Thoughts I Had in my Kid's School Today
I'm writing this from the school, in a notebook. The old fashioned kind. I tried the modern kind last week, but I forgot that its batteries run out in only an hour and I started talking to other parents and I lost what I wrote. I haven't written this much long hand for a long time.
Now I want to edit that. The last sentence belongs more towards the end of this writing because I'm anticipating writing such long hand rather than having actually accomplished it. I have written on occasion the paltry paragraph or two in long hand.
It's a different process. It slows things down, lets the brain have more say in between words, but doesn't listen to the brain as much because my thoughts race ahead. I skip letters in words sometimes because my hand is too slow. I am compelled to get the next thought down before it evaporates into the churn of new thoughts vying for the chance to be put down in ink – to be made permanent.
Why am I in the school? It's a Saturday morning. My children are taking tests for the gifted program they are a part of. They do not like the tests because the tests are boring and take away from their free day. There are kids here today who are so frightened they cry or throw up. Testing anxiety for some of them, pure and simple, even if they know the material very well. But there are some kids here that are sacrificing their Saturday and confidence to their parents' ambitions.
I have seen parents yell at the administrators who are simply giving them their children's test scores that say their child is not suited for the program. I hope the child is not berated. Children should be celebrated for what they are, not made into something that they aren't.
Last week, (the one in which I lost my work because of the battery) I wrote about overhearing the conversation of two parents speaking about what they want their children to be, or rather what schools would best help their children become a doctor or a lawyer.
A doctor or a lawyer- only the best schools for that, definitely. I asked myself and I would have asked them if I were a braver person, "Is that why we have our kids in this program? Is it to put them under high stress in college only to have even more stress on their jobs? To give them work that divorces them away from family?
Not to say that these aren't worthy professions, that there isn't a great amount of good that comes of them. (Though I hold my reservations for some kinds of lawyers.)
It is the mention of those two jobs together, "a doctor or lawyer", in elementary school, in regards to a seven year old child, that gives me pause. It is the goal of something big, prestigious, well respected, lots of money – that is what that phrase says.
The ambition ignores who the child actually is and seeks after a difficult life for the child in order to gain recognition from everyone else in the world, when they only need the love of their own family and the recognizing of who they really are.
Being a doctor, a lawyer, a writer, a teaching, a CEO, a computer programmer, or whatever else a person is will only bring one joy of that is what they are well suited for and enjoy. If that is true, then they will be successful and secure.
Being loved for who they are will teach them to accept others. They will gain the capacity for compassion, generosity, self-confidence and the love of friends and family. Those are the markers of a life well lived.
My hand aches. I haven't written this much longhand for a long time.