I had the great honor of being a guest on the Raising Rebellion podcast this week – getting the opportunity to talk to the the podcast’s host, Paul Kim, about the notion of BEing and how this simple act can be seen as rebellious. Paul’s podcast is for parents who want to “prepare their kids to challenge the status quo, and to seek a life of wonderment, purpose, fulfillment, and happiness, even if it’s an unpopular choice.” This message is well aligned to Chapter Be and its mission, and I firmly believe that we need to start talking about the BE part of our lives sooner then later!
As Paul writes on his site, “Society’s playbook of ‘go to school, get good grades, and get a good job,’ is antiquated and proven to lead to an unfulfilled life for too many adults.” What would happen if we actively taught students how to not be afraid of the unpopular choice, but instead embrace their personal curiosities with furor, dedication and gumption? How would it affect our lives as adults, if we learned early on what our BE was and how to keep that at the center of our life?
According to a National Research Council report on motivation, over 40 percent of students are chronically disengaged from school. Based on the number of unmotivated students, it should come as no surprise that we have an extremely disengaged and unhappy workforce across the globe. Gallup’s 2015 poll on employee engagement found that “the majority (50.8%) of employees were ‘not engaged,’ while another 17.2% were ‘actively disengaged.’” That amounts to 68% of U.S. workers who are unhappy in what they are doing 40+ hours a week.
When both our youth and adult populations are unhappy doing something that consumes a majority of their day, it is no wonder we are experiencing a society that seems to be full of angst, depression, anger and fear. Humans are innately creative, but our schools, institutions and offices are schooling this out of us, creating a student body and workforce that defaults to following rules instead of creating and innovating new ideas.
The day after Paul posted our conversation on his website, I was reading The Book of Awakening before going to bed. That day’s entry was titled “Life in the Tank.” It was a story about a man who was cleaning out his fish tank, so he filled the bath with water and placed the fish in the huge tub while he cleaned their permanent home. When he returned to the the tub, he was astonished to find that even though the fish had the entire bath to swim in, they were concentrated in a small area that was the same size as their tank. Asking himself, “What had life in the tank done to their natural ability to swim?” Going on to write:
Life in the tank made me think of how we are raised at home and in school. It made me think of being told that certain jobs are not acceptable and that certain jobs are out of reach, of being schooled to live a certain way, of being trained to think that only practical things are possible, of being warned over and over that life outside the tank of our values is risky and dangerous. I began to see just how much we are taught as children to fear life outside of the tank.
We all are born with innate strengths and gifts – yet, so often if they do not fit into the conventional make-up of our society we learn from a very young age to push them down, and just swim safely in the middle of the tub. If we want motivated students and an engaged workforce, we have to really start thinking about what life in the tank is doing to our beings.
Be Rebellious. Swim Freely.