This is Kim, a friend of Janet, my son Brian's fiance'.
As I review pictures taken during the workweeks around Brian's Memorial, I'm immensely impressed by how competent these young people are, Kim, Janet, and all the men and women jumping in and doing what needed to be done.
They worked in teams, and independently. They identified what needed to be done, and got right to it.
I'm especially impressed on how everyone worked: expertly, willingly, with confidence and efficiency. They cut, trimmed, dug, scraped, carried, painted, constructed, planted, etc.... They jumped in and contributed with all their might.
In my youth, tasks were separated by gender. I never did learn to change the oil in the car, to figure out what to do when a machine stopped working, even how to handle a weed-wacker. I'm the result of a classical education: women were trained for certain household tasks, men for everything else.
Our education in the last thirty years has prepared our youth well.
Boys and girls have had access to tools, technology, science, finance, engineering, etc...
A boy can become a nurse. A girl can become a contractor.
Federal and state laws were put in place to allow equal access and equal opportunities, regardless of gender, regardless of race, religion, or financial conditions at home. There are laws in Oregon, for instance, that allow a man and a woman to serve as precinct captains for their party affiliation. One man and one woman per precinct. Women had never seen the back room deals where political pacts were formed, where support was gathered, where alliances were cemented.
Now, how do we continue to make sure education serves our youth's future needs? How about adding finance education, health and nutritional education, contract laws, wills and estate planning, entrepreneurship, ethics?
State Boards of education are struggling to keep schools open with today's budgets, and everyone is worried about the lack of funding. What are we trimming when we cut education? What future choices are we denying our youth?
Are we willing to go back to those times when only the rich had access? How fortunate for them!
Yes, we have made strides to give our youth meaningful experiences and information. We still have a long way to go.