Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Inherit the Wind?

This is still hanging in our office here at home. Our son, Clark, drew it for one of his art classes and we had it framed. It is a facinatingly graphic depiction in colored pencil of the Earth and Its Eco-Systems. Not only does it remind me of him and his talents, it reminds me his love of gardening, and his "throwing clay pots" (earthenware) He has inherited this talent and this love of the earth. He returns to it from time to time for his own peace of mind.

Without too much effort, my memory then stretches to a time when he and I tried out for a local play. ie. "Inherit the Wind" We had to commute to it at night. He was in Jr. Hi. I think. He got one of the main parts - the innocent boy on the stand in the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial" I was put into the "chorus" of towns folk and after one "go around" with the director, I quit. I had met him when I directed his boy in one of my plays. I was "a bit hasty and full of myself" then (maybe I still am) and made a decision I later regretted. I agreed to continue to transport my son to the rehearsals in a distant warehouse, but I refused to be yelled at by that director. It was a "good" experience for the young actor and helped him in his later "theatrical endeavors" (one memorable one "Something's Afoot" at Mt. Sac) I'm sure the theme and philosophy of the play made an impression too.

The real Scopes Trial took place in Tennessee back in 1925, I think. A teacher was "on-trial" for teaching "The Theory of Evolution" in Science class. He lost and had to pay $125. and his reputation. Now, some 70 years later, we have, in the news, a similar trial going on in Pennsylvania, I think. This is about "Intelligent Design" being taught in our Science Classrooms. Here, however, no one is being sued for teaching it or not but a group is wanting a 59-word statement read in the Science classrooms saying that students are directed to the library to read a book about "Creationism" if they want. The Science teachers are refusing to read this statement from their local board and so the administrators are having to read it. The teacher's contention is that it is not Science or even comparible to a "Scientific Theory". It, like the original Scopes Trial, has gotten "Political". ie. "the separation of Church and State" and/or "religious topics in the classroom" Will we ever learn? Is there no agreement about this? No harmony? No compromise or middle ground?

What would Confucius say? Here's another stretch...yes, it is his birthday today and he is still honored in is called "Teachers' Day". He was born nearly 2500 years ago in 551 B.C. His teachings were based on treating other the same way as you treat yourself. He believed that peace and harmony are achieved by avoiding drastic action or wild thinking. He taught wisdom, love, courage, care, respect and unselfishness. The Chinese and many other peoples have followed his doctrines for centuries. Confucius is the Latinized name of Kung-futzu. His "teachings" might even be considered a "religion" by some. Do they even get into Man's origins? Are they even trying to be "Scientific"? ie. empirical testing, data, trial and error? I think not. They do speak to the ecology and balance of the Earth and Its Inhabitants.

I think we do "Inherit the Wind" when we get into this kind of teaching and/or argument. And, like the wind, it changes, is unpredictable and can cause damage. (we had a power outage today in our area because of it) It doesn't help our kids learn how to learn for themselves either. We need to help them "Inherit the Earth" and take care of it. It starts with taking care of themselves and being true to what they believe and learn to love and accept. Bob


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