“A child without education is like a bird without wings.” ~Tibetan Proverb
Yesterday was the last day of school for the year here, and my children are rejoicing. While it makes me happy to see them happy, it also makes me sad that they do not like school more. In fact, I do not think that I personally know any children that really love school.
When my boys were younger, they were all very enthusiastic learners – curious explorers, thriving on discovery. Once they started school, though, and as the years went by, I gradually saw that light dim in each of them. So much emphasis placed on grades, tests, the “right” way of doing things… They no longer go to school in the interest of receiving an education, they go out of obligation. Every level is nothing more than preparation for the next level. They go with their eyes on a single goal: graduation. The value of learning for its own sake, without the promise of a credential, is completely lost to them because in our society it is the credential that affords us the freedom to take flight. No degree? Don’t even bother applying for the job.
The problem with this is that there is no joy in the journey when the only focus is the destination.
It is beyond unfortunate because the children in this country are afforded so much in the way of privileges when it comes to education. We see children all over the world struggling, fighting, often risking their lives in order to obtain an education; and yet here so much of it is taken for granted. Children that are forced to fight for an education understand deeply what our kids do not: When we are actively engaged in learning – whether through formal schooling or by educating ourselves – we are building our wings.
It is my fervent wish that we find a way to re-instill this drive to learn in our children. That we remind them of what they once innately knew – that learning is joy, and education is freedom. As they run toward the edge of the cliff and prepare to take the leap into their future, it is the learning that will enable them to take flight.