s head in February. 

            I don’t want my online grandchildren to miss that! 

            But I ABSOLUTELY don’t want my “going to school” group to even cough out loud! 

Thomas Paine could have just as easily been speaking of today’s crisis in America when he penned, “These are the times that try men’s souls”….. 

My six range from the first to the ninth grades. I want them to experience all that school has to offer. 

There is such an awe and wonder of “heading off” to the first grade. What will it be like? Will I fit in? What goes on there? What do teachers teach? I don’t want Max to miss a minute of it! 

My fifth grader surprised me by how excited she was to be going back. She enthusiastically showed me her multicolored backpack with matching lunchbox and water bottle. 

I knew better than to dim her spirits by explaining by the fifth grade I hated school. It was an unwelcome intrusion on my summer! And it would have been most “outdated” of me to mention we didn’t have backpacks in the fifth grade, my lunchbox was a paper sack and we mostly carried our water in a pail. 

Our two six graders are online. How can they relate to our memories of a sixth grade fire drill and how we had to orderly march down a flight of stairs, exit the side door and walk to a safe distance away from the building that wasn’t actually burning? 

How can they ever feel my embarrassment of standing in front of the whole class trying to recite Eugene Field’s “Little Boy Blue”….. 

Come to think of it, I might have could of used a little of that “online” stuff in 1959! 

Our eighth grader thinks she’s ready for college. It’s all about being thirteen. Boy, do I remember that special time in life! Junior high was made for confusion, mood swings, reaching out, remaining within, holding on, questioning…..but mostly really growing as a person. 

The situation kinda carries you along whether you are ready for it or not!    

I pray for her maybe more than the rest. 

Our ninth grader is online. That could be a problem. He doesn’t really dig school when he is there. I think he likes it all but the learning….. He reminds me of a young me. 

They all need special attention; as does every student. Somebody has got to present, teach, push, cajole, propel…..but mostly LOVE copious amounts of knowledge into these little heads. 

I’m also praying as hard as I know how this school year for six teachers and a coach or two that I don’t know and that I will probably never meet.   

They hold the key to this deal….whether we are doing it “online” or “up close and personal” the old fashioned way. 

         Respectfully, 

             Kes