Teaching to teach

Community Columnist

— You can dismiss all the records and burn all the books, but I’ll still know how to write songs.

John and Paul couldn’t read or write music. Before cassettes, they would just have to remember their creative inklings. “Well, you know what, if we forget it, it can’t be much good,” Paul said. “How are we going to expect them to remember it if we just wrote it and we forgot it?”

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl said this about Blackbird, to him, the greatest Paul McCartney song: “It’s such a beautiful piece of music, perfect in composition and performance, and in its lyrics and in the range of his voice. Just learning that song made me a better guitar player and gave me a better appreciation of songwriting. To me it’s just musical bliss.”

My mom and dad couldn’t read or write music either, and they certainly didn’t write the book on how to raise kids, but somehow, from them, I received the most precious of all educations. They not only fixed my broken wings and gave me flight, they taught me how to sing in the dead of night.

Gone is the old wisdom that the school will handle everything. They say your education is what remains after you’ve forgotten everything they taught you. Though the burdens of responsibility may shift at different times of the year, the week or the day, ultimately, parents or guardians must be held accountable for their children.

Teach your children well, the song goes, and that’s what’s at issue here.

We start off teaching them how to walk and talk, only to make them sit down and shut up while we hand the baton over to the school. However, education doesn’t end there. Too many graduates enter the working world with only two-thirds of a sufficient education. What used to be enough is no longer so. We taught them how to learn but we failed to teach them how to teach. It is no longer acceptable to learn the world. To succeed, you must teach the world.

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