Is Our Culture Cultivating Strengths or Weaknesses?
The following is a fable called ‘The Animal School’ written by educator Dr. R H Reeves. It’s purpose is to illustrate the importance of valuing the differences displayed in every exceptionally unique human being. I encourage you contemplate how the following fable may symbolize our current education system.
“Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “New World,” so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer, all animals took all the subjects.
The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made excellent grades in flying, but he was very poor in running. Since he was low in running he had to stay after school and also drop swimming to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make up in swimming.
The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustrations in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree-top down. He also developed charley horses from over-exertion and he got a C in climbing and a D in running.
The eagle was a problem child and had to be disciplined severely. In climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way of getting there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and also could run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.
The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to the badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.”
Growing up I experienced many traditional authority figures exclaiming we need to fix our weaknesses and be good at a lot of things instead of great at a few. Personally I remember feeling this pressure especially through high school through the necessity to be above average at 5–7 varied subjects.
As a result many are left feeling like the chaos of their environment pressurizes them into some sort of limbo state where they feel they need to be great at an array of disciplines or subjects throughout their education or family upbringing instead of cultivating and going all in on their natural innate talents and strengths.
If we aim to be in the top 1–5% consider this. Do you really think LeBron James or Beyonce really cared about math class? I think they punted things like school in order to 100% focus on they’re innate talents.