When I was in 2nd grade I found the school library. I wondered, where have they been hiding this?! All those books, all that knowledge neatly laid out on acres of shelves. Finally school had something good to offer! I must say, going to school was a big let-down. I had been so eager to go, to learn, and what I was met with was rule following and behavior modification…not that I understood it that way at that time. But back to my story of the library, I found a book about a bird, a bird book. It grabbed my attention right off and I just devoured it. It was a story about a little bird and the challenges he met in dealing with life, learning to fly, facing the temptations of straying too far and encountering danger. A good story in human terms. No, no of course birds don’t think of that stuff! It was really about a little boy (me) living in a difficult world.

Well, the Librarian noticed my rapt attention to the book and decided it was her job to alert the Head of Teachers to tell my teacher what my interests were and to mold a reading plan for me based on my liking a book “about birds.” Oh God, I guess you know where this is going:).

I began to see the hierarchy of control at work as my teacher, whom I dearly loved, sat squirming in her chair being lectured by the Head Teacher and the Librarian about shaping my reading list. My teacher was pretty and kind and just seemed to know what would make little kids feel good thus providing a friendly atmosphere in which to learn. She was magical (a big improvement over the first grade teacher who you could tell hated being there). Anyway, the committee of HT & L gathered up all the books they could find about birds that were written for the 2nd, and maybe 3rd grade level, surely I could handle that they may have thought, and made a plan for me to become a veritable expert about birds.

I started reading the first book selection, some technical crap about how birds propagate (now there’s a word for a 2nd grader) and their migratory habits and blah, blah, blah “GET ME OUTA HERE! I don’t wanna read this!” Oh-oh, I then became a disciplinary problem. Yes, this was first hand knowledge for me of how social organizations work.

My father had a favorite saying, “Let’s Get With The Program!” You know he meant business when he trotted that one out. But getting with “the program” is just what we learn to do in curriculum designed school; the factory that shapes us into obedient citizens. It is a mold society pours us into and it becomes our task to break free of that mold without going crazy. And when you have broken free of the life designed for you, which is simply the choice to determine your own direction, then is when you write your own script for your life.

A big part of Personal Development is the reclaiming of yourself, which may be full of emotional turmoil, but once you claim yourself, then the fun of discovering and creating your life can begin.

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