Since the federal government in Washington DC took over education, we have been preoccupied with test scores and performance based learning strategies. Since the 1970′s one federally mandated program after another has been installed at the local level by men who are only concerned with creating a work force by instituting a series of repetitious rewards and punishments which result in a population that never questions what they are being taught or told on the evening news. The product of our education system is an obedient adult that learns to never question authority. On graduation, students “achieve” their high academic standing only by creating a habit of following a limited set of directions given to them. They quickly suppress any question of why? or how does this relate to me? The individual is absorbed into the system. They seek and act in the way they were conditioned to act and think in school. They may rebel, but the structure of our society keeps them in line, seeking the work that will bring in the paycheck, pay their taxes on their own labor and buy the things they are conditioned to want to fit into the mold of a consumer, using borrowed money to keep current with the programmed desires. This has become the altruistic image of a good, American citizen. But really we don’t even have our own backbone.
I mention this first because without understanding the way in which we were conditioned to these “ideals” we cannot see how to change our lives. We will keep trying new approaches but we still measure them by the same framework in which we view the purpose of education: To get a better job and make more money so we can buy stuff.
Since when did we start believing that this was the purpose of education, to fit into a pre-made system?
Do you question this?
Education comes from the word, educare’ which means to draw out what is within; no expected performance to measure this by. Do you measure the growth of a flower as if it will not become what it is unless you make sure it does it a certain way, by a certain time, according to your direction? Of course not. Its beauty is held within and shows itself when it is ready, even in the harshest of conditions. I am always in awe of a tree growing in the crack of a rock or a flower blooming between the cracks in the sidewalk.
Children today are resilient, their souls made of such stuff that can endure such harsh treatment. Some grow strong because of this treatment, perhaps a tough exterior hiding some forgotten tenderness, some apathetic, some angry and bitter, but imbalanced in some way that makes them incapable of ever really blooming into themselves. Sometimes this kind of assault on their integrity makes them compensate in ways that are hard to unravel, ending up in trouble and fighting authority no matter who that authority is.
Education used to be a state responsibility rather than making everyone in the nation conform to some standard that who decided? At the local level we know how to make our children flourish. Trusting our children gives them the sense of independence and responsibility for their own choices rather than answering to someone objectives who lives hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Our attitude toward their capabilities instills within them the courage to show their ingenuity, follow their curiosity, and believe in their ability to rise to challenges; left to do so will stimulate their own growth in diverse ways that cannot be measured by our narrow standards. Compare this with being shown step by step how to do something and then being tested on those steps and compared with others.
Who knows better how to educate a child than the people in his own community where people know each other, or used to. Isn’t it about time we take back this responsibility to ensure our children grow into who they really are instead of making them hide their true abilities and intelligence behind a facade of test scores and meaningless rewards?
The life within wants to bloom and we are the guardians of this life force, are we not?
Our purpose as guardians of this spirit is to provide opportunities and engaging feedback that seeds the child’s subconscious mind with feelings of confidence to explore his world without fear of failure and open his mind to new territories that stimulate more awareness. He that seeks will find under his own authority and remain competent and whole, developing according to the laws that are innate within him and motivated to acquire the vocabulary and insights to manifest his own destiny.
How willing are you to trust this innate power?