30 October 2009

Six Senses

This is a subject that kind of sticks in my craw. Some time ago an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch chronicled the travails of a senior in high school who hated the traffic outside her high school when she would drive to school each morning. Here's the catch: she was driving her freshman sister to school, then turning around and driving home because she didn't have a class for a couple more hours. Then she would drive back. Traffic had apparently thinned out by then. The kicker was, if the sister was late because of traffic, it was an unexcused tardy. If she rode the bus (a mile and a quarter, if I remember correctly), and the bus was late due to traffic, it was excused. This makes so much sense to me it is not funny. If you ride the safest form of transportation to school known to God and man, and it is late due to all the others who insist on clogging up the roads bringing their "too good to ride the bus" children to school, that's is others' fault, therefore excusable. If you choose to be one of the people clogging up the roads, so sorry.

The number of teen drivers who have accidents in and around school is not even funny. I know at least a dozen who have had everything from fender benders to car-totalling accidents on the way to or from school;  it is not funny. We live in a society of children who think that everything is supposed to be handed to them; they should be carted around, and God forbid, they WALK to the corner, turn left (or right) and arrive at school. How many of us shared a car with mom or dad once we got our driver license? I certainly did, as did most of my friends. Driving to school was a privilege, not a right. But now, turn 16, get the license, get a car!

So what happens here? Parents need to realize that convenience isn't always that. Children don't always need a ride here and there. I realize that some places aren't suitable for walking - many neighborhoods near me aren't suitable for walking to school. There are no sidewalks or crosswalks. But how long can a 1.25 mile bus ride be? Especially when the consequences of dealing with the traffic are not good. Dire consequences like multiple unexcused tardies to school. In many schools around here, 3 unexcused tardies equal one absence. Three absences means no exam exemption (assuming the grades are OK).

So why do so many parents give the kid a car as soon as they get the license (and some get them BEFORE they even get a Learner's Permit!!!)? Why do so many schools allow younger teens to drive to school? And why in the heck does a freshman/sophomore need a chauffeur instead of riding the cheese wagon? I'll tell you why: Our children are special in this day and age; they are born with SIX, that's right, SIX senses!

Smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste and ENTITLEMENT!

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