You’ve only got one life so don’t forget to live it. Isn’t that something we’ve all heard in one form or another?
Then why do we train children to do exactly the opposite? Children ALSO have only the life they have right now – it is not a situation exclusive to adults, but we act as though it is. Otherwise how could anyone justify sending their kid to a place they don’t want to be, doing things they don’t want to do and tell them they have no choice if they want to succeed? In the future. Doing well in school is not about the present – it is about the future. What they don’t tell you is that nobody cares how you did in school once you are no longer in school. Nobody.
So what are so many kids doing there?
We actively train children to live for the future and to perceive their ‘now’ as a sort of necessary evil.
Truly, what is the matter with us?
Have you ever noticed (and if you’ve spent any time with any kids anywhere, you must have) that kids have things they passionately enjoy doing that have nothing to do with school? Have you also noticed that if they are IN school, they are almost always discouraged from doing the things they passionately enjoy? At least until after their homework is done.
They are taught that learning is something that only happens in school, that anything that is not taught in school (or in a classroom of some sort) cannot contribute to learning or education and that success is something school preps you to enjoy in the future. Somewhere in a foggy undetermined future that is almost always one more degree or job out of reach.
Life learning unschoolers are considered radical because we allow our kids to enjoy living now; they can follow their passions without having them dismissed as unimportant or unworthy.
No life is perfect, of course, and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to. Sometimes things are difficult and present un-anticipated challenges. That’s part of living, and not something that needs to be ‘learned’ in school.
School is not necessary for learning and it takes away the idea that life is right now. No matter how “innovative” the curriculum, how devoted the teachers, this fact remains.
A friend of mine posted this video on Facebook today. It pretty much says it all: