Is It Really No Child Left Behind – Or No Child Left Intact?
There once was a little girl who created magical kingdoms. With a simple wave of her fairy wand, she would transform an old sheet into a castle where she entertained kings and queens with the most delicious of tea parties. She skipped through the house playfully from one adventure to another, leaving trails of her adventure to collect later. She colored way outside of all the lines on the page and crayons, markers, colored pencils and a white canvas was all she needed to catapult into a whole new world.
She entered second grade this year. The moments of making something out of nothing are few, as her time now consists of spelling words, math homework and preparing for yet another standardized test. Her magical days of wonderment are limited as blank papers give way to sheets that need to be filled in with the “right answer”. “Where do I get to color?” she asks. You don’t, I think silently. We’re a society that likes to pretend we like those that “color outside the lines”, but children learn very quickly, we don’t. It really is not o.k. to be different. After all, there isn’t a test for that or a way to properly measure it.
The adventurous and colorful picture books give way to chapter books. They are good books, but now they stare back at her in a menacing way – she must log so many minutes each night for homework. What was once a pleasurable adventure now is ominous. “Where are the colorful pictures, Mommy? “, she asks. Mommy sighs. She has no reply.
It seems the whole world has gone back to black and white. We’re afraid to color anymore because someone might be “left behind.” But, what about the children who wish to skip gleefully ahead? Where is the magic in the making or the cultivation of uniqueness and splendor? Where will the artists arise from? The musicians and the ones who think far enough outside the box that they end up creating an entirely new box altogether? Those are the ones that come to mind when we string together our history…the revolutionaries, the mavericks, the ones who blaze ahead in spite of the silent droning of a society that beckons that they conform.
Where are they now?
They too, are outside the lines. The lines that hold us all in.
There once was a girl who created magical kingdoms. Perhaps it is not too late for her.
Perhaps it is not too late for all of our children. But, cultivating a unique and “whole” child is not going to happen by doing what we have always done. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results.
We can alter the course of our children – even a compass if adjusted only 1 degree will eventually end up headed in a new direction. To set your child’s course in a new direction, consider holistic parenting – nurturing the whole child: mind, body and spirit.