You can’t talk about G-O-D in school…or can you?
Did you know that there are approximately 30 high schools located in the U.S. whose mission it is to enroll students committed to being abstinent from alcohol and other drugs and working a program of recovery? These recovery high schools understand that in order to create and sustain long-lasting positive change in these young adults’ lives, their recovery process must be supported by an environment which nurtures those choices and continues to provide ongoing peer mentoring and social acceptance.
Did you know there is an entire educational movement called Unschooling? According to Allen Ellis, 23, a former Unschooling attendee, “Unschooling is an exciting alternative to contemporary schooling that empowers students to create their own education. Much like homeschooling, families are free to explore opportunities outside of the public school system, and even outside of the curriculums that many homeschoolers use. Unschoolers pursue their interest of the moment, and in the process find their passions of a lifetime. Conversations with God, Book II talks about a new education system which is based on the values of awareness, honesty, and responsibility; a system that teaches the student to think critically, come to their own conclusions, and gives them a sense of “unlimitedness.” Unschoolers have been doing this for decades in our modern era, and humanity has been doing this in a sense for our entire history. Babies “unschool” themselves in learning how to talk and walk: Unschooling families simply let their children unschool the rest of life, too.”
Did you know that there are approximately 1,000 schools located throughout 60 countries in the world which operate under the Waldorf Education model? This program is an extraordinarily unique educational experience which, according to their website, “Is based on a profound understanding of human development; provides a detailed, richly artistic curriculum that responds to and enhances the child’s developmental phases, from early childhood through high school; cultivates social and emotional intelligence; connects children to nature; ignites passion for lifelong learning; and is the fastest growing educational movement in the world. For the Waldorf student, music, dance, and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about, ingested and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate a lifelong love of learning as well as the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.”
Of course, these three examples are only a handful of some of forward-thinking, mold-breaking, sameness-shattering groups of people on our planet who are no longer accepting status quo as good enough for the youth in our world. It’s not difficult to follow the dotted lines and grasp the idea that each next generation becomes humanity’s next decision-makers. So if we want to keep seeing more of what we have now, I guess it makes perfect sense to continue siphoning our children through the same narrow educational funnel that we currently filter them through. But if we are expecting different results, if we are looking to experience some truly significant changes not only in the way our society functions, but in the way it thrives, isn’t it time to at least consider a different approach to our educational system?
But what does that different approach look like? What kind of educational system will the masses embrace if it doesn’t sustain itself on a platform of students memorizing dates and achieving 4.00 grade point averages and sitting in overcrowded classrooms and filling their heads with arbitrary facts in order to pass “standardized tests” which are taught by underpaid teachers?
The news is saturated with daunting stories of bullying, teen suicide, school shootings, teen pregnancy, rampant drug use, eating disorders, drinking, depression, and social anxiety. Aren’t these painful symptoms enough for us to collectively stand up and declare that the way we are currently doing this clearly isn’t working? How many more bricks do we need to hit us in the head before we are finally willing to try something different?
Will there ever be a day when the God of each individual person’s understanding will be allowed in school? Will discussions about spirituality ever be as commonplace as saying the Pledge of Allegiance? Will students ever be able to engage in the kinds of conversations we here on The Global Conversation enjoy, conversations about God, about Life, about Who We Really Are? Could this be the biggest missing piece of the puzzle, the freedom and opportunity for our children to express their deepest thoughts and to hear, really hear, the deepest thoughts of their peers in an environment which creates the space for them to do so? Can we imagine a framework which operates not in the spirit of obtaining sameness or achieving conformity, but in the spirit of developing spiritual awareness and experiencing love without conditions, a system which creates real choices and true freedom?
Could this ever work?
Are we willing to even try?
(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)