Who Says… We All Have to Be Academics?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-03-16.

Although there is a place for academic people not everyone has to be of this temperament. Everyone is important in God’s eyes.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: Phil. 3:1-11

There is an old joke that B students go to college to learn from A students, so they can be qualified to work for the D student who quit school long ago and started a business! Although this is meant to be funny, it really is not that far from the truth. I worked with A, B and D students and I learned long ago that the “top” students were usually good at doing what they were told while the “lower” students were usually not that keen on going to school, because they knew there was a real world awaiting them where they could think for themselves and go make money. Not that money should ever be the ultimate goal in life, but let’s face it, it does buy you more than when you don’t have any. The students who barely passed were not always students who could not do the work, but often students who knew the game and played it to their advantage, offering the minimum effort required to “get out of jail”! Many of these students already had future plans, were often working in a field of interest, some already involved in business. I may not have admitted it back then, but more than once I was able to show these enterprising students that school was a waste of their time. I can’t say I had the parents agreeing with me either!

School can be guaranteed to do two things. The first is, it assumes all students are the same, that is, academically inclined and therefore, programable. The second is that, since it assumes that all students are uniform, it treats them all the same, resulting in confusion at best, or damage at worst. Some can actually go through the system and survive, others flourish, while most just let the system slowly rob them of self-worth. Those that survive are the few blessed with an innate comfort with who they are, and often had parents that were seriously involved in their lives. Those that flourished simply fit the system and were good at following directives. These are the ones who would go to college and oftentimes, ended up as teachers so they could, in turn, tell students what to do. Since these people only understand things academically, and since they make up the majority of the teaching profession, they tend to emphasize academics, while ignoring the hands on, the technical and the artistic. This is why the education system focusses on the academics. To be fair, if the majority of those within the teaching profession were of an artistic temperament, schools would likely be more artistic.

The difficulty with a one size-fits-all system is that it tends to favor those who fit the clothes. Even though a tradesman could easily make twice as much income as a teacher, they were looked upon as… well… tradesmen and not near as smart as… well… teachers. Somewhere along the line, teachers missed the fact that they would continue to need tradesmen while tradesmen were not likely to have teachers in their contacts list.

At issue here is not so much the fact that people tend to be different, obviously, but that we tend to want them all the same. One of the casualties of a system that favors one type of learner over the others is the fact that most of those students who were not “academic” were so damaged by that “birth defect” that they think of themselves as losers, often demanding that their own nonacademic children measure up to something they never could. School is mostly geared to academics. Programs are mostly about academics. Teachers are usually academics. Tests generally measure academics. If there is a concern about home education, other than the ubiquitous question of socialization, it would be whether or not students are meeting academic standards. The “top” of the career food chain is occupied by academics. And if you are not academic? I guess you will just have to take second or third place. Too bad! How sad! At least, that’s how the world sees it.

One of the things that I quickly noticed as I studied the life of Jesus was that he did not make distinctions respecting people. In fact, the Pharisees were concerned that the followers of Jesus were untrained and uneducated. Somehow, not being “academic” was a concern to the Pharisees back then, but not to Jesus. Someone forgot to notice that the academics were not the ones who changed the world, but those who were willing to allow God to use them, regardless of their characters.

Who says we all have to be academics? Academics! And there are many organizations that are more than willing to capitalize on this universal and faulty mindset.

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