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What is success?

As a society we ask questions about how we can educate children better in two main areas. Specifically, how we can get children to remember more facts, and how we can get them to remember them at an earlier age.In short, more of it, and faster . (2 of modern societies sacred 4, the others being bigger and better )

Hey, if children don't remember them at an ever earlier age how will they out compete everyone else? I make few apologies for my cynicism of the modern day education system. Having been an elementary school teacher myself and I have seen it first hand. There are a number of questions that go not only unanswered, but more crucially, unasked. Instead, the adult world provides the framework for children to base their lives around. In other words, we tell them how it's going to be and expect every individual to buy into it.

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In this post, the question we are exploring is very simple; "What is success?"

Can we encourage children to ask this question, and can we give them the space to answer for themselves? It's obviously going to take some work, because currently our education and societal systems completely define what we perceive as success.

Heres is societies eight step plan to success:

1. Get good grades

2. Get into a good college

3. Get a good job -meaning financially secure and stable

4. Find an attractive partner

5. Buy a house -renting is the second class option

6. Have kids- nice ones who follow societies ideas of success

7. Plan for retirement- remember to make sure your kids get to the best college

8. Er let's not talk about life after retirement. Just make sure you've worked your butt off for the previous 40 years so you can afford to die quietly.

Except, I am yet to find anyone who subscribed to this well worn path and found true peace, love, joy or purpose. It seems that most of us only find out the cruel joke at the end. How many elders do you find imploring you to follow everyone else and just get through with gritted teeth. "Follow your heart" is what most of them say.

At each step we are motivated because we fear someone else's definition of failure. And it's not just a little, mild worrying. It's full on, 'Life will end if I'm not successful' fear. Yet at each of these steps in life there are people who have disregarded what society is telling them about when and how they will be successful, and they are perfectly happy. Life did not end. In fact, for many it is when they realize their life has begun.

No-one can tell anyone else what constitutes success in their life. We all have to decide that for ourselves Unless we don't. After years and even decades adopting societies definitions of success it can take huge, herculean efforts to break free and ask questions that pertain to our own lives. Many people never find the strength of independent thought and spend their whole lives being a slave to a faceless, nameless 'expectation'. This isn't their fault. If we can't encourage children to seek their own questions and answers to life's challenges then we will condemn millions more to lives of desperate silence.

Such a simple question; "What is success?", but it is undoubtedly one of the hardest for us to ask, especially where children are concerned. Yet this is the question that leads to innovation and inspiration, to creativity and change, and most importantly, to peace and happiness.

I would urge you to ask yourself what you define as success in your own life, and find any way possible to encourage children to ask this in theirs.

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Posted in Community groups Post Date 01/02/2017


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