Memory Lane: ‘Regimentation’

Image result for images of kids lined up for gym class 1950s

Although it was at least a thousand times better than the mess we have today, the era of the 1950s was not without its tiresome aspects. Among the most tiresome was educators’ penchant for militarizing children.

At Edgar School, for gym, we had these white X’s painted on the blacktop and you were supposed to stand on one, and then Mr. Weiss would put us through a drill, “Ten-hut! Eyes right, dress right, dress!” If you went to the Y after school, you got more of it. “Count off by fours–count off!”

Looking back on it… what were they trying to do?

Sure, I played soldiers with all the other kids, and there was always a war movie playing on TV, and everybody had toy army men. Most of us had fathers who had served in World War II (my daddy was a sailor). Left to our own devices, we enjoyed a healthy patriotism and would have been happy to slam the Bad Guys–by then, the communists: Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini were dead–anytime, anywhere.

They called it “regimentation” and it was too much of a thing that wasn’t that good to begin with. I’m convinced that their overdoing it contributed much to the cultural meltdown of the later 1960s. Halfway through ROTC I found myself thinking “Enough, already!”

News flash: They’re still putting kids through drills to teach them unquestioning obedience to The Authorities: but now they call it “school” and “university,” and instead of counting off by fours, you recite the titles of all the latest made-up “genders.”

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

12 responses to “Memory Lane: ‘Regimentation’

  • Jerseygal

    Kids today can also lecture on global warming and the religion of theleft, environmentalism. The education system hasn’t failed to teams, it has failed to teach the right stuff — as students are taught both gender crap and environmentalism, and retain all that via college professors.

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  • Jerseygal

    Ugh, Lee. I thought I read that! The word ‘teams’ should be ‘teach’

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  • Erlene Talbott

    Something fatally wrong with the human race- it is called rebellion against God, and I’ll do it my way.

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  • Linda Sorci

    In the military, drills like those are called ‘discipline’ (which in my brain translates to taking orders). On the battlefield one does need discipline so there is a case to be made for regimentation in that respect.

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  • UnKnowable

    I always resented the regimentation that existed when I was in school. It seemed inappropriate then, and seems inappropriate in retrospect. That is not to say that I don’t see the need for discipline and respect, but the pseudo-military nature that happened in some schools strikes me as inappropriate, especially for children.

    A few years ago, I went to a military museum for a visit and the volunteer seemed to think that he was our drill instructor. He ordered people around like we were recruits and when more than one of us took exception to his behavior he tried to ridicule us. The irony of it was that one of the people in my group had actually worked at that facility, when it was operational. The point here is that some people allow even the slightest bit of authority to go to their head.

    I don’t envy the job of school teachers, but who said that a school system based upon the Prussian model is the best way to teach children? IMHO, it’s exceptionally ineffective.

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  • SLIMJIM

    Good point that the regimentation hasn’t stopped; but now its with uglier uniforms.

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  • thewhiterabbit2016

    Regimentation and Public Schools are synonyms. I was able to go barefoot through elementary school back in the ’50’s. We had recesses twice a day and long lunch periods. School back then was pretty fun. I have no memory of a teacher ever yelling at the classroom. Today, yelling at your class is normal.

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