It’s been a while. It’s 2018 and a cold, snowy, about to get snowier day here in Kamloops. The day so far has been full – reading an engaging book in early morning when all is quiet and making enough mental notes for a good conversation with the boys later on, walking the dog in winter crispness, meeting with Sasha’s teacher to lay out this semester’s intended learning (a group of homeschooling kids meet once a week for various learning activities such as nature excursions, science experiments, art, and of course, playing.) Add a haircut and grocery shopping… then we’re back home for the day’s learning.
Sasha settles on a book about Canadian discoveries, a library book that has them raise their eyebrows in surprise and say ‘Oh, I did not know that…’ or ‘Mom, did you know…’. Past the reading about discoveries comes the part where creativity kicks in and be it Lego, or other materials, various viable or less so inventions come to life. Inspiration is a word that contains a world of hopes, dreams, sweat, frustrations, and sometimes succeeding, but it never ends at that. It’s a word I’d like the boys to make it a constant presence in their lives as they grow up and I’d like the same for myself, to be inspired no matter what.
As we sit for lunch, we chat about an incoming overnight hike to a nearby lake, and I wish I could remember how the conversation slipped from snowy woods, cabins, and the games we’d play in the evening to Martin Luther King. While the boys still munch on their food, I read out loud about his contribution to the world and then we listen to his famous speech ‘I had a dream.’ The timing couldn’t have been more adequate. Our last weeks have been peppered with many conversations about equality, the expectation of some to dominate over others, modern-day slavery, the extent of it compared to the old day, the wrongness of allowing it as an invisible presence in the developed world market, the fact that people are still judging people based on the colour of their skin.
The boys sit and listen; I read some of the words that carry so much weight it’s a wonder (not the positive kind) we do not employ them more intensely in the education process. ‘Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity…’ has me read over twice because it brings so much with it. We live in an age when questionable leaders emerge with the help on internet ‘viral’ spreading of various kinds of information, true or otherwise.
We also live in a world where education is being tweaked to fit within narrow confines dictated by commercialism (presence of cell phones in classrooms has nothing to do with learning no matter how you turn it, no pun intended) and is often commandeered by the fear of imposing any boundaries, even though children’s well-being depends on the adults around them establishing healthy boundaries.
How are we to inspire the young generation to seek knowledge in the interest of preventing ultimately selfish pursuits and avoid ‘conscientious stupidity?’ How are we to inspire them to see that the world they are part of is requires patience to understand, a sense of wonder and determination to develop critical thinking skills that will eventually help create a better social, political, and environmental landscape…
Learning is a beautiful adventure, a constantly evolving path that can have us maintain a balance within ourselves as we grow, no matter our age, and balance with the world we belong to. I wish that by the time the boys are ready to take off flying, they will remember that and keep that as a bookmark of sorts in that book of knowledge they’ll hopefully keep tucked in their backpacks…