I watched a little boy saunter slowly towards his school bus this morning. He was the only child boarding that bus, and traffic on the four-lane thoroughfare was brought to a standstill as the youngster took his sweet-assed time getting aboard.
My own trips to school came to mind as I sat there trapped by the capriciousness of this little kid. For the first six years I attended school I lived about a tenth of a mile inside the school bus boundary, meaning no public transportation for me. And my parents being dirt-poor products of the depression era saw absolutely nothing wrong with a child walking a mile and a half to school each day. So come rain or shine, heat or cold, I walked to and from school every day for grades one through sixth.
Later, in response to the Brown vs. Board of education ruling, the education authorities found it expedient to bus me across town to a school where I was numbered among the other 5% of Caucasian high school students – for the purpose I presume of making black students feel assured of getting the same lousy education that the white kids got.
Boarding the bus back in the late 70’s was no lollygagging affair of the sort I witnessed this morning. Our bus driver would toot her horn is she discerned that anyone’s feet was stuck in low gear. And if the horn did not bring the desired result you would perhaps get one verbal warning before being left behind at the bus stop.
Today, if the bus driver blew the horn at a slowmoving bus rider, he/she would almost certainly be scolded by authorities. And if a kid were left behind for such behavior, then the bus driver would probably be unemployed. While I realize that child-directed sex crimes of recent times make it more important to safeguard kids more stringently, I know that coddling and babying today’s kids is the universal norm.
What a slack and self-entitled society we’ve become; a far cry from the rugged self-supporting individualistic breed that characterized America’s past.