One of the founding principles of any democracy is the freedom to pursue happiness. Each person has the opportunity to choose their own course in life; whether that leads to happiness (however that is defined) or not is up to the individual.
As guides, this “pursuit of happiness" or rather “pursuit of joy” (reflective of our overarching question this year-“Is Joy Created or Found?”) is one we think of nearly every day, not just our own but that of our Learners. This is our ultimate goal, to empower them from the constraints of a society that thinks that children don’t know enough and are unable to make clear and good decisions regarding their own life let alone regarding their own learning; freedom from micromanagement of other adults, including ourselves, or other adults who might think they know better. The goal is for them to be free to ask and answer their own questions. Choosing to apply themselves to their pursuit, to their self-selected path, the one that is paved with their own curiosity and passion. This is key to anyone's pursuit of joy. Following someone else’s predetermined path or answering other people's questions simply makes them a tool of another person’s pursuit. It is only through finding answers to their own questions that they come a little closer to their own truth, and as the saying goes, “the truth will set you free”.
Shouldn’t this be what education is like in any democracy? In a country that values freedom of speech, human rights, and animal rights? What about children’s rights? Education is about discovering the meaning of life- our own life. It's a question that we were born to ask and one that only we can, one day, answer for ourselves. And we can only do that when we are free to seek our own answers. In this direction lies the meaning of life.
When school districts, educators and even parents lose sight of that is the degree to which we rob our own children of their right to the pursuit of their own joy. How can we equip children to find their own answers to these questions? How do we cultivate joy so much so that it permeates from within and throughout?
That is a question that they must find their own answers to. They are ready! Are you?