Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The things we believe in


I've been on this little school rampage for a little bit, as you can tell.

I didn't really start this blog to go over these things.  I wanted to - and want to - share more personal things about our life and our son.

I'm bad at doing that.  When Conan's learning a new thing or whatever other thing he does, I tend to live in that moment and enjoy it, listen to him sing "Smells Like Teen Spirit", as I noted in this post on my other blog, talk to him as he figures out the body parts on his doll, or read What's That Squeak? to him for the umpteenth time, and then, unless it's relevant, there doesn't seem to me much of a story.

But I'll try to find more contexts to write about those things, because they make me unbelievably happy.

This subject, on the other hand, put me into a black, black headspace and I need to step away from it for a little while anyway.

I wanted to hit one more thing I note, and I suppose it's not unlike the earlier post Honor thy father and thy mother, but it's hard not to keep noticing the awkwardness of having this conversation in public.

The thing I notice is that saying you don't think compulsory school is the best way to teach kids seems a lot like saying you're an atheist.  In both cases, there seems a defensiveness among a significant group of adherents, religious believers or traditional schooling advocates.

It feels to me like many people need to be assured that your lack of agreement with their belief system is not an attack on them or their belief system.

It's harder for me with school to offer that.  As I noted, here certainly, this is not, for me, an idle point of casual disagreement.  I feel like what those Jesus Camp kids or ones from similar kinds of religious background seem to feel when they get out of that environment and reject those beliefs.  It's a white hot anger.  Sometimes it's an atheistic anger at religion, others are angry at God.  Either way, it's not something I have a relationship to on that issue.

On religion, you believe what you believe, I'll believe what I believe and as long as you don't try to inhibit my life with your beliefs, we're totally great.  Go out and do good.  Make the world a happier place, please.  Whatever name you choose to do it in is fine by me.

Conversely, if you're doing harm and acting maliciously against the happiness of the world, I don't care what excuse you have either.

With school, it's harder.

Off and on, I've studied it.  I even took some degree of interest when I was in school.  Partially from my own frustration, partly because education had always been an active interest of my mother's, so the material was around me. I've studied it in the years since and, of course, with renewed vigor since Conan was conceived.

People try to convince me of the benefits of school for Conan's benefit, and some of that has made a difference, along with our experiences.  You can see Thoughts on school for a relatively large adjustment we've recently made.

Most people, even when they express concern over Conan, are defending the status quo.  They're entrenched in what they believe in.  For those especially, it's hard for me to argue.  Obviously, it's impossible to do without criticizing things they believe in.  Were I simple non-believer in school, I'm sure I could make those arguments reasonably and tactfully without straining myself.

So, for the record, please know, I'm not disagreeing with your experiences.  That teacher that inspired you was undoubtedly terrific.  In my opinion, even more so for standing out in such an extraordinarily flawed system.  The things you learned, the friends you made, the skills you gained are all valid and acknowledged by me.

I just think there are ways you could have gotten more, as well.  And I think all of who were - or who at least feel we were - failed by school could have gotten more from it, as well as less frustration.

Here's Conceiving Of Change And Invisible Alternatives to assist my point, as I'm running out of ways to state all of this in a positive way.

Like I said, all of this thought and discussion on this subject has not done good things for my mood.  I need to spend some time away from it.  I'm going to just enjoy Halloween with Conan and get back to my general feeling of satisfaction with my life.

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