To any readers who have become accustomed to a more regular dose of gratitude, I apologize for having been missing in action for a while. Getting back into the school year routine has taken a greater toll on my energy than usual. Gregory’s homework regimen has clearly been developed by someone with a sadistic streak. Helping him with the homework on top of getting the kids to/from their extracurricular activities, getting dinner on the table, spending as much quality time with the kids as possible, and everything else, has left me feeling that I need to hire a project manager just to keep my life under control. Then I got sick, and things just went further south.
But enough of the pity party. This is the life of every parent. This is also what every September is like. I always manage to wriggle my way back into the swing of the things before too long.
The other night, while I sat with my son in our dining room moving from homework task to homework task, with the descending sun casting longer and longer shadows in the room, I found myself overwhelmed with bitterness. That bitterness has arisen partially from the time and energy I have lost in trying to motivate my son to tackle his homework when he is understandably frustrated by the tedium and sheer volume of it. The bitterness has also originated from seeing my son finally head to bed, exhausted. But mostly the bitterness has developed from seeing a society that increasingly fails to let children be children.
In the midst of all that bitterness, however, one thing did occur to me: at least my children have access to public education. I know there are cultures that don’t prize education greatly, and that the history of my culture is one which did not always recognize the right of all children — regardless of status or wealth — to benefit from education. My children and I are fortunate to live in a time and place where each of us has the opportunity to pave a way for ourselves, not through our family names or the coins in our pocket, but through diligence and merit.
Today, I am grateful for public education. It helps us work and live better, opens our minds, enriches our communities, and propels forward human understanding of this mysterious universe.