I’ve just spent a week holed up in my living room. I watched the heroes and villains of Oscar Isaac’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for most of the morning, then set up my table and watched the crowd at the theater as I waited to watch the show, wringing my hands while thinking about the ages of our children in relation to this film. I don’t know how many years it’s since I’ve seen children run around in a space ship and attack people with lightsaber weapons.
Is it really necessary to teach children everything about war and peace during school, whether it be as a parent or a parent advocate?
These recent movies are more than just action movies. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and noticed the social messages. There are too many students who are less interested in learning about peace than their parents. There’s been too much focus on one vs. the other during high school. There seems to be a greater emphasis on military weapons and wars instead of gun culture. There have been too many school protests and headlines about children and their reactions. Teachers need to realize their classrooms are not war zones. The best thing a school can do is educate its kids.
Many articles and in-school discussions have talked about how to avoid making family history. I don’t agree. If the school isn’t educating students on what war is and what it’s not, then I don’t think they should be teaching them about war. That’s not teaching or ignoring history. People should be learning about their future, not reading newspapers or headlines on their phones.
An upcoming school schedule has a “Service Week,” an event where students are recognized for their service. Here’s what happened. First, a handful of students came up to me and said they wanted their names to be added to the list. I was like, “Wow.” But let’s be real. People want their name on the list, and it’s normal. To get rewarded for being a volunteer at a soup kitchen or for helping animals is lovely. Let’s not forget that the writer of the article that was mentioned here, too, is receiving a “Service Week” award and that person thanked me. But, that didn’t stop me from being outraged. Students are students. It’s an honor to be included in this recognition.
So what if every fifth or sixth grader involved in a service project in some way becomes an honorary cadet? If a student wants to become a Peace Corps volunteer, he or she should not be in a class without proper prerequisites. I don’t want a parent standing outside the classes supervising homework or discussions. A parent who misses lunch or weekend planning meetings is setting children up for failure, which can be lifelong. This parent is teaching her children that they are not entitled to parent-approved experiences. Parents are not off-limits or out of bounds. They should be asked to sign up for a volunteer project. Teachers should be respectful of the parent and the importance of volunteering.