Face Book always wants to know what’s on your mind. Most FB followers are less interested in what’s really on your mind, preferring to see selfies, cat videos, and quotes about how much they love third cousins (pease like and share). A blog, on the other hand encourages you to speak your mind. So, what’s on my mind? Roads. Those taken and those not taken.
When I think about roads, two thoughts immediately come to mind. The classic Robert Frost poem and M. Scott Peck’s best seller “The Road Less Traveled.”
Apparently L. Frank Baum was not interested in the road conundrum. When Dorothy met the Scarecrow she was not at a crossroad. She didn’t wonder which way to go. She and the Scarecrow engaged in the usual blah-blah-blah and in short order were off to see the Wizard. (I believe the yellow brick road Dorothy was traveling on was her road less traveled.)
For whatever reason, the filmmakers wanted Dorothy to have to make a choice. It’s funny, but after all the pondering, the movie lacks any dialogue on why Dorothy and the Scarecrow did take the road they eventually took.
Looking back on my highway I can say without fear of contradiction that choosing the road to take is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. In fact we are constantly having to choose the road to take. Sometimes we take the well-traveled road and less frequently we take the less-traveled road.
Every semester when I begin teaching the one course I teach, I ponder the question of which road to take. Every semester I am greeted with twenty new faces.
I am teaching the GPS generation. They were born knowing where they wanted to go and they seem to know exactly what road/s they have to take to get there…wherever there is.
I am the scarecrow they meet on the road. To be honest, most students do not want to engage in conversation let alone take me down and invite me to travel along with them.
The dilemma I face every semester is do I act like a brainless scarecrow? Do I just smile, go through the academic motions and keep my big mouth shut? Or. Or. Or do I rip myself off the wood frame and open my big mouth?
Why would I want to do that? Because I believe that letting them go their merry way toward Corporate City without asking them to think about the journey would not only be a mistake, I would be missing an opportunity to shake them up a little.
My greatest fear is that the current generation is actually lost. And that’s not a bad thing. They should be lost, or at least they should think long and hard about the yellow brick road in their life. The current generation is so directed, so pampered and so content that rather than ask hard questions about their journey, all they want is for you, the teacher, to see they graduate with an EZPass.
I have no doubt that the students in my class will succeed. They have been well-taught. They know what to do and how to do it to succeed. They are determined.
I am a speed bump. I want my students to think. I want my students to question and to challenge beliefs they have taken for granted. I want them to believe they have a choice. I want them to understand that consequences come both from taking action and from choosing to be inactive. (You can neve escape from consequences.)
In the end I also want my students to realize that the most important thing is to make sure the road they travel is THEIR road because THEIR road is one that has never been traveled on.
It’s all about seizing opportunites. But we all need to remember that opportunity is not a lenghty visitor.
A bumper sticker from my college days gave me some food for thought: Remember, wherever you go there YOU are.