My schooling did me a great deal of harm and no good whatever; it was simply dragging a child’s soul through the dirt.
You must adjust. . . . This is the legend imprinted in every schoolbook, the invisible message on every blackboard. Our schools have become vast factories for the manufacture of robots.
School is about two parts ABCs to fifty parts Where Do I Stand in the Great Pecking Order of Humankind.
Can we accept this extreme statement that amounts to saying that human life is shattered by education? . . . Education directs all our attention towards knowledge and attaches no importance to understanding. Exposing children to this kind of influence means that they reach adult life having lost themselves, being entirely dependent upon external things — possessions, the opinions of other people, appearances, and so on.
All intellectuals complain about their school days. This is ridiculous.
I owe everything to a system that made me learn by heart till I wept. As a result, I have thousands of lines of poetry by heart. I owe everything to this.
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
One mother can achieve more than a hundred teachers.
There is this idea now in this country that all people who succeed, succeed on their own, and all people who fail, fail on their own, whereas neither is true. The vast majority of people in this country stay where they’re born. Very few people move too far from home. Rich people rarely become poor, and poor people rarely become rich. But we live in a society ruled by anecdote, so that we have no sense at all of what actually happens to most people.
Twenty years of schoolin’ And they put you on the day shift.
Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day . . . we become seekers.
Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child’s world and thus a world event.
When I was a child, a volcano erupted unexpectedly in Iceland, burying a small town at the foot of its cone. All the children in the town were in school at the time, and they all perished. The parents sent their sons and daughters out the door that morning, same as they always did, and never saw them again. I remember my mother being profoundly moved by that tragedy. She always made sure that the last words we had in the morning were loving ones. That cannot always have been easy, but my memory is that she usually succeeded.
Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, avoiding our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.
The teenagers aren’t all bad. I love ’em if nobody else does. There ain’t nothing wrong with young people. Jus’ quit lyin’ to ’em.
Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.