Traditional ‘schooling’ is no longer culturally or socially relevant, except for it’s remarkable ability to propagate certain veins of thought deemed significant by the government.  Generally, a schooled mind is one that has learned to accept limits, hover in fear under experts, bend to group pressure, and waits to be told what to do and think.  Obviously, there are exceptions, but school does not tend to deliver freedom, innovation, or support uniqueness outside of certain perameters.  

It is a conformity machine. 

The educational world is full of remarkable, gifted, and compassionate individuals who desire to change the world, but school, including, I believe, much home-schooling, (i.e. compulsory learning at home) does not, by it’s very nature, embody the freedom that individuals require to ultimately flourish.

It is partly due to this that our family has chosen to approach learning in a different way, and so we are always on the lookout for clues to how best to carve this new freedom trail as we discover what education really is.

Here is a clue that is as thrilling as it is terrifying.  Us, as the parents, as the “educators”, as the guides, willingly and eagerly exposing ourselves to tension in order to model for our children where real growth happens.  Read Seth Godin’s insights here:

Fear is present in many education settings, because fear’s a cheap way to ensure compliance. “Do this,” the teacher threatens, “or something bad is going to happen to you.”

The thing is, learning is difficult. If it was easy, you’d already know everything you need to know. And if you could do it on your own, you wouldn’t need the time or expense to do it with others.

But when we try to learn something on our own, we often get stuck.

It’s not because of fear, it’s because of tension.

The tension we face any time we’re about to cross a threshold. The tension of this might work vs. this might not work. The tension of if I learn this, will I like who I become?

Tension is the hallmark of a great educational experience. The tension of not quite knowing where we are in the process, not being sure of the curriculum, not having a guarantee that it’s about to happen.

As adults, we willingly expose ourselves to the tension of a great jazz concert, or a baseball game or a thrilling movie. But, mostly because we’ve been indoctrinated by fear, we hesitate when we have the opportunity to learn something new on our way to becoming the person we seek to be.

Effective teachers have the courage to create tension…

So, the question is, do you have the courage to step into the next level of tension in your life?  What dreams, ideas, innovations, risks are taunting the edges of your heart right now that you’ve been ignoring?

“Tension” is beginning to sound an awful lot like “faith”…

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