It’s back to school time. Considering that my baby has been graduated for over a year now, working and living on his own, I think that my school supply buying days are quite possibly over. (unless there’s grandchildren in my near future). Some of the younger nurses at work, were talking about their stress of buying crayons, backpacks, clothing, shoes, and such, all in the name of getting their kids ready for school. As an “empty nester”, I think how quickly I had forgotten all of this.
One of my co-workers was complaining, “I hate supply gathering time, they make me get all this stuff, then they take all of my newly purchased school supplies and put them into a large pool in which anyone can pull from.” I perked up a little on this comment. She went on, “The school says that a community of supplies for all the kids will prevent any of the poorer kids from feeling inferior.” My response to my liberal, but loudly complaining, co-worker was, “for socialism to get a serious grip, you gotta start really young.” At that time, I was just shooting off at the cuff as an attempt to tweak a nerve in a fellow nurse. But as it sunk in, I started to get irritated with the whole idea. I mean, what’s wrong with varying degrees of student supplies? As a kid, you could share if you wanted, or you can be a “greedy stingy pants” if you wanted. That’s just being a kid. When I was that age, the rich kids got more than I did, and the poor kids got a little less. That’s simply the way it was. When I was in the 4th grade, I really wanted the large 64 count Crayola crayon box with the built in sharpener. What I got was the 24 count box. I was really not happy with this situation. I voiced my complaint with the supply acquisition department, (my mom) and I didn’t get anywhere. She said that this was more than adequate for the needs of any fourth grader, and I was lucky to get that. Somehow, what I got, simply didn’t hold the status of the “64 size” box. To make matters worse, a rich kid in my class did get a treasured 64 count Crayola brand crayon box with the built in sharpener. A few kid became his instant friends and he shared his crayons with his new coloring crew. All of the rest of us were quite jealous as he flaunted his crayons along with his new friends. I wanted the 64 size crayons and a bunch of new friends would be really nice too! However, my mom steadfastly refused to give me a crayons upgrade. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get a government handout from the crayon acquisition department, so I went to work for myself. I picked up trash, raked leaves, did yard work, pulled weeds and practically anything a ten year old could do to wheedle loose change from an adult. Eventually I had made enough money to buy the treasured box of crayons on my own. I was the happiest 4th grader around! By this time, with hard use from “friends,” the rich kid’s crayons were becoming short and ragged. The yellow box was even darker and dog-eared. My own box was brand new with a complete complement of full length crayons. I thought about the sudden shift of friends over to me and what they wanted. I also thought about how they used my crayons with reckless abandon… having no concern for the potential overuse of the primary colors. I thought more about the true motives of these so called friends.
I don’t know if my parents were cheap, mean, or very wise. (I want to believe the latter). It seems that, in my tender youth, I learned several valuable lessons that I carried into adulthood. To this day, they affect me in the decisions that I make.
A lot of people in the world look on the rich, the popular, the movie stars, with jealous eyes. I believe that it is best to be happy with what you have. It is not the material things that make happiness. I can also say that, because of this, the friends that I currently have are true friends. They are people that are there for me no matter what… and not only for what material, political or personal status they might gain from their association from me. Today, the people that I associate with, I see no barriers. I judge my associates by their character and not by their assets. I have friends that are ex-cons, and friends that are dirt poor… it doesn’t matter to me. This could be why I’ve spent my career at state teaching hospitals while some of my more material minded relatives gravitate to the better funded private hospitals.
A second lesson… there is nothing that is out of your reach if you want it bad enough and are willing to work for it. I have tried very hard to impart these values onto my own children.
In today’s world, with the advent of political correctness and the fact that the most radically socialistic people in America happen to be tenured public educators. It makes me worry what the life lessons of the children of today will be. What lessons will these children take into the future of this country? With this “pooling of supplies” and extreme efforts in making “no one feel inadequate” what will America be like when these children are my age?
We could learn a lot from crayons.
Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull.
Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
Thanks Scott F