Sunday, 30 April 2017

Educate Authenticity

I wish I could do that.
I could never do that.
If only I could.

What is it about us that allows one person to leave their job, pack up their family and go exploring around the world for two years while most of us would never contemplate such an adventure, no matter how much we might like to?

What is it that makes someone comfortable to throw in their exciting executive life to start up a new business in an unrelated sector?

What is it that drives the likes of Elon Musk to risk losing the Billions he made over two start up enterprises and set up the high-risk business of manufacturing and launching space vehicles, not to mention electric cars.

Those who take such so-called risks are often admired, sometimes criticised, have their wisdom questioned and their stories listened to.

What is it about such people?

Surely their upbringing has much to do with it. So many of us are constantly told as children to “not” do this, to “stop” doing that. We are programmed to study hard, get good marks, go to University and have a successful career.

We might back pack through Asia between Year 12 and starting University or after we qualify and before we start a job, but this is like a final fling before the real world engulfs us.

Our parents, and us as parents just about always say to our Children that we don’t care what they do as long as they are happy doing it. However, when this was said to us, and when we say to our children, it is almost always with the overlay of a very traditional, defined perspective of what a happy career looks like – the one that follows “study hard, get good marks, go to University”.

Our teachers, our lecturers, our leaders and ourselves could do well to encourage the normality of open self expression and pursuit of ideas, concepts and creativity. Imagine a community where flipping burgers to save the money to back pack through India was viewed as a legitimate educative thing to do.

Further, imagine the impact of having such a person as part of our education system to teach the creative licence that such an experience provides and therefore encourage others to pursue their ideas. Imagine legitimising the so called “unusual” so that it became mainstream.

We would have adventurers but we would also end up with our professions and trades filled with people who really want to be Lawyers, Plumbers, Doctors, Motor Mechanics, Computer Scientists, Builders, Accountants, Shop Assistants. In reality, we have very many professionals and tradespeople who are doing what they are doing because it was expected of them or they viewed this as their only option.

Imagine the positive impact of our schools and universities being filled with educators who really wanted to be there, who retained their idealism of education, who lacked the cynicism of so many of our over managed, over prescribed educators of today. Imagine giving our educators the freedom to express and to promote the setting of individual goals as legitimate no matter what these are, and us as parents supporting this.

Idealistic – totally. But who can honestly say they pursued a career path they dreamed about and it has delivered?

Finally, who would like to live in a society, in communities, in families where the following phrases are obsolete?

I wish I could do that.
I could never do that.
If only I could.

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