If you get to know me very well, you will learn two things about me: first, I am completely and entirely incapable of settling and, second, my favorite question – perhaps even my favorite word – is “Why?”
While these two character traits lead me to a life of constant discontentment (which can be a source of frustration and disappointment), they also drive in me an insatiable desire to learn.
When I begin to count up the things I have actively sought out to learn in the last year, the list grows dizzyingly long. My knowledge base has expanded significantly in the last year. Every time I come across something new, I find myself digging in to research more.
That’s one of the major joys about my childhood upbringing: I not only learned, I learned how to learn and I learned to love to learn. More than that, because I wasn’t forced into learning particular subjects (most the time), that love of learning was neither tarnished nor curtailed. It was allowed to expand to become insatiable.
This point was driven home to me in a really unexpected way recently. In a Facebook group I’m in, a mom posted, looking for recommendations for memorization aids for her kindergartner who was struggling with memorization. To “pass” kindergarten, the children (keep in mind these are 5 and 6 year olds) have to be able to read and to count to 100.
I wanted to scream. WHY are we attempting to force our children to memorize and WHY are we guilting parents into trying to force their children to meet these ridiculous standards?
We are killing the joy in learning. We are utterly destroying the fun, the drive and the desire in both children and their parents.
Children are born to learn. Humans are born to learn. We can’t improve on that desire by force nor harness and guide it through ridiculous, overreaching expectations. While there are exceptions (particularly in cases of learning disability), most children learn at a completely acceptable pace for them.
Of course, the methodology of allowing children to learn at their own pace doesn’t work in the factory system through which we put our children and it doesn’t work in a society in which control is the end-goal of education.
An insatiable desire to learn is dangerous for the people in power because well-educated citizens, especially those who won’t take the pat political answers, cannot become slaves. They are the ones who lead the rebellion.
I wish we could get rid of our modern public education system completely. Throw it out the window like the Prussian relic it is. In it’s place I wish that we would implement a system that would take advantage of the natural inclination of all humans to learn and craft it, guide it and grow it into an insatiable desire to learn.