The Waiting Room – Christina Rasmussen

It has been a week since my guest blog ‘Good Grief’ for secondfirsts.com went online. During this time I have spent the week with my family camping and perhaps most fittingly my Dad has been with us.

I have thought a lot about life and how I even got to the point of someone wanting to use a piece of my writing and how it may help someone. The thing that has kept coming back to me is the idea of the ‘waiting room’. Christina describes this as the place where you wait after loss and before you decide or allow yourself to live again. It is such an easy yet powerful way of seeing and feeling that environment or situation.

However it is not just a waiting room after loss that fills my mind but more a sense of children being held in a waiting room by society because they are not encouraged to follow their joy every single day. Something that I feel passionate about is that children know how to live and grow to be their best-selves. As a society we seem to think we know better and have created systems such as education that do not support and enhance this but instead seem to stifle it.
I have mentioned before that on my daughters wall is a quote ‘Trust me I know what I’m doing’. This is not for her but for me, every time I think I know what is best for her and she tells me different I make sure I listen.

We are holding our young people in a waiting room. So much education is taught not experienced. This seems to put the emphasis on the future not the present. When I teach music I try to make sure that my pupils feel as well as understand that they are musicians from the moment they start to make a noise. It is about the journey of learning that is important, there is always more you can learn. You do not become a musician at Grade 8 or when you graduate from a music conservatoire, but when you feel music. The excitement and joy I felt in my first school wind band concert is still as high in my emotional musical (and life) highlights as the concerts I have performed at The Royal Albert Hall.

With my children I have seen both sides of this coin. During his last year in Primary School I have witnessed my step son ‘wait’ for nearly whole year as he has been tested over and over again to make sure the school can achieve the best results they can for the league tables. Only in the final few weeks as the residential trips took place and the school productions and concerts were performed did I see joy return to the present in his school life.

A past experience both he and sister loved was a project to create their own new business. They had to come up with a product, a price and decide how to market it. Fun, exciting and successful on so many levels. The focus was on the present and creativity. Everything they did was relevant to what they wanted to make a reality. No need to talk about Maths,English,ICT and all the other subjects and skills they were using and learning. They were just the tools needed to create their product and business with enthusiasm.

Everything was about now, the present. Not about learning these skills for the business they may or may not create 20 years in the future.

I would like more of the now in education no-matter where now is for that person. Much less of being taught in a waiting room, more time living for the enjoyment of today.

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