If you look around at the debate about unschooling and alternative education it can seem as if it’s a debate and discussion that involves more women than men.
When you look at the people who influence and decide policy at government level it seems that we have more male voices together getting everyone’s attention and making decisions that we may or may not like. More men in positions of power right?
It’s important that, as we look at how to abandon the industrial revolution ship of education and strike out for new shores and a new future for our children, all the voices are represented.
If we all do not participate in the debate about the future for our children, (in the same way as if you don’t vote then you perhaps shouldn’t complain about the government you get) we ought not complain about our education system and the agendas that drive it.
It is time to get busy, start talking about it at a community level and on the wider stage of the Internet.
I know there are many insightful compassionate strong men out there wondering, like I have been for the last few years, what is the best way to serve my children? What is the best way to equip them? How should we support learning? What ought we teach them about the world?
But many men in our society are giving men as a whole a bad rep. Men who subscribe to simplistic caricatures of what it means to be male. Men who promote macho warmongering approaches to masculinity. Unbelievably (to me) men who believe that we should put guns in the hands children and tell them this is the way to manage the future. Many of these kind of men run our government.
They do not represent me or most of the men I know.
On the other hand there are the emasculated men. Men who have never found a mature strong masculine but (understandably) reject the machismo on offer. These men also give men as a whole a bad rep as they offer un-transformative consciousness to our children. Men being appropriately male is what is required. Not men trying to be female.
They do not represent me either.
We need men, like many of the ones I know in the men’s movement, to start speaking more clearly, specifically and loudly their truth about what it means to be a father. What it means to ask the most profound question the man can ask. What is the best I can do for my children?
When we speak that question into the world an almost impossible number of opinions and ideas come back to us. It can be overwhelming.
This is why men need other men to talk to about these issues. I know I do. In the same way that women need other women to talk to. And of course just in case anyone beginning to get the wrong end of the stick, most importantly, women and men whether they are in a relationship together parenting children or not, need to start and continue an ongoing dialogue about what it means to raise their children for the future.
I was talking yesterday to a friend of mine who is a coach and who works in the education field. He told me the when his first child was born he had a plan to homeschool or unschool his children. It was in fact his partner, his wife, who resisted this idea and he never was able to bring it about.
This was unusual for me to hear this because I often hear mostly women expressing their dissatisfaction will the education system, the pressures on their children, how this causes anxiety and a deep concern that the children they love are being robbed of something precious that they can never return to. Their childhood.
But of course this is just me allowing myself to be influenced by the voices I hear and notice.
There must be many many men who, like me, took one look at what was on offer in the education world and tried to match it to a reasonable idea of what the world might look like in 25 years’ time, when my children would be adults, and realized there was a glaring mismatch.
So I’d like to invite any man who might be reading this blog to get in touch so we can talk to each other. Get into a dialogue and explore each other’s ideas and thinking on this topic.
We will not be afraid of talking to each other even when we don’t necessarily share exactly the same ideas.
It is scary for us to think about. I was very anxious for a long time about doing the right thing for my children’s education. But this has passed as I have learned to trust. Myself and them.
What will not serve our children is to not have any of these debates and explorations at all. And this is a conversation both men and women need to be involved in.