Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friendship first, competition second

"I hope it is not true that we have lost our humanity where teaching our children is concerned. We need to maintain love as the foundation of education. On a playing field, a team that cannot love its opponent is not a complete team. This does not mean that you don't do your best to beat them. It just means you never lose your love, respect and compassion for the opposing players. The best part of the game of rugby union, which I took up after my college days were over, was sitting around drinking beer with the opposing team after the game. My love and respect for those men was immense, yet it did not preclude me warning them that I would be back next Saturday to teach them a lesson… especially if I had lost the game. In sports, ideally, you may lose the game, yet you should never lose the love of the other team's players."

"In China during the Cultural Revolution, hundreds of thousands of people had to receive new training all at the same time. There was new farm machinery to master. People had to learn about building new homes and farm buildings. Others had to learn folk medicine, teaching, and even parenting skills. The pressure was so great to rebuild the culture that every single person had to make a contribution – tiny children, teenagers, young adults, and even the very old. If a group of people came together to learn, for example, how to drive a tractor, the class wasn't over until every person had mastered the skill. The students who learned fast helped those who needed more time. Although there is much I might criticise about the Cultural Revolution, the slogan for this period of China's history was 'Friendship first, competition second.'"

"In modern academia everyone competes for the top grades. When the class ends, scores are totalled up and people receive either passing or failing grades. Some learn from the experience, others don't. The 'losers' suffer alone in defeat… the victorious ones celebrate. You may have noticed that oftentimes the very best of academia are social introverts, brilliant within the academic system but socially lacking. They stick to themselves or with others of their kind. They are the ideal smart people that schools praise. Students like these conform well and abide by the rules. They learn early that to love and help your classmate is not allowed; it's called cheating. They avoid forming close relationships where helping a friend could mean losing their own position as the 'smartest' in the class."

"It is not a coincidence that many people who staunchly defend the educational system are both elitist and lonely. They seem to have a need to prove to everyone around them how smart they were in school or how many degrees they have. Having completely bought into the system, they perceive education as little more than a game of one-upmanship."

(Robert T. Kiyosaki in 'Be Rich & Happy,' p. 59 Jaico)

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