E36: The Genius of Children with Rick Ackerly
One of the sub-topics on Basecamp is the raising of boys, who will one day be our men. Our public school system is problematic in the development of our boys. This is not a knock on all the good people who teach and administer in the public schools. It’s just that having boys sit at a desk and do assigned, menial work without much collaboration or creative problem solving is essentially preparing them to sit and obey an authority figure. It’s social engineering. It‘s good preparation for the military or a life of following orders but is it maximizing their potential?
I have often thought that if you run the schools like a business with our young people like the customer, you would have VERY different schools. I remember asking my young son Lucas, who was probably 8 or 9 at the time: “So if you are the customer, what does a school need to change to work well for you?” You know what he said? “Better food! The food is awful. Why don‘t they feed us healthier, better-tasting food.” What else, I asked him? More free time, more time to collaborate on projects with your friends. And more time outside and on field trips to learn. It sounds like a pretty great school to me. What kid would not want to go to THAT school? Sure, you still need some math and learn how to read but the boys would be so much more engaged in school, wouldn’t they?
I’m not saying that I have all the answers to how to best educate our kids. It’s just so obvious to the customers, the young people, that their time is precious too and why do they have to have such a boring, regimented curriculum? Even the teachers look burned-out and frayed by the system.
My guest today states that the education system today is primarily used as a social sorting device instead of vibrantly educating our children. That is an interesting notion.
And lastly, I think we consistently underestimate our young people. It‘s an old habit that we adults have that says that kids don’t really understand the world and so they need to sit on the sideline while we VIP adults handle the important projects of the world. I think this is a mistake.
Kids come with innate creativity and a sense of possibility that is often missing in adults. It’s been educated out of us. Sure, some of their ideas are wild and far-fetched but in their free-flowing creativity, they will sometimes hit on ideas that adults just can’t conceive. What if we had kids of all ages working on the important problems of the world? I’m being serious. What solutions would they come up with? I for one, am curious.