The World as our Religion
The reason I set off for a trip around the world, un-and worldschooling my children is to raise them with an open mind.
I want them to see, live, and breathe other cultures and religions. I don’t want them to see it on television, or when sightseeing on holidays. I want them to live in different countries, among Christians, Buddhist, and Muslims. Not in gated compounds or hotels, but together with the locals.
In Thailand, little Susy was concerned about killing a mosquito, as in Buddhist precepts it’s clearly stated that we should refrain from harming ALL living things.
Today, in Muslim Lombok, little Susy looked at me and said: ‘Mummy, if I put repellent on, wouldn’t it be like the poor mosquitos are on Ramadan?’.
I absolutely love how my un-schooling children don’t need to be taught, but learn by living. In Lombok, we have a tiny bamboo hut to call our home. There’s nothing but a wooden plank to sleep on and a mosquito net, but it has a beautiful view of the jungle. As the hut doesn’t have concrete walls, we wake up every morning by 5 am, when Muslim prayer starts. We do not pray ourselves, but we hear it on a daily base. We see men and young boys rush off to the mosque around mid-day. We see the prayer rooms in ware-houses, and at the beach. We see the local girls all covered up splashing in the ocean water. We fly kites with the local boys from the Islamic school across from our home. We meet our lovely, and educated neighbor that has four wives. We learn about family relationships. We get to experience all the dark and light sides of local life in Lombok.
Thailand was the first Buddhist country we lived in. We never saw a monk in REAL life. We weren’t prepared to the emotions that stirred. The beautiful temples and shrines. The Buddha images that little Susy spontaneously fell on her knees for. Every time we visited a temple there were so many questions. So much to learn. Who was the Buddha? Why do people stick golden leaves to a Buddha image? Why do monks shave their heads? We read the Jakata stories about Buddha’s previous lives, and were simply captivated by the magic and wisdom of Buddhism.
World- and un-schooling, we get to ask questions and form an opinion that is based on real-life experiences, rather than text books or television shows.
I believe un-schooling, or world-schooling has given my children an understanding of the world that goes far beyond that piece of paper they call a diploma. With a deeper experience and knowledge of people, culture, and religion, I know they will be happy wherever in the world they may land. They will not be afraid of the unknown, of the pictures that the media paints. They will have their own strong minds, to form an educated but compassionate opinion.
In a perfect world, we would all travel.
We would go to the beach with a Burkini wearing Muslim friend. Fall asleep with the sound of the call for prayer echoing through the village speakers. We would offer food to the Monks on alms rounds. Sit, and listen to the magic of Buddhist chanting. Wear a beautifully bright, and colored shawl around the waist, to honor the Hindu Gods. Offer rice, water, and flowers, because in essence every religion is just love.