Since I posted my opinion on the outsourcing of life I perceive in our societies, I have had a few comments which I will try to respond to here.
The main rebuttal or disagreement that seems to pop up is that since there exist such irresponsible, unprepared, or idiotic parents out there, posters that advise how to love and play with your children are needed.
Nowhere in my post did I say that incapable parents dont walk on this earth. In fact, I even concluded that:
we have outsourced so much of our lives that unfortunately we are slowly losing ourselves and our wonderful capable minds that the need for stupid, condescending posters may as well be real.
I will not deal with the actual bad parents, those that simply dont care, dont love and dont really want children. Those will not be changed even if one plasters every wall possible with well meaning parenting advice billboards.
But why are so many people so unprepared for the parenting experience? Here I am getting back to my point about outsourcing. Most of the job has been given to others, be it nannies, day care, schools, after school activities, coaches and so on. Lets think how often in our daily lives are we exposed to actual parenting…It is quite possible to work with parents for years and yet to have never seen them with their children. Its possible that we havent even met them. When there are events and gatherings, the first thing that people think of is how to have the children out of the way – lets make them a separate area, lets hire entertainers for them, hire a nanny and leave them home, outsource them if at all possible.
In the end its not out of the ordinary to have your first raw and real exposure to a child and what it means to parent when you have your own. It is what happened to me and the shock was pretty big. There is a big difference between movie parents and the reality.
But that is not the only thing. On top of that we are used to looking to someone else to know better. We cant fix the [insert something broken] because we are not [insert professional that fixes the thing]. We cant [do something] because we are not […]. As I said in my previous post, we have abandoned our actual abilities to learn and master skills as needed, for the option of having someone else do it for us. Usually not because we are lazy, but because we dont feel capable.We have our one or few things we are considered abled at and everything else is left to those that know better.
Despite all the hype about how we can do and be anything, the most frequent comments I hear in this regard are “I am not creative”, ” I could not make this (sew a pillow case)”, “I am not a doctor, I cant make the decision”, “I cant cook”, “I could never draw this”, “I am bad at maths”, “I am terrible at this”, “I could not possibly teach my children”, “My child is better at daycare than staying with me” et cetera, et cetera.
Now put together the lack of experience with caring for children with the stomped confidence and complete denial of our inborn abilities and the picture can end up quite messy and not always with good resolution.
No poster will resolve this.It will in fact most likely just multiply the insecurities of the new parent – I cant even play as I feel it, I have to make sure I do it right.
The best experiences for children so that they develop into well prepared for our world adults are direct ones. It is of them being involved with our daily lives from the get go. If they are not locked and hidden in houses, day cares and schools. If they are not limited and stopped in exploring their surroundings. If they are welcomed to come along everywhere and are exposed to adult talk constantly. If they are allowed to try grown up activities whenever possible. If, if…no one will need to worry about whether they are touching enough textures or whether they are being exposed to language enough to develop it.
In turn young adults will see what it takes to parent every day. Most will get to care for babies and toddlers at some point or another. That will build their confidence in their own abilities and when the time comes, they will have the community to support them as well as their own capable hands and mind which will in majority of cases be more than enough.
Having kids in the open, amongst the community will also help prevent or counteract any possible abuse or lack of parenting skills that the parents may exercise over them.
We are not talking about reinventing the wheel here. Being a parent is part of us. Being a caring parent is the norm not the exception. It is when the job is outsourced to strangers and kids are segregated when the issues start to pile on and we end up with ads which explain how to love your child.
Or at least that is how I am seeing it at the moment. Although I doubt I will ever change my mind about how important the community is for the development of happy content people.