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POSTED: September 11, 2012 10:00 a.m.

I just read an Associated Press news story where educators across the nation are trying all sorts of techniques (also sometimes known as gimmicks) to get kids up in the morning to go to school. This was the role of mamas and daddies when I was growing up. But that’s been a while ago, and I realize things aren’t the same anymore.

So I’m not trying to be overly critical here, I’m just trying to understand.

Their techniques run the gamut from recorded celebrity wakeup calls to computer games. And it is reported that this is working in some areas. Attendance is up. Tardiness is down, they say. But the problem is still formidable.

Now let’s say that there is a home without a mama or daddy or in some cases, neither. I would sign on to most any program that would help these kids. They are products of their environment, and if there is no encouragement in terms of education, then the chances of overcoming that environment are slim — not impossible, but perhaps improbable in many cases.

I don’t think, however, they have much data to show me how many of the cases they refer to fit this analogy and how many are just the result of regular old garden-variety laziness. And for that grouping, what do we expect from them in the real world when they get a job, if they are so lucky? I hope they are not expecting employers to provide wakeup calls and other gimmicks to get them to the job on time. I’ve noticed that life just doesn’t work that way.

I never once skipped school to go fishing or to hang out at the swimming hole. I did miss some days if I was sick or if I had to help out on the farm hoeing peanuts or setting tobacco. My parents made sure I was up to meet the bus with a hot breakfast and clean Red Camels to start the day. So if it was a choice of going to school or facing peanut rows that reached to Alabama, I would quickly choose school. Motivation comes in many flavors.

Occasionally I drop into a mode of deep thought about where we’ve been and where we might be headed as a society.

And I’ll be the first to admit that in the big picture I probably have more questions than answers. But like many, I continue to search. I think a lot of our problems stem from the fact that there are just so many of us now. Our nation’s population has grown tremendously in the past four decades.

And as it grows, the “elbow-room factor” (which encompasses a lot of elements) comes into play. As the population increases, so do the issues.

Our lives and society in general are no longer depicted in Norman Rockwell paintings. “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie” no longer set the tone for television.

Yet there are still lots of good, hardworking people who raise families in wholesome, healthy atmospheres. They care about the future of their kids and the future of the country. We write about them and their kids quite often. But life being an adversary system, the negatives may draw more attention at times than do the positives.

So I’m just hoping that thing about kids having trouble getting up to go to school is blown out of proportion or just reflects the fact that we have more kids now and the tendency to oversleep is factored accordingly. If that’s not the case, then I hope the gimmicks work.

While there are some things about the past that don’t equate to me as “the good old days,” there will always be those simple things like that hot breakfast and the clean Red Camels that I can appreciate, fully realizing that I had nothing to do with being born into such love and caring ... it just happened, and I’m very thankful.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer.

 

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