Studying Ralph Waldo Emerson in my junior year of high school had one of the most profound impacts on my thinking.
The copy of the collection of his essays which I bought with my allowance that summer is something I hope to never lose. I consulted it often through college and often thereafter. Still, when I stumble across one of his quotations, my mind goes on alert.
The joys and sorrows of the older generations serve as examples for us to learn from, to emulate or, perhaps even more useful, to avoid. As age segregation becomes more ingrained in our culture, what cycles will be repeated, what misconceptions will flourish?
Today’s Des Moines Register contains an opinion piece with some important reminders from American history. Here’s something from our second President (one of the “founders” before holding that position):
“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it,” President John Adams declared in 1785. “There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it — not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”
Of particular note for my novel in progress: By 1918 everyone was required to complete elementary school (then defined as 8th grade).
A subtheme of my novel has to do with the beauty of the Republican Party as the older members of my family grew up with it. Here’s why many of them clung to Republican Party membership for decades after it began to transform.
Yesterday, as I dribbled my ball down the fairway for the first six of eighteen holes, it came to me that I was behaving like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. I didn’t have the courage to hit into the ground on those fairway shots. Just thinking about the Cowardly Lion corrected my problem.