On completing this challenge, unfortunately a day late, I am very glad to have done this and I it has made me think a little deeper (or at least more consistently) about education. As a nanny, I am around children all day. Their families are at least lower middle class, and for the most part upper middle class and all extremely well educated, with both parents possessing at least a Masters degree if not a PhD, so education is very highly valued. I get to do a lot of tutoring and reading with the kids, and that is one of my favorite parts of my job. Not to sound horribly corny, but watching a person learn how to read is one of the most beautiful, exciting, and rewarding experiences ever. It opens their mind in ways that aren’t really describable. Also, because they are literate, you know that their life possibilities have been immeasurably increased.
For days 2 and 3 of the challenge, I invited friends to join Givology and our facebook account, and messaged students at the Circle of Peace School. While neither of these activities took more than about 20-30 minutes, the repetition of doing something every day and thinking about education (not the school or the projects we have, but education) made it stick in my mind. I work for and think about the Circle of Peace School all the time, often to the frustration of my friends. I get caught up in all the needs of the school, the building project, paying for the orphans’ food and clothing and text books, all the money we need, the different fundraisers we are planning, who I need to email about the diamond raffle, who I need to call about refreshments for the reception, what spreadsheet I need to create, etc., etc., etc. I think I forget why we are doing all of this, or maybe I never really realized. It is so the kids in Uganda can have the same chances and happiness as the kids I nanny for.
The most profound part of the challenge for me was talking with a 10 year old girl about education and educational disparities. She was so perceptive. My favorite comment was that without education, she would not have realized how unfeminist Barbie dolls are. This is so true! At least in my life, my ability to think analytically and critically and to form an argument based on facts that supports my opinion has grown directly in proportion to my level of educational attainment. I went to an extremely conservative private school in Richmond, Virginia, one where the concept of ‘unfeminism’ wasn’t discussed. However, they provided me with the best basic education (reading, writing, analysis, history, science, math) that money can buy. Even though the ideas they taught me weren’t always very liberal or critical, the education they gave me afforded me the chance to think critically on my own and the confidence to come up with my own opinion and argue for it. The most poignant moment for me was when she said she thought she wouldn’t be as happy without education. This is also very true for me.
So, in summation, the repercussions of education are endless, as are the repercussions of a lack of education. The challenge reinforced this point in my mind, and I appreciate that.
Sarah Gordon's Blog
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