Friday, March 6, 2015
I found this parable a few years ago and it's worth sharing, not just for those who have never read it, but to remind myself as well. The meaning applies to more than just the public school system, it can apply to homeschoolers too especially when we forget that not all children learn the same way and we are not flexible in how we teach them.
Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had 4 subjects-running, climbing, flying, and swimming-and all of the animals took all 4.
The duck was good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He made passing grades in running and flying, but he was almost hopeless in climbing. So they made him drop swimming to practice more climbing. Soon he was only average in swimming, but average is OK and nobody worried much about it-except the duck.
The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there, which was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write "cheating is wrong" five hundred times. This kept him from soaring which he loved, but schoolwork comes first.
The bear flunked because he was lazy, especially in winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.
The penguin never went to school because he couldn't leave home, and they wouldn't start a school where he lived.
The zebra played hooky a lot. The ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.
The kangaroo started out at the top of the running class, but got discouraged trying to run on all fours like the other kids.
The fish quit school because he was bored. To him all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that. They had never been a fish.
The squirrel got A's in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. His legs got so sore that he began getting C's and D's in running.
The bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Dr. Owl for testing. He said the bees wings wee too small for flying and they were in the wrong place. But the bee never saw Dr. Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.
This original parable was written in the 1940's by George H. Reavis who was an assistant Superintendent of Schools. Variations of the parable have surfaced, but the message has stayed the same.