I have had this poem for many years.
On Education–By: Anonymous
He always wanted to explain things.
But no one cared.
So he drew.
Sometimes he would draw,
and it wasn’t anything.
He wanted to carve it in stone
or write it in the sky,
and it would only be him and the sky and
the things inside him that needed saying.
It was after that that he drew the picture.
It was a beautiful picture.
He kept it under his pillow
and would let no one see it.
He would look at it every night
and think about it.
When it was dark and his eyes were closed,
he could still see it.
When he started school,
he brought it with him,
not to show to anyone,
just to have along like a friend..
It was funny about school.
He sat at a square, brown desk,
like all the other square, brown desks.
He thought it should be red.
And his room was a square, brown room,
like all the other rooms.
It was tight and close and stiff.
He hated to hold the pencil and chalk,
his arms stiff, his feet flat on the floor,
the teacher watching and watching.
The teacher came and spoke to him.
She told him to wear a tie
like all the other boys.
He said he didn’t like them.
She said it didn’t matter!
After that they drew.
He drew all yellow.
It was the way he felt about the morning,
and it was beautiful.
The teacher came and smiled at him.
“What’s this?” she said. “Why don’t you
draw something like Ken’s drawing?
Isn’t that beautiful?”
After that, his mother bought him a tie,
and he always drew airplanes and rocketships
like everyone else.
And he threw the old picture away.
And when he lay alone looking at the sky,
it was big and blue and all of everything,
but he wasn’t anymore.
He was square inside and brown
and his hands were stiff.
He was like everyone else.
The things inside that needed saying
didn’t need it anymore.
It had stopped pushing.
It was crushed.
Like everything else.
I realize there are many wonderful teachers, schools and philosophies out there, but I remember when I used to spend time in the career center in college and students would come in and some wanted to be teachers and some said well if this doesn’t work out I’ll just become a teacher. Well, I’m sure you can guess who I thought was going to become a good teacher and whose class I’d want my children to be in.
I love Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf school approach. Could you imagine if our public schooling system was infused with addressing the needs of the whole child (body, heart, mind, spirit) which supports and reinforces their confidence, along with reverence for life and making a contribution to the world, a love of lifelong learning and a sense of wonder of the world? Where teachers are nurtures and stay with one class for eight years and are a mentor to the children and really know them. I realize that there is no perfect system, but what if…
“The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother [you can add teacher, father, etc.] and a million ways to be a good one.” Jill Churchill, writer
There have been many quotes about how we need to start with the children in order to change the world. So why don’t we just start with making small shifts and baby steps, I guess we are, I am. I just need to remember that there are changes being made, just very slowly and often I can’t see them.
“Be mindful of your words, for they can cause both joy and pain.” –Buddhist saying
“Wounded children become wounded adults, and wounded adults can destroy the world.” –Marianne Williamson
“Be yourself. Who else is better qualified?”–Frank J. Giblin II