School aims to prepare us with a tool bag of "useful" skills. Whether it actually does this is a whole different post. But let us say that for sake of an argument, school does manage to bequeath literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, math skills, etc. as tools for students to use. If indeed school does manage to do all these things, I must make an argument here that those skills are of secondary importance. Tools are useless without a vision. Life is pointless without a dream, a personal destiny, or a worthy cause.
What if, instead of teaching kids a set group of skills, schools were a platform for students to find their callings in life? What if schools were then structured to react and sequentially supply actually relevant tools for their students life goals?
I know what you might say, "but I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life until I was [enter age], so how do you expect a kid to decide? Plus they will probably change their mind 5 times and then what; their previous skills are useless." But stay with me for a minute and lets explore a different perspective.
As children, we know exactly what we want to do with our lives. Some want to be a firemen or the president or a race car driver. But these are only a child's initial steps toward who they are or what they love to do. And hey, maybe they will become one of those things. However, when kids get to school and are told that math is valuable and that they need to stop day dreaming and memorize their times tables, they lose sight of what it is they might want to be one day. Instead, kids start to only see the shallow number of options supplied by the school: college, teaching, 9-5 businessman, etc.
As a result, many people don't ask themselves "what do I want to do?" until much later in life. And even then, often times, people do not think highly of themselves. Very few of my friends dream big. Most want to get a job at a normal place doing mediocre things. The world does not have to be full of these kinds of people. YOU do not have to be one of those passionless and robotic people. If you want to accomplish amazing things, then you need to dream big. I will write more on this in my next blog post.
A person may indeed change their mind 5 times before they find what their purpose in life is. Perhaps they will change what they do or what they enjoy 10 or even 50 times. Yet still, they are they lucky ones. They are lucky because they have actually found what makes them happy, what they are good at, and how they can contribute to the world. Sadly, far to many people cannot say that. Not to mention, the result of changing life courses does not result in wasted time, energy, and knowledge. Instead, it results in a conglomerate of experience and valuable lessons and ideas. Future innovations are birthed from the combination of ideas which have yet to cross paths.
School could do much more than just supply us with tools. If we let it, school could inspire and guide us. School could fill us with passions, dreams, and goals. And then, but only then, school could help us take action toward our passion with valuable tools.
So let us think not of what school is, but what it could be.