We awoke this morning to the news that a major Iranian general, among others, was killed by U.S. military action in Iraq.

Social media has been on fire with shares of the news from many sources and comments on the significance of it, including retaliation by the Iranian mullahs who control the country.

The usual name-callers have posted their usual epithets against their usual targets.

The United States of America dispatched someone engaged in international conflict and violence, planning and leading efforts in covert wars, but yet is not a rogue terrorist like Osama Bin Laden, but a top official for a sovereign government.

Numerous questions occur to your Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT): Was it important? Was it necessary? Will the gain in disrupting the Iranian export of revolution across the Middle East be worth the cost of the coming retaliation?

GOT doesn’t have these answers, not yet, anyway. Does that surprise you?

GOT has no opinion about this. Perhaps in the coming days as more becomes known, he will form one. But that is not now.

I used to be so sure. I used to have an opinion about everything with the confidence, nay hubris, to pity those who couldn’t understand like me.

No more.

Teaching does that to you. In the free academy, bereft of scripted lessons and narrow curriculums, where students and teachers can pose questions and debate answers, you come to see that there are many sides to an issue and that others have sound logic for their rationale, that others will disagree as passionately as the flush in your face tells you about your passion for your position, and that the Bard was correct when he penned the words: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

As for now, GOT is transported back a few years. Whatever was happening in the news or around the world, GOT thought a war could break out, a major war, and soon the young people in his classroom, 14 and 15 and 16 years old, might be called up for military service (that big of a war!). As he watched them work at their desks during periods of independent practice, he would wonder how many would come back, how many would live their lives out of broken bodies as they reconstructed those lives, how many would have their potential cut-off before their lives could really begin?

The meaning of Soleimani’s assassination and all that will come of it, GOT has no idea.

The only thing I am sure of is that, in the months ahead, I will have more moments of looking at the teenagers I teach and wonder about them marching off to war.

One thought on “Reflection on the Young

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