Jason Davis: Thoughts from the notebook

Aug. 24, 2014 @ 10:13 AM

With summer ending and a hectic week behind us, here’s a little bit of this and that culled from my mental notebook.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with Sevierville Primary teachers Allison Cummings and Deborah Sams in preparation for today’s story on the school’s kindergarten English Language for Academic Purposes (ELAP) classes.

It was refreshing to see two people so obviously inspired by their work.

Some may question the spending of public dollars on such programs, but the children involved — 5-year-old kindergarteners, mind you — had no say so in their immigration status. They didn’t choose Sevier County. Yet they’re here.

As adults with no immigration jurisdiction, Sevier County Schools officials are doing exactly what they should do for these kids — the very best they can.

In those classrooms, I didn’t see children of “undocumented workers” or “illegal aliens.” I saw smiling, laughing, energetic kids. They were learning English, being immersed in our culture and enjoying almost everything about it.

The debates and arguments of what should be done on immigration are valid — the country can’t continue the status quo. Something must be done one way or another. But that’s all for government officials and voters to decide. Our schools, teachers and their students — no matter where their family comes from — deserve respect and the best service we can provide.

n n n

Speaking of children, my own, a new kindergartener himself, started school last week.

He’s enjoyed learning and meeting new friends.

His experience made me contemplate the very nature of friendship. 

As a child, friendship comes fast and easy. Who didn’t have a best friend, or even two, as a kid? As an adult, such relationships are hard to find, and even harder to maintain.

Nineteenth century American writer Elbert Hubbard was on to something when he said, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” 

Perhaps that’s why children can so make friends so readily. They can overlook faults, they are quick to forgive and, frankly, many of their future bad habits may not have not yet been learned.

True adult friendship should be treasured. It’s something that’s divinely inspired, a gift from God.

As renowned Christian writer C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” 

n n n

Football season in nearly here, and I, for one, am about to burst with excitement.

It’s not because I think my team (like most in East Tennessee, I’m a UT fan) will have a great year, it’s just because its been gone for so long.

The baseball and basketball seasons seem to drone on forever, while football is just hitting its stride about the time the postseason comes around and, before you know it, it’s February.

The months of wait between then and the start of the preseason in August is nearly unbearable. That’s why so many of us resort to talking — at mind-numbing length — about football recruiting, rumors and speculation for the desert of time in between seasons. 

Once those preseason games finally roll around, most of us are so starved for some gridiron action that we actually watch those putrid contests, even with zeal.

Nothing says devotion to a sport like watching the TV broadcast of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ third-stringers tangling with folks that won’t even make the Detroit Lions’ practice squad — except maybe packing up my whole family for a trip to Neyland Stadium to watch an open practice. Yes, I did just that last Saturday. It was my son’s first experience in the Vols’ legendary venue.

Fortunately, all the waiting ends this coming weekend as college football cranks up in earnest.

The Vols will clash with visiting Utah State on Sunday, and, hopefully, we’ll be right there watching. Assuming I can sell a kidney and procure three decent seats before kickoff.