Mark Twain once remarked : “Never let your schooling interfere with your education.” And I am sure that all of us, at some time or another, have agreed that truer words were never spoken. I, for one, have always felt that the things that really ought to be taught in our schools and colleges are not even dealt with superficially. When do we teach our kids communication skills or the importance of relationships in life? When do we teach them to follow their calling and find their own path? How long before we tell them that “memorizing meaningless facts” is not the key to success? How long before they can even define what “success” is on their own terms?
We continue to go through life, putting our children through a system that does not work, and then blame society and the government for all that is wrong in the world. When, in fact, the fault lies with us – with our actions and our inactions.
Paul Graham recently wrote an article called Why Nerds Are Unpopular. In this insightful essay, he describes the various causes that make some kids nerds and about the “degeneration of society”. But in doing so, he also makes same very pertinent observations about how things came to be the way they are now, and what can be done to change that.
According to Graham :
Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids all locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done. And I have no problem with this: in a specialized industrial society, it would be a disaster to have kids running around loose.
What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that (a) they aren’t told about it, and (b) the prisons are run mostly by the inmates. Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they’re called misfits.
…Those who suffer most by this are the kids who would be the happiest if the school’s purpose were really what it’s claimed to be.
Read this article. You may not have been a “nerd” in your school days and you may think you don’t need to read about them now. But this essay is much more than that. It will give you a perspective on the importance of education in life, the role that parents and institutions have in it.
It will tell you how you can make a difference…