You know, Facebook can be wonderful. It allows you to connect with old friends, catch up on news stories and share posts about tabletop gaming and kittens. On a good day, Facebook is great.
On a bad day, the things I find on Facebook make me want to slam my head against a brick wall. Last Friday was one of those days.
It started off as following a complete and total bullshit article from a page called “Natural Cures Not Medicine” about how Palmolive dish soap had cancer causing ingredients. (Apparently, these guys don’t know that DNA itself can freaking cause cancer but I digress.) Now, that was bad enough but then I discovered this bit of word salad through some unfortunate clicks and my poor brain just shut down. There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s just go ahead and dive in.
1. It teaches children to conform
At school, children are taught to obey orders and blindly follow what they are being told. Children are told what to do, no matter if they like it or not. They are told to sit for hours upon hours at a desk without complaining, doing nothing other than memorizing information that most probably they will never need in their lives. They are told when to talk, when to move, even when to pee.
By and by, children stop trusting their inner voice and conform to what authority wants from them, which tremendously suppresses them and, not surprisingly, makes them depressed and unfulfilled.
This doesn’t just happen in school. This happens at home: kids are told what they can and can’t wear, what they can and can’t eat, what they can and can’t watch, etc. And heaven help the child that doesn’t listen to his or her parents! There are consequences for that, you know. I learned that the hard way.
Authoritarian parents are known for this. You have to obey orders and not ask questions. You have to do what the parent in charge tells you to do or you will be punished. This isn’t something that should be laid at the feet of the public education system.
2. It teaches children what to think, not how to think
School does not teach children how to develop their capacity to think logically so that they can reach to their own conclusions when presented with information. On the contrary, children are forced to believe in the things they are being taught, regardless of whether they are true or not, or whether they sprout out of their own understanding or not. Hence their critical thinking is prevented from improving, and as a result children are turned into stupid automatons.
That sounds a lot like fundamentalist religion here. “The earth is only 6,000 years old”, “You’ll go to hell if you think like that,” etc. Think about that for a second.
Science in and of itself tries to teach children to be critical thinkers; if the evidence doesn’t match the science, then the facts are changed. Not so with religion, as that is the “word of god” and cannot be changed. If a school is teaching something like that to a child, we have a problem. But I sincerely doubt that this is happening.
3. It teaches children to be uncreative
Children’s imagination is wild, but school does wonders to suppress it. Children can be incredibly creative, but the Arts are almost nonexistent in most schools around the world, since a career path in the Arts is usually not considered as profitable. Instead of allowing children to explore their selves by spontaneously expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings through painting, music, theater, and so on, they most of the time are confined in four walls, learning boring things that don’t matter to them all and do nothing to help them cultivate their mind, heart, and spirit.
Actually, this can be directly tied to school funding, which comes from the state government.
If there is any sort of budget crunch, legislators will cut arts funding from schools as they believe “it isn’t necessary”. Again, I learned that via experience: when the state of North Carolina faced a shortfall, the legislature cut funding to arts education. I was a sophomore and a drama student, so this did affect me. Plenty of my classmates tried like hell to fight this but it didn’t do any good. I felt particularly helpless as I wasn’t voting age and couldn’t show these lawmakers how I felt about their policies by voting against them.
If you want more arts in school, tell your local lawmakers. Let them know that you support public funding for the arts in education. If they choose not to listen to you, vote them out. But please do not blame the schools for this. They are absolutely not at fault for any of this.
4. It teaches children to fear failure
Mistakes help us grow into wiser beings, but school is teaching children to fear failure, as if it is some kind of an evil they need to avoid. Children at school are told to study solely in order to pass exams, and those who fail at exams are looked down upon, sometimes even mocked at, as if they are failures themselves. Therefore, children learn to do their best in order to avoid making mistakes, which only prevents them from trying to achieve any new goals they’d desire later on in life, lest they will encounter possible failure.
Actually, adults in general do this. If you screw up and tell your parents, you’ll get punished. If you screw up and don’t tell your parents, you’ll still get punished. So when you’re a child, any mistakes are seen as a negative. Again, you can’t blame this on the schools. The fault with this can be placed on the adults in children’s lives. This isn’t about the schools. This behavior needs to change at home.
5. It teaches children to think play is bad
Children find tremendous joy in playing, having fun, laughing, doing things for no reason or goal other than play itself. Play makes their heart pulsate with happiness and turns their life into a celebration. Slowly slowly, however, as children grow up, they are taught that play is not good, since it’s not something productive, and that they should consider it simply as a waste of time.
In addition, they are taught to be serious, uptight, worried about future ends, which is only making them depressed, not allowing them to let go and relax into the present moment to savor all the beauties life has to offer.
Again, adults in general do this. Once you hit a certain age, you aren’t supposed to play anymore. That’s just “how things are”. If you start hitting double digits, you don’t really take part in imaginative play anymore. If you do, you’re seen as odd or weird. Again, I know this for a fact. This is how society views things, not the school system.
6. It teaches children to avoid listening to their heart
Unlike adults, children are in touch with their heart. However, after years of social conditioning, when they finally turn into adults themselves, they have created thick barriers between themselves and their heart, thus being unable to paying attention to its voice anymore. This conditioning takes place mainly at school, where almost every day children are forced to do things that they hate doing, that they find boring and futile, and which they are taught society will reward them for. As a consequence, they develop the habit of not trusting and following their inner voice and lose touch with what their heart is beating for.
What? No seriously, WHAT?! This is one hell of a deepity here.
The reason a child’s heart beats is the same as yours and mine: to keep that child alive. If by “following their hearts” you mean doing things without thinking, then yes, kids do that all the time. Many years ago, a radio station spoke to a six year old child who decided to ride his tricycle off the roof of his house, breaking an arm in the process. Why did he do it? “It seemed like a good idea a the time.”
Sometimes listening to that “inner voice” is a bad idea, especially if alcohol is involved. Just trust me on that one.
7. It teaches children to associate money with success
Another way school is making children dumb and depressed is by having them confuse monetary gain with successful living. At school, children learn that the primary goal in life is to earn a good salary, and are being told to sacrifice almost one third of their lives forcing themselves to learn and do particular things just so that they can get a degree that will allow them to work later on as corporate slaves.
Thus, children stop pursuing their passions that would give true purpose and meaning to their lives, and instead do dull things that only burden their psyche and which merely help them to survive but not to truly live.
Welcome to Capitalism 101.
Basically, this is what society itself teaches. Having lots of money = success. Being poor and not having lots of possessions = failure. This is called capitalism. Children don’t learn this in school, they learn this in everyday life. You can’t pin this on our public education system. This is American culture in general. Just turn on a television and you can see it in action. If you want that to change, you’re going to have to change the “American” way of life.
Good luck with that.
8. It teaches children to sacrifice today for the sake of tomorrow
The present moment is all that we have. The future, just like the past, doesn’t exist, and if we give it too much attention we will not be able enjoy the here and now. Most people, however, don’t enjoy the present moment. Instead, they are always trying to achieve a future end, thinking that once they achieve it, they will be fulfilled and happy.
This mentality has been mainly imbued in them via schooling. At school, children are made to believe that sacrificing today by studying hard and following orders will reward them tomorrow. Being constantly focused on the future, however, they are wasting their entire lives and end up filled with regrets, which makes them experience immense psychological anguish.
Again, welcome to Capitalism 101. You see commercials for this constantly: save now for an awesome retirement later! Again, this is American culture at its base; you cannot claim that the schools are teaching this.
Let’s also be honest: it’s not a bad idea to plan for the future. Yes, tomorrow isn’t a guarantee but there is a good chance that yes, you will wake up tomorrow. There is a good chance you will live long enough to reach retirement age. So it’s actually a smart idea to plan for that sort of thing.
You know, I don’t mind platitudes. Some of them aren’t horrible. But deepities like this? No. Just no. It’s an Iceberg lettuce word salad that is bland but palatable with the proper dressing. But shift away the gallons of ranch you have to dump on this thing and you’ll see that there’s no real substance there. It makes you feel smarter for reading it but in the end, it’s just empty, hollow words.