Friday, November 7, 2014

Apathy abounds!

It is time for a rant. Apathy is an infection that has swept the continent; it’s victims range from adults who can’t be bothered to drive their kids to a track meet, to nine year olds who can’t be bothered to participate in class “because”. Just because. My father long held that I didn’t have to agree with his perspectives on life, religion, or politics as long as I had an opinion and could support my opinion. “ Just ‘cause...” was never an answer for anything. My father was right. Every single day I encounter people who have no opinion on anything other than the latest sale at the mall. Even that isn’t so much opinion as excitement over the stimuli of color and bright yellow and red on sale signs (sort of the cartoon network for adults). The worst thing is that parents and adults allowing children to be mindless sheep baa-ing their way through life sets the kids up for failure. But then again, so many of these same adults will eventually blame a teacher for their kids’ apathy. Trust me, I have yet to meet a teacher who is apathetic or who promotes apathy in the classroom. Apathy is learned at home, and in the community. The “I don’t care” attitude might begin as a defensive device against disappointment, turning quickly to a “whatever” approach (a word I do not allow in my house, stage, or classroom, by the way). That’s how the infection begins, and then the plague erupts when an entire room of kids (or adults) shrug over everything from the importance of of writing a thank you note, to the ebola crisis, or civic responsibility of voting and jury duty. I sat in jury duty last month and listened to people whine for eight hours about sitting in an air conditioned room with a television and with access to all their electronic devices. They whined about how unfair it was that they had to sit there, and that they were being expected to wait to be questioned as potential jurors for our county. These are the same people who threaten to sue over scuffed tennis shoes and a delay at the doctor’s office. Heaven forbid they should step up and do something to make a difference in their community. That might be seen as being proactive. And of course, these people all have someone in their lives who emulates their behavior-- a niece, a nephew, or children of their own. Once upon a time (stop me if you’ve heard this one), there was a man who wanted to be a leader. As he bullied his way through the countryside, the villagers decided better him than them, and so they let him do whatever he wanted. Their apathy allowed the Third Reich to emerge. Yeah, it’s a bit melodramatic, but at least you have an opinion about it, now. Don’t you?