Thursday, April 4, 2013

Productive Complaining

We live in a society that likes to complain. Not that I'm complaining, this is just an observation. I complain, too, especially when it comes to things I have no control over.
"The important thing is not to stop questioning." ~Albert Einstein
Or do I? If I have learned anything from homeschooling my kids, it is that complaining should be productive. Complaints should be coupled with creative solutions. Complaining about my weight does not help me lose weight, so I exercise and try to make intelligent choices when I eat. When I complained that neither Marina nor I understood her math book, I began the process of finding a new math text. When Chase had no desire to read, Marina and I scoured the library shelves for books that would hold his interest. When Sierra fought me to teach her anything, I backed off and discovered she was capable of learning without formal lessons. 
 "The first step towards amendment is the recognition of error." ~Seneca
Sticking with a system that isn't working and complaining about it is not productive. Lately, the paper has been full of articles regarding testing, such as educators who change scores and fears about lower scores as Common Core tests begin in our state. Parents, teachers, and community leaders complain that we need education reform, but what usually happens is we try to do more of the same thing. We add hours to the school year. We add more tests. This is not reform. This has been tried already. The only thing that changed is how much emphasis we put on quantity over quality and it has taught our children that they must pass at any cost, even if that means cheating. The end justifies the means.
 "Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training." ~Anna Freud
I have a great amount of hope for the resiliency of our youth. I remember my own generation being downplayed and dismissed as disrespectful, unkempt, and loud. There always seems to be friction between the older generation and the next. It is hard to trust, and so we try to control and complain. Perhaps the good that comes from the lack of true education reform is that more parents will take responsibility for their children's education. Maybe the children  themselves will show their elders that they are capable of learning on their own with the resources they have literally at their fingertips.
 "Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

All quotes were found in the book At Knit's End: Meditations for Women who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Not that I knit even a little bit. Marina read quotes to me from it.


Inner Elder said...

Your wisdom is showing! This is wonderful food for thought. Love, Mom

call*me*kate said...

That is a very interesting concept. I tend to link complaining with whining but you put a positive spin on it. My daughter is a terrific complainer at times - I should have her read this post. I laughed at that last quote ... Chad heard me say, "I wonder who Antoine de Saint-Exupery was?" Chad knew who he was and informed me that we actually have a book by him. Nice to have such a good resource for a son. Thanks for the comment - Chad appreciated it, too! He was told today that there would be a photo of the three winners in our local paper - how fun!
Have a good week - Kate

Paula Vince said...

Great thoughts. I'd been brought up not to complain and found that you're right - necessary and beneficial changes don't get made. I'm sure there's an art to complaining for a purpose.

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