Comments from the canyons: Learning from past as important as present

Visiting with young people is a very pleasant pastime for this ancient from the canyons.

Listening to their ideas and plans for their futures lets me know how my parents and grandparents felt when they were listening to mine. I often wondered why they looked so puzzled and why they tended to disagree with many of my ideas. I am beginning to understand why they reacted as they did.

Of course, I am most interested in the comments about school, the subjects, the boredom, and the thrills concerning learning. Actually, some of their remarks are similar to ones I made at their age.

Although I liked most of my classes, I must admit that I was less than excited about some of them. Those were usually the ones I didn’t do very well in, and I blamed the low grades on everyone except myself.

Not all students are interested in every subject any more than all like every teacher they have. Some of us are not necessarily intelligent in every subject with which we are faced and need to be aware of that early on.

Several young people have mentioned their lack of interest in such subjects as English and history and have caught my attention enough to cause me to ask questions they would rather not answer. Of course, both subjects were once required in our schools from elementary through college. They have received less emphasis in recent times than they did when many of us were fighting our way through school.

We didn’t have a lot of choice as to getting out of taking four years of English in high school and at least two years of history. Many of us were then required to take a number of courses in each subject during our undergraduate years. We didn’t have the option of “testing out” in order to avoid taking so many of the required college classes. Now, some students enter as sophomores or above because they have challenged the courses and are told they don’t have to take them.

As I listen to some of these young people, I am now delighted that I didn’t have the opportunity to escape taking the many required courses. Often, they can’t answer the simplest questions I ask about some of the old-fashioned subjects. They explain that they really don’t need to know much about history because they intend to live in the present and that they certainly don’t need to know anything about literature because they won’t be reading anything that resembles a Shakespearean play or sonnet.

As to the grammar and writing side of English classes, they don’t need to know much about them because they will be using computers so their grammar, spelling, and punctuation will be corrected in the event they have to write something like a report.

Little do they know that the computers are gadgets filled with some false information as well as with some correct information. Of course, they won’t be writing personal letters because they can text or e-mail all their thoughts.

Let’s just keep visiting with people of all ages and enjoy our thoughts as we compare the past and present generations.

We really can learn from both.

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.

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