Last week I was a little sick, so I had the opportunity to stay home and do one of my favorite things: reading the news. During my search, I found an interview with one of the most important minds in the neuroscience field worldwide, Dr. Rodolfo Llinas.
This Colombian is Chairman Emeritus, Physiology and Neuroscience of the NYU School of Medicine. He has dedicated his entire life to the study of the most complex organ in the human body, the brain. Yet, his retirement plans are rooted in the simplicity of the country life, the foundation of the education revolution he wants to spear in our home country, Colombia.
His approach to education is that children should not depend on memorized knowledge, but rather context knowledge. He proposes two stages. First, kids should learn to solve the problems in their environment just as the first human hunters. Second, these hunters must become farmers and learn to manage the items collected to multiply them and sustain their environment.
At the end of the interview, Dr. Llinas said something, that coming from a scientist, surprised me profoundly. He exalted the beauty within the only Christian commandment he believes in: “If you love your neighbor as yourself you end up having a perfect society. That is intelligence.” What beautiful words!
Dr. Llinas’ education proposal is, in my opinion, innovating and also ironic. The developed world has spent almost three centuries industrializing and educating their societies and growing their urban areas, disregarding the rural ones, keeping them in the back seat, forgotten.
According to the most recent data published in December 2016 by the United States Census Bureau, rural areas cover 97 percent of the nation’s land area but contain 19.3 percent of the population (about 60 million people).
Country life–or what was called in the 2016 elections “Middle America”–is not as glamorous as the life on the East and West Coasts. Rural folks have a simple philosophy of loving God, family, and country, and for that, today they are ridiculed and cataloged as backward and uneducated.
But the most ironic thing of all is that, even though progressives criticize the country life thinking, these same people are the pioneers of the organic life movement that they promote so adamantly and of which they profit greatly. Organic foods, organic clothes, organic fuels, and organic decoration are one of the most popular trends in advertising in America.
It is not a secret, the rustic look allures because it is in their simplicity one realizes that life in the cities is too complicated. Plus, as far as I know, the people in Silicone Valley haven’t figured out a way to turn microchips and iPhone apps into food.
Now, back to education. The difference between children who grow up in cities–mine included–and children who grow up in the country, is that city kids need extracurricular activities to have fun, and we the parents do everything for them. The kids in the country learn the value of hard honest work while they play with animals and nature as they please.
For the past few months, my husband has been watching The Incredible Dr Pol in Nat Geo. This veteran vet, who is originally from the Netherlands, says it constantly on his show: children who grow up in the country around animals benefit greatly and become better people.
Farmers have an indispensable role in all of our lives, but are taken for granted. I admire their devotion for the cultivation of the land, and respect their simple point of view as they are in real tune with nature. They got it right. God, family and country is also all I need to be happy.
Thank you for reading and sharing.
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