Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clandestinely brazen, and Brazenly clandestine.*

*A reference to a fellow blogger.

A popular belief among the more..........economically focused of us earthlings is that it is much better to teach your children only the "useful" stuff. But then the question comes up: Useful to what? To who? To the leading capitalists in those sheeny, glass-cased high rises who just want other people to keep the monetary faucet running into the bathtub that is their offshore bank account? Useful to society? To the planet? To your cat? People almost never say. But it is assumed and expected of you to think the first suggestion. And coming to the answer to that question would provide the answer for the secondary one: what's the "useful" stuff?

Well, why only teach them the useful stuff? Well, surely you'd want your son/daughter/transsexual to grow up and become a computer programmer. Or work for a Fortune 500 (nowadays these things come from the ground up and are made by our generation so often that I'm tempted to call it some new form of a grassroots movement. YouTube? MySpace? Girls Gone Wild? Google? Gosh......). Perhaps you'd want them to be an engineer of some sort. Is the dream of being a fireman or astronaut or garbage pick-up outdated? I don't know, but my point is that parents feel safer knowing their kid is going to ground that's already tread. This way they can direct some of the cash flow into their own direction so that said transsexual could help his/her/its parents with the mortgage and gas bills. They could secure a home for his/her/itself so that he/s/i can support their (adopted? surrogately mothered?) child or children. And this will go on for years and years to come as the parents teach their kids to do the same thing in the future...........effectively making a whole branching family of people whose lives mean essentially nothing.

No, no, no, no. Now wait a minute......yes, yes, and I agree. A person's career is not the only place they can make a difference. No, of course not. No....yes, I know, not everyone has to go out and pursue being meaningful to the world. No, its not necessary. Yes, everyone has meaning. Yes, I as a Christian am supposed to believe that. Now shut the **** up so I can talk.

The reason I bought this up is because I was reading a blog post about how the blogger (who is an art teacher and a most spiritual woman, whether she considers herself this or not) had once, in her travels to one of her school's offices, had come across an old quiz, one of the questions of which was "Name Three Metamorphic Rocks"note below. She postulated the point that students were sure to forget these things when they graduate, as well as it being a pretty useless fact in today's world. I mean, I don't know anyone who could use that knowledge. And I'm hard-pressed to find any use for it in my own life. But does that mean it's useless? Noooooooooooooo. Should we stop teaching it to our kids? Noooooooooooooo. Should we only teach our kids the fields (or tidbits) of knowledge that are making money in the world today? Nooooooooooooo.

We should be teaching our kids the knowledge which could end up having them make a difference in the world of tomorrow. This, just in case you did not guess, is ALL knowledge. Well, the most that we can teach them anyway. And being the person of the political and cultural type that I am, I will go ahead and say that the arts and crafts top all of this, but this is another discussion altogether.

There is no way to know what piece of knowledge may inspire what thought that brings about what great conquering feat of nature or massive status of world peace. Alright, that may have been too much, my point is that you never know what the future holds. So, you cannot predetermine what is the right bit of knowledge to teach a child and what isn't. Just because certain fields are making money way over everything else doesn't mean that we should only teach our children these things. That is a surefire way to turn everyone into brainless sheep who will encounter a massive era of suicide from the sharp despair of trying to deal with a shifted and changed world in their future. We should teach our children the basic fields of knowledge, the sciences, the maths, the languages, the histories, the arts, the phys eds, and make them as detailed-but-broad we possibly can. The more subjects that are taken seriously in an infrastructual institution (including showing detailed pathways to careers when you can), the more students and kids that put their faith in the system. And this all (which is included in arts and crafts teaching) is compounded with the notion that kids should take facts and apply their own rational perspectives.

I mean, let's say your kid wants to study the sciences. Would you rather they work their way into helping to make nuclear arms because that's where the money is? Or would you rather them work fervently on some obscure science that ends up having the cure for a closing Ozone Layer or has the ingredients for a cheap, renewable and non-carbon emitting gas?

noteGneiss, slate and quartzite. There is also skarn, phyllite and marble.


  1. This Brazen TeacherJanuary 7, 2009 at 9:27 PM

    I always liked Gneiss for a reason ;-)

    Metamorphic rocks are volcanic in origin and therefore the "oldest" rocks of the three classifications. Kind of a funny yet appropriate metaphor.

    Nice to see our names together up there. Your contentions were valid, and when I marry them with my own- I think we will have a brilliant samurai/teacher soup if you will. I've been thinking and reworking this thanks to you. Keep an eye out.

    G' night Sam'


  2. Hmmmmmm. . .


  3. Oh yes. I agree. Strongly. Well said.

    Perhaps many people confuse satisfaction (thought, erroneously, to be an outcome of "success") with the ability to inspire others? While they're not mutually exclusive, I suspect they differ far more than most people realise. What would the world be like if parents urged their children to strive to be inspirational in preference to "successful" (at making money)?

  4. Hear Hear!

    I like this rant.

    On a lighter note, my seven year old niece announced she wanted to be a figure skater when she grew up. My sister told her it was fine, but warned her that she might not make lots of money in that job (for which she promptly felt guilty for saying immediately after she said it).

    My niece came to her later that night announcing that my sister had a point. Figure skaters don't make much money. so, she decided to be a magician.

    Here's to knowledge in all of its forms and for all of its uses - cheers.


What's your beef, sports fan?