Monday, April 20, 2009

The myth of childhood

[Edit: It took me longer than one day to write this post, and in between the days I got a B-Day present from my mom, which was the book Do Hard Things. (I know I'm not a teen, but I think the principle of teens holding themselves to greater goals than what society has set for them is right, so the book interests me.) Anywho, while thumbing through the book I noticed one of the chapter titles was "The Myth of Adolescence", in which they basically were saying the same things that I wanted to here. So my desire to finish this post was shot, however, I didn't want to move on until it was done... so what you get is a half way finished post. Enjoy!]

Having no kids of my own, and not taking any part in raising any I feel that I have quite enough authority to talk about raising kids. Let that set your expectations about how well thought out my post will be.

This weekend I was thinking about the current role of a child in America. We can basically sum it up: go to school and have fun. Any expectations beyond this is definitely not the norm for everyone.

So has this always been the case? In not so modern times have we allowed our children to run free without a care in the world besides school? I doubt it. In fact I bet that children of old would think that our kids were slackers. Should we feel sorry for the kids in the past that had to work more than play? No -I bet their lives we just as happy as our are today. I might even go as far to say that kids now days have less rewarding childhood as those of old.

[Edit: Next is the outline for the rest of the post. You get the idea of where I am going with this.]

School made childhood, which in turn made adulthood.
Now we save all responsibility for adulthood.
No responsibilities prevents children from developing. (Now even college aged students are expected to party instead of learn to actually live, they are in their 20's! You can have fun but be responsible.)
We have shifted to a society that teaches jobs, instead of apprenticing jobs.
Before children would spend their time learning a craft, now they learn books.
It is fairly obvious that learning a craft that can directly lead to a job has more responsibility than learning about things that most likely will not be directly used in a job.
Kids now days have little responsibility and play probably as much as kids of old, however the play they do now is nowhere as developing (video games vs. building forts)

[Edit: That is where my outline ends, but I am sure I would have come to some brilliant conclusion, and then would have ended the post off with yelling at the kids these days to get of my lawn. Pulitzer Prize here I come.]


Memphis Steve said...

Our society has lost its way. We've marginalized masculinity, objectivity, reason, and truth, and instead turned to an emotion-based, feel-good, perpetual mommy-think. So our children are encouraged to remain babies until they're 30 and then are handed over to The State, upon which they are encouraged to remain dependent as a surrogate parent until they die of neglect in a state-run medical center.

Ookami Snow said...

You say it like it's a bad thing. :)

Callie said...

I think the schools need to teach industrial arts as a viable alternative to those students who, lets face it, will not succeed as a business executive. We need people in all areas of society, not just business and science. It's a shame that schools objectify the college bound student, and make kids believe that this is the end-all, be-all of their existance. Then, you have the kids who, for whatever reason, do not have college as an option, and they are made to feel like failures.

Ookami Snow said...

Callie, I totally agree. College isn't for everyone, and it shouldn't be. There are mechanics that are better at what they do than I could ever hope to be. Also I find cars boring, but I know that is not the case for everyone, I am sure there may be some people that thinks statistics is boring, but it isn't to me.

piglet said...

once again, i agree with your point here in that kids today have less rewarding lives. when i became a parent i was shocked with how many people (other parents) try to suck you in and say "we're all doing it".

when you try to instill morals and not buy our kids everything they want, other parents think they have the right to comment on it when i hadn't asked them in the first place.

i remember leaving the house in the morning and not returning until nightfall. my mother never knew where i was, never asked and probably didn't care. i am on top of my kids, i know where they are almost all of the time, but i don't hover. hovering isn't good.

piglet said...

p.s. happy birthday.

piglet said...

this is a cute podcast, a family goes on vacation and the parents force the kids to do third world country labor. it's awesome.

Ookami Snow said...

I'll have to check the podcast out.