THE WOLF INSIDE OF US!
Learning to Be is one of the four pillars of education described by Jacques Delors in his report for UNESCO on Education in the 21st Century.
Launchpad house focuses on these four pillars and pays particular attention to ‘Learning to be’ as this is the pillar that often gets left behind. Over the coming weeks I will offer you practical tips as to how you can look at engaging with your young person to help them cultivate the ability to ‘Learn to be’.
The other pillars are Learning to Live Together, Learning to Know and Learning to Do. Currently the formal curriculum at schools usually comprises the latter two with the first often left to chance and Learning to be is just considered too hard!!
So what are we talking about? How do children and young people learn to be and what can schools and parents do so that what they learn is positive, constructive and helpful for both their own lives and the health of their communities?
As our children grow, they get bigger, they lose their baby teeth and experience the pangs of puberty but during all these critical years they are developing their self-concept, character, abilities, and most importantly embedding the values and perspectives that underpin how they see themselves, their hopes and dreams, the world and those around them.
Increasingly young people are being pulled every which way, at the mercy of the media, advertisers and cultural pressures. The messages they receive tell them that they need to look a certain way, own certain things and conform to a set of behaviours in order to be ‘successful’. Children who do not fit in may be the targets of bullying.
Young people are often so busy ‘doing’ they rarely have opportunities to reflect on ‘being’ and ‘becoming’. Many end up confused and in a crisis about their identity. We ask students what they want to be when they grow up but rarely do they hear the questions ‘who do you want to become – what sort of person do you want to be?’ We give children material goods and experiences but do not find time to talk with them about gaining wisdom and living well. It is not surprising that mental health is a growing concern across the western world; it seems we are not paying sufficient attention to ‘feeding the good wolf’.
So how can education help the next generation learn ways to ‘be’ that enable young people to become their best selves, develop confidence in who they are, increase their chances of being resilient in the face of challenges and come to a clear and positive identity that enhances their self-respect, positive qualities and authentic wellbeing???
So reflect on which wolf you are feeding? How are you helping your children feed their wolf? Next week I share some practical ways you can help your child, ‘learn to be’.