conservation · Education in school · Home Education

Rewild Our Hearts

It’s funny how ideas just pop into your head at odd times. The phrase ‘Rewild Our Hearts’ sprang to mind as I walked the dog yesterday. I realised it encapsulates what I was trying to argue in my recent article Can Unschooling Save Our Planet?

I’m not sure I’m going to make this point very clearly but bear with me, since I have been trying to figure out what this blog’s real purpose is. It feels like such a mish-mash of ideas, and I think this rewilding hearts business is it, the true purpose.

“Rewilding is large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species.”

What if we apply the idea of rewilding to ourselves? A focus on love, compassion and listening to our deeper human instincts? Connecting to each other in genuine ways, with honesty and kindness, and treating our earth and it’s myriad of species with that same kind of heartfelt connectivity.

I was proof reading an article yesterday on the use of isolation in UK state secondary schools. The barbaric practise of isolating children in rooms with partitioned areas with just a solitary desk for hours or days at a time. This punishment is used for a variety of behaviours from not conforming to the correct haircut or talking in class, to more serious breeches of the  school code.

These are children under the age of 16 who have no choice about whether they attend school for the majority of their waking hours. Instead of support, love, guidance, we put our most vulnerable young students, often with troubled home lives or SEN, in isolation rooms in more extreme conditions than some young offenders experience.

Why do we think this is OK? Why are we so unkind to each other?

I also attended a conservation educators course recently, and a part of the course centred on children’s behaviour in school and how to deal with it. Now in my past life as a teacher, I had 10 years of practise at this so I was familiar with some ‘teacher’ techniques, but I was blown away by the discussion that ensued; ‘Don’t give out information booklets if the kids are naughty’; ‘Shame we can’t give the naughty ones a smack, never did me any harm’.

WTF? My head was suddenly reeling and I felt frozen to the spot. I could see my warrior twin, my baser instinct, stand up and tell them how disgusted I was and all the reasons why in beautifully articulate language and then storm out of the building.

In reality I excused myself and went to the toilet to think about what to do.

It was a shock. That people still think of children like that. And talk about them like that. Like they are not human beings. These are people who are working to conserve our earth’s resources, yet they have not made the connection that respecting the earth starts with respecting our fellow humans, all of them.

My first mission is to rewild the course leader’s heart; one conversation, one meeting, one email at a time. It’s possible my warrior twin had the better course of action, but I am peacemaker twin, and I’ll try it my way first.

Let the rewilding begin.