Skip to main content

I look forward to the past - A historical journey

By Stephen C. Schultz


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet

The breeze blew briskly against my face as the tree limbs swirled in the ever changing currents of air. There was a group of us walking down the street in Philadelphia which consisted of Kena, Andrea, Erin, Chad, Matt, Shawn and myself. We were headed to Independence Hall in the City of Brotherly Love.


The streets were full with the hustle and bustle of the inner city. There were elderly women arm in arm, with bags in their hands, window shopping as they walked down the street. A young man with gold teeth, baggy pants and his baseball cap on sideways leaned against the corner of a building talking on a pay phone. (I noticed this because everyone has a cell phone these days. This actually looked odd.) Others were sitting at little round tables on the sidewalk outside small cafĂ©’s and bistro’s laughing and discussing life’s experiences with friends and family.


The constant sound of car and truck engines, exhaust billowing and horns honking, was all around us. The smell of food from the restaurants, cigarette smoke and urine from the subway hung heavy in the air. On the corner a man, in his mid thirties, was playing jazz on his guitar for tips. Half a block down the street there was a group of three men. They were all dressed in black leather with silver spikes. These three were postured in a threatening manner. The man in the middle was on a small platform speaking to passersby through a microphone. He was extolling the hardship and injustice brought to African Americans by the white man. There was no crowd, there was no fear. People simply continued on with their business as usual.



We were in town for the Semi Annual IECA conference. This is a time when therapeutic schools and programs get together with Educational Consultants from across the country. Most of our effort and energy is spent renewing friendships and being updated on the latest trends in the treatment of troubled teens.


As I passed by the Liberty Bell and headed to Independence Hall, I was lost in thought about our founding fathers. I wondered if this was the America George Washington, James Madison or Benjamin Franklin envisioned. I wondered if there were troubled teens in the late seventeen hundreds. Did teens suffer with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and ADHD back then? Was it simply un-diagnosable at that time? Or… are these issues, the ones that so many teens struggle with today, the result of a more modern culture? I don’t know.

It does seem however, that the principles adhered to and practiced in the forming of a new nation are also the same principles needed to navigate life’s obstacles in modern times. Determination, courage, faithfulness, self-discipline, unity, excellence, humility, idealism, loyalty, patience, confidence, justice and sacrifice are but a few of the character traits enlisted by the founding fathers. It seems those traits are ageless.

While this great nation does provide us the freedom to “Pursue Happiness”, it does not guarantee happiness. Nor does it provide freedom from life’s struggles. Maybe, just maybe…it is seeing where we have been and learning from the past that provides perspective for us as we navigate the future in our never-ending pursuit of happiness.

Please share a comment. I'm interested in learning of others thoughts on this matter.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons I learned from a childhood experience with bullying

By Stephen C. Schultz The dew around the window was starting to bead up. In a classic case of chaos theory, the little beads of water gave way to gravity and randomly bounced and bumped their way to the window sill like a steal marble in a pinball game. There was a small pool of water in the cracked and peeling beige paint. I sat facing the window, staring at the small engraved stone nestled in the flower beds. There weren’t many flowers at this time of year. Mostly rhododendrons and Oregon grapes reaching skyward from the damp bark mulch that covered the planter area.   The month of January in Eugene Oregon was filled with days and days of mist and fog.   In fact, pretty much from October through June was filled with fog, rain, mist, showers, freezing rain and occasionally snow. The local weathermen didn’t bother with predictions about the chance of precipitation; they took pride in developing new adjectives to describe the type of precipitation and how much you can expect.

"Sugar and Spice" - A Child's Kindness

By Stephen C. Schultz I recall a childhood rhyme that went something like this; “…sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of!” As the father of three daughters and one son, there is no doubt about the truthfulness of that saying. I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with my family. We were down at Seaport Village right on the bay having lunch. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, light breeze and we were eating on an outside deck. We were engaged in a conversation about what we wanted to do later that day when I noticed my youngest daughter, a fifth grader, was focused on something else. So, I turned to see what she was gazing at. She was following the movements of a transient man who had walked up onto the deck and was systematically searching the garbage cans for food. He was looking in each receptacle and reaching in to move the contents around. At one can, his hand came out with a partially eaten sandwich of some kind. He reached back

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w