LETTER from DOUGLAS GEERTGENS
In a previous essay, I asked; Why Do We Have Schools?
Parents and other family members took on the major responsibility for teaching children whatever it was they thought they should know. As in much of the animal kingdom, the adults play a very important role in teaching their young what they need to know to survive. We are born and eventually we die. Those who best learn how to survive, usually live the longest. But is that really true for us humans?
My mother used to say, “ignorance is bliss.” There are times that I believe her, but in most cases, ignorance will not get you very far in life. When settlers first came to the New World, they embarked on a bold adventure. There were new challenges and survival was just one of them. After living in relative freedom for over 100 years, the rule of the King began to take its toll on some of those freedoms. From this frustration came the words; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Where does that quote come from? If you cannot answer that question, then our schools have failed. The founding fathers realized that if each generation after them were not taught about the reasons for the revolution and the documents developed as a result of their frustrations with the king, then the experiment would fail. They knew the importance of teaching the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States to future generations. That is one answer to the title question.
In the early days of our country, our society had that role. Parents had that role.