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We had a great Thanksgiving; I hope you all had the same


November 28, 2017

Having spent the last week with two of our children and six grandkids, we had the opportunity to share our pictures of our European trip. It was pointed out quickly that Judy and I experienced the vacation in two different ways: The Hallmark version and a Tim The Tool Man version. The Hallmark version was pictures of back yards, pretty flowers, grandkids riding bikes, angles in window, all very nice. The Tim version is of dudes drinking beer, 1929 BMW motorcycles, farm sites, roundabouts being built; you get the idea. This was apparently very evident while visiting my old army buddy, Klaus, and his family in Biesenberg. I should mention Klaus and I got acquainted when I was stationed on a NATO base in northern Germany back in 1967, working security together. For the 50 years since then, we have stayed in contact.

While in Germany, some interesting differences I noted were the lack of safety signs, lack of flaggers and lack safety clothing. While walking on walking malls in small towns, construction was going on with shoppers strolling by and kids watching the workers. We drove small backroads that would have a stop light in the middle of nowhere. When it turned green, we would drive around a corner and there would be a construction site. There were no flaggers, and no signs, just drivers paying attention. This was really evident while riding motorcycles. Drivers seemed to see motorcycles, which is not always obvious here in the States.

Both Klaus and his wife were involved in education in Germany. We had enlightening conversations about Germany’s two-tier education system. Kids are evaluated about the eighth grade and channeled to either higher ed or to an apprentice program, where they go to school half days and then also work a job that they show interest in.

The subject of education also came up in Wyoming during this Thanksgiving holiday, which makes sense with four teachers at the dinner table (my daughter, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and Judy). They suggested that working toward a system more like Germany could make sense, as some students may benefit with such a program. Change is difficult sometimes, but lawmakers and influencers being open-minded about education options could really create opportunities. Take Care.


Sen. Russ Tempel, R-Chester, can be emailed at sen.russtempel@mt.gov


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