I very much enjoy reading Dan W. over at ashes, ashes, all fall down, but one of his recent posts has me puzzled, and, after considerable thought, may be at the core of the problems that we face as a species.
Dan is an educator, and if his writings are any clue to his abilities in this area, he would be one of those teachers with whom I would be most pleased with his job performance. But his recent post
Leaves me to ponder our “inborn” need to provide for our children. This is a critique of his post, not a critique of his character. I do not wish to begin a battle, but instead a discussion.
I have two boys, and I adore them. But they have been given their own souls and their own fate. I can only give them the abilities to physically meet those. I cannot give them the ability to meet the future days with joy, that is the function of their soul, not mine. I cannot promise them the luxury of thriving, that is just a luxury that we may have squandered for our own selfish desires. I cannot provide them with the moral strength to resist the temptations of the flesh, I can only provide an example that they may or may not wish to emulate.
Probably the single most important personal virtue is that of humility. I would venture to say that Dan is infected with the arrogance found in the root disease of the current educational establishment in the United States. That is that the ability to teach is more important that the ability to learn. That the teacher can dictate the student’s success.
The promises which Dan speaks of are the artifacts of a people steeped in hereditary wealth. But those things that he wishes to promise are not inalienable rights, but a temporary distortion of the laws of entropy. Each generation will meet their own challenges, most of which will be inadvertently foisted them on the generations that preceded them. I fear that promising them our outdated desires and expectations may well lead them into a dead-end of our making.
So, Dan, you may promise to give those things to your children, but in truth, they are not yours to give. You can only pray that you have given them the strength to weather the storm.
Winter is coming.