Practice common sense. Common sense is no longer common.

The game

Last week, I attended a high school football game. I sat in the metal bleachers on a crisp Friday night under the lights. The mascot tripped through the crowd waving to all the kids. Groups of boys and groups of girls sought each other out in person and online. I watched the band march onto the field. I stood for the national anthem and listened as the trumpets tried and missed that high B-flat on “home of the free.” Before long the first kickoff was returned and the game was on. The home team was quick and efficient as they opened up a 22-3 lead by halftime. But I wasn’t really interested in one team or the other.

My five-year-old granddaughter was about to make her cheer leading debut at halftime with the school cheerleaders. They were the Cougars; she was a Cougar-ette. She was in fine form. Her hair braided with the colors of the home team, she sported three rhinestone diamonds on her cheek. Her outfit was tight and sporty, and her purple pom-poms glittered.

When she joined the high school girls on the track to warm up, she was in her natural element. She danced, she jumped, and she shook her pom-poms. And at halftime when she had to stand as “stiff as a pencil” (her words) so they could lift her high over their heads; her form was perfect. A couple of cartwheels and her performance was in the books.

All was perfect. The performers exchanged high fives and hugs. Her eyes sparkled. The joy of being a cheerleader in a real football game radiated on my granddaughter’s face. But the mood changed quickly!

The lightning

Suddenly, as the players were lining up for second half kickoff, a flash of forked lightning crossed the entire horizon followed by a clap of thunder that rocked the stands louder than the hip-hop music played by the boosters. Such displays are rare in southern California. What is a common occurrence on the East coast or in the Plains states happens only once a year over these desert suburbs. What is not rare is the lack of common sense that immediately followed.

Common sense

If common sense is knowledge applied to action, then most people acted sensibly and fled from the impending danger. The referees, who were about to start the second half, whistled for all play to be suspended. The public address announcer instructed all spectators to leave the stands in a safe and orderly manner. The players headed for the locker room. The band marched off the field. The crowd quickly packed their belongings, gathered their children, and scurried for their cars. Within minutes, all were safe.

The outliers

In every crowd, there are a few stand-outs, as in “standing out in the lightning.” A few vocal football supporters chose to remain in the all-aluminum bleachers and complain about the decision to suspend the football game. I overheard one man say, “Whatever happened to playing a little football in the rain?” “What’s all the fuss over a some rain?” asked another. I have a friend who is the online founder of The Dumbass Club. These men would be charter members. Common sense does not abide with these men.

Perhaps they were absent on the day science class conducted the experiments on the properties of electricity. Perhaps they never accidentally got too close to a household plug with a screwdriver. Perhaps they never were afforded the opportunity as boys to grab onto an electric fence that surrounded a corral.

One does not fool around with lightning. I was living in Boulder, Colorado when a freak lightning storm moved through a Denver suburb. School children were caught unaware and a lightning strike to the playground killed three and put twelve in the hospital with severe burns. A ladder truck from the fire department retrieved one of the children from a tree in the schoolyard. Athletic shoes littered the playground – the children being blown right out of them by the force of the blast.

So, practice common sense.

You don’t have to look far to see that logical thought has dwindled in our present culture. (Two minutes on Instagram will prove this.) Common sense is a hard thing to find. I am not a proponent of the “good old days.” Many advances in our present society far outweigh the way things were in the last century. But one trend that has eaten away at the education of our youth is the lack of need to think. By thinking, I mean thinking logically and clearly – being able to see a problem, identify it as a problem, seek a solution to the problem, and carry out the solution to the problem.

In the next few months, I will explore and expand on this thesis and others. I will offer observations about both Christianity and the California public school system. I will explain how the two both intertwine and repel each other. I will make suggestions for solutions for both – however impossible they may be to accomplish in the present all-but-dead religious system and in the bloated, sluggish, bureaucratic public school system.

©2018 Douglas Hanks. All rights reserved.

He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. – Proverbs 17:27 (NASB)

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