The other day I was Facebook, and I came across an interesting video clip narrated by Alan Watts. I had never heard of Alan Watts before so I had to Google him. I found that Alan Watt was a philosopher who pushed Eastern religion on a Western culture. You can find his writings here. I found that many of his lectures are on YouTube.
I listened to the video above several times. I came up with a few things that I want to share, and maybe question. The essential question that Alan poses is “what would you want to do if money wasn’t an option.” I think many of our students would tell you they desire to do many things most of which would revolve around money. Their answers are doctors, lawyers, or maybe even professional athletes. But there may be a few that says there is some things they would like to do that wouldn’t involve money. Their answers may be missionary, activist, or teacher.
How much influence do we as adults have on our children and students? I believe as a parent I have a lot of influence on my children. As a teacher I believe I have some influence on my students. The aspect that I think is important is the influence positive or negative? Do we want our children and students to settle into a life that is just as ours even if we don’t like ours? So this comes down to the last question that I have that Alan leaves us with at the end of his lecture: What do you desire?
What is it our students desire? Many, depending on the age, may not know what they desire. Some of your older students may know what they like, but how do you get them to know what they truly desire? What if a student truly knows what they desire, but as a teacher or parent know that what they desire is well below their abilities? For example, if a student truly desires to be a poet, and has a love of poetry; but when it comes to math and science it comes easy and you can see their abilities would enhance a field and they could make money very easily. Do you push them toward their desire or do you push them to where their abilities could be more useful? I don’t have the answer to it. I don’t know if Alan would have a true answer.
I encourage you to watch the video above, and let me know what you think. I think Alan Watts had a lot to say, and I think his lectures still have some truth to them.