Young freethinkers

Kids at school

"Dead Poets Society" is a movie that stirred a whole set of questions inside of my head about our educational system. This movie was made in 1989, and it's already been 27 years since it's release. One of my friends recommended it to me, telling me that the movie is issuing a very interesting subject.

From the very beginning I was addicted to the story. The characters were well played and they moved me all the way; I loved how dreamy their minds were; reading poetry and enjoying the art of literature. What I liked most was the provocative questions raised by Mr. Keating (their teacher) and his revolutionary way of teaching. Telling his students to always question what they are given and to never take things as they are. Teaching them how to think for themselves, and giving them the chance to live in the moment. For some, it might be a clichéd issue but believe me, it's not. Cause by the end of the movie I started to think about our school system in Tunisia.

Are they really giving us the space to think for ourselves? Are they really teaching us how to deal with life? I think not!

They are telling us to accept things without questions. Telling us what to think and what not to think, they keep feeding our minds with stuff that we actually don't need later on when we are out in the real life. Instead of teaching us how to embrace life, they teach us how to face it as if we are in a war. Instead of telling us it's okay to make a mistake, or it's okay to fail because this is how you learn to not make them again, they make us fear our errors and failures. They want us to reach perfection, even though it's something impossible. In schools they teach us how to be machines, slaves to job markets, but they never enlighten us on how to be humans. In modern schools they don't want you to be different, all they are looking for is a troop of copy and paste minds.

Instead of telling us what to think, teach us to think for ourselves, to explore different possibilities and to question every single thing around us. Instead of making us perfect, try to let us be ourselves with all our differences. Let us be unique, original and creative. Instead of looking at us as numbers in a job market, look at us as young minds with the potential of changing the world. I remember this part of the movie where Mr. Keating and McAllister are discussing the fact of letting his students think for themselves, McAllister said with a sarcastic tone “Free thinkers at 17?" Yes free thinkers at 17, at 16, even at 14. Give them the chance to spread their wings and fly to a wider space. Education is about learning how to embrace knowledge and life. Education is a way to help you open your mind and heart to a wider range of possibilities. Education is to think and to ask questions not to obey blindly and definitely not to accept what's given to us without wondering about it.

The schooling system is destroying a whole generation. I don't agree with the way of teaching in my country. I don't like how we are treated like subjects and not like free willed thinkers. Most of the time they don't ask us our opinions in subjects that matters for us. They just want us to nod our heads in agreement and move on to the next level.

The movie also dealt with parents forcing their kids to pursue the careers they chose for them. Thankfully my parents never pressured me to do things I didn't want to do. But, I saw friends of mine working hard not for their own dreams, but their parents'. It's a huge issue to force your kids to forget about their own dreams to fulfill yours. It will only lead your child to an unstable adulthood. They will eventually blame you for their misery. Let your kids follow their dreams. Let them be whoever they want to be. A piece of advice is a great help for them other than that let them fall to learn how to walk. Let them experience failure to appreciate success.

When you teach a kid how to accept themselves and to be in good terms with their own imperfections and flaws, you will eventually help end a lot of problems, like bullying and racism. When you don't pressure them to be perfect or point out their weaknesses by comparing them with their peers you will send them this message "regardless of who you are and what you chose, you are still yourself and that's unique."

Finally, don't judge your kids, they are young and free, let them be. This is the time for them to make a lot of mistakes; this is the perfect time to experience life as it is. Let them explore and discover themselves. Let them test their limits and voice their views. Believe me, those young minds and spirits are able to end climate change, end wars and change the world if you give them the space needed. And, remember that they are the beating heart of the world, don't make it stop.