My proposal involves “selling” members of the community on the positive benefits of being more responsible for the nurturing of our young folks, within a cooperative framework of sharing skills and wisdom, thus broadening the youth’s options and opportunities for a better life. Extend each person’s learning process into the actual work world, under the guidance of successful craftsmen and women, in their respective fields.
Children and young adults are the most valuable natural resource of any community. They are the developing backbone of our character and strength as a nation of people, and world of nations. Recognizing this, early on, is the responsibility and privilege of every adult in the community; participating in the shared process of each and every child can, and should be, a pleasurable and satisfying choice. We are all “aunties and uncles”; as such, it is our responsibility to offer our care and sincere efforts during each child’s formative years, understanding that they will always need our affection and guidance…until they too are in a position of self-reliance, prepared to continue the cycle of chosen responsibility for youngsters in each successive generation.
We have countless and varied opportunities to offer our services and attention, professionally or voluntarily, to specific children in the community…much in the concept of “godparents”. By providing our personal attention, experiences, skills, and understanding…by investing personally in the growth and development of individual kids in our community or neighborhood, we are insuring not only better and happier lives for these young people, but also ourselves…as the community benefits from our combined efforts and success.
What do you say? Are you willing to help one youngster achieve personal success…by volunteering your skills as a mentor, a craftsman, a businessman, an artist, a reader, a writer, a good listener, a health enthusiast, a fair judge, a wise counselor, a good cook, an expert in keeping a good home, a musician, a researcher, a mechanic, a conservationist, an outdoorsman who cares for nature’s bounty, a farmer who treats the land with respect, a horticulturalist, a builder, a repairman, an inventor…and the many other countless useful skills and talents that you could share eagerly with a young person?
In your earlier years, what would you have appreciated learning, given the offered opportunity? Who could you turn to, for trustworthy guidance and assistance? How many interesting and viable options were made available to you, when you were wondering what to do with your life? Did anyone ever ask you what made you happy, or excited, or curious, or enthusiastic…when it came to learning and following a chosen course of study? How many people do you feel were really interested in you, as an individual, enough to take the time to listen to you, and give you sincere attention…which you now have the wonderful opportunity to pass on to a boy or girl, or young adult?
Through well-planned but informal meetings, interested adults could either choose or be wisely matched with young folks in need of skill-training, exploration, or guidance. The teacher and staff (without administrators or non-productive “created” positions) could coordinate this investment business, with the additional contribution of other community members. With volunteer efforts being the basis for this continuing process (avoiding any vertical hierarchy), no funds or formal organization would be necessary (thus also avoiding any and all possibility of “administrative” fraud or insincere variables), other than the combined understanding of the student, teacher, parents, and volunteer. Objectives would be established by each combination, with guidelines and methods devised according to the individual needs of each student.One student might easily be working cooperatively and simultaneously with more than one volunteer. Time-effective methods would be applied, so as not to waste precious time for either the student or the volunteer, and to enhance the smooth operation and success of each combination. A minimum of “red tape”, other than a simple journalistic accounting of the general procedure, would be strongly suggested.
Superfluous paperwork, or record-keeping, can not only be tedious and time-consuming, but counter-productive and wasteful of human energy and enthusiasm. Action and success speak louder than reams of triplicate copies of boring reports. Ecologically, we would be saving a good many trees from an early and unnecessary demise. Additional savings would be monumental!
I have not even touched upon the positive and far-reaching benefits that the volunteers themselves would experience, let alone the community school and the families of the children. Those with wisdom, who now operate some community schools, have already discovered the value of “less is more” and “small is beautiful”…as they make the effort to decrease class populations, extend class periods, an shorten the number of tedious hours spent confined to the formal “classroom”. These adults with insight and a renewed genuine interest in their children…are initiating changes which will now benefit the child’s growth…rather than merely sustaining outmoded and non-productive (even harmful!) “systems” which dwarf, and too often overwhelm and defeat, the wholesome options each child could be offered to explore…as he follows the journey into the adult world.
Referring, therefore, to each person involved, as integral parts of the community family to which each child belongs…this investment business will achieve infinite success, throughout each generation of unique and cooperating individuals. The personal pleasure and specific satisfaction derived from helping someone in a concrete and positive way…is worthy beyond description. The abstract humane principles of cooperation, friendship, responsibility, trust, good humor, love, earned recognition, and care…would flourish beyond all expectations. How do I know? Because I have personally seen it succeed, each time the process has taken place, on an individual scale of long experience. It is all so simple, basically, that all we need to do…is…do it!
TO CONTACT DIANA, PLEASE E-MAIL HER AT PECOSKID@JUNO.COM
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