Look to nature to see how to raise the young. All species train and prepare their young with the skills to, first, survive, and hopefully to flourish. Some of the preparation is play. Other is the harder stuff – the risks, failures, attacks from predators, the uncertainties of weather, sometimes starvation. But more often than not, the result is success (if that wasn’t the case, the species in question would become extinct).
Now to humans. We send our young to schools where they sit at desks for all of their childhood, growing-up, formative years, learning reading, writing (although no longer writing or cursive, so just printing), and ‘rithmatic. What about the things the young naturally love to do – working with their hands, making, building, experimenting, playing? What about their physical bodies? Kids today have physical limitations that us older folk never dreamed of. As a result they currently live shorter lives than their parents, by as much as 5 years! What about social skills – communicating appropriately, politeness, listening, making friends and being a friend? What about maturity and even wisdom – valuing honesty, sincerity, reliability (if you give your word you can be counted on – if you say you will be there, you show up)?
Did you know that we start out our youth, globally, with a lie? A lie about who and what they are? And no species will long survive if they are starting out their young on false pretenses.
We are teaching our young that our history goes back 5-6000 years (to ancient Greece and Rome, the Mongol Hordes, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte). Utterly ridiculous! No species has a history of as short a time-span as 5000 years . Actually our glorious ancestry goes back 3 million years, and if we could find a book with the saga and stories of that span, it would be more motivating, passionate and exciting than the best book ever written.
This lie is especially damaging because, in teaching history, we are telling our kids “This is your history – the history of humans. In essence, this is who you are.” Totally false. 5000 years ago we were living neurotically, dysfunctionally, in literal bondage to a handful of “rulers,” who were mostly from ruling families and dysfunctional (and sometimes insane) themselves.
“It is no sign of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society” J Krishnamurti
Who owns the education of our youth? Parents, of course. But we want to just let the government decide what kids will learn, and when. And then there are the teachers and professors. Many are wonderful teachers, good at what they do. But many come to teaching with their own problems and personal beliefs and agendas and the young, being vulnerable, end up getting a negative spin on the truth and realities of life. When education turns the young away from their elders, society, laws, government, can it really be called education? Or is it indoctrination or even brain-washing?
Were you brainwashed? I must admit that to some extent I was. My parents, family, teachers all wanted the best for me (and all young), but they paid forward what had been indoctrinated into them. Things like “If you are smart and study hard and get good grades, you will be successful and happy and make lots of money.” I’m not saying for a minute that these aren’t good things to do, but none of this will make us happy. Actually it’s just the opposite. We need to raise happy, contented, confident, self-assured, self-disciplined kids. Then they will go out and do all those things mentioned above (study hard, etc.) and create THEIR OWN SUCCESS, IN THEIR OWN WAY.
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