Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Geeks and Social Cliques
This article posits what many of us "geeks" discover later in life.  By being different and retaining our individuality, our creativity, our uniqueness, and not abandoning our self-respect in order to conform and be accepted, we are happier with ourselves.  Our lives are more fulfilling.  We have fun and find deeper pleasure.  We also, often, continue to walk at a bit of an angle to the mainstream.  Our interests and tastes are not terribly influenced by the media or the advertisements which saturate our society and strongly support conformity.  Some of us have gone so far as to unplug ourselves; we don't own or watch television.  We retain control of our access to media, picking and choosing from the offerings on the internet, at the library and the now disappearing book store, on hiking trails, etc.  Frankly, with a house full of children, I don't have time to waste watching television.  I am too busy working with my children, helping them learn their lessons for school, and for life - conflict resolution, taking up the responsibilities which accompany freedom/privileges, working together for the good of all by contributing to the effective running of the household, etc.

Daring to step aside from the crowd takes courage, and the conviction that our pursuits are worthy of our time and attention.  The most precious asset any of us has is time - we will never have it again nor can we "earn" more of it.  So, our choice of how to spend it is key.

It is important to support the creative and free thinking of our students, particularly our elite students.  Consequently, liberal arts educations are highly esteemed by me.  There are many colleges and universities which will give students a mainstream education.  However, our innovators are not likely to thrive there, no matter how recognisable the university's name.

It is absolutely critical that parents and students keep the college selection task at the forefront of their minds for the first three years of high school, and before that, if the child is gifted, intellectually, athletically, or artistically.  During these years, college exploration and evaluation must be an ongoing task.  What is the best setting to further the educational goals of this student?  Which environment will best facilitate optimal growth and development of our student/child's gifts?  What setting is best?  If, however, the family's goal is prestige, then their favored college selections will be skewed and a serious mismatch may well occur.  The film, "Dead Poet's Society" is a must-watch for high school parents.  It is absolutely critical that parents listen to their children and honor them.  Don't put Harvard hopes on a child who would be stifled at Harvard.  It is the solemn responsibility of parents to remember that this is about the child, not the bumper sticker.  It's not about bragging rights to the prestigious schools.  It's about the bragging rights that our child is blossoming and joyfully developing his or her talents in a healthy, supportive environment.

Don't get me wrong; there is a place for prestigious schools.   I went to two of them.  I have the diplomas on my wall.  But, those pieces of paper, valuable though they are, do not make me the woman I am today.  My choices do.  My ability to reason, evaluate, and carry out activities and bring ideas into fruition do. My morals, revealed in my daily living choices, reveal who I am.  I may have the best education from THE best schools but, if I use it for ill, I will wear an orange prison jumpsuit and share a cell with a high school drop out.

As parents, it is imperative that we support our children as they walk the halls of our schools.  That we support their uniqueness and giftedness, whether it is the "in" thing or not, whether they will apply to the Ivies, or the community colleges.  It is, after all, our job to help our children become the best, most productive adults possible.  They are the future leaders of our families, communities, companies, and nation.  They are not our trophies - "Harvard Mom" bumper stickers cannot be our goals if we are being true to ourselves and our children (unless, of course, our student is a Harvard-type student).

So, go do the "right" thing and encourage your child to be true to him or herself!  To be the best person he or she can be, every day.

No comments:

Post a Comment