What if there are two paths?
The path we’re on requires students to “get it right” and “be good” and then rewards them with grades, stickers, awards ceremonies, Sonic treats after school…
On this path, the students who can’t (or don’t) “get it right” get bad grades and fewer stickers and certificates. They watch the others students get the awards at the ceremonies where all the moms and dads applaud and take pictures.
These same students sometimes go to paid tutors after school – so they can be the ones getting the good grades and the awards. Eventually they might go to testing – to get a label, so they qualify for more help at school.
The path we’re on in education is about compliance, industrial-style standards, and independent achievement.
What if there is another path?
What if the real path invites students to get help first? What if the real path invites students to help each other – first? What if getting help and helping each other invites all students to “get it right”?
If I let you help me, I’ll get it right.
“I don’t need you” is the language of the wounded heart. Needs give us the capacity to experience love. (trueface.com)
What if getting help and helping others gives all students the message every day that they are already good? What if we’re as excited about students asking good questions as we are about them getting the right answers?
What if help isn’t “cheating” and we don’t call it “special ed”? What if we agree with God, “It’s not good for man to be alone”?
What if we create an environment that allows children to trust what is already true about them, even if it’s not evident yet? What if that same trust matures them – and what if that maturity helps them “get it right” and “be good”?
What if we trust that “good” is their true identity and we just help them learn to trust it, too – and to live as who they already are?
What if this path helps students not only achieve – but learn to love and be loved? What if it helps them mature instead of just perform? What if learning to love and be loved offers more fulfillment that simply achieving on my own?
There is a different path. This new path is about trust, relationships, love, and heartfelt obedience. We’re wired for life this way; it’s our original design.
I just finished preparing the directions for our writing assignments this quarter; this is a quote from the introduction –
“For all writing work, we have two objectives:
- Engage, wrestle, and write an appropriately mature paragraph, report, or essay.
2. Practice humility. Ask for help and help others. Learn to communicate face to face, ask for what you need, respond appropriately to other’s requests, communicate by email, Skype…
Both objectives are important, but #2 is key. When you are proficient with objective #2, your writing with be beautifully mature! And you’ll be well on your way to maturity, too. A mature life is lived owning your influence and impact; that’s more than just completing your agenda. Living life well is fulfilling; achievement alone doesn’t provide deep satisfaction.”
It’s not as easy as it seems – but it’s beautiful.
Most students have more difficulty with step #2 than they do with step #1. That’s why we’re working on it.
We’re helping them learn to ask for help. We’re wrestling with – and having meaningful conversations – about all the uncomfortable feelings that come with getting help and helping others.
As we spend more and more time on this path, we notice trust growing. We notice fear fading and the weeds of stress getting choked out by the breath of love.
Love is a process of meeting needs. (trueface.com)
Read more about our dreams in these blogposts:
What about you? What are your good questions? Let’s start a conversation; maybe it’ll begin a relationship. I look forward to your comments. And stay in touch – next week’s post will be practicing what we teach. We need your help, too. Check back for some great ideas to get involved.