It’s that old line about coming to the end of your life and being able to say that you “never worked a day in your life” because you loved what you did – so you simply played every day. In another spin on this, Thoreau spoke of not wanting to come to the twilight of his life and see that he “had not truly lived”.
Play is good. Work is good. If we can find work that feeds our souls like play does then life is good (and maybe you won’t need a t-shirt to feel it). Ken Robinson (great site here) talks about finding work where two things intersect: competence and passion. You may be good at something but not passionate about it, and the reverse is true as well. Finding the activity where both peak is the key to successful, enriched living.
Why don’t schools concern themselves with this? This is nowhere in traditional schools. We need to allow students to explore their interests and talents in search of a life. By letting them self-direct we can do this, we can keep alive a flame of life in them and by DOING this they will learn what it feels like. It’s creating a culture that is important, a culture of creative exploration. You can only achieve this by doing it, by having regular time to explore, investigate, try things on, etc. Then you get in the groove and it becomes a mode of operating. This is contrasted to the “show up, sit down, listen” mode of most schools today.
As we set off into yet another year of “educating” children, let’s think about what we’re educating them about – what’s behind the model? What culture are we presenting and creating… and will it serve life?