In Response To Mr. Rostow
It has never been my policy to respond to a letter about one of my columns; however, in Mr. and Mrs. Rostow’s case I have made an exception.
To review, Mr. Rostow and family commented on the My Turn I wrote entitled, “It’s the Curriculum, Stupid.” Of all the curriculum I described, Rostow selected two sports I played at the after school center writing that I suggested they be substituted for Reading or Science, which is ridiculous. He wrote he could not stop laughing at my suggestion.
If Rostow can stop laughing long enough to digest the following, his understanding of education might just expand:
Everything you do in life teaches you a lesson. Sports which occupied the entire morning of a boy’s education (girls received no formal education) going back to the earliest Greek educators, affords the participant a number of life lessons. That sports do not occupy more time in a child’s life today is underscored by the child obesity numbers.
You mention handball derisively, an after school center activity I also played on weekends, as if no lesson can be learned by a young player. I learned a lot. I learned that girls were not welcome on the courts even if our skills were better than the boys. I learned patience waiting for my turn (next) if the boys on the court deigned to give it to me. I learned sportsmanship especially when I lost and had to wait two or three games to return to the court to play. I learned self-control when contested decisions did not go my way. I learned strategy, going at a player’s weakness to score points. I learned that games (like life and
Letters households) had rules that must be followed by everyone, no exceptions. I learned at a very young age that winning drew a lot of positive attention; but losing, although personally defeating, was not tragic. And, I was pleased that many of my childhood and lifelong friends were sports friends bonded by our love for sports, no matter our race, ethnicity or gender.
Mr. and Mrs. Rostow, I hope I have cracked open a window for you into the ever evolving world of education. In this world, children can learn reading in every subject, not just the one entitled, “Reading.” That is called teaching for transfer. It is a pity that it is not mandatory in our schools. Of all the changes to the current curriculum suggested in my “My Turn” column, I cannot believe you focused your comment on two recreational games when the changes to the current curriculum I cite are so enticing as to reverse the drop-out rate numbers.
In your letter to “The Wave” you label my column hilarious and humorous as you actually believe my intention was to supplant the three R’s with sports. Laughter is normally a wonderful emotional outlet, Mr. Rostow. In the manner in which you’ve chosen to use it, you have tried to reduce my substantial education credentials to those of a fool. Might I point out to you that laughter is often a tool that masks ignorance.