Friday, January 14, 2011

Giving our power away...

Group of children in a primary school in ParisImage via Wikipedia
Soooooo...I go to my son's school today and had a pretty positive experience. I got to reminisce on how much I miss teaching and being around children. Children are so refreshing and enlightening and they tell you so much about what is going on in the homes of the people we never see but make up the world we live in. We find out beliefs and attitudes and more. I like to use these times of sharing with children as a time to check in and find out whats really going on in the world versus what we say is going on.

The only aspect of the visit that had a moment of pause for me was a brief exchange that I had with the teacher while we talked about my son's behavior in the classroom and his academic progress. We both spoke of his difficulty in staying focused on a task and being very interested in socializing and what is going on around him to the point of interfering with the task at hand. So the teacher asks me: "Have you taken him to the doctor to see if they can give him something to help with that? I mean, he is not hyperactive..." 
Now in the past I would have gone into a whole speech about not approving of medicating children in order to get them to behave the way that we think that they should and closing the discussion down. But I chose to teach by example and said, "No, what we do is work on ways to help Solomon calm himself at home. Help him to recognize that he does not have to be doing something at all times. We encourage stillness and time for reflection as a daily practice."

What I recognize is that the very things that we seek to medicate in not only our children, but in society as a whole are things that with a little effort and discipline we can take care of ourselves. Instead we have been conditioned to take a pill to make the undesirable thing go away. We start at an early age teaching how to give your power over to something else. We let institutions control us, other people control us, and the new acceptable form of control: legal prescription drugs. You don't teach a child how to be self-disciplined by giving him a pill to let something else control him. You teach him how to have control over himself! And we wonder why we have generations of children who seem to be out of control! We have been conditioned to give it away...
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