Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Three, Chapter One, Part Nine
Jonathan and David left the egg-shaped stone in the middle of the clearing and began retracing their footsteps back towards the farmhouse. They enjoyed finishing what was left of their chocolate chip cookies along the way, and gave Sammy the rest of his dog treats. David began the discussion saying, “You know, Jonathan, I understand your feelings about school, because I felt the same way when I was your age.”
“You did, Gramps? I thought I was the only one who didn’t like school. My teachers don’t understand adventuring, and don’t teach anything about imagination at all. I’ve learned more with you here today, than in all of second grade. Why can’t my teachers teach me what I want to learn – like traveling to the far side of imagination beyond space and time?”
“Well, it’s probably because they don’t know how, Jonathan. We all know things that others don’t know very much about, but that’s not your teachers’ fault. They have a difficult job to do. They’re there to teach you the basics of learning, so you can in turn, teach yourself what you don’t learn in school. In my day, my teachers made fun of my wanting to travel beyond space and time to create new worlds. They ridiculed it, because they didn’t, and couldn’t understand. It wasn’t really their fault that they were unable to grasp the concept, because they didn’t know it was possible to travel beyond space and time. After that, I tuned out in school, and only did the minimum I needed to do to graduate.”
Gramps continued, “It was later in life, that I realized it was the wrong approach to take, Jonathan. In my day, I managed to overcome in life what I didn’t learn and pay attention to in school, but the world has advanced so much since then, and you can’t afford to get left behind. After all, it’s 1960 now, and they say people will travel into space one day, and maybe walk on the moon, too. Who knows? In my time, aviation went from the Wright Flyer to modern spaceflight, and I was lucky to get in on the ground floor and fly all over the world. But you live in a different age, Jonathan. The world is changing so fast, that if you don’t apply yourself in school, you’ll get left behind.”
“But how can I follow my dreams, Gramps, if they don’t teach me the things I want to learn in school? They never teach us about adventure, and don’t understand traveling between worlds. Why should I pay attention to my teachers if they can’t teach me anything I want to learn?” pleaded Jonathan.
“Because you need to know what they will teach you, Jonathan. The world is too big to not learn the things they teach. You simply have to teach yourself everything they don’t know anything about. They’ll teach you reading, writing and mathematics – which you have to learn in order to teach yourself anything else. They’ll later teach you biology, physics, chemistry, geography, social studies, English, foreign languages, creative writing, literature, poetry, business, government, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, astronomy, economics, music, drama, debate, choir, theater, art, physical education and sports, health, religion, history, design, psychology, vocational training and so much more, depending on what you decide to study in college. You can’t learn everything on your own, Jonathan.”
“But how do I learn what I’m interested in the most, Gramps?”
“There’s two things, Jonathan. First of all, you need to learn everything you can in school, in order to create your own world beyond space and time. The reason it took me months and months of constant work to create Myllanthar, is because I had to build my new world from scratch. I had to draw on all the skills, talents and knowledge that I’ve learned in my entire life to be able to do that. You’re not even nine years old yet, and you still have so much to learn and to know, and much of that school will teach you. At this point in your life, you don’t even know what you don’t know, nor the skills you’ll need to build your own world. Secondly, you’ll need to teach yourself everything they don’t teach you in school that you desire to know. The problem is, you need the foundation of all the education and knowledge that school will teach you, in order to be able to teach yourself what they don’t or can’t teach you. The reason you need to pay attention and do well in school, is because they teach you the tools you’ll need to teach yourself. It’s really true, Jonathan, and if I’d been smarter at your age, I would have known that it’s important to do well in school.”
“You mean I have to do well in school to create my own worlds, Gramps?” asked Jonathan.
“Yes, you need to work very hard in school to create most everything you want to do in life, Jonathan, even to create your own worlds beyond space and time on the far side of imagination. Your teachers don’t have to know about your projects, but you have to know what they’ll teach you, Jonathan. It’s not easy to build new worlds. It’s very hard work, and you’ll need to draw from every last bit of knowledge that you can squeeze into your mind. You need to know something about every subject under the sun, in order to travel beyond the stars – it’s that important, Jonathan!”