Somnambulant, No More

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Have we been walking around in our sleep? Are we waking up? In his Op-Ed Somnambulant No More author and speaker Brad Beck shares his perspective on the results of the 2021 election and the awakening of “We the People” to the danger to our American Republic. Brad shares strategies for our future so that we are no longer somnambulant.

I remember learning about the word somnambulant, the habit of walking while asleep, when I was in Junior High School. My English teacher would give us words of the day and we would get “brownie points” if we used that word during class. For some reason that word stuck in my repertoire of verbiage, and I look forward to using it when appropriate.

After the recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and here in Colorado I now know people are waking up to the idea that we Americans are very close to losing this beautiful republic. Most people are busy living their lives. They go about their business trying to care for themselves, their families, and perhaps a circle of friends. Most people do not pay attention or take an active role in politics or public policy; that is until it effects their children or their personal lives.

After a year and a half of watching their kid’s sub-par education online, a stirring of outrage, which was simmering, has now hit the boiling point. There were plenty of good teachers doing their best to teach virtually. Many figured out the medium and had success given the circumstances. Yet, many of their students lost a year of education, a year of personal connection, and a year of growing due to the fear and misinformation by PBI’s, Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Interested parties as my friend Kim Monson says.

PBI’s can do a lot of damage to community, the economy, and even one’s livelihood, but dang it, don’t mess with our kids! This was the awakening and vigorous pushback that was felt by certain elected officials during this recent election. “We the People” will no longer be somnambulant. We are reestablishing our authority over these PBI’s and are no longer going to settle for being told how we should raise our kids or grandkids; even if Merrick Garland calls us “domestic terrorists.”

It’s been said the pendulum swings both ways and at some point, it settles on an equilibrium; a center point if you will. Here is the problem. The enthusiasm of today is often quickly replaced with the overwhelming task of making changes that are lasting and can have permanent results before the next election cycle.

Will parents continue being persistent and push choice in education as a movement? From personal experience once kids leave their K-12 experience many parents are no longer active in their local schools. Why would they? Their children have moved on.

Even so, it’s our civic duty to stay engaged. The education of our children is too important to be left to those PBI’s and teachers’ unions.  If you own a house in your community, you are on the hook as a taxpayer for your local schools. You should have an active interest as a stakeholder in your local school district just like you would in your 401K, or any other investments.

I offer the following suggestions for you to consider. Go to a local school board meeting. Observe and listen to the language being used. Take notes and listen for words and patterns of ideas that you have questions about. Get to know the school board members and understand their positions on issues. Find out who controls the school budgets, where funds are allocated, the curriculum being taught, and the direction of the local school board prior to any controversy so you have creditability with those in elected. Band together with like-minded parents and community members to watch, report, and influence others as to what is happening in your local school and make your voice heard when you notice “mission-creep.” Insist your local schools teach foundational ideas of citizenship, civics, and how to think, not what to think.

Support schools by joining an auxiliary program or a community service group like the Optimist Club or Kiwanis Club that provide programs and scholarships for children and are role models in the community. Volunteer in a classroom or serve on a committee at a school or offer to be a guest lecturer as a subject matter expert.

I have taught public speaking skills and government in my local schools. I have presented industry programs on the culture, science, and beauty of floriculture to Preschoolers and Kindergarteners. I have banded together with parents to help form a charter school, which unfortunately did not meet with success. I have actively supported teachers by conducting field trips to our State Capitol and Supreme Court. I have volunteered for such school activities as debates, academic brain bowls, and history fairs. I have remained active even after my kids moved on to college. Do I have the time for these activities? Heck no. Yet, Conservatives must be involved in education and be vocal, and active. Education is too important to be left to the Left.

The source of all wealth is the mind. The minds of our youth cannot be wasted on worrying about their skin color (melatonin levels), whether they have privilege, or someone’s safe space. Our kid’s educations must be focused on learning. We must help them understand the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Technology will play an ever-increasing role in their lives, yet when students cannot read cursive and don’t know about citizenship or facts such as America was an idea founded in 1776 and expressed beautifully by Thomas Jefferson in America’s Declaration of Independence, then we have bigger problems than an election cycle.

We must encourage the reintroduction of shop classes, home economics, and real-world skills back into our schools and partner with industry to help conduct and pay for these partnerships. We need to move away from one size fits all kids. We must encourage better programs for special needs kids, not by throwing money at them but by investing in their independence and success.

Communities that have the best interest of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff are often pitted against the teachers’ unions who are worried about their political power, not education, nor the outcomes of students. Someone must continue stoking the flames of perseverance. Someone must be persistent and determined to keep the education system on the intended track of opening minds to a world of ideas that will help, not harm them. Human ingenuity and technology have always advanced mankind. Yet, the innovations that are needed in the future will only come with a grounding and solid foundation of a classical education that made Western Civilization great, warts and all.

I am hopeful that parents and community members continue to stay active in their local schools long after their kids move on. Otherwise, we may just lose the idea of America.  I am hopeful you will no longer be somnambulant.

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