The dictionary describes afterthoughts as a notion occurring after a decision or action is taken. I like to say it’s the result of an inquiring mind who is constantly rethinking everything that passes through the brain waves.

Some of us are just hard-wired to chew on things a while longer than others.

With that said, I’d like to invite you to come along with me on an observation journey about events and people — past and present — that affects all of us. Let me stress the word, observation, since I don’t want anyone to think this is an opinion piece. I personally think opinions are a dime a dozen and we have way too many without me adding mine to the mix.

Perhaps you remember my reporter days with The Mayo Free Press. During those six-plus years I can honestly say every moment was an eye-opener, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with Lafayette County folks through this bi-weekly column.

I am what my mama called a ‘late bloomer.’ In other words, I left my high school days with a solid education, but without a clue of what I wanted to do with my life. I had been taught a good work ethic and knew that I was expected to join the work force in some capacity, I just hadn’t figured out the direction I needed to pursue.

While many of my classmates headed to college I chose to marry and start a family. Now, some 58 years later I would do the same thing all over again and don’t regret a single year I spent with the love of my life.

Along with many of you I used those years to try different jobs from checking groceries at the local market to subbing at our school until I stumbled into writing when I stopped at the Free Press office and volunteered to help out. They asked if I could report my local news. I took a deep breath, straightened my shoulders and answered, “I sure can!” And, just like that I found my true calling in life.

Now, almost 20 years after that pivotal day and with my seventh book publishing this year I have gained a keen sense on issues that can make or break our society. While there are many that concern me, there is one that has precedence. That concern is our educational system. My concern is not directed at public schools, charter schools, Christian schools or home schools. My concern is: “Are the children being equipped to face life’s challenges?”

As I said, I subbed with our schools for many years and stayed connected to the school system when I worked with the newspaper. My connection now rests with several great-grandchildren who attend our local schools and the friends and family who are either in the classrooms teaching or in the administrative side. So let me be perfectly clear, my concern is not pointed towards them. I commend their dedication to educating our children under the ever-increasing pressure of mandates passed down by politicians who have never spent a day in a classroom!

As an observer, I see a society who is more concerned with a social education than the basics needed to earn a living. While math and reading scores are passable it appears our children’s education is missing the all important subject of learning how we came to be a nation and the sacrifice that paid for our right to call ourselves Americans. Test scores show they don’t have a full understanding of our American History. Very few children and teens can name something special about America. Without an understanding of our history how can we develop a solid future?

The great philosopher Plato founded the first institution of higher learning for the western world in ancient Greece. In a prophetic quote he nailed the culture of today. He said, “Someday, in the distant future, our grandchildren’s’ grandchildren will develop a new equivalent of our classrooms. They will spend many hours in front of boxes with fires glowing within. May they have the wisdom to know the difference between light and knowledge.”

I can’t help but believe his reference was to the overuse of computers forced upon pliable minds that are sorely lacking what John Adams, our second President of the United States envisioned for education. He wisely said, “There are two types of education. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.”

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