Attention Deficit Disorders. Uggh! How I hate all these acronyms. How they have crept into our language, most of them to do with ‘mental illness’ which as I have said before is an oxymoron. Many children today have been ‘diagnosed’ with it as an illness and worse they have been treated with medication. I have no doubt that this is a big mistake. Too many parents believe what ‘professional people’ tell them without question.
The truth is that school is often so paralisingly boring and always has been that children do their best not to listen and they are right. George Bernard Shaw and other wise men believed that one of the main purposes of school is to give parents more freedom from having to look after their children.
I remember my own experiences in a state school. I listened only to what I wanted to hear. One of the phrases that occurred over and over again was ‘Pay attention!’ Things are not better now: they are worse because the methods of teaching basic reading, writing and arithmetic today have been interfered with by busybodies influenced by the government. Too many changes have been implemented. Things do not get better. It is very important that we maintain our public and grammar schools and bring back more opportunities for apprenticeships. Universities are important when they are free to take in only those creative people who can increase our knowledge for the benefit of everyone. The greatest mistake was to create many more universities with the aim of trying to force all children to stay much longer at school than they want.
I was horror-stricken when I heard that primary school children have to do homework! In their early years, say up to eleven, children need lots of time to do the things they want to do themselves. I remember enjoying my evenings when I got home. I read a lot of books of all kinds, only because I wanted to and I enjoyed being able to run about in the summer countryside.
Bertrand Russell, who lived with his grandparents because his parents died when he was small, said how lucky he was to be able to stay at home and read anything he wanted in the family library. He was one of the few wise men who knew what children needed. He and his wife established a private school where children could happily do what they wanted to do.
I have always followed an axiom that is, as far as possible, that we should never do what we do not want to do. All it does is breed disappointment and resentment. This I have done all my life and I have reaped great rewards. Karl Marx said “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” He forgot one important thing. Who was good enough to judge such important matters? That was the problem. The wrong people made the decisions.