PART 1 The children
Many will say we’ve come a long way since the dawn of time. Everything from agricultural and scientific advances, new forms of more democratic governments that empower the many as opposed to the few, to the migration away from many insane superstitions to a more reasoned approach to life’s problems.
I’m going to suggest we as people really haven’t changed very much at all. Superficially perhaps, fundamentally not so much.
Children: A lot can be said about the way we have treated our children over the centuries. What seemed like many eons ago children in general were considered less valuable than adults and easily replaced in many cases. They were sold as slaves or forced into servanthood for the “greater good” of the family in some cases. Look at the issue of child sacrifice in ancient civilizations to appease the gods of rain, sun, crops, and other provisions. We’ve come so far from that as a whole in society. Really, now if we need to appease our gods of provision ( jobs, career plans, education) and a child must be sacrificed we can know with confidence this is possible without strapping a screaming infant to an alter to have some robed high priest plunge the dagger deep to insure a good crop this year avoiding famine and disaster for the entire community.
Now if for some reason mom wants to finish her degree, and doesnt feel she could swing it while pregnant, dad just isn’t quite ready to be dad, or maybe both feel they just can’t afford another child. They can go down to their local government subsidized clinic to have a high priest of medicine remove this one little thing stopping their freedom, prosperity, and happiness. All legal and sanitary.
In these modern times we’ve migrated far away from selling our children as servants with the off chance of a better life for them, while freeing nbsp; up some resources of our own.
We can now throw ourselves into our work so we can afford to send our young ones into day camps run by strangers on the off chance that they may have a better life. We will be able to afford to give them all the things society tells us they need to be happy and whole.
They will have the latest edition of the iPad. We may however, not be able to give them the more than half an hour of eye contact.
They may have the latest trendy athletic shoe, but may not be able to enjoy playing their favorite sport with mom or dad while wearing it. “You know I’ve got to answer this email, the boss is expecting me to perform, and I’m going after that big bonus so we can have a nice vacation this year.”
I’ve come to the realization that one of my clients (might) remember me answering their call at 8:00 pm while at the dinner table, but that those most important to me will certainly remember my getting up mid sentence to walk into the office to take that
“important call.” I have at times personally sacrificed some of the most important things in my life for what seemed like a noble end. The paradox of the parent who attempted to give their family everything they ever wanted growing up while sacrificing what their family really wants and needs is very real in these modern times.
We have traded long hours of laboring in the fields or mines to survive for even longer hours of sifting through piles of papers and electronic exchanges to keep up with our seemingly insatiable wants.
We’ve traded sending our kids off to the factories and fields not knowing if they’ll come home in good condition emotionally and physically for sending them off to daycare and compulsory education not knowing if they will come home in good condition emotionally, physically, and morally.
We seem to now live in a society where child discipline of any sort whether it be of corporal punishment or otherwise is looked at by many as neanderthal. While leaving it up to teachers, coaches, youth ministers and in extreme cases law enforcement to dole out discipline is perfectly fine. What, I ask is more barbaric? Taking away a child’s priveliges and spanking them perhaps, or letting them run wild to be shaped by a society that most agree (leaves something to be desired) to eventually end up being disciplined by a boss, an officer of the law, or other people who refuse to tolerate them?
Have we traded child abuse in the home for child abuse elsewhere? Where they could be ostracised or brutalized in the worst possible ways in the workplace, the streets, and prisons because they haven’t been taught respect for others and to be empathetic to the needs of those around them?
I say all of these things not to project at ,
condemn, or berate anyone, but to call every one of us to question what we do and why we do it. Most of us hoped at being better than the generation before, learning from their mistakes and improving the world in a foundational lasting way.
I don’t believe we will get there until we question what we have been doing and why.
– Until we realize the idols of old were handcrafted gods of wood, metal and stone, while the idols of new are handcrafted gods of metal, plastic, paper, and in some cases mental constructs.
-Until we submit ourselves to one another as equals, in mutual respect to one another, surrender our material and internal ambitions to trade them in for what is good, righteous and Godly.
-Until we are realistic with those we care about most and have real discussions about the limited time and resources we have while on this earth, what is important and how we can be there for one another.
-Until we realize changing our costumes and catch phrases of the pop culture changes only the superficial.
Peace, modern citizens.