What Should We Be Questioning Now?

Look what has happened While this world was requiring children To learn and do What they were not ready To do. Listen to the silence of children

Not at play,

While the world was busy snuffing out Their interests, Their talents, Their curiosity,

Their questions, Their wonder, Their innocence,

Their very souls.

The world’s children have missed

Their childhoods. They've lead a workaholic’s lifestyle Only to arrive in college

Burnt out.

They arrived only to lose their college life

To the pandemic of inhumane expectations That have left them questioning So much,

But perhaps mostly, What now?

A vicious cycle has Come full circle. And now we are asking our children To mask their smiles And confine their wiggly, boundless, beautiful bodies Overflowing with energy And life, To invisible cages. And if the confines of desks and chairs Weren't enough of an insult To their natural yearning For the freedom Of learning, The Standards that have placed a chokehold On teacher And student Are from, and for, a world That no longer exists.

Don't you see what has happened? Don't you see where it all Has brought us? If you don't, there's not enough room In this poem To explain it to you. If you do, then you will understand what must come next. It must not be about expectations That demand children sacrifice

Their bodies, minds and souls - their very lives, even -

For the sake of learning mechanized, force-fed bits of information

About everything,

And nothing.

It must be about honoring their bodies, minds and souls And helping them grow into the people they are meant to be, And to learn to love learning

So much That they will become a student

Of their own inner teacher. Some will want to learn

Through their minds, Some, through their bodies, Some, through their souls. And the world needs them all. And they need a world That needs them all.

Don't you see, too, that this world Which is on the verge of collapse, Is a reflection of the unhealthy conditions We have inflicted on our children? Don't you see that the way to heal our path going forward,

Before it's too late

Is to stop long enough in our broken tracks To look, listen and feel And to acknowledge The insanity that we have wrought on our own humanity?

We should all be questioning

What now?

What is it that we need to be fully human?

The answers will guide what we should be teaching our children.

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© 2017 Wendy Beth Rosen