Editorial: Timeless teachings remembered

Jun. 10, 2013 @ 07:46 PM

Just over 70 years ago, the rules for school were included in the writings of one of America’s greatest educators.

For some, they seem to be common sense. Others will shake their head, and say they do not fit with today’s generation.

We believe our schools of today are filled with more eagerness than ever before. The ruffle, however, is students’ eagerness is widespread to many areas of life, and not necessarily toward education and its value.

Leaders in the school, she wrote, have “varying degrees of power” and “are charged with seeing that the regulations are kept.”

Unfortunately, not all of our school leaders have been willing to step up and keep the standard. There is often separation among those leaders, not unity. Children suffer as a result.

She wrote, “the cultivation of traits of honor, thoughtfulness, politeness, honesty, order and proper appreciation of values is just as much a part of education as is the storing up in one’s mind of a vast accumulation of historic, mathematical and scientific facts.”

And she was exactly right. She wasn’t necessarily ahead of her time, just speaking of a timeless element in the educational process.

Her wisdom for the classroom was unmistakable, her appetite for learning and extending that knowledge to others unabashed.

She faced hurdles of which some of us could never imagine.

Born in Henderson, her family was like many in North Carolina, particularly the eastern part of the state. They moved north, settling in Cambridge, Mass. She returned with family annually, mostly at Christmas, for the true meaning of a family Christmas was to be home in the South.

She did things as a teen few today would even dare or dream to accomplish. And she did so as a woman of color, in an era of Jim Crow laws established not long after President Abraham Lincoln had freed slaves.

She taught students many traits we often find missing today: discipline, honor, humility, compassion and forgiveness. Foundations were provided for lives worth living.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown was born 130 years ago today. Her teachings are as needed now as they were a century ago.