Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ~ Dalai Lama
Last year my sister ordered 16 baby chicks in the mail so that she could have her own eggs and know exactly where they came from. Her goal: to raise happy, healthy free range chickens fed the top of the line organic food. No antibiotics or cheap genetically modified corn products for these chickens au natural!
She loves her chickens. When they first graduated from the warmly lit crate in the house to the coop she would go daily for “play time”, sit with them and hold them and even talk to them. Her thinking… happy, loved chickens will eventually produce happy healthy eggs. Can you say “crazy chicken lady?” But truly what she was doing really made so much sense!! Crazy or not!
There are more and more people ordering baby chicks to free range them. There are many movements to eat locally and small farms seem to be sprouting up everywhere you look. We are urged to get back to our roots and consider where our food comes from. We know that GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) are taking over all of our food sources. These modifications involve the mutation, insertion or deletion of genes to produce something more quickly, more efficiently and to be adverse to pests or to improve the shelf life of a particular food. What is happening is we are creating foods that our bodies do not recognize and that we cannot process. The results are out there. Just look around and see more obesity than ever in history. We are farming with our heads and forgetting our hearts and we are hurting our food sources and ultimately ourselves. So the movement is to move closer to home, closer to the heart.
Free ranging is defined where animals are ”permitted to graze or forage rather than being confined to a feedlot.” And if you have not seen those feedlots then it is well worth your while to check them out. There are various documentaries that show how these poor chickens are raised to mass-produce and it is completely inhumane. (See King Corn, Farmageddon or Food Fight)
And I would argue here that what we are doing to our kids in schools is equally inhumane. The idea of kids mass-producing great numbers on sterile tests is so far away from why we are here on this earth and what really matters. It is education without heart. It is education without soul. It is education without wonder, curiosity and surprise. It is all about the brain. We are intellectualizing ourselves right out of ourselves. We need heart AND mind!!
While I am a proponent of competition in some areas of life, this notion of competing has become the GMO’s of education. Performance is all that is looked at and yet what do we need for our kids to perform? They need just what the chickens do! They need opportunities to be free and think and make decisions and to fail and ultimately they need their own version of “the crazy chicken lady”. Someone who is so dedicated to their needs and the raise them as well-rounded and happy chickens!! There are so many crazy chicken ladies (and men) out there dying to do their jobs but are less and less able to do so. We are hurting our kids and our teachers and everyone else involved with the sole purpose of production. It is a business model that is being taken to the extreme.
If all we ask of our students is to perform then we are going to crack and break them one precious egg at a time. And dare I even say, what happens when they don’t perform? Will we then consider genetically modifying them to fit in? Call me crazy, but I think this has already begun with the increase of kids who are medicated in our schools for ADD and the likes. Why? So that they will conform to the feedlot of corporate education.
Hmmmm…and so I imagine a world of free -range children…where schools are a place where hearts and minds are permitted to graze and explore instead of being confined to the feedlot of corporate America. What a beautiful fantasy this is. Can you even imagine?
It makes me think of my dear friend and colleague, Louise, who tells a great story about teaching preschool in the 70’s in northern New Hampshire. On any given day she and her co- teachers might decide it was a nice day for a field trip. So they would load up all the kids in the VW bus, leave a note on the door for parents as to their whereabouts and head off to the local mountain or lakeside or whatever their fancy. For me this is the epitome of free range education and something that would never happen today.
The corporate takeover in education is daunting. The more people and parents and friends and anyone I talk to outside of education don’t even know what is going on. Even those of us in education are often left helpless with the enormity of the situation and just how enmeshed it all is. I just want to say BOK in favor of free range children and baulk at these takeovers and say enough is enough. Will you Bok with me? Just say Bok!!
I love eating the eggs from my sister’s chickens. There is something so perfect about it…I mean even my son when he had his first taste of these eggs exclaimed, “these are the best eggs in the world!!” And they are. They are not like supermarket eggs. They are all different shapes and sizes and the color of them is glorious. A deep orange that screams with great energy, love and hope!
I know, I know…all that in just one egg! But you know…it is all in that one egg. The love, nurturing, heart, soul and respect for the production of that egg that goes on to nurture those who eat it and so on. The same can be said of taking care of and nurturing our kids in schools…one egg at a time. Bok Bok!!
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt “~ Dalai Lama