Bill O’Reilly: Are Teenagers Really Americans?

As a former high school teacher, I know one of the great challenges in education is to get teenagers interested in their country. Many of them take their freedom for granted and have no interest in even learning about what it takes to be a good citizen. They are too busy keeping up with the Kardashians to absorb John Adams.

So I have undertaken a new project: teaching a 13-year-old girl to care about being an American.

Lesson 1: Obey the rules. We start with open doors. The rule is that no door in the house is closed unless there is a dressing situation. The reason for the rule is to discourage Internet chicanery and encourage lively conversation.

“I can’t have my door open, I just can’t,” the teen wails.

“What’s the problem?”

“People are annoying. I don’t want to see any people.”

“Then look away when a human being passes.”

“YOU are SO annoying!”

I know.

Lesson 2: Discuss intelligent things — and not just reality shows and music maniacs.

“Nobody wants to talk about politics. That’s boring!”

“The presidential election is boring?” I am sincerely curious about this one.

“No one cares about Obama and Romney.”

“Well, at least you know their names.”

“But I don’t want to TALK about them.”

“I do just fine talking about them. Millions of people listen.”

“But you have no social skills. That’s why you’re on TV. I can’t be like you.”

She may have a point.

Rule 3: Learn about your country’s past.

“My school says we have to read your book ‘Killing Lincoln’ over the summer.” This soon-to-be eighth grader is nearly distraught. “I can’t believe it costs $20. What a ripoff!”

“It’s worth it. You’ll learn a lot about the greatest president America has ever had.”

“No one cares.”

“So what do you guys care about?”

“‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Glee.'”

Sounds like the situation is hopeless, right? Well, it’s difficult, no question. When I was a kid, there was boredom to contend with. Some days nothing was happening, so you might actually read a book about your country. Not anymore. The machines have made boredom obsolete. There are thousands of video games, chat opportunities and gossip sites — plus Facebook — and they’re all available if your fingers work. There is always action in cyberspace, much of it pernicious.

Therefore, you have to either force the urchins to pay attention to important things like their country or bribe them to do it. There’s no other way unless you have a savant like Bill Clinton running around your house.

But educating America’s youth about the value of their country is second only to educating them about the value of their souls. So against all odds, I’m attempting to do it. Abe Lincoln would approve.

Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.” To find out more about Bill O’Reilly, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. This column originates on the website www.billoreilly.com.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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