Blog:

Share Reality & Wisdom to Ease Shock, Make Progress, and Find Purpose

I really encourage unschooling parents, and everyone else, to share with kids the reality of the world and the wisdom they’ve gained from their own experiences. Some truths are going to inevitably be shocking but I think this can ease the shock, make progress, and help people find their purpose.

Of course, I know people do share a lot with the younger generation: certainly with homeschooling and unschooling families. And I think there’s been huge progress in many areas.

But as I said before in this Lies My Teacher Told Me thread, I was really upset after reading not just about being lied to by my textbooks, schools in general, and the mass media. I was almost more upset that my family and other trusted people knew some of this stuff and hadn’t told me.

A lot of what they didn’t share did have to do with school. Both my parents chose to leave college because, as my mother told her father: “It’s interfering with my education.”

My dad dropped out of Harvard University the same year that Bill Gates did. And they both became entrepreneurs… just with different degrees of success!

My uncle Robert also didn’t go to a four year college. In fact, he got a master’s degree later in life through independent study without ever getting his bachelor’s degree!

And yet they all sent their kids to school. This was upsetting to me.

But my parents divorced and my mom was raising four kids by herself. So I can understand how homeschooling may have seemed daunting if not impossible.

Still I got the distinct impression that I was supposed to go to school. It was necessary. And how well I did there mattered.

I guess I wish my mom had just said, “Alright, I’m sending you to school. But just so you know: this stuff is complete bullshit.”

But maybe that’s not practical to say that to a little kid going to school. I just wish I felt like we were on the same side back then. My mom was on my side and supported me in so many loving ways. I just felt betrayed in some ways when I found out the truth about school.

Now I certainly do feel like we’re on the same side in every way: as I quoted recently, my mom says now she’d encourage anyone to take their kids out of school in a heartbeat if they don’t like it there.

It just seems if everyone really remembered their own experiences in school (including college), what they really learned, unschooling and homeschooling would be a lot more popular! A lot less people would send their kids to school.

Still, it’s not just the school stuff I’m talking about. I’m also talking about the lies of U.S. history, the mass media, colonialism, racism, and so on. My parent’s and much of their generation were hippies. They were passionate and aware of these things.

Both my parents passed on a lot of counter-culture stuff to me. I guess I wish they had passed on more of what they knew. Maybe I’m being unfair.

I just think that many parents do try to shelter their children from the truth. Or more often they don’t share harsh truths and let the child “figure it out for themselves.”

I’m not talking about forcing your child to think what you think but the fact is we don’t live in an unbiased world. If you don’t make an effort to share what you’ve learned I feel like the default, most likely outcome is a child will believe what they say in the mass media.

We draw conclusions from the information we’re exposed to.

So what I’m really encouraging is exposing your children to diverse information, culture, and viewpoints. Then children can decide for themselves.

But again if left to just go to school, of just figure it out on their own, even if they’re unschooling, you’re likely setting your child up for a false view of the world.

This is going to lead to shock and anger when and if they discover the truth.

More importantly if young people don’t know what’s going on in the world they’ll have trouble figuring out what needs to be done and what they want to do.

I’ve talked about purpose before and I think it is something very deep inside of an individual. At the same time I think how purpose actually manifests is largely based on the reality of the world we live in: What does the world need? How can I contribute?

Maybe your purpose is to write in a way that supports freedom: the reality of the world you live in affects how you will write about freedom and what issues of freedom you will address.

If you’re living in the 1930s maybe you’ll write newspaper articles about Jewish people in Germany. If you’re living now maybe you write blog posts about Palestinians.

It’s really the same purpose manifest in a different way based on the reality of the world you live in.

So I just really encourage everyone to expose young people, in an appropriate way, to the truths and realities of the world. I think that will give hope for real progress in the world.

6 Responses to “Share Reality & Wisdom to Ease Shock, Make Progress, and Find Purpose”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GeekyArtistArabWoman and Eli Gerzon, Eli Gerzon. Eli Gerzon said: Sharing wisdom & reality to ease shock, make progress & find purpose: http://tinyurl.com/ylhxekf #unschooling #homeshool […]

  2. Idzie says:

    Two things I wanted to share came to me upon reading this. One of which was this quote:

    “The good thing about everything being so fucked up is that no matter where you look, there is great work to be done.” -Derrick Jensen, Endgame

    I love that quote, and really feel it’s talking about the same thing you are when you talk about finding purpose, and using whatever it is you’re *meant* to do to make the world a better place.

    Also, my mom is a hippie. As you may have noticed. 😛 From the time I was young, I can remember her saying that corporations ruled the world, and similar things. At the time, I just rolled my eyes. Years later however, I remember turning to her and saying “you know what mom, corporations really do rule the world.” It was quite amusing. 😛

    So yes, sharing what you see as the truth with your children is very important, I believe. It wasn’t that far a leap for me to get where I am now in terms of opinions and worldviews, since I never had this blind trust in institutions or governments or the media… But anyway, I feel like I’m rambling, so I’ll stop now! 😀

    Peace,
    Idzie

  3. Eli Gerzon says:

    Thanks for writing this Idzie! Really wasn’t sure if people would be able to relate to this post and I enjoyed hearing your own story.

    I think that’s a perfect example too: a parent shares a certain viewpoint from the start. The child might not fully understand or appreciate it but when they start to do their own exploring they can look back on it.

    It doesn’t have to a big a big jump like you said.

    The other thing is then you know who you can trust: who told you the truth even when you didn’t appreciate it? Who is willing to say what’s true regardless?

    While my mom didn’t talk about corporations and the government much, I do wish she had more, she shared other things in a very open and truthful way. She shared her views about religion being bullshit: called herself a “recovering Catholic” long before I did my own searching.

    Again, after lots of my own searching I realize she was pretty much right. I think religion is fascinating and complex but so much is bullshit.

    But she also always shared the value and beauty of real connection to spirit. That’s one of the most important things she shared with us all, even if it was somewhat subtle.

    And the subtle things people share really matter. Just some specifics and definite views are important too!

    The other thing is that people are just ready to embrace certain facts at different times in their lives somewhat regardless of what they’ve been exposed to. That’s something I’m going to write about more.

    Anyway, now I’m rambling! :p Thanks again!
    -Eli

  4. Nkonyezi says:

    This is my favorite quote from everything you said:
    “I’m not talking about forcing your child to think what you think but the fact is we don’t live in an unbiased world. If you don’t make an effort to share what you’ve learned I feel like the default, most likely outcome is a child will believe what they say in the mass media.”

    I think alot of young people in their twenties have gone through the same exact culture shock like you have especially the unschooled. I can’t exactly relate to that feeling maybe because my mom let me see all the crap when I was 5 and onward. She didn’t shelter me from anything, she let me know and decide for myself what was truths and untruths but she also helped me to navigate through the traps that many kids at a young age fall prey to such as materialism, defining your worth on skin color, or any other shallow definitions projected by the media/
    I really like what you have to say about “exposing your children to diverse information, culture, and viewpoints. Then children can decide for themselves.” which is something most parents don’t do whether unschooled or not. I especially agree with this point because unschooling parents have the opportunity to have a greater inflluence in their children’s lives to open their eyes to what really happens in the world. Not to shelter them, sometimes i think in unschool,homeschooling or even just going to public school parents should gently push their kids to see the world little by little, whether the kids feel they’re read or not because one way or another someones going to make the choice for them w/out them realizing it.
    Keep writing/sharing your thoughts!

  5. Cassi says:

    Eli–

    I completely agree with your points, but now that I’m on the parenting side of things, I have a lot more grace and forgiveness for my parents. There are so many forces pulling at parents, including the desire to impart their “wisdom” to their children, as well as wanting to let them make up their own minds. I remember feeling like my parents were too in my face with their opinions on the world, and when I tried to find my own way, my mom in particular acted as though it were a personal affront. So, as you can imagine, that’s something I don’t want to do to my kids. If they end up disagreeing with me entirely, I will be fine with that. As long as they used their brains to get to that conclusion.

    The other comment I wanted to make is in response to your comment that homeschooling and unschooling would be more popular if everyone remembered their own schooling experiences. Again, I totally agree. In fact, it’s my husband’s school experience (at a great private school, no less) that has really convinced us to unschool. But, I think most people don’t (a) know about unschooling (b) think they have the capacity to do it (c) think that it will work. Most people are very brainwashed into believing that, although it is awful, our present educational system is the only way kids will learn anything. Sad, really.

    It’s up to us to keep preaching the good news, if you’ll forgive the metaphor. And, the more successful and intelligent unschoolers who share their experiences, the more parents will decide to try that route for their own children.

    Cassi

  6. Eli Gerzon says:

    Thank you so much for the encouragement to keep writing Nkonyezi!

    All your comments Idzie, Nkonyezi, and Cassi helped inspire me to write a final post in this thread before starting the tour:

    http://eligerzon.com/blog/2009/10/we-learn-and-see-reality-when-were-ready/

    @Cassi I included some of the same sentiment you talk about in giving parents some slack. I know my parents did pass on so much wisdom and progress to me.

    I may wish they’d done more but my mom did a hero’s share already I realize now.

    And yes, parents can definitely pass on too much “wisdom” and get too attached that idea. The important thing is to do a balance of sharing and letting go. And no one can get it perfect.

    I think you’re exactly right: people need to keep on spreading the word. But we really need to make sure to be respectful. People are doing their best I think and it doesn’t help in anyway to be disrespectful.

    Not saying that’s what you’re advocating just acknowledging again it’s a balance of sharing and letting go.

    Thanks so much sharing!

    @Nkonyezi I’m glad you liked that quote because it was partially inspired by some things you said on my blog before!

    Really I’d been thinking along those lines of why having a completely “I let my believe my children what they want” approach is beautiful but requires some diligence as well when we live in the society we live in.

    I really like what you say about “gently pushing” too.

    Alright, I gotta finish packing!!!

Leave a Reply to Idzie