Saturday, June 7, 2008



"My Child is an Honor Student at Such and Such School," reads a common bumper sticker. The words seem innocent enough, and something for parents to be proud of, so I ask why I feel sad when I read it.

"Because," I thought, "it's another adult-imposed division of young people, at an early age, ranking, dividing and separating them from each other by an artificial system based on alleged smartness, or less smartness, however we may define smart.

We don't need to label our innocent children as we adults have been labeled all our lives? Gifted, slow, attention deficit disordered, and dozens of other catagories? And then recorded in school records by adults who often have little knowledge of who these Blessed beings really are, what they feel, what they really know, what fascinates them in life, and most important, what they bring.

I can appreciate being with people who are bright and even not so bright. I usually see one or the other in the mirror each morning.

I am bright when I remember that everyone in the world belongs here. Brightness comes through me. I am not it. And some of the brightest people I know never completed high school, or got an A.

Being bright and smart is a way to be in the world. It has little to do with grades, passing tests or enduring pre-programmed requirements. I would like to see all of us, of any age, acknowledged for being compassionate, kind and questioning, unwilling to hurt other people because they are different from us, or see the world in ways we do not understand.

If there is a need to advertise on our bumpers, the sticker might simply read: "My Child Is Herself. And so is yours."

For NPR radio, written by Bruce Scott

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