Monday, March 30, 2015

Being Frank about discipline

Frank’s column for week of March 29, 2015 — 1908 scholarship “Pointed Suggestions"

I am a child of the '60s, a decade from which we are still reeling, and if we aren't careful, historians will one day look back and remember it as a key time in the decline and fall of the American Empire. 
I was a teenager during the '60s. That meant there were lots of questions, few answers and even more important decisions to make. 
College was one of those decisions. 
Neither one of my parents had formal education beyond high school. My grandfather worked on the railroad from a very young age. He put Uncle Doc and Aunt Jessie through college but did not go to college himself. 
Uncle Doc became a dentist (hence the nickname, "Doc") and Aunt Jessie became a school teacher who taught English in the Gary school district while Doc had his practice in the same area.
So, when I was growing up, Doc and Jessie were two of my college role models. So were my cousins, Rick and Lou Ann. They were 6 and 12 years older than me and both attended Michigan State University long before I had to make any decisions about higher education. 
During the 1960s, the philoosophy that led to lack of discipline for children became prevalent. It’s not too surprising that also in the ‘60s campus demonstrations became all too common. 
Just how many “students” were involved in the rioting may never be known; I'm sure it was a minority, but the point is, the lack of discipline at home manifested itself in the riots. 
The same children who were not corrected for throwing their cereal on the floor as infants expected they would not be disciplined for taking over the university administration building as young adults. 
None of this is new but it does set the scene to show how much things changed over the decades leading up to the '60s. 
In 1908, Mary I. Hendricksen's mother, Grace Dickson, received a scholarship to attend six months of training at Indiana Business College.
The scholarship carried with it some “pointed suggestions" for behavior as follows:
Let others alone. 
Attend strictly to business at all hours.
Heavy walking, running and jumping in the halls, slamming of doors, cutting, marking or defacing wood work or walls, loitering before of after school hours around or in the vicinity of the building, and use of tobacco in and about school positively forbidden. For any violation of same students are subject expulsion. 
Unless business or special work calls you to the office, your place is in your department, and this you can only leave by permission from your teacher. 
We cannot graduate and recommend as fully qualified amanuenses, any whose shorthand speed is less than 100 words, or typewriting speed less than 45 words per minute, or who fail to pass a rigid examination in orthography or write a good hand. 
Students who remain out of college without a permit from the teacher, will not be allowed to make up for lost time. 
A strict record of the attendance f all pupils is kept. No allowances are made for holidays or absences, except in case of serious illness, or upon special permit. In no instance will any payment of tuition be refunded. 
The obligation given by purchaser of this scholarship promises punctual attendance, orderly deportment and cheerful compliance with college rules. 
Under no consideration will students be allowed to use the telephone during school ours. Other hours at our option. 
Remember, this institution does not obligate itself to furnish a position unless the pupil completes our full commercial course. 
I offer this to point out how different “acceptable" behavior is today than 100 years ago. 
Today, high school students call their teachers by their first names and know who to go to, to buy illegal drugs. In 1908 "heavy walking, running and jumping in the halls" was cause for the disciploine of college students. 
As I say, unless we are careful, we may be living the decline and fall of the American Empire. 

Frank Phillips is a reporter for The Brazil Times.