When Money Matters Over Kids

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“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children?

We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.

When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them:

Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. ~Pablo Picasso

The current education system is broken. It doesn’t work. Take it from me. I said I wanted to teach from the time I could answer the question.

My whole life has been about caring for and serving our nation’s youth.

I’ve personally taught thousands of children.

And then, I left my career all together.

Why?, you might ask.

The reason is simple.

It no longer seemed about children, their health and well-being and creating a place for them to thrive and grow.

It became about mandates from the government about how much they needed to know by a certain time and how they were to show what they knew.

Tests and practice tests became the order of the day.

Facing classrooms full of 25-30 children, each of them with different needs and learning styles, I was challenged to tailor the lessons to them.

The list of things that students must know and be able to do grew ever longer every year.

Soon, my teammates and I would look at each other with utter defeat.

When the school board was asked about how we were to carry out this vast list in the number of hours we had in a school year, given that it actually didn’t add up, we couldn’t really accomplish what they were asking in a given 9 month period, we were told to just do it anyway, try your best.

The pressure was on. Every day became a race to a finish line I could never see.

I had to have two shots of espresso to field what came at me in a given day. I often worked through lunch, skipped outside time and stayed till sundown, only to drag home bags of books to plan or grade and be prepared for the next day.

The movement is toward pay for performance. If a teacher does not have students perform well, then she or he is out.

No matter if my students are new transfers from Mexico and don’t speak English, or are diagnosed with a learning disability and have a low IQ and seem to not retain information. Or, let’s not forget the year I had a student who was removed from his abusive home by social services. They realized he had never been to school in his entire life. He was ten years old with the social maturity of a kindergartener and he was placed in my classroom because of his age and expected to take the 5th grade state test. In the future, my pay and job would be based upon his test scores.

The problem is, there is not a cookie cutter model, one size fits all for human beings. In some race to nowhere, our government has deemed it more important to look good statistically in comparison to other countries instead of honoring the truth of what children need.

Young children need time with their families and friends. They need to play, be outside, dance, sing, imagine, hear stories, and explore.

All this pressure to perform, to sit, to know before you need to know, has created a culture of children who are lonely, isolated, feel that they don’t fit in and who do not have their natural gifts nurtured, seen and acknowledged.

Parents, pressured from the demands of work and attempting to provide financial security for their families, end up robbing children of the one thing they need, the presence of an available and attuned adult.

Thus, the problem perpetuates itself and we have mass shootings and violence and young, angry men, lost in our culture, undervalued, unseen, neglected, who act out in atrocious ways.

Money is such the driving force here. It is such an illusion. This system we’ve bought into, this system we perpetuate, where we believe that paper printed with little symbols is what can secure our happiness.

We are not to blame, as it is set up this way and has been for so long.

The truth of the bounty of earth and the abundance we can enjoy and share if we collaborate together, live in union with each other and realize that it’s not paper printed in a big building that gives us life’s treasures. It is you, and me, and sharing and planting food and growing gardens and eating together. Where, in any of that, do we need banks?

The warm sun, clean water, good food and time to bask in the glory together are what feed us.

This illusion and addiction to paper money, or ones and zeros on a screen, perpetuates a system in which people feel stress, thus they create new humans under stressful conditions, then they are unavailable to nurture their young due to pressure to work and have money.

They must pay for strangers to rear their young.

We must nurture human beings as we would a small and precious seedling, giving it proper soil to grow, healthy water and warm sun.

Then, we give it space and encourage it in its magnificence and beauty as it rises up and expands. We do not hover over it and tell it which way to grow.

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