Happy Bastille Day – Vive la (educational) revolution!

Happy Bastille Day!  On this day in 1789 the French people sacked ‘le Bastille’ a garrison-prison in Paris to arm and empower themselves against the French aristocracy, and collaborate in overthrowing a dictatorial regime that trampled their rights and sensibilities to exist. “Let them eat cake”, a phrase with several ambiguous attributions but linked nonetheless to the French uprising, is an important reminder of the callous disregard of the arbiters of French power to those over whom they asserted powers of manipulation and neglect. 

IMO there remains a modern-day counterpart to the French neglect: conventional schooling. For the most part, conventional education remains locked in overt and subtle realms of control and manipulation. Young people – young adults especially, as young as 13 years, yearn to be acknowledged and welcomed into the adult world into which they are merging biologically and psychologically. Yet they are too-often denied the opportunity to be recognized as legitimate young adults.

An annual, ritualized schooling event that sets this off strikingly is conventional high school graduation, which, for the most part, continues to be superficial and a trivial marking of passing into young adulthood.

Graduation “costuming” from smiles to nails to trivializing speeches (“my best advice to you is don’t land up in jail!” said one regional politician at my daughter’s graduation last year) and the attendant psychic “basting” degrades this psychically-important transition that actually starts years earlier, and leaves an impression that life’s most-important passages can be meaningfully reflected in Hollywood-style themes and acts of rebellion like vodka bottles smuggled in the crotches of graduation-garb.

Our young adults deserve much, much better. Let’s stop serving them “cake” and acknowledge as the young adults they truly are. Like we do in SelfDesign High, where we acknowledge the deeper meanings of this passage and skip the fluff.

Vive la revolution! 

For information on my new book: Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want, Starting Now 
and to order a copy, go here.
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