The New Global Student: One of Those Books

February 9, 2010 at 4:46 am 2 comments

I love to read. I read a lot of books. Mostly non-fiction. I always have several books going at once, and I always have fines at the library.

Now and then, I come across a book that I believe will change my life.  One of these that pops into my head is If The Buddha Came To Dinner by Hale Sofia Schatz, which I first read several years ago on my honeymoon (out loud, in a hammock, in nowhere Mexico, with my new husband, ah, good times…).  That book profoundly affected the way I look at eating and food, self-care and true nourishment, and it will be central in a talk I’m percolating for my UU fellowship one of these days about food and spirituality.

I read another book the other day that I believe will go on that life-changer list for me as well.  It’s about education. And I read a lot about education, since I have written about education throughout my career, I edit education books, I have been an educator, and I come from and belong to a family of educators.  So, to find an education book that stands out as life-changing is pretty darn exciting for me.  (Wow, have I built this up enough?)

The book is called The New Global Student by Maya Frost.  It lays out a philosophy of educating the next generation of global citizens that is practical, exciting, and deeply transformative.  It reads, for me, almost like an antidote to The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins, one of the books that sparked me to launch this blog three years ago, as it so highlighted the unhealthy attitudes rampant among “overachieving” teens and young adults when it comes to what makes them feel successful.

Frost blows the competitive, cut-throat and stifling “traditional” path through high school and college out of the water by recommending ditching the AP classes, SATs, and the typical four-by-four plan (four years of high school, four years of college) to create a global, eclectic, and non-traditional path to a college degree that she argues not only saves stress and money, but also better prepares young people for the “real world” we now live in, and keeps them excited about learning and participating in their lives.

Now, I say all of this as a recovering overachiever who took the AP classes, and the SAT (although, I must admit, I kind of rebelled against that test, refusing to study for it or take it more than once), and did the four-four plan.  I paid way too much for my study abroad, stressed myself out constantly, got my magna cum laude, and always colored between the lines.  I’m not at all complaining about where I ended up or what I learned, and I’m grateful for all the experiences I was able to have.  But, still, I’d like to give my kids a chance to try things a bit differently, to offer them an alternative (less stressful, more joyful, less conventional, more intentional) path to a similar end.  Frost’s book lays out ideas for how I can do just that.

A book that will change my life helps me think outside of the box, and validates why I want to.  It gives real-life examples and hard facts while at the same time tapping into something deeply emotional within me.  It pushes me and nudges me to make a change.  Of course, it makes perfect sense to me that it was Vicki Hoefle who recommended this book to me, as its values are right in line with those of the parenting program she founded, that my husband and I are participating in.  These values are about true connection, conscious living, conquering fear (Frost calls it “fego” — fear and ego — love that!), embracing change (and love), purging excess, raising kids who can care for themselves and others — and being willing to challenge ourselves, our “shoulds,” and why we are doing what we are doing.

The New Global Student is a book I am actually going to buy and put on my bookshelf, and take off that bookshelf again and again as I help craft a conscious and globally-minded education for my kids — or, perhaps more aptly, as I help them craft their own education in ways that feed their minds and souls.  Maya Frost’s book is a call to parents and educators (and school counselors and administrators) to reconsider why we do what we do when it comes to our children’s education in America.  It is needed, in part, because of the attitude she captures by quoting a bumper sticker she saw in Oregon: “I love America, but I think we should start seeing other people.”  Obviously not everyone agrees with this sentiment, but I do, and thus I agree with the heart of this book.  It’s about opening our eyes and minds and facing our fegos, so our kids can make a real difference in the world, be a part of a broader world, and enjoy doing it.

Let me know if you read it, and let me know what you think…

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2 Comments Add your own

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sean Candy, Mon. Mon said: Books,Book and Books The New Global Student: One of Those Books « Having Enough (In a …: The New … http://bit.ly/cxU2Ya mybookstop.info […]

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  • 2. Crystal Schranz  |  February 18, 2010 at 5:33 am

    I will have to read this book! I am very ambiguous about finishing my MA in Elementary Education as I keep finding out more and more about how unacceptably ineffective the system really is. There are so many laws and regulations in place that have been proven time and time again to NOT work that I cannot imagine trying to deal with all the mindless policies. For the same reasons I decided against furthering my degree in Psychology, I am now beginning to wonder if I can hack it in the academic system. My last hope is to do some field observations at a Montessori school and keep my fingers crossed that I like what I see!
    I enjoy your insights and hope they don’t get me into too much trouble… 🙂

    Reply

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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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