Some years ago I went for a job within the NSW National Parks. A dream job for me but I was under qualified and lacking any experience. I had just completed my second year of Environmental Science and had to travel about 6 hours from the Sunshine Coast each weekend for work IF I was given employment. The odds were against me.
I made it somehow through to the final assessment and attended a weekend with about 14 other people to narrow it down to a team of 6. As we sat around talking wombats, fire trails and public toilets, I felt every eye upon each other, sizing up the competition. Most of my opponents had formidable beards and a repertoire of unusual birds calls that was used at unusual times of the conversation. I knew none of them. All held degrees (literally) and all knew the area well.
The young dark-haired man beside me had nothing but a smile and a blank piece of paper in front of him. He talked, and laughed, making everyone feel pretty good about themselves I believe. He asked to hear the bird calls, listened when the stories were told and not once took his attention elsewhere.
I guess you can imagine where this is going. He got the job. I did too but only just – at least I got to talk to him again.
He was in his early 20’s, could barely write and maths was something you used to count the lettuce he picked for his Mum before market harvest. He had lived in rural NSW on community all his life, never attended school or gone to Tafe – just lived. He helped the people he lived with, chatted with the locals at the weekly produce sales and traveled a little when he was 19, woofing and couch surfing before realising he had something so simple to share. His love of the earth and the people upon it. He didn’t even know a bird call.
For the next several months I watched various employees of the National Parks cater to his best attributes and pick up the pieces where necessary. He was an asset to our Discovery Team and when I asked about his life and his job he told me…………
“I found what I loved and wanted to share it with the best of intentions to as many people as I could”
Its been years since I worked with the dark-haired man. I know have kids of my own (12 and almost 14). We are natural schoolers, change our interests and learning methods as much as the moon fulls and whole heartedly believe we can raise aware, conscious, happy and employable children bu following our hearts.
So often I hear stories of mothers that question their own teaching methods or abilities daily, grandparents that don’t understand the possibilities of open learning or spouses that think you wont get a good education if you don’t get a degree.
Good people get good jobs – if that’s what you want.
Raise our kids with the mindset that anything is possible and we will change the world.
Help our kids to be the best possible human being they can be and they will find happiness – with or without a piece of paper that says they are qualified.
Think outside the normal entry requirements and you will find a way in – then we can change the shape of that box from the inside out.
Every time I doubt myself or stress about the level at which my kids are developing I remind myself of this story – of the man who knew no bird but smiled his way through.
With much metta, Tamika.