The Seven-Lesson School Teacher

My wife sent me this email the day after we watched ‘The Secret’ together.

Are we born onto earth knowing the laws of attraction? Babies are loved by most, they attract people, people want to be near them, people want to hold them, they feel the energy babies give out and feel refreshed.

What do you think when you see babies? Look how active they are, look how they take everything in, look how they absorb and learn. Even toddlers and young preschoolers have this. They attract attention because of their life force. Babies learn how to walk because they are determined; they learn how to speak because “that is what you do”.

Somewhere it starts to slow down and stop. Somewhere you stop wanting to learn, you start to think it’s too hard, you start thinking I can’t do that. Babies don’t, they try even though all odds are against them. What happens? When do we stop? Why do we stop? When do we start getting cynical? Where do we learn “I can’t have that”?

I believe she is right; we are all born knowing how to use and harness the powers of the universe. After observing my sons grow, it’s obvious to me they have no problem harnessing the Law of Attraction. But where does it go wrong?

We learn to deny our inner-self in our homes and other institutions like church and school. In America, it goes wrong for most people in school. Sometime between the 4th and 8th grades, the kids become jaded about learning. I even see indifference in the kids in my neighborhood where many parents have advanced degrees. I believe the American school system teaches us 6-8 hours a day for 13 years to quit using our God given powers by punishing us when we fail to follow blindly. Bob Proctor said that the problem with education is that it teaches us what to think, not how to think. Bob is wrong. It’s much worse than that. Our schools teach us to think destructive thoughts which produce negative results in our lives and in the world. I know this sounds crazy and defies conventional wisdom, but it isn’t an attack on teachers or intellectuals. They are victims of the same monolithic government system as the students. Most teachers know intuitively how screwed up the system is and they know they are powerless to change it. So instead of explaining my position, I’ll let the New York State Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto make the argument in his essay The Seven Lesson School Teacher and his interview in Fast Company.

I am sorry to say – as a child – I learned all of John’s seven lessons and today my Personal Development program is necessary – because to grow – I desperately need to unlearn the lessons Mr. Gatto so eloquently describes.

I believe this is what Personal Development is…

Replacing destructive thought patterns from our past while remembering what we really are and what we are here to do.

This post has been listed on the Personal Development Carnival at Creating a Better Life. – Thanks Lyman

This post has been listed on the Cultivate Growth and Blog Success Carnival at Cultivate Success. – Thanks Travis

This post has been listed on the Personal Growth Carnival at – Thanks Bryan

10 thoughts on “The Seven-Lesson School Teacher”

  1. That’s a great paragraph. It’s so true but i’ve never thought about it like that. I agree with you about the school system. It’s a total disaster and will have serious consequences for the country during the next 0-100 years. The tough thing is to change it, it takes a generation or two. One of the major problems is that people don’t realize how bad it actually is. Most people don’t travel or come in contact with other countries/cultures and therefore have little to compare with. No one can make a school system perfect but I’m confident U.S. can do a LOT better. You wouldn’t believe have many embarrassing questions I’ve heard. Stuff like “Is Europe a big country?” Makes me kind of scared to hear….

    Of of my many weaknesses is that I’m great at finding faults but not good at solutions. I simply don’t have a good action plan over how to improve the system.

    Nice weekend


  2. Great link, Steve!

    I’ve long believed the primary purpose of school was to condition people to be ‘good’ members of an industrial, consumer society, not creative people who know how to think. I really gave up when teaching became a unionized job and quit being a profession.

    My boys all went to public schools. My daughter went to public school through 9th grade. She is now in cyberschool. If I had to do things over, I would consider cyberschool for my older children in their later years.

    Acculturation is necessary, but there has to be a better way, especially with schools getting more and more expensive, and the results getting worse and worse. As you said, the love of learning is being taught out of them, not reinforced. Like AD, I don’t have a solution. If it were easy, there would be one already. A lot of people have the same complaints. I would, though, start by focusing on the three Rs, and make most other things electives. I would also turn off the TV, and teach at home by example the joys of reading, learning, and personal creativity.

  3. Spot on with your comments here and I fully agree with you. Isn’t this funny how The Secret has started an avalanche of discussion and a new way that we all look at our personal development. Great article, please keep posting.


  5. All good for most…what about 45 years of living in torment? Trying (REALLY trying) all the ‘self help’ (including The Secret philosophy) and still ending up in the same place…wanting to leave this planet and ‘go home’? What then????

  6. Have you read Brent Cameron’s SelfDesign: Nurturing Genius Through Natural Learning (2006)? He operates an alternative school in Vancouver, BC where kids are nurtured to tap in to their own creativity and enthusiasm to become truly resourceful lifelong learners. It’s an exciting concept and a great book!

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