Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kids at Work Day

I read a piece yesterday that got me thinking and I’ll share it with you now:

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability consume, condemns itself to death.” – Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Winning Journalist

I really appreciate the sentiment in that statement. I’ve always been an advocate of learning for the sake of learning and the broadening of horizons. While waiting for the train this morning I saw a glimpse of this business/success motivated child rearing.  A few of my fellow commuters had their children with them and I can only guess that it was some sort of bring your offspring to work day thing. It got me thinking about the motivations behind the whole, “Bring your Children to Work Day”.

I suddenly found it hard to believe that a large corporation was interested in the family bond between parents and children yet they encouraged a day to show your children what it is you do for a living. Was it really for the structure of the family unit or, now I might be off on this, could it be that they wanted to provide your children with a model or example of how to be a good little worker bee when they grow up?

I remember the whole lecture from teachers, “How can you get a good job without this (certain level) of education? Don’t you want to be successful?” It’s a terrible thought now. Considering I want very little to do with the business world I’m currently embroiled in. I had no business aspirations as a young man. I always thought of myself as an artistic guy, unencumbered by the trappings of business. However, here I am. 35 years old in a cubicle in a big downtown office building, pushing paper and using terms like, “deposition testimony”, and, “economic loss claim”.

I’d hate, if I had a child, to put them through something like that. “See Grace (my imaginary daughter’s name is Grace), this is what Daddy does to pay for things. He hates every day of it and one day when you grow up, you can be a wage slave too. Isn’t that fun?”

I’d never take Grace to work with me but rather let her explore the world with wide, optimistic eyes and maybe she’ll grow up challenging the norms of society and become an iconoclast to be revered and remembered. I’d hope that by the time she’s in imaginary awesome school the teachers will be focused on giving her the practical skills to survive but are not molding her into another punch-clock drone. I certainly will do my part to keep her as far away from a cubicle of her own as any imaginary father would.  

I’ve said it before; I’m not a fan of formalized education. I am a fan of a structured education. I’m not an educational anarchist. I do believe that a child needs structure and rules but not ones that steer a child toward a career that focuses on the accumulation of wealth over an accumulation of knowledge.

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