Shaping young minds

I see that groups of children have been participating in the series of ongoing political expression events in the public thoroughfare in the business district of Anacortes (and elsewhere in Skagit County, as well). These demonstrations have included marches, signage and chalk messaging on sidewalks.

Reporting on a local demonstration a while back, the media said, “The event coincided with the statements, student march and general strike organized by Black Lives Matter Seattle - King County”).

I applaud the eager participation of minors in public affairs, but I wonder how can society ensure that enthusiastic, but callow and impressionable adolescents and other children — whose brain (prefrontal cortex “judgment” area) is still developing, are not mobilized as pawns by Pied Pipers?

So I have an idea. What if youngsters, keen to support a cause, could, somewhere along the way, in their multiple years of education, be introduced to the concept of critical thinking by responsible, accountable adults? Then they might be able to study issues in depth, to “drill down” and “go granular” in the popular jargon, so as to be able to actually understand and discuss all sides of a subject?. Imagine all the “teachable moments” they might encounter.

Perhaps they could be exposed to the accounts of individuals who have contributed to, or sacrificed for, America. Then maybe they’d be inspired to mark a few blocks of sidewalk with chalk “art” (on a side street sidewalk, not on the main business thoroughfare) to honor say, health care workers; educators’; police officers; civic, club and business leaders; STEM people; athletes or the military ( e.g., over 6,800 U.S.Marines gave their lives in just one battle: Iwo Jima. Does anyone remember that conflict, or know anything about even one of those very young men? Their names could cover every block of sidewalk in this town).

Also, maybe some of these kids’ extra time and energy could be directed toward needs right here in town. For example by doing chores, like yard work, for oldsters.

Lynn Schiveley


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