If we're going to "take our country back," we'd better be sure we figure out a way to take our children back. The garbage they have been fed is stinking, and I smelled it in my classroom Friday. It took all the strength I could muster to remain calm and handle it quickly and professionally. I managed, but I was boiling inside.
Here's what happened during my second period class.
I always take time to acknowledge holidays and observances. As Monday is Memorial Day, I talked briefly about honoring U.S. military who lost their lives, the greatness of our country, and the freedoms our military provide for us. Then I showed them a short video tribute to our troops with Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be an American" playing in the background. The students were very respectful during the video, which is saying something considering this particular class.
When the video ended, I was going to my computer to turn it off. However, because I was playing it from my playlist, it immediately proceeded to the next video in the playlist, which was a Governor Palin video. Before I could stop it, the jeering began and spread throughout the classroom.
"Who cares about Sarah Palin?"
"Oh, be quiet!" another student said to the Governor.
"Nobody cares about no Sarah Palin!"
It erupted simultaneously and surprisingly. Laughter filled the classroom.
I was headed to the computer but was totally thrown by the outburst. The co-teacher in the room with me said to the student who asked who cared about the Governor, "I do" or something similar, and the student said, "You do?"
I was simply trying to move on because I knew this wouldn't end well if we stayed where we were. As if their distaste for the Governor didn't run deep enough, another student added to it when he said, "She doesn't like 'South Park,'" which didn't endear her any to his classmates. I corrected the students to tell them it was actually "Family Guy" to which he was referring.
The co-teacher said, "That's because they made fun of her son." The students then had questions about that situation, and we both quickly explained that they had chosen to make fun of the fact that Trig has Down Syndrome. This did grab their attention because we have just been talking about special needs in light of a novel we just finished reading. Last year, I wrote about this novel and how Trig influenced my introduction of it. You can read about that here.
Upon hearing the context of her comments about "Family Guy," one student obviously didn't approve of what "Family Guy" had done and said, "That's messed up!" (A good sign; there is hope!)
I ended the outburst by simply saying, "I know what kind of person she is. Those of you who have a problem with her don't even know why. Now, getting back to where we were..."
I purposely moved on quickly, but my heart was racing, my blood boiling, and my mind reeling. The sad thing about all this is that their reaction was so strong, yet it's true that they personally didn't have a clue why. They couldn't even distinguish between "South Park" and "Family Guy," both of which gross me out personally. Regardless, they not only didn't know which show it was, they didn't know what the situation was.
The other students who were obviously enraged by her brief presence on the screen have clearly been fed garbage, perhaps at school as well as home. This reminds me of my conversation with a student last year who insulted Governor Palin and learned by the end of the day that the very things the Governor represents are the very things she, herself, believes. She didn't seem to know that, though. She did by the time I led her little by little through the facts throughout the course of that day, though! Here's an excerpt of that post where I wrote about that episode:
Okay, now to my point. I started class the following day with a Sarah Palin quote that the students had to journal about. They had to write what they thought the quote means, state whether or not they agree with it, and connect it to The Giver. Then I would call on students to share their journals with the class. The quote was, "I believe the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves." You've probably heard Sarah speak these words. If not, view the video clip here.
As I walked around the room looking over students' shoulders as they wrote, I noticed that the first thing one of my 7th grade girls wrote was, "Finally, this woman says something that makes sense!" She then continued to write about how she agrees with the statement and how it relates to the book in the horrible treatment of the defenseless baby who was released. Reading her paper, I could have let her have it right then and there! Instead, I simply said, "If you listen to her, you'll discover that she makes sense quite a bit." She and I exhanged smiles, and I determined that I would take up the issue with her--wisely--later.
Read the full post to find out what happened with that student by day's end by clicking here.
As a person who spends endless hours with students, it saddens me to see that they have been fed nonsense that will not only shape their own lives, but eventually the direction of the nation. The Left has advanced their agenda in part by depicting the Governor and other conservatives as racist, hateful, and ignorant. Those lies have infected our children, and it will take a heavy dose of truth to cure it. It's become increasingly difficult to reach them, but we must continue to fight for America and the souls of our children, whether from the inside or the outside. The game the Left plays has an impact that is frightening and dangerous, to say the least. I don't have all the answers to the questions about how to stop the bleeding in our children. I wish I did. All I know to do is confront the lies when they manifest.
This is precisely why in the fall I fought against the display hanging in the library window in my school district, the display that promoted the Governor Palin book banning lie with the obvious intent to poison our students against her. Read about that battle, in order, here, here, and here. Despite the hate mail that came my way, taking on this battle was the right thing to do. Those who argued that the librarian's actions were no need for concern--and some Left-wing loons actually did make that argument--are themselves party to the poisoning. This spirit will run rampant if we don't figure out a way to fight back, and if the hearts and minds of our children aren't worth the fight, what is?
I have joined the plethora of common sense Americans who have awakened out of sleep and are now crying out, "We want our country back!" But I know we won't succeed without reaching out also to our youth, for they have been targeted, truth-starved, and poisoned. The message of faith, family, freedom, and country that Governor Palin embodies is exactly what our children need. God help us reach them with it.