Learning in a Vegas chapel

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When Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week that the state plans on opening public schools this fall, opinions popped up faster and more abundant than mosquitos on a mid-summer night.

I am thankful to the Good Lord for giving me sense enough to know when my opinion doesn’t matter and this is one of those times. The aggressive debates did however cause me to sit back and think about a possible solution.

The act of passing one’s knowledge down to a younger, less experienced member of society should be special and with meaning.

Think of the grandfather walking through the chicken yard with his grandchildren. As they approach the coupe, he shows them how to carefully gather the eggs or maybe how to deal with an ornery hen who won’t clear the nest while simultaneously keeping an eye on the overprotective rooster. 

School days used to look more like that. A community “school house”was the setting for a teacher to pass on information to students. The grades may have ranged from first to 12th but the enrollment number was likely no more than 20 or 30 kids. 

Teachers knew their students abilities, talents and struggles. Beyond that, their roots in the community also allowed teachers to know each student’s family dynamic.

Over time, with transportation becoming more reliable, the community schools were consolidated into a more centrally located school campus. 

What was once hours designated for intimate learning that paid attention to details had now morphed into an educational assembly line.

Think of if this way. There is something special about friends and family gathering to watch a young couple exchange vows and become united as one. The deepness of the moment usually invokes tears. It’s a privilege to be a part of such a moment in time. 

Now, let’s head west to a drive-up wedding chapel in Las Vegas. You pull up in your car and a man dressed like Elvis says a few words and you drive away as newlyweds. Sure it serves the purpose, but it is far from the gathering that saw your new mother-in-law hug you and welcome you to the family.

I’m not suggesting we go back to walking to a one room school heated by a pot belly wood stove. Everyone is searching for the “right way” or a “better way” to teach our kids.  Maybe we accidentally had it right all those years ago. 

In a time that pushes all organic over processed and churned out in a factory, maybe we can apply that way of thinking to more than just food.