What They Didn't Teach Me in School | Teen Ink

What They Didn't Teach Me in School

February 1, 2016
By Emma.H.96 DIAMOND, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Emma.H.96 DIAMOND, Kalamazoo, Michigan
65 articles 0 photos 67 comments

Favorite Quote:
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better. -Anne Lamott, from Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

In fifth grade, we mapped our family history; making and crafting a list of each person who comes to Christmas dinner. No one ever taught me how to grieve when my family was gone. I can recite twelve different forms of cancer and their treatment but no one ever taught me how to leave a cancerous relationship. I was taught about all different kinds of art, how to analyze and find beauty in them but was never taught how important it is to find beauty in myself and in others. I was walked through the legal jargon of a divorce, how the court divides the assets and the children but was never taught how to properly communicate with my spouse. I was taught the semantics of sexual intercourse but was never told how much it can affect you emotionally. I have dissected a cat but I wasn't taught how to change a flat tire, I can solve the most difficult mathematic formula but cannot balance my checkbook, I can play Mozart from muscle memory but no one taught me the appropriately aged toys for an infant to play with. I was taught how I was conceived by my parents but was never taught how to grow up and stop depending on them. I was taught how inappropriate clothing can affect others social behavior but was never taught how to control my inner urges and opinions of other people. I was taught white male history but was never taught how different genders and races communicate in their cultures. I was taught that eloquent speech means a higher caliber of respect but was never taught how to negotiate and network. I was taught the correct way to write but was never taught how to write to make people understand me. I was taught that phones and friends and boys disrupt the learning environment but was never taught what to do when I was the reason I wasn't learning. I was taught the things I needed to succeed in a career but was never taught the things I need to succeed in life. I don’t know how to apply for a loan, how to start up by own business, how to keep my finances in order, how to take care of a pet, how to take care of a child, alternative medicine, that being outside the social norm is okay. I don't know how to formally resign, who to talk to about sexual harassment, how to figure out a career in what I love to do, how to get ink out of fabric, how to save someone from choking, how to save myself when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I don't know what to do if I'm feeling suicidal but I know how to cite my sources. I know a lot of things about nothing that will help me succeed in life. We don't teach our kids certain things because they're controversial, because we're all raised differently, because our parents are supposed to teach us what they believe; but what if what they believe is wrong?


What if schools aren't the only ones inhibiting our children's growth. I know a lot of people who believe in a one sided life simply because no one bothered to teach them another way. It's not controversial if you don't talk about; isn't that what history taught us? We don't teach our kids that their schools were built on the bones of Native Americans. We don't teach our kids that just because mommy or daddy stays in an abusive relationship that doesn't mean violence is the proper way to express anger in a relationship. We don't teach our kids that who you are on the inside and who you are on the outside are sometimes two different people. We don't teach our kids that just because there may or may not be a God, our behavior towards other people should still be the same.


We don't teach our kids that some cops are biased, doctors kill, lawyers lie, parents are still children, war is our own doing, that our history is a direct reflection of our actions-justified or not. We don't teach our kids that in school. Thank God they taught me how to read. 

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