“I want to fly; but I don’t have wings.” – I was almost in tears when my two-year old daughter said this to me. We were sitting on the back patio watching the birds swoop over the canal in the drizzles. She has an inmate sense of adventure that I think most children do – she loves to climb everything, ride everything, and has no problem wandering a little too far from mommy when we’re out and about. When I heard her say this, I felt that she was expressing a part of her soul. I also felt that she was expressing the spirit of education.
It struck me that all children start out wanting to “fly.” They have a natural curiosity, passion, enthusiasm, that often gets drained out of them over the years. Children are desperate to not only learn from us, but to learn to be self-sufficient and self-directed. They want to grow wings, and they depend on us to nurture that desire. How many opportunities do our children and students have to experience this kind of fulfillment in their development?
It seems to me that there are a lot of societal factors, including the way that institutional education has been transformed over the decades, that have contributed to a stifling of this natural spirit. I feel deeply that it is our job as parents and educators to be the David that protects our children and stands up to the Goliath of our institutions that hinder children from having the potential to grow authentically.