I continue to ponder education and in particular the increasing access to opportunity made possible through private school education.
For those readers who know me well you will know that I am rarely able to rest my thoughts, one thought always takes me to the next thought and I can't stop (actually the truth is I don't want to stop) until I know I have found the essence of the topic. My post about the Classroom of the Soul touched on the importance of nature and generated some brilliant feedback which I will explore in future posts, but that wasn't the essence of what I was wanting to explore.
I think the core of what I am challenged by, with private school education, is at what point do we stop and simply be. At what point do we allow ourselves to be taught in the language of the soul, lessons which can only be found within?
The facilities at the schools I have been touring are utterly gobsmacking. Facilities that can only be dreamed of by many of the rural and regional councils from which the country boarding community hail from, but I find myself wondering when the kids would actually get to just be, to simply kick back and gaze at the clouds and be bored. With all that opportunity being fed to them how do our kids remain curious yet content. I am wondering if we are actually creating too much opportunity. Is the seemingly ever increasing level of privilege partly responsible for the unprecedented levels of mental ill health in our society?
Continuing with the comparison of these schools to rural and regional communities, in days gone by it was the very fact that the community didn't have amazing infrastructure that formed the backbone of the high quality of life experienced in them. People didn't have their own pool so they swam at the local pool, surrounded by family and friends, from all walks of life. There was no theatre and so families would come together and have skit nights or a bush dance. Perhaps I am romanticising but I can't help wonder if the very thing we are looking to remove - boredom (or as I prefer to term it, the ability to simply be) is the root cause of many of our first world issues.
When I reflect on my own experiences and my struggles with depression and anxiety I can't help but wonder what role my privileged education played in that constant quest for more. My parents made tremendous sacrifices to afford me piano lessons, open access to the school dark room and all the frightfully expensive materials that I used there in the dark. I travelled overseas, I did dance and drama and dressmaking, I learned calligraphy and pottery. I experimented with oil paints and lithography and lino printing, I toured the art galleries of Melbourne, I went to regular performances at the Opera House. It would appear that I wanted for nothing. But I can't help but wonder if it denied me the feeling that I am still seeking, that feeling that I am enough.