I grew up in Richmond, Virginia during the sixties. This was the era of U.S. Civil Rights Struggles, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, Watts, Detroit, Assassinations, Vietnam, the notion of the “Ugly American,” Chairman Mao and his ‘Red Book,’ and so many events, developments, crises, and life and society stuff.
That’s the era of my life development.
Throughout all of this and throughout my education (school, that is), my teachers drilled home the constant mantra of, “Get a good education and get a good job.” A constant barrage of this continued throughout my elementary, junior high and high school years, even during my junior high and high school years in integrated (the term desegregation didn’t really come to my attention until the seventies, and it was usually joined with the term, ‘court-ordered.’).
And even if the core of integration in education at that time was some sort of patronage or appeasement, I still received a strong dose of the education for life mantra in church. As a matter of fact, my grandfather, who was also the minister of our church (and there weren’t any assistant pastors, or junior ministers in my church; Grandpa carried the entire load), always mentioned the familiar verses,
Good, better, best, Never let it rest,
Until the good is better, and the better is best.
And this was always directed at the youth of the church, especially if one of us made some noteworthy achievement in church, school or society. Continue reading