“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” – Aristotle
Teachers, have you thought about this challenge? How will you educate the heart this year?
Childhood – especially the middle school years – can seem like a crazy-making manic time for kids. One minute they’re sweet young and innocent, most interested in their lunchbox design and PBS Kids, the next minute they’ve morphed into some sort of gangly, overgrown version of their elementary selves, obsessed with being away from their parents, in constant contact with their friends, and scouring Instagram for the latest trends and desperate to keep up. Teenagers, so desperate to be mature, try on new styles, trends, and personas in their attempts at growing up quickly. Watching my middle school students evolve over the course of a school year crystallizes my belief that it’s all part of the process of life.
I remember one of my 8th grade students who was typically a nice, ‘normal’ type of kid- not a trouble maker, well-liked, quiet in class. Over the course of a week, he started acting out – being a bit disruptive, more aggressive, and walked with a bit of swagger. My teaching partner and I started noticing and became concerned. When we approached him, he smiled and said, “Oh, no worries – I’m just trying something new.” And sure enough, after a few weeks, he was back to his old self.
I wonder what happens to this urgency when we hit adulthood. The desperation seems to be replaced with fear, the excitement with sadness, the hopefulness with complacency. When adults ‘try something new’ we often are accused of having a mid-life crisis; it’s no wonder that so many retreat back into their old habits, more content with the familiar than the unknown. Where is the creativity that so absolutely bursts out of a child, only to be smothered by so many logical plans in adulthood? Does it get buried deep in our souls, or does it simply evaporate in our quest for the ‘American dream’?
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