1 May

The past couple of weeks I’ve been watching this special mini-series on Discovery called Human Planet. It was made by the same people who made Planet Earth and Life, which were really incredible documentary series about nature and animals. This new one, though, takes the human perspective, telling amazing stories from around the world. There are people who have conquered rushing river rapids, people who use eagles to hunt, even people who build full treehouses 60 feet in the air. Perhaps the most memorable of these stories, though, is the story of a father taking his children to school.

This isn’t your typical putting-the-kids-on-the-bus story. This particular family lives in a remote village in the Himalayan mountains near Nepal. To say they lead a simple life is probably an understatement; they have no electricity, they live together in one large room, and they wear hats indoors at all times because the winters are so cold. The school in their village only goes up to the 5th grade, so they must travel to the nearest town to go to school.

When I say they have to travel to the nearest town, I mean their father leads them on a six-day journey down the mountain atop a treacherous frozen river. This is no ordinary trek. Watching them slowly walk the 50 miles down the mountain over the frozen, icy river was riveting. To put in that much effort, just to go to school, really makes you think about the value of education. Can you imagine if it took a week to walk to school, and then you lived there for six months, before you could come home and see your family again? Knowing you were separated by so many miles and dangerous journey would make it even more emotional.

It’s a powerful thing, to see a father so dedicated to his children’s education and future that he’s willing to risk his life, and theirs, just to get to school. I think there are many kids in this country who could benefit from watching that particular story of the documentary. Maybe they wouldn’t complain so much about having to go to school. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to make this journey. It really says a lot for this father and his commitment to providing his children with an education. It’s so sad to see kids here in the US who take that opportunity for granted. What have we done to our society that we abhor the simple pleasure of learning? For so many of us here, it’s a burden and a bother. For so many around the world, it is the greatest gift they will ever receive.

It’s an interesting perspective we have on life. It’s upsetting to hear kids complain about school, when others sacrifice so much for an education. I bet if we had to walk down a mountain, atop a dangerous frozen river, a week-long journey separating us from our families for 50 miles and six months, we would rethink our priorities. We take education for granted, when so many make it such a priority they will do anything to get it.


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