SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 324: “I Think We Could Do It… If We Tried”

Kara, son Christopher and my daughter jumping in the background

“Everything closes on Sunday’s. It’s family time” Kara brings us up to speed on the German culture.

“I think adults have to behave the way we are demanding our children to behave,” she platforms with an explanation.

“’We ask our children to compromise… and to talk to each other in a nice tone. And then we are constantly inundated with what’s in the news of people who can’t talk to each other. We’ve got two warring parties and a president who can’t do much because people aren’t behaving themselves. It’s really hard to say to our kids, ‘We expect this of you!’ when we don’t live it by example.’

The biggest thing I want the say to people is, ‘Live the way we want to see our kids living.’

Kids are not having the opportunities that we had… and fortunately for my family, we are in Germany, where it is a little safer for kids (Kara has lived there for eleven years working as a teacher).

My kids can ride their bikes and go down to the bike paths. But here in the States, I worry about stuff like that. What example are we giving our kids with what is going on.’”

I have to ask, “Why is it safer in Germany?”

“The family is important…” Kara responds, “’…multi generations are still living in one house, and we don’t have as many nursing homes to push people off to. Sunday’s are a family day where you can’t go shopping… everything shuts down. That brings out the best in people. You see kids outside playing with each other. Families are walking together… or biking together… It’s a slower pace of life where the family is still important.

It’s not like Germany doesn’t have its problems; but the problems we see are adult based. So again, if we want our kids to have the kind of life we want for them, then we have to restructure within ourselves. We can’t just say, ‘Well… you’ll have it better.’ How are they going to have it better if we are not showing them?

‘Do as I say… not as I do…’ That doesn’t work!’”

Kara gives us a few tips on navigating forward.

“We need to always continue to question ourselves… Are we doing the best that we can?

Are we providing that next generation with what they need? Are we providing the art’s opportunities that there should be? Are we continuing to feel that math and science are the only things we can afford to teach them…? When that is not bringing out a full human being.

And we need to keep history alive.”

I’m always happy to engage in conversations on the modern schooling systems. Not bagging on the teachers, there are so many great ones like Kara and a plethora of other teacher friends that I have known for many years.

The problems actually lie at the top end of education, with administrators working within an antiquated schooling system. A System that is far in need of an update to match that of the world as it is now, and not lagged by the weight of schooling methods that worked in the past.

But what is the solution? I admit that I am clueless. The problem is vast and complex, but there is an educator who has an idea. Sir Ken Robinson, a man whom I have never met, but his message is succinct. He calls it Changing Education Paradigms. Here is a link to a presentation that explains his point of view. Check it out; his concepts are very eye-opening.

“I hope we are going to be in a place where kids drive the education…” Kara elaborates, “…if there is something that they want to do, that in the future we will not be so focused on the school programs, and allow them to progress and grow through things.

Sure, we all have to work some kind of job at some point. But we need to have a more rounded people who can all come to an understanding of each other, regardless of race, gender or faith. That Muslim, Christian, Jew and Catholic can get along. We all have our beliefs, and we need to learn how to respect each other. And we need to learn that it’s not a bad thing to be just who you are. I hope that we can come to a day where we live together in a respectful atmosphere… I think we could do it… if we tried.”