Do you see yonder cloud thats almost in shape of a camel?
By the mass, tis like a camel, indeed.
Or like a whale?
Very like a whale.
- William Shakespeare
Philosophers call it our "starting point," and Freud would say it has to do with whats lurking in the subconscious. Then again, perhaps the impressions we form depend only on our own experience. But whatever the reason for differences of opinion on just about anything that could be called a subject, I still wonder why so much thats obvious to me is met with laughter or disbelief by those who see things another way.
For instance: Over on Fort Gordon theyre building a new fire station. But if it werent for the sign outside telling me its a fire station, Id think they were building a church. Instead of the wide, two-or-more bay garage-like affair I associate with fire stations, this one is a high-peaked, brown stucco structure with a large, round hole above the center which, I assume, will be a window.
Make that a stained-glass window, add a steeple to the roof, move offices and activity rooms into the two flat wings stretching left and right of center, and cant you visualize a church?
Or this example: Where they found the room I dont know, but theyre building a new shopping center at the corner of Furys Ferry Road and Riverwatch Parkway. Two identical buildings of the proposed Furys Ferry Station, one behind the other, straddle a narrow, elevated strip of land between the railroad tracks and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
But if it werent for the sign outside, or the fact that the slowly emerging complex looks more and more like its architects ornate drawing every time I drive by, Id never believe it was a shopping center. With all those Romanesque arches dominating the facade, it reminds me of a smaller version of the Dolmahbache Palace that rises above the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey, where once the ruling Sultans lived.
Fire stations are supposed to be long, low and red, and shopping centers are usually long, low, and painted brown or gray - arent they?
Beauty - or recognition - they say, is in the eye of the beholder.
Otherwise, every category, not only fire stations and shopping centers, would look like they came from the same mold, and everyone else would have the same taste and view of the world as I do.
And though I could wish a few ideas would disappear from the globe, especially about things I hold dear like music, proper speech and political opinion, I doubt the world or my limited circle of life would welcome unlimited clones of my opinions or me.
till, though I hope Ive grown beyond my starting point, or that Im not only revealing my limited experience, I have an opinion today thats important enough to me to risk inviting an opposing view. In fact, Id welcome at least an explanation.
Whatever the outcome on the importance of teaching Spanish or any language except our own in the public schools, what has happened to way we teach English?
The other day my second-grade grandchild sat down beside me to read one of the accelerated reader books she had taken from her (Columbia County) school library. I hardly had time to compliment her on the improvement in her reading ability when I noticed how poorly her book was written, and I dont mean the small, grade-level words used in the content. First there were the incomplete sentences - periods after phrases, etc., which I forgave. But then there were the blatant abuses of grammar: He runned his fingers through his hair... Me and Daddy, etc. By that time I suggested we read another book until I could find out why our children are learning one skill by unlearning another.
Ive never been a public school teacher, but Ive taught people how to sing or play a musical instrument for two-thirds of my life, or long enough to know that system of teaching doesnt work.
I remember one adult student who spent all his time learning to read the music notes but paid almost no attention to the rhythm. One day he said, Dont bother me with that counting stuff until I learn the notes.
OK, I replied, Lend me your car and today Ill steer.
He got the point. Whatever we do repeatedly, whether in music, speech, or behavior, even when we are concentrating on that other stuff, the more we do it wrong, the sooner the meanings of right and wrong become reversed.
If Im missing something here, will someone with another opinion please enlighten me? On the other hand, if the writers and choosers of books for my grandchildren and yours are missing the point, will some media or reading specialist please do more for our young readers today than steer?
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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