Understanding comes before Education

Don’t speak to me of science, when I cannot add and subtract. Don’t speak to me of faith, when I cannot trust. Don’t speak to me of responsibility, when I am cold. Don’t speak to me of morals, when I have no choices to survive; nor family, gone, because it cannot sustain itself. Understanding people’s experience is the key to ‘modern’ education. That starts with helping them to understand themselves, because of where they have been – and showing them there is a way forward. There’s nothing wrong with brains – they just need to be unlocked and allowed to be free.

The care and feeding of children starts at home. If there is no home to care, what then? Can the educational system be surrogate – it has failed so far? They save a few kids, but at a very high cost. The greatest loss is another generation and their missed potential – a terrible waste.


5 comments on “Understanding comes before Education

  1. I love your response to Randall. Yes, what we say to and about our children plays such a powerful role in how they see themselves as young adults. Another thing that speaks loudly is what our children say about us: http://theeducationcafe.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/of-words-and-wisdom/.

    Our children may not always recognize the wisdom of our words, but one day they will:


  2. munchow says:

    Understanding is indeed a pre-requisition for a life that is unlocked and free. Very nicely written, so right on and poetic, despite the serious message. Thank you for sharing.

  3. magsx2 says:

    Very well written, I totally agree with you about the future generations, and what could of been.

  4. I remember hopping from school to school, town to town, unfamiliar faces to more masks all speaking with the same voice. I’m speaking of not only my peers but also my teachers. I was the kid pull a wad of aluminum foil out during snack time and while the other children were pulling out hostess ding dongs, Twinkies, and other extravagant kid snacks–I was trying to to avoid tomato juice from dripping from my tomatoes covered in pepper.

    The teach and students looked at my strangely each snack period and I knew immediately that I was doing something different and being punished because my parents couldn’t afford to send me with better snacks. I was treated as a second class citizen. Little did I know that once I grew up I would be living in a world much like that classroom. Move against the grain and lose all rights to equality. Having my arm raised in inquisition but having the teacher never respond. How could I possibly have anything to contribute. I was a poor kid who ate tomatoes. I liked my snack but it was difficult to like the people or the feeling of rejection that came from them.

    This sort of thing continued through middle school and high school. Only instead of my snack not being up to par, I was covered in acne and my parents couldn’t afford my skin treatments. I walked into my choir class one morning and I enter most places as if they are sanctuaries. The instructor stood behind a wall in front of the piano with another student while unaware of my presence. They were discussing possible reasons to dismiss me from the upcoming performance because they couldn’t figure out where to seat me in a way that would hide my acne. I slipped out quietly and never returned to that class again.

    I faced in school suspension because I refused to go and I would never tell them why I resisted. It felt good to know and have them not know that I knew of their plot against me. In the south, as you’re probably aware, sports are a big deal–especially football. I played ball some until I wised up to the fact that I wasn’t as good as most athletes and went on searching for other interests. I found I was more of an artist. The art instructor shunned me because her idea of an artist is one who is born with natural talent and artists can’t learn to be artists. You either have it or you don’t. That’s the approach with most education nowadays. The judgements get cast down on the “strange” people and they are excluded as potential trouble makers, typically for reasons they have no control over, such as poverty.

    I later went to community college and found an art instructor. I explained my past experience with art teachers and voiced my concerns in regard to taking her class. She was outraged by what I told her and assured me that if I had an ounce of interest in art that I should take her course. I studied figure drawing with her for 6 semesters. I took design classes and special medium classes. Eventually I was accepted into the School of Visual Arts at the University of North Texas. All I needed was a break, someone to understand my situation, someone to have my back, and someone who looked a bit deeper than the rules we make up in Hollywood.

    I never mentioned to her that I was constantly ridiculed by my mother, beat with coat hangers, smacked in the face which left behind hour-long hand prints, or how mom once went into a rage during Christmas breakfast and started throwing plates against the wall, cover the children and throw rug in flapjacks and syrup. However, she saw deeply enough to see that I needed her class. I needed something to pull me out of the darkness behind my stark blue eyes. I was nominated for two scholarships and scored one within one year of knowing her.

    People who don’t look or fit the “format” need an advocate. I did and still do.

    • Texasjune says:

      We all need an advocate, Randall, at some time in our lives – especially children and old folks! If we made it a priority, it would lessen the reality of too much mental illnesses that manifest from neglect. I swear to this day my mother was a saint. Every day of my young life, she told me I was pretty. I grew up believing I was pretty because of her words. I expected people to think I was pretty – not any big deal or special treatment, just a fact of life. The power of just that one thing has been proven to me as I became older. Now, being older and not ‘aging well’ – I’m as ugly as an old dishrag, and people still treat me as if I’m pretty. That’s the power of self-confidence that is so difficult to instill in children – without turning them into monsters of conceit.

You are welcome to share what you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s