Saturday, August 23, 2008

Making Monkeys Dance

I've recently discovered that I really don't like these two terms; "training" and "schooling". They both imply something sinister to me; that you don't have what is needed to do a certain task or perform a certain skill, and someone superior to you (external to you) is going to bestow their talent on you, if you do as you're told. "Dance monkey, and you will be rewarded with shiny yellow banana". It irks me.

I have come to realise recently that learning a new skill or task or profession is really just a process of discovering the talents and skills you already had within yourself that will be most useful to this new thing. You are not without at the beginning of learning something new. This is something just dawning on me, which I still struggle with (I get very flustered at the start of trying something new and feel inferior and "stupid" because I can't do this new thing that others can - like knitting!!! I'm also realising that my excitement for studying, doing courses, and getting qualifications comes from feeling "without" and hoping to fill that void with something. Of course that never works, and so the professional student is born!).

No two individuals are the same, therefore no two doulas or authors or academics are the same. But schooling and training treat all students the same. They learn the same cirriculum and are given the same answers for the same questions and problems, and this is supposed to equip them for their new identities as the learned folk. Of course it doesn't, and the more we live the more we realise how much time was wasted in schooling institutions and how little we gained from "studying". The best form of studying is living! Life is on the job training.

I'm also beginning to realise how meaningless the terms "student" and "teacher" are. We are all students our entire lives. We never stop learning! To do so would be incredibly dull! It would make life pointless. But we are also always teachers because by being ourselves and sharing our natural gifts with others we help others learn new things and realise their own skills in similar areas.

Anyway, we won't be "homeschooling" our daughter. We won't be schooling any of our children. We don't want a pack of trained monkeys. We will nurture and guide our child's natural learning journey while she lives at home. And when she's an adult we will continue to support her as she continues her natural learning journey.

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