Education

We’re into the last few months of 2022 and, for those of us who participate in the 3-term school calendar, the final one for 2022. Making it an opportune time to ponder on my topic for the month; Education.   

I don’t know about your household. But in mine, when the kids are in school, we’re all in school. What I mean to say is we’ve made learning and working a household culture such that we’ve organised ourselves around it. We wake up before dawn, show up every day as we’re required to, and go at it hard in everything that we apply ourselves towards. We’re consistent and diligent. Because we appreciate the importance of Education.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Education as “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”. Systematic means to do or act “according to a fixed plan or system”. In other words, to be “methodical” in approach. Similar words include Structured, Organised, and Orderly. Catch my drift? Education is also defined as “an enlightening experience” – one that gives knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation, or sheds light on something. Because so much of our lives revolve around Education, it’s important to take time and reflect on the why and how, to avoid getting caught up in the doing without a full appreciation of the mind behind it. Kind of like the often-used phrase ‘Paralysis of Analysis’, which cautions against being overly analytical to the point of failing to take concrete decisions, actions or steps. Becoming an expert in the process but without the concomitant results.

By the English language, the above is an accurate depiction of what we understand Education to represent, and aligns with our everyday understanding of the process and anticipated results and outcomes. The path of Education is clear. You’re born, and then the learning begins. As babies, from pre-school to junior school, onward to high school, and then to university or another tertiary institution. And after that, the much-anticipated journey in the workplace begins, where learning continues in varying forms and at differing levels. Add to this our continuous self-development and improvement initiatives; as a people, we live to learn or, rather, we learn to live! We’re constantly educating and upskilling ourselves, renewing the foundations of our thought processes, exploring new concepts and ideas, and growing into realms and depths not previously travelled. And therein lies the power of experience. The more we grow within, the wider we’re able to stretch without. And the more strategic and deliberate we’re at it, the greater the overall results. Love it!

Yet while the system appears to be working on all fronts, it still has me thinking.

The term Education is derived from the Latin word ‘Educatio’, which means breed, train, rear or bring up. This is derived from the word ‘Educo’ (a homonym), meaning to draw out, lead out of, march out, hatch out, take out, etc.. And in the present passive infinitive rendering , ‘Educari’, meaning to lead or draw out. So, what the original Latin derivation of the English word tells us is that the process is supposed to mould a person from within, by literally going into that person and drawing from that which is already deeply rooted inside, and then using that as the source and basis upon which to shape the outside. Simply put, drawing from within to create without. This pre-supposes that every person has a unique and individual blueprint and source code embedded within, which is the seed that ultimately defines and shapes the fruit of learning and creating that comes out of the person. That every person has been originally designed to output specified results by a certain frequency and vibration that is imprinted within. Because dwelling in the core of every person is a unique river that may only be accessed from within and drawn out in a manner that speaks to the individual.

If this is indeed the case, then a single system or methodical approach to Education, like we see in the world today and which defines the many systems across the world, can’t work for everyone. And though it may work for many, this still doesn’t justify the application of a singular approach as a rule. Because the blueprint for learning can’t be instilled from without. This would be akin to making a person one thing although they already carry the potential to become another thing.

Now, the world is in itself a system of systems; all very necessary. With nearly 8 billion people to cater for, it’s important to establish ourselves around core principles and patterns that enable us to live and function in one world, at a macro level. However, the problem is that these systems tend to paint everyone with the same brush and instil ways that may go against the unique blueprints embedded within. I’m not here to break systems or encourage disorder and lawlessness. Because we need these systems. But, since Education speaks to the core of every person – who they are and what they’ll become; we must have this conversation.

Educational systems are determined and established on the basis of perceived optimal designs that may be applied as a suitable standard across all spectrums. These are then dictated and enforced upon students. Anyone who doesn’t fit into the system or learn and progress in line with the anticipated outcomes is viewed negatively and categorised as somewhat deficient. They are regarded as failures; named every kind of disease to explain why they have failed to learn according to the agreed standards; labelled as slow learners; and some even set back. Yet the system forgets that Education was never designed to define a man from without; but rather to provide a framework that is able to draw from within by fostering an environment that is able to push the man to his fullest potential; enabling him to become all he was created to be.

You disagree? Then explain ‘Naïve Meritocracy’. Every other day we hear stories of school dropouts creating the latest world changing inventions; growing the largest businesses; and becoming world renown billionaires. We all know that one man who did not quite look like he deserved to make it or have it all – he can’t even articulate himself clearly; yet he’s running empires and worlds that many highly educated folks are serving. And he doesn’t have the degrees or qualifications. And let’s talk about the other man who holds all the degrees; is highly educated and qualified; eloquent, well-spoken and able to present himself on any platform; yet he can’t get a job or, if he has one, keep it or grow in it. Despite the many years invested in developing himself, and the various titles amassed to confirm  this, his life doesn’t look how smart he appears to be. He just doesn’t add up to common expectations.

I’m not suggesting we don’t need Education – please don’t go there! Just that the world appears to build on more than Education. And it’s in the many seeds of greatness that are everyday arising across the world, outside of defined systems and standards, that I’m stirred to this conversation. Because at a micro level, we keep telling our children that they need to to align with and stick to the system in order to make it in this world. And we’re fighting to keep them check. I too, am at fault.

I’m thinking… Perhaps my son is an awesome basketball player but should be the greatest soccer player in the world. Perhaps my daughter is a great lawyer but carries the seed that will come up with the cure for cancer. Perhaps my son is on a trajectory to become the best scientist in the world, yet he was born to be the next President. Perhaps my daughter is brilliant at architecture, but was born to become a Pastor. And we don’t even know it; even more, we can’t tell the difference, because we judge and measure success by the system, against which they are actually excelling. So, that’s enough. And don’t even start the conversation at our level; the parents. Because we’re so far gone into the system that it might not even be possible to break out, re-align, re-position, and do it over again. So, I will focus on the next generation simply because that’s an easier conversation to hold. The ones who have a better chance of getting it right from the beginning.

Ask yourself. Is it right that we’re Educating our children the way we are; telling them to get straight A’s and the degrees and qualifications; then to join leading corporations in the marketplace? It’s like a production line. They’re all doing the same thing. They look the same. They talk the same. They dress the same. They think the same. And they’ll probably end up in the same place too.

After all, we all went through the system successfully and have the results to show it. We have the jobs, drive the cars, do the big things, travel the world, and so on. But this is normal and predictable. Explicable and usual. Just the way the system has made it.

When I sat down to write this blog, I actually intended to open a discussion about the relationship between Language and Education, because there’s another depth there that deeply influences the current conversation. But alas, I’m out of time! I hope to one day have the opportunity to finish that thread.  

So, what am I saying?

We’re here to cake with you. But don’t be fooled for a second. You’re not going to get the normal and predictable from us. Because that’s neither our business nor who we are. Tsim & Bibi has a unique seed within. And this is what we seek to make manifest in this world. So, while we may look like they do, bake like they do, and cake like they do; trust me when I say it; we’re not like they are. And we don’t function from where they do. As we continue to educate and upskill ourselves in the ways the systems of the world have made available to us, it’s only with a single purpose. To stir in us the desire to progressively bring forth the seed of uniqueness that is already embedded and expressed at our core. Because that’s the process of becoming. Not who they are. But who we were always ordained to be.

I pray the same over each of you too! That’s if you also want it for yourselves, of course.

Yours in baking,

Chipo

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