Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Whitehouse Privilege

When I first heard the concept of privilege, I was skeptical. While the lack of a disadvantage is an advantage, the term privilege suggests that one has an unfair advantage, and I've never been completely convinced of that for myself. I have some advantages, but I have some disadvantages as well. The question of what privilege is and who has it is a long discussion for another day and another blog.

However, my intention is that when the Koalid grows up and someone suggests that she has some kind of "privilege" she will not be able to argue that she does not. It will be unambiguous that she has district advantages over other people that she may encounter.

My intention is to be like a coach preparing her for the game. Throughout the next 17 years and beyond, I intend to expose her to experiences, teach her skills, and provide her mentors that will provide advantages no matter what she wants to do.

Too many parents see their job as keeping their kid "out of trouble" until they leave the nest, then they can brush their hands off and say their work is done, anything that happens after is on the kid's head. I find that ridiculous. A child and later young adult is the product of their upbringing. I am not merely responsible for her childhood, but all outcomes afterwards. If I have prepared the Koalid well, she will have the tools that she needs to be successful in any endeavor that she chooses.

This and $2 will get you a cup of coffee.
However, it is important to focus on the right things. When I was young, I was told that I was "gifted" and that I had an obligation to use those gifts in the right way. Good so far. This was then used as a cudgel to hammer the point that I should get better grades than I was because I had "potential".

I have a great disdain for the system of schooling in our culture because it places great weight and emphasis on things that don't matter one little bit. Getting good grades is a matter of learning to play and win a certain kind of game. Unfortunately, most of the lessons learned in excelling in that game will not serve one well in the real world. I hope the Koalid does get good grades, but I am not terribly concerned as to whether she does or not except in how those grades can pave the road the further success.
This will get you a cup of coffee with
or without a good report card.

I care that she knows skills of human interaction like persuasion and empathy. I care that she learns literacy and numeracy. I care that she has a thirst for knowledge, a curiosity to learn more, and the wit to know where to find it. I care that she is ambitious and knows how to set and achieve goals. Many of these things can lead to better grades, but grades are not, in the final analysis, important. Preparation for life is important.

The Koalid will be prepared. She will be inspired. She will be privileged.