Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Emergency Notification

I was going to sit and reminisce about the self-induced food coma I managed to achieve in two days at the local county fair - brought on by such healthy things like elephant ears, deep fried cheddar nuggets, and this glorious bbq pork sandwich on garlic bread of all things! - but, technically, the holiday weekend is over and I should now snap back to reality.

Reality actually hit me in the form of an automated Emergency Notification Call from the local highschool. I thought the concept was brilliant. You give the school your phone number and in the event of an emergency an automated message is recorded at the school, then sent to everyone's phone so they all have the same information at the same time. I provided my cell number so I would be immediately notified if there was a bomb threat, or school fire, or a water main break forced the closing of the school. You know, in case of an emergency.

Riding home from the fair last night I checked my phone... and there's a number I didn't recognize... but they did leave a message... MY FIRST EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION CALL!

An emergency already? It's like the fourth day of the school year... but for the safety of my child I had to listen. "Quiet, girls - there's been an emergency!"

And so it happened that I listened with keen interest as the emergency was described to me via automated message... the President of the United States.... there was going to be a speech... to the students... the students of America... telling them to stay in school... encouraging them to do a good job... AND be respectful.... and this speech... it would be TELEVISED!!... and -- oh, gasp and horror -- the school was going to ALLOW THIS SPEECH TO BE AIRED IN THE SCHOOL COMMONS DURING LUNCH TIME! (How could they do this to our children?) But don't worry... because if you chose to have your child opt out of this activity, you could send a note along to school with them and they'd be pulled from the activity.

Ok, call me old fashioned, but is this really an emergency? I mean, it's the President of the United States. Whether you like him or not, or agree with him or not, he's sorta, kinda like the man in charge. Kind of like the boss your kid is going to get when he graduates college. (Probably before of you're one of those parents who makes their kids actually experience responsibility in the form of workforce development.) What lesson are we teaching our kids when we say, "This guy is the one in charge, but if you don't like him, that's ok, you just don't have to listen to him."

Respect, man. Respect. You listen to him because he's the man in charge. You listen to him so that you can make an educated argument if you don't agree with what he says. You don't just cover your ears and then hide out in the library complaining about what you think he may or may not have said. You listen to him because if you honestly come to your own opinion that you could do a better job, then you also know how you can do a better job. And you choose to educate yourself and make a difference.

Honestly, what harm is going to come from a bunch of self-entitled spoiled kids (oh, yes, I can say that because I have them) hearing someone encouraging them to stay in school. Take education seriously. Try hard. And then try harder. Make a difference - to yourself and to your community.

THIS was the emergency? Oh boy, my haven't times changed....

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