“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” -Albert Einstein (1931)
In 5th grade I didn’t really care for school much. One day I decided I had enough. I refused to catch the bus, forcing my dad to drive me to Morgan Elementary and drop me off an hour late at the front door.
I walked inside and watched out the window as he pulled away, off to work. When he was out of sight I walked back outside, weighed my options and decided to walk back home. My mom was quite surprised when I showed up in time for lunch. I was 10 or 11 years old.
I eventually went back after being bribed with a video game and even though my body went back my brain had checked out. I had lots of fun with friends and had a few teachers over the years that truly inspired me but the vast, vast majority of my time in class consisted of me learning to turn my brain off and go through the motions.
An experience I’m certain many of you shared.
The older I get the more I realize how damaging my formal education was to my psyche. To me the out-dated school system is everything that is wrong with the world we exist in. We teach kids there is a right way and a wrong way. Write in pen not pencil, cursive not print, color inside the lines and never on the walls, don’t do this, do that…
Well, now that I’m a dad with an 18 month old son I look at him and the intensity in his eyes as he scribbles onto a page, and how proud he is about his creation when it’s done. I draw him a fish because he loves fish and he likes it for a minute and points at it and says fish (in sign language) but then he goes right back to scribbling and shoves my hand out of the way when I try to draw another fish.
School teaches us to draw things, not scribbles. My son hasn’t been to school so he knows better. There is learning in a scribble. There is imagination. Something a school has trouble understanding I think… it’s this lack of understanding that was the number one cause of 5th graders walking home. At least in my experience.
Here’s to hoping we all give ourselves permission to scribble, and if you can afford it then, by all means, do it on the walls.