Civics 101


The COVID-19 virus has caused schools to close, and teachers are forced into long-distance learning. While learning via computer is the way we are now conducting education, parents are also forced to become more involved with their child’s learning. After all, with this virus caused system, the children do not go to school, but are in the home all day. Parents, who are not teachers, are now required to be active participants in their child’s education, which is causing anxiety and a new found appreciation of the art of teaching. While parents may view their new role like that of a teacher, there is no comparison between what they are now doing in their home, and what I did, (and all teachers do), for forty years. However, what matters is that parents seize this time to share learning with their child.

This morning on the news I heard Dr. Bruce Aleway tell of a Chinese woman he met in Wuhan. She was in isolation and 1000 km. from her children, but she told him that her country needed her to follow the procedures set by her government.  His story demonstrates the value and need for citizenship that we now have in America. So, I offer four stories that I have had great success with as a teacher of high school students. Each would be a good way for parents to share an examination of what citizenship needs during a time of crisis. Each story can be found through a Google search and all are brief.

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe tells the story of a prince who attempts to flee the “Red Death” that has swept his country. He goes to his home in the country, bringing his friends, so that they all may survive the plague.

Yes, Your Honesty is a short story by Helen and George Papashvily which recounts the narrator’s reaction to being unjustly fined.

Split Cherry Tree by Jesse Stuart is the telling of a student accepting responsibility, and how his father learns a lesson, tool

So Much Unfairness of Things is a short story by C. D. B. Bryan that tells the story of the importance of an honor code and how justice should prevail.

Our country faces a plague that respects no border, religion, ethnic group, or economic status. We all must follow, like the Chinese mother, rules for the safety of all. Desires of the individual must be replaced by what is best for the majority. I urge parents of high school students to read these stories along with their children and discuss the civic lesson(s) in them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: