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Views Of Calvin, The Constitution, & Adulthood MAG
"Dad," young Calvin asks in the first frame of my favorite comic strip, "How will men killing other men solve the world's problems?"
The next frame shows Calvin's father with a confused look on his face, half at the power of his six-year-old son's question, the other half at the disbelief that he cannot answer this seemingly simple question.
The final frame shows Calvin, alone with his imaginary tiger friend, Hobbes, stating "I really think adults just pretend they know all of the answers."
Perhaps nothing more than a comic strip, but in reality it could be an accurate statement of adulthood.
As I write this, I stand exactly two weeks away from my 18th birthday, the day the U.S. government will consider me an adult - old enough to die for the Constitution, with the trade off being I will be old enough to vote.
But the true end of my adolescence is exactly eleven weeks from today, the day I graduate from high school. I was often told that the years I spent in high school would be the best years of my life, but it was only recently I came to understand this statement.
It is in high school where one has access to adult privileges (cars, jobs and education) without adult responsibilities (selective service, taxes and tuition fees). Also, a teenager in high school finds it relatively easy to flip back to the immature antics of a younger year, a practice usually frowned upon by adult society.
In high school, we are academically prepared to meet the challenges of further education and a career. But high schools seem to be failing to prepare teenagers for the pressures of adulthood.
Not that this is an easy task. How does high school prepare students to face dying in a war? How does high school prepare a teenager for an economic recession?
I cannot answer these questions, since I have not been taught how to do it myself. As I look at the world situation, though, we realize that these educational goals need to be met.
Each June I take final exams for the course load of the previous year. As I study for these ninety-minute exams, I reflect on what I have learned in the course, and what kind of impact the teacher has left on me. The courses that leave the biggest impact are always those that have taught me an important value of the human condition. In ten years I may recall little from my Junior U.S. history text, but my teacher's gripping tales of life in the Great Depression will always be with me.
Now more than ever, teachers need to open up to their students. Whether the course is physics or philosophy, a teacher's personal opinions of life are the most valuable tools a student has access to. It is with these tools the student will shape his or her own values.
Teachers are artists, each with a different style. As students, we are the living canvas. We respond to what they paint, and in turn, they must attempt to answer our questions.
When my education ends, if this ever happens, I can only hope for one thing: That my teachers will have painted an adult who searches for answers instead of an adult who pretends to know the answers. n