BY SOFO ARCHON
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” ~Albert Einstein
School is supposed to help children grow into wise, conscious human beings, by providing them with the tools needed to live a beautiful, fulfilling life. The way school works in most places around the world, however, is far from teaching children those lessons that are essential to living this kind of life.
Here are 10 such lessons children are not taught in school, although it is of true importance that every person should know.
1. Knowledge doesn’t equal understanding
One of the most harmful things we were taught in school is that to know about things means to actually understand them. Hence most of us didn’t learn to develop our critical thinking and base our reasoning on our own experiences and understanding of things. Instead, we’ve learned to blindly believe what has been handed down to us from tradition, without stopping and questioning whether what we know is true or not, which is preventing us from evolving into wiser individuals.
2. Titles won’t make you feel significant
From a very young age, children are being fooled into believing that acquiring a college or university degree will make them feel significant and proud of themselves, no matter how much suppression they will have to endure. The truth, however, is that degrees and titles are never enough to make us feel important, since they cannot provide us with what we truly long for — empowering things like creative work and meaningful relationships. Titles can only provide us with temporary egoistic pleasure but eventually they always leave us empty and insecure.
3. Failure can be a good thing
As school students, most people were in a constant fear of failure. Students are taught that failure is a bad thing that everybody should be scared of, and that in life we need to avoid failure by all means, as if it is some sort of an evil thing. But since mistakes and failure are actually what teach us right from wrong, being afraid of making mistakes could lead us to stop trying to achieve new things, and hence stunt our intellectual growth.
4. Doing nothing is not a waste of time
When a child doesn’t feel like doing anything productive, but feels like relaxing, contemplating, or playing, its parents and teachers complain that it’s wasting its time. Hence children learn from a very young age that leisure time is meaningless and futile, and that being continuously busy and productive is what gives purpose and meaning in life. This puts them in a constant state of stress that usually results in mental and emotional fatigue, and all sorts of psychosomatic illnesses. Taking time off to relax and do nothing can in fact help us to let go of our worries, enjoy the present moment, recharge our batteries, reconsider our way of living, and focus on what is truly important in life.
5. Boredom is a healthy sign
In modern society, we think that boredom is a bad thing and those who are bored have nothing better to do in life. The truth, however, is that boredom is nothing more than a symptom of suppression. As school students, most of us were forced to attend class, and naturally we were bored and lazy, since we didn’t derive any joy from it. When, however, we were given the time to play or do something creative that essentially allowed us to express our minds and hearts, we were always filled with energy, being active with the totality of our being. Boredom therefore is a healthy sign showing that one is still a sensitive human being who wishes to pursue his or her passions.
6. Work can be fun
In school, children are taught that they have to sacrifice their time and effort, suppressing themselves for years upon years in order to get a good degree so they can later find a decent job and earn a living. Therefore, they have associated in their minds work with suppression and sacrifice. One of the essential life lessons that children are not taught in school is that work can actually be absolutely beautiful, if done with love. Work can be one of the most blissful experiences, if it sprouts spontaneously from within. When, however, work is being done out of compulsion — because we have to do it — it turns into a mere drudgery.
7. Competition is not beneficial
From the moment children enter school, they are taught that competition is healthy and that it helps improve their learning process. This way school imbues them with the belief that competition contributes to our progress, both on an individual and collective level. Studies, however, have shown that when children collaborate, they learn more easily than when they compete. In addition, studies have shown that co-operation helps workers to be more creative, proving that, when it comes to creativity, the belief that competition is beneficial is just a myth. In, fact, competition and the war mentality that we see all around us has done a lot to stunt the progress of human civilization, and contributes immensely to the everyday stress and violence that prevails in modern societies across the world.
8. Exams don’t measure intelligence
In school, children’s knowledge and understanding is being tested by exams. Those students who are doing well in exams are usually being looked up to by their teachers and those who don’t do well are looked down upon. This gives students the wrong impression that exams are a sufficient measure of their intelligence. The reality though is that exams, as we know them to exist today in most schools across the world, are far from measuring the intelligence of children. School exams are actually nothing more than memory tests which, in order for students to pass, they just have to memorize and regurgitate information, which they will most likely soon forget altogether once they graduate from school.
9. Money can’t buy happiness
The reason children are being given for going to school is that by doing so they will manage at some point later in their lives to earn plenty of money that will allow them to live a good, happy life. Therefore, children come to believe that money should be the primary goal in life, and that it is the main thing that will bring them happiness and success. And although in our economic system it is true that money is needed to buy us food and shelter, it is never enough to buy us happiness. Happiness, as research shows, is mainly derived from healthy relationships with people and is almost entirely unrelated to money, once our basic physical needs are satisfied.
10. Non-conformity is a good thing
Every person is unique, without exception. Yet, since we were very young, we have been conditioned to conform to society, follow rules and walk on a ready-made path created by others. This is particularly done in school, were children have to obey to authority figures and blindly accept what they are being taught by them. All the great minds that have walked on Earth, however, chose to not conform and doubt traditional beliefs, rebel against authority, and think for themselves. The way of non-conformity is certainly not an easy way to follow, but it is the only way to live a truly free and fulfilled life.
“A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” ~George Santayana
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