Sometime ago I pondered about this modern world of ours. Something is really wrong. There is a break down of society as a whole. We read of shootings and stabbings daily in the newspapers. We hear of gangs of youths carrying knives and guns to defend themselves with. We hear of marriages breaking up everyday - divorce rates are soaring and people are choosing not to get married anyway. We hear that stress at work is a major killer and cause of many serious diseases. We see the picture of the ideal family unit broken almost beyond repair. We see people sacrificing everything in the pursuit of happiness that just seems to elude them. Why is it so? I think it is mostly because we have placed the emphasis on the wrong things.
From the moment we are born, we are thrust into a society that places so much importance in education and defines us by success in our careers. How? We'll take the life of this typical child. From the day he is born, his parents bought him the best 'educational toys' that aim to give him a headstart in learning skills. His parents do all they can to enroll him in the best nursery school where he is to learn basic skills in speech, reading and writing. After that, he goes on to primary school where he is taught a wide range of subjects to give him a knowledge base that will be useful in future. Fast forward to three years of secondary school and then he is expected to make certain choices in his subjects that will start to define his future career. By the time he is finished with secondary school, success means achieving a place at university to study a degree. This degree will be his ticket to a life-long career. He may need to continually update his qualifications for example, getting a Masters qualification, taking some examinations etc. Success is measured by his job and how much he earns. Assuming he finished education at 24, he spends the next 40-odd years of his life working 9 - 5, Monday to Friday to earn a living. If the UK government have their way, he would be working until he is in his 70s before he can retire and claim a pension. But is that all?
Now I think education is a good thing. I think every child on this planet should be given an equal chance to succeed with a certain level of education. But I find it worrying that we place so much importance on just that - education and career. Is there not more to life than acquiring a degree? Would having a brilliant career make everyone's life fulfilled?
I read something in 'My Daily Bread' a while back. A survey was conducted about what people would want to reflect on in their final moments on this earth. What would they look back on and count as achievements? Strings of degrees? An impressive CV? Hefty bank accounts? List of awards and certificates? No. The main response people gave was they they would want their loved ones around them when they were on their death-bed. Furthermore, the biggest regret expressed wasn't "I wish I had spent more time at work". It was "I wish I had spent more time with my family". Family and loved ones always took priority over education and achievements.
Now if this is true, how come we still have this dysfunctional world? How come we spend the vast majority of our lives either in education or working endlessly pursuing material wealth? How come you can go to university to study virtually any subject in academics or research but there is no university that teaches us about the real-life challenges we face? You can study to become a Financial Analyst but who teaches you how to cope with the grief of losing of a loved one? You can study to become a doctor but where do you study to become a good husband or wife? I can graduate with a Bcs in Mathematics but where can I get a degree in Good Parenting Skills? Those are the things that really challenge us as individuals and no amount of education can help.
If I could change the world, I would shake up the current set-up. I would not be happy in a world where the majority of hours in the week, is all but committed to working, working, working. A world where the main driving force is money, money, money. When do we have time to actually live? When do we have time to grow and learn to become better people? Why won't we have a society that is crumbling?