Saturday, April 3, 2010

Go to your room!

Let's start out simple. School isn't what it used to be. Period.

I remember aching to go to school at certain points in my life. I mean, it would physically hurt me to not be in school. School was happiness. School was friends. School was sharing my life with others. Most of all, though, school was freedom.

The other day, the morning of my sister's second day of the new semester in school, my caring, loving mother, ODing on affection, made my sister a potato cutlet sandwich. Now, on a regular day, my sister, being the easily pleased eight(nine?) year old that she is, would be delighted to take this to school. That day, however, she goes, "I want Maggi Noodles today, cutlets I can take tomorrow".

"Why don't you take cutlets today? They're already cooked. Maggi you can take tomorrow."

"No, my teacher won't let us bring Maggi Noodles on any day except Thursday."

When my mother told me this, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. This was not the school I grew up in, this controlling, rule-bound dictatorship. I went to the same building as her, yes, but the school I went to was a refuge from every other thing in my life that imposed any sort of control on me.

What are we doing to our children?

Are we really reaching the point where we tell them what food to bring to class on what day? Is a whole generation of robots really what we want?

Break. Open mouth. Insert food. Chew. Swallow. Break. Open mouth......


Eat food.

I grew up in a household where my creativity and freedom was never compromised, whatever the cost of it may be. I chose my own food, my own ice-cream, my own course and my own college. My sister grew up in the same household, in the same school, ten years into the future. Yet, I see her so dependent on my cousins, her friends and me. I wasn't what you'd call a self-sufficient, independent man-boy, but I could choose what Ice-cream I wanted without having to consult my cousins.

You can teach them everything you want, but none of that matters if you don't teach them how to think. Eventually, rote learning vanishes into oblivion.

2 + 2 = 4
Apples are red
2 + 2 = 4
Apples are red
2 + 2 = red
Apples are four
2 + 2 = red
Apples are four
2 + 2 = Apple

Not everything you feed down your student's throat stays in his system. Our body always could separate the crap from nutrition.
Could you imagine Mozart trying to compose anything except himself from time to time had he been force fed a routine method for making music?

Let your kid be free. Let your kid do what they want to do, not what you THINK they should be doing. Your kid is not a brilliant student, a graceful dancer, a melodious singer, a magnificent painter and an engaging orator all magically rolled into one special little package.

I can't dance. Big whoop. I dare any of my dancer friends to sing like I do.

I had a friend once who was exceptionally good at academics. His mother gave me after-school tuitions for math and science. This boy also tried learning how to play the keyboard and the guitar, sketch, dance, write poetry, write articles and work his way around a computer, all this while maintaining his grades in school. Needless to say, he wasn't exceptionally brilliant at any of these things. He loved football, though.

For his 13th birthday, I gave him a football.
His mother gave him a book.

Don't do this. Don't touch that. Don't watch this. Don't listen to that. Don't play this video game. Don't listen to rap music.

Get off their case. I beg you, as a former member of the under-age community. Leave them the hell be. They are all going to do something that will make you proud enough to strut around in your colony, proclaiming it to all your little friends with the other gifted children.

Its about what your child can and wants to do, not about what you can make your child do. That is what pets are for. And I'd like to see Sparkle the dog give you a father's day card.

*prolonged sigh*

Over and out.