Updated: May 16
I've had a realization this past week. Well, not a realization per se. Let's call it an awakening to reality. Everyone knows children are work. And if you don't know that, I'm here to tell you. We are at the point in society where the suggestion is being put forth that parents shouldn't play with their children, or, as a matter of fact, do anything with them at all. Seriously - one such piece of trash can be found right here. The article's main point is quite simply that parents should leave their children to entertain themselves, and that they have all learned from experience that they are "better off doing their own thing." How very sad. And disturbing. Before I provide some solutions to this, let's define the problem of disconnect and familial destruction, and look at why this is even an issue. There's a reason that society was founded upon and centered around an agrarian lifestyle. There's a reason that children used to be utilized for more than just a social security net for aging parents. There's a reason that homes were massive, sprawling, bungalow ranch-style houses with wrap-around porches. Those reasons? Society was built upon and centered around the idea of family, in the truest sense of the word. The idea of a family as one working whole, as a team that lived together (or close), operated together, built their lives together, and created unbreakable bonds of loyalty, to each other and to those in their circle. And why, you might ask, is this such a problem? That we've changed from this sort of thing? After all, things are more efficient. We go, and get to, places faster. We have technological miracles, with more being developed every day, machines that perform our daily tasks, and the convenience of everything - including our basic needs - right at our fingertips. We have the world at our beck and call. People are available instantly, things happen at breakneck speed, and if we don't have it, we can get it within 72 hours or less.
Do you know what we also have? People, including children, with never-before seen mental challenges and disorders. Adults, who have all the things, but are searching for more in their own myriad of life. Children, who are glued to technological devices. Individuals, wrapped up in their own realities who fail to see anything outside their own immediate bubble. A society that does not function as a society, but as a dystopian version of reality, in which it is, in many cases, every man for themselves.
That's why it's a problem. I realize I'm appealing to an 1850's way of life. It's simply not realistic, in many ways, to live that way anymore. Rather than getting into why it's not realistic - cue a conversation about a consumerist lifestyle at large, the rat race most people (including parents) find themselves in, and split or broken families - we can look at ways in which modern-day families can create a sense of community and togetherness.
Many families struggle with feeling alone, as though they are the only ones who desire something more natural, holistic, or alternative for themselves and their children.
This is simply not the case. Straight statistics will tell you otherwise, and there are large social media movements and support groups that demonstrate this as truth. The sheer amount of parents who have or currently do homeschool in some way, or who are looking for or planning to remove their children from the public education system is far more than mainstream sources would have you believe.
One such solution to the situation we find ourselves in with the state of public education is precisely the opposite of a large scale operation. While an 1850s lifestyle might not be the answer for a global system, it certainly would work on a smaller scale for pocket communities, or even for small towns.
It would require some rewiring of life as we know it. It would require creativity and innovation. It requires strong men and women, who are dedicated to a cleaner and simpler life. It would require commitment, grit, and a passion that is born out of a desire for more.
So, you ask, where's your village? Exactly where you haven't looked.
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