STIMULUS TO GROW
Children want to learn. They need to learn. Their survival and growth depend on it. All children are full of curiosity and would remain that way all their lives if that natural desire to learn was not turned off and, in many cases, completely destroyed by our present educational system and general social attitudes towards children. What are some of these factors which discourage the natural inclination of the child toward learning?
1. The mechanical approach of the present educational system does not allow children to investigate their natural interests. They are required to be interested in a specific subject at a specific age and even at a specific hour of the day. And even if they should become interested in spite of this unnatural process, the moment they start investigating that subject, they is told that they must now leave that, because it is now time to study another subject. Thus our children become disconnected from their inner motivation towards learning. They learn to accept whatever is given to them through the school system, which occupies so much of their time, that they have virtually no time or energy for personal study of some subject that may really interest them. Learning loses its interest and begins to have no meaning. It is no longer pleasurable.
2. The fact that the material they are forced to study is irrelevant to their daily life is another factor, which dampens their interest in learning. They function on the impulse of needs. If what they are learning has no relation to their needs, then they lose interest in it quickly. Children are forced to memorize many useless facts in the present system. This can hardly be considered the preparation of a human being to be a thinking, creative member of society. It is more like the preparation of a number of programmed robots, without the ability to analyze and think clearly.
3. The fear of failure or of making a mistake causes our children to feel anxiety with respect to the process of learning. Too much emphasis is given to grades and who is better or best, rather than to how much effort they have made, or to what they have learned. The emphasis is on results, in terms of grades, and not on the ability to think. When they do not do well for some reason, they are made to feel bad, rejected and inferior. This negative experience turns them off to the process of learning.
Often their only solution is to decide to give up the effort altogether and take on the role of “the failure” and not try at all. In such situations they develop a complex, or blockage, towards a certain subject or towards learning in general. They say to themselves, «I cannot do that. I am not able». Thus for the rest of their lives this belief prevents them from enjoying growth, evolution and learning.
A human being who does not continue learning throughout his or her life is living “death” and not “life”. Life by definition means growth and evolution. Death is the absence of growth.
4. Emotional problems with the family or friends, or between other family members (i.e. the child’s parents) may disturb our children’s sense of security and inner harmony. Thus their interest in learning and ability to concentrate are obstructed. In such cases they need the parent to be a friend who can hear their feelings and problems without judging or even advising unless they ask for advice. These emotional problems must be worked out if our children’s energy is to be released and directed toward learning again.
5. A disappointment in social values and hypocrisy may cause our children to reject the society in which they live and thus all the aspects of that system, including the educational system. When they sees that there is hypocrisy, selfishness, lying and cheating going on at every level of society, even among policemen, lawyers, judges, politicians and businessmen, why should they study what such a system wants them to learn in order to become a part of that system? Who would want to be a part of that system? Children have not yet learned to compromise their ideals for the sake of personal security or success.
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