Saturday, February 06, 2010
The context of childhood
Waiting for Superman?
An attentive young girl in her school desk surrounded not by a garden but by desolation--it’s an evocative bit of propaganda for a film I haven’t seen: Wating for Superman, which won the “audience award” for a U.S. documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s by the director of An Inconvenient Truth. So that’s two strikes against it.
The image catches my attention because it suggests an important truth: the environment in which education takes place matters profoundly. The School of Epicurus was a garden at his house on the outskirts of Athens. Withdrawing to a garden in dark times, when humanity is under siege from the forces of darkness, can be a sanctifying mode of sanity.
If our culture continues its “progress” towards “ideals” that are toxic to childhood people of good will are going to have to contemplate the realities of our public schools, the environments in which childhood is embedded.
I’m skeptical that this film--emerging as it seems from progressivism, which is much of the problem--is likely to tell important truths. However, since its promotional poster does resonate in me, I’ll look forward to giving it my attention.
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© 2010 Michael L. Umphrey