I am awed by the creativity J demonstrated yesterday. I have heard both J and S make up songs and lyrics in the past, and sing them heartily, usually when we are driving in the car. When I ask them where they learned the song, they tell me, “We made it up!”
Yesterday, however, I was astonished to watch J get all revved up after telling Charles and me what happened at school, and channel her anger, disappointment, and frustration as materials for her musical composition. She first sang the song off the top of her head — it flowed out of her so effortlessly as if it were part of her being — and she moved around as if she were on stage, with expressive, emotive gestures. When Charles offered to transcribe the song for her, she stood next to him at the piano and provided him with opinions on the harmonies Charles auditioned for her. She demonstrated her capacity for unusual patience as she worked with Charles to polish her creation into a full-fledged song in the course of an hour or two.
While I am proud and delighted to see my daughter use her creative power to cope with her emotionally draining experiences at school, as a parent I confess I’d like to see her use her creative power to express positive, constructive and generative energy more often at school. I was heartbroken to hear her say, “I may be intelligent, but I am not experienced.” She was sobbing her heart out — the kind of sobbing that springs forth from the bottom of your heart and shakes your body like an earthquake.
She was referring to her school environment where she feels she is not heard or taken seriously when she voices her opinion and concern regarding how she and her sister are treated by her classmates, just because they don’t want to “blend in.” Teachers seem to focus on academics, and they are not as available to guide students around emotional and social issues that require keen oversight, experienced guidance, and compassionate mentoring.
Why should education be all about tending only the minds of our children? Why shouldn’t education take our children’s emotional and social growth as seriously as their grades in math, science and language arts? I’d even argue that schools must educate our children with the goal for them to grow to be full human beings first — with heart, soul, mind in healthy balance.
Children are our teachers. I learn from my daughters constantly. They need our guidance and we need their wisdom — their intuition, instinct, and innocence that we have lost in our own educational journey. Our world cannot afford to repeat this pattern any longer.