“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
As a teacher, I do not agree that school doesn’t teach anything worth knowing. Even if I were not a teacher, I would still emphatically disagree. But, that is why, I suppose I am a teacher.
That being said, I do agree that, along with all of the other things that are taught in school, the things that make up this journey called Life are left to chance, to assumption, to trial and error, all the while (hopefully) learning as we go, and taking the good with the bad, rather than by virtue of any tangible and concrete preparation. And, why is that? Why is it that the things of Life cannot be reduced to lesson plans, classroom activities, and assessments? What would that even look and feel like? And, even if we could learn these things in a classroom by front-loading them before they occur, as if training for a competition, would we really want to do so? An interesting series of questions, no doubt.
To be certain, the path each one of us is destined to walk on this Earth would be made much less complex and complicated, and far more predictable and joyful, if life came with an instruction manual. When verb conjugations, math equations, science labs and English and history essays are distant memories, a lesson on how to endure death and loss, or a terminal illness, to name two, would capture the imagination, cure boredom, and increase engagement, focus and attention. But, if we were able to bottle the answer, and teach these things, then whose experience would it truly be? It would merely be one person’s conception and perception.
Life often gets harder as we get older. There is absolutely no escaping it. And, to be even more frank, life can suck. I get that. Life kinda sucks for me right now. Long story. As disappointed as I feel at the moment, I would not want to have it any other way. It is uniquely mine, and not someone else’s ideation of what it should be, what it should look like, or how it should feel. And, that makes the learning that will come from the experience all the more meaningful.