This is the message spoken to thousands of school kids every day:
Study hard….get good grades…do as your told…color in the lines….comply, comply, comply. And of course the prime directive: FIT IN. For God’s sake…FIT IN!!!
What about the child who works with their hands? What about the kid who freezes up when it comes to taking a test but invents and fabricates model rockets in his spare time? Or what about a kid who has a dream of becoming a chef? (True story: I was visiting with a mom the other day who was distressed over her child’s desire to become a chef. “He should study mechanics,” she said with a sigh. We talked about that.) Or the hyperactive girl who thinks math is dumb and is a gifted ballerina?
If we judge these kids against a classroom measure the tacit message conveyed is: You are dumb. (And rising numbers of them will be drugged to help their “deficits.”)
Every child is a genius in their own unique way. Some excel in the classroom but there are far more who don’t. From a severely disabled non verbal child who can light up a room with a smile, to the math nerd. All bring unique gifts into the world.
Sadly, our educational models only validate the academically strong. Education and genius come in many different shapes and sizes. And given the changes in the workplace models, this is more important than ever that we recognize this.