I wrote this email to my son after watching a TED lecture by Sir Ken Robinson.
I sent it out to others who had children or was involved in the educational field.
Sir Robinson is giving a TED lecture on today's educational process in which he states that education kills creativity, In fact, he postulates that the current educational structures is an antithesis to the development of individuals who can bring the future into being.
If you are receiving this email it is because you either have children, are involved in the field of education or because you are my son. In fact, the email is more for Patrick but I think that the content of the subject (and the link below for the talk by Sir Ken Robinson) is important for anyone with a child, regardless of their age,
Now many of you know that I have had a long, long, long involvement in the educational field. Probably around 37 years either in school or dealing with academicians in high education. That is a long, long time.
My son is finishing high school this year. When he came for a stay last summer, we were talking about colleges when he stated that it was just so much pressure to decide what to study and what to be and where to go.
I said something very close to this, "who said you have to decide what you want to be. Go study what you want to study, go to a school that offers something in everything. What you do later, what you decide later, will happen later. Find out what you love."
And he said, "You are the only one who has ever said that to me."
I found that extremely sad because people have so much potential to be so many things and really, who the freak knows what they really want when they are just 18?
Recently I was talking with an old friend (we are all old now but I mean a friend who has been a friend from some time.) She is a well-educated woman, two master level degrees, an attorney and she owns her own business. She was talking about her two daughters, one with an interest in going to college, the other with an interest in becoming a tattoo artist and the lack of any interest in education.
As a parent, I understood her position because she is looking at what is, at some level, polar opposites in her children. She wants both of her children to have great and stable futures; ones in which they are ready for the world, can be happy and be safe and comfortable in their life, especially as their parent become older. Yet her history and the history of her family is geared to that educational model founded in the 1800's and which hasn't changed for almost 200 years. Her upbringing and experience points one way, yet a person she loves and has protected is looking in another direction.
In the 20 minutes that Sir Robinson addresses the TED crowd, he covers a lot of ground (and is very, very funny in a lot of it) about how we need to find a way to provide an educational process that allows for the complete growth of ALL aspects of the person. And with the 37 years of my life hanging with all sorts of Ph.D's and M.D.'s and higher and lower education people, I can promise you he is dead-on right about their heads. LOL
Again - Patrick - study anything and everything you both need and WANT. Be afraid of nothing, explore everything: art history, theater, film, art, literature, folklore, botany, geography, photojournalism, comparative religion, philosophy, basic auto mechanic, drafting, print shop...(these were all my experiences, but you go and make your own) -- feed your mind, feed your creativity and let the next 4 years be ones in which 30 years from now you are still brushing along in the various streams and eddies of interest in the world. Learn to listen to counsel from people you trust, but always follow your heart and your inter-compass of moral right, of spiritual right, and of compassion.
After 40+ years with various jobs and in various "careers", I have yet to be asked the following questions in an interview:
• What grade did you get in your high school XXXX class?
• What was your GPA when you finished university (except when I applied for grad school, but that is how those people think anyway)?
• What is your favorite film, author, or novel?
• Nor have I been provided with a list of 10 sentences of various lengths and complexity and requested to make the proper placement of all commas in each of the sentences. LOL
Success in not the HS diploma or the College degree and in many ways, how or what you do at any of your "jobs".
Success is internal.
Success is being able to look back at your life at any time and know that you did the best you could have done and that have lived a life which made a difference to others for the simple reason of having been alive.
Success is learning to listen to counsel from people you trust, but always follow your heart and your inter-compass of moral right, of spiritual right, and of compassion.
Success is being responsible for every aspect of your time here on earth. It is living through the heart breaks, the disappointments and the hardships but still smiling and finding a delight in watching a quiet snow fall on the city streets.
So - PK - have fun with life - be safe and be happy.
This is a TED lecture by Sir Ken Robinson.
The discussion is just one of 7 on this list - to my writer friend(s) - watch more than the Sir Ted...