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  • Dan Dredger wrote a new post, The Importance of Giving Children Independence 4 years, 4 months ago

    By Alexandra Wolfe
    Erika Christakis, an early-education expert who most recently taught at Yale University, thinks that adults and children have reversed roles. Adults, she says, now act like children, reading […]

    • I like this piece immensely and not just because of this-

      “Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”

      My theory about childhood is that it, childhood, was effectively invented by the English in the eighteenth century. Spending on kids went through the roof. Toys, games, books for children were created and mass produced for the first time. Educations became general rather than fitting for position for the rich alone. The visiting French became appalled at how we indulged our kids and let them run around. Childhood grew from 6 years duration to twelve.

      My theory, Chris, is that extending playing and an ability to try things out without consequence or much risk helped kick start the Industrial Revolution by breeding a more adventurous entrepreneur. A few decades later and much of northern Europe followed suit.

      This struck me most forcibly noting how noisy, and child friendly, and modern were the households of folk like those of the Lunar Society, scientists, technologists and Industrialists, all. Erasmus Darwins’s particularly.

    • My childhood was full of forest exploring, tree climbing, fort building, biking, sex play, football, building waterworks, looking after rabbits … none of this required adult supervision or organisation.

      Every once in a while my mom would pile as many neighbourhood kids as could fit it her car and took us to a beach for a picnic. We entertained ourselves.

      Today’s parents hover, terrified the kids will be killed or worse if they are left alone for a few seconds.

    • I lived my childhood between the ’80s and the first ’90s, the best period of my life, full of games with my friends among the streets of the town where I lived. We played everyday during summer, we had no pc, no internet, no Play Station, no mobile phone. We interacted a lot during spring-summer, had lots and lots of quarrels: I can say we grew together, year after year.
      I am a little bit concerned about my future children, though. The world has changed a lot since the ’90s, I now see my young cousins and they have no will to go bike riding through the countryside fields as we were used to, they just want to stay inside, isolated from the rest of the world, “discussing” on forums, watching tv series, scrolling Facebook, making tons of selfie. No soccer (we live in Italy, soccer is a sort of religion for us, especially when we are very young), no social games (we spent hours playing ‘hide and seek’, it was so hilarious). The only social interaction they have is school and they are living it very badly.
      I do not want my children to live as my cousins do. This means that I will fight the society, since the young generation of parents dedicate no time to child rearing and education. It will be a hard fight, I fear. Children usually want to have what the other children have, so I suppose that I must rely on the best parental power I am capable of.

    • Ms. Christakis, 52, Come of it! What’s her bloody age got to do with? Imagine: Mr Christakis, 52.

      An excellent piece; for a woman of 52, that is.

    • Give it a few years though, Stafford, and you’ll be boasting…

      “I’m 92, you know!…….I used to be Stafford Gordon.”

    • This article gives me hope that it’s not too late and I might one day be able to get something published

      Sagan 48 1/2

    • @OP -In her new book, “The Importance of Being Little,” Ms. Christakis, 52, argues that giving children less downtime has made them more fragile. She fears that overburdening them with facts, figures and extracurricular activities has led to a decrease in their autonomy and resilience.

      It frequently strikes me at the contrasts with my own childhood, and city dwelling children who exist in an environment where every square inch is somebody’s property and toys and activities are commercially produced products.

      I used to roam with my brother and friends in acres of woodland.
      If we wanted a branch to make a toy bow or arrows, we cut them – with knives we carried as tools not weapons.
      We would use branches (beaver-style) to dam small streams to make pools to sail toy boats – some of which we had made.

      Sometimes floods washed away our dams or changed the access by undermining banks.

      We also had fairly harmless mock fights with pea-shooters made from hollow stems, – using haw-berries as ammunition.

      Camps made from branches were also a focussed activity.

      Of course moving quietly so as not to disturb wildlife, gives a more interesting view of nature than simply looking at books.

      Recognising seasons is easy when seeking wild fruits, or noticing the presence or absence of tree leaves blocking out the sunlight, and watching the sequential changes in the ground-cover vegetation from spring flowers onward.

      I always found it enlightening as to how much wildlife we had not seen, when looking at animal tracks in the snow.

    • phil rimmer @ # 6.

      Hahaha! But, hang on a minute; that’s too true to be funny.

    • Olgun #9

      Nearly missed this…

      I have too much to say at the moment and need to distill it down…and bloody work has prevailed over the last two days.

      Back soon.

      No old wounds to be opened…that may be the point…

    • Olgun

      How do we separate not being offended by someone wearing a hijab from being offended by what it represents?

      I also like this question but we will be off topic if we go on about it. You might consider dragging us over to an old thread that is closely related to the question.

    • Laurie #14 and Olgun #15

      Thanks for thinking of it, but the question follows on quite naturally from the OP so no problem discussing it here.

      Thanks again.

      The mods

    • Oh, yes thank you Mods and it’s my bad for the confusion. The title of the piece threw me off and I confused the threads.

      So anyway, Olgun,

      How do we separate not being offended by someone wearing a hijab from being offended by what it represents?

      I DO find hijabs to be offensive. When other women internalize sexism and proudly display their own subservience – I’m offended !!! After all of the sacrifice that it took us to improve women’s rights and there they go moving us back to the previous century. It’s so discouraging. But in the next breath, I acknowledge that they are free to internalize sexism and free to choose a life of domestic slavery. (How much choice there is here is highly suspect!) We have plenty of freedom to wear what we like here with some rules of coverage of course. I have no right to harass those wearing a hijab and I won’t do that but the times that this has come up in discussion with these women I don’t hold back my opinion. Since I am an infidel it doesn’t count for much on this topic anyways.

      I support equal rights for Muslim women and I’ll always speak out for that even when they are sabotaging themselves right in public. I am not obligated to respect that garment but I am obligated to respect the laws about clothing and I judge them by their character and behavior in the end, even if we disagree on everything. That rarely happens.

    • @ Alan #10

      Speaking on the city-raised side, both my parents were at work during the day so our house was THE place to be. We climbed on top of garages, cut through backyards, and had some pretty epic neighborhood water fights (we eventually learned to close the house windows first). I remember one autumn when we gathered all the leaves in the neighborhood into our front yard, then jumped off the porch roof into them. My mother was not pleased when she pulled into the driveway. Good times!

    • maria melo

      I read your comment and I like what you said. I don’t know what happened to the comment and I didn’t see anything wrong with it.

      You said something about hijab being a sign of virtue for some women who wear it. I agree that many women do see themselves as virtuous for wearing that. And you said something about asking individual women why they are wearing it and I agree that it is very important to do that.

    • Maria Melo #20

      So sorry, Maria. Yes, it had been removed by the spam system for some reason that isn’t immediately clear. We have retrieved it now, so you should now be able to see it above.

      If it happens again (and it might), please do let us know, as we can always rescue it for you.

      The mods

    • Olgun,

      How do we separate not being offended by someone wearing a hijab from being offended by what it represents?

      Sometimes they look great especially when some hair slips out. The sexual fetish clothing that it represents is offensive as a cultural obligation on women, though it falls short of the out and out bondage gear that is the burqua.

      I expect to be offended by things in life, the question is, if I judge it currently legally acceptable for adults to behave like thus and so in public, I will not enact laws to act on my distaste for others’ behaviours.

      I was against anti-burqua legislation in France. It is a farce to dictate what women wear because you fear some (even many) have what they wear dictated to them. I do however utterly commend French policy on uniform in schools. School is exactly the place where the petty groupings of society are studied rather than experienced.

      The new UK adverts alerting girls and women to controlling male behaviours of all sorts and licensing the their complete rejection are magnificent. The types of behaviour shown need to be broadened to encompass examples of ethnic (?) behaviours also. Signalling an attitude that the state is concerned for individuals over communities is essential.

      The foregoing is going to be offensive to many communities. All such soft state power to help make all communities more porous is to be encouraged and will be fought by communities. But this is the quid pro quo for toleration.

      Tolerate the distasteful on the streets. Try your very hardest to understand any virtues it may have for individuals. Don’t enact spurious and meddlesome laws. Don’t be just another change-phobic like those on the right. Do use existing laws. Sell the values your state stands for. Try not to offend but don’t not act for fear of offense. Understand that the unmade young if given access to choices are your opportunity to unblock a log jam of bad ideas. Demand a right of access to all individuals in educating about the state values (eg unequivocal sexual equality, tolerance of the views of others, communities are not legal entities and their members are not in any lesser sense autonomous individuals.)

      License as much propaganda as you can. The broadest knowledge and free choice always favours the morally mutual. Strictly police ANY incitement to violence and prosecute. (This latter will do more to manage hate speech than farcical hate speech legislation.)

    • Olgun

      As I mentioned above, is an ordinary person, non muslim, allowed to wear an hijab and go to a party just to mock the real wearers?

      You mean like this?

      http://edge.liveleak.com/80281E/s/s/17/media17/2010/Aug/9/LiveLeak-dot-com-d76221c4d5f8-cid_f65faa621cee4600a3a4077e59e02a08evanswork.jpg?d5e8cc8eccfb6039332f41f6249e92b06c91b4db65f5e99818bdd1964f45d9d62760&ec_rate=230

      Mods, if this is against the rules of the site then take it off. I’m not sure if it is or not. I don’t mean to break any rules with this.

      Olgun, when I think about someone going around in a burka or hijab (non-muslim) just to mock them I get a bad feeling about it but the photo that I linked to above actually makes me want to cheer the mockery as an antidote to prudery and sexual slavery. I do feel much better about your question after seeing this pic. I am also remembering that I’ve seen people dressed in nun and priest costumes at parties and almost always there is an element of sexual display included in those costumes as an attempt at mockery of those professions. The “nuns” inevitably have a blatant display of cleavage and/or sexy undergarments showing. None of this ever bothered me at the time. My reaction was to take in the mockery and laugh with an eye roll.

      Why would there be a difference between a nun costume and a hijab costume at any party? Aren’t we mocking what these articles of clothing represent? I will also say that if I found an actual nun or priest in distress I’d go speeding into action to remedy the situation (if they were sick or lost or hungry for example.) Even though their ridiculous religious statement uniform is offensive, humans have rights and needs.

      I don’t mind mocking priests with my wearing of their ridiculous uniform. In fact, as a statement of protest I think we should have a rally against the RCC with all women, of all faiths or none at all, all wearing a stupid priest uniform and carrying picket signs that insult and mock those control freak men who want to reduce us to sexual and reproductive slavery.

    • Olgun

      hmm. That’s weird, my link is working for me but your link is a blank page. oh well. As we cannot understand the tides (B. OReilly) so also we cannot understand the internet. (so says LaurieB). If you can’t see my link then google muslim of the year and I’m sure you will see the picture I was referring to above. A famous line that would apply here is “I know it when I see it”. 🙂

    • The eternal dilemma whether to take children to extracurricular activities or not. The world has changed, kids cannot play on the street. I do not remember going out and play in the city, though I did in the village where I lived a few years. We need to adapt to what we have. Extracurricular activities are fun, they meet people, interact, learn skills (like playing an instrument or a sport). It is children and young people who learn and enjoy life, why not offer them more opportunities? They will discover what their skills are, their element. They will have more time to make mistakes and correct, rather than having to do it in adolescence or at the time they have to go to university at an age full of questions and doubts.
      Besides all they learn will serve in the future, it will be all job done.

    • Olgun #29

      I hit a few hurdles along the way.

      Shareable?