Lent words - Day 8 ~ Instruct

Today's word is to instruct. 

This is a great word to 'Instruct'. So in my mind I see there are actually three main uses of this word. All three are very different.

  1. tell or order someone to do something, especially in a formal or official way
  2. teach (someone) a subject or skill, education
  3. provide people with guidance and signposting such that people can discover what works for them

I am going to use today's Lent word to share some of the ideas that I have been co-creating along with my colleague from St. Albans +Jon Thorne.

The challenge of course with this word instruct is that it can quickly (and very easily in today's world) be interchanged with educate. Where we have got used to the belief that 'to educate' is to have someone with superior knowledge impart their wisdom on the pupils.

If we wanted to stay where we are, this would be perfect of course. Because the students learn what has already gone before... are indoctrinated with the truth's that have already been learned, and accept what they are being told as gospel... had to get the religious bit in there somewhere.

In so doing we can instruct our students to follow 'the way', 'the path', the right way to be a model citizen and be 'normal', fit into the world of today. And so those who follow 'the system'... buckle down and be a model citizen are rewarded and praised. While those who question things, are a little awkward, a bit rebellious, buck the system and are free minded, face being chastised, punished, labelled and often excluded. The system doesn't want mavericks, people changing things, because those in control are ok with it how it is.

Power comes from control. Control comes from leading.. To lead (in the traditional sense) you need a bunch of followers. To get followers you need to sell an idea that appeals. Scarcity and Competition, breeds fear, uncertainty and doubt... we might not have as much money, as many jobs, food, cars, possessions... promising to solve these problems creates the believers and the non believers... them and us, we start to blame (look outside for why things are bad)... division... 

Division scatters the people from uniting... uniting to create a future that works for us all... we must change our belief that others are going to do it for us. We must accept it is each of us that must change. We must change our beliefs in order to unite... that is the biggest challenge before us.

Where do we get our beliefs... 

we get them from those 'instructed' before us. Those who learned the lessons that carry on the charade. Our parents... our teachers... friends... acquaintances. All of them 'in the system' unless you know of any mavericks? 

Just ask some very simple questions... who's account of the 1st and 2nd world war did you hear about? Was it documented and written about by the victors or the defeated? What version of those stories were we sold? Now think about every other thing you have been taught. From what perspective did you get those stories? From the perspective of the one selling the story? Did we ever think to question it as possibly not the truth, just someones flavour of it?

So for example... it turns out that Michael Heseltine was declaring the special relationship between the UK and America was dead (a while back now)... maybe he was right... but what if I told you that he was a big fan of Europe and his business interests were there. That would put a different slant on his version of the truth wouldn't it? .. hence why him and a few of his fellows are getting involved in the Brexit debacle.

Schools indoctrinate us to follow the system. 

It starts early on when we begin to test and compare. This then escalates. With the focus on getting a good job / profession from a University degree (or now an acceptable compromise of a skills based apprenticeship) it's all about getting results. Where is the focus folks? ... it's on exams, results, comparisons, and league tables. What happened to the well being of our young adults? ... and what happened to the life skills they will need? ... those life skills don't come sitting an exam paper.

Instead of life skills we taught them about superiority. We taught them about being better than others. We taught them about competition. We taught them about ego and pride fuelling for those good at exams and learning in this manner (academics), taunting those who don't learn best this way. We taught them that a 'good job' and that money were the most important things.... and at the same time... the way the education system works there can only be some 'super winners' ... a lot more that did ok but not the best... and the rest? .. well they came out as failures... labelled in some way as 'poor achievers' maybe. 

A whole army of young adults with low self esteem... who already feel they tried but have failed... don't have the minerals... won't be able to meet mummy and daddies expectations... and life's not looking great. Couple this with inability to buy a house.... a car? maybe, but can't insure it or put fuel in it... actually life sucks.... this is what our system creates... but it is ok... because people in this state are 'weakened' to a point that they are apathetic and feel powerless... until ... and there is hope amongst all this doom and gloom...

The world has to change... 

This modus operandi is creaking... it is not fit for the 21st century... the financial model is on the precipice... capitalism another failed model... what we are going to have to work on together is sustainable communities... teams of people helping each other out. The young have already got to this point... going it alone at school didn't work... teams work much better.

What the current society is doing is actually preparing our young folk for what comes next. For those of us that have worked all our lives, saved hard, invested well... it might not be all rosy in the final furlong. We were sold a pup, believed that growth could continue indefinitely... sorry that was a lie. When the banks do crash... the money is wiped away. It's over... then what?

What we will need are people who are prepared to rebuild community without money. People valued by their integrity, who they are, and what they are prepared to do for others... in other words relationships, compassion, kindness, support, nurturing, community... because at the end of the day a meal will be there... a meal for their mum and dad... a meal for their family. Security from being part of a community of people.

We are on the cusp... all the trends are lining up... the indicators... the signs are right there... the mood is shifting... the wheels are in motion... it is only a question of what triggers the inevitable.

So instruct... 

We could begin to instruct people not in what has gone before, but ask them what do they want to create going forward? We've never been here before. People think we have, we're just in another cycle of boom and bust, but no, we're in a very different place today.

We can't instruct people in something we know nothing about either, this is a great unknown. So what can you do in situations like this? We have to help people learn the skills to find their own way. To determine what works for them. What makes them get up in the morning. We haven't been doing this, and so it will feel a bit strange to start with... but instead of filling people with stuff, they will need to learn what is important in their life and be encouraged to be the best version of themselves.

I was at a presentation the other week about how businesses and colleges are creating great opportunities for young people... providing the transport to get there... making sure there are people there to look after them... basically catering for every eventuality. What do you think is happening? ... the young people aren't turning up for work to the absolute dismay of people who just can't understand it. They don't turn up not because they can't ... but because what they are being asked to do isn't floating their boat. The don't want to fit into this world we have created... this isn't their world... they don't like it... it sucks... and they are waiting... 

Perhaps what we ought to be doing is appealing to their creativity, their problem solving capability, their intelligence and technology skills, all the things they are adept and know inside out... maybe we should be asking them how they can use their collective talents to sort out the problems we've created... 

And if we can get over ourselves, admit we have created this mess (very necessary to break apathy by the way)... maybe some of us will be invited to their party to help out... otherwise... good luck!



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