Here in 1956 I happened to notice this cover of the Saturday Evening Post with the usual Norman Rockwell painting (one of the most underappreciated artists of our time, in my opinion.) I couldn’t help notice the sweetness of the image. Nothing new for Rockwell, of course, for even here in 1956, sometimes his images portray more of what one wishes the moment to be than what it may have actually have been. Yet, Rockwell in true artist style, shows us what we would hope or wish to be. His art had that element, not unlike the Religious painters of old, Michelangelo etc, the figure and moment in glorified rightness. No angst nor in your face representation of the lowest aspects of our society, but the higher form we are, as humans, able to obtain. It is harder, one must work at it, but there is a Divinity in it. Even if one is not religious, to be hopeful and kind is surely that which any truly advanced species would hope to achieve.
But, I digress, this is a ‘short post day’ and here I am off rambling nonsense.
My point was that, even though I am childless here in 1956 as well as 2010, I worry of the public schools systems and the future of our world through the children. When I think of what public schools (well possibly not all, but it seems many) are really just great baby-sitting factories. Many children are either raised first by day care, then the public school with tv and computer thrown in. It is odd to me how in a way we have just produced an almost factory like child rearing system of day care/public school/computer tv. Many parents today are of they same system, themselves never having had a more ‘traditional’ system of one parent there at all times.
I think I see this evidenced often in shops when I see the mothers often bargaining or trying to just pacify the child. It is as if they have such little time for themselves that they would rather just give the child something to keep them quiet. Are children even really being raised anymore? I know they are being taught to be good American consumers from an early age, that is for sure and the reinforcement I see of the parents in the stores certainly puts the cherry on the cake, as it were.
Today a teacher could never spank a child. A teacher has almost no power over their student. Most of their lessons, even in later grades, are about trying something ‘fun or entertaining’ to get them to learn. Whatever happened to : sit down be quiet raise your hand if you have a question and listen to my knowledge and then lets test you on it? Obviously somewhere along the lines we abandoned this method and not for a better one when you compare American children scholastically with other countries.
I just wonder if in our perpetual search for fun, entertainment and the need to ‘get away from the rat race’ if we are not really doing ourselves a disservice. Work has become a dirty word and only has meaning if you go to it for long hours for money. Work, in your spare time, such as art or learning things because you want to better yourself, seems an idea as old as the dinosaurs in 2010. Yet, here in 1956, though I see the conveniences rolling in everyday in magazines and tv, there is still that sense that work, making meals from scratch, entertaining and working hard so your guests are happy and comfortable, working to teach your children and yourself more each day, is still very much apart of our life. Yet, in a decade or so, our children will laugh at our ‘knuckle down and get to work’ attitude and replace that with drugs and ‘freedoms’ which will ultimately result in today with Reality shows glorifying those that chose the road to addiction, as if they are the movie stars, those to be emulated.
Many today would see this high school image and think, “they look so old, what squares” when really I see young ladies and gentleman with reality on the tips of their fingers, ready to go out into a very real world, not an endless contest to be cool and hip and ‘Forever 21’.
So, I guess really this image of the happy well behaved students and the appreciated teacher here in 1956 made me not want to look into my 21st century crystal ball. Today, I think, I will close my eyes to what I know is coming and smile at the little girl in her plaid dress and tin lunch pail with the apple behind her back, anxiously awaiting the smile of her teacher.
I don’t want to know that in my own time the term ‘school girl’ often means this.
Have a good day all.