Thursday, July 30, 2020

Life is not a race

As I listen to multiple individuals discuss the pandemic with relation to school, there is an errant theme that runs through the conversations, and that theme is one that likens life to a road race. When we hear people discuss catching up, gaining momentum, coming out ahead, making the grade, being in the advanced group, and completing expected learning, those words compare learning to a road race with  winners and losers. Honestly, life is not a race. In the end, we all end up in the same place. Life, instead, is a journey with a lot of predictable events and some unpredictable occurances as well.

So what if Americans, changed their education as a race metaphor to an education as good living metaphor--how would that change the way people discussed education during a pandemic.

First of all, I don't think anyone would be thinking about putting young children in robot-like rows or relegated to a computer screen all day. Good living is active, imaginative, engaging, and empowering. Relegated to stationary, passive learning is not good living at all. Good living instead includes active, exploratory adventures such as planting gardens and producing beautiful, tasty, healthy food to enjoy and share with others. 

Next, no one would put children or anyone in situations where there is a grave threat of illness or contagion. Good living is healthy living, and everyone would work for as healthy as possible decisions.

And, the focus would be on the elements of good living including reading great books, writing wonderful letters and stories, investigating thought-provoking questions, inventing, cooking, fixing, making, planting, hiking, and exploring. 

Further the focus would be on elevating every Americans ability to live well with good homes, beautiful safe neighborhoods, wonderful nutritious foods, healthy positive recreation, and empowering educational opportunities.

I'm not sure how the road race metaphor ingrained itself so deeply in society--perhaps it goes all the way back to days when early humans had to outrace dangerous predators or be the first to get the good catch. Times, in my opinion have changed, and it's not about the race anymore, but instead about the wonderful journey that good living holds.