Experiences With Children - Finding The Natural Path
Article ID: 14509
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: April 10th. 2011
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I was in the kitchen preparing some food. My daughter Mirah, then 3, was playing with some toys in the living room alongside the neighbor boy who was also 3. The two moms were talking with each other as they watched the kids. The kitchen was open to the living room and as I stood at the stove cooking lunch, I could see everyone in front of me.
My daughter was playing by herself, building some sort of structure from various blocks and toys. The little boy, whose name I no longer remember was rolling some toy around and looking at the two of them, I could see that he was wanting to interact in some way. He would get close and in my daughter's space but she did not want to interact with him just then. I could see from his energy and expression that he knew she wanted to be in herself and not play with him. He was pushy and covertly aggressive and his expression showed that he was pleased to annoy her.
At first she ignored him. Then she turned her back on him and then she moved herself away from him. He did not listen to her wishes and kept an energetic pressure on her. He got right in her space again and she pushed him away. All of this was fairly subtle and had not attracted the notice of the moms.
At that point, when he stepped into her space again, she picked up a toy truck and hit him in the head. This of course caught the notice of the moms and they ran over and started chastising Mirah for hitting him with the toy truck and saying she should not hit people and so on. At that point I spoke up and said I disagreed, that her response was intelligent and what any free creature would do to defend herself from being pushed around.
I described for them what I had seen and that she had tried various things to no avail and that hitting him was not only justified, but healthy and that she did nothing wrong. Mirah sat there and watched/listened as I spoke and when I had finished describing what had happened, she looked at me and gave me the biggest smile and we shared a moment of understanding.
Our society is quite aggressive in imposing itself upon children. In various ways the natural impulses and responses of children are subverted and turned against them. And now society readily drugs large numbers of children to force their behavior into narrow accepted channels. The more I have found a freedom within myself, the more I find myself disturbed by the treatment of kids.
As I have learned more of what real freedom is, the more I value the ways in which I can let others be free too. I've explored this a lot in social interactions. As I learn to speak and act as comes naturally to me, the less I am concerned about how it will be received. Being true to ourselves is its own intrinsic reward. The less we act and speak freely, the more we are concerned with how others act and how they see us. I feel repressed so I have to repress others and we end up as constant police of each other. The less I do this, the more I find myself having common moments with little children. I also find myself defending them because at the young age it is so hard to defend oneself. The adults have a good command of the language and feel socially entitled to boss the kids around.
In watching children getting pushed around I would find myself annoyed and feel moved to say something. At first I would try to talk to parents, but that almost never went well. The parents feel like I am telling them what to do (which is kinda true) or feel defensive cause if I am saying something they must be bad parents and so on. I felt like I had something useful to offer, but did not know how to communicate it. Then I had an AHA! moment. I didn't necessarily need to speak to parents, I could also talk to the children directly and that is what I started doing. It is something of a social taboo, but I don't care. I can see the thread of a child's past extending far beyond their short years here. They are their own free creatures and arrive here with their own psyche and destiny already there.
It is interesting that as I started talking to the children, it changed the dynamic of talking to the parents too. My adherence to the social convention meant I had to go through the parent to reach the child, which is inherently pushy. Letting go of that social convention, I could express myself to the child without any push needed.
One day I was in our farm greenhouse waiting for the various people to come and pick up their produce. A boy about 7 and a girl about 5 were there with their mother. The girl was quite shy, and would not look at me and hid behind her mom. The three of them were there one day and it was time for them to leave. The boy ran out the back door of the greenhouse and the mom took the girls hand to lead her out to. The girl said to her mom "I want to go out the other door with the pretty wooden handle." Her mom replied that the boy had already decided the door and started to pull the girl along. So I spoke up and said "Just cause he (the boy) went out the back is no reason for her not to go out the door she wants."
The mom was a bit taken aback but thought for a second and then agreed and said the girl could go out the front. As the girl walked past me, I said to her "Here at the farm there are no rules and you can do whatever you want." For the first time, she looked in my eyes and then she smiled. I have now had many such interactions. Each time I give voice to what my eyes see, I can feel the little boy who saw so much but had no words to speak and he smiles too.
I am out and about in public a lot and I see many parents and children. What I hear parents saying to the kids more than anything else is no.. in one form or another, no this or no that. Our patriarchal society is domineering and exerts so much influence on people. Even this loving mom was telling her girl no for no real reason. It was a knee jerk response that I see repeated constantly.
I understand firsthand the pressures parents are under. Young children live in nature-land. They have no schedule and flow along like butterflies. The parents are supposed to adhere to the rigid rules of society, show up at such a time, act a certain way, etc and fear being punished if they do not. I remember the feeling of being pulled in opposite directions by those 2 considerations. I remember trying to be somewhere at a given time only to have Mirah throw-up all over both of us just as we are going out the door. I remember the feeling of frustration that arose as I tried to meet both expectations. It is not easy.
‘No’ is the main word of patriarchy. Compulsion and control are extensions of no. Obedience is the enforcement of no. It turns people against themselves. It makes them afraid to act of their own volition. It makes him or her seek approval and verification of every little action, thought or feeling. The church cleverly turned people against themselves by declaring the body to be bad, unclean. To control people, tell them no to the things that are natural. Subvert their natural state. Make them doubt themselves. Make them turn against themselves and they become weak and easily controlled.
To be a free, independent person is to be free of no, of constant self conflict and doubt. The naturalness of children reveals how rigid, controlling and ill the society is. Children understand yes which scares a society obsessed with security and control.
Parenting is not easy in this society. But children are good guides. If they are not in sync with society, it is not the children who need adjusting, but the society.
Location: Portland, Oregon
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