In this week’s 48 Days Podcast, Joanne and I reviewed the many contributions listeners sent in regarding raising creative and entrepreneurial children. Many of the submissions expressed dismay with our current models of “education” and how the important skills seemed to be learned outside of a classroom.
In my continued research into how education is changing, it became clear this is not exactly a new idea. In 1744, when George Washington was just a twelve-year-old boy, the Collected Chiefs of the Indian Nations met to discuss a letter from the College of William & Mary suggesting that they “send twelve of their young men to the college, that they might be taught to read and write.” The Chiefs sent the following reply:
We know that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in Colleges, and that the Maintenance of our young Men, while with you, would be very expensive to you. We are convinc’d, therefore, that you mean to do us Good by your Proposal; and we thank you heartily. But you, who are wise, must know that different Nations have different Conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our Ideas of this kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours. We have some experience of it. Several of our Young People were formerly brought up at the colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but, when they came back to us they were bad Runners, ignorant of every means of living in the Woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a Deer, or kill an Enemy, spoke our Language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counselors; they were totally good for nothing. We are, however, not the less oblig’d by your kind Offer, tho’ we decline accepting it; and, to show our grateful Sense of it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a Dozen of their Sons, we will take care of their Education; instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them.
(letter shared from Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads by Roy Williams)
Where have you gotten your most valuable education?