Everything you spend time on counts - every activity, project, plan, strategy, puzzle, game, and creative pursuit is valid. Indeed, absolutely, every single thing you do (or, think about), including all the mistakes you make, is credible (in fact, those errors may actually be worth more in the grand scheme of things). Nevertheless, our kids, as well as society in general, have been brainwashed to determine the value of an activity based on a set of arbitrary standards generated and ordained by people who have zero imagination and no interest in creativity, and whose sole interest is the bottom line.
I will argue, forever, that if we continue on this trajectory, we are completely doomed, not only as a society, but as a species. This may sound unnecessarily harsh, fatalistic, or even a bit fantastical and dystopian. However, I am a direct witness to the results of a system that teaches young people that they will fall behind and be deemed stupid, if they don’t spend enormous amounts of time on rote, canned, predetermined, grade assigned tasks. They tell me that they are deathly afraid of making mistakes, and, they believe that “play” is a four-letter word. They have often lost sight of the joy and fun of learning. These kids judge themselves, as well as others harshly if they feel they do not “measure up” or “assimilate” in a variety of ways - academically, physically, and emotionally. Consequently, their awesome, brilliant, and authentic personalities are subdued and not allowed to shine through.
To be clear, the state-run, compulsory educational system is primarily responsible for producing compliant, judgmental, ferociously competitive, uninspired automatons for an industrial economy that no longer exists. Our kids are, quite literally, being set up to fail in this new world that no longer needs those human robots, but requires imaginative, creative, non-conformists who are not afraid to follow their interests – those who are excited to brainstorm, experiment, and explore all the possibilities.
Therefore, Go! Hike through the woods, splash around in a river, play the guitar, write a song, build a beat and write a rap, draw, paint a mural, design a hands-on project, cook (real) macaroni and cheese with your friends, bake pumpkin bread and chocolate cookies, sort and organize a room, dig a hole, build a cabinet, install a sink, work with others to develop guidelines for your community, sew a pillow, read a book, develop new characters for D&D, write a story, study the history of your community, share personal experiences and socialize with a group of friends, train a dog, ride a horse, tear apart a motor, organize a haunted Halloween dance, refinish a piece of furniture, play a computer game, race around the backyard in a game of freeze tag (or murder mystery), rewire a lamp, play and design board games, or sit still in your comfy place and stare off into space. All these things, along with the multitude of other activities and pursuits that do not look particularly “academic,” are valid, important, and essential (and, absolutely count) toward the development and education of free-thinking, authentic, and innovative individuals who are destined to save us all.
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