Last night was Back to School night at my daughter’s high school. I got a chance to be impressed by all her teachers. Her dad and I thought of skipping the Living Skills presentation. It is not a ‘serious’ class. Not like Maths or Humanities, or Social Studies. It turns out I was very happy we went. Living Skills is the class where kids learn about ethics, and civics, and values, in addition to other important stuff like what it’s like to have a baby, how to say no to drugs, how to have safe sex, how to balance a checkbook, . . . This is a class that teaches them how to think about what it means to be a good citizen.
I am not sure what Catherine will take out of the class, but it surely made me think. Citizen is an old fashioned word, a remnant of the French revolution. Being a good citizen has never been something I cultivated consciously. I strive to be a good person, but a good citizen? ‘Instruction Civique’ was on the curriculum in my eigth grade class, back in France. My father was teaching it, and he was very bad at it. Boring . . .
What I need: Now that Robert Reich has put some new life into the word, I am looking at being a good citizen, as a moral duty of the highest order. Green citizen that is. And it strikes me that I could benefit from green living skills education. Not in the form of a lecture, but rather a structure for thinking about my role as consumer, and green citizen. And making informed choices about who I really want to be, a consumer, a green citizen, something else?