I want children in school to find happiness. Not momentary fireworks, but the saturating joy of purpose and meaning in life. Not someday, but now, as children.
I’ve noticed that kids who live fulfilling lives as kids tend to build fulfilling lives as adults. I think personal fulfillment is a learned way of life. It may be easy or hard to learn, but once you do, you never want to stop. You live to capacity, and then you discover more. Fulfillment in one moment tends to lead to fulfillment in the next. It becomes an outlook, an expectation, and a demand on self and life.
Wishing happiness for children is not sentimental or starry-eyed. From the passion of personally meaningful challenge, I see character and intelligence emerge. Practiced with others in bounded freedom and shared responsibility, I see lively culture and supportive community emerge. So I draw a line from children’s self-determined adventures to their fulfilled potential, and from there to society’s collective advance: fulfilled individuals lead to fulfilled society. Isn’t that the purpose of education: elevation of self and society?
[Excerpt from When Kids Rule the School]