Over the weekend I took they boys and a friend of theirs to a youth summit with a group of Tibetan Monks who are in town. Before the workshop started, we had a chance to watch the monks working on a sand mandala. It’s absolutely incredible – if you ever have a chance to see a sand mandala in progress, go! They work with long, narrow, metal cones that have a hole in one end to release different colors of sand. The image is amazingly intricate. I didn’t think to bring my camera, but here’s a look at the construction process (Our monks didn’t wear funny hats. Matter of fact, one was wearing a Nike shirt under his robes, which my kids thought was funny).
During the youth summit, kids had a chance to ask questions. I was taken aback at the angst in the room. Teens asking about stress, depression, death – I remember the angst of being a teen, but it’s not something I see a lot here. I don’t know if that’s because I have boys or because our homeschooling life eliminates some of those issues.
One of the responses really hit home. A girl of about 15 asked about handling stress, and after questioning, it turns out that much of her stress was about school. The answering Monk was great. He asked her if her test scores or grades in school would really matter in 100 years. They may be important at that moment (and maybe mostly to the teacher and parent!) but in the big picture, not so much. And he discussed the fact that some subjects just are not that interesting to some people – boring even! – and it’s not the worst thing in the world to get a lower grade in a subject that’s of no interest. He also touched on finding that one thing that makes a person come alive, that subject or hobby that really makes a spirit sing. His suggestion for finding that? Try lots of different things. Have lots of experiences.
That sounds like it’s just shy of a ringing endorsement for unschooling, don’t you think??