American Dream or American Nightmare

The loss of our American Dream means the loss of our precious freedoms

What shocking news!!! News Flash!!!

There is an overwhelming number of college graduates and young people who don’t believe in the American Dream.

I am stunned. The questions then become: What do they believe the American Dream was/is? Do they have no great dreams or visions? What do they see as their future and the future for generations to come? Have they lost the ability?

My American Dream is as alive today as it was when I graduated from college in 1942. It’s as alive as it was when I was a little girl hoeing in my potato field in the Iowa sun when I was in high school; my grandfather never gave me money but always the opportunity to earn a little money. It’s as alive as when I joined the U.S. Navy in 1943. And so it was when I got my first, second, third and every teaching job. Certainly it was alive when I got married and most of all when my children were born. And it was renewed greatly when my grandchildren were born. It was alive when I had the privilege of getting my doctorate. It is as alive today as it was when I took my walk to my first little white country school. It was alive in the faces of those I have taught. It was more alive when I came home from every foreign country I have had the privilege to visit.

It’s alive when I take my gratitude walk and give thanks for all my blessings. But it isn’t just the beauty of the place where I have had the good fortune of living for so many years or the long and wonderful life I have been given. My American Dream isn’t the home, the car, the college education, the incredible Thanksgiving feast we will enjoy, or the thought of the coming Christmas tree and all the presents.

It is simply my FREEDOMS, those great freedoms that are my birthright and the birthright of every person born in this country and those who choose to make it their land. It is the freedom given to me at my creation to become all that I was created to be. It is the freedom guaranteed me under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that allows me the liberty to have, and do and be all that I choose. It is those freedoms that I work to preserve for my children and grandchildren. If we do not have freedom, we cannot help others to achieve freedom.

To lose that American Dream, the dream our founders secured for us in our history, can only happen if we forget who we are. We can only lose the American Dream of freedom if we lose sight of what secures this liberty for ourselves and those who follow.

If the majority of college graduates and young people don’t know what the American Dream is or have lost it, we have a big problem to solve. If colleges and total educational system are teaching our young a distorted view of our history, a view of our Republic as a place of greed or a country devoid of “social justice,” or when they applaud and teach forms of government that have clearly failed, maybe those colleges and schools are not worthy of our young. When our educational system has forgotten the founding principles that have made them great, perhaps they don’t deserve our bright young people.

When our highly respected places of learning turn our young into voices who believe the American Dream no longer exists or is dead, it means to me that they have succeeded in brainwashing them into believing that independence, self-reliance, government only by the consent of the governed, guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all fictions of an older generation’s imagination. It’s time, they must be teaching, for a new set of rules that matches the needs of the time.

I’m always learning, and I am forever learning that liberty doesn’t need a new set of rules or regulations that match “the changing times.” Liberty is timeless. It is about the freedoms guaranteed in our founding documents and by our Creator. It is about the spirit born in each one of us. It is about independence and self-worth that allow us to be all that we can be. Only then can we preserve the liberty for others.

I think of all the young men and women who join the service to earn the right to go to college. They are fighting and dying to preserve the American Dream. Will they be humiliated and met with derision for their commitment? Will they be made to feel stupid for believing in the things they fought for and many died for?

It’s not only college tuition that is expensive. Much more expensive is what’s being taught there that can turn many of its graduates into believers that the American Dream is dead. These young graduates are many of our future leaders who will not even understand that they are continuing to turn out the lights on “the shining city on the hill.”

It was the dream of religious freedom that founded us, and it is the continuing dream of freedom that will preserve us.  We must not lose it or not understand what it is. The alternative to a beautiful dream is an unwanted nightmare.

Patriotism and Freedom or Transformation to Slavery

Almost daily there is a story, an anecdote, or a report about a school in America where students who are wearing patriotic shirts or symbols are being sent home, asked to turn their shirts inside out, or given another shirt to wear. The reason usually given is that the attire creates an uncomfortable situation for other students, or could cause trouble or a conflict situation. These are American schools. Are we not teaching our young to honor the nation in which they were born or have chosen to call their own? When students who honor their country and their heritage by  the wearing of attire, the stars and stripes of our nation, are harassed and sent home on Cinco de Mayo Day, or any other day, it is time for citizens to go to war, a war that restores education in America to its founder’s dreams.

One needs only to look at Washington’s address to his army in camp on Long Island:

 “The time is now near at hand, which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves, whether their homes and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed and themselves to be consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human effort will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and the conduct of this army. Our Cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or to die.”

Yes, the time is now at hand to determine whether our schools will be instruments for freedom or for the transformation of our country to slavery. Will our schools promote the cause of transformation or the cause of freedom?

Washington continued: 

“Our own, our country’s honor, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion. If we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let us, therefore, animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a freeman contending for liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”

We have had the eyes of the world upon us from the inception of our country. There were more abroad, I believe, who understood the special nature of our great land than perhaps there were among us who grew up with liberty and assumed that it could always be with us. I am keenly aware that my liberty as I’ve been privileged to live it for the 98 years I have been given, is very much in jeopardy.

It is the eye that I have upon myself that compels me to write this document. I have given my life to serving in a profession for which I still have great passion. But I wonder what I could have done earlier, what I could have contributed to the minds of our new generations to preserve the tenets of our founders. All know that to transform a country you must control the minds of the young. You must erode the values that stand in the way of the transformation. You must guide students’ thinking away from the founding principles of our nation.

Those of us who refuse to allow the transformers to have their way know too, that we have allowed others to re-write our history books. We have allowed multicultural ideas and activities to become the god of plurality and diversity. No people could possibly be more diverse than the multitudes from around the world that came to our shores. But they did not carry the flags of their nation on our holidays; they proudly carried the American flag and sang our national songs. Yes, they added the richness of their culture to blend into the culture of this new, great land. From their easel of experiences and varied backgrounds, they painted the great portrait that became America.

We have become afraid to be proud of our country, the country that millions have sought to call their own. We have taught our young to apologize for being American rather than teaching them to demonstrate their love, respect, pride, and gratitude for being a fortunate inhabitant of the “Shining City on the Hill.”

America First – Status of Our Ship of State

 America First  was published in 1916 by the American Book Company. It was written by Jasper L. McBrien, who at the time of the writing was School Extension Specialist for the United States Bureau of Education, and a former Superintendent of Public Instruction of Nebraska.

McBrien writes in the Foreward:

The rising generation, both native-born and foreign, to get the full meaning of this slogan (America First) in its far-reaching significance, must have time for study and reflection along patriotic lines. There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.’ The prime and vital service of amalgamating into one homogenous body the children alike of those who are born here and of those who come here from so many different lands must be rendered this Republic by the school teachers of America.  

Brien continues: The purpose of this book is to furnish the teachers and pupils of our country, material with which the idea of true Americanism may be developed until ‘America First’ shall become the slogan of every man, woman, and child in the United States.

 I cannot say it better.

I have lived most of the years since this book was published. I have lived the changes. I believe that we need a large dose of patriotism and an understanding of our history now more than ever before. In my 98 years, I have seen our ship of state on so many different courses. But, I’ve never seen the culture in such turmoil and division as exists now. Nor have I seen such effort to render us rudderless. This always seems so tragic when we have been given by our Founders the greatest set of maps, our founding documents, ever devised for any people with which to keep a ship of state on course. They were carefully designed to make certain that the government was of the people, by the people, and for the people.

I fear the shoals, the rocks, the reefs, and horrific storms ahead. With the dialogue of pending impeachment, the hate expressed by the media and various factions, the general tenor of discontent in our country are all signs of trouble in our Republic. The constant battle of the “transfomers” to change our country to something far from its founding is very dangerous to that very founding. The desire to change fundamental principles and documents in our nation is a sign that the battle is real and intense. These people who hate the Captain of our ship so intensely that they are willing to sell their souls to insist on a new Captain. We are in dangerous waters; we need to pay close attention to what these entrenched change-agents are doing to our Republic. They want to turn our founding documents and founding principles to the opposite extremes. Socialism, as they profess it, makes extinct our remarkable constitution and founding documents that keep us governmentally a republic. That is our heritage, that is our uniqueness and that better be our future.

 

Religious Freedom and Our Schools

One of the more amazing things that I have come to examine more and more is how cleverly the transformers have used “religious freedom,” one of the great tenets on which our Founders based everything. Diabolically, they have taken this great foundation of tolerance for all religions and turned it on its back. They used our deep desire for tolerance of religion to preach to us about tolerance in all areas. While they are extracting tolerance from us, they are free to practice intolerance. If we show the least bit of resistance, they know how to make most of us feel guilty. They have most certainly used all areas of our society when and how ever they could.

They have flooded our schools with multiculturalism. They have used our national instincts for tolerance to promote their agenda. While they have been removing more and more Christian ideas and ideals from our books, they have been putting more and more about other religions in our school books. While they are teaching our kids more and more about tolerating other religion, they have been distorting the historical facts about the religious content of our beginnings.

Universities, where I have spent much of my career, are the worst offenders. To find a conservative professor is quite a task. I have taught my classes during student strikes; I was told by my peers that I must not do that. Opposing the strike was not a good political move. I insisted that I was only conforming with what they were striking for—freedom of speech and assembly. If the students who were striking had the right to not attend class, then the students who wanted to attend class must have the same right. Oddly, no one seemed to be able to dispute that logic.

Universities are populated with boatloads of Marxists. Many don’t outwardly admit to the name, but they teach and indoctrinate their students with those ideals. Most young people who attend the liberal colleges, most are, come home after a short time to discuss with their parents if conservative, how wrong they are. “You don’t understand. Your way of thinking is old fashioned. There are more modern ways of thinking about our political system and our economy.”

The change in many, including my own, occurs when they get their first pay check and discover how little “they have left” after all the deductions are made. “Mom, this is not fair.” It’s a natural place to take them back to what you taught them in the first place. They find an eternal truth. Old doesn’t mean bad or outdated. So it is with our Founding Documents, our founding ideals, and our God given rights. They are no more out of style than the Bible is for a Christian. .

Churches have been used extensively to fight the battles of the transformers. The strange part of this is that one would expect most religions to want to keep Christ in Christmas, would want to keep our Christian beginnings in the textbooks and in our teaching, and our God given rights ever before our student’s eyes as God given rather than government given. I suspect that sometimes our church people are the most vulnerable to the tolerance pleas and the subsequent guilt that follows if they don’t succumb.

Our School Boards that succumb to the distortion of the holidays, who don’t follow what’s in their textbooks or what is being taught in their classrooms, are also at fault. It is difficult at the school board level to know. Often you are “protected” from knowing for the fear of “micromanagement.” Our young people are in school many hours a day during their formative years. The inclusions and exclusions in our textbooks are critical to our future. As McBrien said in America First many years ago, “There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.”  This is so true for this day.

 

 

 

Political Correctness and Tolerance

One of the great cornerstones of our republic is tolerance. Our Founders came from  various countries where religious freedom was not present, and other freedoms were restricted. Property was in the hands of a few. Government rule was in the hands of a king or monarch of some sort. Freedom to speak and to assemble were restricted if present at all. Justice systems were autocratic and often trials did not exist; one person could be judge and jury. Our Founders were seekers of freedom.

They were often dissidents seeking religious freedom as the basis for other freedoms. Because they wanted to be free to practice their religious choice, they sought this for all people. For this to become reality in their new home, they demanded freedom to practice their own beliefs and the freedom for others to practice their beliefs. Thus this great principle of tolerance was basic. Tolerance was a necessity. This tolerance was embedded in their personal lives and guaranteed in their governing documents.

We became a super-tolerant nation. We welcomed others. Our Statue of Liberty became the symbol for the masses seeking freedom. Ellis Island became the beginning of that road  for the many seeking freedom they longed for.

Unfortunately, that very tolerance and acceptance of other peoples, views and other religions have been used to transform, to undermine, to try to destroy our founding principles and even our founding documents. That very tolerance for all religions has been used to diminish our Christian heritage. That tolerance has been used to distort the values and principles of our republic.

Our history books have watered down our founding; they have heralded other cultures and religions while omitting our Christian founding. We have become afraid to acknowledge our exceptionality and instead apologize  for our freedoms and successes. Our tolerance has been transformed into political correctness.

We need to stand tall; we need to appreciate what our exceptionality has allowed us to do and be. We need to be proud of the values and principles embodied in our founding documents. We have not kept the light from the “shining city on the hill”  focused on us only. We have sent the beams of freedom’s light all around the world. We have given of ourselves and our plenty. We have fought and died for the freedoms born of the tolerance we inherited.

Now we must become intolerant of those who would use our tolerance against us. We must not feel guilty of our heritage. We must not fear to be exceptional. We must again proclaim with verve and gusto the founding principles of this great republic. We must, because the alternative is unthinkable.

If You Don’t Like Change, Don’t Watch the Sun Rise

I am going through many major changes in my life’s journey. Change is swift and super challenging. Without faith, impossible would creep into my vocabulary, but I am not letting it enter. So I thought it was a good dose of medicine to read one of my earlier writings about change, which has been very helpful to me. So, if you’re going through changes little or big, I share this with you.

The clouds lay in layers of gray with the white light of the rising sun behind them. It was an awesome sight. I took a little walk early this morning toward the end of my driveway. The sky in the east was a special sight to behold. These sights and scenes happen only when they happen. If you’re not there, you miss them. Or if you’re not looking, you miss them. There was such beauty in the scene and so many lessons in that early morning landscape.

Everything in the picture  of the moment added its very own color and texture. Every palm frond lay quiet as if it were enjoying the scene as much as I was. Their green lace against the totally blue sky above them offered contrasts with two of nature’s great colors, blue and green. The eastern sky was like a different canvas. But its convulsive changes as the sun demanded more of the space were offset by the strength of Palomar Mountain and the surrounding peaks. They stood firm; they changed a little bit in color, but that was the extent of it.

In just a few more steps, the sun had demanded its place in the morning sky. I could no longer look in that direction. The bold light was so bright I could not view it straight on. That scene of a few minutes ago was finished. It was indeed a picture to capture. That is why we have cameras. We have not only the kind that you point and shoot, as my grandchildren say. “It’s easy, Grandma,” but we also have the best camera of all where the pictures are ours alone. They are stored in the memory book of our mind.

The lessons. Wow. If you can’t tolerate change don’t watch a sunrise; you’ll be a mess in a few minutes. If you love change, a sunrise does wonders. If you think you’re a color expert, don’t watch a sunrise or a sunset; nature has its own color combinations. An early morning walk is a great time to get lessons in getting started; everything around you is doing the same thing. Flowers that rested for the night are waking up; birds and animals are moving about; the sky tells its story.

But the sun–Old Sol is pushing the hardest. No question about where it will be when I take my afternoon walk. I will have to look in the other direction. Yes, it will be on my western horizon. And I can almost bet that it will give me a whole new set of lessons. I’m guessing the picture will be shades of red and orange as it drops into the Pacific Ocean. It continues to teach me that I am one of many; as I see the red sunset many in other parts of the world will be seeing the white light of the rising sun.

Change is happening. I must use the gifts that I have been given if I am to enjoy the abundance of the universe, and I will never enjoy what is to come if I am not grateful for what I have. All of us have the same gift of time so deftly monitored by the sun.

Labor Day 2019 – Lessons of Hard Work

Labor Day each year brings many memories, but it also comes with many questions. The conversations and programs often are confusing. Are they speaking of labor, the noun, or are they discussing labor, the verb? There are a lot of synonyms for each. This day I prefer to speak of the labor that creates, that gives birth to something special, that is difficult, joyous, fulfilling, exhausting, exhilarating, and full of anticipation, expectation, wonderment, and even fear and pain. All of these can co-exist in the planting of a garden and even more so in the labor of birth.

Whatever synonym one chooses, it  seems to be tied to the word “work.”    We even tie the education of our children and youth to the word. “Honey, just remember you’re going to work just like mommy and daddy,” we say. And so they go off to “work” in this place called school. They labor in a place that should be filled with enchantment and joy, but is often filled with tedium, repetition, being told what to do all day, and often filled with few opportunities for choice and real problem solving. Monopolies breed these attitudes, and public schools are monopolies.

While the children labor in the vineyard of the school, the adults labor in the “workplace.” My first one was my home. I can’t remember when I didn’t have chores. Neither can I remember any time in my life when I wasn’t tagging someone around trying to learn how to do something. When would I be big enough to run the tractor? When could I knead the bread? I could dry the dishes if I stood on a chair, or feed the chickens if mother carried the feed.

I was fascinated with how things worked–the windmill, the incubator, water in its various states, and the diversity of the snowflakes. Examination was not a test in my life, it was an opportunity to examine, to observe, and to ask the questions that filled my environment. My unpaid workplaces fit the old Confucius saying: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

My first paid job was working for my eighth grade teacher cleaning her apartment. What faith she had in giving an eleven year old kid a job. But I was grateful for the fifteen cents an hour I earned. Opportunity knocked early on my door. And it’s been knocking regularly since then. I ushered in the little theater in town; that allowed me to see movies.

At about this same time, my grandfather, the master of thrift, hard work, and personal responsibility,  was also the master teacher. He would never give us (I had many cousins) money, but he would always provide opportunities for us to earn it. He provided the seed potatoes, the plot of ground ready to plant, and taught us how to do the rest by his example. I planted those potatoes, I hoed those potatoes in the hot Iowa sun, and learned how to look to nature for the rain and occasional cloudy day when I could abandon that straw hat he insisted I wear. I was so proud of that paycheck when I sold those potatoes.

But the lessons were the priceless parts of the process. Maya Angelou has said it well: Nothing will work unless you do. I found out in that potato field the truth in the statement of Thomas Edison: Opportunity is often missed by most people because it is dressed up in overalls and looks like work.

Grandpa offered the same opportunity to all, but others saw only opportunity dressed up in overalls and looking like work. I could only learn the lessons of hard work by working hard. Margaret Mead knew this. Even the home-spun advice of Ann Landers informed us: Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work so most people don’t recognize them. I am thankful for the early lessons of recognition.

Labor Day’s Past and Present- Critical Questions Remain the Same

This is a blog I wrote in 2012. As I reread the blog today, the critical ideas involved are still so pertinent that I want to republish it; my granddaughter has survived college, is in her second year of employment that she enjoys, and fortunately lives in a country where she is making her own yellow brick road. But the questions I asked are still pertinent to our culture of today. In many cases, they are more important then when I asked them these years ago. Will some of these be answered by her next birthday?

My message for Labor Day is well stated in this blog:

It is Labor Day 2012. And it is my granddaughter’s 16th birthday.

I celebrate labor. I want to blow the trumpets and announce again the importance of the work ethics of our founders, our grandfathers and grandmothers. My German grandfather was a master at teaching the value of honest labor. He never gave us a fish; he gave us a fishing pole. He never gave us money; he gave us the opportunity to earn money. Then he taught us how to keep some for that rainy day. He was grateful to his new country for the opportunity to own land, to build a multi-family home for his large family, to work from sun-up to sun-set; and to ride in the caboose of the long freight train that was taking his cattle and hogs to the markets in the stockyards of bustling Chicago.

As an immigrant, he seemed to understand better than many who are born in this country, how important it is for government to help you keep what you earn, rather than to figure out how to take more of a citizen’s earnings. He helped his children get their starts. He was an entrepreneur and a tough negotiator when it came to venture capital–the money he and his family had earned.

I sat at the end of the driveway this morning and contemplated the significance for me today of the double celebration. What do the next Labor Days hold for my 16 year old granddaughter? Will they be a celebration of hard work, of ethical behavior in the workplace,and of policies that will allow her to keep what she earns in the future? She works hard at her present endeavors; no one shoots the three-point shots for her; no one spends the hours doing her homework; no one takes her tests or writes her papers.

When she finishes her school work and heads out into her work world, what will she find? Will she find business, industry, and the professions prosperous and free, or will she find them further transformed to be controlled and largely owned by an ever-expanding government?

As I sat pondering the meaning of Labor Day and the future of my granddaughter, I thought about what college holds for her. Will those wonderful years be filled with opportunity to become all she was created to be, or will they be filled with an ever-increasing culture of entitlement, of subversion of our founding principles, of biases that re-write our history, of assassination of our founders, and one that belittles our founding documents that guarantee her freedoms?  Or will she encounter those bastions of truth that honor the exceptionality of this land and who instill the responsibility and humility that come with being a citizen of this Great Republic? Will she come out of college understanding and defending the Constitution rather than thinking it is a document that is outdated?

I ask these questions because I have spent a great portion of my professional career at the university level. And I see President Obama spending a great deal of time on college campuses. Why? Is the transformation not yet complete? I have seen all sides of the questions I ask. I have conducted classes during student strikes and I have walked by students occupying administrative offices. I have given diplomas and as a dean, recommended hundreds of students for degrees at all levels. What have the great private and state universities lost of their heritage that I should even be able to ask these questions?

Read the founding histories of education at all levels. You will be astonished as I have been even though I thought I knew the history. I lived on the inside of these institutions for many years. But the transformation has happened over time, and it has been intentional and clever. Our insistence on religious freedom has been a strength used against us. Our Christian foundings have been diminished or subverted; self-reliance has been replaced with entitlement all in the name of compassion and equality; equality of opportunity has been replaced with demand for equity; and self-reliance and responsibility have been replaced with demands for rights.

But I’m betting on my country and my Creator. I’m betting on the truth, innate desire for freedom, personal responsibility of our people, integrity, and hard work. And I’m betting on friends and neighbors to give people fish who really need help, but I’m hoping that the rest of us will take the fishing pole we are handed and learn how to fish.

Yes, I’m betting on future Labor Days to be celebrations of hard work, of self-determined enterprise, and an appreciation of all labor wherever it may be.

Yes, and I’m betting on a great future for my granddaughter. She is an American, born in this special land of opportunity, this one-of-a-kind place where she is guaranteed (if we keep these guarantees) life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy Birthday, dear one, on this 2012 Labor Day.

My Field of Dreams (Memories for National Senior Day)

I want to republish a post from several years ago in honor of National Senior Day on August 21st. These are some special memories from my early high school sport years about one of my great loves: Basketball. It’s some of those life lessons learned early that allowed me to have the incredible ‘yellow brick road’ I’ve been able to follow. Enjoy the history, the passion and the love.

Watching a WNBA basketball game the other day brought back all kinds of memories. What fun it would have been when I was playing basketball in my high school and college days to have known that there was a career possible in the sport that I loved so much. And of course, my mind wander back to those early days in that small high school gymnasium in the basement of my high school in Lansing, Iowa.

My first games were played with the floor divided into three parts. Two players played guard in the back third, two played running center in the middle third, and two played forward in the front third. While I was still in high school, the rules changed and the court was divided into two parts. Three played guard in the back court, and three played forward in the front court. I tried to play with the boys sometimes because I loved having the whole court for play. And I loved being able to dribble on the whole court. We could only take one dribble. It was a challenge to see how far you could make that one dribble take you. But we played our one-dribble-two-court game with passion. We felt lucky in Iowa because not many states had girls basketball at all.

I loved basketball; I still do. I love to watch my granddaughters play. I loved playing enough to sneak out of the house for school the morning I woke up with a rash on my face and, of course, in other areas of my body. I knew something was amiss, but we had a game to play that Tuesday night, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Of course, I got no further than the first teacher I met at school, my coach. He saw me and recognized that I had measles. I really didn’t feel ill, but I obviously was sent home. My mother was not happy. I think probably she was more embarrassed because the teachers might think she sent me to school with the measles. She was pretty strict about right and wrong. Going to school with measles was wrong, but sneaking out was like lying. That was really bad.

The girls played the first game of the evening and the boys games followed. We were always pleased when we could draw the crowd to our game. We had tournaments just like the boys. Boys and girls in our school had the same coach. Eddie Albertson was a special guy. He was not only my coach; he was a mentor, my math teacher who gave me advanced math books for the summer because we didn’t have the classes in our small high school, and he was my friend. We played “HORSE” after we finished practice. He believed in me; he never “let” me win. When I did, it was pure accomplishment. He helped me to understand my athletic and academic gifts. He pushed me to find my own “yellow brick road.”

So many memories. Harpers Ferry had the biggest pot-belly stove I have ever seen to heat their barn-like gym. It was nice and warm within fifteen or twenty feet of the stove. The rest of the gym was freezing as was the classroom where we changed our clothes. Wow. I can still feel that cold. Sometimes we would stop on our way home after games out of town to have a snack. Mother always managed to have a little change for me. We never ate out so these little restaurant visits were pretty special. Waterville had sisters who were amazing shooters; Gronna sisters, I think. I envied them because they had a basket on the side of their barn and they practiced all summer. I didn’t have a barn nor could I afford a basket or a basketball.

The coach helped me buy a pair of leather basketball shoes; it was such an amazing luxury. Do you know how proud a little girl can be of a pair of leather basketball shoes? We had a little shower in our locker room; some places we went did not. I earned letters all four years in basketball and kittenball (softball). Those letters meant I earned a great deal of respect from my peers, but more importantly, I knew I had been given great physical and mental gifts. In my small town, those gifts often languished into submission to mediocrity. As each year has passed, I realize how fortunate I was to have Eddie Albertson as my coach and to work for the Superintendent who had a sign in his office that read: There’s always room at the top.

Those were the days of three-court basketball, short basketball pants, cold gyms, cold showers, getting to the game with very cold hands and feet after walking to the game and wondering if they would ever warm up. They were times of listening to the cheers, seeing the pride on your parents’ faces, getting the accolades of the teachers the next day, being elected captain of the team, and loving the coach. They were times of walking into a market and having the owner say, “Great game, Sylvia,” when normally they didn’t know I existed. And they were times when I had to walk home after practice and sometimes it was pretty scary. I could choose to walk through a pasture where there was a bull, or I could walk the road past the city dump. But my dad always told me I could run faster than anything chasing me.

They were times of expectation and happiness. I was very good at this game I loved. I learned there how to excel. I learned how to outthink my opponent. I learned the value of every minute; a game has only so many minutes. The importance of one minute on the outcome of the next, taught me life lessons. I would try to live my life like I played basketball. Give it my all, play fair, solve the problems at hand, listen to advice from those who cared about me, discard the criticism of those who envied or were trying to hurt me, play with passion, and learn from each experience. I learned that I  had been given by my Creator everything that I needed to play the game. Yes, I had been given gifts, but I knew that gifts unopened were of no value. They needed to be used, expanded, shared, and utilized to serve others.

Basketball was a field of dreams whether it was three or two courts. I was quick and very fast; I can only imagine the fun I would have had playing the whole court. But believe me, I play full court in all that I do at 92.

 

What Can We Do? What Can We Do? Saving Our Republic

A little obscurity elicits interesting behaviors and observations.

As I sat at the end of the driveway this morning, I could still see the hills in the distance. But they were far from chiseled images against a clear blue sky. They were still very visible, but the details were a little obscure.

Wow! Kind of like my nation and my church. One practices situational constitutionality and the other practices situational Bibliocity, obscuring the truths that lie in these two great, timeless documents. Oh, Yes! The pundits say these times require an update on these two timeless documents. These same people, the transformers, preach you have to consider the time in which they were written. How could you possibly impose the same standards, values, and ideas of those times on us in these modern times? They ask.

For us to try to understand the current mass murders and terrible things that are happening in our culture, we must understand that the teaching of biblical values and constitutional truths, our history, have been largely eliminated from our schools. Even the current terrible happenings, and this is true in most cases, there are warnings in school records. If one were to search diligently at lower levels of the social and emotional climate for these young people, we would find triggers there. Perhaps even as early as when they first appear at our school door. In my almost century of observation as an educator, I have watched the erosion of the teaching of our founding documents, our real history, and the removal of moral and ethical stories that carried the biblical values that made us so great.

As my mind wanders through the past many years, and I recognize in the annals of my memory of political and legal debate here and there, the foggy “modernizing” of our precious founding documents. A little fog here, a little fog there. Here a little fog, there a little fog, and everywhere a little fog.  The fog comes generally in the form of subtle attacks on the great freedoms built into our founding documents. The hope and change artists can’t change the words so they change the perceptions of the words. They put words into the mouths of our founders. The fog of perception is easy to add a little at a time. A drop at a time works. A constant drip can ultimately erode cement.

I plead with us to remove the obscurity and lift the fog from the two areas that were evident in our founding and not evident in our schools now. In my book, Refounding Education, I have talked extensively about the environment we need. In my book, America First Again second edition, I have tried to recreate the road that the transformers, those who would destroy our constitution and Christian values, have taken. We must close that road so no obscurity or fog exists to cloud the truth and rebuild a new road.

Yes, I believe we need to refound education. We need to refound an educational system that will produce an informed citizenry that understands and works to save our Republic.