It's been a while and as per usual my poor old melon has been racing around with a million imponderables.
Today's topic: What price a rounded education? What is a rounded education?
Parents want the best for their progeny. It's as natural as, well, something really natural. What "The best" is, is about as subjective a concept as I can think of.
Science is important to me. Really important. Without a basic understanding of science an internal combustion engine, or an antibiotic is indistinguishable from magic. Here's a quick example; as part of The Bobette's ongoing treatment for a gastric complaint we have a rather wonderful Paediatric Gastro-enterologist, at the last appointment Dr E wanted to send The Bobette off for another XRay. I asked if an ultrasound would do the same job, Dr E looked at me with that look usually reserved for vegans - a mixture of pity & contempt. I expressed my concern that The Bobette had received many many pelvic Xrays and I want to limit her exposure. Why? because I have an understanding of XRay radiation and the attendant risk of cumulative doses. Remember the old lead aprons we used to get at the dentist? they weren't for fashion, they were to protect your next generation still swimming around in your shorts or loitering in your ovaries if that's how you are plumbed. On this occasion Dr E agreed that the Xray wasn't necessary, so I saved the Bobette another dose. Someone without that understanding would have blithely said yes Dr. - Better living through a scientific understanding.
I also believe there is beauty in some science.
Darwin's (or Walace's) klanger Evolution through Natural Selection changed our understanding of our world. Old sex mad Karl Linnaeus revolutionised our understanding of the flora & fauna we share the world with. The scientific method - observations, repeatable experiments, peer reviewed publications & collaboration may not be the only way to study the world, but it beats the living p!ss out of opinions based on intuition if you are developing a new cancer treatment. Quite apart from the utility of these & other scientific achievements they are (IMHO) beautiful ideas in their own right.
The creative arts are also hugely important to me.
I spent 6 years failing to complete a 3 year Bachelor of Arts. I love some sculpture & painting and I wish I knew more so I could appreciate it more, I love some literature. Dance leaves me cold and I think poets are largely a waste oxygen & real estate but that's just me. I believe there are some questions that are best explored through the arts. A dry statistical report could never deliver the understanding that say "The Killing Fields" or "The year of living dangerously" could. 1984, Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451 changed my head- radically & permanently.
So how we understand our world is based on our understanding of & appreciation for two quite distinct ways of arranging our thinking.
The Bobette is coming into her last 2 years of secondary education and has to select subjects for these last 2 years. She is wonderfully creative and expressive. She is hugely talented in a performance sphere and can write fit to kill. She wants to pursue a career in journalism. I am passionate about the role of journalism in a democracy. (Ithink it is at least as important as the judiciary.) I am a keen and (I think) discerning consumer of news. I shot news for regional & metro newsrooms for almost five years, so I have an insiders view of the trade. I recognises the shortcomings & pratfalls inherent in the business, yet I still 100% support her decision to undertake an important & (sometimes) honourable trade.
I have been strongly urging her to do at least one science to balance her creative arts subjects.
This has been met with that same high carbon steel will that her mother is known for across several continents.
Now I am under riding instructions to pull my head in.
She is her own person. What is important to me is not necessarily important to her.
The best way to guarantee that she hates school & her parents and drops out to become a Meth Ho is to force her to do subjects she hates.
A B+ in drama will count better to her tertiary entrance score than a C- in Chemistry.
High school is not the end of her learning.
I (apparently) hold unrealistic expectations of what a 17 year old should know.
All reasonable points, so why do I feel she is getting the educational equivalent of fairy floss (cotton candy) & a caramel thick shake for dinner?
I was discussing this with my work partner, he suggested that I was being as narrow minded and closed as the Jesus freaks who want to banish evolution from schools. Just 180 degrees opposed in view. I disagree, I think the comment would be valid if I campaigned for pure maths science. But I'm not, I'm just looking for something anything on the quantifiable side of the ledger.
I seem to have had a minor victory tonight getting Geography onto the list in position 5. At least that's something.
That's it. That's all I've got for you.
Not world shattering or hysterically amusing, but if you wanted that you'd be over @ NatV's or The Good Dr. Yobbo's joints.
Aribear, there you go. You only needed to ask.
Shalom & go the Wallabies.