Thursday, March 10, 2016

Behind what?


That's what kids are called when they aren't up to speed with what the school says they should know.  Where they should be. 


That's what they say about special needs or learning different children because they aren't able to do the same thing as everyone else their age. 


Is what happens when a child misses a few weeks of school and hasn't gotten all the units of lessons. And now they child is somehow inadequate by a few weeks. 

Do we hear ourselves?  Do we really listen ourselves calling children this. 
"He's behind in math."
"She's behind in language arts."

No one is really ever behind in art or music.  No one is ever really behind in drama or P.E.

Let me be frank.  NO ONE is ever behind in anything.  (Well, maybe bill payments.) 

Children are people.  They are a collection of individual developing humans.  As are we adults.  Children, like us, have different experiences, ideas, opinions, backgrounds, upbringing, cultural moors.  The school system fails dramatically to account for this.  They fail to remember that Shakespeare and Einstein exist and have had vastly different impacts on the world.  They fail to remember that people are dancers and actors and astronauts and literary geniuses.  That there are people who will cook you a meal that can make you experience incredible delights.  There are people who can look at an empty space and visualize the building in the finest detail. 

The school system fails to account for our human nature. And in so doing is failing countless numbers of people; incapable of identifying (let alone nurturing) the kindling of who people really are. 

And it breaks my heart. 

Behind,  they say. 

I teach my children (and by "my children" I mean my daytime babies) that they only have themselves to compete with.  It doesn't matter what Jane is doing, it matters if you are doing something that will help yourself to be better at stuff.  In which case, the only person one can be "behind" is herself.  In which case, one is not "behind" at all. 

A person is exactly where she is. 

But we are caught up in "getting ahead".  Of the "game". 

It twists me inside out that we have cast this dark shadow of getting ahead onto our children's education because children are children. 

Born curious and full of wonder.  And all we need to do is nourish it with everything we've got because they'll take it.  They'll soak it in.  They'll flourish and reach for the Sun.  They'll be beautiful, amazing people, confident and bursting with all they have to offer. 

Educators and parents, we just have to believe in them, listen to them and support them in their exploration, wonder and learning.

And as human beings with creative (and I don't mean only artistic) potential, they'll take the baton and run like the wind - which can meander or gust and everything in between - and get life - they're lives - done.

In exactly the right time.