Freedom, Like Education, Is Not Cheap

by Archie Wortham    –show me more like this

Freedom has always been an expensive thing, Dr. Martin Luther King said. In today’s world, our kids get lost because of the freedoms afforded them, without making them understand what things cost. That’s where respect comes in and “Kids learn respect from watching their parents, and parents can remember how they respected their parents, by watching their kids. In most cases, the way we respect rules tells our kids a lot about the rules, but more importantly about ourselves.

Franklin Roosevelt was once quoted as saying, rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are. I guess that means if we understand the principal reason we do certain things, it might be okay to bend the rules to do what’s best. We have that opportunity in a democracy. It’s a privilege not all people have. Some family members don’t even know what that’s like in view of an autocratic arm and hammer that some kids might describe as mom or dad, or both. The important thing to remember here is that our kids watch us, and mirror us even when we don’t notice. We must be vigilant about what freedoms we give them, otherwise it might cost us.

In an attempt to increase diversity and provide a level of equality at our colleges and universities, Texas implemented a top-10 percent rule. If your son or daughter is in the top ten percent of his or her high school, he or she automatically gets a ticket to any school in Texas, if he or she wants to go. It was established to compensate for the affirming way Texas tried to increase minority enrollment. Plain and simple, its calling a spade a spade, even a beige one. Hopwood had a lot to do with that. Remember Hopwood? That’s where some people challenged the admission policies to UT’s law school that was somewhat based on race as reverse discrimination. What the people who were making this argument failed to acknowledge is that you have to be among the discriminated first, before it can be reversed.

As a result, Hopwood interfered with the attempt to level the planning field. Enrollment for minorities was increasing, though marginally, but still the discriminated liberals reversed their principles for an attitude that was not commensurate to the caring persona they like to project.

The point here is that some people, because of the current system, were not able to get their son or daughter into UT, even with a 1200 on the SAT. Neglecting the fact that his son only got B’s in high school, and was not in the top 10 percent, one dad immediately called foul. As Representative Gallego, a democrat from Alpine put it “People in my area would say, ‘You didn’t get in and now you’re trying to change the rules.'” And it’s true. That happens. Freedom is expensive, and doesn’t guarantee happiness. So your son loafed in school, but you got him the best prep person for the SAT test, we all know that some people don’t test well. But high school is four years long, not three hours.

So what do we have here? We have disgruntled parents who under the auspices of being concerned parents are seeking to undermine a system. This system has as a greater goal to increase opportunities for those who are not as enfranchised. Notice, I didn’t not say disenfranchised, and for a particular reason.

You see, I grew up in the 60s. I went to an all-black high school, even though integration had occurred in West Tennessee. I wound up being the valedictorian of my class and as a result, I got an opportunity to go to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I got both an undergraduate and graduate degree. I did this through scholarships, grants and loans. Recently I completed my doctorate through the GI bill and grants from the University of Texas, the other UT. I was not disenfranchised, and used what freedom this great country gave me: an opportunity.

So if you want your kids to respect you, learn to respect the rules that were not necessarily created to thwart you and your efforts. Realize that it’s not just the minorities or the disenfranchised that want a hand-out. On the contrary, many in middle-class America have forgotten what it was like to actually work and not complain, to run and not be weary, and to realize that education is a value you teach before college–not just we you get a notice you weren’t accepted to one.

Dads, teach your sons to respect others by learning to expect things on merit not whim, and practice what you preach. “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” Sir John Bowring from Always My Dad calendar