Lilliputians in a Gigantic World

By: Patti Bankson

A 17-year old Massachusetts boy’s career goal is “definitely pro sports. Baseball. Basketball. Maybe football. Cornerback…” You have to either hand it to him, or feel sad for him, because he’s not letting the facts stand between him and his pipe dreams… like the fact that he’s only 5’6” and weighs 120 pounds; he was kicked out of his high school last year for smoking and fighting; he doesn’t play on a school team and doesn’t attend a regular school, but one for high school drop-outs.

In Texas parents sue a school board because their daughter didn’t make the cheerleading squad. In a television interview the parents looked on while their daughter whined that she didn’t understand how “they could do that to her”… after all, “all her life she’d dreamed of being a high school cheerleader” and she “cried for 3 weeks” after not making the squad.

Whether you think public schools are good, bad or somewhere in between, the fact is that something like 90% of America’s parents send their children there for 12+ years hoping that they will end up educated enough to have a promising future. These kids’ stories – just two of the many – don’t raise my hopes. However, although I’m not a fan of government schools, I don’t think they’re responsible for all the students who fail or for students’ low aspirations. And why should we be surprised at those failures and low aspirations anyway? Even kids who are uneducated are not stupid. “Do as I say, not as I do” has never worked, and still doesn’t. What message do we think we’re sending about what our real priorities are when we’re more interested in athletes’ moves on the court or field than we are in their education… or when athletes make a zillion times more than our teachers do?

Last year North Dakota paid the lowest beginning teacher’s salary in the country – $24,035. Washington, D.C. paid the highest average salary: $61,195. Still a drop in the bucket when compared to the average (not the “big boys”) pro athletes’ salaries: Basketball – $5 million, Baseball – $2,800,00, Football – $1,750,000. At $162,043, even women’s golf pays more than twice as much as the highest paid teachers earn.

While it’s true that some who dream of a professional sports career actually make it, like these two kids, they still seem to be woefully unprepared for life, even a “successful” one with big money. They can’t communicate well enough to get across a simple idea, speak English well enough to be understood (even when they’re not from other countries) and blow their opportunities as quickly as they get them, until it’s all over but rehab or a jail sentence.

Maybe it would help if teachers were well paid when – and if – their jobs were well done. Maybe it would help if we stopped expecting everyone else– including schools – to raise our children and just did the job ourselves. Maybe.

In the meantime, I guess we’ll just do what we’ve been doing … crank out Lilliputians, continue to expect them to compete in a gigantic world, and sit back and watch as they falter and fail.

Not all, but certainly too many.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

Patti Bankson welcomes your comments at
Patti Bankson 2007

About The Author Patti Bankson:
Send comments to © 2011 Patti Bankson The Way I See It / The Apopka Chief /

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.