Thursday, 7 February 2013

Go on, truant!

Break the back of this disease we call school. Its an aberration. Go on get out of there.Run and dont look back.Run into your life.
They have been running a campaign in our local town to rescue truants from certain peril (see my earlier blog) by not serving them in their shops.The jury is out on whether truants,returned to school,are ever the successes one local principle is quoted as calling 'research'. Depends on how you measure success. If you mean they complete their compulsory education,I wouldn't call that a success. Completion of schooling isnt success-. in the same way that lack of war is not peace.I would like to read that research.
Now a little guessing game: Who do you think truants from school? Children from a higher, middle, or low income demographic? Families or parents who are interested or who arent interested? You're right so far. Could we say that they rightly perceive (the truant child and the family) that school offers nothing for them? Is staying at school going to launch them on a career path to law or med school? Something about the whole problem smells of exclusion,privelege and a caste system.
I read an interesting Scottish Study of truancy recently. Its worth a look  I noted that the overwhelming majority of kids in the study wagged because they were bored. I'd imagine the same results would be found here in NZ. So what do we say to that? The idealogues would contend that we have to entertain them with technology to get them 'engaged' in learning;to use eduspeak Their point of view is-it's obviously the kids fault.I would also bet that alot of these children would be the first to say its their fault,that they are lazy or badly behaved.We have The Perfect Society where the victims of shoddy systems are the biggest fans of the system that oppresses them..Natural learners would say let the children decide what they want to do.We did..And it worked.
When I was given the job to watch the gates at school during recess (keeping the inmates from escaping), I was frequently approached by young people begging to be allowed to go to the shop-a 200 metre walk in view of my station. I would engage them,and suggest that they were in a type of jail and that I was given the job of warden. These students were men and women;not children.In the rest of their lives,they were free to go to any retail store, drive a motor vehicle, make decisions about where and who to spend their time with. but for some reason it was considered dangerous for them to pick up a bag of potato chips from the local dairy. I mean,they might run away and never come back! That's ludicrous; the whole town would scoured for them and they would be in trouble from school authorities (and possibly from home).
Add caption

Judgement and juryment

Judgement-I'm trying to stop it.Aware that I'm preprogrammed to judge and that my whole culture does it on a daily basis,I'm coming to the conclusion that judging decreases my quality of like (and potentially others).Its like this: You do something 'wrong', you're 'bad'-the feelings are possibly a mixture of guilt,depression and shame.Now that is a mental position-its not a fact-that you are wrong that you are bad etc. So my new position is I feel remorse,I witness the effect of what I did,I refrain from judging myself and others.Instead I feel my feelings,I listen to the feelings of the others in the equation, I learn about how much they valued something which was taken away,destroyed or damaged. I witness that I, too have a value system and how I feel and how this contributed to my course of action. I listen empathetically to myself and give myself a chance to do something different next time. I ask what the person I affected would like me to do differently next time. This is not semantic romantics;it isnt liberal 'touchy feely' claptrap. I've been doing this for a few years now with remarkable success.I have grown closer to others,connected with myself and experienced less shame,anger, guilt, fear and depression.
Judgement needs a perpertrator and, neccessarily, a victim.It just occurred to me that judgement removes personal responsibility.It can entrap both 'victim'and 'perpertrator'.Blame imprisons. How many times have I heard the bitterness in the victim even though the perpertrator is imprisoned.or dead-they've been executed. It doesn't change their stance or feelings.They still feel (or should I say think) themselves wronged.. The other compassionate approach has neither.It frees you because you can actually feel,you can communicate compassionately (with yourself and others).You are in charge of your thoughts and therefore the  feelings which follow them. True, their ingrained nature can make habitual thoughts hard to shift.