The Education Every Child Most Needs, Part 2

In this series, we’re contrasting the education our culture gives us vs. the education a person (adult or child) most needs in life.

Culture sort of teaches us to be predictable. No surprises.

But the education we most need would teach a person how to be a surprise, and how to be surprised, and how to find life surprising, and how to bring surprise to work and study and relationships.

The Downside of Predictability

When life gets too predictable, this can lead to problems. The person who is bored with their studies, bored with their work, bored in a relationship will experience a loss of energy, and this may even affect one’s health.

Can you put a person into enough routine to destroy the person? Possibly. But how refreshing it is to meet someone who has a lot of routine but who is bigger than the routine. Someone who finds a way to stay alive, even in the routine—and who models that for her children.

The Value of Breaking Out of the Routine

Kids need a routine, of course. It’s reassuring.

But in her book on Building Self-esteem In Children, Sandra Berne talks about the value of doing surprising, unexpected, spur-of-the-moment things with kids. She says that actions like these send a powerful message to the child that they are worth it—and that there is more to life than the routine.

As an extra benefit: these unexpected experiences often end up being the ones we tell stories about and bond over.

A friend of mine loves to tell the story of the time in the 1940s, in West Virginia, when his Dad drove the family from the farm into town in the middle of a snow storm, getting stuck several times—to get ice cream! My friend says, “Maybe it wasn’t wise, but we loved him for it!”

It’s an idea worth thinking about—the value of making room for surprise in life.