As a child I walked to school when it was less than a half mile from my house. When I moved up to the school that was further away I walked to the end of the street and waited for a bus to get me. The bus was painted bright yellow and had blinking red lights on it.
This morning I witnessed a dad driving his junior high school aged child in the family golf cart three doors down to the corner to be picked up by a school bus. It is still painted yellow, but now is equipped with an emergency exit, blinking yellow and red lights, a retractable stop sign with blinking red lights, a swing arm that opens in front of the bus, strobes lights on roof of the bus, large rear view mirrors mounted on the front bumper, and once the kids are on the bus before it pulls off the driver gives five short toots of the horn.
We are teaching children that being responsible is someone else’s job. In my day, we wanted to be fiercely independent and would be embarrassed if our parents had driven or walked up to the bus stop. We wanted the government to impact us as little as possible. We wanted to the opportunity to make our own way.
Today young children are not allowed out of our sight, playtime is painfully structured and organized by adults and children spend more time in front of a screen than any generation in history. We expect the government to take care of our healthcare, our retirement, our security, bail us out when we over extend ourselves financially, send us money when natural disaster strikes and ensure all of our needs are being taken care of.
And we wonder why the American economy is struggling and we are losing our place as the greatest economic engine in the world?
I think it all started with the school bus.