Schools confront the globalisation of superficiality

My old headmaster wrote a post here: http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=31108

This was my thoughts:

There’s a feeling of nostalgia about how things were done in the past here, but not so much about how things done have directly contributed to the way things are right now. In my opinion that’s a more important question. Especially if you consider that the responsibility to guide the present generation has always rested with the previous one and so forth. Perhaps then instilling an understanding of personal responsibility may be more important than teaching discernment because having an abundance of choice or having not much at all is of little consequence when we are able to take full responsibility for every choice we make, collectively and individually.

In terms of a traditional Catholic education, what does a person learn by Christ taking away the sins of the world or where all is forgiven upon confession? What do we learn by having the consequences of our actions and choices only coming to effect on God’s future day of judgement? And what do we learn in a society where most things are valued pre-packaged then disposed of at their used by date, without seeing or even wanting to see the vast amount of resources that literally goes to waste in the process? We learn to remove ourselves from our own responsibility for the choices we ourselves make.

If a child were to fully comprehend that every choice or action has an immediate effect or consequence, not only externally but importantly to him or herself personally (including spiritually), he or she would be discerning to begin with. I would like to see that fostered within our education system and to do that the education system and those appointed the task would need to teach by example, as there’s little point instructing what we cannot do ourselves.

Yet what’s often the case, as exemplified by this very article is our past generations instead put the burden of responsibility upon the present one and then blames them for how they carry the load, which of course was not really theirs to begin with. It’s no wonder then with state of the world at present that the current generation prefers the veneer of superficiality over the weight of responsibility to fix the problems they did not choose themselves to be born into – problems that for many seem just too big. In my opinion seeing the globalisation of superficiality as the major challenge of the western world, fails to understand why that culture exists and why it gains momentum in the first place. It’s another way to see the effect as the cause, which in itself is superficial way of looking at things.

As a side note, I myself went to St Ignatius College Riverview under Fr Greg O’Kelly but left to go to a public school. Interestingly it seemed for me at the time that the school greatly valued superficiality over depth. Of course though, a school like that wouldn’t attract students, if its veneer didn’t polish up well in the public’s eye.

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