I've been doing a great deal of reflection over the past 7 months. Most of my reflection has been on how well I have demonstrated what I want my children to emulate. I've also reflected on my intimate relationships with those close to me in my life- my spouse, children, in-laws, and friends.
Through reflection, one "thing" has been very evident. That "thing" is this- the idea that we as parents have the profound power to inject our children with identity, values, beliefs, ideologies, ways of being, etc. You can rest assured that our parental successes and failings will be made manifest through our children.
I know a young lady- gifted and talented in the arts- extraordinarily skilled at fashion designing and sewing (skilled since age 8). However, because her mother is of the mindset that these natural skills and gifts within her daughter are not "valuable" or "profitable", she not only has discouraged her from building onto these skills but has convinced her that going into "sports" is the best option for her to get accepted into college (she's currently in high school) as well as a college scholarship. I have witnessed almost 10 years go by with this child being misguided and not living up to her full potential because the mother herself has been socialized into thinking that the dominant societal culture's aspirations and projections are far more important and useful than the examples within her own culture which could assist her with helping her daughter master her natural God-given skills and calling. Further, I've witnessed this child suffer academically because the course materials forced upon her do not "draw out" or "lead" her into any greater understanding of her interests, talents and higher life calling.
In a nutshell, unless this child is able to escape the clutches of oppression (yes, I use the word oppression with all of its meaning here) that currently plagues her, she will only grow up to inject this same backwards, oppressive parenting to her own children- another generation lost.
Basically, I would not say that the schooling and training this young lady is receiving is education. I would describe it as societal conditioning. Education, from the Latin word educere, demands that we draw out or lead out the natural skills, abilities and capacities of our children. When we "dead" or discard their natural interests, skills and abilities, we disable their full capacity as creators. So, all of the training she's receiving in school as well as at home is only designed to turn her into a replica of what the dominant culture deems acceptable, profitable and admirable. So, while she is good at math and spacial skills as well as hand and eye coordination, this young lady, instead of using these skills to enhance her culture in the field of arts and design, she is made to entertain crowds as she plays average level basketball and volleyball because "she's tall".
My children have done almost a complete school year in traditional schooling and the conclusion for family at the end of the school year was this- they did not come out better than they went in. The socialization from the other children did not reflect our own family and community values and beliefs and the "academic training" was not conducive to drawing out or enhancing our children's natural interests, skills or ability- it increased their capacity very little in most areas (for the oldest 2 boys). I found myself debunking social studies lessons, fighting to keep my second oldest boy focused and having to explain malignant thought patterns and behaviors regarding their classmates that tried to manifest themselves in my children from time to time (namely disregard for authority, depression, and bullying). Basically, that traditional school year proved to be more about societal conditioning than it was about education.
This societal conditioning is what some parents are confusing with education. With education, we and those in our community helping us, start with a vision of seeing our children realize their fullest potential and purpose within our own defined construct- not one alien to us. I am convinced that when we are not doing what comes natural for us, when we are not mastering our innate gifts and talents, we can not fully realize our potential because our inspiration does not come from our life dreams and purpose. When we are "assigned" aspirations and jobs we merely function and exist to realize someone else's dreams and purpose. The construct of the traditional education system in this country was never designed to ensure the mastery of natural interests, gifts and talents. The first step to helping children truly achieve and succeed in life is to become aware of the difference between societal conditioning and education.
Let us know your thoughts.
Peace & Prosperity