The most important things I have learned in school are as follows (in no particular order):
1. I learned how to listen
2. I learned how to work with my peers (both smarter and less smart than myself)
3. I learned how to communicate with adults
4. I learned how to articulate my ideas
5. I learned how to ask questions
6. I learned how to ask for help
7. I learned how to manage my time
8. I learned the importance of integrity
9. I learned how to defend my opinions
10. I learned how to respect other people’s opinions
11. I learned how to be social
12. I learned how to study
13. I learned how to solve problems
14. I learned to think creatively
The process of learning things has taught me more about the world, people, and myself than any lecture has ever done. A population without this rite is at a great disservice, because if the youth don’t learn about these important aspects of their lives before they are brainwashed by the thinking’s of their society then when will they learn?
In English class we have been reading The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. I came across this passage and I was saddened by its implications, “crowds of boys from our village and the next one over come straggling in for their education. It’s only the boys, and not all of them either, since most of the parents don’t approve of learning French or the other foreign element in general” ( 126). One thing that strikes me in this passage is that all of the boys don’t go to school. Later on in the passage Rachel (the speaker) says, “by the time they are twelve or so, their education is over and out.” I understand that boys and girls are expected to help keep the village functioning, but if a little more time and effort were invested into education then the village could greatly benefit from increased efficiency and higher technology. Another thing I noticed was the parent’s rejection of education. They are stuck in a vicious cycle. The parents are only repeating what they did as children, but societies like these need education. The amounts of good that a sound education could provide for places like this are endless. The most disheartening thing about this passage was the fact that girls are neglected an education. I know how different their lives could be if they were educated. I draw a lot of my confidence from the knowledge and schooling that I have. I am able to talk to anyone, man or women, professor or waiter because I have confidence in my ability to articulate my ideas, confidence to defend my ideas, and the confidence that I deserve their time. People believe what they are taught, and if you are taught that your role in the family is to cook, clean, and bear children, then that becomes your personal narrative. However, if you are able to go to school and be exposed to different cultures, ideologies, and experiences or if you are able to be taught by someone who harnesses your potential then the course of your life could be incredibly altered. For me, my mind has been opened by studying the craft behind language and I have been empowered by teachers who have pushed me to my intellectual limits.
The oppression of girls around the world is scary, as I was reading about women in Saudi Arabia, I found this bit of information from A Human Rights Watch report (July 8, 2009). Saudi law “requires Saudi women to obtain permission from male guardians (fathers, husbands, brothers, or male children) before they can carry out a host of day-to-day activities, such as education, employment, travel, opening a bank account, or receiving medical care.” Imagine if your life was manipulated by someone else, someone who might not always have your best interests in mind? The scarier thought though, is that these women might not realize the injustices that they are living in. Because it is the norm in Saudi Arabia to be subordinate to males how could women know to expect more? Education is the answer to that question, and the opportunity for both boys and girls to be educated would make the world a better place, I guarantee it.