Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Early Random Reflection on Snowmaggedon 2011

Here's a random thought at the start of what will certainly be remembered as the Great Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011.

Paul Keep and his editorial board at The Grand Rapids Press couldn't wait for this.  They wrote their diatribe before the new snow even settled on West Michigan.

Why snow days for schools should become obsolete

The delight of children everywhere — and the bane of working parents — snow days are a rite of winter in Michigan and every other frigid state.... School districts will have to continue to search for creative, high-tech ways to educate students — including on snow days. Sorry, kids.

While the idea of increasing the use of technology in schools and expanding learning to 24/7 possibilities is, in general, a good thing, the Press board is misguided in its attempt to tie this concept to a simple snow day. How about instead of worrying whether kids are missing out on a few hours of "learning" today, we encourage them to get out the door with shovels in hand and help their families and neighbors a bit. It's called "service learning," Paul, something that is sorely missed in today's aggressive, fast-paced society.  It doesn't require a teacher, only parents or older siblings willing to set a positive example for their kids, or at the least force them out the door to explore a day of adventure.

I grew up through the snow-age of the 60's and 70's which seemed to culminate in the Great Blizzard of '78.  As I see it, the main difference between now and then is that I'd have been out the door already this morning with shovel, sled, skates & hockey stick in hand, not to return until I got hungry (and maybe had a little cash in my hand from shoveling a few driveways or digging out a stuck car).  I would not be sitting inside in front of computers, video games, or television, consuming vast quantities of junk food and soda.

And I definitely would not still in bed! That would have been a waste of a perfect snow storm and a perfect day.

Now some will be critical of me in advocating that kids get outside in this type of weather, but I contend that they are the very reason this younger generation is soft, unable to solve their own problems, and unwilling to organize their own exciting adventures.

Or, perhaps this editorial is just another "disguised" attack on public education, Paul?  Guess the disguise didn't work.