I am sending you this in response to a conversation you had with a student, my daughter, a few weeks ago prior to the end of term.Firstly I wish to express that by writing this letter, by no means am I wanting this to cause any disturbance or ill feelings with in the teaching and school environment, my intention here is simply to inform you of a different perspective on a simple conversation for your further consideration.
The conversation in question proceeded with you asking my daughter if she knew what it was she wanted to do with her life after secondary school, or if she had an idea of what it is she could see herself doing with her future.
Undoubtedly, this is a relevant and important question that these young adults need to begin thinking about. It is a question of such significance that often it is asked over and over again many times though out a single life time.
My daughter, has indeed considered this question in great depths over the past few years, it is a conversation that naturally occurs quite regularly in our family around the dinner table. My daughter is insightful and clear about what it is that simply makes her happy and what it is that does not. She has an understanding about the things in life that drive her to want to know more, learn more about, take action on, become a voice for. She is passionate in life and understandings about the things that Really matter. Her strongest and most obvious caliber is her ability to create; her visual mind is of extraordinary magnitude.
When she answered this question for you, she gave you her absolute truth.She gave you a lovely list of things she ‘could see’, and I emphasize here, ‘see’ herself doing with her future. Her list I imagine would have consisted of many creative ideas and inventiveness. I understand that from an academic point of view this may not seem like a viable way to pave for ones future, that these choices that are being considered may or may not lead to what society deems a suitable or economically sustainable way of living. Your responses however, whether it be what you actually believe, or a moment of unconscious thought, to my daughter’s ideas about her life’s future were quite disheartening and surprising to say the least. You proceed to inform her that her ideas she was considering were merely just that of ‘hobbies’ and that they were not a means for ‘making a living’. I don’t wish to quote here on the exact way in which the conversation took place, however what does matter is the understanding of which my daughter walked away with from the experience.
You have in your judgments of what is considered to be a viable future and what is not, bought her to a place at a vital young age to question herself about her abilities to offer something of value and insight to the world in which we live.
Now, my question to you is this, if we are not to guide these young minds to follow their dreams, to pursue their passions and the very things that are the driving force behind what makes them who they are as individuals, and instead lead them to follow the ideas and beliefs of another on the advice that it is a better way, or the only sustainable way; are we not creating a society of individuals who need to perform rather than live and rather than acceptance of who they are, conditioning them into an idea of what they should be?
I beg you to consider this, if we are to follow the essence of who we are, and are fortunate enough to be able to offer a valuable truth of ourselves to the world and the people in which inhibit this world, are we not in essence creating a better place for ourselves and those around us to live. Where would we be with out the creative writers who offer their poetry for you to teach, where would we be without the painters who have embellished this planet with extraordinary pieces that are admired and past down through the tests of time, and the person who sat with pencil in hand and drew the outline of the satchel you carry your important papers in, and the books that are written, the gardens you stroll through, the glorious meals created from ingredients before they find themselves into the recipe books you cook from.
There are millions of ways to walk this life, my daughter is blessed enough that she falls into many, many ideas in which she will pave her way, all of which I’m certain will have a creative flare. And when I think of that prospect for her, I am unconcerned with the amount of money she will make, or even the details in how it will happen. For now, all that is important is that she believes in herself.
You hold an important and highly valued role within the school community, and have always been highly regarded in your opinion towards particular subjects with my children. It must be recognized that your view does impact the ways in which we move these young minds towards their futures. That you are in fact, in a position of great significance by educating and shaping these minds with ideas about themselves and the choices they will need to make.
Another student at the school, recently showed me a thought provoking piece by Alan Watts, titled ‘What if money was no object’ that is quite similar to that of which I have expressed here, if you are yet to see this piece, you may find it of interesting listening.