School News

The Drive to Thrive

Dr. Beall's Blog:

I just sat down to meditate yesterday when the thought popped, “That’s why I feel so at home in China!”

We’ve had three school fairs where interested students or parents approach our table to learn more about Maharishi School and we about them. It’s a window into the personality and stories of today’s China.

We’ve also traveled throughout the city, and while Beijing may be unique in this country, it also expresses the national character. I was here four years ago, and one change is visible everywhere: from two wheels to four. At that time there were thousands of bicycles and pedestrians in the streets, not just at rush hour but continuously. Now, the cars predominate. Nice cars. New cars. Exotic cars. Cars parked on sidewalks in front of stores and restaurants.

To me they are symbols of what lies within, what we heard in those school fair conversations, the quality that resonates with me: Type-A personality dynamism, motivation, determination.

We know it from their descriptions of school life: many hours of study, little time for other pursuits, dedication to high achievement as a ticket to a promising future. And that is part of the appeal of Maharishi School, a place for more balance and the chance for other activities.

From my perspective and experience, it’s obvious that the Chinese people are driven. They want to raise their standard of living and they have the work ethic to achieve that. I like that sense of purposefulness, and while we differ in so many other ways, it’s something I feel in common.

This morning I saw a fellow roller-blading to work, flowing along with the bikes and scooters in the special traffic lane, and I felt his joy from a distance. This is most definitely a society on the move.

Our Global Connections

He was the first visitor at our first school fair and I felt an immediate connection. He sought out Maharishi School because it represented something different. His daughter, he told us, was an outstanding student. She worked very hard and made excellent marks. But he didn’t want her to become a “testing machine.” He told his daughter the same thing—in the same words—I’ve said to our Maharishi School students: “Your competition is not just sitting next to you. In your career you will have to compete with students all over the world.” His daughter would have to be creative, he believed, to succeed in a global village. And he felt Maharishi School was the best place for her to grow.

Globalization is certainly evident in Beijing. The “Soho” (or Samlitun) District is known for stunning modern architecture and its Western stores: Esprit, Adidas, Columbia, North Face. A long line formed outside the Apple store, waiting for it to open. Inside we could see 20 members of their sales staff standing at attention in rows, receiving instructions from their supervisor. It would be hard to imagine their American counterparts—known for their out-of-the-box creativity—conforming to such order.

We passed by the dealerships for Rolls Royce, Maserati, Bentley, Lamborghini. At the other end of the economic spectrum, we’ve seen plenty of KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway. One night our group ate at TGI Friday: same decore, and the same lack of vegetarian options! I read in the China Daily newspaper that the French cosmetics giant L’Oreal “aims to gain one billion new consumers in the coming few years, doubling its current number.” The same edition announced plans for the new $3.7 billion Shanghai Disneyland project.

To me this accelerating cultural integration calls out for a stable inner base within each individual. There are customs and traditions unique to each culture, and I hope we’ll have the wisdom to recognize and preserve them.


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