As I was walking up to my favorite "subbing school" today I ran into the Principal. After greeting me, she pointed to a dreary little planter near the entrance and commented about how the attempt at flowering plants there always got trampled. I suggested marigolds as a more hardy plant/flower and told her about my wife's recent plantings between the recent rains. I could tell she wanted to put some color there too. This is a wonderful Principal who does her best to bring a bright and positive spirit to her school. She's not just an administrator. Everyone loves her...especially the kids.
Of course, being a drama person, I was reminded of that play I read years ago. I looked it up. I thought it was written by the late (yesterday) Horton Foote. RIP. He was responsible for other masterpieces, i.e. "To Kill A Mockingbird" (screenplay/oscar) "Trip to Bountiful" "Tender Mercies" which, in many ways are similar to the play I was remembering: "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds". It was written by Paul Zindel back in the 70's I think and directed Paul Newman. His wife, Joanne was the main character. It was the story of a very disfunctional family. The daughter was trying to grow marigold seeds that had been zapped by gamma rays for a school science fair. The mother and other daughter had a "toxic" relationship that tainted the whole play. It was a classic tragedy. The experimentor, the mal-formed flowers were blissfully unaffected by all the "radiation"- rampant relationships.
What I'm observing as I sub more and more lately is what I think are similar siblings and families. I watch how so many of these young ones cannot focus or concentrate on their learnings/teachings for more than micro-seconds and I wonder, what is going on, or not going on at home...is there even a home? Is it one day-care after another? Is it TV, video games, Wii, and whatever requires split second attention with NO INVESTMENT, UNDERSTANDING OR INTIMACY. I see little caring concern from parents or teachers alike in my brief dealings. Granted, I don't have the long-term, in depth connections that I used to have when I taught full time. But I certainly see tips of icebergs and hints of "radiation". It's is like they are all running around with "blue-tooth" earphones attached to their ears, totally oblivious to what is going on in their immediate surroundings. (maybe the radiation from those phones is getting to their brains too). I suggested recently to another principal that he alternate science fairs with invention conventions to get the families more involved in their child's learning.
They are not aware of the the Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (kids) all around them and how briefly they flower and bloom...waxing and waning like the moon. Is this lunacy another sign of our culture's decline? Toxic radiation at the core...the family, the school. "DOOM!" Isn't that the name of a popular video game? RRR