The Education Every Child Most Needs, Part 6

[Note: As part of my research for a children’s book I’m working on, we’re contrasting the education that the culture gives us vs. the education a human 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.]

Cultural education teaches us to be what someone else wants us to be. Does that sound familiar? The education a person most needs would help you be who you were meant to be—which reminds me of the story of the eagle and the crow.

High on a craggy hillside is an eagle’s nest, and on the side of the nest is a recently hatched young eaglet. He’s on the phone to Western Union. Let’s overhear:

“Okay, here’s the message. Out of shell. STOP. Exhausted the possibilities of the next. STOP. Not yet airborne. STOP. Send flight instructor.”

Now also overhearing the message was a crow who was sitting just out of sight in the bowels of a huge spruce. Well, after an appropriate time, the crow appeared on the edge of the nest and announced himself as the eagle’s flight instructor. Soon the crow had the eagle raiding the trash cans in a nearby logging camp. Now, the eagle still hadn’t learned to fly. Ah, but he could jump effectively from can to can, and with his talons he could tear open the plastic garbage bags. And of course, that was a great boon to the crow. And to keep the eagle from getting too much of the food, the crow also provided for the young eaglet’s religious education, encouraging the eaglet to hop down off the trash can after making a good find of food, and spend some time in prayer.

One afternoon, while the eaglet was on the ground praying, a dog lunged at him and broke one of his wings. Well, the young eagle, at this point, had learned just little enough ab out the world and just little enough about religion to crawl away into the undergrowth saying to himself, “Well this must be God’s will. He must not want me to fly. He must have a bigger plan for me.”

As William Blake said, “The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow.”

Becoming ourselves, growing to be who we are, this is a great challenge. It may be the only thing a person—child or adult—has to do in the world.