We want to keep our children innocent and bright-eyed for as long as possible. We want them to truly enjoy childhood before they have to grow up and learn all of the pains and sorrows of this world and all of human history. We want to protect and shield them from such atrocities and not let the hurt and bitterness of the world, of adults, of politics, of corporate greed, of class war, religious war, race war, drug war and climate war to impinge upon their joy and freedom to just be children and bask in the wonder and bliss of youth. Some kids are in schools that teach about war, slavery, assassination, hatred, fear and the like at a very young age, muddying their perception of the beauty of life and human existence in order to help them to "not repeat the past." Others are taught at home or private schools so that their curriculum is catered to what parents believe is best for them to know. Some pay loads of cash to educate their kids (We've researched private elementary tuitions and they're often equal to university.) Some have no choice or time to teach their kids themselves, as they work hard to make ends meet. Some may simply choose not to engage in teaching their children very much at all.
We are all raised so differently with so many types of education, so much ancestral background and genetic disposition in place, influencing how we, in turn, raise our kids. We are raised with the memories, stories and scars of our family history and ancestral experience. We are taught to perceive the world and other people/ races/ cultures in specific ways by those before us. We are shown how to react and interact with other "types" of people. We are taught to judge certain people in certain ways. We learn a lot at a young age and now I watch my child slowly integrating what she learns at school and at home into her own mind and life. It is a strange thing for me to watch; to see how brick upon brick is laid as the foundation for her entire existence and knowledge of life on this planet. To watch each new word incorporated into her vocabulary and sense of reality. It takes me back in time to my childhood, recalling what and how I was taught. It makes me question everything even more, as I have always attempted to do. I have taught my child to question everything as well (with respect), to the point that she questions us constantly, which can either push our buttons or teach us how to rearrange our views of the world and dig deeper for answers. It also causes me to work on breaking ideas down to simplify in a way that makes sense to a child, which helps to simplify and clarify my own thought processes as well. Tonight she said, "But it's good to question..." as I asked her to stop questioning me (debating) about something.
Our child has become a great teacher for us, as we grow as parents and humans. As she is quite the little philosopher (lover of knowledge) and very insightful for a 6 year old, I find myself constantly needing to recalibrate my perception and beliefs. As I teach her to question everything, I see that it can cause problems at school, since there are societal rules, time limits, and curriculum in place which do not fully embrace the "questioning of authority", philosophical meanderings, or of looking beyond what we are taught. When we do things differently at home and school teaches otherwise, and I go in and talk to the teacher about our views, and she is nice about it, and says "You've given me a lot to think about." ... I guess that's all I can do, while continuing to support my child in the way that I see fit. --To raise her into a thoughtful, caring, emotionally intelligent, upstanding citizen who stands on her own two feet with a deep knowledge of the world in all of its complexity and isn't afraid to question anyone or anything if she so chooses. It's my biggest job. It's my best job. It's a tough job.
(All photos Copyright Deer Drifter Photography)