On and On it Goes
February 26, 2014 § 19 Comments
Every so often, I have some notion of what I’m going to write here, but most mornings I fly by the seat of my pants. If I happen to be wearing any pants, because as you know, I work at home, and thus the impetus to wear anything more than a pair of woolen long johns adorned with flecks of dried egg yolk is at a minimum. Too much information, perhaps, but hey. This is my party and I’ll admit to working in yolk-flecked long johns if I bloody well want to.
I am appreciative of the many thoughtful comments relating to my last post. The subject of our children’s education is fraught with hope, expectations, assumptions, fear, pressure and probably a few other things I’m not thinking of at the moment, and sometimes I get a little panicked to remember I’m about to launch a book that calls to question many aspects of our culture’s common understanding regarding what education can and should be. Of course, the book is about much more than my sons’ education, as it must be, since my sons’ education truly cannot be segregated from our life on this currently-frozen and windswept hill. Still, the how and why of their learning – and not just their learning, but also Penny’s and mine – is arguably the most prevalent thread holding the whole shootin’ match together.
I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. I have found, as Robin commented on Friday, that outside of a core group of friends and family who already know all my quirks and contradictions well enough that their opinion is unlikely to change unless I do something truly egregious, the older I get the less I care what others think of me. This is one of the benefits of maturing, I suppose, and it’s nearly enough to offset the fact that I no longer seem able to get a bite of egg to my mouth with dribbling a skosh of it on my woolies. I have been aided in this regard (the caring less, not the egg dribbling) by having my work be a matter of public record. I’m learning that the only way to please everyone is to say nothing at all or, at the very least, to say nothing of any real value, which strikes me as essentially the same thing. I’m not opposed to small talk – I do it pretty well, actually – but the written equivalent is not really what I want to put out into the world.
There’s little question that my forthcoming book is both the most personal of any I’ve written and maybe the most provocative. Or maybe not, because of course “provocative” is in the eye of the beholder. Certainly, it’s not as provocative as at least one other book on education I can think of (which, if you haven’t read, you darn well ought), but it’s also far more personal, and as such, I feel a certain vulnerability when I consider it becoming fodder for disagreement and criticism.
Still, here’s the other thing I’m learning: You can spend an entire life trying to avoid being perceived as vulnerable. Indeed, an awful lot of people do, and there are many aspects of our social and economic structures that both support and depend on this desired avoidance.
But of course no one can ever truly avoid it. We are all, on one level or another, and probably on many levels, vulnerable. And the sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we say screw it, this is who I am and this is what I believe, the sooner we can get on with living life exactly the way we want.