Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Make the Right Choice

Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, Tom Sawyer, and on and on. Everyone has their own favorite coming of age story, the one that marks the passage from childhood to adulthood. 

I suppose that I keep coming back to the Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse because, in a way, it symbolizes a coming of age for all of us. Who, after all, doesn’t remember a time in their life when the major worry was if the homework staid dry when it rained, or what was packed for lunch in the brown paper bag. 

These were the halcyon days before the summer storms.

Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse, Chase County, Kansas

An ancient schoolhouse, a country road, and a modern highway, all these things suggest change. Life moves on and yet we remember the past to see how far we have come. Perhaps the perspective on where we are going is best seen from the past. 

Teachers taught the basics - the three R's, reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic, plus a little geography. From the little schoolhouse on the prairie, countless children were introduced to a world of literature and exciting possibilities. The Nature Conservancy, which operates the school, observed, that some of these children stayed to run the family farms, some moved away to conquer new worlds, and all cherished the memories of the little schoolhouse on the prairie.

The journey from child to adult is memorable. No matter whether swim in choppy waters or cool streams, there is bound to be confusion, complexity and, now and then both heartbreak and fun.

In an era of shrinking school budgets, it is nice to remember that the quality of education is determined by the quality of the teacher and the effort one student puts into learning.This is still the America where we say anyone can grow up to be president of the United States. And just looking back at the last 50 years we come up with this list:  Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman all came from humble backgrounds.

The one room school is a symbol of the choices in life we make. Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken comes to mind.

We two to the cool creek raced. In the distance rang a bell, and I— Quickened my pace. Two roads diverged on the hill, and I— I took the one to school, And that has made all the difference. 

This post is another update on the Lower Fox Creek Schoolhouse in Chase County, Kansas