Education in the New Millenium: Mindfulness in a Mindless World

Education for the New Millennium: Mindfulness in a Mindless World

As a former Secondary School Teacher, Shelora has seen the impact of our failure to connect authentically with our youth up close. The problem is clear. We are not communicating with our children in a passionate, heartfelt way that touches, moves or inspires them. They have tuned us out. With no education for the heart, our children have become addicted to distractions.

The cost to society is enormous. At best they immerse themselves in computer games or shopping, at worst, they drink and drive too fast in a frantic attempt to catch up with their over-stimulated minds. From the media they acquire the illusion that all they have to do is become rock stars or sports stars, and they will have all the sex, drugs and fast cars, that money can buy them.

They do not see the need to learn for the love of it. They have lost their creativity along with their innocence. They cannot focus and think clearly or independently, or finish tasks on time. Many of them, especially the gifted and creative ones, have special needs and learning disabilities such as ADHD. In clutches of students at the back of the room, they feed off each other’s energy, interrupt, call out, and generally distract the others from their tasks. Often unidentified, especially the girls, who tend to act in, rather than out, they fall through the cracks.

Lack of boundaries, structure and standards leaves them adrift, subject to the shifting stimulus of the media, with and little aspiration except to get rich fast, and spend it even faster, Our children, entrained to the fast changing speed of Sesame street, are always looking for the next jolt of adrenaline, whether from drinking caffeine laden” energy” drinks, coffee or alcohol or listening to ear-drum breaking, angry music on their expensive Ipods and Iphones.

Parents despair as they lose connection with their children. They buy them more toys, thinking that will fill the void and prove their love. The media have become their parents. In the vacuum of a meaningless, frantic, greed- driven, fragmented society, the media tells them that the keys to success are money, sex and power, being special, having more, being better and different than others are,

As a result there is no sense of the internal world, no sense of the sacred, no guidelines, no authentic sense of self. As a society that has been dedicated to symbols of success as our only identity, we have lost our moral compass. In the ego driven game of getting more than others to prove we are special, we have lost our standards. There is no integrity, and without integrity, nothing works. Thirteen year olds boys aspire to become porn stars so they will be famous, or threaten to blow up the school. Thirteen year old girls climb out the window to go give sexual favors to boys and end up pregnant by the age of fourteen.

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, the well-behaved ones learn to repress themselves, and appease their parent’s fear-filled expectations with good grades. To please their parents, hey become addicted to getting high grades, suppressing their individual creativity in the name of achieving status, security and power.

Either way, we have lost touch with them so profoundly that the majority of the students that I taught had reached high school without knowing how to spell, or write a cogent sentence, let alone originate an idea. They cannot write or speak coherently, nor can they think critically. The majority has not learned how to learn, to love ideas for their own sake.

In the face of the dumbed down, normative service station for society that produces robotized children, the truly creative ones are alienated into a clutch of ADHD students at the back of the room, who chatter on endlessly, while the rest of the class try to focus and learn something that will earn them their way out of jail. Idealistic teachers give up the rigor of intellectual pursuit, lower their standards, and turn into the hacks that they once despised.

Shelora spent ten years teaching in this fear-driven cynical, antiquated system, created in the seventeen hundreds to serve the factories of Industrial Revolution. She not only survived, but also kept her passionate, creative soul alive. Students responded to her message of hope, and begged her to tell their parents what she has been telling them. As a result she is now launched on a new career dedicated to transforming the mindless into the mindful and replacing a loss of meaning with the possibility of inventing a miraculous new world.

The Newtonian model of human beings as machines without souls no longer serves us. There is a new paradigm of education emerging, as the old world collapses. In this new world, as the Dalai Lama says, we must educate our children to think with their hearts, to learn kindness and compassion, and to make a contribution to their Home Planet. There is still time to change course. Shelora talks about creating a positive, soul satisfying, enlightened new life in the face of a frantic, fear filled world that is collapsing because it no longer works. We promise you will be inspired by her passionate commitment to transforming the education system from within, and giving our children the core strength they need to not only survive, but thrive in the new millennium.

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~ by Shelora Fitzgerald on May 23, 2010.

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