Monday, July 14, 2014

Fiddling away our children's lives

I'm feeling crabby tonight....

Education beyond learning what you needed to get by day to day used to be called elitism.
Now it's called getting ready for the global economy.

Neither one, by itself, prepares you to live.

I spent a chunk of a Sunday watching a colony of fiddler crabs from a kayak, once they got used to me ogling them. (If you ever stumble upon a mess of fiddlers, they will disappear in a blink, so quickly you might wonder if you truly saw them. Just sit quietly like you're a stalk of phragmite. Then sit some more. They'll come popping out like Munchkins after Dorothy's first killing.)

Along the banks of Spicer Creek, Cape May

When the males weren't busy displaying their dominant claws the way American males flash their cash, they mostly ate, picking up tiny pieces of the mudbank with the smaller claw, bringing mud to their mouths.

Piece by piece by piece, the crabs convert the muck into themselves, muck made from the deaths of millions of organisms before them, teeming with bacteria, bits of algae, and mostly death.

Hundreds of fiddler crabs can be found on a small patch of the creek's edge, all of them made of the stuff of mud.

There's a lightning storm brewing outside as I write this. My fiddler crabs, most of them anyway, will survive the storm, and tomorrow will again be feasting on the bank.

If fiddler crabs needed schooling, what would they need to learn in order to live? What would they need in order to live happily? What part of their lives would they give up in order to go to school?

These are rhetorical (and silly) questions--fiddler crabs already know how to live.

Most of our children do not, and that's OK, it's one reason our young depend on their elders for so long. After years of schooling, though, how many of our children know how to live as well as
the fiddler crabs along Spicer Creek?

We need food, air, water, shelter, and love.
How good is a child at getting any of those after 13 years of public schooling?

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