Today I finished reading Education and the Significance of Life by Jiddu Krishnamurti and I was shocked by the bluntness of two paragraphs directed toward parents. He also had some tough questions for teachers. But for the benefit of those who do not plan to read the book, I am sharing those two paragraphs.

“We say so easily that we love our children; but is there love in our hearts when we accept the existing social conditions, when we do not want to bring about a fundamental transformation in this destructive society? And as long as we look to the specialists to educate our children, this confusion and misery will continue; for the specialists, being concerned with the part and not with the whole, are themselves unintegrated.”

— Jiddu Krishamurti

What a fabulous question. While I do not want to challenge the love of parents, as most parents are trying to do the best they can, this is a question that parents should seriously consider. What conditions are we willing to hand off to our children? Is this world good enough for them? Are we trying to create a better world for them? Are we trying to enable them to create that better world? Or are we simply focused on helping our kids to be some of the few who get to benefit from a destructive society? When parents choose to reject existing social conditions it becomes easier to reject the type of schooling that reinforces the status quo.

“Do parents ever ask themselves why they have children? Do they have children to perpetuate their name, to carry on their property? Do they want children merely for the sake of their own delight, to satisfy their own emotional needs? If so, then the children become a mere projection of the desires and fears of their parents.”

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

If only all parents asked themselves this question before having children. Better late than never. Too often a parent sees their child as a project, trophy, validation, or legacy. But when the worth of a child is tied up in a competition with other children, and between parents, it is too easy to forget our interconnectedness and the ways in which we can all contribute to the betterment of society, and how we can enrich each other lives. The focus could shift from the parent, or the success of the child as a project, to the whole child irrespective of markers of success, or to the whole of society. It is possible. The parent could feel blessed just to be in the life of the child. And the role of the parent could be to help shape the environment so that the child was able to develop the tools necessary to improve the human condition.