During the 1930s the three Rs were reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. Imperfect though they were, they produced the greatest generation, a nation built upon reason, resolve, and results.
Back then, teachers were the equal of the physician, the priestpastor, banker, builder and merchant. Teachers not only had standing in the community they had stature in the classroom.
Our grandchildren are still learning the three Rs, but now they stand for Rock, Rap, and Rumble. That's not surprising when their heroes are the Dennis Rodmans of the world.
Those who find their patriotism in the National Rifle Association don't need to read or write. Moreover, those who find their politics in Rush Limbaugh, their theology in the Southern Baptist Convention, their morality in Jerry Springer, don't have to reason - a good knee jerk will do.
The three Rs we need now are Rapport, Recapitulation, and Reason. We are irrevocably one world, we will either learn to live together or we will die together. Ontogeny does recapitulate phylogeny, the reason we see so far is we stand on the shoulders of intellectual giants.
Learning is thinking their thoughts after them. The power of reason is to carry those thoughts to new heights. Our future can be guaranteed only if we reason together.
Learning is the interaction of a new idea with a receptive mind. New ideas abound. The problem is, so do closed minds. The opening of minds is the beauty and challenge of teaching and that takes people of standing and stature.
Tom Zwemer, Augusta
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