Letter: We have many grandchildrenTime was when a community knew about and included all of its members.
By: Bruce McBeath, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Time was when a community knew about and included all of its members.
All children had many parents and grandparents. As we’ve become more isolated and separated, our window of investment in children has narrowed. In today’s society, we look after ourselves and our immediate offspring. We are less inclined to look after others in our community as a natural extension of our immediate family.
This is a miserable investment strategy! We may act as if we are unaffected by the life experience of the child across the street, but of course we are not. That child’s experience includes us, absent or present. We are a friend, a source of security and perhaps comfort, or another uncaring older adult contributing to that child’s experience of alienation from his community.
It is not possible for us to “sit on the bench” while a child grows in our midst. From their perspective, we are always involved.
Always and forever, it seems, we are beset with education funding issues. Schools always seem to need more resources and come after us taxpayers to get them. But older adults have no children in school, usually. We have only grandchildren, or perhaps great-grandchildren, in someone else’s daily care. Why should we be concerned about the health of our schools when no child comes directly from our home?
We should be concerned because we, in fact, send lots of children directly from our community to classrooms. Each child we see has an impact on the community, and without a single degree of separation, on us. We ask children to invest in our collective well-being, our safety and security, our aesthetic and environmental concerns. We want children to care about this place where they live, and about all of the people who live here with them.
We ask them to make a direct investment in us. They are each one of our grandchildren, and a proper investment in the best education of that kid down the street is about the best investment we can ever make.