Monday, June 25, 2007

What grade are You in?

I have to admit, that as advanced and free-thinking as I suppose myself to be, it had not ever occurred to me to think of adults as being 'graded'.
So, what grade are you in?
Meaning I'll judge you according to a standard. I'll judge your spiritual development, how far you've gotten past shallow or mainstream thinking, what religion you are (how advanced it is), how good of a mother you are, how much father-time you have with your children, where you stand on world ecology, whether or not you eat meat, who you voted for in the last election, where you attended college and how much money you spent (still owe) for you college education, what trouble you go to recycle and pick up stray garbage, how fast you moved up the corporate ladder, how may times you've attended the opera, how popular you were in the office, how much time you spend watching the history channel, and what books you like to read.
All of these things will determine what grade you're in.
And... You'll not pass into the next grade until those 'above' you have deemed that you are worthy.

Now I'm not speaking of a matter that should between you and (your) God (should you believe in any), or you and your conscience, folks - this is a matter of being judged by your fellow man. Those that for some reason suppose that they are superior in one way or another to you.
Those that imagine themselves to be the ones "in the know" as far as your own personal Rights of Passage are concerned.

Don't get me wrong here - I'm not angry, and getting all fired up about this issue.
Where I am coming from is the mind of the mother of a "kindergartner".
Not that I judge my son to be a graduate, or failure of such a thing. Just that I have had a certain amount of comfort with the idea - "five years old, kindergarten" sort of thinking.

I read Ren's post today, and it sent me reeling.
"Of course!" thought I. "Why had this not occurred to me?"
Now I knew - understood - that grading and rating in such a way wasn't a very unschooly or healthy outlook. I don't do it. I don't think in terms of "my son needs to get this (pressure/pressure) in order to be up with his peers". But I had not considered it actually harmful.
I don't know why not - especially since I am obsessed with shedding all things judgmental lately. (Not that I am completely free from such binding thoughts, only that I strive to be.)

But I hadn't even considered that judging my son, and putting him in a "grade", could be detrimental to his own thinking, or mind, or freedom in his growth and learning.

Some might say that there's no harm in it.
But to me, there is.
The harm lies in the fits and starts of the parental ego.
Where one has beamings of (parental) pride, one also has shame-faced downfalls, as all children (as all humans do) have interests and disinterests.
If one accepts a grade level, one must attach oneself to expectations, and "should be's".

I'm not interested in that.
Where is the magic and the individuality and creativity and the celebration in "You Must Be"?

Seems to me there's no happiness or self discovery in striving for You Must Be.
And I feel it's my duty - indeed, it's my life and breath right now - to provide my children room for Happiness, Personal Growth, and the Soul's Magic.
It's not even a choice for me, Dear Reader.
It is just what I absolutely Must Do.

2 comments:

KMDuff said...

I really liked this post. It is true - we don't grade adults (Though we do judge each other in subtler ways). So why grade children.

It bothers me that for most of society it is okay to homeschool if the child is a prodigy in some way - actor, musician, dancer, genius... basically if they are "ahead" of where other children are and the homeschooling facilitates them. Yet if a child is behind to some degree and basically average, the fault is seen to lie with the fact that they are homeschooled. It really doesn't make sense. Is it odd to want my children to be totally average and normal in whatever way they choose to define average and normal for themselves?

Anyway, I really liked your post.

MandyMom.com said...

Great post.. I feel the same way! :)

I have a homeschooling blog I started not to long ago (my regular blog is the original dotcom.)

http://mandymom.com/edublog/