Once Upon A Time, School Days Took Us Back To ‘Ba­sics’

McDonald County Press - - CHURCH - By Dr. Don Kuehle DON KUEHLE IS A RE­TIRED UNITED METHODIST MIN­IS­TER WHO LIVES IN JACK­SON. OPIN­IONS EX­PRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.

“School days, school days, good old Golden Rule days; Readin’ and Writin’ and ’Rith­metic Taught to the tune of the hick­ory stick.”

School days have al­ways been im­por­tant days. Even for those of us who re­mem­ber the “good old days,” school shaped our lives. We re­call when life was less com­pli­cated. We at­tended a one-room school. Discipline was strict; the hick­ory stick was used by the teacher at school, and by dad at home. Discipline or pu­n­ish­ment for break­ing the rules is not al­lowed in our en­light­ened so­ci­ety. Discipline is nec­es­sary; discipline is not to be equated with abuse.

We who were dis­ci­plined learned the “ba­sics.” We learned how to read well, and to un­der­stand what we read. We learned to write; we took classes in pen­man­ship. We learned math, how to solve prob­lems and to think for our­selves. We com­peted against other schools in spell­ing and math con­tests. We de­vel­oped our skills for liv­ing the good life.

Along with the ba­sics, we were taught to be fair, and that hon­esty is the best way to deal with peo­ple. We learned to re­spect those in places of au­thor­ity. We were taught to be loyal to our fam­ily, to our school and to our com­mu­nity. We learned what is re­quired of good cit­i­zens of our na­tion. We were taught to help our neigh­bor, that hard work would be re­warded, and that ev­ery person has some con­tri­bu­tion to make to so­ci­ety. We were taught to be faith­ful to our hus­band or wife, to be faith­ful in keep­ing our prom­ises, and to be faith­ful to God and Church. We learned that when we worked for the good of all, ev­ery­one ben­e­fited and life was good.

If the “ba­sics” were im­por­tant in the “good old days,” how much more im­por­tant are they to­day! A person who can­not read or write, do math or think for him­self will find no place in to­day’s world. A person who is dis­hon­est and cor­rupt, who puts his or her in­ter­ests above the best in­ter­ests of the com­mu­nity, is a li­a­bil­ity to so­ci­ety. A person who is un­faith­ful to the peo­ple in his or her life will bring dis­as­ter to ev­ery­one con­cerned. A person who has no room for God or church will never find the “good life.”

Some things are im­por­tant yes­ter­day, to­day and to­mor­row. Some val­ues re­main con­stant; some things never change. God has given each of us a mind to use, for the bet­ter­ment of our­selves and for the ben­e­fit of oth­ers. Let us use what God has given us to make this world a heaven on earth for ev­ery­body.

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