The Education Every Child Most Needs, Part 8

[Note: In this series, we’re contrasting the education that the culture gives us vs. the education a human being most needs in this world. This is adapted in part from an essay by Landon Saunders entitled, What Every Child Comes Into the World to Learn.]

The education we most need begins with a sense of wonder and proceeds in wonder because without a sense of wonder everything we do is flat. Part of that’s because we somewhere we got the idea that everything had been explained.

Now look at that word, “explain.” It’s root meaning is “to make flat.” Doesn’t that describe what cultural education sometimes does to us? Life becomes flat when all of the mysteries have been explained. And then you feel like a steamroller has hit you—so you have to watch out for the steamroller, whether it’s the steamroller of education or the steamroller of religion. It just leaves you flat.

Once there was a young man who went in a great search—really he was searching for himself. But he also liked Persian carpets, so he went into a rug shop and met a man who was more than just a rug merchant. The young man stood there examining the beautiful carpets, but the merchant was sort of studying him, and finally he said, “You’re a seeker.” Well, at this the young man said, “Yes, I am a seeker,” and he smiled a little smugly. The merchant continued, “But you’re not a finder.” Then the merchant began to explain to him that he was a young man who was searching for the education he most needed, but that he kept falling into all of these different systems. Gesturing to the various designs in the carpets, the merchant said, “You know, in this business there are the rug weavers, they are like those who make beautiful systems of learning or of religion. These are followed by the rug beaters who try to beat other peoples’ systems into their own ideas of living. Then there are the masses who obliviously wipe their feet on the systems they’ve never even consciously thought about. Now let me tell you a secret.” The old merchant continued, “Settle for nothing less than a carpet that will fly!”

He was talking about wonder—an exuberant, joyful carpet that excludes nothing in life, that is woven from the threads of terror and joy and the threads of one’s own life.

And when we talk about wonder, we’re not talking about make believe. We’re talking about an approach to life that lets you do everything you do with your whole being. Or, as it’s been put, “with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.”

Now that is certainly an education any child can benefit from!