Bill Murchison

At the same time, we could do better than we do. Quite a lot better. The willingness of the public schools to enforce standards of knowledge and attainment fell off the cliff during the 1960s. What? Standards? Someone better/smarter than someone else? We can't say things like that! Feelings might be hurt!

So -- ha, ha (not caring if I hurt feelings), I probably know more poetry than you do, simply because the public schools I attended, in the '50s, made us commit to memory such jewels as "Let us then be up and doing/with a heart for any fate/still achieving and pursuing/learn to labor and to wait."

The times in general are non-conducive to the pursuit of knowledge through (ugh!) looking at words on a page. Probably the point to bear in mind is that Our Times, as such, never last. They melt, they merge, they fade. Often, that's a good thing.

I worry along with the NEA about the state of reading -- the most enlivening of pastimes -- but I know at the same time that curiosity is uncontainable. Those who want to know will know.

Why, when ready, they'll even pick up a book and bury their noses between the pages to smell the glue. And then

For the rest of us, learn to labor and to wait.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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