Valuable without Labels

We are all born into a life of expectations. I don’t think I need to write down what those expectations are since we all know it all too well.

The other day, my friend showed me a YouTube video of someone talking about the current public educational system and how it was structured around the economy of the Industrial Revolution. What? Such a serious topic on YouTube! Yes, I was surprised as well.

During the Industrial Revolution, when factories were popping up all over the world, schools were being built all over the world as well. And just like products that go through an assembly line in a factory, schools were churning out children to become what they thought would make ideal citizens. Similar to a product that goes through quality test, our educational system divides and labels children according to their age and test scores.

Why do we confine children to the 3rd grade just because of his or her age? Why do we base a child’s worth on their exam scores? The more I thought about this, I realized two things.

First, the world’s educational system needs to fundamentally change to fit today’s economic and cultural model. Imagine a system where children are encouraged to think outside the box and individuality is valued. A system where a child’s self worth is not based on a number on a piece of paper.

Second, parents and adults need to play a greater role in affirming and empowering the youths. We can no longer rely on the government and the educational system to be our children’s sole source of education. We need to do our best to let young people know that their test scores or their job does not define their value.

Life is more than memorizing answers from a textbook and a high paying job doesn’t necessarily translate into happiness. We need to embrace individuality and the uniqueness in each other. Who knows, maybe once we take away the measuring stick of our public school system, our young people will realize that they are valuable simply because of who they are.

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