Both my sons attend Stuart Wood Elementary. For now. They might not, soon, if the plans to close the school are realized. I wish they will not. The board meeting on February 17 may or may not result in heartache.
Sure the building is old and the yard is rather small. The building is not suited for wheelchair or stroller access either and that is a problem. But shuffling children and removing the school hub from downtown Kamloops is also a problem. A big one.
Children nowadays witness change on a regular basis. Major changes that is. My sons have recently witnessed the dismissal of the Kamloops Daily News, and they see entire neighborhoods change whenever we visit Vancouver.
Old heritage houses with lots of life in them are tore down and new large villas and mansions take their place. Old cedar trees silently guarding back yards have been taken down for three-car garages. The school the boys attended for a couple of years disappeared to make room for a new top-of-the-line building.
Straight angles have never been straighter.
Change is part of life. It always has been. Nowadays though one cannot escape the feeling of change being pushed forth not out of necessity but sometimes for economic reasons, or simply because old is slowly losing its appeal due to its apparent lack of functionality.
In the case of Stuart Wood elementary school, creativity can be employed to retrofit the building to address current concerns. Many old buildings could be preserved at a lower cost than it would cost to tear them down and build new ones.
With them, the sense of community would also be preserved, and the history behind it. If learning is what we want our children to do, then a lesson in the history and importance of preserving the past would be a good one to start with. Roots are important.
In the age of everything moving fast and at a pace that we often have trouble adjusting to, grounding should be a community goal. I cannot think of a better way to express care for one’s home community, whether one is born in it or has been recently transplanted, as our family has.
Neighborhood changes are perhaps a projection of the larger scale ones. Or the other way around. Which makes it fair to say they are the cause and effect of each other, a vicious circle we witness daily.
Our children hear of species on the brink of extinction, they hear of changes in the world environment brought on by global warming, which can be traced to massive changes in how we exploit natural resources and dispose of what is deemed to be less modern.
Parents wonder what the world will look like when today’s children will become adults. How much of today will be lost and at what cost?
In every life endeavor pace is important. So is consideration for what serves a community best. Learning could start with a lesson in continuity and how creativity can salvage old beloved buildings. In a fast-changing world, continuity ensures grounding.
Changes based on necessity have the potential to foster healthy growth. Of people and communities. They also have the potential to teach children lessons that might become key to not worrying what the future holds for their children when they become adults.
It’s only fair to keep that in mind in everything we do.