Today I tutored high-school kids in math. Imagine yourself playing the drums, except instead of drumsticks you're using your head, and instead of drums a brick wall, while trying to fit a colossal square peg into a tiny round hole. Then you might have some inkling of the frustration I experienced today. Education in the United States seems to have hit a low-point. It boggles the mind to think that in the same country where it is nearly impossible for even a college graduate to get a job, ninth and tenth graders don't know simple multiplication and division. What has happened to our society, and who is to blame? The latter question is impossible to answer, but the former is simple. We have stagnated. We are on the downward slope. No one knows when we'll hit the trough of the wave and start up toward the next crest of civilization, but I hope it happens soon. For a moment I considered ending there, but I have more to say, for I can answer the first question after all. We, all of us, are at fault for our current state. It is vital to the lives of our children that we put ourselves back on that upward slope. How do we do this? It is not by going around telling people how they should live their lives and raise their kids. It is by setting an example. Set the standard, do not follow it. Embrace compassion, and let go of anger. Embrace peace in your own life, and let go of violence in your own life. Embrace dilligence and commitment, and let go of laziness. One cannot change anyone but one's self. What I propose is not easy, on the contrary. I am asking you to stop rolling downhill, and start climbing up. That takes far more energy, but the progress is much more satisfying. Do it so that one day my children don't have to tutor your children. Do it so that all of our children will continue our uphill quest. That way we won't be crotchety old men and women, complaining of how things have gotten so bad over the years and ranting about kids these days. That way we can all relax in our old age and bask in the bliss that comes from a job well done, and not worry about medicare and social security because our children all have wonderful jobs, are happy and healthy, and support us in our retirements.