Each morning that we awake, we unknowingly begin a new day at Earth School. This is not a voluntary experience. No, attendance is mandatory. There is no cutting class, skipping school, or calling in sick. Earth School has no holidays, summer vacations, or snow days. It operates 24/7, 365 days a year.
Unlike our traditional educational system, Earth School does not use a K-12 progression, nor does it offer college or graduate degrees. And while it begins as soon as we are born, it doesn’t follow the Waldorf or Montessori methods. Instead it utilizes an infinite number of approaches - we learn through our interactions with others, the way we approach challenges, how we treasure gifts, and by our methods for dealing with setbacks.
Like the traditional system, we take numerous assessments while at Earth School. But these are not pen and paper tests. You won’t find “fill in the blanks,” matching, or multiple choice questions. Nor will you receive a blue book to write endless essays. The quizzes and tests that Earth School requires come in different forms – such as moral dilemmas, relationship issues, and how we use our talents. At times we must face final exams, when our “master instructors” are looking to see if we’ve learned how to be kind, compassionate, honest, and grateful. No doubt these are the most important assessments that we face in Earth School.
While there are definitely a variety of tests, Earth School holds no graduation ceremonies. This is unnecessary because no one ever finishes. Once we have completed one topic, we are then exposed to something new, another area for us to experience growth. But rarely are we exempt from further study in any one subject area. Instead, this educational system offers a continuous curriculum that spirals as it teaches us at higher and higher levels. Consider Earth School a sort of on-line academy that constantly adds new instructional modules to our course of studies. Just when we think that we’ve conquered a concept, another higher level class appears for us to experience. For example, we may first learn about heartache in sixth grade when our crush ignores us and instead asks the popular girl to the middle school dance. But that is not our only opportunity to have our heart broken. No, we may experience this again in our teens, in our twenties, or perhaps even again later in life. Or, our initial instruction about honesty could happen at age four when we tell our mother that we didn’t hit our brother, when in fact we did. Then, several years later, we might be dared to take a candy bar from the local convenience store. But it doesn’t stop there. This life lesson might appear in the form of an ethical dilemma as whether to admit to hitting a car or instead to quickly speed away.
For some people Earth School’s lessons become increasingly easier, sometimes to the point that learning becomes fun. Because these individuals “get” the core curriculum, they’re allowed to take the exciting electives, you know the “basket weaving” courses in life. Yet for others, Earth School is quite difficult as they refuse to grasp the primary concepts. This forces the “teachers” at Earth School to keep circling back to the same lessons. And each time we fail to understand what we’re supposed to, it seems like Earth School “ups the ante.” So, the earlier we can learn the desired material the better. Otherwise the instruction become more and more difficult, and the consequences for failing these tests can be quite dramatic.
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. As “humans” we embody a physical shell that we use to expand, learn, grow, and prosper in various environments and through numerous encounters. It’s these human experiences that provide the framework for Earth School, a place of learning unlike any other.
And while we do not graduate with high honors, we, as humans, also cannot fail Earth School. This is because its “headmaster” is kind, loving, and wants us to succeed. So that is why Earth School has no dropouts. Instead, its “instructors” continue to teach, to guide, to love, and to foster the life principles that comprise the foundation of its curriculum.