Saturday, September 15, 2012

A little sand in the gears of the system

I remember a conversation I had with John Taylor Gatto over the phone. He said to me-about changing the system- that you, "develop the mind of a saboteur."
"You look and move like everybody else, you don’t draw attention to yourself, but from time to time, you find where the gears are meshing and you put a nice handful of sand in them."
He said if they come to majority with independent critical minds, with a good attitude towards things, without expecting change to come easily, enjoy the struggle of testing themselves, "the biggest handful of sand will be your children."

That day has already come.

In my experience, the children who are growing up/have grown up outside of the education system seem to have a different perspective/take on things. Outwardly there is no immediate difference; they don't have yellow noses or purple chins. What is striking to me is how they approach situations. They seem to have a broader understanding of things. For them, the long range view. They tend to see the world not from a place of 'should and have tos' and 'musts' but rather,  'how can this be different?' They seem less afraid of speaking up, are not so desperate to hide ignorance- not terrified of failure, of doing the wrong thing, not worried about fitting in, or of making a faux pas.

That is why my oldest is in the throes of a confrontation with a teacher who thinks statistics and facts are not to be believed and that our society is actually a matriarchal society. Here's what she said to my daughter: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. At home, I'm the boss even though hubby might think otherwise." And to validate her position, she added that she knows many other families for whom the situation is the same as hers.
Suffer fools gladly? Not my girl. Raised to question authority, she has to speak up; she feels she would be going against her true self if she sat there and swallowed blatant ignorance.Let's hope that the price of her challenging isn't too high. The trick is figuring out when to push and when to pull back isn't it?

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