For a long time it seemed to me that the problem was aging out: Every youth becomes an adult. At some point after that, adults become voters, workers, and taxpayers. It appeared that in that process most lost touch with their own experiences as children and youth. They develop indifference towards young people today, and even as they become parents, they get more adamant about their righteous discrimination against kids. Those who do take careers as youth workers, teachers, counselors, and in other kid-focused occupations often go even deeper, using their discrimination against children and youth to justify adultism and adultcentrism.
Well, time has afforded me different perspectives, or at least compassion for other adults. Alas, even from that view I can still see that in some ways, all adults are the problem- in much the same way that in some ways, given the right conditions and experiences all domestic animals could transmit rabies to adults.
I have recently been challenged by a few different adults for the perspectives I take on schools and the education system. These types of debates can exhaust me; however, I know they’re essential to keeping me in check, and I appreciate them.
My friends, colleagues, and acquaintances do this because I put myself out there. So I want to put this big fat disclaimer out there: I know that I might be the problem- in much the same way that all adults are.
That’s me simultaneously taking responsibility AND couching my culpability in the blanket of social ills. I need a paycheck, so sometimes I work for dubious issues; I want published, so sometimes I tone down my rhetoric.
However, there are places I won’t back down from. I’ll expand on those in my next post. In the meantime, it’s important to me to state that my own perspectives are informed by my own experiences as a young person and as an adult; as a learner, a student, a teacher, and as a friend to children and youth; and as a father, an uncle, a cousin, a son, and a brother. Every single person has unique experiences, and you don’t know what informs my thinking because of that.
Maybe instead of challenging we can simply accept; maybe instead of negating we can inquire. Let’s go together into the brave new days ahead of us.