When I was a kid we had citizenship classes in school. They taught a wide range of topics, all geared towards making us better members of society. I remember learning hand signals for a bike in that class, some penmanship stuff, and that if someone doesn’t answer the phone when you call, to let it ring 10 times before you hang up, to give them a chance to get to the phone. To this day, 35+ years later, I still automatically start counting rings when I call someone, just in case they or their voicemail doesn’t pick-up.
They also started to teach us critical thinking, although we didn’t realize it at the time. And how to disagree with people. I can’t remember the story to save my life, but I remember them talking about two kids, Johnny and Suzy. Johnny grew up with these experiences. So because of that, whenever he thought about —–(what I can’t remember), he felt x. And Suzy grew up with these experiences. So whenever she though about ——-, she felt y. And it was just showing us that they were both right. Something that seemed simple and silly at the time, but that started us thinking for the rest of our lives, before the world had an opportunity to taint us, to respect other people’s perspectives and opinions and realize that those were formed by their life experiences which were different than ours.
Not a week goes by these days that I don’t think to myself that we need to bring those classes back.