I’m reading Martha Beck’s wonderful book, Expecting Adam, her account of being pregnant and raising a kid with Down syndrome. And I’m thinking: Martha Beck has it exactly right. She tells about having her son repeatedly tested so that he can attend first grade, a process both endless and repetitive. After many tests, one day Adam starts faking it, pretending he can’t answer the questions. But he knows the drill–once the questions become too hard he gets a treat and the testers let him go play. That day Beck’s realization is this:
“After spending the first decades of my own life in a desperate attempt to pass every arbitrary test placed before me by the educational system and the rest of society, I have to be constantly reminded that the end goal of all this striving is to live joyfully, and that there are often more direct ways of achieving this than conforming to rigid standards set by social custom.” She goes on to explain how this philosophy becomes her career. As a career counselor she lives life as a pursuit of joy and suggests to her clients that they “structure their lives around richness of experience, rather than security.”
Wow. Richness of experience. So that’s what it’s all about! And now: Can I actually teach this? Can I live it and pass it on to others? I can and I will.
I feel rich already.