A man is close to discovering the purpose of life when he plants a tree which he knows he will never sit under. -Elton Treeshood
It’s strange to think I haven’t received any useful education since I was 14 years old. We are no longer taught to expand our knowledge but to pass a specific exam. I’m sitting here, re-writing zimbardo’s study on aggression, knowing it will be forgotten the second the examiner calls “pens down.” Will my knowledge of zimbardo improve my ability to teach children? No. It will however, determine my acceptance into uni. Madness. This rigourus form of testing cannot be effective in creating well rounded, broad minded individuals. During my placement at a primary school I watched weeping 10 year olds be told that their upcoming sats would determine their sets for high school. I watched as the teacher classified them with numbers determining their worth. These numbers said average. The system ignores Jenny’s ability to play guitar or Jack’s quick witted sense of humour and labels them as Average, or worse, underachievers. Abbey is ecstatic as she’s achieved an above average grade whilst Oliver cries as he had chickenpox on the day of the test and has done worse than predicted. Does Oliver’s illness mean he deserves to be underestimated? These children are 10 years old. They should be taught that they are all unique with different talents. They should be taught to have self belief and not be discouraged by societies labels. Instead they are taught they are failures if they can’t estimate the mass of an orange or spell ‘excessively.’ This needs to stop. We need to change.
As I watched him rush to receive holy communion I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling. Previously the devoted Catholic had declared “homeless people deserve to be homeless. Hopefully they will die soon.” This statement coincided with a snearing glance to an old man shivering on a nearby doorstep. That’s when I knew things had to change. Walking through the centre of Rome I saw both prosperity and tragedy. Although the monuments are outstanding, below them often lies some poor soul in desperate need of a good meal and a sympathetic ear. Religion surrounds the city but the golden rule seems to be forgotten. Jesus says “whatever you do for the least of my people you do for me.” What are we doing for these people? The forgotten people? You’ll notice I wrote “we” rather than “they”. We are to blame. I’m not saying whoever reading this is personally responsible for the homeless of Rome, that would be insane, however we must all take some responsibility for this inhumane outlook we have adapted as a society. How many readers (me included) shop at clothes shops knowing products have been made through child labour? How many of us cry at children in need or Red Nose Day but spend the rest of the year worrying about our appearance or prosperity? You are not alone. You are not evil. You are simply a product of this inhumane culture we have adopted were it is seen as normal to refuse healthcare due to insufficient funds. (NHS cuts for Britan or lack of insurance for the US) It’s time to stop. We must remember our forgotten people. Whether it’s the war veteran struggling with the bedroom tax or the millionaire hiding their mental illness in fear of being seen as weak. We must remember and we must act. Together we can make the world a better place.