School is back, and millions of young minds are once again pursuing their education, some extremely reluctantly. They are once again back in concrete prison like school houses to make something of their life. They desire high grades and to be part of the honour roll because it somehow spells out success.
But success and happiness forge a different path.
In school, you learn a lot of things.
You learn to read and write. To be afraid of raising your hand, and speaking your mind. You learn arithmetic, algebra, and the shortest distance between two points. To measure yourself against others, and to believe in yourself based on provincial standards. You learn the weather patterns and glaciers in Geography. In Civics and History you discover how the political systems function and how they sometimes lead to war and unrest. You learn to be afraid of your future, and ashamed of the past. In Art you explore colour, shape, and individual artistic expression. In Music you begin the task of making beautiful and terrifying sounds. You learn that there is no life for an artist in our society. You learn that it is a sellable commodity. Something to exploit. A source of profit.
You learn a lot of things while you are in school.
It makes you normal. It makes you a functioning member of a society.
I am not being negative. I just see what I see, but I see the good as well.
Here is what kids learn in school, but which often holds so little value for them.
They learn Courage. They express it every day, as they exit the bus, knowing they must face cartoonish peers that hate them, gossip, and will judge every aspect of their existence.
They learn something about Perseverance. While they struggle with their personal life, and trying to make sense of all the directions they are being pulled and pushed.
They learn Humility. Patience. Kindness. Sympathy. Empathy. Resilience. Self-Discipline. Truthfulness. Honesty. Integrity. Loyalty. Love. Friendship. Forgiveness. Confidence. Redemption. Creativity. Passion. The Art of listening. Contemplation. And the ability to laugh and see humour in pain.
Kids learn a lot in school, except they are never tested. They spend twelve years of their life leaning how to DO various things, but very few teachers point out all the things that they ARE.
They are measured against each other, like cattle headed for slaughter.
We praise ourselves publically that as a Canadians we rank highly in the world. How literate we are. How many graduates we create year after year. How advanced we have become as a society, but we relegate the things that really matter, the things that make us human and connect us to each other, to a few assemblies and a few feel-good moments throughout the year.
There is something wrong without educational system.
It needs to find a soul.
Our systematized school system is very much concerned about doing, but that is not good enough because we are and will always be, human beings.
Students should leave their schools knowing that there is nothing wrong with them. They are not the sum-total of their mistakes. The only failure, is the one that we accept and do nothing about.
There is no need to keep their head down, and to live in anxiety and fear. Students already have everything they need to be happy. They were born to win. We were all born to win. There is absolutely nothing we lack.
We are powerful without measure.
If they only knew.
If the teachers knew.
If only would could teach a little bit of soul.