Monday, May 19, 2014

Think Outside the Box

I've been reading Weapons of Mass Instruction and it has opened my eyes to what school did to me. I graduated with an advanced diploma that prepared me for nothing, not even college. You know what I spent 4 of my senior year classes doing? Playing Spades in a back room and I got an A in all 4 classes. I am a pretty good Spades player if nothing else. School bored me. Lectures still bore me; I tune them out even when I'm interested in the subject.
I struggled through my first year of college. It irked me that I couldn't get an A in English even though it was not my fault; no one got an A. I'm not sure what lesson they hoped to teach with that edict. I got C's in easy A classes. I didn't study. It wasn't something I had ever had to do. I dropped out of college so my husband could get his degree. It wasn't a hardship since I was burnt out after 2 years and it made economic sense for him to finish his degree instead of me. I was going for Music Education; he was going for Electrical Engineering. I may not have known much back then but I did understand which one made more money. College was a waste for me. I had no idea what I wanted to be; I had no plan for the future. I wasn't there to learn; I was there because it was expected.
When I got pregnant, I went to the doctor and did what I was told. I had preeclampsia but I didn't really know what that was or what to do about it. I didn't really think about it; I just followed the doctor's directives. Fast forward to my youngest about to start school and my older two already in the system. I was still doing everything I was told, questioning nothing. We moved around a lot so we decided to start homeschooling. I have to admit that the hubby wasn't thrilled at the idea and still is only minimally supportive. This is the point where I started to change and break out of the box. I started homeschool in the summer so they didn't miss a year of school if it didn't work. It worked. Fast forward a few more years...a scan was run on my children and we found out that the older two had heavy metals in their bodies but the youngest didn't. The only difference between them is that the older two had all of their vaccinations and the youngest didn't get the last ones needed to go to public school. Maybe it wasn't the vaccinations but maybe it was. That's not the point here. This is where I started questioning everything. I realized that I had been blindly following whatever I was told to do by anyone that was seen as an authority figure...doctors, teachers, police, politicians, lawyers, etc... I saw these people as infallible and knowledgeable in their fields of expertise so I listened to what they said. What was I thinking? I wasn't. That's the point. That's what I was conditioned to do. I was fed information in school and taught to memorize it and not question anything. Guess what most people do throughout life. It's a scary thought and explains much about our country. People aren't thinking for themselves.
So, here's my philosophy.
QUESTION-Everything. Don't take anything as truth until you've verified the information.
RESEARCH-Everything is going to be biased to some degree so check into different viewpoints to get a balanced picture.
CONCLUDE-Make your own decision on what you feel is the truth. Know where you stand and feel secure that you have a valid reason for believing as you do. As facts change, your opinion can change so be open to new information and be prepared to start the process over and question again.
ACT-What are you going to do about what you've learned? Do you need to make changes? I've made plenty! I can't change what I've done in the past but I can go forward knowing that I've done my best.

Becoming a mother and needing to do what is best for my children forced me to start thinking for myself. That's a sad thought. I should have been thinking for myself at least before I graduated high school! I look back and I wonder what I could have been, what I could have accomplished if I had only been motivated to get an education (not the same thing as being schooled)- to understand the difference, read the book I mentioned. There's a free PDF of it if you do a Google search.  I look forward and know that I want more for my kids. Their summer isn't filled with "I'm bored" and TV marathons. They're focusing on learning the things that they're passionate about. One is learning about herbs, another about computer programming (Minecraft is actually useful for something. Shocking.), and the youngest wants to learn about mechanical parts so he's going to spend his summer taking things apart and putting them back together. I want them to take charge of their education and start thinking about their future.  Questions for thought: What are you passionate about? How can you turn that passion into something that will provide for you and your family? What do you need to learn to be a success in whatever you're passionate about? How can you learn this in a way that is fun and interesting for you? Is there anyone nearby that does something similar to what you want to do? Will they let you follow them around and teach you what they know, be a mentor for you?

Sorry if this post rambles. It's more for me than for you. If college helps you achieve your dreams then go for it. But do it because you made a conscious decision based on the QRCA philosophy not because you're just following expectations. Anything you do, do it because its what is best for you and your loved ones. Think for yourself.

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