I love listening to music that draws the pen right out of my soul. Bars and lines and theory that reach down and drag out of every dormant place inside of my thoughts the ideas that form the words. Thoughts that I don't quite know how to express yet and the melody plays on and it begins. The strokes, the tip taps, the curves, lines of words that come from those beautiful lines of song. And here I am, back at the beginning of my mind, wondering what kind of person I am and what kind of person I want to become. New Year's Day does that to you. A New Year causes you to ponder Who or What I want to become.
What do I want to become?
I want to do a lot of good in this world. I want to help not only my own, but others. Some people think they can only do good somewhere else, in other countries, places where running water is non-existent and dirty, starving children wander streets alone. I used to be one of these people, but as I get older I see a great divide dangling right before my own eyes, right on my own street.
I see a great need right here and a burden grows stronger with each passing year.
This long road that passes from Florida over into Alabama for mile after endless mile carries with it two extremely different worlds. The poor white and the poor black. I see a huge divide. Yes, we live in a relatively poor, rural area. People still have holes in their roofs and broken windows from hurricanes Dennis and Ivan, if that tells you anything about the wallets in the dingy pockets of those who live here.
I have driven this road into town hundreds, if not more than a thousand times. I see them.
This burden that dwells here in the bottom of myself that cares for them the most overwhelms me. The recess of my mind has planned and conjured ways to help.
Black and white...kids. Wandering aimlessly on this road. When school is in session here in my home and in every school in the district these kids appear to have dropped out and they have a million reasons why. I know they do. I can imagine every scenario why these kids have left school and I don't blame them. Kids dulled by the age, by abuse, by not being seen for the intelligent creatures they really are. I haven't met a dumb kid yet, have you?
This heavy burden. I see them almost every day on this long road that passes from Florida over into Alabama. Mile after endless mile. I see young girls that could know their worth more than what these local boys make them feel. The worth of learning, the worth of dusting off our minds, attempting, making, creating something, knowing that you can do anything if you understand that. Having someone make you see that.
I wish I could be that person. I feel a burden to be that person.
The schools in this area seem to be pretty good, but there is a great divide with race. I am not blaming anyone, but I could see that driving force of racial differences and home life for these kids hindering them from seeing the worth of their own learning and not in a box kind of learning. The kind that they could grown into.
I am sure the public schools in many ways do what they can to do their best. I believe that for the most part, but that type of learning is getting out dated and unhelpful as the years go by. If all my kids ever had to do was sit, listen and follow all my directions for all of their learning, they and I would go absolutely crazy. These kids need to move, they need to breathe, they need, desperately need autonomy in their learning. If only the school system wasn't so terrified of change, dramatic, life-giving change.
I have been homeschooling my kids from almost the beginning of all of their lives. I don't know much, but I do know that they are all extremely different people, with different realities. If I sat them all down for six hours a day and talked to them, expecting them to mostly stay silent, do the assignments prescribed and then perform well on tests that are so linear and defined by pressure for many kids and then based their "performance" on a grading system we'd all go nuts. Now, we do some of this, but the learning my kids do is also a world of touching, asking questions, having a dialogue, including technology in our learning, exploring, going places, being in touch with nature up close and personal and trying to get in touch with our talents and culturing them.
What if the school system skipped three quarters of the rhetoric and got to the part where kids could actually get in touch with their own learning, self-prescribed and also somewhat directed by the teacher. Teacher introduces materials and places to the student and then lets him or her react, create, make, learn, do, be. My four and six year old have many things at their disposal. I introduce books, new things, art things, encourage them in a certain direction. I may dictate to them what I want them to do for part of the day, but the majority of their day is spent exploring and it is amazing what these kids come up with. We make time for the three R's and other subjects are intermittent, but these girls are learning ALL the time. Life teaches them many things and their minds are so busy as they observe mom and so many others live and work, too. May I never box them up tightly and control how they use their brains for the entire day.
So I am at the beginning of thinking about how I can help. These kids that wander my long, country road when the school bells have rung and class is in session. They need to see their own worth, that they could do so much, be that creator of the something, a word, a song, an object, a solver to great problems, a beginner in a world that is as wide as an ocean that they dare to tread upon.
Be anything and do anything. From the beginning.