September 9, 2014 | Posted in Basics, Concepts in Anthroposophic Medicine, Development, News, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Prevention

Not so very long ago, the family was the center of social relationships.

Children learned by working with their parents – how to cook, clean, garden, wash or repair the car, and tend animals and younger children. The adults who were a constant in the child’s life usually felt pride and attachment for the young people growing up in their home. The purity of the young child was often appreciated, and childhood was protected. No age is perfect, and no family is perfect. But the shifts in our time have some common themes that distinctly affect families.

 

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Children learned by working with their parents – how to cook, clean, garden, wash or repair the car, and tend animals and younger children. The adults who were a constant in the child’s life usually felt pride and attachment for the young people growing up in their home. The purity of the young child was often appreciated, and childhood was protected. No age is perfect, and no family is perfect. But the shifts in our time have some common themes that distinctly affect families.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the center of the home split apart in a number of ways.

  • Women went to work outside the home, so children came home alone or went from school to daycare; once a woman got home, it was a big challenge to care for children, cook and clean, and the time demand led to more fast food and media entertainment.
  • Challenging social values and access to drugs and sex were identified as ‘freedom’; this affected both men and women.
  • Passively watching the media took the place of conversations in person.
  • Economic and legal shifts resulted in many minority males being imprisoned for small crimes and families broke further apart.
  • Schools more and more became the means of enforcing government mandates.

Growing up happened faster and faster, as parents were separated from children. Values were harder to communicate from parent to child, because parents and children were no longer spending time together. Through the media, other values came into the home.

The modern culture replaced the parent, informing the child as to what were the important values of our society.

The modern culture, being commercially driven, promotes consumerism. In the vacuum of a nearly-parentless childhood, the child received approval and attachment from identifying with images from the advertising industry. This culture knows how to sell: address the subconscious, the appetites and the fears. Celebrity possessions offered a feeling of connectedness that families did not have time to develop with one another.

With an ever greater need to buy things, adults had to work more hours to provide more money.

Real food vanished in the time crunch, and processed foods answered the need for convenience. Growing, picking, cooking your own food with your child became a rarity.

There was also no time to be sick, so immunizations for benign childhood illnesses proliferated (the chickenpox vaccine was described by one pediatrician as ‘the working parents’ convenience vaccine’). The experience of being cared for during a fever, bonding with the caregiver, feeling vulnerable and receiving help, then the victorious conclusion of knowing the strength and wisdom of one’s body — were no longer part of childhood experience. We were ready to fear illness, as we were told we should by the media. We had one less intimate and strengthening human experience as we grew up, that of acute illness.

The combined cultural impact has resulted in the tendency that children become isolated individuals yet at the same time they are being massively conditioned into collective thinking.

The tone of modern collectivist thinking is set not by selfless ideals, such as the idealism of civic values and pride, or the charity of a religion. Instead, we (and our children) are trained to want more things, and to feel insufficient in ourselves by material standards (not old enough if we are in grade school yearning to be teens, not young enough if we are 40’ish and beyond, never beautiful enough or strong enough or rich enough, etc).

Communication technology can serve these values beautifully. The fascination with it garners vast sums almost automatically in political approval processes. Technology is not seen objectively. Anything new from technology is deemed good without much discussion.
Common Core testing will soon be done on computers from third grade on; robots are being designed to be constant companions and teachers to pre-school age children; technology has replaced human contact and content; in fact, it may feel safer to some people to navigate technology than deal with human contact.

Nature, the beloved home of the young child in the past, has been abandoned and instead screen time may start from a very young age.

A sure way to shape opinions widely is to have everyone plugged in from early on; we are likely to think and to purchase at all ages as we have been influenced to do by our mass media; thinking itself becomes narrowed to how one acquires things and the ability to multitask.

Some parents have described the realization of the fixity and emptiness of Common Core education as ‘a quiet culture shock.’ It is difficult to obtain real education inside the system today. Children are required to spend massive amounts of time on standardized testing, a skill which devalues the human potential for real learning. Parents have called for a serious re-design of children’s education. By contrast higher education through the internet has made high quality education widely available; one Stanford professor’s online course received 15,000 registrants. (Catherine Austin Fitts, www.solarireport.com, Septermber 4, 2014)

More and more, schools are funded by numbers of children attending school each day, taking tests, and eating school meals. Parents are obliged to support the school by regimenting the child to meet the school’s needs. School lunches have not been known for their high nutrition standards, yet some programs require a doctor’s note if the child is bringing a lunch from home: www.realfarmacy.com/no-lunches-from-home-without-doctors-note-school-lunch-only/.

The school is an extension of the government in these ‘requirements,’ and when one adds the use of schools to pressure for administration of vaccines, one has to ask: to whom does the child belong — to the state, or to the parents? Some have said the child belongs to the world, not to his/her parents. But ‘the world’ in the sense of the unfolding future of humanity is not the same as a current government, which supports continuance of the status quo, not unfolding a truly human future.

The gaze of the human being was once directed toward the faces of family members, and from them a child learned their strengths and weaknesses, love, humor, frustration, anger and inner strength, and a feeling of being connected. From the difficulty and richness of family striving and caring, a child learned to believe in him/herself and aim for the stars. The gaze of the human being today, directed primarily by a collectivist consumer culture, is directed away from humans and away from the stars. If we follow the culture, we become that which consumes. We become the appetite, the lower human being.

Children are least able to swim upstream against these trends. Parents sense these difficulties and out of their own moral development bring the best to their children that they can:

  • to support real family warmth, and warm human relationships;
  • to create a healthy environment and rhythm to support the growing child;
  • to believe in the wisdom of the human body and let go of fear of every illness;
  • to feel sufficient in oneself not because of purchased items;
  • to seek inspiration and be willing to live for one’s higher purposes;
  • to spend time in Nature and see its beauty;
  • to use the amazing power of thinking to reach the heights as well as deal with the material practicalities;
  • to see clearly what the culture pushes us toward and know we are free to choose and to re-design when there is need;
  • to identify freedom as a full sovereign human capacity to be developed, not indulgence of appetites.

 

See also  Child developmentThe stories we give our childrenImmunizations.

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Resources

Realfarmacy, www.realfarmacy.com, www.realfarmacy.com/no-lunches-from-home-without-doctors-note-school-lunch-only/

Solari Report, www.solari.com

Please refer to the references at the end of The stories we give our children for parenting support resources

 

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