Attitudes and Education

by Ralpapajan

A discussion about how our attitudes are inculcated into us from the time we were born by our parents. The influence of schools, colleges and employment.

Time for a Change

Another Letter from my Daughter in Japan. The last prior to her becoming an author on Wizzley and then leaving for her tour of South Africa.

I spend a lot of time thinking about my daughter's future. She has the whole world ahead of her and the possibilities are endless.

The whole point at the moment is to stop putting limits on ourselves and our children.

What do I mean by limits? Well, let's look at the school system. We expect our kids to go to school 5 days a week for 12 years. Sure they have vacation time to be kids. Or do they. So many summer classes and cramming for exams and holiday homework that even their vacations involve school.

We, as parents, feel guilty for taking our kids out of school to go on vacation. Tell me, wouldn't a week or two in France be a great education. Instead schools insist kids can't miss school or they will fall behind. Behind what? They don't specify this.

Instead kids sit bored in a classroom listening to somebody who used to dream of shaping kids lives but now is just happy if she can get through the day teaching French.

Huh? What are we grooming them for.

Well when they leave school they have to go to college. Without a college degree they will be flipping burgers for the rest of their lives. That is what we tell them. That is what we believe.

Is it true? No way. What about Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. Neither of them have college degrees and yet they are definitely not flipping burgers. So our kids go to college and cram and manage to get a degree.

Then what is next? Aha, time to get a job. Time to get a "real" job. No, being in a band is not a real job, trying to get into the movies is not a real job. What is a "real” job. Well that would be sitting in a bank, day after day, dealing with a boss you hate and customers who are never happy no matter how hard you work for them.  After a while you stop working hard for them and couldn't give a damn. You live for the weekend when you get drunk and pass out.

Woohoo, is this life?  You have a dozen dreams you would love to follow. Man, wouldn't it be cool to have a plane. Can't even afford flying lessons on your salary though. What does JOB stand for? Just Over Broke. Would be awesome to travel the world. Well if I start saving up right now I could have enough money for a trip next year as long as the car doesn't break down or the kids need braces.

So you have saved up for a year and can now go on the trip of a lifetime. So you choose the best time of year to travel to your destination and submit a leave form. Hmmm, your boss calls you in, and oops, no go. That time is very busy for the company and of course you are a loyal employee, aren't you.

I mean you don't want the company to think you aren't loyal in these trying times. Wow these "trying times" sure are great for controlling your workforce aren't they.

The company owners must be laughing all the way to the bank when they watch the news. Ooh, house foreclosures, job losses; a perfect excuse to cut everybody’s bonuses. Hey, maybe we can even get away with making people work overtime for free. I wonder if we can cut people's salary? After all they will still have a job so can count themselves lucky. After they cut everybody’s salary they take their private jet out for a spin. After all they are going to have a little extra cash available shortly.

So the question is, why would you encourage your kids to join the aptly named "rat race"? Getting a job puts endless limits on a person.  
We are talking about a limitless life. That is what we need to be teaching our children.
That is what we need to be showing them. We can do anything, be anything.
So should we just ignore the schools? Hmm, well school does help keep kids entertained during the day. Kids get to spend time with other kids. That can be great fun. As long as your kid doesn't fall under bad influences like learning to spit. Ok there are much worse influences but my daughter is only 3 so spitting is bad enough, thank-you.
You learn cool things like learning to read. Learning to read is awesome as it opens up the world to you.
Learning some maths is pretty useful too. Ok we learn all sorts of useful and interesting stuff. We also learn a lot of useless boring stuff that we are told is vitally important for us to know. We have to get good results in the exams so we have to learn the stuff even though admittedly, we will probably never, ever use it again.
Why? Why do we need to get good grades? Well so we can get into college?
Hmm so we can spend more time in a new prison. So college? Should we just dump college too. After all Branson didn't need it. I don't believe that is necessarily the answer . I believe that college is a great place to learn stuff. As long as the emphasis is on learning and not on the grade, or diploma, or whatever.
Look at what you want to learn, go and have fun with it and learn. Learn to write. You can do some amazing creative writing courses or technical writing courses etc. The problem is that you also have to do a bunch of other irrelevant courses to get a degree. So don't bother with a degree just learn what you want to.
So should we just dump getting a job too. Again, not necessarily. I have a friend who worked as a slave, sorry employee, at a beauty salon for two years. She learnt everything she could and for the most part enjoyed her work. What she didn't enjoy was the minimum wage she was receiving and the long hours she was expected to work. So once she had built her skill level up, she quit her job and opened her own salon. She was filled with enthusiasm and her parents, although a little apprehensive about whether she could really make a success of her business decided to support her and allowed her to use a room in their house to open her salon. To their complete amazement the business is a success. She works almost daily but for a decent income and she sets her own hours. Just three months after starting she is so busy she has to turn customers away. And as her father says, she is now "rich" (relatively speaking, of course). If we encourage our kids to get work for the experience and learning, rather than just for money we are helping them.
When your teenagers talk about getting a job at McDonalds, ask them if they want to be a chef. If the answer is yes then tell them to go for it. You won't learn cooking skills at McDonalds but you will learn how a very successful business is run and whether you want to work in a kitchen every day. If they aren't interested in the business of McDonalds encourage them to find something else.
Even if they are only mildly interested in it. At least that will show them whether it is something they can pursue or not.
Updated: 09/24/2011, Ralpapajan
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Allison on 10/26/2011

Excellent article and so very true. If only we all had the 'guts' to go against the 'norm', the world would be a far better place! This article describes my boss exactly and he only employs people with varsity degrees...I can tell you that he has employed some totally useless so called 'clever people'!! I am only employed theere as I was one of the staff which he 'took over' when buying the business. (there are only 2 of us left now).

Ralpapajan on 10/04/2011

I think I am in love with you! (:-)

I must make sure my daughter, Penny, who wrote the article reads this and contacts you. She is in the Karoo near Carnavon in the Cape Province of South Africa at the moment but will be back in Okinawa in early November. I believe she is already seeing the fruits of her thinking in her daughter Sahratia.

Have a look at her Squidoo Lens.

Obviously NOT Sahratia's own writing. But reflects some of Penny's ideas. She is lucky for her husband had a hard time at school. She was told at high school that she would make a good ladies' hairdresser or bus driver. Instead she became a 5th Dan at Karate and Kobudo and a Sensei who has held seminars in the States and South Africa plus she taught English to Japanese businessmen in Okinawa and also taught at a Japanese school. Just goes to prove that the "system" is a load of Bovine Excrement. My second daughter was thrown out of Art Class and later on was commissioned to paint 5000 originals for the World Association of Flower Arrangers. She also taught children in South Africa and was on the steering Committee of the University of Zululand Art initiative. Which is not bad for a girl who was told that she had no talent.

Thank you for the post.

theraggededge on 10/04/2011

I agree completely, which is why we removed our children from the school system. Even the word 'system' is enough to make me cringe! We don't teach them stuff *we* think they should know. We let them discover for themselves and make all efforts to facilitate their learning. My daughter has never been properly taught to read, yet she reads as fluently as an adult, she writes plays, scripts and stories. Her punctuation is excellent - and she's only 10. My mind boggles when I think of the fantastic life my children are going to have when they become completely independent.

mandeesears on 10/03/2011

Lee, the pop up is for a related article, not advertising. I find it completely unobtrusive with only a couple of lines of tex with the lead in "You might also like...).
To each his own I guess.

Ralpapajan on 09/24/2011

Mmm. Strange. The only pop-up that others have seen has been another of my Articles about Emotions. No-one else has said anything at all. I will ask the Web Masters. Thank you for your views.

Lee on 09/24/2011

I enjoyed the first half of the article, until the pop-up came out from the side. The pop-up ad was so intrusive and distracting I am leaving the page without finishing and possibly sharing the article.
Why do you do this with advertising? You must realize it drives readers away,

Zelimir on 09/24/2011

Excellent analyse and approach to real problems! If we do not change existing system of education our children will be more and more lost. Children of today are not the same as children 30-50 years ago.But,educational system - is the same!

Congratulations on this article!

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