The Setting: A restaurant in New York City

The Players:

  1. Parent- Resides is affluent suburb of New York City, which has a top rated school district.   Mother of twins who are about to enter 7th grade.  Twins have always attended public school, but after first year of middle school, parent did not like the education they were receiving and has enrolled them in private school.  They will begin classes after labor day in new, expensive school.
  2. Me- I hope you know a little about me by now
  3. Father in Law
  4. The Husband
  5. The Daughter
  6. Husband of Parent

Players 3-6 are present, but for the purpose of this play, imagine them eating.

Parent- When I went to camp visiting day, I found out Twin Girl used audio book for her summer reading assignment.  Isn’t that clever?

Me- She did what?

Parent– You know- audio book.  She didn’t get to choose the book and she was really bored by it, so she got audio book.

Me– What….What….What book was it?

Parent-  “The Outsiders”?  I think that’s what it’s called.

Me- SE Hinton?  The Daughter had to read it in 6th grade.  Didn’t you read it when you were a kid?  Pony Boy?  It’s not a hard book.  It’s actually a pretty good book.

Parent– Is that the movie with Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe?

Me- Well, yeah- the movie.

Parent– Oh maybe she should watch that when she gets home (types what is assumed to be a reminder into her phone)  But don’t you think it was smart of her?  I couldn’t think of a good reason why she shouldn’t listen to the book.  Because she didn’t get to choose it.  Her other summer reading book was fine.  She didn’t need audio book, because she got to choose it.  She wasn’t bored by it.

Me- Ummm- she probably should start, you know, actually reading things.  Because she’s going to get assigned reading as the grades go up, and really, she needs to like look at the words on the page and…you know understand them, because what’s going to happen…..

The Protagonist (or antagonist- you choose) turns to the audience:

Me: WTF?  She was bored?  She didn’t get to choose?  You’re putting her in private school because she wasn’t being educated?  It’s school.  It’s about education.  Part of education is learning about things you don’t know.  Wait- isn’t that the definition of education- to learn about things you don’t know?  How are you supposed to grow as a person if you never go out of your comfort zone?  If you want to read something of your choosing, read in your free time instead of playing on your phone, with snap and insta and whatever other app is out there.  Sometimes we are bored.  So what.  Is there a job that is exciting every minute of every day?  Why is our society so fixated on not being bored?  And listening, while sometimes a lost art, is not the same thing as reading.  It’s just not.  Nor is watching the movie.  The object is to look at the words on a page.  Visualize what the author is saying- get the mental picture.  Look at the words- the structure- the punctuation.  These are a fiction writers tools- these are the things you need to look at.  It’s why it’s assigned.  And…speaking of…the teacher gave an assignment in good faith.  They are expecting you to read the book.  What gives anyone the right to not listen to a teacher when the teacher has realistic goals of a student?  I’m going out on a limb and saying that reading a book is a realistic goal.  And how can you, as a parent, say to me “Isn’t that clever?”  No.  It’s not clever.  Clever is writing a book.  Clever is inventing something.  Clever is creating an awesome science fair experiment.  Using audio book is not clever.  It’s lazy. AND….let’s not forget my favorite statement: “I didn’t see anything wrong with it.”  REALLY?  REALLY?  How about, there is not one thing about her using audio book that is right.  Nothing.  She has perfect vision- there is no impairment.  She knows how to read.  (I assume this because she does use snapchat- so there is some proof that she knows the alphabet and that letters put together form words, and word form sentences….wait- I’m actually not sure if she knows that, as she usually speaks emoji) How can you say she wasn’t getting a good education at the public school?  Does she know about work ethic?  Does she understand giving 100%?  Does she understand that you need to learn things in stages?  That education is starting with a base layer, and then adding, and adding and adding?  That reading a book is about completing a task?  And if she thinks “The Outsiders” is boring- what is she going to think about some other classic works of literature?

The Protagonist turns away from the audience, and looks back at the parent:

Me– When do the kids get home from camp?

 

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39 thoughts on “A Proper Education: A play in 1 act

    1. Gee….where do I find these people……hmmmm….I told you….I am continually shocked by what people think…..and say…..I shouldn’t be, knowing the stupid things I think and say….but this conversation took precedence over ideas garnered while on vacation…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a hard one with us watching the disappearing of libraries and book stores, magazines, papers…and books! And WRITING! Painful! It’s a hard one to let go and accept that it’s happening every second. I always feel like if we can rebuild this generations love for some of those things they won’t be lost so quickly. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally I have just started reading audiobooks and I love them. Sometimes if I read from an actual book I become sleepy with an audiobook especially a self help book I can multi task I.e. Paint and the words goes into my self conscious without me even realising it. 🙂😉🌹👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no problem with audio books in general. I gave a problem with a 2 year old, who is at the start of their education, relying on audio books because they find a book boring. Especially when the parent thinks they aren’t being taught properly. I am positive you are a good reader and great writer…..but the kid I refer to…..I know she’s not good at either. And if she keeps listening to books, she’ll never be . It’s a problem when technology replaces tasks they need to be learned the old fashioned way

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand what you mean, I’m 60 and a lot of my childhood was spent reading Enid Blyton books, when I’m in a library I feel like I’m in heaven. It makes me sad too that the world seem to have changed so much. The other day my 7 year old grandson asked me if he could do a power point presentation on my laptop 😳 On his own he loaded pictures and sounds and graphics! It was amazing, I can’t even do what he can 😬

        Times have changed so much and not always for the better! I fear for the world 🌹

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If I dwell on these thoughts too much it depresses me. 😔 it’s 5.05 am in the morning and I’m reading a book on my kindle called The course on miracles! which explains that we shouldn’t listen to our egos and we should come from a place of love ❤️ all makes perfect sense to me😊

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It should be like that. What happened to actually talking. Over vacation I read “feed”. The book was given as a summer assignment for my daughter. The book scared the daylights out of me, especially as it centers teens and lack of communication due to technology

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a dystopian nightmare, but honestly, I think everyone should read it. My daughter has to compare it to “the circle” for her summer assignment, and I think it might be one of best assignments ever. It’s scary and eye opening at the same time. At least look at blurb.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all, I have no respect for anyone who thinks The Outsiders is boring. Secondly, I’m very much afraid that the art of reading and writing will be lost to upcoming generations, as they are being raised on screens that they operate with their fingers, and computers that they communicate with by their voice. (“Alexa, tell me everything I need to know about…”) The joy of putting together just the right words, and of reading just the right words someone else put together is slowly fading away. And I hate that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. . Secondly, I’m very much afraid that the art of reading and writing will be lost to upcoming generations, as they are being raised on screens that they operate with their fingers, and computers that they communicate with by their voice.

    Liked by 1 person

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