Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Growing up" IS optional

Sometimes people argue about how children today are turning out.
One school of thought thinks they are getting all cossetted trapped in perpetual childhood unable to basic things for themselves whilst others still say they're too advanced and so fail to see the dangers coming lacking the experience  older peers had.

However is our model right?

 There are expectations put on children to perform to ever more difficult targets, especially in the school environment when you look at  the way  western societies mentor and tutor them.
I'd guess we all can sure remember hearing these phrases from parents and teachers:
"You're a big girl now, not a baby"
"Act your age"
"Grow Up!"

In order to stay in favour with our mentors and peers as children we are put under pressure to change; to "grow up". This is mostly because the duties of parents in maintaining a stable home are at odds with the basic needs of free play and casual living as a child.

Can anyone think of child who never said  "I hate school"? It's not an environment conducive to natural and happy growth for the most part. There are tears and tantrums on those initial separations from parents, problems with large group integration especially at high school, and there's always an undertone of not meeting the expectations of a teacher, or fitting in with peers, none of whom would give the same level of emotional support as a close family member. When you need support, most your parents that you look to for support are simply not there, you don't get that contact again till the last school bell of the day.The system we have currently  is one that evolved following the destruction of older co-operative ways communities lived prior to the industrial revolution.
From such an alienating environment  we go into defensive mode (mood) putting up barriers, instead of letting our uninhibited joy flow out to touch others with happiness and playfulness.
This becomes especially so in the financially driven world of commerce, and by extension formal employment.
Essentially, the model we have is not ideal although it may be the best we have right now for the absolute numbers it needs to serve but if one was to issue a report on it you'd say "can do better". You have to recognize the fact that schools are not there for the benefit of the individual child, but to mould societies into pliable employable tax paying citizens for those with the power.

Now you might say what has this to do with our heading "Growing up IS optional"?
Simply that is encourages the attitudes deemed desirable for those who rise to the top which for the most part are ruthless. aggressive, self centred, and only focused on that which pays. Caring, accepting responsibility for others well-being and behaving in co-operative ways are viewed with cynicism at best and outright ridicule.
If the so-called lessons of growing up are indeed ruthlessness, aggression  and only being concerned with your needs, then while we're getting older (chronological speaking) this being Grown Up is one we can opt out of because it doesn't fulfill our needs.
Is it not surprising therefore it's  that's one of many reasons free thinkers like those of us who are LG are persecuted for having the courage to be different and to think differently?

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