Respect Our Children

In this country we "reward" parents by praising their children's "good" behavior, starting in kindergarten and continuing all the way through graduate school. Parents love to hear this praise because it reflects well on them and they are trying so hard to do the best they can, often in the face of overwhelming odds and with no support.

Children learn passivity and disempowerment in school, both by what is modeled and by what is taught. Rewards, in the form of grades, are given to those who follow the rules and go through the hoops like well-trained monkeys. In the end we have adult citizens who allow racism, poverty, militarism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc., to persist because they feel powerless to change these things and are afraid of speaking out. If students were encouraged to think and act powerfully in school, I believe we'd have citizens who could transform the world.

Judi Hirsch
Oakland, California, USA

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00