EDUCATING YOUR CHILD, and YOUR CHILDREN
I’ve been really enjoying some down time the last three days.
I’ve been at home enjoying my garden, creating art as gifts for my instructors and distributors, doing tai-chi, and enjoying fires at night.
Penny and I watched a few movies together and enjoyed a quiet Christmas. I gave Penny a long massage for Christmas, which she really enjoyed. When she got off the table she was about an inch taller!
There’s a tip for you guys; if you are bored with your woman, give her a good massage and when she gets off the table, she’s another woman!
Think of all the fun you can have!
Today, after I write my blog, I’m going to head into my gym for a lovely heavy deadlift session.
I’ll be working on my new CHEK Connect video clips for the month today, and if I have time, I’ll film more on my big filming project that I’ll announce when done.
After that, I’ll head home for my evening sun meditation and get back to finishing my art.
I’ve created 23 original pieces of art in the last couple weeks so needless to say, I’ve been very busy!but the kind of busy I really enjoy!
Today, my soul suggests I share some views about raising children, so that’s our topic today.
EDUCATING YOUR CHILD, and YOUR CHILDREN
I regularly get emails and calls requesting good books for raising and educating children.
Today, I’ll share some comments from a great little book worth reading. It is titled, An Ethic For The Age Of Space, by Lawrence LeShan, Ph.D.
The book is about the challenges we now face in the “space age”, which has now fused itself with what I, and many others refer to as the information age.
Chapter 9 is titled, “How To Teach Ethical Behavior To our Children: A Place To Begin.”
The Chapter begins with this comment:
“Regarded as though from outer space or another dimension in time, human history presents a spectacle of repeated failures of great ideas to penetrate the human heart.”
As a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner by profession, much of my time is spent helping people find practical solutions to life challenges.
Some of these challenges are physical, some emotional, and all of them are mental; all actions are preceded by thoughts in sentient life-forms (beings).
My professional career now spans almost 30 years. I’ve has a lot of time to witness my own growth through many challenges (and still do every day!).
Being involved with people and their challenges has taught me a lot about what is, and what isn’t essential in the growth and development of children.
Being a child today is a very complex, even risky venture. The amount of nature and nurture children get today is, in my estimation, at the lowest level in recorded history.
Yet, the responsibilities of a child today are often daunting; so daunting that many children collapse under the pressure from parents, teachers and society.
Childhood and teenage obesity, disease and suicide are reaching epic proportions as we participate in the information age.
In short, what I see occurring among children is akin to what happens if you take an old, outdated computer and try to download modern files from the internet – it can’t handle the download speeds and formats of today and simply crashes!
Children today are largely born into families that are struggling to survive an environment largely created by the marketing efforts of large corporate interests.
As Chef Jamie Oliver poignantly showed on one of his TV shows, elementary school children are extremely effective at identifying almost any corporate logo, yet most were unable to identify common fruits, vegetables and farm animals by name!
The problem we now face with our children and their upbringing can be stated succinctly in regard to Jamie Oliver’s demonstration: When the corporations collapse with the financial markets, what will children eat and will they know any more about caring for themselves in a natural environment than their parents do today?
As I’ve described in previous posts on this and related topics, and according to Ken Wilber, our current educational system is an outgrowth of the industrial age (See or listen to, “A Brief History Of Everything” by Ken Wilber).
In the past, Plantation owners created an education system that discouraged creativity, independent thinking and self-reliance specifically to cultivate people that follow orders and don’t try to change repetitive (assembly line type) processes.
By keeping kids in schools for as long as they could every day, the plantation owners could get more work out of the parents.
The result of this system of teaching, which is still dangerously alive and well, is that we now have a world full of children who’s parents are still so busy working for the plantation owners to spend much quality time with their children.
We have both parents and children who’s education offers minimal creativity and self-reliance skills, not to mention an astonishing lack of understanding of the principles that guide nature and life in general.
The desperate need for connection, family and tribe is, in my opinion, the primary reason for the popularity and growth of Facebook and other such social networking sites.
Because of so little quality time with parents, having to be surrogate parents for overworked, tired, and often addicted parents, and boredom with a failing system of public schools, children and people at large are reaching out to each other for connection.
Though this is good, having a family on Facebook is like having a plastic dog as a pet; there is no real responsibility, nor depth of connection; you can simply not reply or act as outlandish as you wish without any of the consequences that a real dog would authentically respond to!
LeShan states on page 120:
“Children must have two things in order to feel safe. First, they must know that adults care enough for them to be actively working for their safety. The goal of safety need not (and cannot) ever be fully attained, as long as children know that we adults are actively trying to protect them. This means safety at home, in school, in the immediate environment, and in the world at large.
The second thing is that children need is the knowledge that their own efforts can have effects – that they have the potential to act in ways that will be helpful. This can only come from experience in working at those tasks appropriate to their age. In this way, they learn that they are not helpless and weak, but that they have “environmental competence,” and that their actions can have a positive effect on their environment.”
LeShan goes on to say, !
“The classic studies of Hartshone and May (1928-1932), and many others since then, have shown that didactic instruction, lecturing about honesty and morality, “character education” classes, had almost no lasting or significant effect on either students’ moral judgment or on their moral behavior.
On page 123, LeShan conscientiously quotes Aristotle’s words:
“!a person becomes just by the performance of just actions and temperate by the performance of temperate actions, nor is there the smallest likelihood of a person becoming good by any other course of conduct.”
This is not, however, a popular line to take, with most people preferring theory to practice under the impression that arguing about morals proves them to be philosophers and that in this way they will turn out to be find characters.
With statistics showing that approximately 85% of the world population claim religious affiliation, you would hope that Sunday school made it to Monday school!
But our children’s lives don’t reflect “learning” as a product of “reciting”.
In fact, most of the people I’ve counseled over issues of deep personal pain and illnesses of body mind and spirit have all stated that they felt relief in our sessions because for the first time they could get answers to questions they had in church (or Temple), but were ignored or scorned when they asked.
What I’m pointing to here is that any metaphorical “Sunday School” (at large) is built upon the same didactic model as our modern public school education systems at large.
There is lots of theory (scary stories about what will happen to you if you are bad!), but little practice. What practice there is usually reverberates the many challenges of authority and control chronicled in most world scripture books.
It is as though we’ve fallen in love with bad stories to the point that we can’t stop living them; bad because the same issues are repeated over and over again and there’s no indication of authentic improvement in self-responsibility, respect for others, or the world at large after the last few thousand years of religious stories and wars!
It is as though god’s record player is dangerously stuck in a groove and will go on until it wears through the record!Only to find “God” when the old story can’t be told any longer.
Considering that we are in the information age, and children are being exposed to potentially thousands of times the amount of information in a day as they would have been only 100 years ago, we must be aware of the “content” of the information they are being exposed to.
Lacking adequate parenting, children often “adopt” their own parent figures. Sadly, many of them are TV personalities, professional athletes, and comic strip and video heroes.
But like Facebook relationships, they only emulate “the show” and seldom learn anything about the reality of such people’s lives, leaving them to imagine how they should behave just as they must imagine how Captain Marvel or Thor would behave when arguing with friends or a teacher.
On page 131, Theodore Roosevelt is quoted:
“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
Or, in more recent parlance, every student who goes through our educational system emerges as either a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.
Children follow their adult guides as they actually live, not as they preach.
Though I could go on for days writing about the problems of raising children, I’d like to share some simple solutions.
Right now, we are facing some potentially harsh realities environmentally, economically, religiously, spiritually; and it is evident that our school system, which is part of the religious and corporate agendas that are at the root of several of the relevant challenges we face.
That said, there are some very simple, fun ways to help children learn and grow. I’ll list a few suggestions:
1. Children need love, not more “schooling”: We’ve put a huge amount of “weight” on a child’s sense of self-worth based on how well they perform in an academic environment that is far from being an ideal learning environment for children, full stop (period if you prefer)!
If your child is having a hard time in school, consider the following options:
A. Home schooling: Today you can find skilled home-schooling teachers that have become frustrated with all the politics of teaching in the school system.
They are usually very aware of how to teach children what is essential knowledge and how to engage your child’s unique learning needs.
When I was seven or so, I failed reading in school and was told I’d have to be held back if I didn’t improve over the summer.
My mother took me to a private learning institution called the “Ebronics Learning Center” (It’s been ages so I don’t know if I’ve got the name spelled correctly.)
There, they had a system of teaching reading by the use of computer systems, which was pretty advanced considering that was about 43 years ago!
The key point is, I had one teacher looking after me and only a handful of others with learning problems. I was able to get all my questions answered without being made to feel stupid or slow.
The learning format was fun and engaging and I actually learned to read two school levels higher than what I was at in one summer school experience. Without my mother’s willingness to help me find a way to learn to read that worked for me, chances are good I wouldn’t be sitting here writing to you now! Thanks Mom!
B. Montessori school systems have a far better track record of producing practical knowledge in children than public schools from what I’ve observed and from my conversations with teachers that have switched over to that system.
C. Steiner schools are by far the very best I’ve ever studied, visited and experienced. Steiner was a genius of magnificent proportions and everything he produced has been studies and found helpful.
His methods are, in my experiences, far better than the competition.
D. Spend time “helping your child”. Most children dread the thought of mom or dad “helping them with homework” because it usually means a long drawn out period of ridicule, pressure and feeling diminished.
Not always of course, but too often for a world of children lacking nurture, in my opinion. Remember, children learn best when they are “having fun”; children aren’t supposed to be in university prep school starting at kindergarten!
I’ve seen more of that going on than I can count and remember. It’s very sad. A child hasn’t even had a chance to determine what it likes and doesn’t like and already, mom and/or dad have chosen its life path!
An example of this is demonstrated in sports conditioning as well. I was doing research on steroid use in athletics a few years ago and found some shocking statistics.
One study showed that 13% of all pop-warner football players (elementary school) were actively using anabolic steroids!
When interviewed, investigators found that the drugs were either given to them by their parents or big brothers.
Why? Because they were trying to maximize the kid’s chance at a shot in the big leagues!
Whether this is love or stupidity is a judgment I’ll have to leave to you to make!
The question I have is, what percentage of any or all young athletes have had any effective training in how to eat, rest, think, condition and perform in any sporting environment vs. the number that hope they can escape the doldrums of school and a problematic family environment through sports?
How many of their parents actually played their chosen sports with them instead of yelling commands out of the cheap seats; have you ever been to child sporting events! its shocking!
2. Give your child something to love, and be responsible for. My advice is to give the child a plant to love and care for first.
Then, if they do well with a plant and it’s possible for you, give them an animal as a pet.
All living things need love, water, food, shelter (environmental support) and warmth.
If a child begins learning about these necessities with a plant, it is less painful if it dies than if a dog, cat, or other such pet is neglected. By tending to plants, children learn a lot about how life works and about the importance of their participation in other lives as essential to life itself.
Once the child learns about plants, they naturally want to explore more complex realities, such as animals.
3. Instead of taking children to churches or temples on Sunday or your specific day of worship, consider taking them out into nature on a field trip.
You can easily teach them all about ethics and morals by explaining how plants and animals get along with each other without having to go to schools or churches.
Nature has her very own system of ethics and morals, which are built upon natural laws; If you eat more food than nature produces (or you produce!), you die!
If you are disrespectful of a lion’s territory, you get eaten. If you don’t have safe shelter and preserves when winter comes, you freeze or starve to death!
If you aren’t sure if your child will be better off learning in nature than they will be in a school or similar environment, simply cut your power off for one week and see how you and your children do with meeting their needs!
You may want to watch the news tonight to determine if a power cut is a real possibility for you and your children!I
f you aren’t sure where to look, you can always surf web sites to see how the Japanese people are doing since their entire infrastructure was collapsed by a “natural disaster”.
4. Do Less! Most parents (and I was one of them so I know full-well the story here) are so busy trying to achieve, climb the corporate ladder, look good, be good etc, that they don’t have time to be with their children.
A huge percentage of children today are essentially parented by school teachers (which is a massive drain on them!), baby sitters, nannies and the likes.
When a parent sits down for a moment of honest introspection and asks, what’s more important, more money, a bigger house, another car, a better hedge fund!or spending more quality time with my child, the answer is usually obvious.
We must all remember that when we are old, it is “our children” that we “hope” will care for us.
The question is!will they know how, or be any more interested than we as parents were in caring for them?
We must also consider the problems we’ve created in the world by falling in love with science and technology, all the while not having developed the ethics or morality to manage the technology intelligently.
There are many major problems staring us right in the face today, and they are problems that can cause problems that our children are completely unprepared for.
Problems that can, and probably will shake our socio-cultural foundations to the very roots.
If your children don’t understand the basics of how to care for and feed themselves without computers and supermarkets, they will be in a very scary place should the stock market crash, an environmental disaster strike, or another war that involves us breaks out.
These are all very real concerns for your children.
In fact, LeShan cites an investigation showing that between 8-11 children begin to be actively concerned with larger questions than those which were central earlier.
When 5,000 elementary school children were asked what questions they would like to have answered, their responses included the great moral questions, the ethical problems that philosophers have been asking since far before our records start.
And we answer these questions for them by our actions, not our words. Children follow their adult guides as they actually live, not as they preach!
If you need proof of that, simply look at the teachings of the Catholic church (and others) relative to the exploits in the churches around the world in the Vatican itself!
Simply look at the dictates of governments and the actions of those giving such dictates.
Look at the fact that corporate executives in charge of massive corporations (such as United Airlines) that must file bankruptcy under their leadership are still taking home MASSIVE SALARIES while thousands of employees under them end up jobless and often homeless!
As OSHO beautifully taught, “Playfulness is a measure of intelligence.”
When I personally look at how much I’ve learned in my life when I was having fun in nature, working with machines and farm animals with my parents, studying how things worked in sports so I could master my chosen endeavor, I learned volumes more than I did sitting in a boring school trying to learn from tired, bored teachers.
A study of the world’s millionaires also produces some interesting findings.
A far greater number of millionaires have been found to have only high school education or less than those with college or university degrees.
Why? Because they learned to master what they needed to master because most of them were doing what they chose to do, and most often what they loved to do.
Therefore, we don’t have to “make our children” do this or that to be smart and successful, or ethical or moral.
What we do need to “make ourselves do” as models and influences on the children in the world, is live the way we would like them to live.
If we aren’t brave enough to “be the change,” we are fools to expect that our children will magically solve the problems of the world, the state, the church, and the rest.
It’s no wonder so many (who aren’t willing to see the obvious) are waiting for the second coming of Christ . . . May God bless him when he comes!
Its my hope that my post today will inspire you to to be that change!
Love and chi,