In this first of a series of posts on education (broadly defined), I will mediate on education within the family.
My dad used to joke with me; “just send me the bill.” The sense was to bill him for the counseling I’d seek for my traumatic childhood. He said this, for example, when I flushed red at him singing to my carpool friends. But the joke is poignant: none of us have a neutral childhood. It is within a family context that each of us is given an introduction to right and wrong, an orientation to other people, and a sense of self worth.
A proprietress of a wonderful school in La Romana has a vision for her students to think critically about their family life. She posed this question to them: “When you’re a parent, do you want to be the same kind of parent you yourself have?” Some children said yes. Others shared they were raised by an exhausted grandmother or a distant mother. Many wanted their own children to know their father.
I thought this a difficult but brave exercise, to ask the children to reflect on their familial education and push them to examine what they’d like to change for the next generation: breaking negative cycles but also preserving what is good.
As part of a community that believes in educating the next generation to transform our world, how do you view our role in educating the individual in the context of his/her family? If instead of “sending our parents the bill”, we are called to let our pain be transformed by Christ into a better chance for the next generation, how then should our lives look differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts!