Back to School

By Rod Garland

Summer is just about over. Where did it go? At last mothers across the western world can breathe a sigh of relief as their precious little ones head back to school and their attention can turn away form finding things to do to keep their kids active over, what ahs been a long, wet and dismal Summer.

"If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers". - Edgar Watson Howe

  Most mothers will, by now have kitted their kids with the latest designer backpack, sneakers and replenished the supplies of necessary school paraphernalia from the local Walmart or BestBuy store.

  This is the time of year that many parents most look forward to. The house can be restored to its former organized state of order. No more sports bags lying in the hall; no more piles of clothes strewn across the floor of every room; and no more bikes, toys and sports equipment thrown down on the drive or in the middle of the yard.
   After a Summer of late nights, followed by waking times, typically just before noon, many kids will be in a 'zombie-like' state until they adjust to the new routine of hiving to get themselves to school, but most will be pleased to renew friendships and embark on a new school season.
   Most politicians also took the Summer off and will be heading back to "work" soon, but if the new sessions are anything like those in the past, their time might be better spent also heading back to school.
   They could start by taking a course in ETHICS 101, where they learn to behave with an ounce of decency, respect and honesty.
   CIVILITY 101 would cover contributing to debate with the decorum befitting the highest forum in the land where laws are made, not for partisan benefit, but for the common good.
   POLITICS 101 is necessary to teach the members that they are in "that place" as representatives of the common man, and not there to just put in time until they qualify for a, - far too generous pension and golden handshake in advance of a return to private life, - usually for one of their recently acquired lobbyist friends.
  MATH 101 is also necessary to go over simple accounting procedures, such as " how to complete an expense sheet" (wit reference to ETHICS 10) and "the meaning of a budget" especially when managing other people's funds.
  COMMUNICATION 101 could use as the example, this Summer's Calgary floods, where ex-Professor, Mayor Nenshi and his emergency response colleagues did an excellent job staying on top of the terrible tragedy that struck the downtown and low lying areas. Their response was first class and also the community spirit shown by the Calgary populous was awe inspiring and demonstrated effective use of social media in getting out volunteers to "pitch in" and help.
   An example of failed communication could point to the floods in High River, where hundreds of people have been left "high and dry" by their municipal and provincial leaders. Unfortunately their community is still far from being high and dry.
   Some lessons could be learnt from Thornton Melon, played by Rodney Dangerfield from the 1986 movie "Back to School".
   Thornton Melon decided to enroll in college to teach his son the importance of school, and in one scene his son is criticizing him for not doing his homework for an upcoming paper on the writer, Kurt Vonnegut.
   His son comes into his Dad's dorm room and sarcastically asks his dad how he is going to do the paper without reading any of Kurt Vonnegut's books. Thornton says that he doesn't understand a word of it, at which there is a knock on the door.
   The son opens the door to see a man taking off his hat.
   The man says "Hi, I'm Kurt Vonnegut. I'm looking for Thornton Melon" 
   In the room Thornton has gathered a room full of experts writing his papers, he says " a good executive knows how to delegate authority"
   And finally some words of wisdom from Homer Simpson to keep school expectations real.

" How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive? 

"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand."


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