Next month I’ll be attending my 45th High School class reunion. I even volunteered to be on the planning committee. This will be the first High School reunion I’ve gone to. Today I’ve been thinking about the reasons why I’ve never been to one. What was it about school that made me not want to revisit those days? I’ve often wondered, as I’m sure many people do, what happened to some of my old school mates. I could probably have kept up with them through reunions but something always kept me away. It’s almost like I’ve had a phobia of school. So I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ll share some of those thoughts with you.
I got into a lot of trouble in school, but not in the way you might think. Whether it was grade school or Sunday school or high school, I got in trouble because I asked questions. Now you would think that school is the perfect place to ask questions and you’d be right. Unless you ask the wrong questions. Take for instance, History class. We learned all about American history, specifically European American history. We learned about the Doctrine of Discovery. And how this idea allows that Christian governments can occupy and claim for their own, lands that are occupied by non-Christian peoples. As Christians, it is their God given right to basically take what they want because they are on the side of God and those that aren’t, don’t count. I got in trouble over this because I wanted to know why it was okay to slaughter millions of Native Americans just so we could have their land. Once, I was told that if the Europeans hadn’t done that, I would never have been born, so I should be grateful that they did. Basically this means as long as I got what I wanted out of it, the rest of it shouldn’t matter. That excuse has been use for the fulfillment of most of the atrocities of history. I got a lot of lectures from teachers and principles in school.
As a child I attended Sunday school, Wednesday school and Confirmation classes in Middle school. At some time during all that I was taught that Hebrew law required all Rabbi’s to be married. This was an important part of being a Rabbi. I asked why Jesus wasn’t married. He was a Rabbi after all, the New Testament says so. He taught in the Synagogue. I was told that Jesus wasn’t married because he was the son of God. And I answered that Jesus was a Rabbi before anyone knew he was the son of God so, why wasn’t he married? I got in big trouble for that. In confirmation class I asked questions that my pastor couldn’t answer. He told me sometimes you have to take things on faith. “Well, no I don’t,” I answered. He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Well you’re right, you don’t.” That was the first time I remember a teacher giving me an honest answer.
When I graduated High school I walked away without looking back. I didn’t have fond memories. I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t into sports, I wasn’t into joining. I wanted answers to questions that High school had no answers for. On my own throughout the years I’ve answered a lot of those questions by studying various teachers who would not be considered mainstream and definitely not accepted by the Education department of our government. To get my spiritual questions answered I went to Christianity and Buddhism, Paganism and no “ism” at all. And I have never once needed Algebra. As an adult I went to college to become a Medical Laboratory Technician. Had I had the money and time I would have continued my education on to Medical Laboratory Scientist which was only another two years from a Technician degree but it never happened. Going into the medical field allowed me to go to school and learn what I needed without all the extras that required education tacks on. Except for Algebra. I still had to do Algebra in college. (And I’ve still never needed it.)
So why go to a high school reunion after all these years? Hopefully we mature as we age. I’ve come to the point where if a person tells me they believe the exact opposite of what I believe I’ll say, “Well that’s nice, have a great day!” When I was young I wanted answers, I wanted to argue until I got them. I wanted to know. I wasn’t interested in being right in someone else’s eyes, I was interested in being right in my own mind. I am still interested in a good debate but the outcome of a debate should be to learn, not to be right. So I think the reunion will be fun. It will be good to see some folks I haven’t seen in a very long time. All the old drama that we thought was so important will be gone and we can simply enjoy seeing one another.
I had my head so filled with useless information in school that there were times I thought it might explode. I had to sift through it all, discard what I didn’t need and expound on what was useful. But you really can’t do that until you have a maturity level to know the difference. That’s what I’ve been doing since high school, in case anyone asks. Taking it all in, religion, politics, news and information, dissecting it all, looking for truth and discarding what is not helpful. Maybe someday, I’ll know something!