Meet Joni

I am not a medical doctor nor do I play one on the internet.  The characters in the story are fictional despite any resemblance to persons real or imagined.  I created the following work of fiction to provide a window for innovative thought and dialogue.  My intent is to spark emotion; but I am only scratching the surface of this topic.

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Meet Joni.  She is your typical rambunctious 5 year old who loves to play.  Her creative mind is always carrying her away on marvelous adventures.  Yesterday, her playground was a pirate ship and she was the captain.  She was voyaging across the sea to discover new lands and buried treasure.  She climbed all over her playground, using inventive ways to get between points on her ship; because the mulch surrounding her playground was water and if you fell into the water you would drown.  A few of her dolls even made the trip to the backyard to serve as the ship’s crew; unfortunately one of them didn’t survive because she fell from the swing into the ocean.  The voyage had to end when dinner was served and her mother called her to the table.  On days when she has to play indoors, her dolls go on adventures driving cars and riding horses all over the world.  They swim in pools under waterfalls, rescue super cute stuffed animals from captivity and sing their hearts out to the ballads of the Disney princess.

Today is Monday; and she is in trouble again (unfortunately her weekday routine).  In kindergarten class she won’t sit still.  Her teacher, Ms. Smith, refuses to let her move, play and be creative; to let her mind work the way it wants; along its preferential path.  Tonight there will be a parent teacher conference and the teacher and principal will try to convince Joni’s parents to medicate her so she will become complacent and pay attention, like the other children.  They want her to sit still, be quite and not ask questions.  They want to make their jobs easier and think her parents should just follow along and accept what they, as the leaders of the class and school, are telling them.

How is this okay?

People are not robots.  From a 30,000 foot view, the standard education system appears to try transforming people into robots.  It look’s like a numbers game for schools to receive funding; and the children, the future, suffer.  Is the creative, artistic spirit encouraged?  The children who need to express themselves through movement are not allowed, and are seemingly punished for being different.  They are told it is not okay to be themselves and that to be “successful” they need to ignore all that is natural and to follow the system.  Students need to conform to this standard, regardless if it serves them or not.

I am not against obedience and I think it is important to have a healthy respect for authority figures; especially in situations where persons are entrusted with a child’s safety.  But somewhere along the way the important differences that make people unique are getting lost.

Society has become so concerned with turning everyone into a cookie cutter, brain surgeon/lawyer they don’t respect the builder or the plumber whose jobs are just as, if not more critical.  Also, everyone forgets the musician, poet and artist.  But even the most utilitarian among us can appreciate great art.

Where am I going with this?

What if Joni was your daughter?  Are you really going to put her on a medication in her developmental years that will affect her for the rest of her life?  If you don’t are you condemning her to struggle in school and how will that affect college? And her future?  What if you can’t afford to home school or to send her to a specialty school?  Does the school have the power to override your decisions regardless of what you as the parent think is best for your child?

I am just asking questions about life and society.  I don’t have an answer and appreciate that everyone’s circumstances are different.   Rarely in this life is there a one size fits all approach to anything.  And if there is, I doubt it truly works well for everyone.  Happy thinking.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

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