You may have noticed that in a previous issue I was challenged to ride a new horse (no mention of that other George this week!) As with any neophyte horseman, I was intrigued with the thought that just maybe, this time I would not be sent sprawling to the ground in great pain! In my previous bouts with those great animals I was always the loser.
You may, or may not know that I spent the better part of 35 years (or even more if you include being an instructor at an air base in Yorkshire during the second world war, training bomber pilots in the art of staying alive while piloting Halifax and Lancaster aircraft), in British Columbia schools as a teacher.
In all probability I never achieved the goal I wanted to aspire to. I did write all over my students notebooks this expression–TO TEACH, TO THINK–. It was not as simple a task as I had thought! However, despite having the necessary tools of the day in the early part of the last century (that is before the introduction of the pocket calculator, the computer, television, and a host of newer tools so prevalent today), I became an instructor of children in our schools.
It was, and still is, my favourite source of satisfaction for a lengthy career doing what I loved doing. That is, being in the company of young people, year after year, watching them develop as fine young men and women becoming part of the mosaic and the fabric of what we know to be Canadians.
The gentlemen who asked me to assist him in his search for satisfaction regarding the youngsters behaviour at our high school has chosen badly if he thinks I will be an advocate for his limited view of them.
I have said I was in the airforce during that awful conflict we called the Second World War. I was part of a huge number of military people who, when learning the art of killing, spent many hours after lights out, calling rude names to people we did not like. We had our heroes as do people today and we had a giant of a young man who had a gentle disposition but agreed to fight another young man because we did not like the other fellow who seemed to be, ONE OF THEM! The terminology has not changed much over the years, but we thought he deserved a licking and we all supported the battle. It turns out that there was a decisive decision! Our hero was beaten before the fight began! It was one of the moments I well remember and it has helped me realize that the majority does not always think wisely, nor does it often even think at all.
I have always been an advocate for kids, always have, always will. They need to explore all possibilities and make decisions which may not please us old fogies. That does not mean they will have to go to purgatory, nor will their enthusiasm for having fun deprive them of being good citizens. When we were much younger my wife and I were invited to a party. I dressed as a figure skater, using my daughter?s fancy costume, and my wife used my son?s costume and we went as the doubles champions, complete with medals they had won. Except for the discomfort of wearing a dress suitable for a thirteen year old girl who at least six inches shorter than me, we had fun and so did the others at the party! We were fortunate in that the guests all were getting as much fun out of the evening as we were and nobody even thought about the message we were leaving! I find it is a sorry state when we are all so frightened of the appearance we might leave with otherwise good citizens that we have to resort to trying to give meaning to something which has no meaning to us! Please, let kids be kids, and please do not try to make monsters when there are none there.
We are indeed fortunate that this community has been blessed with having such wonderful kids as representatives for us as we are struggling to bring a sense of order to this place we love to live in. If a few of you are thinking of living in some other part of Canada because our standards do not mesh with yours, feel free to leave. We wish you well as you try to adjust to your new community. We like it here, and see little to make us want to find better elsewhere. Bon Voyage.