Posted in Good ol' days, Pre-schoolers, Who's the mom here?, Wisdom

Why do people put children in schools? Part 1

Tired and angry child.

People forget children are not adults. Adults can handle many things children cannot. The adult thinks to himself, “Oh, it won’t be that bad.” But he forgets. Time has a way of rewriting our memories.

We project ourselves onto our children and think of how great it would be to be surrounded with 25 five-year-olds every day for nine months. We think as an adult who has authority and could quell any problem with a child. We forget a child has no such ability and does not even know what to do, let alone how.

Or we look at other kids or our own childhood and think, “They did okay. I did okay. Troubles make you stronger, after all.” That is true to an extent. When air blows over a plant, it does make it stronger, unless it is a tornado.

If we look deeper, though, we realize those who did well in school were taught how, as were most of their peers. In my day, kids were polite. It was considered a huge breach of civilized behavior to forget to say “please.” The child who did this was ostracized. Now it is a joke. It is a different world. It is truly bad.

Bad has always been a possibility, though, in schools. Some were blown away by the tornadoes of troubles they faced. Einstein, Edison, Disraeli, and T. Roosevelt all did poorly in the institutions of their days—very poorly.

If we actually were to place ourselves in our children’s shoes, we would think twice, and that would be good.

Think: if everyone at your workplace were mean to you, had better stuff than you, outperformed you, or got chosen before you.

How well could you cope with that?

Would you change jobs?

They say in those circumstances, a person should change jobs. However, children in those circumstances cannot change jobs. Their job must always remain to go to the school of someone else’s determining. Period.

If you did stay in that job, though, would you seek comfort from family or friends? Sure you would, and you should!

The child, though, often finds his family does not believe how bad it is, as discussed above, or does not understand the enormity of it. And his friends! They are all at the school, all in the same boat! How can they help? The child and all his friends are in a social drain that leaves them socially depleted by day’s end. And then he usually has more school to do at home.

You know how you would resent having to bring work home. Daily. Hours and hours of it.

Yet, you have freedom to leave your job if you want, even to take vacation whenever you want. The child is required by law to remain in his torture chamber for 12 years, at least. No wonder they think of suicide.

We will discuss the solution to this ongoing problem tomorrow. See ya!


Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

10 thoughts on “Why do people put children in schools? Part 1

  1. Interesting thoughts – but I am a big fan of our schools here. The whole country is in the midst of adopting a new curriculum which tries to credit the child in a more holistic way – looking at their achievements in all sorts of contexts, not just school. This has meant that activities at home and in the wider country are perhaps better valued than they were in the past.
    My son thinks school is really fun. He is seven. Tomorrow they are going to be making, decorating and eating cupcakes and they are having a “fake wedding”. My son has to pretend to be the photographer. He’s very excited!
    If we ever spend time in another country, which we might, I would home-school – but follow the curriculum from here – it’s complicated – but I think there is something fundamentally right about it – in that they have kind of abandoned “testing”…

  2. Thanks for your response, Sanstorm! You guessed the solution, of course. And since I promised a part 2 tomorrow, I know you won’t think I am trying to be argumentative.
    Actually, the school activities you described sounded much like a homeschool. Truly interesting. My son did a lot of play-acting when he was in pre-school, but did not enjoy it. (And still does not, 40 years later.) What do your schools do for that, if the child is naturally not into dress-ups or acting?
    Your description of the schools over there is interesting. I do not have any real problem with schools, but just with the fact that children have to be there even when it does not make sense for them to be.
    I’m thinking schools make a better option for adults.
    Well, thanks, again, for your thoughtful comments.

  3. The Stand-Out paragraph is #4: Those who did well were TAUGHT. AAAhhhh, yes indeed. Rearing children– that is labor intensive, to say the least. Requires perseverance from the parents. One of the problems with the government school setting is that children learn their social “lack of skills” from their peers. By contrast, home schooled children learn from their parents in a comfortable environment that is free from all kinds of unhealthy distractions. Personally, I prefer to set the standard for my children, rather than have them learn from their peers who have no standards yet.

  4. Wow, thanks for this insight, Abigail!
    One important lesson I learned about teaching is that if the child is not learning, you are not teaching; you are just going through the motions!
    But when the child learns, he shows that he knows. I look at children today and I can tell who is really teaching them, which is exactly what you refer to.
    Yes, let’s do be the ones who set the standard, even raise the standard!

    1. The opening words of your post resonate with me, you said: People forget children are not adults. Adults can handle many things children cannot. The adult thinks to himself, “Oh, it won’t be that bad.” But he forgets. Time has a way of rewriting our memories.
      OH so true! Attempting to justify their own selfish choices, I hear parents say “He’ll get over it; he’s young, after all.” They seem to be oblivious to the deep pain their children suffer. The fact that children don’t talk about it may mean that the subject is too painful to put into words– or they know it would fall on deaf ears– and so they bear the pain silently and alone. It is not resolved, and so it goes with them into adulthood and effects their view on life and their future relationships.

  5. Abigail, thanks for this. I find the following apply, and there may be more I cannot remember from my childhood:

    1. The subject is too painful.
    2. Complaints might fall on deaf ears.
    3. Complaints might meet with retalliation.
    4. It may just seem like normal life.
    5. There may not be enough vocabulary mastery or awareness to voice it.
    6. There may be false shame.

    Also, adults have recourse. What child can sue anyone?

  6. You know, I think I would have enjoyed that, too. However, I so would not have been the chosen one. I would have been among the ones they created busy work for. Maybe that flavors my opinions, some, eh?
    I am glad he had fun. Fun is good.

  7. love love love your perspective. when you are NOT one of the chosen, no not ever, school with all of its group projects, and group exclusionary tactics, make learning and self-esteem impossible. as i have said, if i could turn back time, i would do things differently. however, the damage that was done was repaired through prayer, patience, time, and more.

    children are not adults. they need time and loving guidance. they need the joy of learning….and so do their mamas.

    1. You are so right, Kate! There are many adults all around us, too, who suffer greatly from not receiving those things as children. Of course, no one is perfect, and no home is perfect, but receiving imperfect lessons in socialization is FAR better than receiving none, or even receiving wrong lessons in it. Thanks for this comment!

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