The Article: “Leo Buscaglia on Education, Industrialized Conformity, and How Stereotypes and Labels Limit Love”
The Quote: “Labels are distancing phenomena. They push us away from each other.”
[The art teacher] comes racing in from another class and has time only to nod to the teacher, turn around and say, “Boys and girls, today we are going to draw a tree.” She goes to the blackboard, and she draws her tree which is a great big green ball with a little brown base. Remember those lollipop trees? I never saw a tree that looked like that in my life, but she puts it up there, and she says, “All right, boys and girls, draw.” Everybody gets busy and draws.
If you have any sense, even at that early age, you realize that what she really wanted was for you to draw her tree, because the closer you got to her tree, the better your grade. If you already realized this in grade one, then you handed in a little lollipop, and she said, “oh, that’s divine.” But here’s Junior who really knows a tree as this little woman has never seen a tree in her life. He’s climbed a tree, he’s hugged a tree, he’s fallen out of a tree, he’s listened to the breeze blow through the branches. He really knows a tree, and he knows that a tree isn’t a lollipop! So he takes purple and yellow and orange and green and magenta crayons and he draws this beautiful freaky thing and hands it in. She takes one look and shrieks. “Brain damaged!”
The Concept: Education and Industrialized Conformity
I started out summing up the introduction to Buscaglia and his “Love Class”. I asked the woman on the right to read:
“Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his uniqueness, to teach him how to develop that uniqueness, and then to show him how to share it because that’s the only reason for having anything.”