Awesome Whitney asks: “I have a question about ADHD. I get what you are saying and believe people should focus on their passions. As an educator I see kids who have ADHD or at least traits of it and teachers try to find creative ways to teach them. But what about certain requirements if you choose the traditional school setting? Are you saying the kids don’t have to focus on subjects they hate as they are not passionate about it? Like math for example. To graduate they need 3 years of math in my state and to get into a 4 yr college, they must have a C or better in Algebra 2. So….what is the best way to approach this LOA-Style? The bottom line is I hear what you are saying, want everyone to focus on their passion and get into the vortex but sometimes we have to do things we don’t like (focus on subjects we don’t like) in order to get the diploma/apprenticeship/job, etc.  Is the answer that they should get into the vortex prior to the dreadful task? Like when you focus on the feeling of a clean house and then you are inspired to clean toilets?”

Hey there Awesome Whitney,

Although I’ve written about overhauling the Education system, it’s obviously not realistic to expect all the teachers and students to just drop everything and just abandon their schools. Just as I don’t tell someone who hates their job to just quit (if you don’t have the belief that something better will come along shortly, this would be a VERY stressful move), I won’t advise all parents to homeschool or unschool their kids. And while it’s obvious that a huge shift is happening in terms of education, what can teachers and parents do RIGHT NOW to help their little ones who are still part of the current system?

Quick note: I’ve covered ADD and ADHD in other posts, so I’m going to answer this question in terms of what you can do for ALL students in the current school system. These techniques will, however, work for kids with a lower tolerance for focusing on crap they don’t care about (“ADD”) as well.

Check your assumptions at the door

The first piece of advice I have for you is a general one – stop making assumptions about what these kids have to do to be successful, or even what success looks like. Not everyone has to or even should go to college. For decades we’ve told kids that if they get a degree, often any degree, they’ll be guaranteed a “good job”, and security for life. Not only is that blatantly not true anymore (was it ever?), but more and more economists are realizing that the debt incurred by getting an often useless degree cripples people for life, and the entire economy with it. We’re basically creating indentured servants. Some people have to go to college – doctors, for example. But most jobs in business and commerce don’t actually benefit that much from those 4 expensive years. Work experience is much more valuable, and companies are starting to realize that, especially when it comes to “New Economy” jobs like technology.

Another massive assumption is that security (which can no longer be guaranteed) equals happiness. It doesn’t. In fact, most people give up the idea of living a fulfilled life in exchange for feeling safe (they don’t have to, but the belief that they do is prevalent). Kids today are rejecting this idea more than any other generation before them. They will rebel against the notion that working for 40-50 years in a job that makes them want to kill themselves is any kind of worthy goal. They often still remember that they’re supposed to be happy, that they’re supposed to be passionate, and they reject anything and anyone that tries to convince them otherwise.

So, when you go to give advice to a student about what they “have to” do in order to be successful, make sure you’re not trying to instill an outdated belief in them. I understand this will not always be easy – parents are afraid that their kids will “fail”, and want to give them every chance possible. And good grades, a college degree and nice, safe, stable job are seen as the way to do that. But this is just simply no longer true.

How important are academics?

Unless you’re talking about jobs in academia (like scientists or teachers), no one really cares what your GPA was. No one has ever looked at my “permanent record” (do they still use that to scare kids?), or asked me what classes I took in college. Why? Because outside of academia, no one cares about what you pretended to learn about, memorized the night before the test, and promptly forgot a couple of days later. What people who want to hire you ultimately want to know is what can you do? What do you actually know? How can you best help them?

And notice that I didn’t use the term “employers”. I truly believe that the economy we’re moving into will be largely made up of independent contractors and experts, knowledge workers and business owners. Even “employees” will be more independent, often working from remote locales, paid not for how many hours their butts are in seats, but for their actual contribution. A person’s value in the work place is no longer determined by how many facts they know, but rather by their ability to continuously learn, think creatively and innovate.

The kids in school today are going to be working in professions that haven’t even been invented yet. We cannot keep preparing them for a working world that isn’t serving us NOW, much less in the future.

Why am I telling you all this? How can this possibly help you prepare kids for a future you can’t see? Of course, there are more specific things you can do to help pave the way for their future, and I’ll share some of them with you in a second, but the key is to approach all of this from a place of flexibility. You have to allow for the fact that when a child tells you that he doesn’t see any need to learn a certain subject, he might just be spot on. He may well not need to learn that particular topic (I can think of tons of stuff I “learned” in school that I’ve have NEVER used…). In that case, don’t lie to the kid, feeding him the same old line you were fed: that you’ll need this stuff later. You know they probably won’t.

But what about the stuff they WILL need?

“Ok,” I hear you saying, “but what about the core subjects, such as reading and basic math? They’ll definitely need those skills.” And yes, you’re right. But we have to differentiate between skills and topics. What’s the difference? Well, skills are what you need in order to understand and learn about topics. Reading, writing, and basic math, are skills. History, Calculus, and Biology are topics. If you can read, you’ll be able to learn about any topic that’s been written about. If you can ask good questions and communicate effectively, you can collaborate with others to delve deeper. If you can write well, you can share that information with others who might also be interested. If you can understand basic math and think logically, a whole world of understanding opens up to you. When you teach skills, you’re teaching kids HOW to think. When you teach topics, you’re often teaching them WHAT to think.

Skills based education

Now, I realize that as a teacher in today’s education system, you only have so much control over what you actually need to do in the classroom. But whenever possible, I urge you to teach kids how to learn, rather than focusing so much on WHAT they need to learn. And I advise parents to do the same. If a child is instilled with the knowledge that he can learn anything he wants, he’ll be set to succeed at anything he wants to focus on for the rest of his life. Too often, our educational approach does the opposite. Memorizing data for a test is not “learning”. In fact, real learning can’t in the absence of interest. There has to be a desire to learn what is being presented.

Think about it: children learn to speak, to walk, to draw, to use their little hands and fingers, to roll their eyes at their parents while texting, all without ever taking a class on any of that. How? They see those around them modeling this behavior, and even more importantly, they have a strong desire to learn these skills.

When you engage a child’s (or adult’s) interest, learning happens pretty much automatically. And this is the key to bridging the gap for today’s kids.

Can you get kids interested in school?

Kids are very interested in learning. But they’re often not interested in school. This is because, as I explained above, school often isn’t about learning. But it can be. And if teachers and parents work together, it can be done.

The following techniques can be applied by both teachers and parents. But even if the parents, for example, don’t want to play along, you can still make a huge difference in the educational journey of a child. The same is true if you are a parent and aren’t too happy with your child’s teacher. And no, the answer is NOT to go and rip your kid’s teacher a new one.

Step #1 – Clean up your own shit

Well, you knew this was coming. First and foremost, if you’re having trouble with your students or kids, figure out what’s being triggered in you and then clean that up. If they’re making you angry or frustrated, that YOUR shit, not theirs. Don’t make them responsible for what they’re simply mirroring back to you. If you’re going to influence anyone positively, you can’t do it from a low vibration. So, you have to own your shit. Sorry, but there’s just no getting around this. Some of the beliefs that may be blocking you will be covered below.

Step #2 – You are NOT responsible for the child’s success in life

Yes, I know. This one is really hard to hear, especially for parents. But the fact is that you can’t control the reality of another person. No matter how much you care, you can’t guarantee that a kid, even YOUR kid, will turn out rich, secure or even happy. Not only will trying to do so mess up your own vibration (your worry does not serve you or them), but you can actually make it harder for them to find their alignment. When you look at a child with an attitude of “there’s something wrong with you. You’re not going down the right path. You have to change. I’m worried about you, etc.”, you’re messing with their self-worth, EVEN if your concern comes from a place of love.

Understand that your children are powerful creators. They are on their path just as you are on yours. And as infinite beings, they’re going to be just fine. In fact, this generation is destined to change the world, so they’ll be more than fine. They may not take a road that you would’ve taken, or that you would’ve chosen for them, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. If you can see them being fine no matter what, if you can hold that vibration for them, you’ll do more to influence them to success than pressuring them about their grades could ever accomplish.

Mind you, this is not to say that you should ignore any signs of trouble and just pretend it’s not happening. If your child, for example, is horribly unhappy at school, you should definitely address that, but not by making that unhappiness his fault, or by asking him to conform to a system that makes no sense.

Step #3 – Be honest

I always cringe when I hear people say something like “Sometimes you just have to do things you don’t want to do.” Well, I call Bullshit. This is NOT a part of the time space reality construct we live in. We made that particular little nugget of cow dung up, ourselves. There is, from the Universe’s point of view, NEVER a need or even a good reason to do something we don’t want to do. So stop teaching that to the kids, will you? They don’t believe you anyway and it just messes with your credibility.

You may think that you have to do certain things in order to get what you want, but that’s just a belief. The truth is that you simply don’t know HOW to get what you want without doing what you don’t want to do, and you’re WILLING to make that sacrifice. What if your kids or students aren’t? Can you really blame them? Now, again, as a teacher you’re going to be limited in how much of this you can talk about (there are always ways…), but you can certainly model it. And you can get kids to use their massive creativity to figure out solutions.

For example, instead of saying “you just have to put up with that”, tell the kid what needs to be accomplished and challenge them to figure out a way of getting that done that’s more fun for them. And then let them do that. Don’t insist that there’s only one way to achieve world domination. Your way may well not be the best way.

Step #4 – Let them game the system

Let’s face it, a lot of what we do these days is ass backwards. It’s not efficient. We’re drowning in bureaucracy and limiting beliefs. And today’s kids REALLY don’t want any part of that. When we tell them how to do something and rigidly hold to that, we limit their ability to think creatively. They want to develop shortcuts. They want to game the system. This may, to some, sound like cheating, but it’s not. It’s smart, is what it is. Because, here’s thing: you have to know how the system works before you can game it.

For example, if a child comes up with a better way to get a correct answer on a math problem, let them do it. I’m always amazed at how we insist that there’s only one right way to get the right answer. It’s almost like we’re more concerned that they do it our way than that they get the correct result.

When I helped my brilliant nephew with his math homework one day, I was a bit surprised to see that he’d gotten a lot of his answers wrong. He’s awesome at math, so this made no sense. As I watched him try again, I realized that he was attempting to apply a system to the problems, one that allowed him to do less math and get the answers faster. I thought this was just awesome. I applauded him for his ingenuity, and told him that I would always support him finding shortcuts. But I also explained that you can’t game the system until you understand it (you can’t find a solution until you understand the problem). So, he then did the work the “traditional” way, until he fully grasped the concept. Then, I showed him a secret trick to getting the answers faster and by doing them in his head. Coolest. Auntie. Ever.

Step #5 – There’s value in knowing how the current system works. Even if it’s broken

Today’s kids are growing up in a world that’s very structured, much of it badly. They have to bridge the gap between the old world and the new world. And in order to do that, it’s actually quite valuable to understand how the old system works, even if it totally sucks ass. As long as you’re honest about the fact that this old system no longer works and is on its way out, and the fact that you’re frustrated with it, too, you can explain to your children and students that this is the only way we know how to do something today. Then, encourage them to learn that way so that they can improve upon it.

Learning how to navigate the old world comes in very handy. These kids are going to change the world from the inside out (as are all of you reading this…). They will be the employees and employers. They will work in and run the companies. And they will do so very differently. But because they are the ones bridging the gap, they will need to know what it is they’re changing. Once they understand what doesn’t work, they can reinvent it. The key here is to not insist that the old way totally works. Again, lying will get you nowhere. Be honest about this and allow them to reinvent their world, and you’ll find that you’ll get a lot more cooperation than if you insist that some things just suck and that’s the way it is.

Step #6 – Teach them how to make it fun

And that brings us to our final step which, although the easiest to implement and quite powerful on its own, is exponentially more effective when combined with the previous 5 Steps. So, even though you might be tempted to just implement this one, I’d advise at least considering adopting the whole suite. They go together so well and they make a nice gift set. Ha.

You’ve probably heard people give the advice to make learning fun for your kids. And that’s great. I don’t want to discourage that. But I think it’s actually more important to teach your kids how to make things fun for themselves. You see, while we don’t need to actually ever do anything that we don’t want to do, sometimes we want a result to which we can’t see a joyful path. The only path we can see is one that sucks. Conventional belief would now say that we just have to go down that path. But the new world thinking would poop on that idea and then do a little neener-neener dance.

When you’ve identified a destination and can only see a painful path that leads to it, find a better path. This is a skill that can change a child’s and an adult’s life.

When you feel like you have to do something you don’t want to do, first ask yourself WHY you are willing to do this thing. What will it lead to? Keep asking that question until you actually get to an answer that feels good – something you actually want.

Next, ask yourself how you might get to that result in a way that’s much more fun.

  • Envision yourself having completed the END task with a big smile on your face. Don’t worry about how that happened, just see and more importantly feel it. Ask yourself “What if there was a way to accomplish this that was super fun?” Sit with the feeling for a few minutes until you feel well and truly better. If you have time, let it go and wait for a solution to come to you. If you don’t have time to wait, you can use the following points to help you discover a solution. This is, however, best done before hand. The night before works well, and you can make this a bed time activity for your children, or an end of day activity with your class (for the next day).
  • Can you tie the activity to something you’re really passionate about (like learning to read by studying a book on hacking your favorite computer game)?
  • Can you make the activity more interactive? For example, can you make a game that includes running, finding things and building stuff to teach a topic or skill?
  • Can you use technology to make it easier (automation!)? Encourage your kids to use their techie tools to make something easier or more interesting for them (a good challenge adds fun). Are there apps or computer games that can help? And hey, your kid might just come up with something new and become the next Steve Jobs.

The key is to challenge your children and students to be part of the solution. What would it take to make a class more fun for them? Things such as contests and competitions can help a bit, but you’ll find that simply allowing them to use their creativity, have a voice and be in on the solution will inspire them much more.

Bottom line

The truth is, school sucks, at least when it comes to the current educational system. Let’s just be honest about that, including to our kids (the secret is out. They know it sucks…). But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Parents, teachers AND children can work together to create solutions from the inside out. If we talk honestly with our kids and make them part of the solution, if we respect their right to hate the current system (who doesn’t?) and their desire to change it (which is also our desire), we can become their allies, instead of just a representation of the broken, old world.

And, on a final note: lighten up. Know your kids and students will be ok. Focus on the best version of them, the happy version of them instead of the compliant version, and above all, don’t ever make them responsible for how you feel.

Now, are you ready for the pop quiz? Ha.

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  • Thanks for this great post. Teaching children takes patience and nurture. With practices described in this article, children have a greater chance of succeeding in the classroom.

  • I am very grateful for teachers and daycare people. I don’t have the talent/temperament those people do to spend all day with little kids. I love my kids, but they drive me to screaming-meemies in 2 to 3 hours! I’m glad they can handle spending all day with kids and *Enjoy* it too. I can’t which is why I don’t home school, though I gave it serious consideration when I was preg with my first.

    Next best thing, my son is going to the Arts focused elementary. I wanted to get him into the Montessori program, but it was full and the Arts school was my second choice.

    We also got Minecraft for our Xbox, it’s great for being creative and building things. Even my son’s friends have been coming over to play it. Everyone builds their own “fort”, fights the monsters (creative mode on easy – the monsters can’t hurt them back), and goes “look at that cool house Mom built!”

  • Dear Melody
    I hope you had a wonderful and restful well deserved vacation. I did miss you though.
    Okay so here is my question and it doesn’t have anything to do with school or kids.

    I know that yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not yet here and the only thing that matters is right now but I have a hard time with letting go of yesterday. Why is that? Why do we always drag the negative with us? WTF is up with that? Letting go of the past what does that even mean? isn’t what happens to us help us evolve into more enlighten states of being? I am just coming out of a pretty rough patch and because of that I was lead to many different inspirational books and people, like yourself. I can defiantly feel growth, my problem is letting go of a person that I have loved most of my life, from the first time I saw him, I was 10 he was 13 I just knew that something was there how crazy is that! then 3 years letter we dated we were each others first love. of course we party ways after about 2 years but reconnected after 40yrs and I have loved him or at least the memory of him for all those years. long story short, after 2 years of long distance relationship, I gave up my life to move over 600 miles to be with him and it didn’t last but 18 months. Why am I having such a hard letting go of this. I really want to get better at living in the present I don’t want to drag yesterday with me. I love my life! I love living life and I do live life, I do take chances I am and always have been an active player in the game of life and at this stage of my life I don’t see that changing. I truly enjoy living I just want to get better at it.
    Any thoughts or inspiration you can offer would be very much appreciated.

    • Hey Annette,

      “Why do we always drag the negative with us?”

      You would only focus on the negative, because it is helping you in some way.
      Otherwise, you would simply let it go.

      So, here’s a question:

      What is the worst thing that would happen, if you let the negative go and focused on the positive?

      What are you afraid will happen if you let go of the past?

      “isn’t what happens to us help us evolve into more enlighten states of being?”

      You are already an enlightened being. Holding on to resistance and limiting beliefs blocks out your own light.

      ”my problem is letting go of a person that I have loved most of my life”

      Again, you can ask yourself:

      What is the worst thing that would happen if I let this person go?

      What are you afraid will happen if you let them go?

      • Hi Annette, I’m sure Melody would answer this way better than I can but maybe this helps. I used to hang on old hurts like a medal of honour. I expected people to behave in a certain way (trustworthy, kind, fair, honest, etc) and if they didn’t I felt that I had to hang on to the anger that they didn’t and that that would somehow make me feel better and right the wrongs. I used to pride myself on how long I could hold on to a past hurt (and there are many let me tell you) so you are not alone!
        Since I started reading Melody’s blog I realised that that is not serving me in any way, and just holding down my vibration. So I just decided to NOT think about anything negative (how could they do this to me and they should die a slow painful death, for example) and focus on the positive. Just LET GO. Learn the lesson and move on. Let me tell you it works. If I catch myself thinking something negative, I just stop and think about something that makes me feel good instead. If you have trouble with letting go of anger, write it all out in a letter and burn it afterwards, or punch a pillow. Then forget it. It’s amazing how nice things start coming in to your life instead to replace the bad things. And the bad things and awful people just fade out. It’s quite weird but I have noticed a huge difference in 3 months. Good luck!

    • You managed to hijack a post about school system with your relationship question.
      anyhow, I will try to help out.

      1. your left brain is out of synch with your right brain.
      2. your left brain is too active while your right brain is too idle.

      The left brain lives in the past and future. this is where you create your identity and labels. The world is a whole lot of different things. You won’t find love here.
      The Right brain lives in the Now. It simply “stream” everything in real time. This is where everything is one and it feels wonderful. You find love here.

      I don’t know why but there is only enough power to run 1 half of the brain at a time.

      The mere act of trying to understand something would triggers the left brain, and it starts to work diligently. You will not hear the right brain.

      So many people tries to “figure out” love and relationship to ultimately fail.
      Love and relationship is not something to “know” about, they are something to “feel” about.
      To hear the right brain, you just let go of your thoughts, not paying attention to them and “just feel”

      • Thank you so much, sometimes I just need a little push over the humps of life. I will focus on the feelings of things which by the way were wonderful. I loved being in love it felt so good. that is where I want to live so I will chose that feeling.
        I will never regret the time I spent with him I have the answer I was looking for it may not have been the answer I was hoping for but I know the universe is always moving me in direction of my desires even if I can’t see the path clearly.
        Thank you so much! by the way I love your YouTube comments you always keep things real

        • You will need the Right brain to create more new wonderful feelings. You will need the Left brain to keep them as memories. The more you can clear the mind (the left brain), the higher quality the feelings will be. A good quality experience will be automatically passed over to the Left brain. I know many people personally who didn’t create new wonderful feelings and keep reusing old ones. Those memories made up the minimum happiness pool for them. The left brain have no choice but to hold on to these old memories because lower than the minimum and we will loose the will to live.
          The trick to forget the past is to create more, new, high quality feelings. The left brain will automatically save these new experiences. When there are enough new entries, the left brain will delete old memories.

          Ps: which youtube comment?

  • From Seth Godin’s Blog – I recommend everyone subscribe to his daily newsletter. Sometimes it is only 3 sentences. But wow – they are 3 sentences you want to think about for the rest of the day…… anyway …. Here’s Seth..

    Back to (the wrong) school
    A hundred and fifty years ago, adults were incensed about child labor. Low-wage kids were taking jobs away from hard-working adults.

    Sure, there was some moral outrage at seven-year-olds losing fingers and being abused at work, but the economic rationale was paramount. Factory owners insisted that losing child workers would be catastrophic to their industries and fought hard to keep the kids at work–they said they couldn’t afford to hire adults. It wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place.

    Part of the rationale to sell this major transformation to industrialists was that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence–it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

    Large-scale education was never about teaching kids or creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.

    Of course, it worked. Several generations of productive, fully employed workers followed. But now?

    Nobel-prize winning economist Michael Spence makes this really clear: there are tradable jobs (making things that could be made somewhere else, like building cars, designing chairs and answering the phone) and non-tradable jobs (like mowing the lawn or cooking burgers). Is there any question that the first kind of job is worth keeping in our economy?

    Alas, Spence reports that from 1990 to 2008, the US economy added only 600,000 tradable jobs.

    If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, they will find someone cheaper than you to do it. And yet our schools are churning out kids who are stuck looking for jobs where the boss tells them exactly what to do.

    Do you see the disconnect here? Every year, we churn out millions of of workers who are trained to do 1925 labor.

    The bargain (take kids out of work so we can teach them to become better factory workers) has set us on a race to the bottom. Some argue we ought to become the cheaper, easier country for sourcing cheap, compliant workers who do what they’re told. We will lose that race whether we win it or not. The bottom is not a good place to be, even if you’re capable of getting there.

    As we get ready for the 93rd year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?

    As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.

    The post-industrial revolution is here. Do you care enough to teach your kids to take advantage of it?

    Posted by Seth Godin on September 05, 2011

    Seth also has a free downloadable book: “Stop Stealing Dreams… what is school good for”

  • Yeaaaaaaaa! hacking! Because that’s what it’s really all about.
    “Benevolent hackers see the future and pull us toward it, in whatever ways work best.
    W00t! Expression of joy and excitement ’80s hackers used to disguise that they had gained root access–(the most fundamental level of control)–to someone’s system. Root was replaced with w00t!” (Hacking Work, Bill Jensen and Josh Klein, beginning of section 1)
    “Hacking is the act of understanding a system well enough to take it apart, play with its inner workings, and do something better with it. This desire to disassemble and improve is natural and built into all of us.” (Hacking Work, Bill Jensen and Josh Klein, chapter 2)
    It’s all about taking apart our education system so we can put it back together in a better way which more easily allows and even encourages people to move toward their highest joy. Thanks for the great post. It really has planted some seeds of thought into my head.
    One question I think all students should be taught to ask is, “What’s actually going on here?” And through this question, I often learn quite a few surprising things. Sometimes, I even stumble on the answer to the question in places where I was not even asking it.
    For example, just yesterday I was on hold on my iPhone. I had it on a table so it was on speaker. The iPhone does this thing where when it is placed down, it automatically goes on speaker. Anyway I was listening to the elevator music and making up words for it. Well then I somehow ended up placing my thumb on the front facing camera of the phone. It went off speaker. I took it off, and it went back on speaker. I did it with other things. I put my ear to the camera, it went off speaker. Moved my phone away a few inches, it went on. I did the same thing with a dollar bill and a business card. So I learned that the front facing camera on an iPhone detects whether or not the phone should be on speaker based on whether it is covered or not.
    I think this was a manifestation of me asking this question all of the time. It’s a wonderful question. In fact, I personally call it the meta-question. By asking it, you are able to wind up finding out what is going on behind the scenes of the processes and tools that we use every day. I think it is such a powerful question and I personally believe all students should be taught to begin asking it.
    Thanks again for the great post.

  • As a teacher, I say Amen sista!! I’ve always told my students ” sometimes you have to play by the rules in order to break them (or change them)”. This is a great motivator for the start of the school year! Thank you!!

  • Melody,

    Thank you for this post. I wish we could use these practices when we were kids. But the educational system, our parents helped as well, was built on absolutely different principles which explains why our creativity and imagination were suppressed and we got discouraged. Although the intention was very good initially. It is awesome that our children can do it differently and our mission is to help them. Thanks for the tips.

    Have a great day,

  • I teach in a secondary school – with some very ‘lively’ students. Many of the students really enjoy being at school and I sometimes have a hard time getting them to go home at the end of a day (I’m exhausted, even if they’re not!). Many kids find that they can actually connect to a ‘higher vibration’ at school than at home – not always – but I’ve seen it enough. The ones who have troubled and dis-organised home lives take comfort in the structure and relative intellectual freedom that comes from being at school. Good teaching professionals don’t just teach their subjects. They cultivate in themselves higher level characteristics – honesty, integrity, a respect for diversity etc., We allow ourselves to learn from students as much as trying to teach them, thereby creating solid, mutual respect. These dynamics can often create the conditions necessary for emotional and psychological growth as well as the sharing of information, ideas, knowledge and skills. When this happens, schools can be wonderful places for kids and teachers. For us, as educators, it can be fun, creative, enlightening and rewarding – but also truly exhausting energetically. That’s even before the Inspectors walk through the door … but that’s a whole other story.

    • Dominique, you just explained something to me that I never really realised about myself. I could never understand why kids ‘hated’ school! I loved school. I hated holidays (still do and now i know why). Coming from a lonely childhood with neglectful and emotionally abusive parents, school was a nice change for me. I had friends, I was learning stuff, I was mentally stimulated, my teachers were pretty nice (compared to my parents, anyone was nice). The same goes for work. I have always loved my jobs, and they weren’t ‘dream’ jobs, I just loved being around people and being busy (when I left home I lived on my own a lot). So for me, school was a great place, even if I didn’t learn what I should have been learning – I have always done that by myself – you can buy books, watch tv and now we have the internet to educate ourselves (when the student is ready the teacher will appear, is so true I’ve found). I think my kids are the same – they love their friends and the activities they do. Sure they could improve the curriculum but the teachers these days are so much more caring than they used to be.
      Anyway, I digress, thanks for illuminating something for me!

      • Awww thank you A 🙂 I am pleased that my response resonated with you. I love getting those ‘a ha’ moments of insight as well. As you say, the curriculum could be improved – it is far from perfect, but generally speaking, schools are more child-centred now than they have ever been. We, as teaching professionals, are working within such a large ‘system’ that it’s difficult to give the individualized approach to learning that we’d love to give, but I constantly see examples of staff going the extra mile to support kids in many ways. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with me.

        • I do reading with my 6 year olds class every week and I can so resonate with the kids who are quiet and want to learn and hang on your every word, because that was me. Trust me when I say that caring teachers who go that extra mile mean more to some kids than you will ever know.
          I remember in my last year of high school, I was having trouble at home and pregnant and trying to organise my own termination in another city just before my final exams. This was just normal stuff for me. The Form Master was sensitive enough to notice something was wrong, call me into the office and ask if there was anything he could do (there wasn’t) but I have never forgotten the fact that in my then-bleak-but-I-didn’t-realise-how-much life, someone out there cared that much. He used to pay me compliments now and then because he saw so clearly the pain I was in but knew I was so much more than that. I would love to tell him now that things worked out great for me.

          • It’s wonderful that you do reading with the class – I am biased but it is a wonderful environment to be in. Your own experiences mean that you too are shaping young lives because you know how important it is to feel cared for and you are automatically giving this out to them. If you can track your old Form Master down then I would say go for it. Tell him how well things turned out for you in the end and how much his care helped you through a very troubling time. Perhaps also you might consider a career in teaching 🙂 The profession needs people who have been through what you have and come out the other end wiser and stronger and ready to give their hearts out to others. Teaching is so much more than teaching! X

  • to me
    Teach = telling the kids WHAT to do.
    Educate = show the kids HOW to recognise their own strength/potentials and to develop themselves. This is for their best interest.

    Parents educate while Schools teach.

    many governments decided to support big companies and required all kids to go to school.
    I’m sure old timers still remember the days when home school was still popular.
    somewhere along the line, many parents got discredited (some lost interest) and stop educating their kids.

    to change the whole schooling system, we need to think in first principles.
    we need to go waaay back to the first assumptions.

  • Dear Melody

    I was just reading Mary Carol’s guest post on your website quite sometime back regarding ‘Living in the Moment Vs Honouring Commitments’. I did also read your follow-on comment on that blog post. What I want to understand is what to do if in a particular moment I make a commitment to someone regarding something but later decide that honouring that commitment is something that would not make me happy and in short I do not wish to do so?

    While I do understand that we have all been made to believe that honouring commitments is what a good person does (‘one should always stay true to their words’, etc. etc.) but as you keep mentioning in your blogs that we and what we want/do not want are constantly evolving. So while the commitment did seem in-line with what I wanted at that time, it no longer feels that way NOW.

    Honouring the commitment NOW would just make me unhappy and basically take me away from Who I Really Am.

    Love and hugs

    • I have a bit of an “issue” about people keeping their commitments. I live a good 90mins travel time from the city centre. Say I make plans to meet someone for a movie, or whatever. I have to plan ahead and travel and be sure to leave extra time in case of unanticipated delays. So there I am, sitting waiting, sometimes to be sure I am on time I have to arrive 20 or 30mins early. so there I am patiently waiting when …… 10 or maybe 5 mins before the appointment meet-up time I get a txt. “Sorry, cant make it, can we reschedule….?”
      Now, I know stuff happens. But in these scenarios, usually the person knew days if not hours before that they had no intention of keeping the commitment. Absolutely no respect shown for the effort I have made to be in the right place at the right time.
      Neha, I think you CAN change your mind and change commitments, but I think it necessitates consideration and negotiation. COMMUNICATION…. some simple honesty.. like saying “I know I committed to this, but can we see if it is possible to make a change?”
      In a perfect universe often the other person is also hoping for a change to the plans. I know in the above scenario (which has actually happened more than once – each time with different people so I do wonder what I am doing to attract it)…. in the above scenario I too would have like to have cancelled, but I stuck to the original plan…. which is why I experienced double annoyance when I get the last-minute “sorry! can make it” (which is not a genuine ‘sorry’ at all!) “Sorry” in this scenario means – stiff shit, I got a better offer and cant be bothered communicating with you ahead of time and saving you a huge inconvenience.
      So yes, change your plans – but show respect and communicate clearly your change in your preference. While I think we do need to be congruent with our own desires and not be beholden to what other people want all the time, I dont think LOA gives us a free ticket to be arseholes. Some respect for other people is very much part of the package as far as I can understand.

      • Thanks for the reply Hot Pink. I totally agree that we should show respect and consideration towards the other person and inform him/her as soon as we realize that we will not be able to keep up our commitment. I try and do this but mostly I just end up honoring my commitment because I hate letting others down. However I guess, if honoring my commitments at times makes me unhappy, I need to first and foremost start thinking more while making them and even after doing so if I feel like canceling (whether it is a meeting or something much more significant), I owe it to myself to honor my happiness first whilst keeping the other person informed.

  • How about this:
    This is an extract of something I was reading recently… I wont upload the whole thing – just this bit…….

    ……. The problem with modern schooling is that there is a teacher and the pupil.
    The pupil learns to accept the word of the teacher, and in doing so their own decision-making skills are diminished……..

    So take your six year olds. Give them fifteen minutes to draw a picture. Usually they’ll draw something from the stories you told them that day. It doesn’t matter – the process matters, and it’s a long process too.
    Because you do this every day. It doesn’t matter if the pictures are good or bad, yellow, blue or pink. The teacher GIVES NO MARKS, NO INDICATIONS. AT ALL.

    At the end of term, they’ll have a stack of pictures. The children are asked to choose the one they like best. That’s the one they’ll keep – all the rest get binned. There will be no child in that class who cannot find one picture of which they are proud. After all, there’ll be dozens of them to choose from, so even the least talented will find something they did well.

    The point of this exercise is twofold. Every child has a picture of which they can be proud – step one in the process of effective decision-making. They trust their own judgment. The second step is that nobody’s told them how to do it. No indications, no guidance, no holding up sticks or carrots. Sure the other kids might have helped – but they’re peers after all.

    Children who do this have a higher level of self confidence. This is to such a degree that I can spot one walking down the street, just by their easy air.

    It’s known as “The Waldorf Walk”

      • Hi Anna,
        I am very naughty, I am sorry. I saw that somewhere a while back… I just loved that small bit of a much longer text and did a naughty thing and just cut and pasted it. I cant remember where I saw it or what I was reading. You could start by googling Waldorf Walk – and Steiner education. I knew at the time I should have properly referenced it, but I was lazy. Not too lazy to stop me stealing these sentences, I will admit …. I will provide the lame justification that I just loved the sentiment here…
        I am not a teacher, but I think the concept of self-evaluation could translate to other subjects. Like a student choosing a history project and just working away at it. Say, finding out all about pirates – from the Phoenicians and Greeks to the Chinese and the ones at Penzance and the modern day ones in Somalia – is the reason for piracy any different now? That sort of thing.
        Or maybe explorers. Who is your favourite? Marco Polo? Captain Cook? Scott of the Antarctic? Yuri Gagarin? or the Voyager unmanned space probes? Lots of ways to make education SO MUCH more than rote and routine.
        But then, I am not a teacher – so what would I know?

  • Dear Melody, where were you 50 years ago. Funny how your blogs seem to pop up at just the right time. I could have done with this advice when I was at school. Still, I’ve been making up for lost time since I found out about you. I love the way you write as well, so spontaneous. Anyway, thanks for the good advice. Cordially, Robert

  • An example of a school that operates on similar principles to the ones expressed by Melody:

    There are similar schools in other parts of the United States, and I am sure such schools exist in other countries As far as I know, all these types of schools in the U.S. are private schools

  • Our kid goes to a school that operates on these types of principles. It’s been so valuable for all of us to see these ideas in practice. I have learned at least as much as the kid!

    I have to admit that I still struggle with the idea of “I have no way of knowing what you need to learn”, even as I intellectually understand that I really do not, and so that the child really is better off following his own passionate interests and learning how to learn! I know I still secretly think that it’s valuable to learn higher-level math and science, and history, whether or not you use those things in your daily work. For me, this feels like part of being an educated person who has clarity about the world, which is something I love and find important. But I’m making peace with the fact that I can’t decide for others (even, gulp, my own child) what is important. All I can do is be interested in learning, myself, and if my kid sees the authentic value of those things, he’ll choose to learn them as well.

    For sure I still struggle with the idea of not being responsible for how my child’s life turns out, because I didn’t have the easiest time getting started, and I think I have not yet fully come to a place of peace with it – so it still feels like something to avoid for kids, you know?

    Interesting stuff.

    • Hey Cordy,

      ”This feels like part of being an educated person who has clarity about the world…”

      I understand what you’re saying, but clarity only comes from being in alignment and connected to Source and infinite intelligence.

      He already has his own guidance system and has access to all of the answers within him, and you want to help remind him and guide him to get into alignment, and he will be inspired to know what to do and when to do it.

      “For sure I still struggle with the idea of not being responsible for how my child’s life turns out…”

      I am not sure if you have this concern or not, just wanted to give a helpful reminder:?

      Your child is not a reflection of you. They are not a positive or negative reflection of your parenting or intelligence. However your child lives their life in no way, shape or form increases or decreases your sense of value and worthiness. You are always valued, always worthy, always loved no matter what.

      You might be interested in this book:

      “The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children.”

      And, here’s an Abraham video:

      Abraham Hicks: Son won’t complete homework

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