#10: The Top Ten Rules That Children Learn in School That May Handicap Their Future: #10

25 Nov

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!

12 Responses to “#10: The Top Ten Rules That Children Learn in School That May Handicap Their Future: #10”

  1. smilecalm November 25, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    support schools, students, teachers!
    I’m inspired by teachers, administrators and researchers who are gradually bringing methods of mindful awareness into classrooms. mindfuled.org/

  2. brucethomasw November 25, 2013 at 1:16 am #

    Well put. A powerful series, putting the record straight.

    Please tell me that Sarah Palin doesn’t really put gun target symbols on people she doesn’t like. If so, I wonder if the bible she reads has been censored – I mean the part of the gospel where Jesus says to love your enemies . . . or even the other part where he says “love one another.”

    Thanks for the truth saying.

  3. Harold Knight November 25, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    Not exactly a comment: a suggestion–if you click on “review” before you hit “post,” you can edit out that ridiculous code stuff–and you can do it after by clicking on “edit.” Passing on what another reader passed on to me.

  4. grizzlyjones2012 November 25, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    nice work thanks for sharing

  5. ontyrepassages November 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    An excellent series. I’ve always felt this way, which is probably why I view much of society and its actions as insane. Of course, we can NOT do this, but in the end society will pull itself apart. Another lesson I was taught was that the United States was the greatest nation on earth. This would be a good way to demonstrate that.

  6. emmylgant November 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    I enjoyed that whole series too. It really reminded me that it is quite logical that so many young ones become disinterested in the society they live in. It doesn’t take long for them to see that the rules they are taught only apply in school… if then.
    Fortunately, there are quite a few who want to change the world.

  7. Walter Boomsma November 25, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    I visited because you visited and started following my blog… I’m hoping that doing so will challenge and perhaps change some of your thinking. I am deeply involved in public education and while I’d be the first to admit there’s a lot that needs fixing, there’s a lot being done right. In a sense, the same could be said of your series–that it challenges is admirable, but there’s a lot that’s off-base. For one thing, some of the “rules” you describe are not being taught as you represent. I suspect your posts more accurately reflect your view of the world and society than they do public education.

    Let’s not forget that our public education system reflects society–it doesn’t create it. There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between cause and correlation. The problems we face in society are far greater than those we face in the classroom and I can assure you that many of the classroom challenges we have come to school from home. We have children coming to school hungry–who do not want to have school vacations because it means no real meals. We have children who purposely get on the wrong bus so they do not have to return home where the situation is volatile, angry, and to often abusive. Schools cannot fix this and neither can government programs.

    As for rule number ten, let’s not distort a rule as an excuse to further a political agenda. Any child learns very early on that “equality” is at best a myth and that what we try to do is create equal opportunities. Some kids have more. Some kids have less. Some kids find some subjects easy. Some kids find them hard. In fact, one of the greatest difficulties schools face is that we are not supposed to “leave a child behind” and it doesn’t matter what the ability level of the child. It matters even less what his or her parents are doing to him or her–or, for that matter, what those parents are doing to the school or the teacher.

    I read an essay just this week by a girl who is perhaps eight or nine years old. It describes in detail her father leaving her and her family four years ago. She describes how she still cries, but the good news is there are those who comfort her. I suspect this young lady has learned far more about equality and fairness than any classroom lesson might teach. And the real irony is that should her teacher decide to try to help her, the odds are even that the remaining parent and her step dad will object or complain that the teacher is interfering in their family.

    In my opinion, those who are quick to condemn public education should be required to spend at least three days in a classroom working along side a teacher and getting to know the students. It’s a humbling experience that can create a sense of inadequacy. The unanswered question always seems to be, “And just what is it you would like us (in public education) to do?”

    • gpicone November 26, 2013 at 5:50 am #

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. I spent 33 years teaching in New Jersey’s public school system and I do know all about the things you mentioned in your comments. In my district the ruling white majority seemingly spent all of their waking hours trying to figure out how to better exploit and rip off the black and Hispanic minorities while at the same time blaming them for their troubles and for everyone elses. I grew up in a white middle class town where everything seemed wonderful. What an eye-opener! This country sucks when it comes to everything but making money, playing sports, entertainment and blowing up things, including living human beings in other countries (which we also like to blame on them for making us do it) While half of our countrymen don’t even seem to believe in the Science that we use to do it all and broadcast it everywhere! Public education is one of the few places in this country where children can actually get help and lots of it. And my state is now waging a war against teachers and schools simply because it “costs” too much money. And all of this is happening in a state and a country where things costing lots of money is what we celebrate! You bet it’s political because the next president of the United States (God forbid) may just be our own big, fat, public school hating, glutinous, has issues with his mother, self proclaimed and proud bully of a Governor who many Republicans see as being representative of the All-American man of the future! And I fear that to the rest of the world he is the face of America! Which in my mind is a very, very sad but all too true visage of what America really does represent. The problem with America is that many people actually believe that the “Greatest country in the world” can’t fix poverty or hunger or homelessness or unemployment… Of course it can! And our public schools can show us how…just visit a “rich” one. We need teachers and more of them! Please keep teaching and implore others to join the ranks. We need to embrace reality and science and stand up to ignorance and deception. I hope you didn’t see this series as a condemnation of education. It was meant to be exactly the opposite.

      • Walter Boomsma November 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

        Clearly you are angry over a number of things and anger rarely results in solving problems… you’ve written a series that fundamentally accuses education of teaching children myths and now are saying it’s not a condemnation? It’s at least a criticism. Some is perhaps justified, but not all. Even your reply is a political tirade that has practically no relationship to my comments, so I fear we have little or nothing to discuss. If your reply to my question of what it is we are supposed to be doing is “embrace reality and science and stand up to ignorance and deception” I can only respond that leaves us with another challenge of “whose reality?” I’m not sure any one person (or political party) has a lock on the truth. Frankly, I disagree with much of what you’ve said. For the record, I consider my job in education as twofold. One is getting kids to actually believe they can learn and accomplish. Two is getting kids to THINK–not to merely adopt someone else’s belief system.

      • gpicone November 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

        Good luck to you but Clearly you are not a psychologist… One is getting kids to actually believe they can learn and accomplish. Two is getting kids to THINK–not to merely adopt someone else’s belief system. How is that working out for you so far?

      • Walter Boomsma November 29, 2013 at 11:14 am #

        Quite well, actually. Adults are a different story.

      • gpicone November 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

        That’s exactly what I’ve been saying! Hope you, your students and family had a Happy Thanksgiving!

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