April, glorious and muddy, was made for children. Or have we forgotten?
Prof. Ziya Selçuk, formerly of the Ministry of Education here, at the closing ceremony of a seminar on multiple intelligences spoke openly about myths that have guided the design of education and proposed a better way. He debunked ideas about quiet, orderly, unison lessons, where everyone sits straight and is taught the same thing at the same time. Orderly isn't always good.
Turks are immaculate, keep spotless homes, and practice fastidious personal hygiene. While I appreciate and admire that, I also remember fondly those Aprils on the Michigan farm where I grew up, digging mud puddle canals and building mud dams, wrestling on the new grass with the dogs, collecting worms and tadpoles. Having a grand old time while my brain quietly created an understanding of life.
Schools --and Turkish moms-- are in a constant battle against chaos, crooked lines, and grass stains. Learning, however, loves a mess. That's why some of my favorite television commercials here are by a laundry detergent company that celebrates mess, mud, and childhood with the motto, "getting dirty is beautiful." Probably the first time those words have co-occurred in Turkish.
So here's one of those Omo commercials. Let's pray that YouTube stays online long enough for you to enjoy it! I've also done a rough translation of the voice over.
You can't just watch life from a window.
If you don't start out on the road, you'll never arrive.
You can't always sit on the sidelines.
If you don't get out on the field, you'll never hit a goal.
You'll never swim if you don't get wet.
You'll never rise high if you never climb.
If you never live, you'll never learn.
The stains and smudges of the children's world
are the badges of what they have learned and achieved.
Omo - getting dirty is beautiful.