Thoughts on fostering growth through empathy
- a blog for parents -
I was behind going through mail and just opened an envelope from the Folio Society that was sent to me in April ! (Oops!). It was a flyer promoting the release of a three book package of Leonardo's notebooks.
Just skimming the simple 8 page fold out flyer, it is readily apparent that Leonardo's range and variety of intense interests was truly mind-blowing. Drawings of human anatomy, complex "gadgets", plants, human portraits and animals. That covers natural sciences, anatomy, arts, engineering, and literature - he wrote a lot about each drawing! We all admire this Renaissance genius, and while we would love to support our children to be this expansive in their expressions of themselves, we also tend to encourage them to follow the more straight-and-narrow path (the "yellow brick road" if you will) to the end of the career rainbow. Something safe that will guarantee them a respectable job or career title, good pay, good health and vacation benefits, and a good retirement plan. Truthfully, we encourage them to trade away creative independent thought and exploration for "the safe path".
Now it may sound like I'm being quite critical of this approach - and I understand why you would think so - but I have also encouraged my kiddo to take that same safe route for years. Why? Because it is "familiar" - it was all I knew. In today's world, though, when we look at the people who are making a difference, the way Leonardo did in his time, they are following their own path. Not becoming a "title", but becoming a person who does something they're interested in enough to commit to it. Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone in the world were living and working like that?
In case you're wondering, Kyokan Connections is my attempt to do just that - albeit after having completed the "conventional" route.
Now, I am not saying that kids don't need a good education - how could they follow their interests if they didn't have foundational knowledge? But, I AM saying, perhaps we need to consider how to make sure kids also get time to engage in creative, freely expressive play that is unstructured and unencumbered by the expectations for a particular "learning outcome". They could create their own genius journals!