Education—The Heart of it All

We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean’s lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.
— John Holt

by Carrie Anne Moss

Hi beauties!

Something I think about daily is the education of my children. To be honest, I can see my own neuroses at work as love for my children creates a worried, inner dialogue that keeps me up at night. And I meet other concerned mothers; mamas worried over the way constant testing and reading and homework adds to the disconnect and stress of their lives.

Our modern school system leaves so much to be desired! Instead of empowered and encouraged, all too often our children feel less-than, uninspired, and bored. We hear stories about bullying and we fear for our children. We grow up learning from society and the media how to engage with a culture of competition, and how winning or being first, the richest, or the best are the most important achievements of the self. Just like the filmmakers of the documentary Race to Nowhere—which inspired many of us to say “What on earth is going on?”—we witness the race to nowhere which makes up much of our modern American life.

We know the world is experiencing rapid change. The careers our children will find as adults likely don't yet exist. And the skills they will need to be successful in the world they will inherit from us cannot be found in a test.

Last night, I went to a parent's night for my first-grade daughter. I have attended this meeting, in this room, twice before as my two boys entered their grade-school education. This time, as we parents sat in our children's desks and looked over the work they had done in the school year thus far, the teacher addressed us. She spoke of snack time and main lessons; then she mentioned that, come afternoon, the children were so tired. I was relieved to feel compassion from her instead of her wishing it were different. When a parent asked what we could do to support our kids, she said, “Feed them well and give them plenty of rest.” Her years of experience revealed that, by winter break, the children will have adapted & matured, and have more strength to withstand this big day.

Then she offered a nugget of wisdom which, as I prepared breakfast this morning for my clan, pulsed in my heart. “This time in their childhood development isn't about retaining information as much as it is about developing the capacities for learning within them,” she said, explaining that academics are a prop for learning all the things they will need in life—the skills for life, not the details. She added, “Information will be at these children's finger tips with technology.”

Today, we are educating our children for a world that has changed drastically in such a short amount of time—and isn't slowing down. Our methods must evolve, too.

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in our hearts.
— Rumi

So, women raising the next generation of independent creatives, entrepreneurs, healers and earth keepers, leaders and musicians and activists and mothers and fathers, let us remember our true tasks:

  • To raise free-thinking, conscious human beings...
  • To guide our children to know themselves...
  • To instill in them a love for learning...
  • To teach them how to love and respect themselves—and to love and respect others...
  • To encourage laughter...
  • To make sure that they are challenged—not by a system, but from within...
  • To teach them love and respect for the earth...
  • To teach them that they can make a difference...
  • To remind them of their resilience...

Am I crazy to believe that education can be a healing and transformative experience for a young child? Is wanting my child to be known by his teachers too much to ask? If you have some time to read, here are some interesting ideas about education from author & thought leader, Seth Godin.

Let us bring the heart into education. We must.

XXX CAR