This is totally off-subject of handmade instruments. However, it has much to do with how our skills are handed down and how our children are educated.
We are all aware of today's situation. We get up in the morning, rush through breakfast (if we eat at all), the dad pecks his wife on the cheek, says bye to the children (if they're awake yet... he may have to get up early to commute to work). Mother rushes off to work, leaving children in the hands of the sitter, who rushes the kids off to school. There they sit for 6 to 8 hours listening to a set of teachers droll on and on trying to get some kind of information into their heads (bless teachers, for they are underpaid and overworked). They all come home stressed and tired, the children with too much homework, the parents too busy to pay much attention to them. "Quality" time is 15 minutes a day, if it even exists. Children learn at the hands of strangers, to whom we entrust their development and thinking.
Is it any wonder they often grow up rebellious and hateful?
Agreed, the above is not always the case. Many parents try to do much better. But this scenario is all too common. Federal and State law and the very weave of our society itself controls the raising of our children more than we do. It's supposed to be for the good of the children, but one has to wonder if there are better ways.
What prompted this blog was a brief read this morning about how children were raised in ancient society. Summarizing, in one society daughters spent the day at home with the mother, working along with her and learning valuable skills they will need for when they become mothers. They help raise siblings, learn to cook, make clothing and other essential information. Boys went to work with their fathers, learning his trade so that when they became adults they would have the skills needed to care for a family.
In both cases the children spent a great deal of time with their parents. They got to know their parents intimately, learning daily from their wisdom. Rather than being taught relatively useless information from impersonal teachers, they learned things necessary for everyday life-- and they learned it at the hands of the people they loved most.
When it came to reading and writing and other educational skills, they were taught by their parents, who had been taught by their parents. These skills were considered very important, for they were necessary to read the holy scriptures and the writings of the prophets (yes the society I'm speaking of is ancient Israel in its glory days, when the nation was prospering). As a result the children grew up educated, able to publicly read, write and conduct business. While they didn't have the "advanced" education we do today, they grew up to be respectful of not only their parents but all elderly people, and with the skills and knowledge they would need to function, prosper, and eventually start a family of their own.
Was the system perfect? By no means. Like many societies it eventually degenerated into hedonism and war, and was eventually destroyed. But when they did things right, it was the most prosperous nation of its day.
WE HAVE TO WONDER...
So I have to wonder-- are we doing things right by sending our children off to school each day? Several of my friends, realizing how degenerate the current school environment has become, have started home-schooling their children. In general those children are better educated, feel closer to their parents, and have far fewer "hangups" than their contemporaries. And although most of us can't take our children to work with us to teach them a skill, these children are taught essentials at home rather than an overly-lengthy school day. They also have enough free time to pursue their own interests and learn additional skills on the Internet. One good friend has a child who could read reasonably well and do math by age four. Another has a 6-year old that asks questions and makes observations wiser than many adults of our generation.
I have to think we're doing it all wrong. Certainly in areas of advanced education in a specific field, schools of higher learning are essential. But is college all that beneficial? Studies reveal that trade schools require far less time, are considerably less expensive, teach better and have a healthier environment than colleges. Nurses often learn their trades, not by going to college but by going to a special medical trade school, spending not four to six years but a mere one to two years to learn their skills. They come out with jobs guaranteed.
WE NEED TO RE-THINK THE WHOLE PROCESS
... which by now should be obvious. Thanks for reading my little soapbox. If you've found it valuable and food-for-thought, send the link to your friends. We are not powerless in this. There are options. Our children our important. They should not be missing from our lives and we should not be missing from theirs.
PS-- As a note to make this more personal... how many of us here went to school to learn how to make musical instruments? And yet, we have a valuable skill. There are alternatives.