Education for Life Begins in the Family

Education for Life Begins in the Family

Why is Education Important?

Even while we take it as a given that we want an education for ourselves and for our families, it sometimes becomes lost in the fog of unknowing why education is so important.

Why is this important? Why do we need to know why we want to educate ourselves and our kids and those around us?

It is because answering this question may radically alter how and what we would do to educate.

So, ask yourselves, why – as parents, as children, as grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. — would we want anyone to have an education?

The first temptation might be to answer simply: so we can have a job/work. Yet, statistics show that now not only jobs but careers themselves might change over 5 to 7 times throughout one’s lifetime. But clearly as the economy changes, this is also set to change. A recent interview with a LinkedIn executive commented that individuals may change his or her job over 15 times in a lifetime.

So, ask yourselves, why – as parents, as children, as grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. — would we want anyone to have an education?

So what kind of education would need for ourselves and our families if we focused on training them in skill sets and knowledge for a job that would, most probably, change multiple times in a lifetime?

Beyond Jobs

Moreover, as economies have begun to move towards automation, technology and communications develop at a mind-numbingly rapid pace, will we even be able to anticipate the skills that would be needed for the jobs of the future? Certainly, twenty years ago, almost nobody would have seen the need to train students how to write code or to even imagine a world where one could make money on video “unboxing” the latest consumer products. But one thing is clear: tomorrow’s needs will not be today’s and educating people with today’s skills will not be enough to prepare us for tomorrow.

In fact, with the rise of the Internet and communication technologies, knowledge is no longer hard to obtain. It is literally at our fingertips and so the ways and importance of rote memorization and may have their place, but it becomes more important to know what to emphasize and to teach how to think rather than to memorize facts and figures. Put another way, we need to acquire the critical thinking skills that allow us to digest and interpret information rather than to spout information.

Yet, the lesson here is less about what kind of education we need to get work in the future but more meaningfully, what is the purpose of education itself?

Education for Life

We would propose that education for jobs and even for what we might term a “career” misses the real point of education. This is because human education should be education for life and not a vocational or intellectual pursuit.

In this case, how much of what we teach now – in our homes, our schools, faith and local communities and society-at-large – align with what we think would fit into this framework of an education for life?

in terms of education at the level of a family, how are we educating ourselves and each other?

Thinkers such as Joseph Chilton Pearce and educators such as Maria Montessori and the Waldorf School and others have proponents of this view for a long time and have developed school curriculums to nurture the whole person. Yet, in terms of education at the level of a family, how are we educating ourselves and each other?

We have framed this educational series “Education Starts at Home” as a way to explore different questions related to “education for life” beyond a cognition-based education and perhaps towards an “education of the whole self” through an “education for the whole family.” That is, we wish to explore what it means to educate ourselves and our families to be more than workers but to be ethical, engaged and productive members of our families, communities and societies in ways that go way beyond the confined and confining limits of educating for jobs.

A Life-Long Pursuit

It is along this line of thought where we also introduce the concept for education as not only for the young but perhaps that while the young may have the most to learn, adults probably have the most to gain in realizing that education is a lifelong pursuit, done best perhaps alongside our families. To point, even while morals and life lessons are built into many of the best-loved and oldest children’s tales, it is most likely that the parents that retell or read these stories to their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. are the ones who most fully understand the secret treasures buried inside them.

It is also instructive to know that most people, facing the end of their lives lamented most about what we could interpret to mean 1) not fulfilling their potential or dreams and 2) not having the kinds of families or relationships that they wished to have. We take from these bitter realizations the lesson and the hope to find ways to help families avoid these end-of-life regrets by helping build strong, healthy families that help each family member to fulfill their highest potential.

While there will inevitably be challenges and obstacles in this kind of endeavor along the way, we find it most satisfying to think that, as the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, noted “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way is the way.” [emphasis added]

Strengthening Bonds of Understanding: A Family Workshop Experience

Strengthening Bonds of Understanding: A Family Workshop Experience

Family Peace Association encourages families to explore and affirm their core values together as they grow to become God-centered families. Family workshops are becoming a successful model to facilitate exchange between parents and children on important subjects such as values and traditions. Here is a story from a family who attended a recent family workshop hosted by the Family Peace Association in the United States.

Dad was usually reserved at home. He said little, smiled little. But today, he joined his son and daughters in a play as part of a three-day family workshop that explored the universal principles and values of their heritage and how it informs how their family should live as global citizens. He and his son exchanged lines that made the audience laugh. He tried to suppress his own smiles as his daughter joined in with their own punch lines.

Competing in a game of soccer with the whole family.

The family had decided to attend the unique summer workshop together. The workshop was hosted by Family Peace Association USA, organized by a high school student for his Boy Scout Eagle Project. The workshop explored America’s founding principles and how they might be applied more broadly to global citizenship.

Dad initially came to make sure his eldest daughter was cared for; she was recovering from surgery on her foot, which made walking and sitting difficult. He wants to make sure she could get up the stairs, got food and water, and to help ease her pain however he could.

As the days progressed, a deeper purpose emerged as father, daughters, and son explored principles and values together. They began to engage in conversations that are difficult to broach on an everyday basis. They began to share about the values that they aspired to embody as a family.

Sometimes they sat together, parents and children in the same group, sharing and listening to each other. Other times, they sat in separate peer groups, dad with other parents, the children with other young adults. With peers and with one another, they talked about God and His presence in their lives and the world and topics ranging from love to service and goodness.

In self-study sessions, father, son, and daughter had time to delve into research of topics like men and women and ideas that were inspired by God to take risks and strive to make a better world. The workshop provided a shared experience for the family to explore their family’s values together.

Sharing his reflection of the family workshop.

“As an immigrant, I was so inspired to come here with my children to learn how God was involved in the founding of this nation,” reflected dad, who is originally from Japan.

As they studied together, they discovered new things about each other and shared on perhaps the most important things, in ways that they wouldn’t have been able to do in the milieu of every day.

Mom came on the third day to help cook lunch. At the closing they stood together as a family in the closing photo, a memento of the three days that they took to explore and outline the principles and values that they as a family honored, and how they wanted to manifest in in their daily relationships and lives.

No doubt, it would be the first of many they would attend together as a family.

Family Night in Philippines

Family Night in Philippines

More than a hundred people attended a two-day Family Camp at  Bulacan province in the Philippines on April 21 and 22. The camp sought to draw out the unique and important learning process that happens in the family. Family Peace Association (FPA) emphasizes that the family is the primary school for character and the social development children carry throughout their lives.

Families share during the Family Night about the kind of family they want to build together.

Families participated in a variety of ice-breaker activities and team-building challenges, and a heart-felt “Family Night” where parents, children, and friends shared stories around the campfire.

Yoo Shin Tanai, from the United States, was one of several international attendees at the family camp. Unlike most camp participants, his own family was not with him, however, he shared a relatable experience of ‘family’ through his recent participation in international service projects through FPA. He was grateful to share how these travels around the world gave him “rich learning experiences” from the various cultures he had encountered and come to embrace as his ‘extended family’. “I could feel so much internal energy at times, wanting to invest even more for the sake of others, which I think is God’s heart of joy,” said Yoo Shin. The opportunity to meet and share meals with people from so many cultural backgrounds became a life-changing experience for Yoo Shin who was able to reaffirm his belief that family values can extend beyond the lines of culture, religion, and any other background.

Family members gather together to talk about their family values.

Fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers shared similar moving stories and all listened intently.

Afterward, teenagers and young adults played basketball and other sports together while children participated in fun games that taught family values.

The Family Camp gave families an important opportunity to play, talk, and simply share meals together. It gave parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives a moment together to reaffirm their love for one another, their hopes and dreams for one another, and their shared values.

Family Peace Association Inaugural Ceremony in Nepal (Chitwan)

Family Peace Association Inaugural Ceremony in Nepal (Chitwan)

Families in Chitwan, Nepal held a local inaugural ceremony of the Family Peace Association (FPA) on May 5, 2018. A number of community residents attended the inaugural ceremony in Seoul, Korea in December 2017.

The Chitwan inaugural ceremony was attended by more than 500 people from all walks of life, including representatives from different faiths, political parties, and cultural backgrounds. The event included lively musical and cultural performances and speeches from faith leaders emphasizing the importance of family values and the rich heritage of Nepal.

First program of preparation of FPA education at Madhavpur

Building up to the inauguration, FPA members have begun creating “family units” in their local communities. These units aim to foster God-centered, healthy families by providing education and support. Family units are made up of neighbors, friends, and relatives. In the month leading up to the inaugural ceremony, thirteen different education programs were held. The Bijaynagar area family units had over two hundred people engaged in their program.

The local community gatherings provide an opportunity for families, parents, children, and grandparents, to discuss fostering the spiritual consciousness of healthy families, and the importance of building this family culture in everyday life.

The inaugural ceremony marks the beginning of ongoing local efforts to support families to become the building blocks of peace.

 

 

 

 

Being a Mindful Dad

Being a Mindful Dad

On Father’s Day, we remember Dad, who always made time for each of us.

Dad was a “very important person.” He would take very important calls in the quiet hours of the morning. He would travel to the far corners of the world to attend “very important” meetings. He had to make “very important” decisions for work. He did “very important” things for the world.

But, he was never too important to be present when he was home.

Dad and son walking side by side holding hands When he was home, he always made sure to give the “very important” people in his family 100% of himself.

Even when he was in a deep conversation with guest in the living room, he paused and kneeled down and responded when his toddler son pulled at his pant leg.

Even when he sat in his home office with deep furrows in his brow contemplating the next strategic plan, he wiped his face clean to greet his teenage daughter when she peaked around the door to ask if she could talk to him about something.

Even while preparing for a major organizational annual meeting, he made time to sit down and have coffee to advise his growing son on life’s challenges.

Even when his children grew up, had families of their own and moved, he used holidays to touch base and checking in on his children’s career and life developments and his grandchildren.

As a result, his children have grown to honor themselves the same way Dad honored them. They listen carefully to their conscience and intuition. They make and take their goals seriously. They face their challenges with honesty and confidence.

The relationships in his family are deep and because of that, the relationships are also a source of many insights and truths for every family member. The same sincerity carries through to their relationships with those around them.

As some of the children have grown, they have carried the same “present” parenting into their own families. From the smallest details of how they prepare meals for their family, to the larger picture matters of building a family driven by a vision for a greater purpose, to even serve the world, they pour their intention and effort into every interaction they have with their children.

As parents we often underestimate the significance of the small interactions we have with our children. The parent-child relationship is the first intimate relationship that we experience, and the most formative. Meeting our child’s eye and hearing what their soul is trying to express is an important part of building the foundations of their character.