If you’re a parent or adult or teacher or perhaps all three. then you have probably already realized what it is that will wear kids out, and their chance for a bright and happy future, faster than just simply growing older, just like it has most probably worn you out. The rules! And the fact that in adulthood where kids are going and where you’ve been, there are no rules.
The 10th rule that children learn in school that may handicap their future…
10. Equality is for everyone. In the adult world there is no such word. There is always something that puts you ahead or sets you behind someone else. Equality is like the Unicorn. Have you ever seen it?
What the older adult realizes that children are just not yet aware of is that entering the adult world is like taking a journey into schizophrenia. There is no way that one can, or will ever be prepared for it.
Today, if a child were to draw target symbols over the faces of students in his or her yearbook that he did not like or wanted to see eliminated, that child would be recommended for the child study team and evaluated and possibly suspended from school and at the very least receive anger management training or counseling of one form or another. Once an adult, that same child has a potential career waiting for him or her in politics (Sarah Palin does this on her website). Guns are without a doubt a certain ticket to expulsion in schools but in the adult world at least half of the country will vehemently defend your right to own and even conceal that same weapon while you go about your daily business. And it is usually those same mandatory gun rights enthusiasts who are most likely to be against mandatory healthcare for everyone. In the adult world they are called conservatives but in the child’s world any teacher who would be in favor of letting you fight without sending you to the nurse afterwards would be considered a very liberal teacher indeed. Many adults love to remind children that freedom isn’t free and I would agree with those adults. Freedom is very expensive especially since war costs and defense budgets have grown to astronomical proportions yet many of those same adults who espouse increased defense spending are also the ones who are most likely to despise taxes and other government programs that promote and support and maintain freedom…like our public schools!
Every child in school has learned that freedom’s cost isn’t just in the fighting and in the dieing. It’s in the planning and the building and the maintaining and the schooling and the nurturing too. And it is very expensive. What’s wrong with paying for what you want and need? That’s another rule that children are taught by adults in schools. Be responsible. Take responsibility for your deeds and actions and own up to your mistakes. Pay your debts.
When children become adults they’re going to be expecting rules. How they deal with their disappointments, and at what age they will have to, when they find a grown-up world without rules will be the measure by which their own happiness will be determined.
If we want to fix the problems that we are facing in our public schools and within our communities we adults are going to have to start (and remain) living by the rules that we teach our children. We need to start listening to our own lectures with the attention and seriousness that we demand from our children when we tell them to sit still and listen to us. We need to plan the lessons that we are teaching to our children in our homes every day and we need to stick to those plans and follow them through to completion with patience and diligence, kindness and love.
I’m hopeful that we can be successful and I am positive that one sure way to start making these necessary and important changes in our lives is by remembering to make contact with our loved ones each and every day, look one another square in the eyes, adult and child alike, then reach out and together support and modernize and improve our public schools…and then continue the lessons into and throughout adulthood!