“One problem I see with those of us who want to be humane is that while we invariably support calls for justice at a macro level, some of us are not above taking advantage in our personal, day-to-day dealings. I once rented a room in a house full of Marxists, and one of them was one of the least just individuals I’ve ever met. Yet he regularly marched in favor of justice for the oppressed peoples of this world. If we want peace, it’s essential that we be peaceful. And if we want justice, we have to be just—down to the smallest transactions. I think a lot of people can agree with this easily. But there are always “grey areas.” That’s where we have to be especially disciplined and thoughtful.” -Mark Bittner, We Must Be Just, April 2013

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Awaken The Genius

An education begins with the pursuit of knowledge of those things that capture our interest. When we are young we depend on our parents to guide us through that pursuit, showing us where to find the troves of knowledge that will fill our desire to learn. When children are given free reign with their education, with a mentor's guidance (i.e. parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, older sibling, teacher, and/or other trusted adult) they can learn at an amazing speed. Allowing children to follow their interests will inspire in them a love for learning and a love for learning will open up their hearts to the desire to be educated. As children learn about those topics that capture their attention the education they receive will seem like play. They will find joy in discovering the world that they want to know and become better acquainted with. Perhaps there are some true geniuses, but most geniuses are average people who were allowed to follow where their interests lead them and were guided by a caring mentor. All children have that capacity within them to become someone great, but it is up to those around them to provide them with the guidance they need in order to become that great someone.

We all have a lifetime in which to educate ourselves. Trying to force an education on a child will only result in that child developing the feelings of resentment for learning. It will seem to that child that an education is a painful process and must be unwillingly endured in order to become something. Children become unfocused, bored, moody, quarrelsome, disruptive, and are easily distracted when they have to sit for hours hearing about subjects that hold no interest for them. For the rest of their lives they will feel these emotions when they are in a school setting due to the fact that it was ingrained in them from the very beginning of their educational experience. Geniuses are not found in this type of setting, they are stifled.

In order to awaken the genius in children we need to allow them to decide where their interests are and guide them in following those interests. We cannot continue to mass educate with a one-size-fits-all education and expect individualism to shine through. There can be no master in a field of study if everyone has the same education. We are all unique and have unique qualities and interests, so why should our learning be something that forces sameness. We should teach children to be the individual we tell them to be by allowing their genius to govern their education. Do not stifle it by putting them into a situation that will induce pain; instead teach them there is joy in learning by guiding them through their own desires and then watch as the transformation from child to genius is made.

Soaring Potential

To fly with an eagle is to see sights unseen, as starlings fill the skies.

Even that little brown bird on the ground knows where it’s potential lies.

The ostrich and emu share a common trait, running is their forté.

Other birds, when allowed to be, seem to enjoy their play

A bobbing cockatoo dancing on it’s perch is truly a silly sight.

Now imagine that bird, free with its flock, as it passes in graceful flight.

Have you ever seen a pandemonium of parrots descend upon a tree back home?

For, you see, in reality, parrots weren’t bred to be alone.

The nightingale brings beauty to our ears, the peacock beauty to our eyes.

While all through the trees, where the mourning doves roost, hang the mourning dove’s mournful cries.

The flamingo stands on one leg for hours, while the penguin soars through the deep.

And though variety abounds throughout, they’re all birds from their very first peep.

There are birds that mimic, birds that screech and birds that can sing a soothing tune.

There are birds that welcome the morning as it breaks and birds who serenade the moon.

There is beauty to be found throughout the world of birds. Still, and none the less,

Only a bird, who is allowed to soar free, knows it’s own potential best.

“Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.”

André Gide

"All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education"
- Sir Walter Scott