So, I just saw another article about a school district that might go to a 4-day school week. There’s plans (at least in my state) to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next 6 years. This past holiday season everyone complained about stores being open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. And as always, the Europeans’ lifestyle of taking regular holiday is in the minds of American workers as much as siestas and paternity leave.
And I’m just wondering where will it all end?
The hypocrites that complain about having to work over the holidays are the same people going shopping, seeing movies, and playing mini-golf. Students who want less homework and shorter school days also complain that the school doesn’t teach them anything relevant to their adult life. If people were to get more and longer holiday or vacation time, it would be no fun unless someone else was working so you could, ya’ know, go out and have some fun. And do you know what happens when businesses have to pay their employees more money? They have to charge more for their goods and services.
All this is a never ending cycle. Once we get the raise we endeavor to own more expensive items. And once we can no longer afford luxury we demand a raise. Which we spend on even pricier toys that inevitably drain our bank accounts leaving us begging for more.
But the issue that really gets me is the school day issue. There’s plenty of scientific fodder for the youth to throw in our faces about sleep patterns, the maturing young brain, over working, over stressing, and under performing under pressure while being underfed and unrested. While most of it may be true, at least in the confines of the study being held, it doesn’t take into account much else than, “I don’t want to go to school and I shouldn’t have to just look at the data!”
My gripe is quite simple: if we gave students a third day off from school each week, who would watch them?
Our society has transformed over the past hundred years from one where the men make the dough and the women bake it, to one where everyone is not only allowed to define their own career but is all too often forced to work in order to put the bread on the table. And who has suffered in this transition? The children.
Children are by most accounts much better off these days than they were even 50 years ago. There’s more food, better health care, cleaner living conditions, better regulations on environmental protection, and technology that can connect us to the rest of the world. We are slowly becoming what we truly are meant to be: the human race. Interconnected at a level that has never before been achieved.
Yet, children are subjected to school, day care, babysitters, and much alone time (once they are old enough to stay at home alone). And this is not simply because parents don’t have time for them. On the contrary, parents are doing this for them. Parents work hard to give their children food and clothes, toys and cell phones, clean housing and cars. Parents are working to give their kids all the things they never had when they were young… instead of teaching them all the things they were never taught, such as how time is precious and you can never get a moment back once it passes by…
But more egregiously is the fact that our society currently rests on the working class’s shoulders. Many parents have the weekends off, which is nice seeing as schools also have the weekends off. Parent’s and children can spend this time together, even if there is a sport or hobby to tend to. Yet, many parents do not have the weekends off. And even the nicest employers cannot spare all their employees on holidays and snow days. If a school calls off classes those children have to go somewhere. And if the parents must work then they will most likely pay to put the children somewhere for the day. Meaning their workday away from their children is paying for someone else to spend time with their children.
Or children who should not be left home alone are all but abandoned for the day while the parents work.
Who is deciding what is best for the children?
You’ll see a little girl wearing mismatched clothing; a purple shirt with a princess, striped red pants, a light blue skirt, and pink cow-girl boots. But it’s cute, because you know she dressed herself. And it’s not doing anyone any harm, because most people understand that she’s just learning, while also enjoying her favorite clothing items. But would you let her decide what’s for dinner? There is a way to allow children to make choices that you always agree with: you give the child two choices. One you really want the child to make, and one you would rather not the child make yet are OK with. The child will feel the autonomy of making their own decision, and you will be happy they are happy. But would you give this little girl $100 and let her loose in the supermarket?
Some schools are doing just that. They are deliberately giving in to students demands and providing them with things that are not conducive to the learning environment. Just so students will be happy. However, making students happy is not the only objective a school should have. If you don’t prepare the students for their life as productive members of society, then it doesn’t matter how happy they were with the free McDonald’s in the cafeteria. And we’ve already seen this.
At some level, it is ok to provide every child with a ribbon signifying their participation in a sport, for which no official scoring was recorded. It’s not “babying” as much as it is “enticing.” You want the child to have fun, learn about the game, and be free to make mistakes without the State Finals Cup on the line. Yet, at some point, children need to learn that in order to get better you must step up your game. You need to work hard. You need to push yourself. Because everybody else is, and if you don’t, they are going to win. Competition is a fact of life. There will always be someone out there who wants to beat you, and most often, they will beat you at any cost. Children must be taught harsh realities, because NOT teaching them does NOT make these harsh realities go away. Getting offended does nothing but let people know you’ve been offended.
Not to delve into the vernacular of buttercups and snowflakes, but I wonder what future generations would be like if we continue to cut down on homework, school days and hours, and inevitably family time. Students will have less time with parents, unless parents spend less time at work, but with minimum wage going up prices will go up as well. You won’t be able to afford missing work. Unless we all took more vacations, companies started pricing items for affordability instead of pocket-lining, family becomes more important to society, and maybe even place God back at the center of our lives? But at what costs does any of this really come?
Is it selfishness? Is it greed? Is this loss?
P.S. – I’ve been thinking about this all morning, and this post barely scratches the surface of this issue. Like, how much time do you think you can just take off work whenever you want? Who’s going to work? At some point any company will start to lose money, and investors get mad, and people get fired. That’s how business works. You can’t have whatever you want whenever you want it. *sigh*