If our kids don’t replicate our suggestions, have they learned? Have we taught? As parents and educators, we attempt to nourish, protect, guide, acculturate, civilize, enrich and encourage. As Andrew Solomon writes in his masterful work Far From The Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search For Identity, “ There is no such thing as reproduction.” Parents produce offspring. The idea is that the product of the parents is a new organism. Even when the children resemble the adults, they always grow away from us. Andrew Solomon’s book is devoted to children who don’t resemble their parents, but the lessons are true for all. Teaching and parenting is not a matter of replication.
In many ways education (whether parent or teacher) is dance. We choreograph, composing a sequence of steps and moves. We design a form and motions. Educators/choreographers direct movement. Our kids are dancers. As learners, they (and we) employ codified movements in various contexts. Dance is a form of social interaction, emotional expression, and performance. Most importantly it is movement. If we consider educating as guiding our kids’ (and our) movement in the domains of social interaction, emotional expression and performance, rather than as a sculpture (or worse, a reproduction of a sculpture), then we can experience individual human rhythms and energies, and appreciate their distinctions and likenesses through their gestures. We can move along with them.
Education is movement! Let’s Dance!