Monday, 10 May 2010

Dandelion - thoughts of Spring


Teeth of the lion.

All over the gardens, the grass verges and the patches of spare ground.

Heartily disliked by some people.

Pretty little things, the yellow flowers, aren't they?

Cheerful, gorgeous yellow.

You can see why they were called the teeth of the lion when you study the serrated-edged leaves.

Even the seeds are rather attractive - light and feathery. They float free on the slimmest breeze.


All over. Everywhere.

Can't tell them apart.

I can't.

They all look the same and act the same.

I'm wondering if they have a pecking order? If the biggest flowered ones are the bosses? If the palest green-stemmed ones are subject to cyberattacks?

I wonder if you're a dandelion, and you don't grow up in the 'right' neighbourhood, you're shunned and shamed and called nasty names or ignored.

They're clones, of course, are dandelions.

Essentially, they're all the same. Generally speaking, they're identical. All one. Alike to the very DNA.

One day microbial predators - because the dandelions are clones - will unlock the door to their DNA, and move in for a takeover. The dandelions will be helpless. They'll be wiped out. No more pretty yellow flowers perking up near the shed or making themselves at home amongst the vegetables in the allotment.

So, in the flowering plant world, you're better off being a lily or a thistle etc.

Individual, different.

Schools remind me of dandelions. All uniform, all behaving the same way. Feeding off the same mind food.

If something were to go wrong, schools might have churned out dandelions - er - students who were unable to do anything about the wrongness. Schools might be taken over and disappear. Denizens of the schools could be paralyzed by non-thinking, by disjointed, unconnected gobbets of meaningless 'knowledge' and incapable of organising blobs of knowledge into one whole that provides a solution to a threat.

The graduates of schools might be so demoralised and disorganised that they would fail. I believe you can see these things in the political system at the moment. Confident people are not welded to the past (glorified as 'tradition'), but duck and dive to accommodate the present and are adept at predicting the most rewarding path into the future.

However, back to dandelions. Get rid of them and the world will probably not end. Get rid of all flowering plants and the planet will be in trouble, I think.

So let's accept flowers in all their glorious clothing and colours. You never know when the humble thistle will colonise an empty niche and conquer its particular part of the world.

You never know when you'll need a good thistle or a good alternative method of education like HE.


  1. Schools are a mono-culture and that's where the problem lies. They are like the dark pine forests artificially over planted in Scotland. Try to walk beneath those trees and nothing lives. it's too dark for anything - no flowers, no mice, no foxes-nothing.
    Mono-cultures have no room for life's great diversity.
    I am not anti-school as it could be; after all Charlotte Mason, whose method I follow, was a teacher in schools and I believe her method could work well in today's classrooms if there was room for it. But there isn't.
    Recently my oldest dd friend who I believed was a school-survivor said forcefully that she hated school and couldn't wait for it to be over.
    It's so so wrong that so many children are that fed up.

  2. I'll never forget the day my husband and I decided to homeschool. I had been reading about it, and was terrified, but I said to my husband, "Did you enjoy school?" "No, I hated it." "So did I," I replied. The end.