As a home educating parent I’ve heard a few versions of this lately:
“I went to school and turned out fine, and so did all my friends. I have great memories from that time in my life. It can’t be all bad. You’re overthinking it. You’re being too sensitive.”
But that’s a bit like saying:
“I support a political party whose policies are working out just fine for me and my friends – everything is great, why would anyone ever want change? Stop overthinking it.”
There are always people a particular structure or system works well for, but anything that has to deal with any sort of volume will always struggle with variations at the individual level. That’s just the nature of producing in mass.
Perhaps you were fortunate enough not to be teased or picked on at school. Perhaps you didn’t suffer from crippling separation anxiety. Perhaps you didn’t sweat and feel physically ill at the thought of being asked to stand up in front of the class. Perhaps you didn’t dread playtimes, lunchtimes, or P.E class. Perhaps you never had to try and hide welling tears behind the lid of your lunchbox, taking bites of your apple through trembling lips.
Perhaps you were able to sleep soundly on a Sunday night.
But I can promise you there were children in your year, school and even classroom who were living through a very different experience than you. As have children in every year, school and classroom ever since.
It can be confronting to hear that we’ve cruised through certain life experiences when others around us have found them hard or even painful. It’s easier to brush their journey off as an anomaly than it is to try and see it through their eyes. But these experiences are not anomalies. They are not uncommon.
We shouldn’t be trivialising the voices of our struggling children and their parents.
We should be amplifying them.