Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My daughter's unfortunate desire

We live across the street from an elementary "public school" playground.

My 3 1/2 year-old daughter sees the kids playing at recess and longs to join them. She begs to go to school.

When I try to tell her the truth about school, her mother and my parents think I am trying to brainwash her. I'm simply telling her that what she sees the kids enjoying (and most of them are seemingly enjoying themselves during recess, though some are being victimized and bullied) is NOT school. It is the joy of a brief break from the tedium that is "school".

I tell her that school is all about sitting still and being quiet and being talked (down) to. I haven't even gotten into the worst of it. The part about being trained like a Pavlovian dog to regulate your body to the ringing of bells - the part about being trained that The State is "how it's always been done, so it's the only option"- the part of being trained to submit to "authority" even when the demands are stupid and/or harmful.

She doesn't believe me. I'm not the kind of person to forbid her from trying school if that is what she really wants, but I know once in the system, it would be much harder to drop off the radar. I'd probably be forced to move and leave no forwarding address.