I realized when my son started kindegarten that my method of child-rearing had not in any way prepared him for the school experience.
Coming from a background of respect, discussion, debate and explanation, he had no idea how to handle a school environment. he immediately balked at the timed schedules, the format of blind obedience, the repetition, lack of explanation or exploration and expected performance.
for example, he’d been counting to 100 for over a year, but refused to at school. his teacher finally wrote him on the list as being able to count to 100, when she asked him to try, and he counted up to 99, and then looked at her and began counting back down again. “98. 97. 96…”
I actually felt guilty for a while, for not having better prepared him. I felt guilty for letting him do things at his own pace, for explaining the reasoning behind the limitations put upon him, for not just saying “because I said so”.
is it our job to raise our children to blindly accept, memorize and obey?
is it our job to help shape our children into cogs so that they will struggle less in ‘real life’ settings?
or is it our job to give them a sanctuary where they are respected, honored and allowed to have opinions and develop at their own rate?
if an animal is shut up in a cage for it’s entire life, it’ll be content, because it won’t know that things could or should be any different. it will believe that it’s life purpose is to sit in a cage, and will be complacent.
if however, an animal spends its it’s life in freedom, but then is shut in a cage for a period of time each day, it will of course protest, and then eventually adjust and accept it’s time in captivity, knowing that it won’t last forever.
perhaps it will be longing for freedom when caged, but which animal do you think is truly happier?
we should raise our children not with the goal of shaping them to fit or belong in a culture that does not respect them, not with the goal of teaching them to conform and change who they are in order to make life easier for them, they’re going to have that pressure surrounding them their entire lives anyway.
we should instead, warn them of what they’ll be up against in the world around them and give them a safe zone, free of that pressure, where they can express themselves.
in this ‘safe zone’ they can rest, recover, and prepare themselves for the next days assault on their individuality. our homes should be free of ‘peer pressure’.
within the guidelines of safety our kids ultimate drive at home should be finding out who they are, and we should both observe and participate in this.
the better we know our children, the more prepared we should be to notice the voice of mother Culture coming out of their mouths and see when they are caving to pressures at school. the better we know our children, the better we can support them.