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Education – Is It Screwing Up Your Child? (Part Two)

Life IS Education

Life IS Education

Dear Friend,

In my last post I left you wondering whether you should be sending your kids to school each weekday morning, and, if not, what you are supposed to be doing instead.

School or No School?

My key goal with this post series is to help you to understand that going to a school is not necessarily the best decision for your child.

Then again, after reflection on your current situation, you may determine that some school attendance may just be a great idea.

The key here is reflection.

Up to now, the fact that kids go to school has been taken for granted, right along side the notion that the Earth is round and the Sun rises in the east.

And, most of the time, that school is either a government-run and designed institution, or it’s a private school that essentially follows the same public model, only with more money and a wealthier clientele.

Modern Schools Were Designed by Industrial Age Social Engineers

I wanted you to understand that the design of modern schools is the result of the intentional efforts of early twentieth century industrialists like John D. Rockefeller and his “General Education Board“.  The goal of this design was to create compliant workers in a new “industrial utopia”, and it was considerably influenced by German theories of social design that were floating around at the same time that folks like Hitler and Mussolini were adopting eerily similar philosophies.

In turn, the lifestyles of entire generations of families, and of our society as a whole, have been and continue to be built around the assumptions in these philosophies.

The result of blindly following this path has been a failing yet bloated educational system, a “dumbing down” within society, an often lazy, lost and confused generation of young people, and a generally unhappy army of parents, who lose themselves in alcohol, drugs, affairs, and serial marriages in an attempt to bring meaning to their lives.

The bottom line is, we are all blindly following a family lifestyle model that silently makes assumptions based on the ghostly images of horribly outdated and long rejected ideas of how children ought to be raised and how lives ought to be lived.

It’s time to put a stop to it.

Here’s my take on how to do just that.

What IS Education?

First, we need to understand that the idea that children must be educated is historically new, and, frankly, artificial.  It assumes that there is a thing, a scientifically identifiable process that we call education; a coming-of-age initiation that children must go through before they can emerge as adults in our society.  And this process is designed by modern-day witch doctors, those experts and gurus who clearly know better how to raise your kids than you do, even though they have never actually met your child.

Of course, this entire concept is foolish.  But right now, it’s all we have.  And in many places, it is even required by local law.  If we don’t subject our kids to this crap, we just may lose them to Social Services, under the eyes of the all-knowing busy bodies on your local school board!

So, what are we supposed to do to ensure that our kids get what they need?  How can we be terrific parents to our children?

Education is Learning.  And Learning Grows from Living.

Too much is made of education as a separate and complex process.  Billions are spent to deliver education to the masses.  Is it all necessary?

For humans, learning is a natural function of awareness.  Our eyes are open.  We are surrounded by things, circumstances and events.  And we learn from these, whether we are a child or an adult.  So learning is simply a natural and integral part of growing up.  We cannot neatly separate the process of learning from the process of everyday living.

The logical role in this process for an attentive and loving parent is to ensure that your child is exposed to as many interesting, stimulating and challenging environments as possible.  That same parent may want to regulate how much and how soon their children are exposed to some of the more frightening or confusing events that surround us.  But eventually, even these must be exposed to our kids if they are to grow up as strong and well-balanced adults.

Parents can best help by always surrounding their child with love, understanding, patience, and by being a healthy sounding board for the ten million questions that every kid bombards us adults with.

Schools are Free Day Care Centers

Many parents today use schools as a highly convenient and free child-care service.  Because society says school is good, and because these parents survived the experience themselves, it is easy for most of us to rationalize that school is where our kids should be.  Even if we secretly have serious doubts about it.

We all have complex lives that have taken years to reach their current point.  And one of the key assumptions in our lifestyles is that our kids will be kept busy and out of serious trouble or danger between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  And after school activities can keep them busy even longer, allowing you as a parent to finish up that project, make one more sales call, or even (God forbid) have a few moments of quiet time before the little monsters come roaring into the house.

The focus of The Way of the Passionate Warrior Blog is to help people to reform their lives through creative family lifestyle design.  This means that you will reconsider every aspect of the way you have lived your life up to now in an effort to live a better life, one built carefully around those things that really matter to you.

How Much Time Do You Want to Spend With Your Children?

A key assumption of my writing is that spending more time together as a family is an important component of your ideal lifestyle.  But this is not true for everyone.

If, deep down inside, being a parent is not how you primarily define your life, then having a free babysitting service, and carefully limiting how many hours a day/week/month/year that you are exposed to your children, might be the right thing for you.

If this is true, then it would be easy for me to judge you at this point.  To throw on some guilt and shame.  But I’m not going to do that.  It is far more important for you to be honest with yourself.  And it is also equally important that you take your job as a parent seriously.  Kids need affection, love and regular interaction with interested mentors.  If that does not honestly describe you, then do what you need to do to make sure that your child finds this elsewhere.  Please don’t just shove them off to boarding school.  Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is a cruel way to deal with parenthood.  You can do better.

If you are serious about bringing your family closer together, and you are willing to turn your lifestyle upside down, if necessary, in order to live a life that you truly love, then you need to be open to the myriad of options available to you today to ensure that your children have a cool, exciting, and stimulating upbringing.

Just Live Your Dreams

I just returned from a four month road trip with my family, because I believed that this was a great way to introduce my kids to the continent that they were born on.  Was that my only goal?  Heck no!  I wanted to see it too!  And that’s the great thing about this kind of child-rearing lifestyle.  You don’t need to sacrifice your dreams so that your kids can have a better life.  Instead, you need to live your dreams so that your kids can learn how to really live.

So, I hope that I’ve convinced you that formal education as dictated by tradition and the local school authorities is not necessarily the best way to raise your kids.  I also hope that you now understand the proper attitude you need to have in order to effectively approach this aspect of creative family lifestyle design.

Is school screwing up your child?  Maybe so.  And it just may be continuing to screw up your own life as well.

Perhaps it’s time to start examining our unspoken assumptions about how we ought to live our lives, and instead begin the journey towards the family life of our dreams.

All the best,

Hugh

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Catrien Ross February 23, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Hugh, from the foot of Mount Fuji again I want to express deepest thanks for the courage and vision you expressed in this two-part post. From my eyes as a foreigner living in Japan the school system and its educational purpose is a crippling nightmare that destroys children as well as family interaction. Nor is home schooling is an allowable option here. The results are showing up in all sorts of horrifying ways that are perplexing parents and so-called education authorities. I have first-hand knowledge of what is happening to children and families because I have also been running a small, homelike, extra-study school in a mountain town for more than 12 years. Is school screwing up the lives of Japanese children? Most definitely. Is it screwing up the lives of Japanese families? Yes. Will there be a move to unscrew the mess? Very unlikely. Americans are so fortunate that they have the choice of deciding what education really means for their children and the family. Your post is a wake-up call that I truly hope will arouse many concerned parents. Thank you for posting about this very important topic. I just posted about the influences that form the world view which creates our negative self-judgment. Culture and the education system play an enormous part in this. Hugh, thank you – Catrien Ross.

  • Catrien Ross February 23, 2010, 10:15 am

    Hugh, from the foot of Mount Fuji again I want to express deepest thanks for the courage and vision you expressed in this two-part post. From my eyes as a foreigner living in Japan the school system and its educational purpose is a crippling nightmare that destroys children as well as family interaction. Nor is home schooling is an allowable option here. The results are showing up in all sorts of horrifying ways that are perplexing parents and so-called education authorities. I have first-hand knowledge of what is happening to children and families because I have also been running a small, homelike, extra-study school in a mountain town for more than 12 years. Is school screwing up the lives of Japanese children? Most definitely. Is it screwing up the lives of Japanese families? Yes. Will there be a move to unscrew the mess? Very unlikely. Americans are so fortunate that they have the choice of deciding what education really means for their children and the family. Your post is a wake-up call that I truly hope will arouse many concerned parents. Thank you for posting about this very important topic. I just posted about the influences that form the world view which creates our negative self-judgment. Culture and the education system play an enormous part in this. Hugh, thank you – Catrien Ross.

  • Hugh DeBurgh - The Passionate February 23, 2010, 10:48 pm

    Catrien –

    Thank you so much for your kind words and your excellent comments.

    I sometimes wonder if people are ready to hear this stuff. It’s like, the emperor has no clothes but nobody notices. And it is so easy to just tell people what they want to hear. But as you clearly realize, this post was written from my heart and my lifelong experience with education and raising children.

    And you are right, this seems to be a global problem, and “authorities” in many countries, such as Japan, in Latin America, and Germany, for example, do not even want to hear this.

    But I do not see any way for a modern family, who is not independently wealthy, to live a creative lifestyle built around what really matters to them when their children are required, by law, to be in a certain building for the majority of their young waking lives.

    So this issue may very well be a critical threshold question for anyone who truly wants to escape the rat race without winning the lottery first. And for anyone who doesn’t want their kids traumatized my an antiquated and dysfunctional “educational” system.

    Thank you again!!

    Hugh

  • Hugh DeBurgh - The Passionate Warrior February 23, 2010, 5:48 pm

    Catrien –

    Thank you so much for your kind words and your excellent comments.

    I sometimes wonder if people are ready to hear this stuff. It’s like, the emperor has no clothes but nobody notices. And it is so easy to just tell people what they want to hear. But as you clearly realize, this post was written from my heart and my lifelong experience with education and raising children.

    And you are right, this seems to be a global problem, and “authorities” in many countries, such as Japan, in Latin America, and Germany, for example, do not even want to hear this.

    But I do not see any way for a modern family, who is not independently wealthy, to live a creative lifestyle built around what really matters to them when their children are required, by law, to be in a certain building for the majority of their young waking lives.

    So this issue may very well be a critical threshold question for anyone who truly wants to escape the rat race without winning the lottery first. And for anyone who doesn’t want their kids traumatized my an antiquated and dysfunctional “educational” system.

    Thank you again!!

    Hugh

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