posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 02:39 PM
Yes, as a matter of fact. I think the choice is either Gymnasium or Hochschuele, but I'm not certain, as I've never lived there.
One of the problems we have is that many Americans believe that certain types of work are "beneath their dignity." I have poured a fair amount of
concrete in my time, and done years of farm labor (paid my way through college and part of Grad school that way.)
My grandad would be laughed out of the conversation today, but he used to carry on about the "inherent dignity of all work;" and speak of a
person's vocation (calling) rather than a 'job.' He ran an engineering firm founded by his father in the 1880's which is still in business.
Basically, I'd divide all 18 year olds into 4 categories. Armed forces, Police Auxillary, Emergency Response, and Civil Works Corps. You could
choose which you wanted. Armed forces and Emergency response would probably have qualifying exams.
Armed forces would go through basic training for a rifle company. Promising students could continue on into the regular military if they desired.
Police Auxilliary would wear different color uniforms, and carry cam-corders and pepper spray instead of pistols. They'd work accidents, provide
security at public events, and write traffic tickets. Young people might have better respect for the police if they'd served with 'em. Regular
cops would be on film more, and probably behave more professionally, too. And by God, the speed limits would be enforced in this country!
Emergency response would get paramedic training, and those who pass could begin training on a doctor, nurse, or tech track if they chose. Washouts of
the program would go into one of the other programs.
Civil works would build schools, prisons, parks and so forth. Most of the building trades are actually fairly technical, but the kids who did well
would probably be invited to apprentice in the building trades.
This is all in contrast to the current state of affairs, where we turn a child loose with a diploma, an adult body, and a set of car keys on
graduation day. Most of them have never worked at actual "work," not even a Summer job. No wonder so many of them simply cannot cut it in the
My very first job was to pull tumble weeds out of 3 strand barb-wire fence, so that the men could pull it tight with a come-along. I probably made 30
bucks a Saturday (1980 or so).
My next job was driving a wheat harvesting combine, a John Deere 95. It had "armstrong power steering" and a "grind-n-find" transmission. We
worked from "can't see" to "can't see," and got a free steak for lunch, in 100 degree shade. I didn't even have a driver's license yet.
My senior year in High School, i'd had enough of 'real' work, so I got a job as a stocker in a grocery. I was in the air conditioning all day, and
thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
Needless to say, when I arrived at college, I was more highly motivated than most of my classmates. If I complained about my classes, my Mom would
say something like, "well, you can probably make it home in time for wheat harvest . . ."
So I am fairly out of place in society. I have a value system based on my own experience, which was to do without until I could get it myself. My
parents couldn't afford to buy me a car when I left for college; Dad gave me a hundred bucks he'd saved so I could get a bicycle. Other than that,
I've never been given a car or a place to live. I paid my way through college and grad school (and am still paying!)
Maybe if more people shared that experience, they'd have the attitude I do. I know it seems pretty fascist from the outside, but it is based on the
supremecy of having to meet your own needs. But then that's what real independence means.