As many of you know, I was unable to post a blog last week due to the fact I was working for the Educational Testing Services scoring College Board Advanced Placement United States Government examinations in Salt Lake City, Utah. During this week (when not scoring away in the massive Salt Palace, aka Salt Mines), participants at the Reading routinely discuss the state of politics in America and the World. Although this is a daily occurrence with colleagues, I particularly enjoyed a casual sit-down with two colleagues. Throughout this two and a half hour discussion, topics discussed ranged from campaign finance to student loans to vocational education to presidential politics. What made it particularly interesting was the fact that none of us shared the same political ideology. Got that? None shared the same political ideology! I emphasize this fact because although we do not agree on political ideology, we maintained a thoughtful dialogue about the problems facing our country and potential solutions necessary to move us collectively forward. Unlike politicians and their supporting media, we were able to discuss virtually any topic without rancor or name calling. In other words, although we might have ideological biases, we did not interject partisanship. You see, partisanship is what is harming our nation, not ideology. Partisanship, fomented by political parties and their supporting media forces Americans to be pitted against each other rather than uniting us. These negative forces ignore discussing solutions and instead pursue a narrative of speculative blame. Although our group may not be able to solve all of the problems we face as a nation, the first step towards resolution is the ability to sit down and at least recognize we indeed have problems that need discussing- not partisan wrangling and argument.
Another aspect of the Reading was the obvious dedication shown by over 740 government educators who worked diligently to score over 1.2 million student essays, or Free Response Questions ("FRQ's"). Working from 8 am to 5pm daily for a week scoring thousands of FRQ's is a thankless task, except each Reader learns more and more about how to teach the subject so that their future students may excel - and isn't that the goal of every American - to educate the future electorate without partisan bias?
As witnessed once again in Charleston, the lack of positive influences leads directly to negative effects. Where were adults to teach tolerance to Dylann Roof? Where is the positive influence of fathers to those caught in cycles of violence throughout America? We worry constantly about terrorism, but what about the neglect shown by fathers to their children which leave a vacuum of common sense and well-being with so many Americans? My colleagues in Salt Lake City understand the need to fill the void left from inattentive moms and dads. My colleagues understand the need to follow the words used by John Locke urging the natural law of mankind seeking "Life, Liberty and Property" with minimal interference. Except, who is to teach these basic tenets of "America" if not our fathers and mothers? Life would certainly be a lot better if our children had solid guidance from parents, filled with loyal ideologies but absent the corrosive aspects of partisanship. We face many problems in the World - and one of them is the lack of leadership we have in our very own families. Politicians talk about family values, yet are typically exemplars of hypocritical adultery, divorce and abuse of our trust. Isn't it high time to stop looking at them for guidance and instead look to our parents, family, educators and communities instead?
As George Herbert once wrote; "One Father is more than a hundred schoolmasters!" So dads everywhere, let's remember that our jobs as fathers never ends. We lead by example, teach our children - young and old what real leadership means and pray they pass it on to their children. That's the real cycle of life we are all riding upon! So to all Fathers everywhere, Happy Father's Day! Have a great week!