I’ve been on this planet since 1958. I was born into a post-war booming economy as a second generation American of Irish descent.
While not extraordinarily privileged, in the currently politically correct sense, I have, since my youngest days, literally thanked god, that I was born in the time and place that I was. My father was an elevator operator at the time of my untimely birth (in an elevator: not his). His income was between $20-$30 per week at the time; a shockingly low sum even given the strength of the dollar back then.
He had made some pretty bad decisions in his youth, joining the army instead of taking the offered free ride at Boston College due to his natural speed of foot. Nevertheless, after returning from a stint in Germany he buckled down, began to study and to raise a family. There was hope back then that with application and energy one could better ones’ circumstances with the honest application of energy and will. That hope was not misplaced.
He worked himself up to a relatively high position within the telephone monopoly of the day and his children enjoyed a big house with an ocean view and a pretty good pubic school education.
Since I can remember I have been a skeptic. In catechism class I was unsettled by the gap between the churches view on things and those forwarded by the school. With my parents, a shallow answer was never enough and they thankfully provided me with answers to the best of their ability despite my being only one of their six charges.
In school the situation was similar. I’m certain that were I now matriculated into the school system I would most certainly be convicted of have some disorder or other which would require some pharmacological agent to correct my behaviour. Back then I was simply ‘energetic’ or ‘bored’ or ‘distracted’. I do not envy the teachers who had to put up with me back then. That said, I was never one who supported the systemic square-peg-in-a-round-hole philosophy which was, and is, part and parcel of the federal school system.
The best teachers I have had, in and out of school, were those who challenged ME to think more deeply. I was quickly bored with the rote learning proscribed by the system and the unimaginative regurgitation which was subsidized there. My favorite classes were the difficult ones and a course in logic and critical thinking proved to be the most valuable in the long term.
I speak two languages well and two others passably. None of these were acquired in school but rather later via travel and interest. Curiosity is the key to all learning and knowledge is its own reward. Until now I have led a blessed life and could die happy now were it not for my curiosity about the future and my desire to give back some of what I have learned to my children and anyone else who might find resonance here.
Let the discussions begin.