Circumstance reports about the first day of school this year. Being most likely also the last first day of school for her. And how much that means to her personally. It is a lovely post.

One paragraph captured “Nerd Alert!” deals with how much she loved school as a kid. I was almost a little affronted. How could one not love school???? I am asking (along with Sheldon Cooper and other nerds).

But I am sure, we had different reasons, to love school. To me, school meant the world. Literally.

Raised as Jehovas Witness in the strictest way imaginable, our family lived in a capsule within this congregation. With my dad being their spiritual leader, we as a family had to function as examples for everything. Needless to mention: good examples. We were to keep apart from everything outside this circle, any interaction with the outside (bad, goodless) world should be kept to a bare minimum (like going to work or school, which was necessary). We were not to befriend those living in this outside world, called “die Welt” (literally “the world” – implying the “bad” world). Any peolpe not Jehova’s Witnesses were subsummized as “Weltmenschen” (“people of the world” – implying the “bad” people of the “bad” world) – as opposed to the “Brüder und Schwestern” of our faith (“brothers and sisters” – implying the “good” brotherhood of the “good” faith), who made up our entire social life otherwise.

School was always THE place to be for me. Exiting, everything was different from what I knew. Always a challenge, full of ideas I have never heard of. Full of people who were so unlike anything I have ever seen or met. It was the world, indeed. And I loved it. Loved the opportunity to let my mind roam free. To read books full with stories about people, that led lives full of sin and rot, yet still made a difference and had a purpose in this world. Of times and events described in stark contrast to what I was told at church. To meet people with such different ideas, learning about other faiths, other ways of looking at life, other ways of living together. Other ways of thinking.

School was the place to give me a different angle and the possibility to form an opinion of my own. Which often was wrong, of course. Young folks tend to be very black/white, so in the first few years, still burning for my faith, I fought to spread it at school. Trying to convince everybody, how wrong they were. Make them see and believe.

But this changed during the course of a few years: I started to condemn most everything I had learned at home and loved everything I learned at school. Which, of course, on hindsight was also not the apex of wisdom. But hey, at least these (sometimes wrong) opinions were my own, as opposed to age old scripture commandments without any other explanation given to them other than “God wants you to”, “Jehova (alt. the prophecy) says”, “it is written, that”.

So, school was like a breeze of fresh air, essential to me. I was maybe the only kid getting depressed when summer vacation drew closer. These endless days without a chance to ever get out and away of the secluded world of thought and behaviourisms called religion. But also home.

3 thoughts on “school

  1. I just love this post. (And I am ever so slightly proud that my post inspired it.) I have never heard you express these thoughts so clearly and without self-incrimination. It comes across so clearly that you had a bright inquisitive mind that was being stifled in a world of pat answers. You and your intellect have always impressed me, friend – now even more.

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