In honor of a new school year

The Yellow Bus

It was a fine September day
When my sweet princess came to say,
“Oh Daddy, could we please discuss
The purpose of that yellow bus?
I see the children get on board
While our house is always ignored.
It looks like fun, it looks so cool,
To ride upon it off to school!”

Her little face was serious,
And naturally curious
About this strange phenomenon
Her friends had all departed on,
With some misgiving then I knew
An explanation now was due.
I placed a hand under my chin
And wondered how I should begin.

Then I remembered my school days
Now dim in memory’s fading haze
The good times, and the bad times too,
When everything was bright and new.
And yet my main recollection
Was a sense of disaffection.
Endless boredom, a parody
Of learning, farce and tragedy!

“Do you know what they’ll learn today?”
She shook her head without delay.
“They first will learn the alphabet – “
“But Daddy, don’t they know it yet?”
She interrupted in surprise,
Amazement in those big brown eyes.
“Ten letters is the minimum,”
I said, “that’s where they’re starting from.”

She blinked and looked somewhat perturbed.
“So, what would I do?” next I heard.
“I know my letters, phonics too,
Today I read a book – no, two!
And yet, they’re gone for the whole day
Do they do nothing there but play?
That sounds so fun, can I go there?
I think that would be only fair!”

“They do play, my lovely flower,
But for just one single hour.
Then all the rest they sit in class
And wait as the long hours pass.
For no child can hope to move on
’til all is learned by everyone.”
“But Daddy, that’s ridiculous.
Surely, it could never be thus!”

It’s worse than that, (I thought it through),
As they teach things that are not true.
They will not let you learn of God
And instill logic badly flawed.
It’s not so much education
As naked indoctrination.
For little is more blindly cruel
Than sentencing a child to school.

Of course, these thoughts I did not share
As she stood innocently there.
“Their parents love your friends, I’m sure,
But Mommy and I love you more.
These next years will suffice to show
How freedom helps a mind to grow,
And you, my dear, will always be
A child of God and liberty.”

Did she fathom?
I cannot say.
She’ll tell me so
One day, I pray.