Welcome to the Willing Misfit Blog!
This blog consists of a series of articles about what it is to think for yourself, and to live a life based on your own conscious choices. While some of the articles are newly generated material, others are included in the ebook 'The Willing Misfit', which is available here for free download:
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Packaging Our Children
As adults, we consider we know more about the world than does a child; that we're better qualified to decide what direction a young person's life should take than they are, because we understand what it is to grow up and function in the world, and they don't. But what if our idea of 'functioning in the world' is flawed? What if our idea of life is an adopted view, somebody else's old-fashioned values? Have we considered the possibility that our children might have a healthier grasp of life than we do? Perhaps, with the best of intentions, we're diverting them from their natural path, attempting to knock a square peg into a triangular hole.
Herded by our own parents into toeing the social line, we've struggled to function in the social context, and have learned about the pitfalls associated with such a struggle. Now, as experienced strugglers, we simply want to make sure our offspring negotiate their struggle in as successful a manner as possible. But hey, once again - what if the struggle is NOT the only way, and we're imposing a needless burden upon our children?
Socially contrived values; values adopted by default by a society's members, are falling out of alignment with our increasing awareness. Social values are slowly being updated, but still there are many institutionalized concepts that we cling to, because they appear to make the difference between a 'successful' life, and an 'unsuccessful' life. Like many other aspects of life that we deem to be important, the social definition of success is fundamentally flawed. It's based on outward appearances, an externally-driven measurement of how well we're doing. As long as we impress upon our children that this is what they must strive for, they are doomed to a life of unhappiness, for when they learn that it's up to society to decide whether they're successful or not, they're locked into a lifetime of pursuit that bears only the fruit that others decide they deserve.
At school, our children get the message that they must study a lot of material that is meaningless in their lives, in order to receive qualifications whose only relevance is to render their bearer a marketable product; an employable social asset. They're encouraged to define themselves by a paint-by-numbers set of options, to squeeze themselves into somebody else's idea of life.
The teen years are known to be difficult, and social reasoning has conveniently attributed this to dysfunctional behavior on the part of the teenager. I say 'conveniently' because we are quite aware, on some level, what is actually happening. Just as the child is beginning to gain a sense of who they are, their entire social support system insists that they toe the line. They are expected to cram their wonderful, newly flowering selves into a tiny constricted box - a preconceived idea of a functioning member of society. Of COURSE they're going to complain and resist and be difficult!
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