Henry, Father and Retired Director of Marketing, FL
What do you want for your kids? What constitutes a “good life?”
I want a few things. First is happiness. You can have this and that—or not have this or that—and it’s not necessarily going to make you happy.
Second, I want them to be financially savvy. Now, that might sound superficial, but it is the root of how a person lives. Finances are a foundation being able to be happy, being able to marry, and being able to support children.
Third, I want them to find someone to love and spend their life with, and be able to experience the joy of having children.
Fourth, I want them to find a passion, whether that is work, or a “life’s endeavor.” I want them to have something that drives them to fill their days with, and that they feel is also contributing to the betterment of themselves or those around them. It all leads back to happiness.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
School should do a couple different things. The first is that is should make you really good at the basics—reading, writing, arithmetic. Learning these basics are not so that you can score well on a test, or the SAT—they are important because they open the world up to you. Once you have that, outside of school you can find the other things I talked about. But, if you don’t give somebody that, they might struggle to find the other things.
The next thing schools should do is expose you to a diversity of ideas and thoughts—things going on in the world. Without prejudicing you in any way, or as much as possible.
The third thing it should do is show you how to interrelate with others. I think you lose that with homeschooling. School should do this in a nurturing manner, but also in a manner where you get synergy: 3 people thinking about a problem is better than 1, and you might even get 9 times the answers.
Do you think schools are currently playing that role/doing what they should (for you/your child and for everyone)?
In some cases, they are—for my children I think they were successful, at least in teaching the basics. But in a lot they are failing. In places where it is not safe or orderly, it can be difficult to teach the social aspects well. Also, schools need money and wealth, and this makes it inherently unequal. There are many discrepancies in resources and facilities.
I also think schools also need to do a better job of helping students figure out what they want to do once they graduate. I think a lot leave high school without ever thinking about that. And that's a problem.