I had an interesting experience yesterday when I bumped into one of my students parents in a restaurant. I knew them to be the parents of one of my students, who does very well in school, but I was unaware that they had a daughter too, who I also knew and taught.
The mother came to me and told me she was worried about her daughter because she does not do well in school and does not seem as keen as her brother. She asked me for my perspective and advice. I essentially told her that it was a confidence issue, and that often students get discouraged by an environment of competition – whether it be from getting some bad grades, having a hard time with a teacher or other students. Often I find students judge themselves based on the grades and perceptions of others – after all they are children, and this is what they know – so it is easy for a student to actually believe that they are not as good as others if this is what the grades and opinions of others reflect – so sometimes it can be as little as one or two negative experiences for a person to begin creating self beliefs that carry over and influence a person’s development and outlook.
I encouraged the mother to talk to her daughter, and that she requires assistance and support. To talk to her, see how she feels, how she thinks about things, as she herself may not even know, and therefore may be required to be taken by the hand and walked with in supporting herself through expressing herself.
The mother had nothing to say. I didn’t quite notice initially, that my intended discussion with her was more of a monologue, but noticed by the end of it that when I was done, she basically said goodbye and left. I saw that she was completely uninterested in what I had to say.
Then I started to look at the context of the situation: This was a rich family, who typically strive for a high standard of success within the system, and this was their priority and starting point. Therefore when the mother said “I am worried about my daughter” – she did not actually mean, ‘I am worried about her, the being, and what she is going through’ – but rather her concern was only with the child’s success in being an high achieving student.
It was quite sad to see that this was the parents main concern, and obviously this is not uncommon, where parents must become obsessive about their child’s academic standing and achievement, and the actual child’s well being is not the priority. Parents will then tend to want to whip the kids into shape somehow, and often treat kids like there is something wrong with them when they do not fall in line. “What is wrong with you? Get your ass in gear!” It was obvious this parent could not look any further than this point, and within that, is nowhere near getting to the actual core of the matter – they simply wanted a magic pill.
Unfortunately, even if a parent becomes aware of this, the reality still remains that a child must meet these standards continuously throughout life in order to get a good job, make money and survive – so it is no wonder that it is justified in the mind of parents to become obsessive about it and completely disregard all else.
The fact that school has become about nothing more than a breeding grounds of competition and survival in order to students eventually get a good job and make money – and is never about the actual education – is my big problem with the education system – this is all not to mention that only a small few really ‘make it’ and from that success are able to live a dignified life. This is unacceptable.
An Equal Money System where all basic needs of the human are met will change all of this. Education will no longer be about competition, survival and making money, and will transform into an entirely different experience that is enjoyable and undoubtedly supports the student. This will obviously stop the routine abuse and neglect of students by parents and teachers that has become the standard of the current education.
Let’s actually value and appreciate our children through giving them intrinsic value with Equal Money from birth till death – and let education become the supportive experience of wonder and discovery that we have never allowed our children to have.