I heard something at work yesterday that took my attention away from my usual morning stroll through ancient medieval alchemy texts (I need gold). A middle-aged co-worked had to stay home as they’d closed school due to the polar vortex. He had to watch his kids but could have come to work otherwise. By the way, for those who do not subscribe to media generated mass hysteria, a polar vortex is also known as very cold weather.
Now perhaps my memory is flawed (certainty), but I cannot recall a single occasion from childhood where my parents remained home to watch us via closed schools when they could have gone to work. I suspect this is because if it was bad enough to close school, they also physically could not get to work.
In today’s bubble-wrapped world, schools are closed if it’s cold, icy, rainy, snowy, sleepy, blimp attack, etc. There are any number of reasons why: liability, liability, cultural weakness, liability, kids bribe their school boards with fancy candy, and so on.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming I’m in favor of placing children in a situation where their school bus enters Valhalla via the side of your local covered bridge. Nobody wants to put children in danger, but perhaps we’ve gone a bit too far. Kids are supposed to learn shit in school right? I think? So what lesson are we teaching them if it’s a little (or a lot of) cold out and they get to stay home and play mind-melting video games.
Another childhood memory of mine is standing at the bus stop; alone with the other children; in temperatures well below zero. As a kid you do not forget that kind of cold. But school was open. And our parents just bundled us up and kicked us out the door; all of us without exception; like twenty young kids.
And so I ask you, how would this play out today? If the schools were open (which they would not be), I bet every single parent would drive their kid to the bus stop and wait with them in the hot car until the bus got there. Is this a problem? I’ll let you decide.
Actual Polar Vortex