I dropped my son off later than usual today. As I was putting his madpakke (food package) in the fridge, one of his classmates darted in, grabbed hers and her water bottle and went off to have a snack. I had this startled moment. She's eating not at the designated lunch or tea time! We've been here for more than a year now. I know this is normal. In our old municipality, Slagelse, they didn't even have tea, just lunch and the assumption is the kids will eat when they are hungry. I grew up grazing, my kids graze and yet, it is drilled into me from years of American schooling that the teachers call the shots on when the kids eat. I remember being starving in school, breaking the rules and sneaking food during class, because I just couldn't last until lunch time. It was miserable, reenforced this idea that most adults were tyrants and I can't see as it served any good purpose. Why do it? Why control something so basic? I'm reminded of a Danish acquaintance mentioning a relative going to an American school for a little time. He said in tones of horror, "they made him ask permission to go to the bathroom!". Kids spend a significant amount of their time at school. Schools shape them and ready them for society. I think the US should question what they are trying to instill in all these young people and are these really the societal values they want to instill? Instead of shaping people to be obedient factory workers, shouldn't they be shaping them to be confident entrepreneurs?
I know this sounds unrelated, but the Nordic countries took the happiness index this year and did their own study of the region. Denmark came out on top, (go Denmark!), but they weren't doing this to feel good about Scandinavia. Being in the top ten wasn't good enough for them, they wanted to find out who was actually unhappy in their region and was using their study to target these people and help improve their lives. Essentially, their takeaway from the happiness index wasn't that Scandinavia was the greatest region on earth, it was that they're doing pretty good, but they could do better. We can always do better, and I feel like that's my point about American schools. I'm not trying to say it's horrible, though there is that school shooting problem...I'm saying that the US education system can do better. Letting children have autonomy over bodily functions like hunger and waste disposal would be a great start!