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Much learning ahead for students today

Guest columnist

It was a good evening to celebrate a birthday. The honoree was seven years old and she was really enjoying her day.
She seemed to be having a good time, but there wasn’t time to talk to the old folks who showed up for supper.
There were others who moved faster and who could throw that basketball so she could chase it.
Her gifts got some attention, but it’s hard to act surprised with so much activity around.
The real action happened this week when hundreds of Lincoln County students lined up for graduation day and said goodbye to books and school, at least for a while.
Most will continue their education away at college or on a full-time job. Whatever path they take, they’ll see some big changes and life will never be the same, because the learning has just begun.
Just ask anyone older about that. Most will tell you that the hardest lessons learned were out of the classroom.
Sometimes a career isn’t planned. It just happens.
Other students will step into a higher grade with more expected of them as they age. They have the summer to play swim and most will forget books. It’s their chance to be a child.
I remember summers when the cotton patch got the most attention. Rainy days were welcomed, because then we had some time to play and to be lazy.
There was no library close by, and fewer pennies for books of our own, so we traded comics and western-themed books with the neighborhood children. These were front-porch reading for rainy days.
Years roll along, making big changes. Looking back, its almost hard to believe that life was like it was and how folks survived and many lived to old age.
There’s still a few of us around that can tell the story as they recall harsh winters and cold classrooms. That was when a heated building was a luxury few could afford.
Methods of learning have changed along with modern buildings. Pencils and tablets are things of the past as technology changes almost daily and even the youngest can be found with a small hand-held computer searching for comics.
Do comic books still exist? Have work habits changed so much that many can’t do the jobs that are available? Many of the eligible workers no longer want certain jobs. Where has all this knowledge taken us?
We all are not going to be at the top of the ladder. Many will be the workers serving the chief.
I remember, years ago, talking with a retired educator who said she was concerned about the way schools were headed. She was for more classes that taught home economics because along the way everyone should learn to cook, sew and keep a checkbook.
Most of these graduates are way ahead of this. Their knowledge reaches beyond the lessons of a kitchen stove and the sewing machine. There are others close by that do the jobs faster and better.
Now if they reach their goals, their income will grow and online checking is much easier.
Saturday evening, while watching that seven-year-old birthday girl rushing after the basketball, I couldn’t help but wonder what lies ahead for her.
I hope with all the advantages she has, the ball goal will be the lowest one she ever has to tackle and all the higher ones will be within reach.

Kathryn Yarbro is former managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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