Tips and ideas for living an authentic life

How do you “bring up” or “raise” your child? I notice that my four daughters are raising their kids with an eye on preparing them to be successful when it’s time for them to go out on their own. No surprise there, that’s certainly a big part of what I was thinking about when they were kids growing up.

We all naturally care about our kids and that caring includes guiding them in living a rich life, handling the inevitable ups and downs, creating successful relationships and ultimately, discovering the magic that life seems to promise. A big part of that guidance comes through their schooling. Most every parent I know wants that schooling to be an effective part of raising their child.

I want to share my perspective on today’s schooling and in particular, about the difference between education and training. I say that because I feel like so much of our educational system is focused on training rather than education. The difference, from my viewpoint, is that training focuses on how to create a pre-determined future experience while education facilitates the child’s unfolding current experience in the richest and most natural way possible. Educating someone, from my perspective, is founded on the belief that facilitating rich current experience will naturally lead to richness in future experience even though you can’t predict what that will be.

The difference? Training is about controlling the future while education is about discovery in the ever unfolding present. Training doesn’t prepare a person for surprise but for outcome, while education doesn’t prepare for outcome but for surprise.

James Carse in his book Finite and Infinite Games captures this idea beautifully when, in writing about education and training, he says:

The infinite player does not expect only to be amused by surprise, but to be transformed by it, for surprise does not alter some abstract past, but one’s own personal past.

To be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.

. . . Education discovers an increasing richness in the past, because it sees what is unfinished there. Training regards the past as finished and the future to be finished. Education leads toward a continuing self-discovery; training leads toward a final self-definition.

In my experience, training is really only useful to an educated person – to the uneducated, training can be a cruel master. I suggest that you consider personally providing your kids with the most valuable schooling I know of which is educating them, not in how to handle and control surprise but to embrace it and its naturally transformative process.

Since public education is so training oriented you might want to teach your kids: a) how to make the  training they get in school useful in their current experience or, b) how to give themselves permission to put it aside when they can find no use for it in the present. 

To me, that’s educating someone. That simple awareness and acknowledgement of what is useful to them and what isn’t can connect you to your kids in an amazing and surprising way. It can be an important part of the caring connection you want in raising your child to live a rich life, effectively handle the ups and downs, and to discover the magic and transformative experiences that life has – in short, to live a resonant life (one that just feels right).

In my next blog, I will be talking about the Achievement model (training oriented) and my Awareness model (educating oriented). You will see why the Awareness model might look like a self-centered model but is actually quite the opposite. In that blog, I will give you an example of a so-called progressive idea that is actually self-limiting because at its core it sits on a foundation belief that creates the perceived need for control and future achievement, i.e. it looks like education but is actually just more training.

Until then – please leave a comment, education is an important topic for us all

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