Back to the Ole Pencil and Paper

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve been thinking of a song by a Michigan-born singer/songwriter by the name of Mayer Hawthorne. Just one listen to Hawthorne’s material and it’s more than evident that the 32-year-old crooner was inspired by the Motown sound his parents so loved. That sound has been forever ensconced in the nearby Detroit area he most likely heard about growing up.

I recently purchased Hawthorne’s 2009 release, A Strange Arrangement which features the song, “I Wish It Would Rain,” a lovely slow tempo number that somehow eases me through these horrific heatwaves. It’s wishful thinking on my level, but the thought of this song reminds me that a daylong solid rain – which is rare around these parts – temporarily brings the temperature down to at least the high 80s. “I Wish It Would Rain” is needed now more than ever this week as we flirt or perhaps in some areas, hit 100 degree Fahrenheit. I would like to think that we paid our dues with mostly 90 degree days since early May of this year, but I have to remind myself that no one is keeping score in my imaginary Weather Game.

It looks like the high 90s/low 100s won’t give up anytime soon as the 2011-12 school year begins. Every year at this time parents and students caterwaul that it’s too soon to return to school with such high temperatures. When these August start-dates began a few years back, I was also disenchanted, but with time, I got used to the school year beginning long before Labor Day. I heard so many arguments for and against the early school year. The travel industry and camps were never enthralled with the August start-dates which translate into fewer and brief vacations thus losing money for all parties involved. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who point out that the idea of summer break is antiquated. Their arguments go further by saying that schools were designed for children to put down the pencil and paper so that they could help out on the family farm from June-September. They say we ought to go to year-round schooling. It is true that times and technology has changed the role of children in society, so why not have year-round schools? Today, for us in the South, our schools are air-conditioned year-round so even with 100 degree days, kids can comfortably attend school.

Whether the school systems go with a year-round model or continue with the traditional one, some type of summer break ought to exist between the school years. Kids have taken a lot of heat in recent years with pundits saying that they forgot how to have fun, exercise and engage freeform play. I refuse to believe that point of view. All it takes is a little inspiration and kids will always engage in what kids do best and they deserve a summer break. But, after spending like 1/3 of my week’s salary on back-to-school items, I’m ready for the new school year even if I can fry eggs outside in front of the school.

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